Paul Goldschmidt is still one of the top candidates for the National League Most Valuable Player Award, but the Diamondbacks’ first baseman had been slumping for nearly a month. Since July 28, the day after his most recent home run, and August 21, he had compiled a .647 OPS with only five extra-base hits — four doubles and a triple — in 99 plate appearances.
The slump led some to speculate that Goldschmidt was hiding an injury, but manager Chip Hale shot down that idea, as Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports.
Goldschmidt busted out of his slump early on Saturday against the Reds, drilling a two-run home run to the opposite field against Anthony DeSclafani, pushing his team’s lead to 3-0. Goldschmidt is now sitting on a .329 average, 23 home runs, 91 RBI, 76 runs scored, and 19 stolen bases.
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Per The Athletic’s Matt Gelb, Phillies starter Zack Wheeler will miss at least two starts when his wife goes into labor and gives birth to their first child, expected to be later this month. Wheeler, in fact, is not sure if he will return to play at all once their child is born.
Wheeler said, “We just have to see how things are here at the field and at the stadium. I’m happy with what I see so far. But things could change, especially once our baby’s born. I always think about what’s going on around me. Is it safe? Is it OK? Literally every single day. I have to just ask myself that. I’m going to continue to keep asking myself that every day.”
Wheeler, 30, inked a five-year, $118 million contract with the Phillies in December. He is slated for the No. 2 spot in the rotation behind Aaron Nola. Last season, with the Mets, Wheeler posted a 3.96 ERA with 195 strikeouts and 50 walks over 195 1/3 innings.
The No. 5 spot in the Phillies’ rotation is currently up for grabs between Nick Pivetta, Vince Velasquez, Ranger Suárez, and prospect Spencer Howard. One of the remaining three could fill in for Wheeler when he needs time off, temporarily or otherwise.