Royals starter Chris Young’s father passed away on Saturday night, but the veteran right-hander still elected to pitch on Sunday against the Indians. He dazzled, tossing five no-hit innings on 68 pitches before being lifted.
As Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star reports, Young wanted to start to honor his father. He has left the team to be with his family.
We at HardballTalk offer our condolences to the Young family for their loss. Chris certainly found a special way to honor his father.
Blue Jays starter Mark Buehrle went six innings in Sunday’s start against the Rays, a game ultimately won on Josh Donaldson‘s walk-off home run. The veteran lefty now has 191 1/3 innings under his belt, leaving him 8 2/3 innings shy of 200 innings.
While 200 innings is a nice round number that many starters take pride in reaching, it’s not one they and their managers make a concerted effort to reach. However, Buehrle has gone 200-plus innings in every season dating back to 2001. It’s the longest active streak by a mile, as his 14 seasons lead the eight held by nine pitchers in the same span of time.
Per Brendan Kennedy of the Toronto Star, Jays manager John Gibbons said that if certain conditions are met, Buehrle could start on short rest towards the end of the season. Only if the Blue Jays have already clinched the AL East and Buehrle is still under 200 innings after Friday’s road start against the Rays will he make another short start.
Buerhle, 36, holds a 3.76 ERA with a 1.22 WHIP, and an 88/31 K/BB ratio this season, his 15th full season in the majors.
Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson padded his candidacy for the American League Most Valuable Player Award, sending the Blue Jays home with a win on Sunday against the Rays after belting a walk-off solo home run. The blast, off of reliever Steve Geltz, broke a 4-4 tie.
Donaldson finished 1-for-4 on the afternoon. He’s hitting .299/.373/.578 with 41 home runs, 122 RBI (leads the majors), 121 runs scored (leads the majors), and 40 doubles. Before Donaldson, the last hitter with 40+ homers and 120+ runs and RBI in a season was Albert Pujols back in 2009.
Donaldson and Angels outfielder Mike Trout are the two leading candidates for the AL MVP award. Per FanGraphs, Donaldson has an extremely narrow WAR lead, 8.5 to 8.3. Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper leads the majors at 9.7.
Angels closer Huston Street suffered an ugly-looking groin injury on Saturday night and the club is scrambling for bullpen help. Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels are looking “inside and outside the organization” for relievers, per GM Bill Stoneman.
Any reliever the Angels acquire from outside the organization would not be eligible for the post-season, if the Angels were to find themselves there. Vinnie Pestano, who spent most of the season with Triple-A Salt Lake, could be added to the 40-man roster. He had a 2.10 ERA in 34 1/3 innings with Salt Lake, but struggled in 11 2/3 innings at the major league level, allowing nine runs on 15 hits and eight walks with 13 strikeouts.
Street’s season is likely over. He’ll finish with a 3.18 ERA and a 57/20 K/BB ratio over 62 1/3 innings while going 40-for-45 in save chances.
Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon took blame for his part in an altercation with outfielder Bryce Harper during Sunday’s eventual loss to the Phillies. Per Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post, Papelbon said, “I’m in the wrong there.”
However, as Janes adds, Papelbon also said that it’s important to “play the game the right way”. Papelbon was ostensibly irritated at Harper for failing to fully run out a fly ball in the bottom of the eighth inning, when the two teams were tied at 4-4.
Insinuating that the team’s best player — the runaway MVP of the National League who’s putting up an historically-great season — doesn’t know how to “play the game the right way” is questionable at best. It’s even more questionable considering that Papelbon has only been a part of the Nationals’ culture for two months.
Manager Matt Williams didn’t have much to say about the incident. As John Ourand of the Sports Business Journal reported, Williams said, “Certainly there’s a lot of testosterone flowing…This was a family issue, and we’ll deal with it that way.”
On sending Papelbon out to the mound in a 4-4 game immediately after fighting with Harper, Williams said, “It was a tied game. He’s our closer,” via Buzzfeed’s Lindsey Adler.