With Game 1 of the ALCS against the Yankees only hours away, the Rangers have announced some slight changes to their roster.
According to Ed Price of AOL Fanhouse, left-handers Michael Kirkman and Clay Rapada have been added for this round, while right-hander Dustin Nippert and speedster Esteban German have been taken off.
Kirkman, 24, spent most of the year as a starting pitcher with Triple-A Oklahoma City, but posted a 1.65 ERA and 16/10 K/BB ratio over 14 relief appearances with the Rangers down the stretch. Rapada, 29, had a 4.00 ERA and 5/7 K/BB ratio in 13 relief appearances with the Rangers this season, but managed a fantastic 1.82 ERA and 61/21 K/BB ratio over 59 1/3 innings with Triple-A Oklahoma City. He held left-handed batters to a .120 batting average.
Along with Darren Oliver and Derek Holland, the Rangers now have four left-handers in their bullpen.
Fellow second basemen Javier Baez of the Cubs and D.J. LeMahieu of the Rockies got into a disagreement in the top of the third inning of Sunday’s game at Coors Field over sign-stealing.
LeMahieu reached on a fielder’s choice ground out, then advanced to second base on Charlie Blackmon‘s single. While Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story were batting, Baez was concerned that LeMahieu was relaying the Cubs’ signs to his teammates. Baez decided to stand in front of LeMahieu to block any information he might have been giving to Arenado and Story. LeMahieu got irritated and the two jawed at each other for a bit. Umpires Vic Carapazza and Greg Gibson had to intervene to tell Baez to knock it off.
There has always been a back-and-forth with alleged sign-stealing. As long as teams aren’t using technology to steal signs, it’s fair game for players to relay information to their teammates about the opposing team’s signs. Last year, MLB determined the Red Sox went against the rules and used technology — an Apple watch in this case — to steal signs from the Yankees. Other teams in the past have been accused of using binoculars from the bullpen to steal signs. In this particular case with Baez and LeMahieu, there was no foul play going on, just Baez trying to make the Rockies cede what he perceived to be their slight competitive advantage.
The Cubs went on to beat the Rockies 9-7 on Sunday.