Cubs starter Cole Hamels launched his second career home run, a solo shot off of the Pirates’ Jameson Taillon, in the bottom of the third inning on Monday night. The dinger cut the Pirates’ lead to 2-1.
Hamels’ other homer came on July 21, 2012 in the third inning against the Giants’ Matt Cain. Coincidentally, Cain also homered off of Hamels in the same game… also in the third inning.
On the pitching side of things, Hamels has been terrific for the Cubs, entering Monday’s action 4-1 with a 2.42 ERA and a 59/19 K/BB ratio in 63 1/3 innings back in the National League. he had a 4.72 ERA across 114 1/3 innings with the Rangers before the trade.
It has been evident throughout the playoffs that Astros second baseman José Altuve’s right knee is bothering him. Altuve battled a right knee issue in July, then banged it up again in Game 2 of the ALDS and it’s been a problem ever since.
Manager A.J. Hinch said that if it were the regular season, he wouldn’t put Altuve in the lineup. Per MLB.com’s Richard Justice, the full quote:
He’s hurt. And if it was any other time of the year, he wouldn’t be in the lineup or wouldn’t be playing. He’d probably be on the DL. … But he’s showing up every day in good spirits, ready to go, giving 100 percent of what he’s got. He should be commended.
Hinch also said of Altuve, “His teammates revere him. The production that he’s doing on one leg is pretty incredible. And he’s trying not to talk about it. And therefore I am.”
During the ALCS, Altuve has hit .250/.368/.313 in 16 at-bats. He has just one extra-base hit but he has racked up three singles and drawn three walks while scoring four runs. Hinch has had Marwin González start at second base Games 3 and 4 and is doing so again on Thursday night in Game 5.