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ALCS Live Blog: Rangers-Yankees ALCS Game 5


7:55 PM: That’ll do it.  Yankees win 7-2 and we’re headed back to Texas for Game 6.

7:46 PM: Yep, here comes Mo.  It’s a non-save situation, but Rivera hasn’t pitched in five days and needs a little work.

7:35 PM: This one is just about over.  Granderson just launched a line drive homer to right field in the top of the eighth inning, moving the Yankees to a 7-2 lead here in Game 5.  Mariano Rivera is warming in the bullpen and appears likely to take on the Rangers in the top of the ninth.

7:28 PM: Wood is rolling right along for the Yankees.  The former Cubs starter and Indians closer retired Vlad on a groundout to the mound, Murphy on a strikeout and Ian Kinsler on a groundout to a diving A-Rod at third base.  The Yanks need only three more outs to advance to Game 6 in Texas.

7:21 PM: A-Rod stole a base and Marcus Thames nearly homered, but the Yankees ultimately went scoreless in the bottom of the seventh frame.  The Rangers still trail 6-2.

7:03 PM: Andrus kicked off the top of the seventh with a leadoff walk and then advanced to second base on a wild pitch from Kerry Wood.  But Wood caught the speedy shortstop leaning toward third base one at-bat later and connected with Jeter for a crucial pickoff.  Wood then retired Hamilton with a nasty breaking ball to finish off the Rangers’ mild threat in the top of the seventh.

6:47 PM: Kirkman surrendered a leadoff double in the bottom of the sixth to Granderson, but the Yankees opted to have Brett Gardner lay down a sacrifice bunt and the young Texas lefty got Swisher to ground into an inning-ending double play.  The Yankees are up 6-2 as Game 5 moves to the seventh inning.

Moral of the story here?  Never give a pitcher his first out, especially a 24-year-old with zero postseason experience and only 16.1 total major league innings to his name.

6:34 PM: Wilson has been pulled after allowing six hits and six runs over five innings.  He threw 93 pitches, only 48 of which were registered as strikes.  Michael Kirkman, 24, has been brought on in relief and will be making his postseason debut.

6:29 PM: The Rangers mustered only one run out of a busy sixth frame, but Sabathia has been pushed to 112 pitches and could be pulled in the seventh if the Texas lineup can manage a baserunner or two.  The Yanks still lead, 6-2.

6:08 PM: Swisher drew a walk to open the bottom of the fifth, A-Rod delivered his first extra-base hit of the 2010 postseason one out later, then Marcus Thames was intentionally walked in front of Berkman, who has struggled traditionally against left-handed pitchers.  You know how this one goes.

Berkman delivered exactly what the Yankees needed, launching a sky-high fly ball to deep center field that allowed Swisher to tag and score from third.  New York leads 6-1 as we head to the sixth inning.

6:00 PM: If the Rangers are going to make a comeback here in Game 5, they’ll have to do it without one of their best sluggers.

Morosi reports that Nelson Cruz has been pulled because of a tight left hamstring.  David Murphy will take over in left field.  Cruz missed a ton of time this season because of problems with his left hammy and could be asked to sit out a potential Game 6.

5:58 PM: Sabathia allowed two singles after Treanor’s solo shot, but got Hamilton to ground into a double play to end the top of the fifth.  The big man has thrown 79 pitches, 54 of which have been strikes.

5:52 PM: Jon Paul Morosi of says that the Yankee Stadium scoreboard had Treanor pegged as a “Jeff.”  His first name is Matt, of course.  Redemption!  Or whatever.

5:50 PM: Misty May’s husband!  Misty May’s husband!

Treanor, the Rangers’ catcher du jour, launched a home run to left field off Sabathia to open the top of the fifth inning.  Texas is now in Slam Range with a 5-1 deficit and will look to keep chipping away.

