Houston Astros fans celebrate Ankiel's home run during their MLB game against Texas Rangers in Houston

And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights


Astros 8, Rangers 2: The fundamental problem with baseball opening with a lone, prime time game is that everyone is watching it. And with all of the attention on one game, people are bound to overanalyze it, draw ridiculous conclusions and reach hard to make meaningful statements because, hey, if it’s the only game it must be important, yes?

Well, no, obviously. Unless you think Justin Maxwell is going to hit 324 triples, Matt Harrison is going to strike out over 300 batters while posting an ERA of 8 and Erik Bedard’s three-inning save represents the return of John Hiller-esque firemen. No one believes any of that stuff. But with everyone watching ESPN and listening to Orel and John and Dan comparing journeymen to Derek Jeter and lauding this or that play as “a big league play” or what have you, it felt like something more than Houston vs. Texas.

And thankfully it was just one night of it. Today begins lots of baseball most days, with most games not mattering a whole hell of a lot. Which is kind of nice.

Red Sox ask Hanley Ramirez to report 15-20 pounds lighter next spring

Hanley Ramirez
The Associated Press
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Hanley Ramirez was a complete failure in left field this season in Boston and he batted just .249/.291/.426 while appearing in only 105 games. Ben Cherington, the man that signed him to a four-year, $88 million free agent contract, is no longer with the Red Sox. It’s time for some tough love …

Red Sox interim manager Torey Lovullo, who just inked a two-year extension to return as John Farrell’s bench coach, told Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald on Sunday that Hanley has been asked to drop 15-20 pounds over the offseason. There have been similar conversations with Boston’s other free agent failure, Pablo Sandoval.

Ramirez is expected to start at first base for the Red Sox in 2016.

Video: Clayton Kershaw notches his 300th strikeout

Clayton Kershaw
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
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Clayton Kershaw entered Sunday’s regular-season finale against the Padres needing six strikeouts to become the first pitcher in 13 years to whiff 300 batters in a single season.

He did it within the first nine batters of the game, whiffing Yangervis Solarte, Clint Barmes, Austin Hedges, and Travis Jankowski once each and Melvin Upton Jr. on two different occasions.

Here was the milestone matchup against Upton Jr. with two outs in the top of the third …

The last pitchers to reach 300 strikeouts in a season were Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling. They did so as teammates on the 2002 Diamondbacks.

Kershaw is lined up to face the Mets in Game 1 of the NLDS.