Alex Meyer’s bid for an Opening Day spot on Minnesota’s pitching staff was unsuccessful, as the Twins have sent the 25-year-old right-hander to Triple-A.
Meyer is a former first-round draft pick and consensus top-100 prospect three years in a row, but he’s also already 25 years old and spent all of last season at Triple-A. For some context: He’s just five months younger than Madison Bumgarner, who’s thrown more than 1,000 innings for the Giants and was the World Series MVP.
By sending Meyer to Triple-A for a second go-around following spring training control problems the Twins are all but committed to either Mike Pelfrey or Tommy Milone as their fifth starter, with the loser of the rotation competition likely going to the bullpen as a long reliever.
For the third consecutive season, the Astros are AL West champions. The ‘stros clinched the division on Sunday afternoon with a convincing 13-5 win over the Angels. They were backed by three homers from leadoff man George Springer and individual homers from Alex Bregman and Aledmys Díaz.
Springer has the 22nd three-homer game in baseball this season. He’s the first Astro to hit three homers in a game since Yordan Álvarez last month, on August 10.
Justin Verlander lasted five innings in Sunday’s start, yielding two runs on six hits and a pair of walks with five strikeouts. The right-hander is arguably the frontrunner for the AL Cy Young Award, now 20-6 with a 2.53 ERA and a 288/42 K/BB ratio in 217 innings on the year. Verlander is 12 strikeouts shy of the 300-strikeout milestone and six strikeouts short of 3,000 for his career. If the Astros stay on schedule, Verlander would pitch the second-to-last game of the regular season against the Angels.
Sunday’s win marked No. 102 on the season for the Astros. The franchise record is 103 wins set last year. With six games remaining, it seems likely the Astros will set a new record.
The Astros and Yankees both won on Sunday, meaning the Astros remain a half-game ahead in the race for home field advantage. The No. 1 seed will also have the privilege of playing the Wild Card winner, which is down to the Athletics, Rays, and Indians.