Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon remains out of action with a sprained ligament in his left knee more than a week after what the team initially believed would be a 2-3 day injury.
Rendon suffered the sprained MCL on March 9 while attempting to make a diving play at third base and manager Matt Williams indicated that there’s no timetable yet for his return, telling Bill Ladson of MLB.com:
He has a little sprain in there so we are being cautious, keeping in mind that he is going to need at-bats. You do run out of time eventually.
Even hinting at running out of time before Opening Day arrives certainly suggests a more serious issue. Rendon is hugely important to the Nationals both offensively and defensively, and the team will already be without center fielder Denard Span and left fielder Jayson Werth early on.
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.