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Settling the Score: Saturday’s results


The largest division lead in baseball still belongs to the Braves, who have won 14 of their last 15 games and currently boast a 14 1/2-game lead over the Nationals in the NL East standings. The second-largest division lead belongs to the Tigers.

Anibal Sanchez tossed seven solid innings, Miguel Cabrera launched his 35th home run of the season and Torii Hunter drove in four as Detroit rolled to a 9-3 victory Saturday at Yankee Stadium. With the Indians dropping a sixth straight game and the Royals also losing, the Tigers’ lead in the American League Central has now climbed to eight games.

The Tigers also own by far the largest run differential in the majors at +156.

St. Louis is second at +136 and Atlanta (+125) currently ranks third.

Your Saturday recaps and box scores:

Tigers 9, Yankees 3

Athletics 4, Blue Jays 5

Twins 4, White Sox 5

Rays 0, Dodgers 5

Orioles 2, Giants 3

Angels 7, Indians 2

Phillies 5, Nationals 8

Red Sox 5, Royals 3

Marlins 1, Braves 0

Padres 3, Reds 1

Rangers 5, Astros 4

Cubs 6, Cardinals 5

Pirates 4, Rockies 6

Mets 4, Diamondbacks 1

Brewers 10, Mariners 0

Wild Card, Division series umpires announced

Angel Hernandez
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Major League Baseball just released the umpire assignments for the Wild Card Game and the Division Series. As always, the basis for these assignments is a proprietary, scientific calculation undertaken by Major League Baseball, mixing in (a) skill; (b) seniority; and (c) trolling of baseball bloggers who, unlike 99% of the rest of the world actually know the names and track records of various umpires and who are easily riled.

Which is to say that, while we have no Joe West in the early playoff rounds this year — too obvious, perhaps? — we do get an Angel Hernandez.

Here are the assignments. The asterisks represent the crew chief of each unit. Guys with little up arrows next to their names are regular season crew chiefs in their own right. Print this out and keep it near your television so you know who to yell about before the broadcasters tell you who to yell at:

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Which teams improved and declined the most in 2015?

Joe Maddon

I was curious about which MLB teams changed their fortunes the most this season compared to last year, so I crunched the numbers.

First, here are the biggest win total improvements from 2014 to 2015:

+24 Cubs
+21 Rangers
+16 Astros
+15 Diamondbacks
+13 Twins
+11 Mets
+10 Blue Jays
+10 Cardinals
+10 Pirates

The top five teams on the biggest-improvement list all had managers in their first season on the job, led by Joe Maddon joining the Cubs after tons of success with the Rays. Also worth noting: Of the nine teams with the biggest win total improvement, seven made the playoffs. Only the Twins and Diamondbacks improved to double-digit games and still failed to make the playoffs.

Now, here are the biggest win total declines from 2014 to 2015:

-20 Athletics
-16 Tigers
-15 Orioles
-14 Brewers
-13 Nationals
-13 Angels
-12 Braves
-12 Reds
-11 Mariners

Not surprisingly, a whole lot of those teams have changed managers, general managers, or both. And a couple more may still do so before the offseason gets underway. Oakland retained manager Bob Melvin despite an MLB-high 20-win dropoff and just promoted Billy Beane from general manager to vice president of baseball operations.