White Sox center fielder Adam Engel has quickly established himself as the premier home run robber in baseball. On Monday, he took a three-run home run away from the Yankees’ Greg Bird. The next day, he followed up by robbing Kyle Higashioka of a solo homer.
Engel made it three robbed home runs in a week’s time, robbing the Indians’ Yonder Alonso of a three-run home run in the eighth inning on Sunday. The Tribe had already pushed across two runs to bring their lead to 9-1, so Alonso’s deep fly ball threatened to make it 12-1. Engel had other ideas.
Among the many other things he does incredibly well, Angels outfielder Mike Trout robbed quite a few hitters of homers over the years. Engel, however, may have taken the title as the best in that department. Engel also hit a home run of his own in the bottom of the eighth on Sunday and added a two-run triple in the ninth.
MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports that the Dodgers plan to tab ace Clayton Kershaw for Game 1 of the World Series. Nothing is set in stone yet ahead of Tuesday’s Game 1 of the World Series. In the event Kershaw can’t start Game 1, Rich Hill would start. Otherwise, Hill would start Game 4.
Kershaw, started Game 1 and Game 5 of the NLCS against the Brewers, then closed out Game 7 with a flawless inning. He was hit around to the tune of five runs (four earned) over three-plus innings in Game 1, but rebounded for seven innings of one-run ball in Game 5. He struck out two en route to sending the Dodgers to the World Series in the ninth inning of Game 7.
Kershaw also tossed eight shutout innings against the Braves in Game 2 of the NLDS. Overall, he has a 2.37 ERA in 19 innings this postseason. There was no doubt who would be the Dodgers’ first choice to start Game 1, but it’s a relatively recent situation where the ace of a team also closed out the final game of the previous series.
Hill has put up a 2.61 ERA in 10 1/3 innings this postseason. While he doesn’t have Kershaw’s pedigree, the Dodgers would be confident having him lead off the series. Hill was excellent down the stretch last year, helping the Dodgers reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Astros.
The Red Sox plan to start Chris Sale in Game 1 now that he’s recovered from a brief stint in the hospital due to a stomach ailment. The lefty has a 3.48 in 10 1/3 innings in the playoffs this year. He’s among a handful of candidates for the AL Cy Young award after posting a 2.11 ERA in the regular season, but his lack of innings (158) may hurt him.