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pennant chase

AL Pennant Chase: injury impact

Encarnacion, Sanchez latest to fall

When it comes to the 2019 Major League Baseball season, the Yankees have absolutely no sympathy for the injuries that have befallen other teams in the pennant chase. Not with the number of manpower games the Yankees have lost, and continue to lose, this season.

The Yankees came away with a doubleheader sweep of the Detroit Tigers on Thursday but lost more manpower in the process. It comes on the heels and calves and elbows of injuries that occurred earlier this week or for which reassessment hasn’t made things better.

Edwin Encarnacion walked the parrot in Game 1 of the double-dip with Detroit, but had to leave the game with a strained oblique. While the Yankees head to Toronto to begin a series with the Blue Jays, EE will be heading back to NYC to get further medical attention.

He won’t be alone though.

J.A. HappΒ started Game 1 and left in the 5th inning with a 4-2 lead. At the time it seemed like a quick trigger by Aaron Boone. But, wait…turns out Happ has been dealing with bicep tendinitis during his last few starts. Move over EE, Happ is going with you.

Why is Gary Sanchez trying to steal a base?

Everyone is wondering that after Sanchez had to leave the second game yesterday with yet another, or more precisely, re-aggravated groin injury. The Kraken might be powerful, but he’s weak in the loins. To make matters worse, Sanchez said the injury felt similar to the injury tat landed him on the IL in late July.

So, what was Aaron Boone thinking?

Somehow, after the games, reliever Tommy Kahnle smashed his hand on a plastic can of sunflower seeds and will be getting it checked out.


We thought things were bad enough when Tauchman hobbled off the field when he injured his calf last weekend in Boston. The “Sockman” is out six-to-eight weeks, which means we’re not likely to see him in the postseason either.

On top of that, centerfielder Aaron Hicks might still need to undergo Tommy John Surgery on his right elbow. At the very least, Hicks will be resting his elbow for the foreseeable future.

The news isn’t all bad for the Yankees, however, with the impending return of pitchers Luis Severino and Jordan Montgomery in the coming week. May they stay healthy…forever.

So, who’s healthy among the pennant chase contenders and who’s not? Here’s a look.

AL East Pennant Chase

Tampa Bay Rays: The Rays entered Thursday’s play as the #1 wild card leader in the American League. They’re in that position without the services of reigning AL Cy Young winner Blake Snell.

Snell threw 24 pitches in a rehab start last Saturday in an attempt to return from July surgery that saw him have “loose bodies” removed from his left elbow.

The Rays thought they would be without the services of rookie second baseman Brandon Lowe for the remainder of the season with a quad injury. However, there’s renewed hope that Lowe could be a factor if the Rays make the playoffs due to the good progress he’s made in rehab.

The versatile player – he has seen time in the outfield as well – posted a .276/.339/.523 slash line before going on the injured list on July 3rd.

The Rays also lost corner infielder Yandy Diaz, who was starting to come into his own and had shown great power potential. He put up an .823 OPS in 78 games. Initially diagnosed with a bone bruise, further testing revealed that Diaz had actually fractured his foot and will miss all of September.

The one ray of hope for Tampa was this week’s return of pitcher Tyler Glasnow, who had been sidelined since mid-May with a strained forearm.

AL Central Pennant Chase

The Cleveland Indians were as hot as any team after the All-Star break and had even surpassed the Minnesota Twins for the AL Central lead. Losses and injuries derailed the Tribe’s winning ways and now has them on the outside of the wild card race.

As of this writing, Cleveland sat a half-game back of the Oakland Athletics for the second wild card spot.

The Indians saw major stars run into major trouble throughout the year. Former Cy Young winner Corey Kluber was a shell of his former self through his first seven starts this season. His year then ended prematurely when a comebacker off of the bat of the Marlins’ Brian Anderson hit and broke his right elbow.

The Indians thought they would get Kluber back by season’s end, but that’s not likely after he strained an oblique during an August rehab assignment.

Fellow starterΒ Carlos Carrasco received even more life-altering news…a diagnosis of Leukemia. The hard-throwing right-hander rejoined the team when the rosters expanded on September 1st after sitting out since early June. He’s made five relief appearances since his return and picked up a win on Wednesday night.

Jose Ramirez‘ first-half offensive output was offensive to say the least. One of the leading AL MVP candidates last season, Ramirez registered a .602 OPS on June 20th. Ramirez then heated up with the Summer.

From July 1st through August 23, the switch-hitter laced 77 hits in 178 at-bats (.432), with 15 home runs, 19 doubles, and a triple. He slugged .803 and easily topped a 1.000 OPS.

It’s bad enough to break a bone in your hand by a pitch, but Ramirez went down with a broken hamate bone just swinging the bat. At the minimum, he won’t be back until the first week of October.

Twin Killing

Except for brief slide that saw them drop out of first place for a short time, the Twins have kicked heinie in the AL Central. They’ll have to do it without star centerfielder Byron Buxton for the remainder of the season.

In the midst of his best season at the plate – .262/.314/.513 – and providing his usual Gold Glove-caliber defense, Buxton was placed on the Injured List with a shoulder issue. Upon further examination, a torn labrum was found and season-ending surgery was performed.

AL West Pennant Chase

The Houston Astros are running away with the AL West, but their bullpen is short-handed due to a plethora of injuries. Brad Peacock (right shoulder discomfort; return unknown), Ryan Pressley (knee surgery; out four-to-six weeks) and Colin McHugh (right elbow discomfort; return unknown) are all currently on the IL.

The team also lost starter Aaron Sanchez, who they picked up from Toronto at the trade deadline. The always-promising right-hander will undergo season-ending shoulder surgery.

The Astros announced good news for injury-prone shortstop Carlos Correa – the start of a rehab assignment early next week.. The young All-Star has missed over 70 games this season and is currently out with back pain.

Suck it up AL contenders, you’ll get no sympathy from me. The Yankees have enough of their own problems in the pennant chase.