Travis d’Arnaud was demoted to Triple-A Las Vegas two weeks ago after he hit just .180/.271/.273 over his first 39 games this season, but he made sure that he didn’t stay down in the minors for long.
The Mets announced this evening that d’Arnaud will return to the majors for the start of a series against the Athletics tomorrow. And boy, did he earn it. The 25-year-old backstop hit .436 (24-for-55) with six home runs, eight doubles, and 16 RBI over 15 games with the 51s. Sure, the Pacific Coast League is considered extremely hitter-friendly, but those numbers are pretty bonkers.
There was extra incentive to bring d’Arnaud back to the majors this week, as the Mets would have lost his last minor league option if they waited past June 27. Of course, if all goes according to plan, he’ll perform well enough moving forward that the Mets won’t have to consider sending him down again.
Following the Astros’ decisive 4-0 shutout over the Yankees on Saturday night, the team crowned ace Justin Verlander the Most Valuable Player of the American League Championship Series. Hall of Fame outfielder and former MLB manager Frank Robinson handed the award to Verlander, who was beaming as he thanked his teammates and members of the Astros’ organization.
“I’ve got to say, it came down to the wire, and one thing kept going off in my head was Dallas,” Verlander told the crowd gathered at Minute Maid Park. “When he called me, he said that I won’t regret my decision to join the Houston Astros. And here we are right now, it’s the best feeling in the world. We’ve got four more wins to win a World Series, and I do not regret my decision to come here. This is the best feeling a player can have. So, thank you.”
Among a cast that boasted the likes of Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and Dallas Keuchel, among others, Verlander was spectacular. He locked down a complete game win in Game 2, holding the Yankees to one run on five hits and a walk and striking out a postseason-high 13 batters. In Game 6, he saved the Astros from elimination with seven scoreless innings, helping propel the club to their eventual 7-1 finish that set up their series-clinching finale on Saturday.
The 34-year-old righty also took his place among some postseason greats. Thanks to an eight-strikeout outing on Friday night, his collective 136 postseason strikeouts are good for sixth-most in MLB playoff history, just a smidgen shy of Tom Glavine (143), Mike Mussina (145), Roger Clemens (173), Andy Pettitte (183) and John Smoltz (199). He also joined Bob Gibson, Curt Schilling and Sandy Koufax as one of just four hurlers to strike out 20+ Yankees in a postseason series.