Author: D.J. Short

Los Angeles Angels' Johnny Giavotella, left celebrates his two-run home run with Kole Calhoun during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Oakland Athletics, Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

Angels stage stunning rally to prevent the Rangers from clinching the AL West


On the strength of a stunning five-inning rally in the top of the ninth inning, the Angels beat the Rangers 11-10 this afternoon in Arlington. The Rangers had a chance to clinch the AL West with a victory, but now the wait continues.

It was a wild one. The Angels grabbed an early 5-1 lead against Colby Lewis, but the Rangers battled right back to tie it in the bottom of the fifth inning. Johnny Giavotella put the Angels back in front with an RBI double in the top of the sixth, but the Rangers scored two in the bottom of the inning to move ahead. Josh Hamilton and Rougned Odor each homered off Mat Latos in the seventh to give the Rangers a 10-6 lead and it appeared that the march to the AL West title was on. Until it wasn’t.

Working for the fifth straight day, Shawn Tolleson was tasked with getting the final three outs. However, he failed to retire a batter, giving up back-to-back homers to Erick Aybar and Kole Calhoun to begin the frame. Rangers manager Jeff Banister then turned to Ross Ohlendorf, who got Mike Trout to ground out to shortstop before Albert Pujols reached on a pop-up which couldn’t be handled by Mike Napoli and Odor. Pujols hustled all the way and made it to second base. Ohlendorf struck out David Murphy for the second out, but C.J. Cron followed with an RBI single to bring the Angels within one run. David Freese followed with a single before Carlos Perez singled in pinch-runner Collin Cowgill to tie the game. Giavotella then singled to bring in the go-ahead run. Andrew Faulkner replaced Ohlendorf from there and finally managed to get the Rangers out of the nightmare inning.

Joe Smith, pitching in place of injured closer Huston Street, notched the save for the Angels. Of course, it happened in an unconventional way, as Elvis Andrus reached on a two-out single and overslid second base on a stolen base attempt for the final out of the ballgame. Ouch. By the way, today’s winning pitcher was Jo-Jo Reyes, who threw just one pitch to get out of the bottom of the eighth inning. The win was his first since 2011.

The Rangers hold a 1.5 game lead in the AL West, but that could be trimmed to just one game if the Astros beat the Diamondbacks tonight. The Angels are half-game back of the Astros for the second Wild Card spot and the two clubs could be tied if Arizona wins tonight. There’s plenty of drama remaining between these three teams.

The Reds are bringing back Bryan Price as manager in 2016

Bryan Price
AP Photo/Todd Kirkland

The Reds are currently riding a 13-game losing streak, their worst such streak since 1945, but the team isn’t making any changes in the dugout for next season. Reds general manager Walt Jocketty made it official this afternoon:

The Reds enter play today at 63-97 on the year. Depending on what happens with the Phillies (62-97), they have a chance to finish with the worst record in the majors. It seems like Price has been on thin ice ever since his profanity-laden tirade back in April, but the team’s disappointing season doesn’t fall completely on him. The Reds have relied mostly on a rookie starting rotation since the Johnny Cueto trade. Not surprisingly, things haven’t gone well.

Price owns a 139-183 (.432) record over two seasons since taking over for Dusty Baker as manager. He’s under contract through 2016.

The Cubs could start Kyle Schwarber in right field for the Wild Card game

Chicago Cubs left fielder Kyle Schwarber catches a fly ball hit by Pittsburgh Pirates' Josh Harrison during the fifth inning of a baseball game Friday, Sept. 25, 2015, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)
AP Photo/Paul Beaty

Kyle Schwarber made his first career start in right field on Friday and it’s increasingly likely that he’ll find himself there for the Wild Card Game against the Pirates on Tuesday.

Schwarber logged three innings in right field in September, but he has mostly played left field of late. He only had one fly ball hit to him on Friday, but so far, so good. He’s right back in there tonight against the Brewers.

As Patrick Mooney of notes, one advantage of playing Schwarber in right field for the Wild Card Game is that he’ll have less ground to cover in PNC Park. Maddon is weighing a number of options for the do-or-die contest, including playing Kris Bryant in left field.