MLB

Schwarber hits two home runs in the Phillies' extra-innings loss, Trout delivers for the Angels

By Sports Desk September 25, 2022

Philadelphia Phillies slugger Kyle Schwarber hit his 41st and 42nd home runs of the season in his side's 9-8 loss against the Atlanta Braves on Sunday.

Schwarber connected on his first of the day as the Phillies' very first batter, and he did it again with his next at-bat in the third inning for a pair of solo shots. He is second in the league in home runs, trailing only Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees.

While the Phillies got two RBIs from their lead-off hitter, the Braves got three from theirs, with Dansby Swanson leading the way for Atlanta offensively.

Swanson finished three-for-six, including a massive 417-foot two-run home run in the fourth inning to turn a 4-3 deficit into a 5-4 lead.

After a pair of sacrifice-flies from Phillies Bryce Harper and Alec Bohm in the fifth inning, William Contreras tied things at 6-6 in the eighth inning when he came home to score on a wild pitch, sending the game to extra innings.

In extras, after a scoreless 10th inning, hits to rising stars Ronald Acuna Jr and Michael Harris II drove in a run each, and the Phillies were only able to claw one back.

Braves reliever Jackson Stephens was credited with the win after pitching both extra innings, striking out three batters and allowing one unearned run.

Trout goes deep in Angels win

Mike Trout's strong season continued in the Los Angeles Angels' 10-3 win against the Minnesota Twins, hitting his ninth home run of September.

Trout, who is now tied for the fourth-most home runs in the league with 37, finished three-for-four at the plate and scored three times, highlighted by a 416-foot bomb to left-field.

Fellow Angels star Shohei Ohtani also had a strong outing, collecting two hits and an RBI from five at-bats, while Jose Suarez took the win on the mound with two earned runs in five-and-two-thirds innings.

Javier pitches a gem for the Astros

Houston Astros starting pitcher Cristian Javier gave up only one hit in his six innings against the Baltimore Orioles to help his side to a 6-3 road victory.

Javier had a perfect game through four-and-a-third innings before allowing his sole hit of the contest, quickly following it with a double-play to end the inning. That hit was the only baserunner he allowed as he also finished with no walks, and he lowered his ERA for the season down to 2.65.

The Astros are the only team with three starting pitchers who all boast ERAs under 2.70, with American League Cy Young Award favourite Justin Verlander leading the league at 1.82, while the league-leader in quality starts, Framber Valdez, is at 2.69.

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    The Texas Rangers have not been shy about spending money recently, and that continued Friday as they agreed to a five-year, $185million contract with two-time Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom.

    DeGrom, who has spent his entire nine-year career with the New York Mets, is perhaps the most dominant pitcher in baseball when healthy.

    His career 2.52 ERA ranks third in the expansion era (since 1961) behind Los Angeles Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw (2.48) and Hall-of-Famer Sandy Koufax (2.19) among those with at least 200 starts.

    "We are thrilled that Jacob deGrom has decided to become a Texas Ranger," executive vice president and general manager Chris Young said in a statement.

    "Over a number of seasons, Jacob has been a standout major league pitcher, and he gives us a dominant performer at the top of our rotation. One of our primary goals this offseason is to strengthen our starting pitching, and we are adding one of the best."

    This blockbuster move comes just before baseball's winter meetings, which begin early next week in San Diego. The Rangers said deGrom will be introduced in a news conference at Globe Life Field next week following the winter meetings.

    "It fits in so many ways in terms of what we need," Young said. "He's a tremendous person. I have a number of close friends and teammates who played with Jacob and love him. I think he's going to be just a perfect fit for our clubhouse and our fans."

    DeGrom, however, has been limited to 26 starts and 156-and-a-third innings over the past two seasons due to elbow, forearm and shoulder blade injuries. He compiled a career-low 1.08 ERA over 92 innings in 2021, but did not pitch after July 7 that year because of arm trouble.

    "We acknowledge the risk, but we also acknowledge that in order to get great players, there is a risk and a cost associated with that," Young said. "And one we feel like is worth taking with a player of Jacob's caliber."

    The Rangers have spent nearly $761m in free agency over the past year, including massive contracts last offseason to shortstop Corey Seager ($325m, 10 years) and second baseman Marcus Semien ($175m, seven years). The moves didn’t pay off, though, as they finished 68-94 for their sixth consecutive losing season.

    Texas responded by hiring three-time World Series champion Bruce Bochy as their new manager in October.

    DeGrom didn’t make his season debut this past season until August, and went 5-4 with a 3.08 ERA in 11 starts. After helping the Mets reach the playoffs, he passed up a $30.5m salary for 2023 and opted out his contract to become a free agent for the first time.

    DeGrom won consecutive Cy Young Awards in 2018 and 2019 and is 82-57 with 1,607 strikeouts in 1,326 innings over nine big league seasons.

  • Slugger Abreu joins champion Astros on three-year $58.5m deal Slugger Abreu joins champion Astros on three-year $58.5m deal

    The reigning World Series champion Houston Astros have struck quickly to fill one of their few glaring needs after agreeing to a reported three-year contract with 2020 American League MVP Jose Abreu.

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    The 35-year-old first baseman was named the AL’s top player during the coronavirus-shortened 2020 campaign after batting .317 with 19 home runs and an MLB-leading 60 RBIs in 60 games that season.

    Though his home run total dipped from 30 in 2021 to 15 this past season, Abreu finished fifth in the AL in both batting average (.304) and on-base percentage (.378) after drawing a career-high 62 walks. Abreu also recorded the lowest strikeout rate of his MLB career at 16.2 per cent in 2022.

    Abreu’s addition makes it unlikely the team will re-sign incumbent first baseman Yuli Gurriel, who struggled to a .242 average and a .647 OPS this past season and turned 38 in June.

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  • 'It's out of my price range' – Aaron Judge rules out $3million-plus auction bid for 62nd home run ball 'It's out of my price range' – Aaron Judge rules out $3million-plus auction bid for 62nd home run ball

    Aaron Judge is resigned to being an intrigued observer when the ball he struck for a record-breaking 62nd home run goes up for auction – declaring he cannot afford to join the bidding race.

    The 30-year-old set a single-season Yankees and AL home-run record by reaching 62 to surpass Roger Maris Sr's 61 – set 61 years ago in 1961.

    Judge became the fourth major league player to hit 62 or more homers in a single season, and his feat belongs in baseball legend, making the ball that saw him set the record on October 4 especially valuable.

    It occurred at the home of the Texas Rangers in Arlington, with the spectator at Globe Life Field that caught the ball striking lucky by guaranteeing himself an apparent fortune.

    According to ESPN, that man, Cory Youmans, decided to put the ball in the hands of Goldin Auctions "after weeks of a lot of deep conversations" with his wife and lawyer.

    Youmans said: "It seems fair in the sense it gives anyone that is interested and has the means the opportunity to own it. As a fan, I'm curious to see what it's worth, who buys it and what they do with it."

    Youmans is said to have already turned down $3million for the ball, with his lawyer, Dave Baron, suspecting the final selling price could be "significantly higher based on New York, the New York fan base and how crazy it could get at an auction".

    That rules Judge out of contention, as he said the ball is "out of my price range right now".

    The ball is listed with a starting bid of $1million, with the auction due to get under way on November 30.

    Judge said of the seller's choice: "He caught the ball, he's the one that made the play out there in left field, so it's his right to do what he wants with it. Hopefully he's making the right decision for him and his family.''

    The ball's value will not have been harmed by Judge winning the AL Most Valuable Player (MVP) award ahead of Los Angeles Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani on Thursday.

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