The Diamondbacks are still playing for home field advantage in the first round of the playoffs. And if they get it, they can thank whatever deity gave them their miracle win over the Dodgers last night.
It was tied 1-1 after nine innings. When you see a game like that, you figure that it will end on a sac fly or something. Not this one. Instead, it ended with the two teams combining for 11 runs in the 10th inning, thanks in part to a triple that ricocheted off Justin Upton’s face (more on that later this morning), a bases-loaded walk and a walkoff grand slam. Ho-hum.
The Dodgers got five runs off Micah Owings before even making an out in the tenth, but then they scored no more. The Diamondbacks grounded out meekly twice against Blake Hawksworth, but then didn’t make another out. To the contrary, they got singles from Cole Gillespie and Miguel Montero and a walk from Chris Young. Then John McDonald reached on an Aaron Miles error. Then Javy Guerra came into the game and walked Aaron Hill with the bases loaded. Then he gave up the grand slam to Ryan Roberts. Ballgame.
If Arizona wins today and Milwaukee loses, the teams will both finish with 95-wins and the tiebreaker for home field advantage will go to Arizona by virtue of winning the head-to-head season series against the Brewers. But we’re not even talking about that if it wasn’t for last night’s insanity.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes will opt out of his contract shortly after the World Series concludes. Cespedes, who earned $17.5 million for the 2016 season, has two years and $47.5 million remaining on his deal which includes an opt-out clause.
That Cespedes plans to opt out isn’t surprising as he’s almost certain to get a better contract entering a weak free agent market. He hit a terrific .280/.354/.530 with 31 home runs and 86 RBI in 543 plate appearances for the Mets this past season.
It remains to be seen how the Mets will deal with potentially losing Cespedes. They can pick up a $13 million club option for Jay Bruce, but he performed terribly after joining the Mets in a trade from the Reds. The Mets could also go after free agents Jose Bautista or Mark Trumbo. Curtis Granderson and Michael Conforto will handle the other two outfield positions.
Major League Baseball announced on Wednesday that former Red Sox DH David Ortiz and Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant won the 2016 Hank Aaron Award in their respective leagues.
Ortiz, 40, flourished in his final season, batting .315/.401/.620 with 38 home runs and 127 RBI in 626 plate appearances during the regular season. His .620 slugging percentage, 1.021 OPS, and 48 doubles led the majors while his 127 RBI led the American League. Ortiz also won the Hank Aaron Award back in 2005.
Bryant, 24, is the likely winner of the National League Most Valuable Player Award as well. He hit .292/.385/.554 with 39 home runs and 102 RBI over 699 plate appearances. He also led the league by scoring 121 runs. Bryant is the first Cub to win the Hank Aaron Award since Aramis Ramirez in 2008.
Last year’s winners in the AL and NL, respectively, were Josh Donaldson and Bryce Harper.