Mired in an 0-for-17 hitless streak, Chris Davis busted out with a solo homer in the bottom of the second inning tonight against the Rangers in Baltimore. The Orioles eventually won the game 3-1.
With that one swing of the bat against right-hander Ross Wolf, Davis established new career-highs in both home runs and RBI. After amassing 33 home runs and 85 RBI in 139 games last season, the 27-year-old now has 34 home runs and 86 RBI through just 92 games this year.
Davis is now tied with Frank Howard (1969) for the sixth-most home runs prior to the All-Star break. He has the most by anyone before the All-Star break since Luis Gonzalez (35) and Barry Bonds (39) in 2001.
It’s worth noting that Albert Pujols also amassed 34 home runs through his team’s first 92 games back in 2009. He had 32 over 90 games going into the All-Star break.
The Cardinals announced on Tuesday that outfielder Dexter Fowler has been placed on the 10-day disabled list with a strained left forearm. Outfielder Harrison Bader was recalled from Triple-A Memphis to take Fowler’s spot on the roster.
It’s not clear when Fowler suffered the injury, but he went 0-for-12 since a three-hit performance last Friday. He’s hitting .241/.333/.452 with 14 home runs and 37 RBI in 333 plate appearances this season.
Bader, 23, is the Cardinals’ No. 6 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline. This season, with Memphis, Bader hit .297/.354/.517 with 19 home runs and 48 RBI in 381 PA.
Jon Morosi of MLB Network said yesterday that the Detroit Tigers and Chicago Cubs have been engaged in trade talks involving starting pitcher Justin Verlander and catcher Alex Avila. Morosi also noted that the Los Angeles Dodgers have shown interest in Verlander as well. Whether this is idyl chitchatting of serious dispute is unclear, of course. Everything is unclear in the leadup to the deadline.
The veteran right-hander is carrying a 4.50 with a 120/57 K/BB ratio over 124 innings. Verlander impressed last year, finishing second in AL Cy Young Award balloting, but he has fallen back to Earth in 2017. His velocity remains high, however, and it’s not hard to imagine him going on a solid run in a way that could help a contender. He is owed $56 million over the next two seasons, however, and has a $22 million option that could vest for 2020, so negotiations for him could be tough. If the Tigers want talent back, they’ll have to eat salary.
Verlander got an ovation from a Detroit crowd last night which seemed to sense that, yes, it’s possible he pitched his last game for the Tigers. Given that he has 10/5 rights, allowing him to veto any trade, that decision is ultimately up to him. It’s not hard to imagine him accepting a trade to a contender, however.
We wait see.