Matt Adams is starting at first base for the Cardinals tonight, rejoining the lineup for the first time since late May.
Adams missed nearly four months with a torn quadriceps muscle and has served as a pinch-hitter since returning from the disabled list last week.
St. Louis seems likely to limit his playing time down the stretch in an effort to keep him healthy for the playoffs, because having Adams’ left-handed bat in the middle of the lineup will be key in October.
Mark Reynolds was the primary fill-in at first base in Adams’ absence, but recently the Cardinals have been using Brandon Moss there most often. Adams sitting versus left-handed pitchers in favor of the righty-hitting Reynolds seems like an easy way to keep everyone fresh, but the lefty-hitting Moss may also steal some playing time if the outfield is too jammed with other options.
For tonight Adams is batting fifth versus Brewers right-hander Ariel Pena.
Rookie first baseman Pete Alonso has launched what appears to be the beginning of an auspicious career, made all the more notable by the 50 home runs he’s produced for the Mets so far this season. The All-Star slugger pushed his home run streak to four straight games on Friday, collecting no. 50 on an eighth-inning fastball from the Reds’ Sal Romano.
It’s just the latest of a long line of accomplishments for the 24-year-old infielder. Entering Friday’s series opener against Cincinnati, the first-time All-Star carried a .266/.366/.590 batting line with a league-leading 49 homers, 113 RBI, a .956 OPS and 4.9 fWAR through 648 plate appearances. Among those who are still rounding out their rookie seasons in 2019, he ranks first in home runs and fWAR by a long shot: the White Sox’ Eloy Jiménez is second in home runs with 28 dingers, while the Astros’ Yordan Álvarez plays second fiddle in fWAR with 3.7 Wins Above Replacement.
Even more remarkable: Alonso is the second rookie in MLB history to deliver at least 50 home runs in a single season. The first? Aaron Judge, who clubbed a jaw-dropping 52 homers for the Yankees in 2017.