The injury-ravaged Rangers received yet more bad news on Friday, when they learned that first baseman Prince Fielder has a herniated C5-C6 disc in his neck. The Rangers placed Fielder on the 15-day disabled list, but he could undergo season-ending surgery to fix the injury.
Looking to fill the void with Fielder out, the Rangers will go back to Mitch Moreland at first base. They’ve also been scoping out available players, one of which is Nationals first baseman Tyler Moore. Via MLB.com’s Bill Ladson:
[…] the Rangers are in need of a first baseman and they have inquired about Nationals first baseman/outfielder Tyler Moore, according to a baseball source.
The source indicated that nothing is serious and the Rangers have a long list of first basemen they have interest in.
Moore and Moreland would make for a decent platoon given their last names. However, over 420 big league plate appearances, Moore has a reverse platoon split which means he has hit same-handed pitching better than opposite-handed pitching. Against right-handers, Moore has a .734 OPS and against lefties, he has a .679 OPS.
Moore has been filling in for the injured Adam LaRoche, but LaRoche made his return to the Nationals’ lineup on Sunday afternoon. As a result, Moore will see his playing time diminish, making him expendable.
For the first time in major league history, both pitchers in a playoff game have struck out at least 11 batters, per MLB.com’s Paul Casella. Mets starter Jacob deGrom has pitched just a hair better than Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw overall. deGrom has blanked the Dodgers on five hits and a walk. Kershaw made one mistake, resulting in a solo home run to Daniel Murphy in the fourth inning. He’s allowed four hits and two walks total.
The last time opposing starters each struck out 10 in a post-season game was back in 1944 in Game 5 of the World Series when Mort Cooper of the St. Louis Cardinals struck out 12 and Denny Galehouse of the St. Louis Browns struck out 10.
Mets outfielder Michael Cuddyer has already made a pair of mistakes in left field and he’s only four innings into the first game of the best-of-five NLDS against the Dodgers.
Leading off the second inning, Justin Turner sent a well-struck liner to Cuddyer which was quite catchable, but the ball clanked off of the veteran’s glove. Turner was credited with a double. Mets starter Jacob deGrom was able to work around the misplay, striking out Andre Ethier, A.J. Ellis, and Clayton Kershaw to close out the frame.
With two outs in the third inning, Corey Seager sent a fly ball down the left field line. Cuddyer took an inefficient route and the ball bounced about a foot inside the foul line, then into the stands, giving Seager a ground-rule double. To add insult to injury, Cuddyer ended up tumbling over the fence. deGrom, again, worked around Cuddyer’s mistake, striking out Adrian Gonzalez to end the inning.
Because he bats right-handed, Cuddyer got the start in left field over the left-handed-hitting rookie Michael Conforto against Kershaw, a southpaw. Conforto mustered only a .481 OPS against lefties this season compared to Cuddyer’s .698. Despite the batting disparity, one wonders how short a leash manager Terry Collins has on Cuddyer given his defense.
Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy broke a scoreless tie in the fourth inning, belting a solo home run to right field at Dodger Stadium off of starter Clayton Kershaw. Kershaw threw a 2-0, 94 MPH fastball and Murphy didn’t miss it.
Both teams’ starters are pitching quite well overall. Kershaw has allowed the one run on three hits and a walk with six strikeouts. Jacob deGrom started off the game with six consecutive strikeouts and has struck out seven total while blanking the Dodgers on three hits and a walk in three innings.
Kershaw doesn’t have the most impressive post-season track record, owning a career 5.12 ERA across eight starts and three relief appearances spanning 51 innings. Aside from the homer, the lefty appears to be putting that notion aside.