Joel Hanrahan has been a rock in the closer’s role these last two seasons, but even he let the Pirates down today as the team completed its collapse.
The Reds scored twice in the bottom of the ninth Sunday to beat the Pirates 4-3, dropping Pittsburgh to 77-82 and locking up a 20th consecutive season below .500.
The Pirates peaked at 16 games over .500 on Aug. 6, but they’re now five games under. They’re 5-18 in their last 23 games.
Hanrahan was 36-for-39 saving games this year before giving up a game-tying homer to ex-Pirate Xavier Paul. He took his second loss after Zack Cozart doubled in pinch-runner Denis Phipps to give the Reds the lead.
The homer was Paul’s fifth in 461 major league at-bats. He hit two in 232 at-bats for Pittsburgh last year.
Cincinnati’s win pushed the team back into a tie with the Nationals for the best record in the National League at 96-63.
The Rangers outrighted reliever Shawn Tolleson off the 40-man roster on Wednesday. Rather than accept the assignment to Triple-A Round Rock, Tolleson has opted to become a free agent, Rangers executive VP of communications John Blake reports.
Tolleson, 28, emerged as a closer for the Rangers in 2015, but his follow-up campaign this year was dreadful. He finished with a 7.68 ERA and a 29/10 K/BB ratio in 36 1/3 innings. He eventually went on the 60-day disabled list with a back injury.
Despite the nightmarish season, it’s easy to see a team deciding to take a flier on Tolleson for the 2017 season.
Indians slugger Carlos Santana hasn’t played in the outfield in a major league game since 2012, but the Indians are strongly considering starting him in left field for Game 3 of the World Series at Wrigley Field on Friday, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. As the game is hosted in a National League park, there is no DH rule in effect, so the Indians might otherwise have to keep Santana on the bench.
Santana is hitless in six at-bats in the World Series thus far, but he has drawn two walks. He has overall not had a great postseason, carrying an aggregate .564 OPS in 40 plate appearances since the beginning of the playoffs. Still, during the regular season, he had an .865 OPS so he can certainly be a threat on offense at any given moment.