Another day, another pair of new heroes for the Diamondbacks.
Utilityman Geoff Blum knocked in three runs and rookie Wade Miley notched the win as the Diamondbacks beat the Rockies 10-7 on Monday.
One of GM Kevin Towers’ most baffling decisions last winter was to sign Blum to a two-year, $2.7 million contract and set up a third-base platoon of he and Melvin Mora. Fortunately for the Diamondbacks, both veterans got hurt early and Ryan Roberts shined as the replacement at third base, sending both Blum and Mora into obsolescence. But while Mora was released long ago, Blum was allowed to spend most of the year chilling on the disabled list. Activated on Sept. 1, he made his first start since returning today and drove in his third, fourth and fifth runs of the season.
Miley overcame a leadoff homer from Dexter Fowler and another solo shot from Mark Ellis to hold the Rockies to two runs in seven innings. This year’s Barry Enright, he’s now 3-1 with a 3.52 ERA, even though he’s sporting an ugly 1.61 WHIP after four starts.
The Rockies made this one interesting late, as both Fowler and Troy Tulowitzki homered off Micah Owings in the ninth. Tulo’s was a three-run shot that gave him his first career 100-RBI season. However, Bryan Shaw took over after that and got the final out to end the game.
The brightside for the Rockies was undoubtedly Fowler, who also had a double to go along with his two homers. Since returning from the minors on July 15, he’s hitting a remarkable .316/.406/.565 with three homers, 10 triples and 16 doubles in 193 at-bats.
Even while injured, Miguel Cabrera is a force to be reckoned with. The 33-year-old slugger has been playing with a contusion on his knee since Wednesday, according to postgame comments made by Tigers’ manager Brad Ausmus.
That didn’t stop him from whacking a 410-foot home run against Atlanta right-hander Matt Wisler on Friday night, skirting the center field fence to put the Tigers up 3-0 in the first inning. In the third, he lead off the inning with another long drive off of Wisler, targeting his changeup for a 421-foot shot, his 38th home run of the season:
It’s Cabrera’s sixth two-run homer game since the start of the season, and his first against the Braves since 2005. He needs just two more home runs to keep an even 40 on the year, which would return him to the kind of league-leading levels that accentuated his MVP case in 2012 and 2013. If he can do it by the end of this Tigers-Braves game (unlikely, but not unheard of), he’ll be the 15th major leaguer to hit four home runs in a single game.
The Reds will roll with manager Bryan Price for at least one more season. Per MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon, Price has been extended through the 2017 season with a club option for 2018. He won’t be the only familiar face leading the team, as the Reds have reportedly asked the entire coaching staff to return as well.
This is Price’s second consecutive season with 90+ losses since Cincinnati signed him to a three-year contract back in 2014. While he hasn’t been able to replicate the same kind of success that former skipper Dusty Baker found in 2012 and 2013, he’s been saddled with a team that’s still in the throes of rebuilding, not one that looks on the cusp of playoff contention. It is, after all, the same team that has not seen a healthy season from Homer Bailey since Price’s arrival, one that unloaded Jay Bruce for a pair of prospects earlier this year and one whose pitching staff set a single-season record for most home runs given up by a major league team.
Justifying Price’s extension requires a different kind of yardstick, one that measures player development and individual success over the cumulative win-loss record. Here, Price has overseen solid performances from contributors like Adam Duvall, who is batting .244/.297/.506 with 2.9 fWAR in his first full major-league season, as well as young arms like Anthony DeSclafani, Brandon Finnegan, and Michael Lorenzen, among others.
From comments made by Reds’ CFO Bob Castellini, Price’s success within a rough rebuilding process appears to have cemented his place within the club, at least for the time being.
I like the young, aggressive team Walt and Dick have put together with players from within our system and from recent trades. […] Bryan has been here seven seasons now. He’s comfortable with the direction we are heading with our young players, and we are comfortable with him leading us in that direction.