There’s a chicken pox outbreak in the Royals’ clubhouse and multiple players are infected

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One player with the flu getting a whole clubhouse full of players sick is pretty common in baseball, but the Royals have taken that to another level. Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star writes that the Royals’ have a chicken pox outbreak and at least two players–outfielder Alex Rios and reliever Kelvin Herrera–are infected.

Chicken pox can be very dangerous for adults, so Rios and Herrera are expected to be out of action (and quarantined) for up to two weeks. McCullough reports that other Royals players and coaches are contacting their families to double-check if they already had chicken pox as kids, because symptoms often don’t reveal themselves for several weeks.

Team officials are expected to address the situation before Tuesday’s game against the Tigers. The Royals believe the infections are limited to only Herrera and Rios. The most at-risk players are those from countries in Latin America, where the chances of childhood inoculation are lower, experts say.

… The chickenpox virus spreads through the air or through bodily contact. The symptoms are well-known to parents, as itchy blisters overrun the skin and the body grapples with fatigue and fever. Chickenpox manifests in the same way for grown-ups, only patients suffer more and face complications such as pneumonia and brain infections, experts say.

Rios’ infection helps explain why the Royals went out and traded for another right-handed-hitting corner outfielder, Jonny Gomes of the Braves, prior to Monday night’s playoff eligibility deadline. Luckily for the Royals they’ve all but clinched the AL Central title already, but if other players are revealed as infected closer to the start of the playoffs it could be a major issue.

Phillies walk off winners thanks to a poor decision by Marcell Ozuna

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The Phillies’ bullpen, which has not been good as of late, gift-wrapped Monday’s game for the Cardinals. Starter Nick Pivetta was brilliant, fanning 13 while allowing two runs in 7 1/3 innings. But things unraveled after he left the game. Victor Arano took over for Edubray Ramos to start the ninth inning with the Phillies leading 4-2, but he allowed a one-out single and a double. After striking out Harrison Bader, Arano appeared to strike out Yairo Munoz for the final out of the game, but the ball trickled through the legs of catcher Andrew Knapp, allowing a run to score and the tying run to move to third base. Lefty Adam Morgan came in to face pinch-hitter Kolten Wong. Wong tied the game up, sneaking a single into center field.

In the 10th inning, Jake Thompson gave up the go-ahead run on a leadoff home run to Tommy Pham. It seemed like it was just going to be another one of those losses that have become increasingly common for the Phillies lately. But the Phillies’ offense didn’t go down quietly, even though it hadn’t put a runner on second base since the start of the second inning when J.P. Crawford doubled. In the bottom half of the 10th, Hoskins blooped a single into shallow left-center to start the inning. Hoskins moved to second base on a ground out from Odubel Herrera. Matt Bowman intentionally walked Carlos Santana, then struck out Jesmuel Valentin. That brought up Aaron Altherr, who replaced Nick Williams after Williams took a baseball to the face off of the right field fence. Bowman fell behind 2-1, then threw a 90 MPH fastball that Altherr lined into left field. Rather than keep the ball in front of him, Marcell Ozuna decided to dive for the ball to make the final out, but he missed. The ball trickled past him, allowing the tying and the game-winning runs to score, giving the Phillies a come-from-behind win.

On the list of people happy to see Ozuna miss that ball are Altherr (of course), Arano, Morgan, and Thompson. But perhaps no one was happier than manager Gape Kapler. The win might help take the heat off of him somewhat after another poor performance from the bullpen. When a team struggles, everyone wants a scapegoat and Kapler is an easy target. He has been all year, undeservingly.

Phillies radio broadcaster and former major league reliever Larry Anderson said after the bullpen meltown, “Not everybody can pitch in the ninth inning. And I know Gabe Kapler thinks they can, but they can’t.” Aside from Ramos and Seranthony Dominguez (who was unavailable after throwing 52 pitches between Saturday and Sunday in Milwaukee), no one in that bullpen has been reliable. The closer, Hector Neris, just got optioned to Triple-A. You work with what you have, and right now, Kapler doesn’t have a whole lot. Thankfully for him, he wasn’t punished with another loss thanks to Ozuna.