Troy Tulowitzki was removed from a minor league rehab game yesterday when he felt tightness in the left calf. The same left calf which sent him to the injured list in the first place. He had been on the verge of being activated before this.
Tulowitzki, who the Yankees signed to take over shortstop from the injured Didi Gregorius, has managed to play only five games and make only 13 plate appearances so far this year. In his absence, Gleyber Torres has played most of the season at short, D.J. LeMahieu has covered second and Gio Urshela has handled third. All three of them have performed well so far, so Tulowitzki’s presence — an unknown given how much time he’s missed over the past couple of seasons — has not really been missed.
It was an interesting experiment to sign Tulowitzki — and, in so doing, foregoing other, more expensive but reliable options on the infield — but at this point it seems to be turning out about how one would’ve expected when one signs an often-injured player in his mid-30s.
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.