Paul Goldschmidt is still one of the top candidates for the National League Most Valuable Player Award, but the Diamondbacks’ first baseman had been slumping for nearly a month. Since July 28, the day after his most recent home run, and August 21, he had compiled a .647 OPS with only five extra-base hits — four doubles and a triple — in 99 plate appearances.
The slump led some to speculate that Goldschmidt was hiding an injury, but manager Chip Hale shot down that idea, as Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports.
Goldschmidt busted out of his slump early on Saturday against the Reds, drilling a two-run home run to the opposite field against Anthony DeSclafani, pushing his team’s lead to 3-0. Goldschmidt is now sitting on a .329 average, 23 home runs, 91 RBI, 76 runs scored, and 19 stolen bases.
The Giants are missing Hunter Pence in their outfield right now, but they got Nori Aoki back from the disabled list on Thursday and Marlon Byrd in a trade from the Reds. Angel Pagan could soon be thrown back into the mix.
According to John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle, Giants manager Bruce Bochy said this afternoon that Pagan is set to begin a minor league rehab assignment Sunday as he works his way back from right patella tendinitis.
Pagan has been sidelined since August 9 due to the injury, which has been affecting him dating back to last season. He was given a platelet-rich plasma injection to deal with the discomfort and Bochy said he’s doing “much better.”
Pagan was a very productive player for the Giants when healthy from 2012-2014, but he’s in the midst of his worst offensive season, batting just .258/.290/.308 over 102 games. The 34-year-old has yet to hit a home run in 424 plate appearances.
Acquired to provide some power with Hunter Pence on the disabled list with an oblique strain, Marlon Byrd came as advertised in his debut with the Giants on Friday, going 3-for-5 with a two-run homer as part of a 6-4 victory over the Pirates at PNC Park.
Byrd also singled and doubled. His two-run blast was part of a three-run first inning against Jeff Locke. The Giants added two more runs in the second inning on a long home run from Madison Bumgarner. He has gone deep in back-to-back starts and now has five home runs on the season.
Bumgarner struck out six while allowing three runs over 6 1/3 innings to secure the victory. He’s now 15-6 with a 3.02 ERA on the year.
The Giants sit 1 1/2 games behind the Dodgers for first place in the National League West and four games back of the Cubs for the second Wild Card spot. They’ll welcome Mike Leake back from the disabled list to pitch against Pirates ace Gerrit Cole this afternoon.
Your Friday box scores and AP recaps:
Braves 3, Cubs 5
Twins 4, Orioles 3
Indians 7, Yankees 3
Brewers 10, Nationals 3
Rangers 2, Tigers 0
Giants 6, Pirates 4
Royals 2, Red Sox 7
Diamondbacks 6, Reds 3
Blue Jays 9, Angels 3
Dodgers 0, Astros 3
Phillies 7, Marlins 1
Rays 2, Athletics 1
Mets 14, Rockies 9
White Sox 11, Mariners 4
Cardinals 3, Padres 9