As expected, the Rangers have removed Alexi Ogando from the playoff roster following his oblique injury last night and replaced him with Dustin Nippert.
It’s a tough break for the Rangers, who were already without their top right-handed setup man in Frank Francisco. Ogando emerged as a viable alternative with a 1.30 ERA in 41.2 regular season innings and six innings of one-run ball this postseason, but now his injury leaves Darren Oliver and Darren O’Day to do an awful lot of heavy lifting in front of closer Neftali Feliz.
And since Ron Washington uses Feliz in such a rigid way the Rangers’ middle relievers and setup men have longer gaps to the closer to bridge than they should anyway. If the Rangers call Nippert into a game then you know something went terribly wrong, because he’s a 29-year-old with a 5.31 ERA in 268 career innings.
The Cubs soundly defeated the Cardinals on Monday night, 10-2, sending their magic number down to one. They will try to clinch the NL Central on Tuesday with another win against the Cardinals. Alternatively, if they lose, they can still clinch if the Brewers also lose on Tuesday.
The Cubs, of course, won the Central last year en route to winning their first World Series since 1908. It wasn’t nearly as easy this year as the club was below .500 entering June and was exactly at .500 entering July. A 16-8 July, 17-12 August, and 15-8 September have helped put the Cubs back in position to return to the postseason.
Not to be forgotten, the Cardinals were eliminated from NL Central contention with Monday’s loss. Now they have their sights set on the second NL Wild Card slot and currently trail the Rockies in that race.
The matchups for Tuesday’s action:
Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union Tribune reports that Padres pitcher Carter Capps will undergo surgery this offseason to address thoracic outlet syndrome, which doctors believe caused the right-hander’s blood clots. The Padres hope to have him ready by spring training next year.
Capps, 27, underwent Tommy John surgery last year and didn’t debut this season until August 7. He made 11 relief appearances, yielding nine runs on 12 hits and two walks with seven strikeouts in 12 1/3 innings. He went back on the DL on September 12 due to the blood clot issue.
The Padres acquired Capps from the Marlins last July in the Andrew Cashner trade which ended up having a lot of moving parts. Capps will enter his third and final year of arbitration eligibility this offseason. It’s quite possible the Padres choose to non-tender him.