The Nationals have had all sorts of injury issues this spring, but here’s a bit of good news for a change.
Jayson Werth continues to make solid progress from January surgery to repair the AC joint in his right shoulder, as Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com reports that he played five innings in left field yesterday in a minor league game and got four at-bats. He will begin the season on the disabled list, but the belief is that he could be ready to join the Nationals within a week.
That’s welcome news for a lineup which will also be without Denard Span and Anthony Rendon to begin the year. We could see Michael Taylor and Tyler Moore in the outfield and Dan Uggla at second base on Opening Day against the Mets on Monday.
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.