Some nights, the stars align. Others, they go down.
Such was the case Wednesday, where Matt Kemp and Troy Tulowitzki both suffered injuries that appear to have them DL-bound.
For Kemp, it was an aggravation of the hamstring ailment that held him out from May 13-29. It’s a serious blow for the 32-18 Dodgers, and an even bigger one for Kemp’s MVP chances.
If Kemp lands on the disabled list for the second time in three weeks, it will happen after he didn’t spend so much as a day on the shelf from 2008-11. It will also mean Los Angeles will be back to playing defensive specialist Tony Gwynn Jr. in center field.
It's a distinct possibility Kemp will be sidelined more than the minimum 15 days. It’s fairly evident he came back too quickly the first time, and he admitted late Wednesday the pain is worse this time around.
Yes, it’s true the Dodgers were able to weather their superstar’s first absence — they went 9-5 — but nine of those games came at Dodger Stadium, where they are an absurd 21-8 this season. Beginning Friday, their next 10 games will be on the road, where they are a considerably more pedestrian 11-10.
The Dodgers have built a big enough cushion in the National League West (5.5 games) that Kemp’s injury will be far from a death knell, but things should be much tighter out West a month from now.
If you’re a Kemp owner, hope for the best, expect the worst and check for updates this afternoon.
The Travails of Tulo
Less than an hour after Kemp went down, Tulo pulled up lame with a strained left groin in Colorado’s rout of the Astros. The injury is tentatively expected to send him to the disabled list, though Tulo insisted Wednesday that wasn't a foregone conclusion.
Whereas injuries are a new phenomenon for Kemp, they’re old hat for Tulowitzki. Or at least that’s the perception.
Tulo missed 19 games last season, but actually hasn’t been sent to the disabled list since June 18, 2010, when he broke his wrist. Regardless, this will be the fourth DL-stint of Tulo’s seven-year career (if it happens, of course), and a particularly ill-timed one for the 20-29 Rockies.
A notorious second-half player, Tulo had been playing like he thought it was September of late, batting .406/.457/.875 to go along with four home runs, three doubles and 11 RBI in his past eight games coming into Wednesday.
Including Wednesday, the torrid hitting helped fuel a 5-4 run for the Rox, and put them in position to at least dream about one of their patented second-half sprints. As it is, now, though, a season that was going nowhere for a disappointing club may have already reached its destination.
End of the Line?
Tulo’s injury wasn’t the only news in Colorado Wednesday. Six hours earlier, Jamie Moyer — the oldest pitcher to ever win a game, as well as the oldest player to ever drive in a run — found out he was getting designated for assignment.
49 years and 185 days young, Moyer certainly saw the move coming. Averaging an absurd 77.4 miles per hour on his fastball — down from 80.2 in 2010 — Moyer had allowed at least six runs in four of his past five starts. Through 53 2/3 innings, he posted a 5.70 ERA, 1.73 WHIP and 36/18 K/BB ratio.
Even by the standards of Colorado’s rotation, those are unacceptable numbers.
Although it’s possible Moyer hasn’t thrown his final pitch — the Padres do still exist, after all — there’s a distinct possibility the curtains are closing on one of the longest and strangest careers in baseball history.
If Moyer is indeed done, consider:
As of late April, he had faced 8.9 percent of the players to ever play baseball. Major League Baseball, of course, has existed in its current form since 1903.
The Rockies, who played their first game on April 5, 1993, didn’t even exist until seven years after Moyer made his major-league debut.
Moyer has been a Major League Baseball player every day of my life. In fact, he threw a shutout the day I was born, August 16, 1986. Simply unbelievable.
For more Moyer facts, see here and here.
Parade of Pain
The Cardinals apparently prefer their bad news in threes. At least that’s how they got it Wednesday.
First, word came down that Jaime Garcia was dealing with “elbow discomfort,” and would be skipping his next start. Supposedly, an MRI came back negative, and Garcia will pitch on Tuesday.
“Supposedly” because “negative” is what two of Jon Jay’s (shoulder) MRIs were said to have read earlier this season...only now he’s being shut down again. At this point, we’ll be lucky to see the Chief Justice before July.
Which brings us to one of the men who have been manning center field in Jay’s absence, Skip Schumaker. Skip left Wednesday night’s game against the Braves with a pulled hamstring, and is expected to be placed on the disabled list this afternoon. The silver lining is that Allen Craig (hamstring) will be taking his roster spot.
Game Notes: Carlos Gonzalez hit three home runs. … Justin Smoak hit two, driving in six of the Mariners’ 21 runs in their 21-7 shellacking of the Rangers. Kyle Seager and Jesus Montero also had big nights. … Outfitted with a new pair of goggles, Freddie Freeman went 3-for-5 with a home run in his return to the lineup. … Francisco Liriano threw six innings of shutout ball. … Giancarlo Stanton homered...again. He went deep 12 times in May, driving in 30 runs in 29 games. … Darwin Barney (yes, that Darwin Barney) walked off the Cubs. … Edwin Encarnacion and David Ortiz kept homering. … Derek Holland went off the tracks. … Tim Lincecum appeared to get back on them.
American League Short Hops: Travis Hafner will be sidelined 4-6 weeks after undergoing knee surgery. … Doug Fister landed on the 15-day disabled list with an aggravation of his left side strain. He’s in danger of missing all of June. … Brandon Morrow is day-to-day after taking a line drive off his right shin. Don’t be surprised if he ends up missing at least one start. … Dustin Pedroia (thumb) will sit out through the weekend and be re-evaluated on Monday. … Nick Markakis (wrist) will meet with a hand specialist this afternoon. … Yoenis Cespedes (hand) is expected to return Friday. His teammate Brandon McCarthy (shoulder) will come off the DL Saturday. … Desmond Jennings (knee) will begin a rehab assignment today.
National League Short Hops: Secretive Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. let slip that Ryan Howard (Achilles) isn’t guaranteed to return before the All-Star break. … Howard’s teammate Roy Halladay got a second opinion on his strained right lat. … Strange things happened to Aroldis Chapman. … Jesus Flores (hamstring) hopes to return on Friday. … The Braves called up Andrelton Simmons and sent down Tyler Pastornicky.