Twins sweep Tigers, increase lead to 3.5 games


Minnesota finished a three-game sweep of Detroit this afternoon and now leads the AL Central by 3.5 games.
Alex Avila took Jon Rauch deep in the ninth inning for the Tigers’ fourth homer of the day, cutting the Twins’ lead to 5-4, but the replacement closer retired the next three batters to convert his eighth save in nine chances filling in for Joe Nathan.
As they’ve done all season the Twins put runs on the board despite multiple failures with the bases loaded. Minnesota has 45 at-bats with the bases loaded to lead all of baseball, but the Twins have hit a putrid .156 with zero homers in those spots. And yet the Twins still rank third in the league in runs per game behind only the Rays and Yankees.
If their bases loaded luck ever evens out the Twins might be able to put the AL Central away by the All-Star break. Right now the Tigers are the only team in the division within seven games and the Twins are on a 110-win pace.

Walt Weiss returning as Rockies manager in 2016

Walt Weiss
AP Photo/David Zalubowski
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As first reported by FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, the Rockies have decided to bring back manager Walt Weiss for the 2016 season — the final year of a three-year deal he signed after his debut season in 2013.

Weiss carries a rough 208-278 managerial record through his first three years at the helm for Colorado, but it’s not like the rosters he’s been managing have been built to win.

The biggest need for the Rockies this winter is pitching — both starters and relievers — and general manager Jeff Bridich is also being retained for the 2016 season to try to find some.

Colorado’s starters and relievers combined for a 5.04 ERA in 2015, worst in MLB.

Colorado’s offense produced 737 runs, ranking fifth in the major leagues.

Astros flashing power early in AL Wild Card Game

Colby Rasmus
AP Photo/Kathy Willens

Houston got on the board first in Tuesday night’s American League Wild Card Game at Yankee Stadium when Colby Rasmus led off the top of the second inning with a solo home run to deep right field against Masahiro Tanaka.

It was the first career postseason homer for Rasmus, whose only other postseason experience came in 2009 with St. Louis. He slugged 25 home runs during the 2015 regular season and will be looking to cash in as a free agent whenever the Astros’ postseason runs come to an end. A big October (and perhaps early November) would obviously help that.

Tanaka retired the next two batters after the Rasmus bomb, but he gave up a single and two walks to load the bases before eventually inducing an inning-ending fielder’s choice groundout from Jose Altuve. Tanaka’s shakiness extended into the third and fourth innings, with Carlos Gomez adding a solo shot to left field in the top of the fourth.

Houston leads 2-0 heading into the bottom of the fifth. Astros starter Dallas Keuchel has looked sharp on three days of rest, tallying five strikeouts through four scoreless frames.