5:41 PM: Posada opened the bottom of the fourth with a double to left field and advanced to third base one at-bat later when Granderson launched a fly ball to deep center field.  The veteran catcher was unable to reach home plate, however, and the score remains 5-0 Yanks as Game 5 moves to the fifth inning.

5:32 PM: TBS sideline man Craig Sager reports that Berkman got the wind knocked out of him and couldn’t breath during the final at-bat of the top of the fourth.  But he was spotted smiling in the Yankees’ dugout moments later and should be fine for the rest of the game.

5:30 PM: Berkman lost his footing on the infield warning track while tracking down a foul ball in the top of the fourth.  He laid on the ground for about a minute, but replays showed that he did not hit his head on the ground and he was able to man first base for the rest of the frame.  It’s something we’ll be sure to keep an eye on.

5:26 PM: Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz lifted a high fastball into the gap in right-center field for a one-out single in the fourth inning.  Cruz is working on a 10-game postseason hitting streak, as is the speedy Andrus, but Sabathia retired Kinsler on a strikeout and then Jeff Francoeur on a sharp groundout to end the top of the fourth.  The Rangers have left runners in scoring position in each of the last three innings.

5:17 PM: Wilson rallied for three straight outs after Swisher and Cano’s back-to-back shots, but the left-hander has thrown 56 pitches — 28 of which have been strikes — and could struggle to last longer than five or six innings.

5:09 PM: Wow.  Hitting against a backdrop of “MVP” chants, Robbie Cano just went yard over Yankee Stadium’s short right field fence.  It is now 5-0 Yanks here in Game 5 of the ALCS.

5:07 PM: Nick Swisher, rocking the high socks, took Wilson deep on a flat inside fastball to open the bottom of the third inning.  The Yankees are up 4-0 with no outs and Cano stepping to the plate.

5:03 PM: Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus reached on an infield single that barely stayed fair, advanced to second base on a Michael Young groundout, then stole third base without a throw.  But Sabathia retired Hamilton on a two-out liner to Jeter and ended the threat in the top of third.  Sabathia looks like he might be settling in.

4:49 PM: So much for that late-arriving crowd.  And all that talk about momentum.  Yankees outfielder Curtis Granderson knocked a one-out single to shallow right field and a few bad throws by the Rangers allowed both Berkman and Posada to score.  It’s 3-0 Yanks.

4:45 PM: And, just like that, the Yankees are on the board.  Jorge Posada drew a 2-0 count then pushed an over-the-middle fastball into left field as A-Rod raced around to score.  New York leads 1-0 in the bottom of the second inning.

4:42 PM: Wilson threw a first-pitch ball to the first three batters he faced in the first inning, walked both Alex Rodriguez and Lance Berkman on four straight pitches in the bottom of the second.  Wilson has been excellent this October, but he issued a league-high 93 walks during the regular season and that same lack of control is costing him tonight.

4:33 PM: Ian Kinsler delivered the Rangers’ third hit of the game in the top of the second inning with a shallow single to center field.  Kinsler then stole second base moments later, but Sabathia got out of the jam with a strikeout of catcher Matt Treanor.  Go ahead and file this under “who cares” or “we already know that,” but Treanor is married to celebrity beach volleyball player Misty May Treanor.  Beat that, Jeter.  Oh.

4:25 PM: Wilson carved through the top of the Yankees’ batting order in the bottom of the first, getting Derek Jeter to ground out, Nick Swisher to line out and Robinson Cano on a groundout to second.  Cano is batting in the three-hole this evening because of Mark Teixeira’s hamstring injury.  Big Tex has been ruled out for the rest of the postseason.

4:19 PM: Sabathia allowed two hits in the top of the first inning — one to leadoff man Elvis Andrus and another to hot-hitting outfielder Josh Hamilton — but the Yankees ace induced a key double play and struck out Vladimir Guerrero to finish off the frame.

