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.
After the Cubs won the World Series last month — their first since 1908 — owner Tom Ricketts said he plans to reach out to Steve Bartman to provide “closure.”
Bartman was the fan who interfered with left fielder Moises Alou’s attempt to catch a foul ball in Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS against the Marlins. Alou was particularly irate about Bartman’s presence and it led to the fan becoming persona non grata in Chicago. In the time since, even before the Cubs won the World Series, the club has tried to make amends but Bartman has rejected offers to speak publicly and he has also rejected invitations to Wrigley Field.
Alou pledged to make time to attend any ceremony the Cubs stage for Bartman, Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago-Sun Times reports.
Alou said, “Why not? I’d like to meet Bartman.” He continued, “I have nothing against the guy. I said it right after the game. I had the ball, and I got upset, but at the same time it’s not that kid’s fault. Everybody goes to the ballpark, and they bring a glove. Every wants to catch a fly ball.” However, He still maintains that he would have caught the ball if he had not been impeded.
The Diamondbacks announced on Monday that the club signed catcher Jeff Mathis to a two-year, $4 million contract.
Mathis, 33, isn’t much with the stick as he owns a career .197/.254/.308 triple-slash line over parts of 12 seasons in the majors. The veteran, though, is well-regarded for his ability to play defense, call games, handle a pitching staff, and get along with his teammates in the clubhouse. As Craig mentioned last year, Mathis is often talked about as a future manager.
The D-Backs non-tendered Welington Castillo on Friday, so Chris Herrmann and Mathis are the team’s two catchers as presently constructed.