UPDATE: Not so fast. According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Braves manager Bobby Cox said that the team will wait until Sunday to make a decision regarding Billy Wagner’s spot on the NLDS roster.
The Braves are still holding out hope that he will be available should the team advance to the NLCS, so it’s possible they will play short-handed in the meantime. If the Braves determine that Wagner will not be able to return in the near future, Takashi Saito or Jair Jurrjens would likely replace him on the roster.
8:52 AM: According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Billy Wagner will be replaced on the NLDS roster due to a strained left oblique suffered in the 10th inning of last night’s game against the Giants.
“I went to field Renteria’s bunt, and when I tried to get out of
Troy’s way, that’s when I felt a tweak,” Wagner said. “I tried to make a
pitch, just get out there and finish the inning. After I made the
pitch [to Torres] and tried to go toward the plate, I couldn’t move.
“Thank God he bunted it hard enough to get it back to me, or I couldn’t have made a play at all.”
Wagner is expected to be replaced on the roster by either Takashi
Saito or Jair Jurrjens, both of whom are recovering from injuries of their own. O’Brien gives the advantage to Saito, who was left off the original NLDS roster due to an inflamed shoulder.
Now that Wagner will be removed from the roster, he will be ineligible to return should the Braves advance to the NLCS. In other words, the Braves must reach the World Series in order for Wagner to pitch again during the postseason. The veteran left-hander has held pretty firm about his intent to retire after the 2010 season, so it’s very possible that this was the last time we’ll ever see him on the mound. That’s just not right.
With a fourth-inning solo home run off of Phillies starter Jake Thompson, Mets outfielder Curtis Granderson reached the 30-homer plateau for the fourth time in his 13-year career. It’s a moment worth celebrating, only there’s one problem: he has just 56 RBI on the season.
There are many reasons for the low RBI total. 24 of Granderson’s 30 homers have come with the bases empty. He came into Sunday’s action hitting just .140 in 124 plate appearances with runners in scoring position and .197 with runners on base. He has hit leadoff for most of the season, meaning he’s had the Mets’ pitchers hitting “ahead” of him in the No. 9 slot as well as the Mets’ catchers typically hitting eighth. Mets catchers, collectively, have a .296 on-base percentage, the second-worst mark in the National League.
Since the end of August, Granderson has hit cleanup with Jose Reyes, Asdrubal Cabrera, and Yoenis Cespedes hitting in front of him. That change hasn’t been for naught, as he has 17 RBI in 21 games since.
Still, Granderson is on pace for the fewest RBI in a 30-homer season. Rob Deer and Felix Mantilla are tied for the record with 64 RBI. Deer (32 HR) accomplished the feat in 1992 with the Tigers and Mantilla (30 HR) in 1964 with the Red Sox. Only eight players have had 70 or fewer homers in a 30-homer season. Evan Gattis is currently sitting on 30 homers with 68 RBI.
Following the announcement of the 24-year-old’s death, Major League Baseball observed a moment of silence for José Fernández before each of today’s games. While this afternoon’s Marlins-Braves game was cancelled out of respect for the organization, Miami painted Fernández’s jersey number on the mound in honor of their former pitcher.
Other teams, like the Mets, Mariners, and Dodgers, chose to honor Fernández by hanging his No. 16 jersey in their dugout:
Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports reports that David Ortiz‘s pregame retirement ceremony at Tropicana Field was canceled at the player’s request:
The Astros and Diamondbacks each displayed a personal tribute to Fernández, writing the number 16 on their caps and etching his number and initials in the bullpen:
Rest in peace, Fernández.