We’re all familiar with the scene after baseball teams clinch postseason spots. Champagne everywhere. Beer poured over heads that are guarded only by goggles. Cigars lit and puffed frequently. Laughter. Cheering.
It’s all very cool and all very innocent, but not to an addict.
So Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton, who spent his first couple years as a professional baseball player fighting battles with drugs and alcohol, sat on the sidelines as his club celebrated its first playoff berth since 1999 on Saturday in Oakland.
According to the Associated Press, Hamilton changed quickly into street clothes after the win and slipped into a training room as his teammates enjoyed the alcoholic beverage scene.
“It’s exciting,” Hamilton said about clinching the division. “It’s a
proud day in Texas. It was great to be on the field and with the guys
you’ve been in the trenches with.”
But he wasn’t going to put himself in a compromising situation. He wasn’t going to tempt himself with beer and champagne, as exciting as winning the AL West might have been.
Hamilton has been out of the Rangers’ starting lineup since September 4 because of two small fractures in his rib cage. He is making progress, though, and hoping to return for the final three games of the regular season. The MVP candidate was batting an incredible .361/.414/.635 with 31 homers and 97 RBI before going down.
Starter Jeremy Hellickson has become the Phillies’ most enticing trade chip as he’s put together a solid month of July. After shutting out the Marlins on one hit and one walk over six innings on Monday, the right-hander lowered his July ERA to 1.97 and his overall ERA to 3.65. As a result, the Phillies are telling teams they want a top-five prospect to part with Hellickson, per ESPN’s Jayson Stark.
Obviously, a top-five prospect means something different if you’re the Marlins as opposed to the Rangers. And the Phillies’ price point for Hellickson isn’t likely to stay that high, but GM Matt Klentak is setting a lofty starting point so that the return might end up being higher than market value.
ESPN’s Buster Olney speculates that the Phillies could end up holding onto Hellickson and giving him a qualifying offer after the season. He notes that the Phillies have only $25 million tied up for the 2017 season, so they could afford to pay Hellickson in excess of $16 million if he were to accept.
Madison Bumgarner isn’t the only Giants pitcher who can rake. Matt Cain crushed a three-run home run during Tuesday’s game against the Giants.
Cain stepped to the plate with runners on the corner and one out against Reds starter Cody Reed in the bottom of the second inning. Reed threw a 1-1 fastball down the middle and Cain hit it about 20 rows back in the left field seats.
It’s Cain’s first homer of the season, his first since 2012, and the seventh of his 12-year career. He still has some work to catch up to Bumgarner, who has two homers this year and 13 in his career.
On the pitching side of things, Cain got the win against the Reds on Tuesday night, giving up four runs on six hits and a walk with four strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings. He currently holds an ugly 5.95 ERA.