Rangers dominate ALCS Game 6 for 15-5 victory, move along to World Series

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The Rangers’ rotation has managed just one quality start in 10 postseason outings, but it doesn’t really matter. Texas is advancing to the World Series for the second consecutive year on the back of a dynamic and powerful batting order — one that strung together 17 hits and 15 runs in Saturday’s ALCS-clinching Game 6 victory over Detroit.

Ian Kinsler, the leadoff man, went 2-for-5 with three RBI. Elvis Andrus, the fleet-footed shortstop, was 2-for-5 with a stolen base and two runs scored.

Then there’s the heart of the Rangers’ lineup.

Josh Hamilton has eight RBI in these playoffs, Michael Young tallied five RBI on Saturday night alone, and Adrian Beltre has remained productive while also contributing his usual brand of elite defense at third base.

But the vaunted Texas lineup doesn’t fall off from there. Mike Napoli batted .320 with a 1.046 OPS during the regular season and carries massive power potential out of the six-hole. Nelson Cruz, the MVP of the ALCS, had six homers in the Rangers’ six-game series win. David Murphy, 2-for-2 on Saturday, is also a producer.

The Rangers won’t have many favorable pitching matchups in the Fall Classic, no matter if they face Milwaukee or St. Louis, but they boast the kind of offensive firepower that could render that shortcoming moot.

Congratulations to manager Ron Washington, team president Nolan Ryan, general manager Jon Daniels, and the Rangers’ entire 40-man roster. There’s little doubt that Texas has become a premier MLB franchise. And they should be heavy favorites, despite no home-field advantage, in the 2011 postseason’s final round.

The Astros’ pursuit of Sonny Gray is “heating up”

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Jon Morosi of MLB Networks reports that talks are “heating up” between the Astros and Athletics on a Sonny Gray trade. Gray, obviously, would represent a big upgrade for the Astros’ rotation. He has a 3.66 ERA and has struck out 85 batters while walking 28 in 91 innings.

Morosi adds that Gray is not the only option for the Astros, as they are also talking to the Tigers about a potential acquisition of Justin Verlander and Justin Wilson. That would obviously be a much tougher deal to negotiate given Verlander’s 10/5 rights giving him veto power over any trade, not to mention the massive amount of money he’s still owed on his contract.

Also: I’m pretty sure that it’s in the MLB rules that any trade between the Tigers and the Astros has to involve Brad Ausmus, C.J. Nitkowski and Jose Lima, and that’s not possible given their current occupations and/or their deaths in 2010.

Marlins trade David Phelps to the Mariners for four prospects

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The Miami Marlins have sent reliever David Phelps to the Seattle Mariners in exchange for four prospects. MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand and Ken Rosenthal had rumors of the deal first, Jon Morosi, Jeff Passan and Jon Heyman (among others) all reported the trade at virtually the same time.

Phelps, 30, had a fantastic 2016 season, posting a 2.28 ERA in 64 games while striking out 11.8 batters per nine innings. He’s not been as strong this year, but he’s still been a solid setup man, posting a 3.45 ERA in 44 games while striking out 51 batters and walking 21 in 47 innings. He throws in the mid-90s and induces grounders. The Mariners could probably use rotation help more than bullpen help, but solid innings are solid innings at one point and improving your pen takes some of the pressure off of your rotation. Phelps will help Seattle with that. He’s under team control for next year too, so this is more than a rental.

The top prospect in the deal is Brayan Hernandez, a 19 year-old outfielder from Venezuela, currently playing in low-A ball. Also in the deal: righty Brandon Miller, righty Pablo Lopez and righty Lucas Schiraldi who, yes, is the son of ex-big leaguer Calvin Schiraldi. None of these guys are blue chippers, but you never know what’ll happen. It’s a volume return for the Fish.

We’ve already seen some big bullpen names move, including David Robertson, Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson. Among others who could be moved:  A.J. Ramos (Marlins); Justin Wilson (Tigers); Addison Reed (Mets); Jerry Blevins (Mets); Brad Hand (Padres); Tony Watson (Pirates); Juan Nicasio (Pirates); Brad Brach (Orioles); Drew Storen (Reds); and Raisel Iglesias (Reds).