Jhonny Peralta‘s torn thumb ligament means the Cardinals are in need of a new starting shortstop for at least the first month of the season and possibly much longer. Jedd Gyorko going from utility man to starter is an obvious possibility, but don’t count out 25-year-old prospect Aledmys Diaz getting the job.
Diaz went 4-for-4 with two doubles today against the Twins and afterward manager Mike Matheny sure seemed impressed. When asked by Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com if it was worth putting a lot of stock in Diaz’s performance, Matheny replied: “Why wouldn’t you? You have young player who plays the position and had a great game.”
Diaz spent last season between Double-A and Triple-A, hitting .278 with 13 homers and a .784 OPS in 116 games. Those are certainly solid overall numbers for a 24-year-old shortstop and within that production Diaz had a huge stretch run in which he hit .376 in August and September.
A few more big games and he might convince Matheny and company to leave Gyorko in a bench role.
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.