Jayson Werth, talking to Tim Brown of Yahoo about the Nats, everyone’s preseason favorite in the NL East, being in second place, looking up at the Mets:
“I don’t mind being in stalking position,” Werth said. “When you make the run at it down the stretch, it’s easier to chase than to be chased. You know? I like these guys. We’re good. You see these teams having internal problems and stuff, that’s not us. We’re good.”
It’s easier to chase if you’re, say, a wolf or a lion or something. But being in the lead is way better for anyone who isn’t a deer or a zebra. In sports — and I realize this may be controversial — it’s way better to be in first place than second. That’s just science.
But then again, there are people who are paid to provide analysis in baseball who think that home runs kill rallies, so perhaps I’m wrong about this.
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.