Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado has opened up September with a power surge. The 24-year-old entered Saturday’s game against the Giants with home runs in five consecutive games. He made it six with a two-run home run off of Jake Peavy in the sixth inning.
Arenado is the only Rockie to homer in six consecutive games. Dante Bichette (1995) and Larry Walker (1999) homered in five consecutive games.
Arenado has turned in a terrific season, batting .288/.324/.581 with 36 home runs and 105 RBI while playing Gold Glove-caliber defense at the hot corner. His 36 homers ties him with Josh Donaldson and teammate Carlos Gonzalez for third-best in baseball. No National Leaguer has homered more than the Rockies’ duo.
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.