There’s nothing too troublesome about a September hitting funk — as long as your team makes the postseason.
For Paul Goldschmidt and Corey Seager, October is a chance to wipe the slate clean.
Goldschmidt is hitting .171 since the start of September following his 0-for-2 showing Sunday, but nobody will be too worried about that if he can lead the Arizona Diamondbacks to a win over Colorado on Wednesday night in the National League wild-card game. Whoever wins that faces the Los Angeles Dodgers, whose own star hitter has been slumping. Seager hit .179 in September, although he went 3-for-3 with a double on Sunday, the first day of October.
A September slump can certainly hurt a team’s chances of making the postseason, but once a player gets in, his late-season numbers don’t necessarily mean much. Last year, Kris Bryant hit .221 over his final 26 games of the regular season. He then batted over .300 in the postseason to help the Cubs win the World Series.
So Goldschmidt and Seager have good reasons to think they can bounce back, and if they start hitting again, they’ll surely agree that it was better to slump in September than October. The same holds true for pitchers.
Jake Arrieta of the Cubs went 0-2 with a 6.10 ERA in September, and Dellin Betances of the Yankees allowed six runs in 9 2/3 innings, walking seven batters in that span.
Cause for concern? Sure. But for both of those pitchers, the next time on the mound matters more than whatever happened down the stretch.
Here are a few other developments from around baseball:
Giancarlo Stanton didn’t quite make it to 60 home runs, but his total of 59 was the highest in the majors since 2001, when Barry Bonds hit a record 73 and Sammy Sosa hit 64. There were a record 6,105 homers hit in 2017. A late surge by Aaron Judge meant Stanton only won the major league home run title by seven.
The tightest race may have been for the stolen base lead. Miami’s Dee Gordon finished first with 60, edging Cincinnati’s Billy Hamilton by one. Hamilton has stolen 56, 57, 58 and 59 bases over the past four years, but he’s never finished atop the majors. Gordon led the majors with 64 in 2014 and 58 in 2015. Last year, Jonathan Villars swiped 62 bases to beat out Hamilton by four.
AT THE BOTTOM
Five years ago, Detroit and San Francisco played in the World Series. This year, those teams finished tied for the worst record in baseball at 64-98,
The Tigers lost 24 of their last 30 games and will now pick first in next year’s draft. The last time Detroit had the No. 1 pick, it took pitcher Matt Anderson in 1997.
San Francisco’s Matt Cain received a standing ovation Saturday when he walked off the mound in the final appearance of his career. Cain pitched five shutout innings against San Diego. Cain was part of three World Series titles for the Giants, and he threw a perfect game in 2012.
LINE OF THE WEEK
On a lighter note for the Tigers, utilityman Andrew Romine became the fifth major leaguer to play every position in one game. Detroit beat Minnesota 3-2 on Saturday night, and Romine played the following positions in order: left field, center field, right field, third base, shortstop, second base, catcher, second base again, pitcher and first base.
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