It was a rollercoaster of a game for Athletics starter Mike Fiers on Saturday. The right-hander sported an eye-catching “cat tail” beard that set social media ablaze when he stepped on the mound; by the second inning, however, he had something much more pressing to deal with: a worrisome case of right arm nerve irritation.
According to Fiers, he began to feel numbness in his right hand after throwing to Rougned Odor in the second — just three pitches before Odor launched a two-run, 436-foot home run to put the Rangers on the board. While Fiers later told reporters the sensation felt familiar and was mostly a mental issue, the A’s weren’t about to take any chances with their ace. They left him in to face Delino DeShields, who promptly drew a five-pitch walk, then removed him for Paul Blackburn.
Through Saturday’s outing, Fiers has spun a 14-4 record in 31 starts with a 4.09 ERA, 2.7 BB/9, 6.1 SO/9, and 1.3 fWAR through 171 2/3 innings in 2019. It doesn’t seem like he’ll miss more than one turn in the rotation, though Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle points out that “nerve irritation” comprises a spectrum of minor and major injuries and accompanying treatments, from Brett Anderson‘s two-week stint on the injured list to Andrew Triggs‘ season-ending surgery. Where Fiers falls in that spectrum is still undetermined.
Until they have a clear idea of their starter’s recovery timetable, the A’s will turn to the other five hurlers in their six-man rotation as they keep moving toward an AL wild card spot. As for the right-hander, well, he’s playing it safe:
The postseason has a knack for finding unlikely heroes. Nationals catcher Kurt Suzuki was 1-for-23 in the postseason entering Wednesday’s Game 2 of the World Series. The Nats and Astros each plated two runs in the first inning, then went otherwise scoreless through the sixth inning. In the top of the seventh, with Justin Verlander returning to the mound, Suzuki demolished a high, 1-0 fastball just below the train tracks in left field at Minute Maid Park, breaking the 2-2 tie.
Verlander proceeded to walk Victor Robles, prompting manager A.J. Hinch to take his veteran starter out of the game. Ryan Pressly came in to attempt to keep it a one-run game.
The underdog Nationals held on to defeat the Astros 5-4 in Game 1. Another victory by the Nats in Game 2 would put the Astros — heavy favorites according to oddsmakers — in a big hole.
Update: Pressly walked the first batter he faced, Trea Turner. Adam Eaton successfully sacrifice bunted both runners over. After Anthony Rendon flied out to shallow center field, Hinch decided to issue his team’s first intentional walk of the entire year to Juan Soto, loading the bases. Howie Kendrick then hit what appeared to be an inning-ending ground out, but Alex Bregman booted the ball as he moved to his left. Turner scored to make it 4-2. The floodgates opened when Asdrúbal Cabrera lined a single to center field, bringing home two more runs to pad the lead to 6-2. While pitching to Ryan Zimmerman, Pressly uncorked a wild pitch to allow the two base runners to advance. Zimmerman followed up with a slow roller down the third base line which Bregman barehanded and proceeded to throw away. Two more runs scored. 8-2. Yiiiikes, Astros.