Brandon Lowe
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Rays activate Brandon Lowe from 60-day injured list

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Rookie infielder/outfielder Brandon Lowe will get another chance to make an impact for the Rays this year, per a team announcement on Sunday. Lowe was previously declared out for the season after sustaining a left quad strain in late August, but was able to recuperate more quickly than expected and has been officially reinstated from the 60-day injured list.

It’s been a tumultuous season for the 25-year-old rookie, whose quad strain was preceded by a deep bone bruise in his right shin that forced him to the injured list for nearly three months. When healthy, however, he made significant strides at the plate, batting .276/.339/.523 with 16 home runs, an .862 OPS, and 2.5 fWAR through 307 plate appearances.

There’s no guarantee that Lowe will be able to replicate those numbers over the final week of the regular season, but the progress he made in instructional league games has given the team a little bit of hope over the last few days. Per MLB.com’s Juan Toribio, the Rays intend to keep Lowe in the mix as much as possible, but will try to limit any ambitious baserunning maneuvers that might re-aggravate his injuries.

“There’s obviously some things that I’m not going to do,” Lowe told reporters. “I’m not going to bust a chopper right back at the pitcher. I’m not going to try and beat a little bouncer at the defense, but I feel good enough to go out there and give it what I got.”

Lowe is set to rejoin the team at a pivotal point in the season, one that finds the Rays clinging to a one-game lead over the Indians for the second AL wild card spot. Should they end up qualifying for the postseason, it’ll mark their fifth trip to the playoffs and first since 2013.

On a night full of letdowns, Yankees’ defense let them down the most

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Game 4 of the ALCS was a gigantic letdown for the Yankees for myriad reasons. They lost, first and foremost, 8-3 to the Astros to fall behind three games to one. Their fans continued to act boorishly. CC Sabathia exited with an injury, likely the final time he’ll pitch in his career. The offense went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position.

The biggest letdown of the night, though, was the Yankees’ defense. They committed four errors, their highest total in a postseason game since committing five errors in Game 2 of the 1976 ALCS.

Make no mistake: the two three-run home runs hit by George Springer and Carlos Correa, given up by Masahiro and Chad Green respectively, were the big blows in the game. But the errors contributed to the loss and were downright demoralizing.

The first error came at the start of the top of the sixth inning, when Alex Bregman hit a cue shot to first baseman DJ LeMahieu. LeMahieu couldn’t read the bounce and the ball clanked off of his knee, allowing Bregman to reach safely. He would score later in the inning on Correa’s blast.

The Yankees committed two errors in the top of the eighth, leading to a run. Yuli Gurriel hit another grounder to LeMahieu, which he couldn’t handle. That not only allowed Gurriel to reach safely, but Bregman — who led off with a double — moved to third base. He would score when second baseman Gleyber Torres couldn’t handle a Yordan Álvarez grounder.

Error number four occurred when Altuve hit a grounder to Torres to lead off the top of the ninth. The ball skipped right under his glove. Facing Michael Brantley, Jonathan Loaisiga uncorked a wild pitch which advanced Altuve to second base. Brantley followed up with a line drive single to left field, plating Altuve for another run. Loaisiga would throw another wild pitch facing Bregman but that one didn’t come back to haunt him.

The Yankees can’t control injuries, the behavior of their fans, or how good the Astros’ pitching is on any given night. They can control the quality of their defense. On Thursday, it was a farce, and now they’re staring down the barrel of having to win three consecutive games against the Astros to stave off elimination.