I hope you’re enjoying clinch night, everyone.
The Diamondbacks were already assured of at least a tie for the division crown entering tonight’s action, but they just clinched the National League West with a 3-1 win over the Giants. This is the fifth division title in their 14-year history and their first since 2007.
The Diamondbacks were down 1-0 through six innings against Matt Cain, but Chris Young tied the game with an RBI double in the bottom of the seventh and rookie first baseman Paul Goldschmidt put them in front with a two-run triple off Sergio Romo into the right field corner in the eighth. J.J. Putz worked around a leadoff single by Mark DeRosa for his 44th save.
Coming off a last-place 65-97 finish, the Diamondbacks are without question the most surprising team in baseball this season. Kirk Gibson should be a lock for manager of the year, but Kevin Towers’ overhaul of the backend of the bullpen can’t be overlooked. Including tonight’s win, the Diamondbacks are 82-0 when leading after eight innings. And I don’t need to remind you how awful that bullpen was last season.
All three divisions in the National League are now decided, but the Wild Card and homefield advantage between the Diamondbacks and Brewers are still up for grabs.
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.