I keep saying that the extra days off are annoying, but on the bright side they give ballplayers a chance to mess with beat writers’ heads:
Is there anything wrong with your foot?” I asked Chase Utley yesterday.
“No,” he said.
“Is there anything wrong with your hip?”
“No,” he said.
“Would you tell us if there was?”
I wouldn’t tell them either. Still, given Utley’s erratic play at second in the NLCS, there was a lot of speculation that he is or, at the very least was, in fact hurt. Speculation that is supported by these kinds of statements from Utley:
“I think the days off right now are pretty special. You don’t have many days off during the regular season. You let your body relax, heal up. It’s a good thing.”
So there’s another silver lining to all of the days off. The injured (or not) Chase Utley is now healed (or not), and healthy ballplayers make for a better series.
At least until A-Rod slides in hard to second base on a would-be 6-4-3 and the throw goes wide . . .
The Astros’ bullpen did yeoman’s work in place of the injured Dallas Keuchel on Monday against the Tigers. Keuchel is temporarily sidelined with a pinched nerve in his neck.
Brad Peacock made the spot start, limiting the Tigers to one hit and two walks with eight strikeouts over 4 1/3 innings. Chris Devenski took over with one out in the fifth, finishing out that inning as well as the sixth and seventh, facing the minimum. Will Harris pitched a perfect eighth and Ken Giles closed out the 1-0 victory in the ninth. Devenski, Harris, and Giles each had two strikeouts.
The Astros scored their only run in the bottom of the first inning as George Springer drew a leadoff walk, then scored on Jose Altuve‘s one-out double. Tigers starter Brad Fulmer pitched well enough to win on most days, giving up the lone run in seven frames.
After Monday’s win, the Astros became the first team to reach 30 wins, sitting on a 30-15 record. With a +55 run differential, even their expected record matches up with their actual record.
Braves second baseman Brandon Phillips became the 337th player in baseball history to hit 200 career home runs, driving a solo home run to left-center field during Monday night’s home game against the Pirates. Phillips is the 14th second baseman (who played a min. of 75 percent of his career games at the position) to rack up at least 200 career home runs.
Phillips, 35, entered Monday’s action batting .290/.345/.405 with two home runs and 12 RBI in 142 plate appearances. If he’s anything, he’s consistent, as he finished with an adjusted OPS between 90-99 (100 is average) every year between 2012-16 and it was sitting at 97 coming into Monday.