And what a way to do it.
Jay Bruce homered to lead off the bottom of the ninth inning against Tim Byrdak just a short while ago, propelling the Reds to a 3-2 walkoff win over the Astros. The Reds have wrapped up the National League Central division and are now headed to the postseason for the first time since 1995.
Edinson Volquez continued to make his case for being a part of the postseason rotation by allowing two runs over six innings while striking out eight and walking just one. He has a 1.95 ERA and 31/8 K/BB ratio over four starts since returning from the minor leagues. By the way, Aroldis Chapman paved the way for the walkoff victory by fanning two in a scoreless top of the ninth inning.
The Reds and Phillies have clinched their divisions, so now we wait to see how the NL West and the Wild Card shakes out.
Jake Arrieta‘s bat is in midseason form already. The Cubs’ ace swatted a solo home run to center field off of Zack Greinke in Thursday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition game, his first homer of the spring.
The blast went 465 feet, according to MLB.com’s Daren Willman.
Arrieta has hit two home runs in each of the past two seasons. Madison Bumgarner (eight) and Noah Syndergaard (four) are the only other pitchers to match or exceed his output in that department.
Greinke, meanwhile, is hoping to bounce back after a miserable 2016 season. He finished with an uncharacteristic 4.37 ERA in 26 starts in his first year with the Diamondbacks.
Angels first baseman Luis Valbuena will miss the next four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring, Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times reports.
Valbuena, 31, signed a two-year, $15 million contract with the Angels in January and was on track to get the lion’s share of the playing time at first base. While he’s out, however, C.J. Cron will handle first base on a regular basis. When Valbeuna returns, the two will likely form a platoon.
Last year with the Astros, Valbuena hit a solid .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances.