Hank Schulman has a feature story today about Cody Ross catapulting into fame last fall on the power of postseason heroics. He compares this to the legacies of Dusty Rhodes, Al Weis, Buddy Biancalana, Brian Doyle and … Mark Lemke:
Lemke might be the most famous member of the fraternity, at least in this era. The slick fielder hit .234 in 1991, then went nuts in the World Series against Minnesota. After hitting two triples in the regular season, he tied a Series record with three against the Twins and hit .417.
Lemke stamped his reputation as a great postseason hitter. Though that was not always true, he did hit .272 over five postseasons while finishing an 11-year major-league career with a .246 average.
Those postseason heroics always made casual Braves fans — which, by definition, is most Braves fans — think a bit too highly of Lemke’s bat and left ’em hoping he’d do something greater. I imagine the same will happen to Cody Ross. He’s a nice player, but he’s not hit-homers-off-Roy-Halladay-at-will kind of guy. Serious fans know this, but the people who jumped on the bandwagon during the playoffs will probably always wonder why Ross isn’t an MVP or something.
Astros center fielder Carlos Gomez sat out the final series of the regular season in order to rest a strained left intercostal muscle, but there was good news coming out of a workout today in advance of Tuesday’s Wild Card game vs. the Yankees.
This has been a lingering issue for Gomez, who missed 13 straight games with the injury last month. He aggravated the strain on a throw to home plate last Wednesday and was forced to sit while the Astros fought to keep their season alive. Astros manager A.J. Hinch told reporters last week that Gomez’s injury would typically take 45-50 days to recover from, so it’s fair to wonder how productive he can be during the postseason.
Gomez mostly struggled after coming over from the Brewers at the trade deadline, batting .242 with four home runs and a .670 OPS over 41 games.
Nathan Eovaldi hasn’t pitched in a month due to right elbow inflammation, but he told Chad Jennings of the Journal News today that he expects to pitch out of the bullpen if the Yankees advance to the ALDS against the Royals.
Eovaldi was originally expected to throw a 35-pitch bullpen session today, but the Yankees moved up his timetable after the news that CC Sabathia was checking into alcohol rehab. Instead, he threw 10 pitches in a bullpen session before facing hitters for the first time since his injury.
There isn’t enough time for Eovaldi to get stretched out to start during the ALDS, but he could still play an important role for the Yankees, especially with Adam Warren looking like the most likely option to replace Sabathia in the rotation.