This was suspected from the moment the season ended, but Reds GM Walt Jocketty has made it official: speedster Billy Hamilton will be moving to center field and will be playing at Triple-A Louisville in 2013.
Hamilton made more headlines than your average Single-A and Double-A player usually does in 2012 thanks to his stealing an astounding 155 bases. Still, he doesn’t have a position with Zack Cozart at short and, with Shin-Soo Choo patrolling center field in his final year before hitting free agency, center field is his ticket to the bigs.
As is hitting. He posted a .410 OBP in 2012, which is fantastic. And if he keeps that up by continuing to walk and continuing to beat out almost everything hit on the ground to the infield, he may be in Cincinnati sooner than 2014.
With his Astros trailing the Tigers 2-1, catcher Robinson Chirinos began his at-bat in the bottom of the ninth a triple shy of the cycle. He doubled in the second inning, singled in the fourth, and hit a solo homer in the seventh. Yordan Álvarez and Yuli Gurriel both struck out, leaving the Astros’ fate in the hands of Chirinos against Joe Jiménez. After working the count to 2-1, Chirinos slapped an 85 MPH slider to the gap in right-center field. A diving Travis Demeritte could not come up with the ball, but center fielder Harold Castro fired the ball back in to Gordon Beckham, who then made a perfect throw to Dawel Lugo at third base. Chirinos was tagged out for the final out of the game. No triple, no cycle. The Astros lost 2-1.
Chirinos was attempting to become the first Astro to hit for the cycle since Brandon Barnes on July 19, 2013 against the Mariners.
The Astros entered Wednesday’s game as the largest favorite in 15 seasons, according to ESPN’s David Purdum. The Astros were -500 per Caesars Sportsbook. Other sportsbooks had them at -550. So the Tigers’ win was quite the upset.
Justin Verlander went the distance in the loss. The only blemishes on his line were solo homers to Ronny Rodríguez in the fifth and John Hicks in the ninth. They were the only hits he allowed while walking none and striking out 11.