Bill Baer

ARLINGTON, TX - AUGUST 25:  Carlos Gomez #14 of the Texas Rangers runs after hitting a three-run homerun against the Cleveland Indians in the second inning at Globe Life Park in Arlington on August 25, 2016 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Carlos Gomez says Astros fans threw a lime and a baseball at him

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Rangers outfielder Carlos Gomez was released by the Astros last month after putting up a disappointing .594 OPS across 85 games. He also played subpar defense, making a few plays one wouldn’t have expected from a former Gold Glove Award winner.

The Rangers were happy to snap him up two days after he was released and the change of scenery has been good for Gomez. He has a .789 OPS in 73 plate appearances with the Rangers with seemingly improved defense, having also made a couple of highlight reel plays.

The two clubs played the second game of a three-game series on Tuesday night. Gomez, playing center field, caught the final out of the game: a fly out to deep center by Jose Altuve. Gomez told the media, including MLB.com’s Ryan Posner, that an Astros fan at Minute Maid Park threw a lime at him while he was attempting to catch the last out of the game. Gomez then made a gesture to the crowd and another fan threw a baseball at him.

If one looks at the replay, which you can see starting at the 2:30 mark in this recap video from MLB.com, something does appear to go across the screen near Gomez. Gomez said, “You can say whatever you want, I don’t care. But when you try to injure me, or hurt me, that’s not funny.” He added that security personnel at Minute Maid Park were able to find the fan who threw the lime at him.

The Astros, who need to overcome five other teams in the American League Wild Card race, will likely be watching the playoffs from home this October. For the fans, that stings after getting a taste of success last season. To then also watch a star player who performed poorly for the Astros but then went to a division rival and thrived, that also stings. One can understand Astros fans’ discontent. But, needless to say, none of that justifies throwing objects at an opposing player.

It’s worth pointing out that this kind of behavior isn’t unique to Astros fans. Nor Phillies fans, as per their reputation. Every fan base has their malcontents, drunk and otherwise, who occasionally go over the line. This doesn’t reflect poorly on the Astros, but just on sports fans in general. Remember, at the end of the day, we’re all watching adults wearing pajamas chase a white sphere around a field of dirt and grass. It’s a game and it’s meant to be fun.

Aaron Judge likely out for the rest of the year with a strained oblique

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 14: Aaron Judge #99 of the New York Yankees hits a home run against the Tampa Bay Rays during the third inning of a game at Yankee Stadium on August 14,  in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
Rich Schultz/Getty Images
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Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge suffered a strained right oblique in the fourth inning of Tuesday’s game against the Dodgers. It’s an injury that almost certainly ends Judge’s season, GM Bryan Cashman said on Wednesday, per MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch.

Judge, 24, impressed by homering in each of his first two major league games, but struggled against major league pitching overall. He hit .179/.263/.345 with four homers and 10 RBI in 95 plate appearances.

Rob Refsnyder has been playing in the outfield more as of late and should see more time in right field with Judge out of action.

Cashman also made a point to say that Judge isn’t guaranteed a roster spot for the 2017 season. Per Hoch, the GM said, “He’ll have to earn his way on like everybody next year. There are no absolutes.”

The Cubs’ magic number is down to one

ST. LOUIS, MO - SEPTEMBER 14:  Jon Lester #34 of the Chicago Cubs pitches in the first inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on September 14, 2016 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Michael Thomas/Getty Images)
Michael Thomas/Getty Images
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The Cubs took care of business on Wednesday afternoon, shutting out the Cardinals in a 7-0 win behind eight strong innings from Jon Lester. David Ross homered once and Anthony Rizzo drilled a pair of dingers to help improve the Cubs’ record to 93-52.

With Wednesday’s win, the Cubs’ magic number is down to one. That means, with one more Cubs win or Cardinals loss, the Cubs will clinch the NL Central title. It’ll be their first first-place finish since 2008. The Cubs open up a four-game set with the fourth-place Brewers starting on Thursday and then move on to face the Reds for three.

It is almost certain that the Cubs will end up playing the winner of the NL Wild Card play-in game, which is a scary thought for the Giants, Mets, and Cardinals.