“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” -Charles Dickens, about the Rockies-Padres series
OK, so maybe not, but Sunday’s series finale had something for every fan -- except maybe those of pitchers’ duels. In it, Charlie Blackmon set an MLB record for hits in a series but couldn’t help the Rockies avoid another crushing late-inning defeat, with the Padres scoring four runs in the ninth inning to eke out a 14-13 victory.
After leading off the bottom of the first inning with a homer, the 34th time he’s hit a leadoff home run in his career, he tied the record with an RBI single later in the same inning -- an inning in which the Rockies scored six runs and sent 11 men to the plate. Later, in the sixth inning, he dumped another RBI single into left field to give him 15 hits in the four-game series against the Padres, besting a record that was last achieved in 1961.
“The beauty of Charlie is the consistency, day in and day out,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “That’s one of Charlie’s strengths, what he does each and every day to prepare to play. He’s one of the best I’ve seen. When you’re in a good spot, Charlie is able to maintain it -- which he has done for this stretch of games.
Dating back to the beginning of the Rockies’ homestand, Blackmon went 21-for-37 with six homers, 15 RBI and 12 runs scored in the seven-game span. The good stretch has his season line up to a blistering .336/.385/.652 through 55 games.
The historic feat came against the backdrop of a miserable few days for the Rockies. After blowing a six-run lead in the late innings of Friday’s game, a 12-inning loss, they entered the ninth inning Sunday with a three-run lead and their closer on the hill. None of that proved to matter, though, as Wade Davis couldn’t get the third out, allowing an RBI single and a two-run triple before he was pulled and his replacement, starter Jon Gray, walked in the winning run.
The loss, coupled with a Dodgers win over the Cubs, put the club even further behind in an NL West race that’s shaping up to be a runaway train, and it also puts the Rockies behind some fellow NL Wild Card hopefuls in the standings. The Rox are vying with the Cubs, the Phillies, the Diamondbacks and even the Cardinals for one of the two coveted Wild Card entries.
Even if the Rockies fall out of contention, though, don’t expect Chuck Nazty to go anywhere anytime soon. If this weekend was any indication, he’s just getting started.
Upton To Provide Boost To Halos
Another slugging outfielder is just getting started -- literally -- come Monday.
Justin Upton, who’s missed the entire season with a left big toe sprain, is set to make his season debut Monday. Upton is expected to suit up for the Angels when they take on the Blue Jays in Toronto.
“It’ll be good to have him back,” manager Brad Ausmus said Sunday. “Obviously he’s been an offensive performer for a long time. It’s a big bat to add to our lineup.”“It’ll be good to have him back,” manager Brad Ausmus said before the Angels concluded their series with the Tampa Bay Rays. “Obviously he’s been an offensive performer for a long time. It’s a big bat to add to our lineup.”
It’s been a long few months for the Halos without the middle-of-the-order bat, as they’ve been forced to get by with the likes of Brian Goodwin, David Fletcher, Cesar Puello and Peter Bourjos in left field. Heading into Sunday’s game, Angels players were hitting .250/.322/.385 while manning the position.
Upton, meanwhile, hasn’t posted an OPS below .775 since his rookie year in 2007. In 2018 he had an .808 OPS with 30 homers, 85 RBI and 80 runs scored.
The insertion of Upton back into the lineup will benefit the Angels, who have struggled to hang around in a tough AL West, but it will also create a difficult situation for management as a player will need to be removed from the 25-man roster to make room for Upton. Fletcher and guys like Tommy La Stella seem to have cemented their roster spots, but players such as Puello and Goodwin are more susceptible.
We’ll see Monday. We’ll also see how rusty the 31-year-old Upton is, but fantasy players should have him in the lineup regardless of how he looks. Just as the Halos are excited about adding him to their active roster, fantasy players should be equally excited to see what he can do.
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Prospect Collins Getting The Call?
Highly anticipated catcher arrivals haven’t gone over super well this year, but that won’t stop the White Sox from calling up one of their top prospects this week.
Zach Collins, the No. 10 overall pick in the 2016 draft, will be promoted in time for Tuesday’s game, according to multiple sources. The 24-year-old has hit .250/.374/.482 in 50 games with Triple-A Indianapolis this year.
With Welington Castillo suffering from lower back tightness and possibly needing a stay on the IL, Collins’ promotion is worth watching. His minor league numbers aren’t great, but he’ll likely be splitting time with James McCann in the weeks before Castillo can get back.
Fellow youngsters like Francisco Mejia and Danny Jansen are grinding but haven’t gotten much traction in the majors thus far. Perhaps Collins can buck the trend, but for the time being he’s just worth watching for fantasy purposes.
