The Twins fell 6-2 in 11 innings to their chaser in the AL Central last night, yet they remain 5 1/2 games ahead of the Indians for the division crown. Minnesota is just 6-8 head-to-head against their eastern rival with five matchups remaining, all in the next ten days. More troublesome to the Twins, they may be without Nelson Cruz for at least these next couple showdowns. Cruz exited the ballgame in the tenth inning with wrist soreness, but he’s being listed as day-to-day, per MLB.com’s Do-Hyoung Park (via Twitter). Cruz carries an MVP-caliber bat when he’s healthy, arguably the best DH in the game with a .305/.385/.631 mark that pairs nicely with his traditional counting stats of 35 home runs and 92 RBIs. The wrist has been an issue for Cruz, however, as it’s already landed him on the IL twice. He was diagnosed with a ruptured ECU tendon back in March, but manager Rocco Baldelli insists the injury is nothing significant, tweets The Athletic’s Dan Hayes. Even minor injuries can have significant impact this time of year, of course, so let’s check in on a couple of injury scares for Minnesota’s potential dance partner in the upcoming ALDS.
- Yuli Gurriel’s thunderous second half in Houston should return after just a brief interlude. The Astros first baseman left yesterday’s game with left hamstring discomfort, but he is considered day-to-day, per Mark Berman of Fox Houston. After authoring marks of .277/.314/.482 in the first half that fell just far enough below his career averages to spark fears of age-based decline for the 35-year-old, Yuli came out with a blistering second half: .351/.409/.660, pulling his overall productivity mark up to 135 wRC+, the 23rd highest mark in the majors. Gurriel’s leveling up paired with the arrival of Yordan Alvarez has made an already-strong Astros lineup certifiable.
- In a separate tweet, Berman provides video of George Springer taking batting practice and having himself a time. This should be a welcome sight for the Houston faithful, who saw Springer suffer a mild concussion while colliding into the wall Tuesday night. It’s been a career year for Springer in this, his age-28 season, as he’s put up his most complete season to date with a line of .297/.389/.573. His 155 wRC+ pegs him as the 7th most-productive hitter in the majors this season, joining four of his Houston brethren in the top-25 among qualified hitters (Alvarez doesn’t yet qualify). From the looks of it, Springer should return to the Houston lineup shortly.