Less than a month ago, Josh Donaldson had a .245/.361/.491 batting line. It’s a line that many hitters would be pleased with but one the reigning American League MVP was probably disgusted with. He’s done his best since then to erase it from his mind.
Donaldson continued his recent surge by going 3-for-4 with a pair of solo home runs and four runs scored in Tuesday’s victory over the Royals. It continued a tear for the third baseman that’s seen him bat an absurd .427 with eight home runs, 30 RBI and 34 runs scored over his last 26 games.
Donaldson has his season batting line up to .304/.415/.602. He’s behind only David Ortiz, Mike Trout and Jose Altuve in the AL with his .415 on-base percentage and behind just Ortiz with his .602 slugging percentage. Donaldson is on pace for 41 homers, which would match last year’s total. He’s also on pace for 113 RBI and a ridiculous 145 runs. Oh, and just for run, Donaldson is on pace for a career-high 11 stolen bases, too.
The 30-year-old has finished in the top-10 in AL MVP voting each of the last three seasons. He’s looked like a pretty good bet to extend that streak to four.
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Down Goes Davis
The Royals have had trouble keeping up with the red-hot Indians, and now they’ll be forced to try and play catch-up without the services of their All-Star closer.
Wade Davis was placed on the disabled list Tuesday with a strained right forearm. Davis has put up a 1.23 ERA this season for the Royals, although he hasn’t been quite as dominant as he’s been in the past with a 28/12 K/BB ratio over 29 1/3 innings. The reliever felt something while delivering a pitch in his last appearance on June 30, and manager Ned Yost said the club wanted to “get out front” with the injury before it became worse.
The big worry when you hear forearm strain is that it’s something that can be a precursor to elbow ligament issues and eventually Tommy John surgery. However, Yost says that Davis’ strain is on top of his forearm and not close to his UCL. He revealed that the reliever dealt with a similar issue last September, was shut down for a week and then pitched through the problem during the playoffs. The hope is that he’ll only need a minimum DL stay.
Yost wouldn’t commit to who would serve as the club’s closer while Davis is out.
“Everyone will move up a notch,” Yost said. “We’ll mix and match. We’ll go day to day on it and depending on who is available.”
The best bet to fill in for Davis is Kelvin Herrera. The hard-throwing reliever has been one of the best relievers in baseball in the first half, posting a 1.40 ERA and 49/7 K/BB ratio across 38 2/3 frames. However, we can’t rule out Yost keeping Herrera in a setup role and going with the guy with more closer experience in the ninth in Joakim Soria. Soria has had a fine year with a 3.13 ERA and 33/15 K/BB ratio over 37 1/3 innings. Herrera should be your first priority on the waiver wire, but Soria is worth a flier, as well.
Moss Moves to DL
The Cardinals have seen a big increase in their power output this season, as they’re already 79 percent of their way to last year’s home run total at just barely over the halfway point. However, they’re now going to have to make do without their leading home run hitter.
Brandon Moss was placed on the disabled list Tuesday with a sprained left ankle. The first baseman/outfielder injured the ankle on a play Monday and while he said after the game that he was fine, obviously he must have been feeling worse than expected when he got to the ballpark Tuesday. The Cards haven’t revealed how long they expect Moss to be sidelined, although they called it a Grade 1 sprain so it doesn’t figure to be a lengthy absence.
Moss has earned more and more playing time as the season as gone on, and he’s smacked eight longballs while boasting a .705 slugging percentage since June 1. The biggest beneficiary of Moss’ absence should be Matt Adams, who will now play every day against right-handers. Adams has put up a solid .275/.323/.478 batting line with nine homers this season, although he’s fallen off lately with just five hits over his last 49 at-bats.
Randal Grichuk was recalled from Triple-A Memphis to take Moss’ spot on the roster. He and Tommy Pham figure to pick up some extra starts as a result of Moss’ absence, as well. Grichuk had some buzz coming into the season after slugging 17 homers over just 350 plate appearances last season. However, while he ripped eight homers over 225 plate appearances before being sent down last month, he really struggled to make contact consistently, striking out 54 times while batting .206/.276/.392 overall.
National League Quick Hits: Giancarlo Stanton went 3-for-5 with a pair of homers and five RBI in a win over the Mets … Zach Eflin allowed one run while striking out six in a complete game victory over the Braves on Tuesday … Wei-Yin Chen allowed just three hits and one walk over seven frames of one-run ball in Tuesday's victory over the Mets … Addison Russell ripped two homers and drove in three Tuesday against the Reds … Julio Teheran has been scratched from his scheduled start on Wednesday due to an infection in his right thigh … Jhonny Peralta exited Tuesday’s game with left thumb discomfort, although the Cardinals are saying it’s not related to his thumb surgery … Jung Ho Kang is being investigated by Chicago police regarding an allegation of sexual assault … Nolan Arenado smacked a three-run homer in Tuesday’s win over the Giants … Billy Hamilton stole three bases and scored a pair of runs in a Tuesday’s victory over the Cubs … Aaron Hill went 3-for-4 with a homer and three RBI in Tuesday's win over the Nationals … Maikel Franco singled and belted a solo home run in Tuesday's win over the Braves … Jon Niese is flying back to Pittsburgh to have his knee examined but is expected to make his next start …
American League Quick Hits: C.J. Cron stayed hot with two homers and four RBI in Tuesday’s blowout victory over the Rays … Masahiro Tanaka struck out six over 7 2/3 innings in Tuesday’s win over the White Sox … Felix Hernandez (calf) is aiming to return to the Mariners' rotation on July 20 against the White Sox … A.J. Reed hit a two-run home run in Tuesday’s victory over the Mariners … Shin-Soo Choo was forced to leave Tuesday's game against the Red Sox with lower back stiffness … Manny Machado launched a three-run shot against the Dodgers … C.J.Wilson will undergo season-ending labrum surgery … Carlos Carrasco whiffed five over six frames of one-run ball in a win over the Tigers … David Price recorded 10 strikeouts and allowed three runs over eight frames in a loss to the Rangers on Tuesday … Chase Headley went 3-for-5 with a two-run home run and two runs scored in a win over the White Sox … R.A. Dickey struck out eight while holding the Royals to just two unearned runs over seven innings in a victory Tuesday … Taijuan Walker was removed from Tuesday's start with renewed discomfort in his right foot … Marco Estrada (back) is expected to have his next start pushed back from Thursday to Friday after receiving a cortisone shot … Rays closer Alex Colome was activated from the disabled list Tuesday … Daniel Norris (oblique) landed on the DL Tuesday …