Author: Bill Baer

Pat Murphy
AP Photo

Padres announce Pat Murphy won’t return as manager in 2016


Per Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, the Padres have announced that interim manager Pat Murphy won’t return as the team’s manager in 2016. Haudricourt adds that Brewres manager Craig Counsell tried to get Murphy on his staff, and says to look for Murphy to join the Brewers for the 2016 season.

Murphy led the Padres to a 42-53 record after Bud Black was fired in June. He had previously managed for two years with Single-A Eugene in 2011-12, and at Triple-A Tucson and El Paso in 2013-14.

Former major leaguer Phil Nevin is a candidate for the Padres’ vacant managing position, according to Scott Miller of Bleacher Report.

Royals clinch home field advantage, best record in the American League

Lorenzo Cain
AP Photo

With a 6-1 win over the Twins in Sunday’s season finale, the Royals clinched the best record in the American League, which nets them home field advantage in the ALDS and ALCS. The Royals stand at 95-67 while the Blue Jays, who lost on Sunday, finish at 93-69.

95-67 is the Royals’ best record since finishing 97-65 in 1980, when they lost the World Series to the Phillies. Their division title is their first since 1985.

In the ALDS, which starts on Thursday, the Royals will host the winner of the AL Wild Card game between the Astros and Yankees. They are looking to avenge last year’s World Series loss, in seven games, to the Giants. The Blue Jays will host the Rangers in the other ALDS series.

Yankees to host AL Wild Card Game after Astros lose to D’Backs

Jacoby Ellsbury, Tony Pena
AP Photo

Both the Astros’ and the Yankees’ fates were decided before their own games had completed on Sunday. The Rangers defeated the Angels, which clinched a Wild Card spot for the Astros. Then the Astros dropped Sunday’s season finale to the Diamondbacks, which clinched the first AL Wild Card slot for the Yankees. The Yankees are on their way to a loss against the Orioles as of this writing, but that will not affect anything now.

The Astros were in a 3-3 tie with the Diamondbacks in the seventh inning, but reliever Chad Qualls served up a two-run home run to Paul Goldschmidt. That would prove to be the deciding factor in a 5-3 loss.

The Yankees are losing 7-4 to the Orioles behind a subpar start by Michael Pineda and a shaky performance by the bullpen.

The MLB postseason opens up with the Yankees hosting the Astros on Tuesday in the AL Wild Card game. The winner moves on to face the Royals in Kansas City in the ALDS.

Pirates shut out Reds, will host NL Wild Card game against the Cubs

Pedro Alvarez
AP Photo

The Pirates shut out the Reds 4-0 on Sunday, clinching the first NL Wild Card slot, which means they will host the Cubs in the Wild Card game. The winner will travel to St. Louis to play the Cardinals in the NLDS on October 9. The Pirates end the season with a 98-64 record, their best record since 1991 when they also finished 98-64.

Starter J.A. Happ pitched six shutout innings, limiting the Reds to three hits and three walks while striking out seven. Relievers Joakim Soria, Tony Watson, and Mark Melancon each pitched a scoreless inning behind Happ to finish out the game.

Neil Walker provided the Pirates’ first run with an RBI single in the first inning. Pedro Alvarez ripped a solo homer in the fourth, Jordy Mercer doubled in a run in the sixth, and Josh Harrison hit an RBI double in the seventh to account for all of the offense.

The Cubs beat the Brewers 3-1 on Sunday to finish with a 97-65 record. They’re in the playoffs for the first time since 2008.