Fowler's leap propels Rockies' big inning

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It was exactly the kind of move one might expect from a player who had a chance to play basketball at Harvard.
Fortunately, Dexter Fowler passed on that opportunity and took a $925,000 bonus to sign with the Rockies after being selected in the 14th round in 2004. On Monday, with the Phillies up 2-1 in the eighth, Fowler leapt over Chase Utley on a potential double-play ball, distracting the second baseman and causing a poor throw to second. The Phillies ended up with no outs on the play, and the Rockies went on to score three times and for a 4-2 lead.
In this case, it was probably more athleticism than smarts from Fowler that allowed him to avoid Utley, who had thrown himself into the baserunner’s path in an effort to field the ball. A collision seemed the likely result initially, but Fowler edged to the right and jumped over Utley’s back before sliding into second. Utley did get the throw away, but it wasn’t where Jimmy Rollins expected it and Rollins ended up being charged with an error after it rolled away.
Fowler had reached base on a walk versus Cliff Lee. He singled previously in the game. The rookie had to be disappointed because of the events of Sunday’s game, when he was removed in favor of Jason Giambi in the ninth despite already collecting two hits in the game. Giambi popped out against Brad Lidge with the tying run on, and the Rockies went on to lose by one.
The switch-hitting Fowler found himself on the bench frequently against righties down the stretch because of the play of Seth Smith and Carlos Gonzalez. However, he’s started every game of the NLDS with the Phillies throwing nothing but lefties and he’ll be in there again Tuesday against Cole Hamels, if the Rockies go on to win tonight. He should be locked in as the Rockies’ center fielder next year, with Gonzalez presumably playing regularly in left or right.

The Cubs will try to clinch the NL Central on Tuesday

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The Cubs soundly defeated the Cardinals on Monday night, 10-2, sending their magic number down to one. They will try to clinch the NL Central on Tuesday with another win against the Cardinals. Alternatively, if they lose, they can still clinch if the Brewers also lose on Tuesday.

The Cubs, of course, won the Central last year en route to winning their first World Series since 1908. It wasn’t nearly as easy this year as the club was below .500 entering June and was exactly at .500 entering July. A 16-8 July, 17-12 August, and 15-8 September have helped put the Cubs back in position to return to the postseason.

Not to be forgotten, the Cardinals were eliminated from NL Central contention with Monday’s loss. Now they have their sights set on the second NL Wild Card slot and currently trail the Rockies in that race.

The matchups for Tuesday’s action:

Carter Capps to undergo surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome

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Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union Tribune reports that Padres pitcher Carter Capps will undergo surgery this offseason to address thoracic outlet syndrome, which doctors believe caused the right-hander’s blood clots. The Padres hope to have him ready by spring training next year.

Capps, 27, underwent Tommy John surgery last year and didn’t debut this season until August 7. He made 11 relief appearances, yielding nine runs on 12 hits and two walks with seven strikeouts in 12 1/3 innings. He went back on the DL on September 12 due to the blood clot issue.

The Padres acquired Capps from the Marlins last July in the Andrew Cashner trade which ended up having a lot of moving parts. Capps will enter his third and final year of arbitration eligibility this offseason. It’s quite possible the Padres choose to non-tender him.