MLB

Scherzer stars on return as Mets clinch first postseason berth since 2016, Astros secure AL West

By Sports Desk September 20, 2022

The New York Mets clinched their place in the MLB postseason for the first time since 2016 with Max Scherzer securing his 100th career win in a 7-2 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on Monday.

The 38-year-old Mets right-hander, reinstated from the injured list, struck out nine across six innings where he threw 68 pitches. Scherzer was pulled after six innings with a perfect game intact, with the Mets opting not to risk injury to the three-time Cy Young Award winner on his return from an oblique issue.

The win means the Mets have booked a postseason berth, guaranteed at least a spot in the National League (NL) Wild Card Game, holding a 94-55 record.

Pete Alonso's three-run homer in the fourth inning headlined five runs against NL Cy Young Award winner Corbin Burnes.

The Mets will be making only their 10th postseason appearance in the franchise's 61-season history.

"This is what you play the game for," Scherzer said. "You play to get into the postseason. There's a lot of ways for it not to work out. For us to be able to find a way to get into the postseason, that's awesome. That's what we celebrate. That's what you play the game for.

"We have a lot of things in front of us. We understand that. But you got to celebrate the good times, too."

Astros clinch fifth AL West title in six years

The Houston Astros secured the American League West title for the first time in the past six seasons with a 4-0 win over the Tampa Bay Rays.

Jose Altuve's leadoff home run set the tone for the Astros, while Luis Garcia gave up two hits and four walks in five innings with four strikeouts as Houston claimed their 16th shutout.

The Astros also won for the eighth time in nine games ahead of their sixth straight postseason. Houston are assured of a first-round bye in the playoffs.

Kershaw dominates Diamondbacks

Clayton Kershaw tossed down 10 strikeouts as the Los Angeles Dodgers toppled the Arizona Diamondbacks 5-2.

The Dodgers, who have already clinched the NL West, saw Joey Gallo blast a second-inning homer, before Chris Taylor's three-run blast opened up a 5-0 lead.

But Kershaw grabbed the headlines, managing to strike out at least 10 batters with no walks in a game for the 27th time in his career.

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    The Houston Astros have signed All-Star second baseman Jose Altuve to a five-year, $125million contract extension, keeping one of the franchise's iconic players inked through 2030.

    Altuve had been entering the final year of his previous deal.

    Houston announced the deal on social media on Tuesday, declaring Altuve to be “an Astro for life.”

    Only three players have ever played more games in an Astros uniform, and Altuve has been a cornerstone of Houston’s seven straight trips to the American League Championship Series, helping them win the World Series in 2017 and 2022.

    “He's a franchise-type player; one of the best in Houston history,” owner Jim Crane said last November at the annual owners’ meetings. “And we hope someday he's a Hall of Famer.”

    Altuve also became a lightning rod for opposing fans and media during the team’s sign-stealing scandal in recent years.

    Standing just 5-foot-6, Altuve beat the odds just to be signed out of Venezuela in 2007.

    Altuve, 33, has been selected as an All-Star eight times and was the AL’s Most Valuable Player in 2017, when he won his third batting title in four years.

    In 1,668 career games – all with the Astros – Altuve has a .307 batting average and .834 OPS with 209 home runs and 293 stolen bases.

    Some of Altuve’s most memorable moments, however, have come during Houston’s recent play-off runs.

    Altuve’s 27 career post-season home runs and 89 runs scored both rank second all-time.

    Altuve will be 39 when his new extension runs out, at which point he will be the first second baseman to make over $300million in career salary, according to ESPN’s Alden Gonzalez.

     

  • Orioles acquire All-Star right-hander Burnes from Brewers Orioles acquire All-Star right-hander Burnes from Brewers

    The Baltimore Orioles made a major move to upgrade their rotation Thursday, reaching a deal with the Milwaukee Brewers to acquire former Cy Young Award winner Corbin Burnes for a package of prospects.

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    Burnes, who is a free agent after the 2024 season, went 10-8 with a 3.39 ERA and 200 strikeouts in 193 2/3 innings last season to help the Brewers win the NL Central title.

    In 2022, he topped the NL with 243 strikeouts in 202 innings while going 12-8 with a 2.94 ERA.

    Heading to Milwaukee in the deal are left-hander D.L. Hall, infielder Joey Ortiz and the 34th pick in the 2024 draft.

    Hall went 3-0 with a 3.26 ERA in 18 relief appearances last season and made his only major league start in 2022. Hall, 25, has spent most of his minor league career as a starter and has struck out 42 over 33 innings with 11 walks in 29 career appearances in the majors.

    Ortiz, 25, made his major league debut last season and batted .212 with no home runs and four RBIs in 15 games.

    A highly regarded defender, Ortiz could start in the Brewers’ infield this season, and could take over at shortstop in 2025 if incumbent Willy Adames leaves via free agency. Ortiz spent time at shortstop, second and third base for the Orioles.

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    He joins a rotation with Kyle Bradish and Grayson Rodriguez – who had the third-best ERAs, respectively, among AL pitchers in the second half.

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    Rubinstein is reportedly set to be the control person of the new Orioles' ownership group. He is a Baltimore native and the co-founder and chairman of the private equity firm the Carlyle Group.

    Major League Baseball’s other owners will receive the official details of the sale at the annual owners' meeting next week. There reportedly isn’t a timetable for the deal to be completed.

    According to one report, the deal will be structured to give the new owners 40 percent of the team, with the sale of the remaining stake to come following the death of patriarch Peter Angelos. Angelos, who purchased the Orioles in 1993 as the leader of a group that paid $40 million, he reportedly been incapacitated for years by an illness.

    The Orioles are coming of the franchise’s best regular season in over four decades after winning the American League East with 101 wins before falling to the eventual champion Texas Rangers in the AL Division Series. They still boast the No. 1 prospect in baseball in Jackson Holliday and arguably the strongest farm system.

    That success came despite Baltimore having the second-smallest payroll in baseball, and the team only added veteran reliever Craig Kimbrel on a one-year contract in the offseason.

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