Storylines: AL Wildcard race heats up as final week begins
- The AL Wildcard is up for grabs as the final week gets under way. With seven days left in the season, the Athletics (85-70) and Royals (84-70) hold both wildcard spots, but the Mariners (83-72) are 1.5 games out, the Indians (81-74) are 3.5 games out and the Yankees (80-75) are 4.5 games out. The big matchup this week which could shake the wildcard landscape will take place in Cleveland as the Indians play the Royals for four games – one of those four games being a suspended game where the Indians lead 4-2 going into the bottom of the 10th inning. For the Indians to have any thoughts of a wildcard berth they will probably need to win all four games against the Royals as winning three of four still leaves the Indians two games behind them in the loss column with three games to play.
- According to Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer, while the Indians have led the majors in errors for most of the season, there likely won’t be any sweeping changes to the makeup of the Indians infield next season.
- Corey Kluber had 14 strikeouts in his second consecutive start in the Indians 7-2 win on Sunday. His 258 strikeouts on the season lead the American League and is the 10th highest single season total in franchise history.
- According to David Manel of the Bucs Dugout, the Pirates organizational philosophy of spending on buy-low players will likely keep them from resigning impending free agent Russell Martin.
- According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, Braves GM Frank Wren could be fired at the end of the season. They have been eliminated from postseason contention and really struggled down the stretch and easily have been one of the more disappointing teams this season.
- It is being reported that the Rangers are not expected to pick up the $13.5 million club option for outfielderAlex Rios. If they decline the option they would owe him a $1 million buyout and he would become a free agent.
- The Orioles have signed Cuban pitcher Lazaro Leyva for $725K.
- The Brewers are expected to pick up the club option for $13 million on pitcher Yovani Gallardo.
- Outfielder Nelson Cruz has expressed a desire to stay with the Orioles, though extension talks won’t happen until after the season.
- According to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, the Rays have to make a decision as to whether to pick up the club option on Ben Zobrist, but he says they likely will pick it up and that a trade appears unlikely.
- There is growing talk around the league that the Rays may explore a deal involving Jeremy Hellickson in order to restock their team and get something for him at max value.
- Tim Bogar has come to the forefront as the clear favorite to be named as the new Rangers manager.
- Padres GM A.J. Preller says that manager Bud Black will return next season.
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Absent improved defensive play (and I fully expect Kipnis to have a bounce back offensive season), though, I'd be surprised if we got to the All Star break with the infield intact. Especially at third base.
Maybe its just me but it seems the infield defense has been better since Ramirez has been the everyday shortstop
As for the infield defense non-changes Hoynes suggests, I suspect he caught wind of something from the front office on that one. I completely agree with him that I see no way Kipnis is moved off of second base. I see Ramirez at shortstop to start the year and then eventually Lindor at short and Ramirez at utility. The biggest question will be what they do, if anything, at third base. If they go into next season with Chisenhall at 3B, Ramirez at SS and Kipnis at 2B, then shame on them.
What is Hoynes thinking? Is he drunk?
But first.. the Paul Hoynes BULLSHIT article.. According to him.. the Indians defense stinks and they're not going to do anything about it.. Well, thanks paul.. your insights and candor are so appreciated... and the PD wonders why their readership numbers continue to plummet..
Today is the first day of the most important week for our band of Erie Warriors.. Two games decided in a matter of three plus hours this evening.. The first game is a bit of an oddity.. the three outs to get..only allows pitchers who were not used in the game from when it was suspended.. That means no Cody Allen.. Best guess, Tito uses Z-Mac to get those three outs. As suggested back in May, Z-mac may be best suited for the pen..and he's showing just how good he can be when he doesn't have to pace himself or rely on a pitch he's not ready to throw for strikes whenever he wants.. The time in the pen and his future as a starter may be tied and follow a similar path that CC-Lite (aka Cookie) has followed..
The first game pits Duffy and Carrasco.. Duffy is coming back from a shoulder inflammation stint.. Here's hoping he's rudely welcomed back..
Should be a great night for baseball, too.. See you at the ball yard..