Just yesterday, the Cardinals hoped to get their rookie third baseman back by as soon as next week. Now they won’t have him back again until next season.
David Freese will undergo season-ending surgery to repair tendon damage in his right ankle, according to Matthew Leach of MLB.com.
Freese re-injured the ankle during the first game of a minor league rehab assignment with Double-A Springfield on Monday night. According to Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak, it is a new injury in the same area of the ankle that landed him on the disabled list in late-June.
The 27-year-old Freese was a pleasant surprise for the Redbirds this season, batting .296/.361/.404 with four homers, 12 doubles and 36 RBI over 240 at-bats. Felipe Lopez, who has been the primarily fill-in during Freese’s absence, should be the everyday third baseman moving forward. He has a .267/.341/.395 batting line to go along with six homers and 29 RBI in 281 at-bats this season. It’s worth noting that he is currently dealing with a knee injury.
Lopez is a fine utility player, which is why the Cardinals signed him, but after trading away Ryan Ludwick over the weekend, they could be starved for offense down the stretch.
No surprise here: The Astros are headed back to the postseason to defend their title following a landslide 11-3 win over the Angels on Friday. This figures to be their third playoff run since 2015, though they have yet to wrap up the AL West with a division title.
First baseman Yuli Gurriel led the charge on Friday, smashing a grand slam in the first inning and tacking on a two-run homer in the second and RBI single in the fifth to help the Astros to a seven-run lead. The Angels eventually returned fire, first with Mike Trout‘s 418-foot homer in the sixth, then with an RBI hit from Francisco Arcia in the seventh, but they couldn’t close the gap in time to overtake the Astros.
On the mound, right-hander Gerrit Cole clinched his 15th win of the year after holding the Angels to seven innings of three-run, 12-strikeout ball. His sixth strikeout of the night — delivered on an 83.1-MPH knuckle curveball to Kaleb Cowart — also marked the 1,000th strikeout of his career to date. He was backed by flawless performances by lefty reliever Tony Sipp and rookie right-hander Dean Deetz, both of whom turned in scoreless innings as the offense barreled toward an 11-3 finish with Jake Marisnick‘s sac bunt and George Springer‘s three-run shot in the eighth.
Despite having qualified for the playoffs, the Astros still carry a magic number of 6 as they look to clinch a third straight division title. They’re currently up against the Athletics, who entered Friday’s contest against the Twins just four games back of first place in the AL West.