Aledmys Diaz learned English from watching the Ellen DeGeneres Show

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OK, that’s the funny takeaway from this story, but it’s not really the point. The point is Derrick Goold’s get-to-know Aledmys Diaz story, which is pretty good. The Cardinals’ 25-year-old shortstop prospect faces a pretty big challenge in filling Jhonny Peralta‘s shoes, but as we noted yesterday he got off to a good start, going 4-for-4.

Goold’s story is the sort of thing you bookmark for later. From it you get the strong sense from it that the Cardinals are really hoping he pans out as an everyday replacement for Peralta. You can’t help but think of past fill-ins for the Cardinals when reading it. They always seem to come out OK after a star goes down or after they take a flyer on someone no one else thought could do the job. Adam Wainwright has missed two of the past five seasons. The Cardinals won the World Series in one of them and won 100 games in the other. Bobby Bonilla went down in spring training once and they called up a kid named Pujols who turned out OK. They have signed guys at the end of the line on multiple occasions who put up randomly amazing half-seasons or swan songs. We joke about “Cardinals Devil Magic” but it’s likely the case that they simply know when to take a chance on a short term replacement and that their good judgment married with good luck has been a key part of their success.

That could very well happen with Diaz. If so, it’ll be interesting to go back to this article and see if there was some prescience on the part of the Cardinals that, right now, just seems like optimism. Oh, and it’ll definitely be worth going back for this:

Before answering questions about his four-for-four day, Diaz told reporters that he wanted to first say how he “felt bad” for Peralta and how important the All-Star is to the Cardinals team. Diaz said that in English just 12 months after he would request an interpreter for all interviews. To improve his English, Diaz watched YouTube on his phone. One of his best teachers has been The Ellen DeGeneres Show, which he watches to learn conversation.

Which puts one in mind of this:

 

Attempting to complete cycle, Robinson Chirinos thrown out to end game

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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.