Jonathan Herrera

Jonathan Herrera shuts the door on his season

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Well, more specifically, Jonathan Herrera shut the door on his hands, leaving him with a fractured right index finger and a damaged ligament in his left pinkie finger and bringing his 2011 campaign to a close.

Herrera, who spent most of the first two months as the Rockies’ starting second baseman, ends the year having hit .242/.313/.299 in 281 at-bats.  He got NL-only leaguers excited by stealing four bases in three games from April 10-13, only to go 0-for-4 in that category in his remaining 102 games.

And that pretty much sums up Herrera.  He’s an above average defensive second baseman, but he’s not so superb to warrant regular playing time unless he’s hitting .280-.290.  The Rockies benched him in June and had only occasionally used him since.  He did have a three-hit game on Friday, but it was his first since April 8.

The Rockies will have some decisions to make at second base this winter.  Free-agent-to-be Mark Ellis got off to an excellent start after coming over from the A’s, but he’s really cooled off since.  He’ll be 35 next year, and he only figures to get more injury prone with time.  The Rockies could let him go and have Herrera, Chris Nelson and Eric Young Jr. all battle for playing time, but while they might get lucky there, none of the trio projects as an average regular.  Nelson is back in Triple-A after hitting .231/.258/.340 in 156 at-bats for Colorado.  Young, who would be a threat to lead the league in steals if he starts 150 games, is batting .224/.323/.254 in 134 at-bats.  He’s also the weakest defender of the bunch.

Marlins defeat the Mets, then pay their respects to Jose Fernandez on the pitcher’s mound

MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 26: Miami Marlins players all wearing jerseys bearing the number 16 and name Fernandez honor the late Jose Fernandez before the game against the New York Mets at Marlins Park on September 26, 2016 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)
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The Marlins were somehow able to muster up the strength not only to play Monday night’s game against the Mets, but also win it convincingly one day after losing Jose Fernandez in a tragic boating accident. The Marlins and Mets helped pay tribute to Fernandez prior to the start of the game as outlined here.

When the game started, the Marlins came out of the gate with a bang. Dee Gordon homered in his first at-bat, then the club hung a four-spot in the second inning. They tacked on two more in the third inning to chase starter Bartolo Colon and take a commanding 7-0 lead. The Mets chipped away for two runs in the fifth on an Asdrubal Cabrera two-run homer and tacked on one more in the eighth, but ultimately fell short by a 7-3 margin.

Gordon finished 4-for-5 with the homer and two RBI. Justin Bour went 3-for-3 with a single, double, triple, and a walk along with an RBI and two runs scored.

A.J. Ramos, who closed out the win, placed the ball on the pitcher’s mound for Fernandez. The Marlins huddled around the mound and said a prayer. The players huddled closer to the rubber on the mound, then left their hats behind as they retreated to the clubhouse as fans at Marlins Park chanted, “Jose, Jose, Jose.”

In a post-game interview, Gordon called his first-inning home run “the best moment of my life,” as NBC 6 Sports reports.

Indians defeat Tigers, clinch AL Central for first division title since 2007

CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 7: Roberto Perez #55 of the Cleveland Indians hits an RBI single during the second inning against the Houston Astros at Progressive Field on September 7, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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The Indians beat the Tigers 7-4 at Comerica Park on Monday night, clinching the AL Central for their first division title since 2007. Starter Corey Kluber lasted only four innings before exiting with right groin tightness, but the Indians were able to overcome the adversity.

Coco Crisp gave the Indians their first two runs with a two-run home run in the second inning off of starter Buck Farmer. The Tigers would promptly tie the game on a two-run homer by J.D. Martinez in the bottom half of the inning.

In the fifth, an RBI double by Jason Kipnis and a sacrifice fly by Mike Napoli put the Tribe back on top 4-2. The Tigers answered once again with a Miguel Cabrera RBI single in the bottom half to make it 4-3.

Roberto Perez homered for the Indians in the top of the top of the seventh, and Cabrera answered with another RBI single in the bottom half to keep it within one run at 5-4.

The Indians tacked on another insurance run in the eighth on three consecutive two-out singles by Crisp, Rajai Davis, and Perez. Carlos Santana then hit what should have been the final out of the eighth inning, but J.D. Martinez botched the catch, allowing the Indians’ seventh run to score.

Cody Allen shut the Tigers down in the bottom of the ninth, protecting the 7-4 lead for his 30th save of the season.

The last time the Indians won the AL Central, their starting lineup featured a 28-year-old Victor Martinez, a 25-year-old Jhonny Peralta, a 24-year-old Grady Sizemore, and a 26-year-old CC Sabathia. It’s been a long time.

The American League playoff picture still isn’t set yet, so the Indians will be intently watching the final week of the season to see who will be their playoff opponent.