The first weekend of the season is behind us, with a handful of surprises in its wake. A Joey Votto renaissance? Ji-Man Choi suddenly becoming a switch hitter who can homer from both sides of the plate?
By the end of the weekend the Cubs were tied for first in the NL Central, which is precisely what we all wanted to see (along with the insane charm of Anthony Rizzo offering runners on first a little hand sanitizer).
Over in the American League, however, an unusual story popped up when news broke that two-time Cy Young winner Justin Verlander would be out for the remainder of the season with an unexpected injury, only for the story to be refuted mere minutes later by the man himself.
Astros ace and reigning American League Cy Young winner Justin Verlander is out for the remainder of the season with an elbow injury, two people with knowledge of the situation tell the Chronicle - https://t.co/oqbLvn4mLi— Chandler Rome (@Chandler_Rome) July 26, 2020
The report that I’m currently missing the rest of the season is not accurate. There is a forearm strain... I’m hopeful that with some rest it will heal and I’ll be able to return soon. Thank you for all the well wishes.— Justin Verlander (@JustinVerlander) July 26, 2020
Time will tell as to whether Verlander will make it back before the end of the shortened season, but it’s clear he seems optimistic.
- Ben Clemens thinks the new short-season expanded playoffs are a good idea.
- Meanwhile at the New York Post, Joel Sherman would prefer the new format have an elimination twist.
- Eno Sarris, on the other hand, just wants to look at which teams benefit the most from the new format. (The Athletic subscription required.)
- The real unsung heroes of the MLB season are going to be the teams’ athletic trainers, writes Alden Gonzalez.
- Rachael McDaniel looks at 12 hours out of the start of the season.
- Just how much are players being impacted by empty stadium seats, asks Buster Olney.
- And Ken Rosenthal looks at how early positive COVID-19 tests for players are impacting those left on the field. (The Athletic subscription required.)
- Mitch Goldich wonders how long this initial honeymoon stage will last.
- MLB teams are embracing popular classic uniforms this season.
- The AL West was hampered by injured and unsettled aces, with issues cropping up for Ohtani, Kluber, and Verlander. John Hickey looks deeper.
- The Phanatic is trying his best:
Phanatic doing his best to get the fans phired up pic.twitter.com/TlEtdybdQi— Cut4 (@Cut4) July 26, 2020
And tomorrow will be a better day than today, Buster. Make it so.