It’s September, so it’s time for Terrance Gore.
The 5-foot-7 speedster has resurfaced with the Chicago Cubs, who purchased his contract from Triple-A Iowa when rosters expanded Saturday. Like the Royals previously, the Cubs will have a chance to turn Gore loose on the bases. The 27-year-old outfielder has played in 50 games in his major league career. He has 11 at-bats, zero hits, 14 runs and 21 stolen bases.
Gore made his big league debut with Kansas City in 2014 and had a handful of appearances for the Royals over the past four years. He was traded to the Cubs last month, and they brought him up from the minors when rosters expanded. Of Gore’s 50 big league games in the regular season, 43 have come after the start of September. When rosters expand, there’s more room for a player like Gore, who is about as one-dimensional as they come but can clearly help as a pinch runner.
The roster squeeze is tighter in the playoffs, but the Royals kept Gore for their postseason runs in 2014 and 2015. The Cubs have the best record in the National League at the moment, but they can use Gore’s skill set. They’re tied for 12th in the NL with 56 stolen bases. They’ve also been caught stealing 35 times, the most of any team in the league.
Gore is a slightly less extreme version of Herb Washington, Oakland’s baserunning specialist from 1974-75. Washington had 31 steals in his major league career without a single plate appearance. He wasn’t as efficient as Gore, however. Washington was caught stealing 17 times. That’s only happed four times to Gore.
Other developments from around the majors:
A torrid second half has J.D. Martinez making a bit of a Triple Crown bid in the American League. The Boston slugger leads the league with 115 RBIs and is second with 39 homers, one behind Oakland’s Khris Davis. Martinez is also hitting .337, just three points behind teammate Mookie Betts, the league leader.
Martinez has never batted higher than .315 in a season, but he’s hitting .359 since the All-Star break, and that has put him in the mix for what would be a surprising batting title. The last seven batting titles in the AL have gone to either Jose Altuve or Miguel Cabrera. Altuve is still a threat this year at .321.
When Cabrera won the Triple Crown in 2012, he took MVP honors in a hotly debated race against Mike Trout. Martinez may face an uphill climb for that award, since he has played only 48 games in the field this year.
The Dodgers, Diamondbacks and Rockies are in a tight race atop the NL West, meaning their head-to-head matchups are crucial. Los Angeles just took three of four from Arizona, with each win by the same score of 3-2. Matt Kemp delivered the decisive hit in each of the final two games — an eighth-inning homer Saturday and a two-run double in the ninth Sunday. Los Angeles also won in its last at-bat Friday, on an eighth-inning homer by Justin Turner.
The first-place Dodgers lead Colorado by a half-game and Arizona by one.
LINE OF THE WEEK
Milwaukee’s Christian Yelich went 6 for 6 and hit for the cycle Wednesday night in a 13-12, 10-inning victory over Cincinnati. Then over the weekend, he came up with a nice encore, hitting his first career grand slam in Sunday’s 9-4 win over Washington.
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