Ma­gadan: D’backs hit­ters need bet­ter ap­proach

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Ari­zona Di­a­mond­backs

Hit­ting coach Dave Ma­gadan told The Ari­zona Repub­lic the team’s hit­ters need to take a more con­sis­tent ap­proach to hit­ting, given all the in­for­ma­tion they are pro­vided. Ari­zona ranked low in sev­eral of­fen­sive cat­e­gories, and Ma­gadan said an in­abil­ity to ad­just to pitch­ers led to long dry stretches.

At­lanta Braves

Home-field ad­van­tage in Oc­to­ber might not mean much to the Braves, who have played bet­ter on the road this sea­son than they have at SunTrust Park. The Braves clinched the Na­tional League East on Sept. 22 by win­ning their fourth straight home game, but be­fore that they had lost 14 of their last 18 at home.

Chicago Cubs

Javier Baez was moved from sec­ond base to short­stop af­ter Ad­di­son Rus­sell was placed on ad­min­is­tra­tive leave by Ma­jor League Base­ball on Sept. 21 fol­low­ing fresh al­le­ga­tions of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence from his exwife. Rus­sell was in­ves­ti­gated last year by MLB but re­ceived no pun­ish­ment af­ter Melisa Rei­dyRus­sell de­clined to talk to in­ves­ti­ga­tors. It was un­clear if MLB would con­clude its in­ves­ti­ga­tion be­fore post­sea­son play be­gins.

Cincin­nati Reds

Cody Reed is mak­ing a late­sea­son case to be in the ro­ta­tion next year. The left-han­der is 1-1 with a 3.65 ERA in five starts since be­ing moved into the ro­ta­tion from the bullpen, in­clud­ing five score­less in­nings against the Chicago Cubs on Sept. 15, then six score­less in­nings five days later vs. the Miami Mar­lins. Reed made a com­bined 11 starts for the Reds in 2016-17 and was 0-8 with a 8.34 ERA.

Colorado Rock­ies

Right-han­der Ger­man Mar­quez will try to build on his 11-strike­out per­for­mance Sept. 21 against Ari­zona when he faces the Philadel­phia Phillies on Sept. 26 in Den­ver. Mar­quez al­lowed the Di­a­mond­backs two runs in the first in­ning but then dom­i­nated over the next six.

Los An­ge­les Dodgers

Right-han­der Walker Buehler has be­come in­creas­ingly im­por­tant but also has gone way past his ca­reer high in in­nings. Dodgers ex­ec­u­tive Josh Byrnes told USA TO­DAY Sports Weekly the starter’s work­load is a lit­tle con­cern­ing but noted Buehler logged sig­nif­i­cant in­nings when he was at Van­der­bilt Univer­sity.

Miami Mar­lins

Among the many changes owner Derek Jeter has planned for the Mar­lins is a re­newed em­pha­sis on sign­ing play­ers from the in­ter­na­tional mar­ket. “It’s a pri­or­ity for us,” Jeter said. “We’ve ac­quired some in­ter­na­tional money through trades, and we’ll con­tinue to do that.”

Mil­wau­kee Brew­ers

Josh Hader’s dom­i­nant sea­son out of the bullpen has landed him in the record book. Hader raised his sea­son strike­out to­tal to 136, a ma­jor league record for a left-handed re­liever, in 77 in­nings when he struck out three of the five bat­ters he faced in a win over the Pi­rates on Sept. 21 at Pitts­burgh. John Hiller had 134 strike­outs in 1974 for the Detroit Tigers but pitched 150 in­nings.

New York Mets

As bril­liant as Ja­cob deGrom was for the Mets this sea­son, the de­vel­op­ment of Zack Wheeler could be just as or even more im­por­tant for the team’s fu­ture. Wheeler’s sec­ond-half ERA of 1.68 was even bet­ter than deGrom’s 1.89. Wheeler’s im­prove­ment came at a cru­cial time — he will be eli­gi­ble for free agency af­ter the 2019 sea­son. The Mets shut down Wheeler af­ter 29 starts and 1821⁄3 in­nings be­cause both to­tals were big jumps over 2017, when he was re­cov­er­ing from Tommy John el­bow surgery. They also shut down in­fielder Wilmer Flo­res be­cause of early on­set arthri­tis in both of his knees.

Philadel­phia Phillies

While the Phillies will miss the play­offs for a sev­enth straight sea­son, they’ll have a pitcher top 200 in­nings for the first time since 2014. Right-han­der Aaron Nola went past 200 Sept. 23 against the Braves, in his next-to-last start of an out­stand­ing sea­son. “It was one of my goals this year,” Nola said. “I want it to be my goal ev­ery year.”

Pitts­burgh Pi­rates

Right-han­der Chad Kuhl will miss the 2019 sea­son af­ter un­der­go­ing Tommy John el­bow surgery Sept. 19. He was placed on the dis­abled list be­cause of sore­ness in his fore­arm June 26 and did not pitch af­ter that.

St. Louis Car­di­nals

The Car­di­nals set a fran­chise sin­gle-sea­son record with their eighth walk-off home run Sept. 22 when out­fielder Tyler O’Neill con­nected off the San Fran­cisco Gi­ants’ Mark Me­lan­con in the 10th in­ning. De­spite the late-game hero­ics, the Car­di­nals were just 42-35 at home com­pared to 44-34 on the road.

San Diego Padres

Rookie re­liever Robert Stock and his trainer plan to build on the hard-throw­ing right-han­der’s im­pres­sive sea­son. Stock is av­er­ag­ing 97.5 mph with his fast­ball, and The Ath­letic re­ported that his camp be­lieves he could reg­is­ter up to 105 mph next year.

San Fran­cisco Gi­ants

Team CEO Larry Baer promised changes this off­sea­son, and the first one was big: Bobby Evans was re­moved from his gen­eral man­ager role and re­as­signed. Man­ager Bruce Bochy and ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent Brian Sabean were ex­pected to be re­tained.

Wash­ing­ton Na­tion­als

Max Scherzer prob­a­bly won’t win his third straight Na­tional League Cy Young Award, but he could fin­ish with 300 strike­outs in a sea­son for the first time in his ca­reer. Scherzer fanned 13 Sept. 20 against the New York Mets to reach 290.

Con­tribut­ing: Danny Kno­bler, John Per­rotto, Tom Kraso­vic, wire re­ports

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