Kendrys Morales accomplished a very rare feat during the sixth inning tonight against the Rangers, homering from both sides of the plate while driving in six runs.
The Angels scored nine runs in the inning. Morales sparked the rally with a two-run homer off starter Roy Oswalt and later added a grand slam off left-hander Robbie Ross. He’s just the third player in MLB history to homer from both sides of the plate in the same inning, joining Carlos Baerga (1993) and Mark Bellhorn (2002).
Morales is the second player in Angels’ history to collect two home runs in the same inning, joining Rick Reichardt (April 30, 1966). The six RBI are a new club record and the most in one inning in MLB since Juan Uribe had six on September 10, 2010 as a member of the Giants.
Oddly enough, Morales entered tonight’s action with just two home runs over his previous 26 games. The grand slam was the second of his career and his first since he infamously shattered his lower left leg jumping onto home plate on May 29, 2010. Quite a way to bust out of that power slump.
Oswalt ended up being charged with eight runs on 11 hits (including three home runs) over 5 1/3 innings. He now has an ugly 6.49 ERA in six starts with the Rangers, allowing 54 hits and seven home runs over just 34 2/3 innings.
Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that the Cubs won’t deal Kyle Schwarber this winter, despite multiple inquires from teams around the league. Schwarber is approaching his first year of arbitration and will remain under team control for another three seasons before reaching free agency in 2022.
The decision comes on the heels of one of the strongest seasons of the 25-year-old outfielder’s short career. Over 137 games and 510 PA for the Cubs, he proved a passable defender in left field and batted .238/.356/.467 with 26 home runs, an .823 OPS, and 3.2 fWAR in 2018. He also led the National League in intentional walks, with 20, and bumped up his total walks from 59 in 2017 to 78.
Despite his marked improvements from previous years, Schwarber’s performance still left something to be desired — specifically against left-handed pitchers, who held the slugger to a paltry .224/.352/.303 with four extra-base hits across 91 PA. Still, it’s evident the Cubs feel Schwarber is capable of strengthening his splits in the years to come, and they might stand to get more value from him on the field than they would in a trade this offseason.
Of course, that’s not to say the Cubs intend to pass the Winter Meetings in total silence, especially as they’ll be seeking bullpen and catching depth in advance of their 2019 run at the division title. As club president Theo Epstein remarked last week, “We’re certainly open and active in trade talks with a lot of deals that usually don’t come to fruition. So, we may make some trades. We could make big ones that transform the roster. We may make smaller complementary ones. But there’s certain things we’d like to accomplish.”