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Baseball Daily Dose

Daily Dose: Vicious Cycle

by Nathan Grimm
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

Rajai Davis is well on his way to a year of firsts, so it's fitting that his first cycle would come in 2016, too.

 

"Not in Little League, not in Senior League, not in Babe Ruth, not in the minors," Davis said of hitting for the cycle. "Not until right now in The Show, in the big leagues. This is nice."

 

Davis accomplished the feat Saturday in a loss to the Blue Jays, finishing 4-for-5 with two RBI, two runs scored and a stolen base. Davis completed the cycle in reverse order, homering in the first inning before legging out a triple, doubling in his fourth at-bat and notching a single in the ninth inning.

 

The game was a microcosm of what has been a breakout year -- if 35-year-olds can have breakout years -- for Davis. Getting regular starts in a banged up Indians outfield, Davis surpassed his previous single-season high with his ninth home run, which he hit Saturday, and he's got a good shot at setting career-best marks in RBI and runs scored as well.

 

The reverse cycle was the sixth of its kind in history. Davis also became the eighth player to hit for a cycle in Indians history.

 

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Estrada Dealing With Back Issue

 

Marco Estrada pitched through pain Saturday, but one gutsy start may be all he can afford.

 

Estrada, who said after his last start that he was bothered by a bad back, pitched five innings in a no-decision against the Indians on Saturday, striking out seven while allowing three runs. After the game, the right-hander said the pain had gotten worse from start to start and acknowledged his immediate future is up in the air.

 

"I'm not sure, it's something we're going to have to talk about," Estrada said, when asked if he would make his next start. "I don't know if I can do this again. If it hurts as much as it did today, I'm probably going to have to watch the next game. I'm hoping to make it, but we'll see."

 

Estrada said the pain is in his lower back and told reporters he believes it's related to issues he had during spring training. He said he'll "probably" have an MRI taken, at which point he and the team should have a better understanding of the ailment.

 

If Estrada is forced to miss time, Drew Hutchison would likely make Thursday's start against the Tigers. The start is the last scheduled start for Estrada prior to the All-Star break, a well-timed break if the injury does prove to be minor. Estrada is 5-3 with a 2.93 ERA, 0.99 WHIP and 99/39 K/BB ratio through 16 starts this season.

 

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Sore Shoulder Has Votto Day-To-Day

 

The Reds are hoping Joey Votto's shoulder injury isn't anything serious after the first baseman sat out Saturday.

 

Votto was a late scratch after feeling soreness in his right shoulder, and the team is considering him day-to-day for now. Votto injured the shoulder sliding into second base in Friday's game.

 

“We thought maybe today and we did everything we could and he did everything he could,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “It just wasn’t good. We’ll see where he’s at tomorrow and make that decision in the morning.”

 

The injury comes at a bad time for Votto, who has rebounded in recent weeks after a terrible start to the year. Votto is hitting .330/.467/.557 with five home runs, 10 RBI and 20 runs scored since the start of June.

 

The Reds should provide an update ahead of Sunday's series finale with the Nationals.

 

National League Quick Hits: Stephen Strasburg (back) will start Sunday's game against the Reds. Well that was fast. Washington's decision to place Strasburg on the disabled list a week ago was met with widespread panic but in the end he only ended up missing a couple starts. With Strasburg back in the fold, it looks like top prospect Lucas Giolito is headed back to the minors ... Trevor Story (finger) remained out of the Rockies' lineup Saturday against the Dodgers. It was his third straight absence and his fourth in five games. Story is still dealing with a bruised finger he suffered Sunday against the Diamondbacks ... Mets manager Terry Collins is hopeful Curtis Granderson (calf) will return to the starting lineup Sunday against the Cubs. Granderson was expected to sit out the entire weekend with a strained calf but obviously he's showing signs of improvement ... Seung Hwan Oh pitched a scoreless ninth inning against the Brewers on Saturday to earn his first save. Oh unofficially took over closing duties for the Cards this past week, but the team didn't have a save situation until they took a 3-0 lead into the ninth inning Saturday. Oh answered the bell with little issue, striking out two in the 13-pitch inning ... Braves signed SS Kevin Maitan to a $4.25 million contract. The 16-year-old is widely regarded as the top overall prospect available during this international signing period ... according to Jesse Sanchez, the Padres have agreed to terms with six of the players on MLB.com's International Top 30 Prospects list. That list includes the third-ranked prospect, Luis Almanzar, who agreed to a $3 million deal ... Jeurys Familia pitched a perfect ninth inning Saturday, closing out a 4-3 win over the Cubs. Familia struck out one in his clean inning of work, needing 11 pitches to get the job done. He's now a perfect 28-for-28 in save chances this year, leading the majors with a few days left to go before the All-Star break ... Adam Wainwright threw seven scoreless innings as the Cardinals shut out the Brewers 3-0 on Saturday. Wainwright scattered seven hits, all singles, and walked two while striking out five over his seven shutout frames ... Melvin Upton played the hero on Saturday, smashing a walk-off home run off Andrew Miller in the ninth inning to help the Padres to a 2-1 victory over the Yankees. The homer was his 13th of the year. Upton finished the day 3-for-4. He has a .266 batting average with 40 runs, 39 RBI and 19 stolen bases.

 

American League Quick Hits: C.J. Cron had a night for the ages, finishing 6-for-6 with two home runs, five RBI and five runs scored in the Angels' 21-2 beatdown of the Red Sox on Saturday. Cron entered the game hitting .268/.324/.429 and finished it hitting .287/.340/.473. In his last two games, the 26-year-old is 8-for-11 with three home runs, nine RBI and six runs scored ... Athletics activated LHP Rich Hill from the 15-day disabled list. Hill missed a month while battling a strained groin. The southpaw struck out six and allowed two runs over six innings in a no-decision against the Pirates ... A.J. Reed hit his first major league home run in Saturday's loss to the White Sox. Reed came in as a pinch-hitter in the ninth inning and took White Sox closer David Robertson deep for a solo shot. Not only was it his first homer in the bigs, it was also just his second hit in 18 at-bats since being promoted last week ... Hanley Ramirez (side) is back in the Red Sox's starting lineup Saturday against the Angels. Hanley missed Friday's game with side soreness but made it through Saturday's batting practice without issue and got the green light from manager John Farrell. He went 2-for-2 with a double and a walk in the loss ... Yunel Escobar (knee) has returned to the Angels starting lineup for Saturday's game against the Red Sox. Escobar missed seven consecutive games with the injury, but the club opted to wait it out instead of putting him on the disabled list. He batted leadoff and went 1-for-4 before being replaced in the lopsided victory ... Kendrys Morales went 2-for-3 with two home runs and four RBI to help the Royals beat the Phillies 6-2 on Saturday. Morales blasted a three-run home run off Aaron Nola in the second inning before adding a solo shot in the eighth. Morales has now homered in three straight games and has six in his last seven. There isn't a hotter hitter in the majors right now, as an eight-game hitting streak -- during which he has seven multi-hit games -- has his overall line up to .267/.329/.470 ... Justin Verlander struck out eight while allowing two runs -- one earned -- over seven innings in a 3-2 win over the Rays on Saturday. Verlander yielded just four hits and a walk in what was, statistically, his best start in over a month. Verlander is now 8-6 with a 4.11 ERA, 1.10 WHIP and 115/29 K/BB ratio over 17 starts and has won four of his last five decisions.