Note: This entry covers just the last weekend of the 2017 season. I’ll be spouting off on the entire JML season in greater detail in the days ahead.
Well, this was a letdown. Only three JMLs participated in their teams’ final games on Sunday: Max Fried, Joc Pederson, and Alex Bregman.
Fried started the game for the Atlanta Braves. He pitched — mixed. On the one hand, he struck out seven batters in just 4.1 innings. On the other hand, he pitched just 4.1 innings, giving up four runs on six hits. But just two of those were earned and the Braves (72-90, third in the NL East) beat the host Miami Marlins, 8-4. But Because Fried threw just 4.1 innings, he did not qualify for the win. He was 0-for-2 at the plate. P.S. Giancarlo Stanton did not homer in the finale, so he ended the season with 59. Kudos just the same.
Pederson entered the game for the LA Dodgers (104-58, first in the NL West) in their 6-3 win over the host Colorado Rockies as a defensive replacement in the bottom of the third. He had pair of RBI doubles in three-at bats.
Bregman was a pinch-runner in a 4-3 Houston Astros (101-61, first in the AL West) win over the host Boston Red Sox. He was 0-for-2 as he stayed in the game for the DH, Carlos Beltran. On Thursday, Bregman singled, doubled, and homered (#19 to tie Ian Kinsler for most among MOTs), driving in all three of the Astros’ runs in their 3-2 win. He was o-for-4 in a 6-3 loss but in his last seven games, Bregman was 12-for-31 (.387) with three home runs and 11 RBI. Fun fact: These two teams ended the regular campaign with a four-game series and will now play each other in the first round of the post-season, setting up the possibility for nine straight games. I’m guessing that’s never happened before in pro-sports.
As for those who did not appear:
- Ian Kinsler did not appear for the Detroit Tigers (64-98, last in the AL Central and tied for the worst record in MLB; the worst team gets the first pick in the following year’s amateur draft, so it will probably be a coin flip) in their 6-4 loss to the host Minnesota Twins. That’s because outgoing skipper Brad Ausmus named him “manager for a day,” a practice sometimes given as a show of respect for veterans. Kinsler’s last game as a player came in Friday’s 6-3 loss in which he was 1-for-4 with a run scored and a walk. Also worth noting: Kinsler reached 600 plate appearances, so his option for 2018 kicks in. Don’t know what that means as far as where he’ll actually be playing . (Bonus Fun Fact: on Saturday, Andy Romine became the fifth Major Leaguer to play all nine positions in a single game. Makes for an interesting line in the box score.)
- Kevin Pillar had a great reason for missing the last three games for the Toronto Blue Jays (76-86, fourth in the AL East): the birth of his child. The Jays dropped two of three to the host NY Yankees.
- Ryan Braun, as the Milwaukee Brewers (86-76) beat the host St. Louis Cardinals, 6-1. He doubled twice in five at-bats the previous night in a 7-6 loss, driving in a run. On Thursday, Braun was hitless in four trips to the plate, grounding into two double plays in a 5-3 win. The Brewers just missed a wild card slot, finishing second in the NL Central.
- Ryan Sherriff appeared for the Cardinals (83-79, third in the NL Central) in that one. He picked up his second win of the year, tossing one scoreless inning, giving up a hit, and striking out one. Sherriff did not pitch on Thursday.
- Richard Bleier threw 1.2 innings of scoreless relief on Friday in the Baltimore Orioles’ 4-3 loss to the host Tampa Bay Rays. Bleier gave up a hit and struck out one for the O’s, who finished last in the AL East with a record of 75-87. That outing was enough to push his ERA to 1.99.
- Danny Valencia missed the Seattle Mariners’ 6-2 loss to the host LA Angels. He was 0-for-3 with a walk in their 6-5 loss on Friday and did not not appear in Saturday’s 6-4 win. The Mariners finished 78-84, tied for third in the AL West.
- Craig Breslow did not appear for the Cleveland Indians (102-60, first in the AL Central) in their 3-1 in over the visiting Chicago White Sox. In fact. he did not pitch in any of the three final games. One has to wonder if he has a place on the post-season roster.
- Ausmus got his fair share of criticism, but could he end up as the Mets manager next year? Stay tuned.