Drew Stubbs went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts yesterday to drop his batting average to .174, but general manager Walt Jocketty said today that the 25-year-old center fielder is in no danger of being sent back to the minors:
He needs to works it out on the major league level. You don’t want him to lose confidence. He does so many other things so well. He needs to be a more selective and patient at the plate.
I agree with Jocketty on all fronts. Stubbs isn’t a great prospect, but because the Reds are unlikely to be much better than .500 this season finding out how he and other young players fit into the team’s long-term plans is key. He’s also 25 already, so another stint at Triple-A doesn’t figure to do much good given that he played 126 games there during the previous two seasons.
Jocketty is also right that Stubbs’ approach at the plate likely needs to change for him to have long-term success. He has 79 strikeouts in 301 plate appearances as a big leaguer after whiffing 141 times per 600 plate appearances in the minors. Obviously many sluggers can get away with that many strikeouts, but Stubbs has hit just 38 homers in 1,860 pro at-bats and whatever value he ultimately has will come primarily from defense, speed, and (hopefully) getting on base.
Facing an elimination number of one, the Astros staved off elimination in the AL West by beating the Diamondbacks on Friday night by a 6-1 margin. The Rangers suffered a heartbreaking loss to the Angels on Saturday afternoon, which temporarily put the Astros’ fate in their own hands.
Colby Rasmus hit a pair of solo homers and Jose Altuve added a solo shot of his own. Starter Collin McHugh tossed seven innings of one-run ball, limiting the Diamondbacks to six hits and a walk with six strikeouts. Reliever Will Harris allowed a solo home run to Paul Goldschmidt in the eighth, but Luke Gregerson closed out the game with a scoreless ninth.
The Astros trail the Rangers by one game in the AL West and lead the Angels by one game for the second AL Wild Card slot. The Rangers can clinch the AL West on Sunday afternoon with a win or an Astros loss. The Astros can clinch the second AL Wild Card on Sunday afternoon with a win or an Angels loss.
The Yankees lost both ends of Saturday’s doubleheader against the Orioles and lead the Astros by only one game for the first AL Wild Card slot.
If the Astros win and the Rangers lose on Sunday, they will play an AL West tiebreaker in Texas. The winner will win the second AL Wild Card if the Yankees win on Sunday, or the first AL Wild Card if the Yankees lose on Sunday.
If the Astros lose and the Angels win on Sunday, the two teams will be tied for the second AL Wild Card. They would play a tiebreaker in Houston, and the winner would play the Yankees in New York in the Wild Card game.
Giants second baseman Kelby Tomlinson looked more like Ladainian Tomlinson the way he was running during Saturday afternoon’s game against the Rockies. In the first inning with one out against starter Chris Rusin, Tomlinson hit a fly ball into the right-center field gap at AT&T Park, a great place to go if you’re in the mood for an inside-the-park home run.
Neither Carlos Gonzalez nor Chris Dickerson could corral the ball before it rolled all the way to the 421-foot marker at the fence. Tomlinson motored around the bases, but Gonzalez made a strong throw into cut-off man D.J. LeMahieu, and LeMahieu made a great throw in to catcher Tom Murphy, but Tomlinson slid in safely just ahead of the tag.
It was an exciting play and the hit proved important as the Giants eked out a 3-2 win against the Rockies.