NEW ROTOWORLD BETA SITE

Nathan Grimm

Baseball Daily Dose

print article archives RSS

Daily Dose: Champagne Tastes

Sunday, September 23, 2018


It's a blueprint that's all too familiar these days, but one still requiring plenty of right moves and some good fortune to pull off.

 

Burn it all down.

 

Cast a wide net for good, young, cost-controlled talent.

 

Reap the benefits.

 

The Braves endured some low times in recent years as they executed step one and two, and on Saturday they enjoyed the realization of step three when they clinched the National League East title with a 5-3 win over the Phillies. The division win is their first since 2013, which is also the last time they appeared in the postseason.

 

"You sit back sometimes and wonder what this is going to feel like," Braves manager Brian Snitker, making his first postseason as the club's skipper, said. "When I was here as a third-base coach and we won the division or the Wild Card, it was great. You wonder as a manager how it would feel, and it's even better than I had anticipated."

 

Making it even more notable was the fact that many of the key players on this year's team were acquired as part of the teardown that took place in the years prior. Starting center fielder Ender Inciarte and starting shortstop Dansby Swanson were acquired in the Shelby Miller trade in December 2015. Headlining starters Sean Newcomb and Mike Foltynewicz were part of returns for Andrelton Simmons and Evan Gattis, respectively.

 

Of course, the team had to find some gems on the free agent and international market as well, and they did that, too. Ozzie Albies and Ronald Acuna Jr. were acquired in consecutive July 2 international signings. Anibal Sanchez, who put up a 3.01 ERA and 1.09 WHIP in 22 starts, signed a minor league contract in March after being released earlier in spring by the Twins.

 

While their fate is not sealed in either direction -- they're three games behind the Cubs for the top spot in the NL, and just one game ahead of the Dodgers for home-field advantage in a potential playoff series -- the players enjoyed themselves Saturday and will lean heavily on Sanchez, one of those deft additions, Sunday as they prepare for October for the first time in a long time.

 

"When I walked in the clubhouse after the first few days of Spring Training, you could tell we had the talent," Freeman said. "We still had to wait for a few guys to get here. They got here and they made a huge impact. Ronald Acuna Jr. and Ozzie Albies. They're 20 and 21 years old. They get to walk into winning. That's awesome. Hopefully, we can continue it for a long time."

 

Yanks Clinch Spot Playing in October

 

The Yankees' road back to October was shorter, but certainly not without its challenges as well.

 

Contending with the best team Major League Baseball has seen in some years, the Red Sox, and a team in the Rays that has a better record than most teams in either league, the Yanks clinched a spot in the postseason Saturday with a walk-off win over the Orioles. The 3-2 win in 11 innings guarantees the club at least a spot in the one-game Wild Card in the AL.

 

"It's a privilege to get an opportunity to play postseason baseball and have an opportunity to chase the ultimate prize. We have that opportunity now," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. "There's going to be [20] other teams going home, so I think it's really important that we appreciate it and never take it for granted."

 

Like the Braves, the Yankees got back to the postseason with strong moves -- some obvious, some under the radar -- and homegrown talent. Late-season trades for Luke Voit and J.A. Happ helped the team down the stretch, while major offseason acquisition Giancarlo Stanton has helped the team lead the majors in homers. On the homegrown side, Miguel Andujar, Aaron Judge and Luis Severino were among those playing major roles in the team's success this season.

 

The Yanks will likely meet the Athletics in the Wild Card Game, making the October visit a short one for one of the clubs. But they've been as battle-tested as anyone in a top-heavy AL East.

 

Musgrove Done for Year With Ab Strain

 

Joe Musgrove's season began with him on the shelf, and it will end that way as well after the Pirates shut down the right-hander on Saturday.

 

Musgrove, it was announced by the team, will miss the rest of the year with a stress reaction on the front of his pelvic bone and an abdominal wall muscle strain.

 

"Over the course of the last two months, it's kind of just gotten progressively worse," Musgrove said. "With two starts left to go in the season, I don't feel like I'm at the point where I can't go out and pitch. But it is bothering me. It is affecting my delivery a little bit."

 

Especially given that his delivery was impacted, it was a strong first year for the right-hander in Pittsburgh. Musgrove finishes the season with a 4.06 ERA, 1.18 WHIP and 100/23 K/BB ratio over 19 starts.

