It turns out the Rocky Mountains are a suitable habitat for a polar bear in late September. Mets’ rookie sensation Pete Alonso clobbered his major league-leading 49th home run of the season and also drew a go-ahead bases-loaded walk in the ninth inning to lift New York to an eventual 7-4 victory over the Rockies on Wednesday. The 24-year-old slugger capitalized on the late-season road trip to the high-octane offensive environment that is Coors Field, blasting a pair of homers in the three-game series, to tie Mark McGwire for the second-most homers by a rookie in baseball history. He’s only three round-trippers behind Yankees’ superstar Aaron Judge, who set the single-season rookie home run record with 52 big flies back in 2017. We’ve simply run out of superlatives to describe his unprecedented campaign. He owns a robust .266/.366/.590 triple-slash line with 95 runs scored and 113 RBI in 648 plate appearances. With the victory, the Mets remain within striking distance in the senior circuit’s playoff picture. They’re only three games out of the second Wild Card spot thanks to losses by the Cubs and Brewers on Wednesday evening. It’s going to take a herculean effort to get New York into the postseason, but at this point, do you really want to bet against Alonso? I didn’t think so.
Suarez Sets Sights On Home Run Crown
The term “underrated” gets thrown around too casually these days, but it’s not unreasonable to suggest that Reds’ slugger Eugenio Suarez has quietly blossomed into an upper-echelon, four-category fantasy monster and one of the most underrated power hitters of his generation. Over the last two seasons, only Mike Trout (84 homers) has left the yard more often than Suarez, who has gone deep a whopping 82 times during that span. The 28-year-old third baseman continued his career-long dominance of Cubs’ starter Jon Lester, launching a solo homer -- his 48th round-tripper of the year -- off the veteran left-hander in the fourth inning of Wednesday night’s contest to surpass the legendary Andres Galarraga, who launched 47 homers for the Rockies back in 1996, for the most homers in a single-season by a Venezuelan born player. He’s enjoyed a remarkable second half, going deep an absurd 28 times in 63 games since the All-Star break. Thanks to his second-half power surge, he trails Mets’ rookie sensation Pete Alonso by a single homer for the major-league lead this season. With only nine games remaining on the Reds’ schedule, Suarez and Alonso will go head-to-head in a three-game series, which kicks off in Cincinnati on Friday. You can’t script this stuff, folks.
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Marte’s Mammoth Breakout Campaign Halted
Diamondbacks’ offensive catalyst Ketel Marte is reportedly dealing with lower back inflammation, which could potentially sideline him for the remainder of the 2019 season. He was held out of Arizona’s starting lineup for their series finale against the Marlins on Wednesday after undergoing an MRI and will reportedly undergo a CT scan on Thursday to make sure there is no structural damage.
“It’s actually been something that’s been bothering me for the past two months,” Marte told reporters on Wednesday. “The decision (whether to return this year) isn’t really up to me, but the objective is to not make things worse. There are only nine games left in the year. Of course, the confidence is there to be able to come back, but the main objective is to be careful and not re-aggravate it.”
The versatile 25-year-old slugger has played all over the diamond, starting games at second base, shortstop and center field this season. He entered Wednesday’s slate of game leading the senior circuit in hits (187) and multi-hit games (59). He’s recorded a sublime .329/.389/.592 triple-slash line and established career-highs in runs scored (97), home runs (32) and RBI (92). He also chipped in 10 stolen bases for good measure. According to Baseball-Reference, Marte is one of only three hitters to post a .300 batting average while also compiling at least 30 homers and 10 steals this season. Christian Yelich and Cody Bellinger are the only other hitters to accomplish the feat. The Diamondbacks haven’t been officially eliminated from playoff contention, but they’re currently four and a half games behind the Cubs and Brewers for the final Wild Card spot with only nine games remaining on their schedule. Fantasy owners will likely receive additional clarity on his status Thursday, but it’s difficult to be optimistic about his chances to return this year.
