It wasn’t a walkoff because the Tigers were on the road. Politics, man. Sheesh. But it was a two-run homer in the ninth to win the game for the Tigers by catcher Alex Avila, and that’s something. Jose Veras, the man who gave up the bomb, described it:
“Sometimes things don’t go your way. That is a hitter that has been hitting .160-something, .170 and .150 against the fastball. He hit a pitch down and away out of the ballpark. You can’t say anything to it other than he made good contact.”
The Tigers have to hope that this is a turning point for Avila, who has been pretty awful at the plate so far this year. That homer was his fourth, but he’s otherwise hitting a paltry .179/.247/.333.
Meanwhile, the Astros have dropped eight of nine. I’m going to create a macro for that sentence, by the way, as I figure I’ll be using it a lot between now and September.
Oft-injured pitcher Josh Johnson is retiring from baseball, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick is reporting.
Johnson, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2013. The right-hander underwent his third Tommy John surgery in September 2015 but wasn’t able to bounce back.
Johnson spent most of his career with the Marlins, but also pitched for the Blue Jays in the big leagues, as well as the Padres in the minors. He retires with a career 3.40 ERA, 915 strikeouts across 998 innings in the majors, and two All-Star nominations. Johnson led the National League with a 2.30 ERA in 2010, finishing fifth in NL Cy Young Award balloting. One wonders what he could have accomplished if he was able to stay healthy.
The Angels are nearing a multi-year deal with free agent third baseman Luis Valbuena, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. It’s believed to be a two-year contract with a third-year option.
Valbuena, 31, hit .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances in 2016. He missed most of the second half with a hamstring injury, for which he underwent surgery in late August.
Valbuena has played a majority of his career at third base, but also has extensive experience at second base and has racked up innings at first base and shortstop as well. He won’t play every day for the Angels, as Yunel Escobar lays claim to third base and C.J. Cron first base, but he will give them flexibility and a left-handed bat off the bench.