Reds closer Aroldis Chapman retired both batters he faced in last night’s All-Star Game on a total of just five pitches, but while covering first base on Kyle Seager’s eighth-inning ground out he came up limping.
Chapman had trouble getting all the way to first base and then walked off the field very gingerly, telling reporters afterward that he tweaked a right hamstring injury that has been giving him problems for a while now:
I’m not 100 percent ready to run full speed. I kind of hesitated a little bit and I just kind of took it easy to go to first. I will be fine. I’ve been pitching through it for a while. As long as I don’t have to run, it feels good to pitch.
Mark Sheldon of MLB.com reports that Chapman suffered the initial injury on July 6 while shagging balls in the outfield before the game. Since then he’s thrown five scoreless innings while allowing one hit and striking out 13 of the 18 batters he’s faced. So yeah, I’d say he’s been doing OK pitching through the injury.
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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.