David Freese and Nick Punto leaving yesterday afternoon’s game with injuries put the Cardinals in a tough spot and led to Albert Pujols playing third base for the first time since 2002.
He moved from first base to third base for the final 1.1 innings of a 6-5 loss to the Braves and handled his lone chance with ease, throwing out Chipper Jones on a ground ball.
Tony La Russa told Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post Dispatch that he approached Pujols and simply asked, “Are you ready to play third?”
However, while seeing Pujols back at the hot corner was interesting it doesn’t sound like it’ll be anything more than an emergency option even with Freese out for a month with a broken hand. In between Pujols’ previous appearance at third base in 2002 and his brief action there yesterday the Cardinals used a total of 29 different third basemen.
The Tigers have been terrible and the embarked on a rebuild this summer, shipping off Justin Verlander and multiple other players. Miguel Cabrera is hurt and may never be his old MVP-level self. It is, without a doubt, that the Tigers and their fans are about to begin a new chapter in the franchise’s history.
Such new chapters usually involve new managers. Fourth-year manager Brad Ausmus is still at the helm and the Tigers have made no public statement about his future. Ausmus, however, is a lame duck, with his contract ending a week from Sunday. He is also no fool. He seems to know very well that he’s not going to be around next year. From Katie Strang of The Athletic:
Ausmus, of course, has been on the hot seat several times. When Detroit exercised his option for this year, their refusal to extend it sent a pretty clear signal.
If this is the end of the road in Detroit for Baseball’s Most Handsome Manager, it will end with him having missed the playoffs in three of his four seasons at the helm of a star-studded team that was expected to Win Now, as they say. Yes, there were a lot of issues with the Tigers — their bullpen has always been a problem and the brass made a lot of questionable choices in signings and trades over the past few years — but there is no escaping the fact that Ausmus’ Tigers under achieved.
Marco Estrada and the Blue Jays have agreed to a one-year, $13 million extension with the Blue Jays, reports Jon Morosi of MLB.com. Last night Morosi reported that the sides were near a deal.
This extension is, functionally, like adding a year on to his old deal, which paid him $26 million for the 2016-17 seasons. As Bill noted last night. while the 34-year-old right-hander has a subpar 4.84 ERA on the season, he has a solid 170/67 K/BB ratio in 176.2 innings this year and has improved in the second half.