(CBS Local)- As the Major League Baseball season approaches the home stretch, the jockeying for playoff position is well underway. In pursuit of the five spots in each league, teams are hoping to put their best foot forward over the next six weeks and part of doing so is having a healthy roster. With that in mind, a pair of contenders for playoff spots are getting a boost this week with a pair of stars returning.
This week’s Baseball report focuses on those two returning stars, what it means for their team’s playoff hopes and a rare baseball car going for a record amount at auction.
Tatis Jr. Returns
When the Padres placed Tatis Jr. on the 10-day injured list with a subluxation of his left shoulder on July 30, there was question whether he would return considering that it was the third time he had injured the shoulder this season.
After his stay on the IL, Tatis Jr. was able to make his return to the lineup on Sunday against the Arizona Diamondbacks. His return was plenty successful.
Fernando Tatis Jr. in his first game back from the IL:
– 2 HR
– 4 RBI
– 3 runs
Not bad at all 💥 pic.twitter.com/HD4W6jo7Vo
— CBS Sports HQ (@CBSSportsHQ) August 16, 2021
A pair of home runs, four RBI and touching home three times in the game, Tatis Jr. was able to help lead the Padres to an 8-2 win over Arizona. The victory ended a string of four straight losses for San Diego keeping them in the second Wild Card spot in the National League.
Tatis followed that up with a 1-4 and one run scored game against the Rockies, but the Padres lost 6-5. The Padres are 1.5 games up on the Cincinnati Reds for that final Wild Card spot. Having Tatis Jr. back in the lineup for the stretch run will help their chances. But, there is still a problem that the Padres haven’t been able to solve this season. Their record against teams below .500. San Diego is 33-30 in games against teams below .500 this season while they’ve gone 34-24 against the rest of the league.
However, there is some good news on that front. They have two games left against the Colorado Rockies, three games against the Diamondbacks and two against the Los Angeles Angels. Outside of that, they face the Phillies, Dodgers, Astros, Giants, Braves and Cardinals. They are 18-12 against those teams this season.
Gerrit Cole Returns From COVID List
While the Padres see the return of their start shortstop, across the country in the Bronx, the New York Yankees are preparing for the return of their ace, Gerrit Cole.
The 30-year-old right handed pitcher was placed on the COVID-19 Injured List on August 2 after testing positive for COVID. He hasn’t pitched since July 29, but he told reporters on Sunday that he threw a no-hitter in the bullpen over the weekend in preparation for his return to the rotation.
On Monday night, he showed that readiness, going 5.2 innings and striking out nine while giving up just one run in the Yankees 2-1 win over the Angels.
Cole’s return to the rotation comes with the Yanks sitting just 2.5 games out of the Wild Card. Cole has a 10-6 record this season with a 3.11 ERA but he has lost his last two starts.
Rare Honus Wagner Card Sells For Record
One of the rarest baseball cards in the world set a new record in the early morning hours of Monday. The Honus Wagner T206, one of only about 60 in existence, sold for $6.606 million surpassing the previous record to become the highest-selling sports card of all-time.
The previous record was $5.2 million set in January by a 1952 Mickey Mantle card and then matched by a 2003-04 Upper Deck LeBron James autographed rookie card in April.
The main reason for the massive price tag afforded this particular card is not its rarity but its condition. The card received a grade of three from Sportscard Guaranty Corp. It’s one of only five T206s that have received that grade or higher in the world.
“This Wagner stands out because of its condition,” said Brian Dwyer, president of Robert Edward Auctions, which brokered the deal told ESPN. “There’s only about 60 of these that we can confirm through various population reports and available grading data. Of those 60, most are rated poor, authentic or good, at best. This card is one of the best examples out there, and it’s certainly one of the best examples available.”
The seller and buyer of the card wished to remain anonymous. Prior to being sold, the card was on display at the National Sports Collectors Convention in July.
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