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Mariners place James Paxton on 10-day disabled list with left pectoral strain

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The Mariners rolled into a wild card spot on Wednesday, but that doesn’t mean they’re postseason-ready. Case in point: left-handed ace James Paxton was placed on the 10-day disabled list on Friday after sustaining a strained left pectoral muscle during Thursday’s start against the Angels. With seven weeks remaining in the regular season, a two-way tie for the second wild card and at least four more American League teams on the verge of playoff contention, this isn’t the moment you want to see your rotation begin to weaken.

MLB.com’s Greg Johns reports that Paxton is expected to be sidelined for up to three weeks, by which point the makeup of the AL wild card standings could look very different. The southpaw is serving his second stint on the 10-day DL after sustaining a forearm strain earlier in the season, and worked up to an impressive 2.78 ERA, 2.5 BB/9 and 10.4 SO/9 following a relatively quick recovery period. No long-term replacement for Paxton has been announced, but right-hander Andrew Moore was recalled from Triple-A Tacoma in a corresponding move and will pitch out of the bullpen until the Mariners need a spot starter on Tuesday.

Add Paxton’s pectoral strain to Felix Hernandez‘s shoulder bursitis, Hisashi Iwakuma‘s shoulder inflammation and Drew Smyly‘s Tommy John surgery, and it’s difficult to picture a playoff scenario where the Mariners take the rest of the American League by storm — or at all. They’ve utilized 34 different pitchers this season, the most in Major League Baseball, and will have to get creative in order to remain competitive this fall. Adding another starting pitcher via trade isn’t necessarily out of the question, but finding an affordable starter of Paxton’s caliber will be next-to-impossible.

Aaron Judge was involved in a weird play in the fourth inning

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Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge found himself front-and-center in a weird play in the bottom of the fourth inning during Game 4 of the ALCS on Tuesday evening. Judge drew a walk to lead off the frame. After Didi Gregorius lined out, Gary Sanchez flied out to shallow right-center.

Judge must have thought the ball had a high probability of falling in for a hit, so he was past the second base bag around the time he realized his mistake. He retraced his steps, running back to first base. Reddick’s throw hopped a couple of times but first base umpire Jerry Meals called Judge out on the tag-up play.

Manager Joe Girardi requested a review and the call was overturned: Judge was safe. However, Astros manager A.J. Hinch wanted to challenge that Judge did not re-touch second base on his way back. Rather than issuing a formal challenge, the Astros had to appeal the play by having starter Lance McCullers throw to second base, at which point second base umpire Jim Reynolds would issue a ruling. McCullers was a bit hasty, though, and made his appeal throw before Greg Bird stepped into the batter’s box. Reynolds told McCullers that he had to wait. So, McCullers again made his appeal throw.

This time, Judge was running and he was simply tagged out at second base for the final out of the inning. No need for a review.

As Ken Rosenthal explained on the FS1 broadcast, the Yankees were trying to “beat the police.” They knew Judge would have been ruled out — replays clearly showed he never re-touched the base — so they had nothing to lose by sending Judge. If he was safe, the Astros would no longer be able to appeal the play. If he’s out, then it’s the same outcome they would have had anyway.