Johnny Cueto’s minor-league rehab assignment is over after two starts at Single-A and John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that he’ll come off the disabled list to start for the Reds on Monday.
Cueto allowed one run in eight innings while rehabbing, striking out eight and walking zero, so he certainly seems ready to return after sitting out a month with lat and oblique injuries.
No word yet on who’ll be bumped from the Reds’ rotation. Based on merit it would be Mike Leake, who has a 4.32 ERA in seven starts and wasn’t much good last season. Based on veteran-ness Leake might stick around, in which case rookie left-hander Tony Cingrani could lose his spot despite being extremely impressive with a 2.89 ERA and 37/7 K/BB ratio in 28 innings.
Blue Jays starter Mark Buehrle got the start in the final game of the regular season on Sunday against the Rays, an attempt by manager John Gibbons to get the veteran to the 200-inning mark for a 15th consecutive season. Unfortunately, Buehrle didn’t have anything working, allowing eight runs — all unearned — on five hits, a walk, and two errors while recording only two outs. The biggest hit was a grand slam by Joey Butler which made it 6-0.
Buehrle, who is reportedly retiring, will end his season with a 15-8 record, a 3.81 ERA, a 1.24 WHIP, and a 91/33 K/BB ratio in 198 2/3 innings.
Sunday’s game wasn’t entirely meaningless for the Blue Jays, as they entered the afternoon trailing the Royals by one game for home field advantage throughout the playoffs. The Royals, however, took an early 5-0 lead around the same time the Jays fell behind the Rays.
Cole Hamels delivered a sterling performance to pitch the Rangers past the Angels to clinch the AL West on the final day of the regular season. The lefty appeared to be shaky early, serving up a two-run home run to Albert Pujols in the first inning, but he settled down from there to pitch a complete game. On the afternoon, he yielded just the two runs on three hits and two walks with eight strikeouts in nine innings.
The Rangers acquired Hamels from the Phillies in a trade at the deadline along with reliever Jake Diekman, sending Matt Harrison and five minor leaguers to Philadelphia.
Third baseman Adrian Beltre put the Rangers on top 3-2 with a two-run homer of his own in the fifth inning. The Rangers would tack on six runs in the seventh to ensure the win.
It’s the Rangers’ first division title since 2011. That year, they went 96-66 and lost the World Series in seven games to the Cardinals. They finish at 88-74 this season.
The Angels, with the loss, are eliminated from contention for the second AL Wild Card. They finish with an 85-77 record. The Astros have officially clinched a playoff berth with the Angels’ loss as well.