The once-strong Rangers have had a miserable September, entering tonight’s affair against the Royals with 14 losses in 18 games during the month. With recently-acquired starter Matt Garza on the hill, the Rangers made a strong effort in reversing their fortunes tonight.
The Rangers went up 3-0 early on Royals starter Jeremy Guthrie, scoring once in the first on an Elvis Andrus ground out, and twice in the third on Adrian Beltre’s RBI single to center and A.J. Pierzynski’s sacrifice fly. From there, Garza had all the run support he would need. The right-hander blanked the Royals over eight innings, finally relenting in the ninth when Eric Hosmer blasted a solo home run to left field. Overall, Garza allowed the one run on five hits and a walk while striking out five. Joe Nathan relieved Garza and recorded three easy outs for the 3-1 victory, his 40th save of the season.
With the loss, the Royals were eliminated from AL Central contention. For the Rangers, the victory ensures that the Athletics cannot clinch the AL West until tomorrow, following either their own win or a Rangers loss. Meanwhile, the Rangers remain a half-game behind the Indians for the second AL Wild Card. Alexi Ogando will start in tomorrow’s series finale in Kansas City. The Rangers return home for seven games to wrap up the season: three against the lowly Astros and four against the Angels.
ESPN’s Howard Bryant is reporting that Major League Baseball has approved a rule allowing for a dugout signal for an intentional walk. In other words, baseball is allowing automatic intentional walks. Bryant adds that this rule will be effective for the 2017 season.
MLB has been trying, particularly this month, to improve the pace of play. Getting rid of the formality of throwing four pitches wide of the strike zone will save a minute or two for each intentional walk. There were 932 of them across 2,428 games last season, an average of one intentional walk every 2.6 games. It’s not the biggest improvement, but it’s something at least.
Earlier, Commissioner Rob Manfred was upset with the players’ union’s “lack of cooperation.” Perhaps his public criticism was the catalyst for getting this rule passed.
Unfortunately, getting rid of the intentional walk formality will eradicate the chance of seeing any more moments like this:
Earlier, Craig covered Rob Manfred’s comments in which he accused the Major League Baseball Players’ Association of “a lack of cooperation” concerning some proposed rule changes. The union would need to agree to any such changes, which have included automatic intentional walks, limiting mound visits, pitch clocks, and swapping batting practice times for home and visiting teams.
Manfred went on to say that MLB will impose those rule changes unilaterally next year as allowed in the latest collective bargaining agreement.
Tony Clark, the executive director of the MLBPA, responded to Manfred’s comment. Via Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports:
“Unless your definition of ‘cooperation’ is blanket approval, I don’t agree that we’ve failed to cooperate with the Commissioner’s office on these issues.”
“Two years ago we negotiated pace of play protocols that had an immediate and positive impact. Last year we took a step backward in some ways, and this off season we’ve been in regular contact with MLB and with our members to get a better handle on why that happened.”
“I would be surprised if those discussions with MLB don’t continue, notwithstanding today’s comments about implementation. As I’ve said, fundamental changes to the game are going to be an uphill battle, but the lines of communication should remain open.”
“My understanding is that MLB wants to continue with the replay changes (2min limit) and the no-pitch intentional walks and the pace of Game warning/fine adjustments.”
Clark’s response isn’t anything too shocking. Manfred’s accusation was pretty baseless, but it’s behavior to be expected of a commissioner who comes down on the side of the owners over the players almost always.