Daniel Murphy may remain atop Mets’ lineup

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Daniel Murphy has hit out of the #2 spot in the Mets’ lineup throughout most of the season, but manager Terry Collins decided to shake things up today by moving up to lead-off. Murphy responded with an eighth-inning solo home run that gave the Mets a 4-3 lead. The jolt of offense seems to have motivated Collins to keep Murphy at the top.

Collins on Murphy, via ESPN’s Adam Rubin:

“He gets on base, because he can hit. And when he’s swinging good, he can get some walks. We’ve got to get some people on ahead of David [Wright]. That’s for sure.”

While it is true that Murphy can get on base — his on-base percentage has ranged from .332 to .362 over the last three seasons — he isn’t really someone who draws walks as his career rate is a meager 6.5 percent. Given the Mets’ dearth of options however, Murphy is one of the better players to put up there.

Mike Trout has a torn thumb ligament, could require surgery

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Yesterday Mike Trout left the Marlins-Angels game after hurting his thumb while sliding head first into second base. After the game the Angels talked about it as if it were just a sprain. Trout had an MRI today, however, and the diagnosis is far worse: he has a torn thumb ligament.

While a treatment option has not yet been chosen, surgery is a possibility. A certainty is that he’ll miss, at the very least, several weeks of play. He has been placed on the disabled list for the first time in his career.

Trout, the reigning AL MVP and, without question, the best player in baseball, is batting .337/.461/.742 with 16 home runs, 36 RBI, 36 runs scored, and 10 stolen bases in 206 plate appearances this season. Even with the one of the weaker supporting casts in baseball, Trout had the Angels near .500 and in at least arguable contention in the AL West.

Without him, they are likely sunk. Without him, baseball is worse off.

Basebrawl! Harper, Strickland punch away, Nats-Giants fight

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SAN FRANCISCO — Nationals slugger Bryce Harper and San Francisco reliever Hunter Strickland both landed punches to the head during a wild brawl that erupted Monday after a hit by pitch.

Harper was hit in the right hip by Strickland’s 98 mph fastball in the eighth inning with Washington ahead 2-0.

Harper pointed the bat toward Strickland, charged the mound and fired his batting helmet wide of the pitcher. They started to swing away and they each connected as the benches and bullpens emptied.

At least two Giants players forcefully dragged Strickland from the middle of the brawl all the way into the dugout. Harper and Strickland were both ejected.

In the 2014 NL Division Series, Harper hit two home runs off Strickland. After the star’s second shot, in Game 4, he stared at Strickland as he rounded the bases.