On Friday night, Athletics third baseman Brett Lawrie slid hard into second base in an attempt to break up a double play. In doing so, he injured Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar’s knee. It was, it appears, a dirty slide even if Lawrie didn’t intend to cause an injury.
Lawrie attempted to apologize to Escobar after the game, but there were some crossed wires there.
Lawrie received a lusty booing from the home crowd in Kansas City prior to his first at-bat in the top of the third inning in Saturday night’s game. He and catcher Salvador Perez had a brief chat at home plate before the at-bat began. Lawrie grounded out to third base for the first out.
In the fourth, the Athletics broke out for five runs, capped by a Josh Reddick three-run home run off of Ventura. Reddick bats directly in front of Lawrie. Ventura started off with an 85 MPH curve out of the zone, then hit Lawrie with a 99 MPH fastball. Ventura was immediately ejected by home plate umpire Jim Joyce. Lawrie walked directly to first base.
Yohan Pino came in to relieve Ventura.
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.