After initially holding out hope that Andrew McCutchen could avoid the disabled list–including general manager Neal Huntington saying yesterday that he’d made “remarkable” progress in his recovery–the Pirates have placed the reigning MVP on the shelf with an avulsion fracture of his rib.
McCutchen spent one week on the active roster but unavailable to play, so the Pirates are able to backdate his disabled list stint. However, there’s certainly no guarantee that Pittsburgh’s center fielder and No. 3 hitter will return when eligible.
Prior to the injury McCutchen was actually besting last season’s MVP-winning production in many key categories while hitting .311 with 17 homers, 17 steals, a league-leading 68 walks, and a .949 OPS.
In his absence the Pirates have shifted Starling Marte from left field to center field while using Travis Snider and Josh Harrison in a left field time-share. Pittsburgh is 62-55, trailing Milwaukee by 2.5 games in the NL Central and holding onto the second of two Wild Card spots.
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.