Howard has been out since Sept. 14 when he took a throw off his left knee. The knee is basically healthy at this point, but Howard has not faced pitching in weeks, so the Phils have opted to shut him down. He finishes the year hitting .229/.277/.443 with 23 home runs in 467 at-bats.
While he stayed in the game, it's tough to imagine Freeman will start Sunday's game as he continues to deal with a variety of injuries, including most notably a chipped bone in his wrist.
Alvarez hasn't recorded a hit in his last four appearances and with lefty Brandon Finnegan set to take the mound for the Reds, Alvarez will take a seat in favor of Mike Morse who will hit sixth in the lineup and man first base.
Bour had played in the previous 22 games prior to Friday, so his absence in these last two games is a little surprising. However nothing official has been announced regarding any potential injury so it appears to just be a bit of rest for the 27-year-old as the season winds to a close. Casey McGehee will take over at first base and hit sixth in the lineup.
Freeman was able to record a pinch-hit appearance Thursday, however he hasn't been able to find his way into the starting lineup since Wednesday and with just one more game to go, it's likely that trend will continue Saturday as well.
Goldy just continues to get it done, adding his 38th double and 107th RBI on the season in this game. All the numbers across the board are ridiculous for the first baseman and he's making a strong case for MVP, albeit his team being below .500. No first baseman provides the power, speed, and average combo that Goldy does and that makes him immensely valuable going into next season.
Rosario has really fallen out of favor in Denver, but he's always been able to hit. He got the start Thursday because he is batting well over .300 against lefties with an OPS just shy of 1.000 over his last three seasons. If Rosario can find a DH role in the AL next year or an everyday catching job for a team who wants to take a risk, he'd become instantly fantasy relevant.
Ruf is finally getting regular at-bats down the stretch run and responding well. The righty has four home runs, two doubles and 10 RBI over his last nine games. Ruf has always shown potential, but has struggled against right-handed pitching this season.
In fact, Ruf is hitting .164 against righties and .374 off lefties this season. The 1.091 OPS against southpaws is an absurd number and if he could just carry some of that power over to right-handed pitching, Ruf would become a fantasy asset.
Considering Freeman is dealing with a small bone spur in his wrist, this isn't a surprising development. With the Braves well out of the playoff contention, it's fair to question if Freeman will return to the starting lineup this season. Nick Swisher will get the start at first base once again and hit third in the batting order.
Votto has a significant on-base streak going, which could make it interesting if he is available for pinch-hit duty.