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Tommy Pham notches a 20/20 season

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Quietly, Cardinals outfielder Tommy Pham has had an excellent season. That continued on Thursday afternoon against the Reds as he doubled, hit a two-run home run, and stole two bases in a 5-2 win.

The home run marked No. 20 on the year for Pham and the stolen bases were his 20th and 21st. He is one of five players in baseball with at least 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases, joining Jose Altuve, Elvis Andrus, Mookie Betts, and Mike Trout.

After Thursday’s action, Pham is batting .307/.410/.521 with 65 RBI and 85 runs scored along with his 20 dingers and 21 swiped bags. According to FanGraphs, he also bumped his season total up to 5 Wins Above Replacement, becoming one of 16 players in baseball with at least that much WAR.

Prior to 2017, Pham had been a complimentary player; not a lineup regular. The Cardinals slotted him in the outfield for good in early May and Pham never looked back. He’s been one of baseball’s most underappreciated players, helping keep the Cardinals’ postseason hopes alive. They are 2.5 games behind the Cubs in the NL Central and three games back of the Rockies for the second NL Wild Card slot.

Other players near a 20/20 season include Whit Merrifield (17 HR, 29 SB), Wil Myers (27 HR, 19 SB), Brett Gardner (20 HR, 19 SB), Keon Broxton (20 HR, 19 SB), Andrew Benintendi (19 HR, 18 SB), Paul Goldschmidt (34 HR, 17 SB), Chris Taylor (19 HR, 16 SB), Alex Bregman (16 HR, 16 SB), Brian Dozier (30 HR, 15 SB), and Jose Ramirez (26 HR, 15 SB). If they all reach the 20/20 mark, that would make 15 across baseball this season, which would tie 2001 for the second-most 20/20 players in a single season, according to Baseball Reference. 1999 saw 19 20/20 players.

Yankees place Aaron Judge (strained calf) on IL

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NEW YORK — Yankees star Aaron Judge was placed on the injured list with a right calf strain before Friday night’s game against Boston and manager Aaron Boone is optimistic the outfielder will not miss significant time.

The move was retroactive to Wednesday and Boone described the strain as mild after an MRI revealed the injury. To replace Judge on the roster, Thairo Estrada was recalled from the Yankees’ alternate site in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Judge began Friday leading the majors with nine homers and tied with Colorado’s Charlie Blackmon for the major league lead with 20 RBIs.

“It’s something that I think he really wants to try and work through here and kind of wants to be out here and feels like it’s a day-to-day thing which it may very well be, but I just think obviously it goes without saying how important a player Aaron is to us,” Boone said.

Boone had said last weekend’s series on the artificial turf in Tampa Bay took its toll on the 6-foot-7 outfielder.

Judge joined Giancarlo Stanton as the second Yankees slugger to land on the injured list this. Stanton was placed on the IL with a strained hamstring after getting hurt in the second game of last Saturday’s doubleheader.

“We’ve lost two MVP-caliber players,” Boone said. “Obviously that is a blow, especially two guys that playing well as they are right now.”

Judge was pulled for a pinch hitter during Tuesday night’s win over Atlanta and didn’t play Wednesday. The Yankees were off Thursday.

The 28-year-old All-Star missed time during July’s training camp because of a stiff neck.

The 2017 AL Rookie of the Year hit 27 homers in each of the last two seasons, both of them interrupted by injuries. His right wrist was broken when he was hit by a pitch in 2018 and he went on the injured list for two months last year with a left oblique strain.

Judge was diagnosed with a broken rib in March and would not have been ready for the season opener if the season began as scheduled on March 26.