The Royals ran their way into the postseason history books in Tuesday night’s American League Wild Card Game against the A’s — setting a playoff record with four stolen bases in one frame and tying another with seven overall in a 9-8 win over the A’s in 12 innings.
A.J. Hinch went right to work in his first day as manager of the Astros on Tuesday, a day that included a series of meetings, a tour of Minute Maid Park and a get-to-know-you session with All-Star second baseman Jose Altuve.
It’s safe to say that Nationals right-hander Drew Storen has been a dominant pitcher ever since manager Matt Williams gave him the closer’s job on Sept. 7. It was a role that had belonged to Rafael Soriano for most of the season.
John Holdzkom is the ultimate definition of an “X factor.” The 6-foot-7 right-hander is unfamiliar to opponents and his downhill stuff — cutter, splitter and palmball — could be a valuable weapon for the Pirates.
With manager Bruce Bochy calling outfielder Michael Morse “doubtful” for Wednesday’s National League Wild Card Game, the main question regarding the Giants’ roster for the do-or-die contest now seems to be just how many pitchers the team will carry — and who exactly they will be.
With Russell Martin convinced that his balky left hamstring won’t keep him out of action and with a left-hander going for the Giants in Madison Bumgarner, the Pirates’ starting lineup could write itself for Wednesday night’s National League Wild Card Game at PNC Park (8 ET on ESPN).
If the Pirates beat the Giants in the National League Wild Card Game, they will face the Nationals in the NL Division Series. So it isn’t an easy path to the World Series for a franchise that hasn’t made it that far since — well, since that 1979 Pirates team kept doing its wonderful thing. But there is something about the 2014 Pirates.
Despite missing the regular-season finale with right hip irritation, Dee Gordon has been cleared for Friday’s NL Division Series opener against the Cardinals at Dodger Stadium (3:30 p.m. PT on FS1). He was a full participant in the Dodgers’ workout Tuesday and insists the ailment is behind him.
Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said today that he believes the club is prepared to compete in the NL Central next year, as MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat reports. “I think we’ve proved we can be very competitive in this division,” said Epstein, “and when you have a chance to compete, you should set your sights high and that means our goal is the Central title next year.” While those words would appear to indicate that Chicago will increasingly be willing to dedicate resources to improve the production of its current roster, Epstein cautioned that the team would not “sell out just for 2015.” It will, however, look to add talent — in particular, some starting pitching, a pen lefty, and new outfield options — through all available mechanisms, including free agency. Epstein says, unsurprisingly, that the team remains committed to relying on its young talent to drive a resurgence. In spite of his struggles, Javier Baez is expected to open the season as the starter at second. Other less experienced players will presumably keep or expand their roles as well. Epstein specifically addressed relievers Neil Ramirez and Justin Grimm, who he said would stay in the pen rather than being stretched out as starters. Certainly, the Cubs are a fascinating team to watch as free agency approaches. Many of the club’s best prospects have already reached or are nearing the major league level. Future salary obligations are minimal.
As important as Rajai Davis is to their postseason hopes, they’re waiting — possibly up until Thursday’s 10 a.m. ET deadline for submitting a 25-man roster — to see whether he’ll be healthy enough to take part in their American League Division Series against the Orioles.