Many people were surprised–or perhaps more accurately disappointed–that the Mariners chose not to drop Chone Figgins when they needed a roster spot for Miguel Olivo’s return yesterday. And for those same people manager Eric Wedge has some bad news.
Wedge told Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times that dropping Figgins “is not even an option for us” because as a utility man “he gives us protection” and “we’ll use him how we see fit to help us win ballgames and go from there.”
Using a player to help a team win games is quite a novel approach, but in reality Figgins has barely gotten off the Mariners’ bench with just seven plate appearances in the past two weeks.
Meanwhile, since a big first week Figgins has hit .133 in his last 25 games and is now hitting .186 in 110 games dating back to the beginning of last season. He made $9 million last season, is making $9 million this season, and is owed $8 million in 2013.
Following the Astros’ decisive 4-0 shutout over the Yankees on Saturday night, Justin Verlander was named the Most Valuable Player of the American League Championship Series. Hall of Fame outfielder and former MLB manager Frank Robinson handed the award to Verlander, who was beaming as he thanked his teammates and members of the Astros’ organization.
“I’ve got to say, it came down to the wire, and one thing kept going off in my head was Dallas,” Verlander told the crowd gathered at Minute Maid Park. “When he called me, he said that I won’t regret my decision to join the Houston Astros. And here we are right now, it’s the best feeling in the world. We’ve got four more wins to win a World Series, and I do not regret my decision to come here. This is the best feeling a player can have. So, thank you.”
Among a cast that boasted the likes of Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and Dallas Keuchel, among others, Verlander was spectacular. He locked down a complete game win in Game 2, holding the Yankees to one run on five hits and a walk and striking out a postseason-high 13 batters. In Game 6, he saved the Astros from elimination with seven scoreless innings, helping propel the club to their eventual 7-1 finish that set up their series-clinching finale on Saturday.
The 34-year-old righty also took his place among some postseason greats. Thanks to an eight-strikeout outing on Friday night, his collective 136 postseason strikeouts are good for sixth-most in MLB playoff history, just a smidgen shy of Tom Glavine (143), Mike Mussina (145), Roger Clemens (173), Andy Pettitte (183) and John Smoltz (199). He also joined Bob Gibson, Curt Schilling and Sandy Koufax as one of just four hurlers to strike out 20+ Yankees in a postseason series.