The Angels just got dealt a potentially-major blow.
Garrett Richards — who has suddenly developed into a legit staff ace this season at age 26 — was transported off on a stretcher Wednesday evening at Boston’s Fenway Park after suffering what looked to be a very serious left knee injury in the bottom of the second inning of his start against the host Red Sox.
Richards was hustling over to cover the first base bag on a potential double play when his legs buckled underneath him. He laid on the ground for close to eight minutes before Albert Pujols and Angels manager Mike Scioscia lifted him carefully onto a cart. All of the Angels players came onto the field as trainers were tending to Richards, and David Ortiz — who wasn’t involved at all in the fateful play — said some words of encouragement to the right-hander before he was taken off. Updates will be coming.
Richards owns a 2.61 ERA in 26 starts this year. Anaheim’s other starters have a combined ERA of 4.04.
The Angels currently hold a one-game lead over the A’s in the American League West standings.
UPDATE, 8:56 p.m. ET: According to MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez, the Angels are calling it a “left patellar knee injury,” but don’t have any more information at this time. Richards will obviously have an MRI.
MLB.com has now posted video of the Richards injury. It’s not a pretty scene …
Clayton Kershaw has looked sharp on the mound and at the plate so far in this must-win NLDS Game 4 at New York’s Citi Field.
After no-hitting the Mets in the first two frames, Kershaw smacked a one-out single to left-center field in the top of third inning. Howie Kendrick followed soon after with a two-out single to left and then Adrian Gonzalez blooped a ball to shallow center that drove in Enrique Hernandez, who had reached earlier on a fielder’s choice grounder to second base.
That all set up this Justin Turner two-run double down the left field line that put Los Angeles up 3-0 …
That’s now four doubles this postseason for Turner, which is a Dodgers franchise record for the Division Series. Los Angeles is trying to force a Game 5.
In the first postseason meeting between the two longtime archrivals, the Chicago Cubs prevailed over the St. Louis Cardinals.
Watch as Cubs closer Hector Rondon whiffs Cardinals outfielder Stephen Piscotty with a nasty 0-2 breaking ball to clinch a Division Series victory and send Wrigley Field into a frenzy (this is actually the first time in franchise history the Cubs have won a playoff series at home) …
Chicago dropped Game 1 but took three straight to finish off St. Louis. Next up is a matchup against either the Dodgers or Mets in the National League Championship Series.
After taking Game 1 of the NLDS in an outstanding performance from John Lackey, the Cardinals dropped three straight to the Cubs by scores of 6-3, 8-6 and 6-4. It’s not difficult at all to imagine a healthy Carlos Martinez swinging one of those games.
Martinez wasn’t the Cardinals’ best starter this year, but he was the one who could shut a team down by himself, with little help from the defense needed. Martinez struck out 184 batters in 179 2/3 innings while going 14-7 with a 3.01 ERA. He left his next-to-last regular season start with a shoulder strain that was going to cost him the entirety of the postseason no matter how far the Cardinals advanced. It was a killer blow for a team whose offense had already been slowed by injuries.
October just came at the wrong time for the Cardinals, what with Martinez down, Yadier Molina nursing a significant thumb injury, Matt Holliday and Randal Grichuk far from 100 percent and Adam Wainwright still weeks short of potentially pulling off a Marcus Stroman-like return to the rotation.
It’s Molina absence Thursday and lack of effectiveness otherwise that serve as a popular explanation/excuse for the Cardinals’ loss. And the downgrade from him to Tony Cruz behind the plate was huge, even if Molina is no longer the hitter he was a couple of years back.
Martinez, though, had the potential to even up the NLDS just by doing what he did in the regular season. And had Martinez been in the rotation, the Cardinals wouldn’t have moved up Lackey to start Game 4 on three days’ rest. They’d have been the clear favorites in a Game 5 Jon Lester-Lackey rematch back in St. Louis, though we’ll never know how that might have worked out.