While Yasiel Puig and the Dodgers’ pitching staff deserve a lot of credit for the team’s incredible turnaround, Hanley Ramirez has been the team’s best hitter when healthy this season, batting .348 with 13 home runs and a 1.025 OPS through 63 games. And the Dodgers are prepared to reward him.
According to Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times, Dodgers owner Mark Walter said last night that he is “absolutely” interesting in talking to Ramirez this winter about a contract extension. The 29-year-old is under contract for $14 million next season, after which he can become a free agent.
“I think a guy like Hanley Ramirez, he’s a special, special player,” Walter said. “If you know where we could find five more, we’ll take them all. I don’t think there are five more.”
For his part, Ramirez said he’s “definitely” interested in talking about an extension with the Dodgers and wants to “to stay here forever.”
Clayton Kershaw is also set to become a free agent following the 2014 season, but if there’s any team who could be willing to afford to keep both players, it’s the Dodgers. The deep-pocketed club already has $122 million committed to seven players (Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Matt Kemp, Zack Greinke, Andre Ethier, Yasiel Puig, and Hyun-Jin Ryu) for 2017.
Prior to the fifth inning of Game 6 of the ALCS, Luis Severino was dealing. He tossed 53 pitches, 42 landing for strikes, 13 fanning three batters through four scoreless innings. Justin Verlander matched him at every turn, keeping the Yankees at bay with six strikeouts through five innings (including a filthy curveball to Todd Frazier that just looked ridiculous), but it’s the Yankees who are eligible to join rare company with a win later tonight. Should they overcome a three-run deficit to defeat the Astros, either with a Game 6 victory or a Game 7 tiebreaker tomorrow evening, they’ll be the sixth MLB team to dismantle two 100+ win opponents in the same postseason.
According to ESPN Stats & Info, these are the others:
Predictably, most of the teams were World Series champions: the 2004 Red Sox, 2003 Marlins and 1988 Dodgers. The 2001 Yankees were responsible for kicking the winningest team out of the postseason after taking down the 116-win Mariners, whose record hadn’t been replicated since the 116-36 Cubs in 1906. They pushed the World Series to seven games before dropping a 3-2 nail-biter to the Diamondbacks. The 1998 Padres were even unluckier after finding themselves on the wrong end of a four-game sweep by the Yankees.
It’s not looking particularly swell for the Yankees tonight. Severino was booted in the fifth inning after Brian McCann dented the right field wall with a ground-rule RBI double and Jose Altuve cleared the bases with a two-out, two-RBI line drive. Chase Headley and Didi Gregorius put runners on corners in the sixth, but Verlander refused to relent, inducing an inning-ending groundout to preserve the Astros’ three-run lead.
Houston currently leads 3-0 in the bottom of the sixth.