Well, this is it. The final day of the 2013 regular season. And there are still things to be decided.
The Indians stayed hot and beat the Twins on Saturday behind a dominant Scott Kazmir, clinching at least a tie in the American League Wild Card race with a current record of 91-70. The Rangers topped the Angels with a big day of offense and the Rays lost their second game in a row to the out-of-contention Blue Jays. Which has both Texas and Tampa Bay at 90-71 heading into Sunday.
There would have to be tiebreaker games on both Monday and Tuesday in the event of a three-way tie. If we finish with a two-way tie for the second Wild Card spot, there would be one tiebreaker game on Monday.
In the National League, the top postseason seed is still up for grabs. The Cardinals cruised past the Cubs to move to 96-65 and the Braves lost to the Phillies, falling to 95-66 on the year. If the Cards win their season-finale on Sunday against Chicago, they’ll play the winner of the National League Wild Card Game (Reds or Pirates) in the five-game NLDS. The Braves would then get the Dodgers in their five-game NLDS. If the Cards lose on Sunday and the Braves win, the Braves claim that top spot because they had a a better head-to-head record against St. Louis this season. Got all that?
Your Saturday box scores and recaps:
Angels 4, Rangers 7
Indians 5, Twins 1
Pirates 8, Reds 3
Rays 2, Blue Jays 7
Padres 9, Giants 3
Athletics 5, Mariners 7
Brewers 4, Mets 2 (10 innings)
Cubs 2, Cardinals 6
Red Sox 5, Orioles 6
Royals 5, White Sox 6
Phillies 5, Braves 4
Yankees 2, Astros 1
Tigers 1, Marlins 2 (10 innings)
Nationals 2, Diamondbacks 0
Rockies 1, Dodgers 0
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.