Jose Altuve, Justin Morneau win AL, NL batting titles

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Astros second baseman Jose Altuve went 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI single in Sunday’s regular season finale, a loss in New York to the Mets. Altuve ends the season with a .341 average, six points ahead of Victor Martinez in second place, to win the AL batting title. Martinez went 0-for-3 in the Tigers’ AL Central-clinching 3-0 win against the Twins. Altuve, the first batting champion from the Astros, also tied for the second-most steals in baseball with Reds outfielder Billy Hamilton at 56.

On the National League side of things, Rockies first baseman Justin Morneau did not start for a second consecutive game but won the batting title anyway. His competition, Pirates third baseman Josh Harrison, went 0-for-4 in the Pirates’ 4-1 loss to the Reds. Harrison’s average dropped to .315, four points behind Morneau. Morneau’s .319 average is the lowest for a batting champion since Terry Pendleton hit the same in 1991.

Zack Wheeler will miss at least two starts when his wife gives birth

Zack Wheeler miss starts
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Per The Athletic’s Matt Gelb, Phillies starter Zack Wheeler will miss at least two starts when his wife goes into labor and gives birth to their first child, expected to be later this month. Wheeler, in fact, is not sure if he will return to play at all once their child is born.

Wheeler said, “We just have to see how things are here at the field and at the stadium. I’m happy with what I see so far. But things could change, especially once our baby’s born. I always think about what’s going on around me. Is it safe? Is it OK? Literally every single day. I have to just ask myself that. I’m going to continue to keep asking myself that every day.”

Wheeler, 30, inked a five-year, $118 million contract with the Phillies in December. He is slated for the No. 2 spot in the rotation behind Aaron Nola. Last season, with the Mets, Wheeler posted a 3.96 ERA with 195 strikeouts and 50 walks over 195 1/3 innings.

The No. 5 spot in the Phillies’ rotation is currently up for grabs between Nick Pivetta, Vince Velasquez, Ranger Suárez, and prospect Spencer Howard. One of the remaining three could fill in for Wheeler when he needs time off, temporarily or otherwise.