Everyone loves a good post-hype sleeper. The Orioles are hoping they have one in Austin Hays.
Hays notched his first career multi-homer game Monday as the O’s lost a 15-inning marathon to the Blue Jays in Toronto. He took Clay Buchholz deep both times, first swatting a hanging curveball over the wall for a three-run shot in the third inning before adding the second of back-to-back shots with Jonathan Villar with a solo blast to the opposite field in the fifth. Hays also added an RBI single, plating a career-high five runs.
The rookie outfielder starred on defense again, as well. After making one of the best plays of the year last week in robbing Vladimir Guerrero Jr. of a home run, Hays was at it again Monday in center field with a couple more dandies in the fourth and sixth innings.
Over his last six contests, Hays is 10-for-29 (.345) with four home runs and 10 RBI. He has ascended to the No. 2 spot in the Orioles’ lineup for the last two contests.
Hays was viewed as a top-50 prospect after the 2017 season when he batted a robust .329/.365/.593 with 32 long balls and 95 RBI between High- and Double-A. Unfortunately, he then missed half of the 2018 season with an ankle injury and batted only .235/.266/.410 when healthy.
Hays hit just .248/.299/.464 with 17 homers in the minors this season after recovering from a sprained thumb, so his current hot stretch with the O’s needs to be taken with a grain of salt. Still, there’s certainly talent here and the opportunity is there. Hays is worth a shot in fantasy leagues for the final week and could be playing his way into next year’s Opening Day plans.
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Goldy Goes Yard
Paul Goldschmidt finally returned to Arizona on Monday for the first time since being traded. It was a pleasant homecoming for the former Diamondback.
After walking and scoring in his first plate appearance following a long standing ovation, Goldschmidt popped an opposite-field, two-run shot off of Alex Young in the third inning. It was the 100th home run that Goldy has hit at Chase Field, which is the most in the stadium’s history. He reached base a third time in his final at-bat with an infield single.
The nice night for Goldy comes on the heels of Sunday’s go-ahead RBI double in the ninth inning of a comeback win over the Cubs. With his RBI total now up to 94, Goldschmidt has a shot at his fourth 100-RBI campaign.
As for the Cardinals, with Monday’s win they lowered their magic number to clinch the NL Central to three. Jack Flaherty -- he of the 1.05 second-half ERA -- will take the ball for them Tuesday.
Alfaro Hits ‘Em Far-o
The Mets’ playoff hopes were already flickering. On Monday, Jorge Alfaro put them on life support.
Alfaro smacked a pair of home runs – including his first career grand slam – as the Marlins downed the Mets 8-4. It was the second multi-homer game of the season for Alfaro, who now has 17 long balls on the year.
Steven Matz has been very good in the second half for the Mets, but he didn’t have it Monday for the second straight start. The left-hander served up both of Alfaro’s blasts and was charged with six runs on nine hits over five-plus frames. Alfaro’s grand slam in the sixth KO’d Matz.
With the setback against the Marlins, the Mets’ “tragic number” now stands at two. They have Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom going the next two days, but it’s largely out of their hands at this point.
National League Quick Hits: Patrick Corbin fanned six batters across six innings of one-run ball in Monday’s victory over the Phillies. … Amed Rosario delivered a grand slam Monday to give the Mets all of their runs in a loss to the Marlins. … Christian Walker went 3-for-4 with a solo home run in Monday’s loss to the Cardinals. … Adam Eaton went 3-for-4 with a homer and a walk against the Phillies on Monday. … J.T. Realmuto was not in the Phillies’ lineup Monday and underwent an MRI on his sore right knee. … Trea Turner homered, singled, walked and scored three times Monday versus the Phillies. … Jon Berti finished 4-for-5 with three runs scored Monday against the Mets. … Wil Myers had a fainting episode at Kirby Yates' charity event on Sunday night, but tests came back normal and he’s expected to be fine.
American League Quick Hits: Lourdes Gurriel will undergo an appendectomy and be sidelined for the remainder of the season. … Jonathan Villar went 3-for-8 with a solo homer, two RBI and a pair of runs scored in the Orioles’ loss to the Blue Jays in extra innings on Monday. … Bo Bichette remains in concussion protocol and might not return this season. … Randal Grichuk had two hits – including a three-run homer – in Monday’s extra-innings win over the Orioles. … Cavan Biggio homered and drew three walks Monday against the Orioles. ... Andrew Benintendi (thumb) was held out of the Red Sox’ lineup again on Monday. … Ji-Man Choi had a three-run homer and a double Monday in the Rays' 7-4 defeat of the Red Sox. … Avisail Garcia (vertigo) had an RBI double in his return to the lineup Monday. … Royals manager Ned Yost announced Monday that he will retire from baseball after Sunday's season finale.