 

Nick Kingham will start in Musgrove's place Sunday against the Brewers and next week against the Reds. As far as Musgrove, he'll return in 2019 looking to make an even bigger impact for the Bucs.

 

National League Quick Hits: Lorenzo Cain (intercostal) grounded out as a pinch-hitter in Saturday's game against the Pirates. Cain hadn't played in a game since Tuesday after tweaking an intercostal muscle, so it was a good sign that he felt well enough to get in an at-bat. After the game he offered even more good news, saying, "I plan on being in there tomorrow. Everything's going good right now" ... Jose Urena exited Saturday's start against the Yankees due to a tight right IT Band. That's the side of his right thigh, in layman terms. Urena was very strong before the injury, posting 5 2/3 scoreless innings against the Reds, and he said he doesn't expect the issue to force him to miss his final scheduled start of the year Friday against the Mets. "Yeah, we'll take care of that, do a little treatment and I'll be ready" ... Kolten Wong (hamstring) was not in the Cardinals' starting lineup on Saturday against the Giants. Wong was lifted from Friday night's game due to cramping in his hamstring and sat out on Saturday as a precautionary measure. Yairo Munoz started in his place at second base ... Trevor Williams struck out seven batters while tossing six shutout innings to beat the Brewers on Saturday. He sprinkled four hits and a walk in his outing and has not allowed a run over 12 innings in his last two starts. He improves to 14-9 with a marvelous 3.04 ERA and 1.15 WHIP in 30 starts. The 26-year-old right-hander doesn't garner a ton of strikeouts but he keeps the ball in the yard. He has a 122:52 strikeout-to-walk ratio with 15 homers allowed in 165 2/3 innings.

 

American League Quick Hits: White Sox manager Rick Renteria said Saturday that he's not ruling out Jose Abreu (thigh) not making it back this season. "He's got a pretty significant healing process he's got going on with that thigh right now," Renteria said. Abreu was hospitalized earlier this week with a serious infection in his right thigh, and with just nine games left in the season it sounds like time may be working against him. Even if he does get back, it'll likely only be for a game or two at this point ... Mookie Betts remained out of the Red Sox' starting lineup on Saturday. Betts has been battling through a side injury, and now with the division officially wrapped up they'll give him an extra day or two to rest and heal up for the postseason ... Felix Hernandez (hamstring) said the current plan is for him to pitch Wednesday at Safeco Field. Felix has been sidelined since September 8 with a low-grade hamstring strain, but apparently his bullpen session Friday went well enough that he's ready to return. The start will be his last of 2018, and he'll have one more year at $27 million left on his deal before he and the Mariners potentially have some tough emotional decisions to make about the future ... Jose Altuve went 3-for-4 with a homer, two RBI and a walk in the Astros' 10-5 win over the Angels on Saturday. 14 of the 15 runs in the game came in the eighth inning, with the Angels taking a 5-1 lead in the top of the frame and the Astros bouncing back with a nine spot afterwards. Altuve's homer off Blake Parker was his third in two weeks and 13th of the year. The Astros are now just three wins away from 100 ... Mike Clevinger surrendered two runs in five innings and did not factor into the decision against the Red Sox on Saturday. He notched six strikeouts and now has 202 for the season, making him the fourth Indians pitcher to reach 200 this season -- the first time any team has ever done that. He is 12-8 with a 3.07 ERA in 31 starts.



Nathan Grimm is a baseball writer for Rotoworld. He can also be found on Twitter (@Nate_Grimm).
Email :Nathan Grimm



Highest Searched Players over the last 7 days



Video Center

  •  
    Player News: Week 15

    Player News: Week 15
  •  
    Dose: Chargers Shocks Chiefs

    Dose: Chargers Shocks Chiefs
  •  
    DFS Analysis: Cooper, Martin

    DFS Analysis: Cooper, Martin
  •  
    Dose: Wentz Questionable

    Dose: Wentz Questionable
  •  
    Dose: Conner Back for Wk 15?

    Dose: Conner Back for Wk 15?
  •  
    Dose: Ekeler in Doubt

    Dose: Ekeler in Doubt
  •  
    NBA Waivers: Melton, Burks

    NBA Waivers: Melton, Burks
  •  
    Dose: Kittle explodes vs. DEN

    Dose: Kittle explodes vs. DEN