Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar led off Game 3 of the World Series with a double to left field off of Giants starter Tim Hudson, and the Royals quickly capitalized. After moving Escobar to third base on an Alex Gordon ground out, Lorenzo Cain brought him home with a ground out of his own to shortstop Brandon Crawford.
The Royals kept threatening in the second inning, putting on the first two batters of the frame against a shaky Hudson. But Salvador Perez was robbed of a hit on a line drive by a sprawling Travis Ishikawa in left field, and then Hudson induced a 4-6-3 double play out of Jarrod Dyson to keep the Giants’ deficit at one run. Hudson was able to cut through the Royals with very little issue in the third.
Royals starter Jeremy Guthrie yielded a pair of second-inning singles, one of which was erased when Hunter Pence was caught attempting to steal second base. Other than that, the Giants haven’t been able to mount an attack against the right-hander.
With just over a week left in the regular season, the Diamondbacks have elected to shut down infielder/outfielder Ketel Marte. Marte has been dealing with some lower back inflammation and stiffness over the last few days; on Friday, the team revealed that he was diagnosed with a stress reaction as well.
It doesn’t look as though the injury will compromise Marte’s 2020 campaign, but as Craig noted on Wednesday, his absence will likely have some effect on his NL MVP candidacy. The 25-year-old will wrap his first All-Star season with a .329/.389/.592 batting line, 32 home runs, a .981 OPS, and a staggering, career-best 7.1 fWAR through 628 plate appearances.
Marte told reporters Thursday that the back pain had been an issue “for the past two months,” though he didn’t comment on the severity of the injury. Despite his ability to play through the pain since July, the issue has clearly escalated in the last week or so. Although the loss of their most valuable contributor may have a negative impact on the D-backs’ chances of competing in the postseason, it’s undeniably a wise move to let Marte recuperate rather than pushing him to play for another week and running the risk of further injury.
Entering Friday’s series against the Padres — their last road series of the regular season — Arizona still has a sizable gap to close in order to earn one of two NL wild card spots. They’re five games out of postseason contention, with the Nationals, Brewers, Cubs, Mets, and Phillies ahead of them.