It’s been a rough day for the A’s starting rotation, as expected Opening Day starter Jarrod Parker and A.J. Griffin are both headed for the disabled list to begin the season.
Parker has a forearm injury and Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that he’s traveling to Alabama on Monday to be examined by Dr. James Andrews, which is every fans least favorite thing to hear. Griffin has an elbow injury and Slusser says he’s being examined today in Arizona by a different doctor.
Parker and Griffin both had similar arm issues late last season, and Parker has already come back from Tommy John elbow surgery once. Jesse Chavez and Tommy Milone are the likely rotation replacements and Sonny Gray might get the Opening Day assignment with just 10 regular season starts to his name.
And now the A’s will hope that Parker and Griffin don’t follow Braves starters Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy in being eligible for 2-for-1 surgeries.
So much for a last-minute, nail-biting finish to this division race. The Braves cemented their division title with a dominant 5-3 finish over the Phillies on Saturday, laying claim to the NL East title for the first time since 2013.
The Braves asserted themselves right off the bat after amassing a four-run lead from Johan Camargo and Freddie Freeman, both of whom cleared the bases with two-run singles in the first two innings. Ronald Acuna Jr., meanwhile, found another way to make his presence known after swiping his 15th stolen base of the year and joining Alex Rodriguez, Orlando Cepeda, and Mike Trout as one of the youngest players to collect at least 25 home runs and 15 stolen bags in major league history.
Not to be outdone, Atlanta right-hander Mike Foltynewicz delivered one of the strongest starts of his season to date. The righty set down six innings of no-hit ball against the Phillies, and, with just 62 pitches under his belt, looked ready to go the distance before he lost his bid on Odubel Herrera‘s leadoff single in the seventh.
Unfortunately for the Braves, the Phillies not only upended Foltynewicz’s no-hit attempt, but the shutout as well. In the eighth inning, Cesar Hernandez and Rhys Hoskins wrestled two RBI singles from Atlanta’s bullpen and brought Philadelphia within one run of tying the game. Hoskins was the last Phillies batter to reach base, however, as Jonny Venters and Arodys Vizcaino tossed a combined 1 2/3 scoreless innings (backed by a final RBI hit from Kurt Suzuki in the bottom of the eighth) to cap the Braves’ win — and the NL East title.
With the loss, the Phillies sit seven games back of a wild card spot in the National League. They’ll need to outpace the Diamondbacks, Rockies, and Cardinals in order to make 2018 their first postseason-qualifying year since 2011.