UPDATE: Change of plans, as Beltre apparently talked manager Ron Washington into letting him be the Rangers’ designated hitter tonight.
Adrian Beltre is not in the Rangers’ lineup tonight after leaving last night’s game with a shoulder injury, but the good news is that an MRI exam showed no structural damage.
Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star Telegram reports that Beltre could be available off the bench, so Rangers fans can probably stop holding their breath now.
By combining his usual excellent defense with an OPS around .900 for the third straight season Beltre is once again one of the best, most underrated all-around players in the league. He’s hitting .318 with 32 homers and 92 RBIs in 138 games and should win his fourth Gold Glove award this year.
Mike Olt would normally fill in for Beltre, but because he’s also banged up Ian Kinsler saw his first career action at third base yesterday.
Christian Yelich simply can’t be stopped. The Brewers outfielder (and defending NL MVP) entered Saturday’s game with a league-leading 11 home runs after swatting two against the Dodgers on Friday night, then clubbed another two homers in the first six innings of Saturday’s game.
The first came on a 2-1 pitch from the Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu, who lobbed a changeup toward the bottom of the strike zone before it was lifted up and out to center field for a solo home run in the third inning.
While Chase Anderson and Alex Claudio held down the fort against the Dodgers’ lineup, Yelich prepared for his second blast in the sixth inning — this one a 421-foot double-decker on a first-pitch curveball from Ryu.
Yelich’s 13 home runs not only gave him a stronger grip on the league’s leaderboard, but helped him tie yet another franchise record, too. Per MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, he’s tied with Prince Fielder for the most home runs hit by a Brewers player in a single month, and sits just one home run shy of tying Álex Rodríguez’s 2007 record for most home runs hit within any club’s first 22 games of the season.
It may be far too early to predict which players will finish first in the MVP races this fall, but there’s no denying Yelich has already set himself apart from the competition. Through Saturday’s performance, he’s batting .361/.459/.880 with a 1.329 OPS and MLB-best 31 RBI across 98 PA so far.