As Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle points out, the back of the Athletics’ starting rotation has been a problem in the first month-plus of the season. The top three in the rotation — Sonny Gray, Scott Kazmir, and Jesse Chavez — are a combined 16-2, Slusser writes, while everyone else (Dan Straily, Tommy Milone, Josh Lindblom) is 2-9.
Slusser adds that the A’s may deal from depth to address the rotation, citing catcher John Jaso as an example of someone who could be moved. Jaso has been platooning with Derek Norris behind the plate and both have gotten off to good starts. Jaso has a .758 OPS, but Norris currently owns an impressive 1.006 OPS himself.
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.
Hanley Ramirez was a complete failure in left field this season in Boston and he batted just .249/.291/.426 while appearing in only 105 games. Ben Cherington, the man that signed him to a four-year, $88 million free agent contract, is no longer with the Red Sox. It’s time for some tough love …
Red Sox interim manager Torey Lovullo, who just inked a two-year extension to return as John Farrell’s bench coach, told Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald on Sunday that Hanley has been asked to drop 15-20 pounds over the offseason. There have been similar conversations with Boston’s other free agent failure, Pablo Sandoval.
Ramirez is expected to start at first base for the Red Sox in 2016.