4:13 PM: Here we are.  The Rangers lead their seven-game ALCS matchup with the Yankees 3-1 and are looking to advance to the franchise’s first-ever World Series with a win this evening in The Bronx.  Yankee Stadium is not exactly rocking, probably due to the odd start time and a late-arriving crowd, but the Yanks do have CC Sabathia on the mound and will look to get going offensively against Texas lefty C.J. Wilson.  We’ll keep tabs on the progress of Game 5 all evening.

Pirates’ Nick Leyva selected as senior advisor of baseball ops

BRADENTON, FL - FEBRUARY 17:  Coach Nick Leyva #16 of the Pittsburgh Pirates poses for a photo during photo day at Pirate City on February 17, 2013 in Bradenton, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
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Former first base and infield coach Nick Leyva was promoted to senior advisor of baseball operations on Saturday, per a report by Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. The Pirates also fired third base coach Rick Sofield, with no named successor as of yet.

Leyva joined the Pirates’ organization in the 2011 offseason as a third base coach under manager Clint Hurdle. He shifted to his role as the first base coach and infield coach in 2014, when first base coach Rick Sofield was reassigned to third base prior to the 2015 season. According to Biertempfel, the swap was made in order to optimize the team’s baserunning strategies, all of which appeared to fall flat during the 2015 and 2016 seasons:

The results this season were awful. The Pirates ranked 13th in the National League with a minus-7.0 BsR — a metric that measures how many runs above or below league average a team gets via its baserunning.

In 2013 and 2014, the Pirates had one of the top five BsR ratings in the NL. In 2015, they were seventh with a 2.8 BsR.

This season, the Pirates made the second-most outs at third base in the league and were last in taking extra bases on singles and doubles. Their baserunners went from first to third base on hits a league-low 63 times.

Sofield, in particular, highlighted the Pirates’ poor baserunning choices in games like this one, when he sent Sean Rodriguez home too early during the last vestige of a ninth inning rally against the Phillies.

Following the announcement, Pirates’ GM Neal Huntington issued a statement elaborating on Leyva’s role within the organization:

We have great respect and appreciation for both men. We thank them for their time and effort as part of our Major League team and the Pirates organization. It was a difficult decision, but we felt it was the right time to make this change on our Major League staff. We look forward to Nick’s continued impact in his future role with the Pirates. Nick has held nearly every coaching position at the major league level and at the minor league level, including Major League manager, in his extensive career and will be a quality mentor for our minor league managers, coaches and players.

Lineups for Dodgers-Cubs NLCS Game 6

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 16:  Kyle Hendricks #28 of the Chicago Cubs throws a pitch in the first inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers during game two of the National League Championship Series at Wrigley Field on October 16, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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With Game 6 of the NLCS just hours away, the Dodgers will opt for a lefty-heavy lineup against right-hander Kyle Hendricks. Batting leadoff is rookie outfielder Andrew Toles, who made one appearance at the top of the lineup during the 2016 season. The Cubs, meanwhile, will bench Jason Heyward in favor of Albert Almora Jr.. This will be Almora’s first start of the playoffs, and while he has yet to face Kershaw in October, his right-handed bat could play well against the lefty at the bottom of the lineup.

Game time is scheduled for 8 PM EDT; lineups are below.


1. Andrew Toles (L) LF
2. Corey Seager (L) SS
3. Justin Turner (R) 3B
4. Adrian Gonzalez (L) 1B
5. Josh Reddick (L) RF
6. Joc Pederson (L) CF
7. Yasmani Grandal (S) C
8. Chase Utley (L) 2B
9. Clayton Kershaw (L) LHP
1. Dexter Fowler (S) CF
2. Kris Bryant (R) 3B
3. Anthony Rizzo (L) 1B
4. Ben Zobrist (R) LF
5. Javier Baez (S) 2B
6. Wilson Contreras (R) C
7. Addison Russell (R) RF
8. Albert Almora Jr. (R) RF
9. Kyle Hendricks (R) RHP