Giants 9, Rangers 0: Aaron has the gory details of the bottom of the eighth inning here, and covers just about everything important about this game. I’ll simply add that watching Ron Washington manage the Rangers’ bullpen in the postseason has been like watching Richie Tennebaum against Gandhi at the U.S. Nationals tournament. All I can think is that Washington’s adopted sister married Raleigh St. Clair yesterday, throwing him off his game, leading to all of these unforced errors.
On the bright side: Nelson Cruz got to two or three balls in right field in the early innings that Vladimir Guerrero wouldn’t have. If not for that substitution, it probably would have been 4-0 Giants heading into that eighth inning. Though, no, I don’t presume that makes Rangers fans feel any better.
I suppose the smart money has the Rangers being written off now. I can’t say I’d bet against it. But there’s hope. Hope in the form of the Giants throwing out two lefties in the next two games in Jonathan Sanchez and Madison Bumgarner. Hope in that the Rangers have a lot of righthanded firepower and shouldn’t be as feeble in Games 3 and 4 as they were last night. Hope in that, should Colby Lewis falter, Neftali Feliz on seven days rest should be able to go five innings or more.
Oh, wait. That just brings us back to Washington. Who will still be managing that pen. Yeah, maybe we should just write Texas off now.
Update (7:01 PM EDT): David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports the deal has been completed.
ESPN’s Keith Law reported on Saturday evening that a bad contract swap involving the Braves’ Hector Olivera and the Padres’ Matt Kemp was “getting close.” Olivera has been pulled off the field, per Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that only a last-second medical would kill the deal at this point, and that the Padres will be sending money to the Braves.
Kemp, 31, will have $64.5 million remaining on his contract through 2019 after this season, but the Dodgers will pay $3.5 million annually over those remaining three years, so the $64.5 million is really $54 million. The veteran has compiled a .262/.285/.489 triple-slash line with 23 home runs and 69 RBI in 431 plate appearances for the Padres this season.
Olivera, 31, will have $28.5 million remaining on his contract through 2020 after this season. The outfielder was handed an 82-game suspension, beginning on May 26, for his involvement in a domestic dispute on April 13. The suspension is up on August 2. He has a .501 OPS in 21 major league at-bats this season and a .278 OPS in 37 PA at Triple-A.
Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the Padres will consider designating Olivera for assignment. The trade is all about the salary dump for the Padres, as they’d rather give outfield playing time to prospects Hunter Renfroe and Manuel Margot.
The Athletics and Royals swapped outfielders on Saturday. The Athletics sent Billy Burns to Kansas City and the Royals sent Brett Eibner to Oakland.
Burns, 26, doesn’t provide much in the way of offense, but he runs the bases well and plays solid defense. He was hitting .234/.270/.303 with 11 doubles, four triples, and 14 stolen bases in 274 plate appearances.
Eibner, 27, was batting .231/.286/.423 with three home runs and 10 RBI in 85 plate appearances. He has spent most of the season with Triple-A Omaha, where he’s put up a .902 OPS in 219 PA. Eibner played the outfield corners in the majors, but racked up a ton of time playing center in the minors, so his versatility will be valuable to the A’s.
Burns will become eligible for arbitration for the first time after the 2017 season while Eibner has hardly accrued any service time, which might explain part of the motivation behind the trade for the small-market Athletics.