What we're watching: Halos, Bombers collide

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– The teams with the two best records in baseball are set to play tonight, as the Angels travel to Yankee Stadium for a makeup game. Jered Weaver, who is 15-5 with 3.76 ERA, will be opposed by three-inning starter Joba Chamberlain. The Angels currently trail the Yankees by five games as the two vie for home-field advantage throughout the postseason, but it’s just four in the loss column and the two teams do play three more times in Anaheim next week. The Angels are 4-2 versus the Bombers this season.
– Scott Feldman aims for an eighth straight win as the Rangers take on the A’s. He’s allowed just one run over 26 1/3 innings in his last four starts, taking his ERA from 4.06 to 3.46. That he’ll finish outside of the top 10 and perhaps out of the top 20 in the AL in innings pitched should rule him out as a legitimate Cy Young contender, but he’s as responsible as anyone for the Rangers’ current placement in the standings.
Game of the Night
Colorado vs. San Francisco – After picking up a game Sunday, the Giants are back to within 4 1/2 games of the Rockies in the wild card. Still, it would seem that they pretty much have to win two of three games as the teams play for the final time this year this week in San Francisco. This is the most favorable matchup for the series for the Giants, as Tim Lincecum will be returning tonight after missing one start due to back spasms. Rockies starter Jason Hammel, though, has a 2.65 ERA in three outings against the Giants this year and is 6-4 with a 2.93 ERA outside of Coors Field.

Julio Urias to undergo season-ending shoulder surgery

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The news has gone from bad to worse for Dodgers’ left-hander Julio Urias, who is scheduled for anterior capsule surgery on his left shoulder next Tuesday and expected to be sidelined through the middle of the 2018 season. His MRI came back negative on Wednesday, giving the Dodgers some hope that the 20-year-old’s bout of shoulder inflammation wasn’t masking any structural damage, but the pain lingered several days later and prompted further concern from the club. The procedure will be performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache.

Urias was optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City in late May and placed on the disabled list with left shoulder discomfort several weeks into his assignment. At the major league level, he owned a 5.40 ERA, 5.4 BB/9 and 4.2 SO/9 through 23 1/3 innings, going 0-2 in five starts with Los Angeles. He made a brief rebound in Triple-A, posting three wins and striking out 17 of 67 batters in 17 1/3 innings before landing on the DL.

It’s a tough blow for the southpaw, who had yet to hit his stride in the majors before getting sidelined with shoulder issues. The Dodgers were especially mindful of this outcome for Urias, and had taken preventative measures to protect his arm by establishing a strict innings limit last season. According to club president Andrew Friedman, there’s a small silver lining here: while Urias’ injury will keep him out of work for at least 12 months, he doesn’t appear to have sustained any damage to his labrum or rotator cuff, and could be facing a much more streamlined recovery process as a result. Whether he’ll be able to rebound once he takes the mound again remains to be seen.

Tigers release Francisco Rodriguez

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Tigers’ right-handed reliever Francisco Rodriguez was released on Friday, per a team announcement. The club recalled fellow right-hander Bruce Rondon from Triple-A Toledo in a corresponding move.

The former closer got the boot after losing his closing role in early May, giving left-hander Justin Wilson a chance to impress at the back end of the bullpen. It’s been a rough year for Rodriguez, who manufactured six blown saves and a 7.82 ERA, 3.9 BB/9 and 8.2 SO/9 over 25 1/3 innings for the Tigers. The final straw, it seemed, came with Robinson Cano‘s grand slam in the seventh inning of the Tigers’ 6-9 loss to the Mariners on Thursday.

While the demotion to a clean-up role and an apparent lack of communication caused Rodriguez considerable frustration, he’s two years removed from his last dominant performance as a major league closer and has shown few signs of returning to form. His recent slump doesn’t diminish the impressive totals he’s racked up over his 16-year career — 437 saves and six All-Star nominations among them — but if he can’t break out of it soon, he may not receive the kind of high leverage role he’s seeking with another big league team, either.