Friends In Lowe Places
Brandon Lowe (leg) took four at-bats in an instructional league game on Tuesday and could potentially return to the Rays’ lineup next week. The latest development is rather unexpected, considering that Rays’ manager Kevin Cash announced last month that Lowe would miss the remainder of the 2019 regular season after suffering a quad strain while playing in a minor league rehab game. Clearly, the 25-year-old infielder has made swift progress and barring another setback, could return to Tampa Bay’s active roster for the final week of the regular season. He’s recorded a .276/.339/.523 triple-slash line with 40 runs scored, 16 home runs, 49 RBI, five stolen bases in 307 plate appearances before originally going on the injured list with a deep shin contusion back on July 3.
AL Quick Hits: Mookie Betts (foot) and J.D. Martinez (groin) remained out of the Red Sox’ starting lineup on Wednesday … Indians manager Terry Francona told reporters that Brad Hand “looked like himself” in a bullpen session on Wednesday …Yuli Gurriel and Jose Altuve left the yard in the Astros’ narrow victory over the Rangers … Gerrit Cole recorded 10 strikeouts over eight innings in that contest to surpass the lofty 300-strikeout threshold on the year … Homer Bailey struck out 11 batters over seven scoreless frames in a no-decision against the Royals … Danny Duffy reeled off seven shutout innings in a no-decision against the Athletics … Aaron Judge scorched a two-run homer in the Yankees’ loss to the Angels … Randal Grichuk clobbered a go-ahead grand slam in the ninth inning to power the Blue Jays to a comeback win over the Orioles … Jonathan Villar went 3-for-6 with a solo homer and a stolen base -- his 36th theft of the year -- in the losing effort … Kyle Lewis blasted his fifth homer in eight games to navigate the Mariners by the Pirates … Rafael Devers crushed his 30th round-tripper of the season in the Red Sox’ blowout loss to the Giants … Jake Odorizzi fanned nine batters over 5 2/3 innings of two-run ball in a loss to the White Sox … Aaron Civale allowed one run over 7 2/3 in a no-decision against the Tigers … Austin Meadows socked his 32nd homer in the Rays’ victory over the Dodgers in extra-innings … Tommy Pham went 5-for-6 with two RBI and three runs scored in that contest … J.A. Happ (biceps) will make his next start on Friday against the Blue Jays … Mike Fiers (arm) said he expects to start Friday against the Rangers … Franmil Reyes (personal) remained out of the Indians’ lineup on Wednesday … Royals have shut down Jakob Junis for the remainder of the season … Blake Treinen will miss the rest of the season due to a stress reaction in his back … Luis Rengifo will miss the remainder of the year due to a fractured hamate bone in his left hand … David Price (wrist) has been officially shut down for the remainder of the 2019 season …Joey Gallo is heading back to Dallas to have his wrist re-evaluated. It’s extremely unlikely that he will return this season … Chris Sale (elbow) is hoping to begin a throwing program early in the offseason.
NL Quick Hits: Miguel Rojas has agreed to a two-year contract extension with the Marlins. The deal also includes a team option for the 2022 campaign … Cubs manager Joe Maddon told reporters on Wednesday that Craig Kimbrel (elbow) is “on target” to be activated soon … Starling Marte (wrist) and Josh Bell (groin) remained out of the Pirates’ starting lineup on Wednesday … Justin Turner (ankle) was held out of the Dodgers’ starting lineup again on Wednesday. He’s been out since September 7 due to a sprained ankle … Rich Hill (knee) is planning to pitch in relief for the Dodgers next Tuesday in San Diego … Dinelson Lamet recorded a career-high 14 strikeouts over six innings in a win over the Brewers … Keston Hiura swatted a solo homer in the losing effort … Cody Bellinger crushed his 45th round-tripper in the Dodgers’ loss to the Rays in extra innings … Bryce Harper popped a two-run homer and stole a base in the Phillies’ win over the Braves … Sam Hilliard launched a pair of solo homers in the Rockies’ loss to the Mets … Christian Walker went 2-for-4 with a homer and two runs scored to lead the Diamondbacks past the Marlins … Adam Wainwright allowed an unearned run over seven innings in a win over the Nationals … Max Scherzer whiffed 11 batters, but was tagged for five runs and saddled with a loss in that contest … Stephen Vogt went 1-for-4 with a two-run homer and four RBI in the Giants’ rout of the Red Sox.