As is so often the case when a player performs terribly, it turns out White Sox catcher Tyler Flowers was playing through a significant shoulder injury.
Flowers is set to undergo season-ending exploratory surgery, but manager Robin Ventura told Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com that the catcher hid the severity of the injury for a long time. In fact, according to Hayes he initially suffered the injury last season and “experienced ‘extreme’ pain as far back as last offseason when he began to prepare for spring training.”
Chicago was counting on Flowers replacing A.J. Pierzynski behind the plate and so he tried to play through the pain, hitting .195 with 94 strikeouts in 84 games before finally shutting things down. Being a tough guy is great in theory, but in so many cases it hurts the player and the team.
The Astros’ bullpen did yeoman’s work in place of the injured Dallas Keuchel on Monday against the Tigers. Keuchel is temporarily sidelined with a pinched nerve in his neck.
Brad Peacock made the spot start, limiting the Tigers to one hit and two walks with eight strikeouts over 4 1/3 innings. Chris Devenski took over with one out in the fifth, finishing out that inning as well as the sixth and seventh, facing the minimum. Will Harris pitched a perfect eighth and Ken Giles closed out the 1-0 victory in the ninth. Devenski, Harris, and Giles each had two strikeouts.
The Astros scored their only run in the bottom of the first inning as George Springer drew a leadoff walk, then scored on Jose Altuve‘s one-out double. Tigers starter Brad Fulmer pitched well enough to win on most days, giving up the lone run in seven frames.
After Monday’s win, the Astros became the first team to reach 30 wins, sitting on a 30-15 record. With a +55 run differential, even their expected record matches up with their actual record.
Braves second baseman Brandon Phillips became the 337th player in baseball history to hit 200 career home runs, driving a solo home run to left-center field during Monday night’s home game against the Pirates. Phillips is the 14th second baseman (who played a min. of 75 percent of his career games at the position) to rack up at least 200 career home runs.
Phillips, 35, entered Monday’s action batting .290/.345/.405 with two home runs and 12 RBI in 142 plate appearances. If he’s anything, he’s consistent, as he finished with an adjusted OPS between 90-99 (100 is average) every year between 2012-16 and it was sitting at 97 coming into Monday.