There was a lot of stuff on this night. Jedd Gyorko homered three times as the Cardinals swept the Padres in a doubleheader. Hanley Ramirez hit three homers in one game for the first time in his career. Tim Beckham of the Rays went 5-for-5 and didn't make our top five. Then there's Kelsie Whitmore of the Sonoma Stompers, who collected her first professional hit Wednesday.
1. Prince Fielder and Shin-Soo Choo head to the disabled list. It was a tough day for the Texas Rangers, but the serious injury here is the herniated disk in Fielder's neck, which might explain why his numbers have been so poor this season. He reportedly just told the Rangers about the problem. This injury is likely related to the neck surgery he underwent in 2014, though that initial fusion remains intact. He'll seek another opinion before determining what course of action to take, but if a second neck surgery is needed, you have to wonder what his future holds. Choo has lower back inflammation and will rest for 10 to 14 days.
The immediate effect is to open up a regular spot for Jurickson Profar, and that will be an upgrade over what Fielder was providing. Profar played second base Wednesday, with Rougned Odor serving as designated hitter. It will be interesting to see if manager Jeff Banister sticks with that construction because Profar is the better defensive player.
It also means Joey Gallo will remain in Triple-A instead of getting first crack at the DH role. In Choo's absence, Delino DeShields Jr. was recalled, though Ryan Rua and Nomar Mazara will likely play in the corners with DeShields coming off the bench. Although the injuries aren't a major blow, assuming Choo is back in two weeks, they do temporarily hurt the Rangers' depth.
The bigger problem for the Rangers continues to be their rotation. The Angels just completed a series sweep while scoring 19 runs off the Texas starters in three games.
Anyone who watched Prince Fielder in 2014 and again this season had to suspect a health issue. At-bats very similar.— Jeff Wilson (@JeffWilson_FWST) July 20, 2016
2. White Sox ... white flag? Two nights after blowing a three-run lead in the bottom of the ninth to the Seattle Mariners, the Chicago White Sox blew leads of 4-0 and 5-2 as Mike Zunino hit a two-run homer in the seventh inning, Adam Lind (him again!) tied it in the eighth and Leonys Martin did this in the 11th:
As for the White Sox, this tweet says all you need to know about how their fans feel right now:
@dschoenfield if you feel like doing a post about the baseball fan pain scale, I'll dig up all the various games/incidents in this season.— Dayton Cripe (@daycri83) July 20, 2016
Dayton then proceeded to list the White Sox's agonizing season: 23-10 on May 9 ... from 6 games up to 3½ back in just 30 days ... blowing three leads in a row to the Royals, including a six-run lead in the ninth ... losing to the Braves ... two walk-off losses in a series against the Indians ... these two losses ... so yes, it's been tough for the White Sox:
Hawk Harrelson call on Leonys Martin walk off was even better. You could hear a piece of Hawk die as he took his anger out on the credits.— Long Nguyen (@_longnguyen) July 21, 2016
As for the Mariners, my colleague Mark Simon pointed out all the dramatic victories they've had this season, including rallying from a 12-2 deficit to beat the Padres 16-13. They have six walk-off home runs this year, three more than any other team. You'd think they'd be more than one game over .500.
Montgomery had moved into the Seattle rotation but will pitch out of the bullpen in Chicago. He has held lefties to a .164 average this season and is good enough against righties that he isn't a LOOGY. He's a backup option if the Cubs don't land Aroldis Chapman or Andrew Miller. Vogelbach had no future with the Cubs, as he's really only a DH and he's blocked at first base. He's hitting .318/.425/.548 at Triple-A with nearly as many walks (55) as strikeouts (67). There's potential with the bat, and he likely fills the Lind role next season.
3. Ball go far. Edwin Encarnacion blasted a 469-foot home run (MLB's Statcast said 471), his longest of the season, and Bryce Harper hit one 449 feet, his longest of 2016 and third-longest of his career. Long home runs are fun!
Bryce Harper completely destroys this pitch, launching a home run into the third deck at Nationals Park.— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) July 21, 2016
5. AL East go crazy, folks. Hanley Ramirez had the day of his life, with three home runs and two defensive gems in one of the more interesting games of the season. The Red Sox nearly blew an 8-0 lead before winning 11-7 and handing the Giants their fifth straight loss since the All-Star break. Drew Pomeranz sailed through three innings in his Red Sox debut, then allowed seven straight baserunners in the fourth inning. Ramirez had already hit two home runs when Albert Suarez hit him in the elbow. As Ramirez walked to first base, he could be seen telling Suarez, "I'll get you back." And he did. Later in the game, he hit his third homer off Suarez.
Meanwhile, the Yankees, refusing to admit they're sellers, beat the Orioles 5-0 for their third win in the four-game series that concludes Thursday. Katie Sharp reported on Twitter that it's the first time the Yankees have won four in a row at home while holding their opponents to one run or fewer and five hits or fewer since 1932. Michael Pineda spun Wednesday's gem, including working out of a one-out, bases-loaded jam in the fourth with two strikeouts.
Baltimore's loss and Boston's win moved the Red Sox into first place by themselves for the first time since June 4. The Jays and O's are a half-game out. Start preparing those three-way tiebreaker scenarios.