As second-half postseason pushes (or, in some cases, collapses) are in full swing, here are three things the baseball world is looking at today…
1. Lorenzen’s historic night:
Michael Lorenzen is the talk of baseball after one-upping his gem of a Phillies debut (eight innings of two-run ball in Miami) with a no-hitter in his Citizens Bank Park debut last night. Lorenzen was wild early on but settled in and blanked the Nationals on 124 pitches — with his family in attendance (video link). Following the game, an emotional Lorenzen discussed the highlight of his career, noting how special it was to achieve that goal after years of questions about whether he can start and to do so in front of a ravenous new fan base that kept him going.
The Phillies have been rolling, with seven wins in their past ten games, moving into the top Wild Card spot in the National League. They’re still a massive 10.5 games back in the division and unlikely to close that gap in the remaining time on the schedule, but the manner in which Lorenzen has reinforced the rotation only further tightens Philadelphia’s grip on a postseason spot. FanGraphs gives the Phillies an 86% chance of reaching the postseason, while Baseball-Reference has them at 89.8%.
2. Crawford tested for concussion symptoms:
Mariners shortstop J.P. Crawford is undergoing testing for a possible concussion, manager Scott Servais announced last night (Twitter link via Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times). Crawford and third baseman Eugenio Suarez both charged a slow grounder off the bat of Xander Bogaerts in the fourth inning of last night’s game, which resulted in Crawford colliding sharply with Suarez’s shoulder as the latter fielded the grounder and managed to throw out Bogaerts in a close play (video link). Crawford was slow to his feet but remained in the game, but he wasn’t feeling well in the later innings, per Servais.
Crawford, 28, is enjoying the finest offensive season of his career, batting .266/.379/.411 with a personal best 10 home runs on the season already. His 14.8% walk rate is the seventh-best mark in all off baseball among qualified hitters, while that .379 OBP ranks 13th. Were Crawford to miss time, the Mariners would likely turn to rookie Jose Caballero or utilityman Dylan Moore for the majority of reps at shortstop. Seattle is currently riding MLB’s longest active win streak at eight games, and the M’s certainly don’t want any sort of extended absence for one of MLB’s top table-setters.
3. Will someone take a chance on Garcia?
Yankees righty Deivi Garcia, once one of the sport’s top-ranked pitching prospects, was designated for assignment earlier this week after years of struggles both in Triple-A (6.52 ERA in 214 innings) and the Majors (4.84 ERA in 48 1/3 innings). The 24-year-old Garcia ranked among the game’s top 100 prospects heading into both the 2020 and 2021 seasons, having dominated in the lower minors all the way up through Double-A. Questions about the 5’9″ righty’s ability to maintain a starter’s workload were always present, even as scouts continued to be impressed by the quality of his arsenal. It’s been a steep fall for Garcia over the past few seasons, however, and he’ll now be available to all 29 other clubs.
Technically, teams have five days to place a player on waivers following a DFA, but with trades no longer allowed for any player who’s been on a Major League roster, the majority of August DFAs have been resolved within a matter of days. There’s a good chance we’ll find out today or tomorrow whether any team wants to take a chance on the formerly lauded prospect. Garcia is in his final option year, so he can be freely sent to the minors for the remainder of the current season but will need to crack a new team’s Opening Day roster in 2024 or else be designated for assignment.