National League Quick Hits: Mets placed RHP Noah Syndergaard on the 10-day injured list with a right hamstring strain. Syndergaard suffered the injury during Saturday's start and will miss at least one turn through the rotation. The big righty will undergo an MRI on Sunday to determine the severity of the strain, so we should find out more about his status soon. … Scooter Gennett (groin) will begin a rehab assignment with High-A Dayton on Monday. Gennett has been playing in simulated games at the Reds' spring training complex and is now ready to test things out in official game action. He's been out all season after suffering a severe groin injury late in spring training. Gennett would figure to need a decent number of rehab games before being activated, although the Reds haven't revealed a number. … Mets activated 2B Robinson Cano from the 10-day injured list. Cano is in Sunday's lineup against the Cardinals but is batting fifth, which is the first time this season that he hasn't been in the No. 3 spot. He went 1-for-3 with a double, a walk and a run scored. … Nick Senzel (eye) was not in the Reds' lineup Sunday. Senzel had to exit Saturday's game after a foul tip bounced off the dirt and caught him in the left eye. He needed a few stitches to close the wound, but thankfully he avoided further damage and should be ready to play in a day or two. … Ketel Marte went 3-for-4 with a solo homer and three runs scored in the Diamondbacks’ loss to the Nationals on Sunday. Marte reached base safely in four of his five plate appearances. He scorched a line-drive solo homer -- his 20th round-tripper of the season -- into the right field seats off Nationals starter Anibal Sanchez to put the Diamondbacks on the board in the opening frame. The 25-year-old shortstop’s over-the-fence pop was never his signature calling card, but he’s blossomed into an elite fantasy slugger this season. He’s launched six homers over his last eight games and has already eclipsed his previous career-high of 14 in 153 games last year. He owns a .286/.341/.566 triple-slash line with 50 runs scored, 50 RBI and three stolen bases across 317 plate appearances.
American League Quick Hits: Giancarlo Stanton (calf) will be activated from the injured list on Tuesday. Stanton will rejoin the Yankees on Monday, but the club will treat that as a travel day and wait until Tuesday to activate him. He's slugged four home runs in four rehab games since returning from a calf injury that was preceded by biceps and shoulder ailments. Stanton is slated to see most of his starts in left field after the Yanks acquired Edwin Encarnacion. … Yoan Moncada was pulled from Sunday's game versus the Yankees after re-aggravating his upper back injury. Moncada was back in the lineup for the first time since last Monday but couldn't make it through the game. It's possible he could need an injured list stint to overcome the ailment. … Andrew Benintendi has been scratched from the Red Sox' lineup Sunday due to a sore left quad. The Red Sox are calling Benintendi day-to-day. … Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (hand) was back in the Blue Jays' lineup Sunday. Vlad Jr. missed Saturday's game after exiting Friday following a hit by pitch on his hand, but it wasn’t anything serious. He went 1-for-5 in his return. … Hunter Pence was removed from Sunday's game against the Reds due to tightness in his right groin. Pence pulled up while chasing a ball in the outfield and immediately grabbed at the front of his leg. He'll be re-evaluated on Monday. Fantasy owners who were counting on the 36-year-old for next week should have a contingency plan in place in case Pence winds up on the injured list. … Byron Buxton (wrist) remained out of the Twins' lineup Sunday. He is available off the bench at least as a potential defensive replacement or pinch runner, although it's up in the air as to whether Buxton is ready to hit yet. He was hit on the right wrist by a pitch Friday. Max Kepler is in center field and Marwin Gonzalez is in right. The Twins also have Jason Castro behind the plate, as Mitch Garver will sit out ... Hunter Dozier (chest) will begin a rehab assignment with Double-A Northwest Arkansas on Monday. The Royals had indicated that Dozier would be activated early this week, but they've decided to give him some rehab games first. His wife is expecting a child later this week, so Dozier will join her then before moving his rehab assignment up to Triple-A Omaha. He should be back with the Royals in about a week. … Nomar Mazara (hamstring) will undergo an MRI on Monday. Mazara is dealing with right hamstring tightness, with the discomfort focused behind his knee. The Rangers believe he's simply dealing with some wear and tear, but we'll know more about his condition Monday. Hunter Pence is in right field Sunday. … Andrelton Simmons (ankle) could be activated from the injured list this week. Simmons is not yet a month removed from his Grade 3 left ankle sprain, so this would qualify as a quicker-than-expected return. He has not played in any rehab games and the Angels seemingly would like him to before he returns. … Tommy La Stella (forearm) was back in the Angels' lineup Sunday. La Stella missed two games with tightness in his left (non-throwing) arm, but felt well enough to give it a go Sunday. He had a hit and two runs scored in the loss. … Trevor Bauer was masterful in Sunday's 8-0 win over the Tigers, tossing a complete game shutout while striking out eight. Bauer scattered four hits over nine innings and did not walk a batter on the afternoon. The right-hander required 117 pitches (80 strikes) to finish out the complete game gem, his first complete game in 16 starts this season. Bauer will try for an encore performance when he carries his 3.41 ERA, 1.12 WHIP and 117/45 K/BB ratio (108 1/3 innings) into a home start against these same Tigers next time out.