Rangers won't use Cliff Lee on short rest in ALDS

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Earlier this week Ron Washington said that Cliff Lee “could go” on short rest in the ALDS “if we think we need him” to allow the Rangers to use a three-man rotation, but yesterday the manager squashed those plans.
Rather than start Lee in Game 1 and then in Game 4 on three days’ rest, the Rangers will use Tommy Hunter as their fourth starter and have Lee lined up for a potential Game 5 assignment.
“The numbers didn’t look good,” Washington told T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com. “We’re going to use our whole pitching staff. We just decided not to push Cliff out there on three days.”
In nine seasons as a major leaguer Lee has never pitched on three days’ rest and his lack of short-rest starts was an issue last postseason as well, when the Phillies decided against using him three times in a seven-game series.
Sullivan also notes that pitchers starting on short rest in the playoffs during the past eight seasons are a combined 13-20 with a 5.01 ERA, compared to a 4.18 ERA on normal rest and a 3.80 ERA on extra rest. Last year’s playoffs included six short-rest starts that produced a combined 6.30 ERA.

José Ramirez’s 17-pitch at-bat kickstarts Indians’ five-run comeback in ninth inning

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With his team trailing 8-3 to begin the bottom of the ninth inning of Sunday’s game against the Astros, Indians third baseman José Ramirez eventually won a 17-pitch at-bat against closer Ken Giles, ripping a double off of the wall in right field. The Indians would go on to score five runs on seven hits to tie the game against Giles and Hector Rondon. Ramirez almost won the game in his second at-bat of the ninth inning, but first basebamn Yuli Gurriel made a terrific diving catch on a line drive otherwise headed for the right field corner.

Giants first baseman Brandon Belt set a new modern record for the longest at-bat last month, seeing 21 pitches against the Angels’ Jaime Barria. The Astros’ Ricky Gutierrez sfaw 20 pitches from the Indians’ Bartolo Colon on June 26, 1998, which was the previous record. Kevin Bass saw 19 pitches from the Phillies’ Steve Bedrosian in 1988. There have also been five 18-pitch at-bats from Brian Downing, Bip Roberts, Alex Cora, Adam Kennedy, and Marcus Semien.

Sunday’s game wound up going 14 innings. The Astros pulled ahead 9-8 in the top of the 13th on a solo home run from Evan Gattis. However, the Indians’ Yonder Alonso responded with a solo shot of his own in the bottom of the 13th to re-knot the game at 9-9. Greg Allen then lifted a walk-off solo homer in the bottom of the 14th to give the Indians a 10-9 win.

After Sunday’s effort, Ramirez is batting .292/.389/.605 with 15 home runs, 37 RBI, 34 runs scored, and seven stolen bases. According to FanGraphs, his 3.5 Wins Above Replacement ranks third across baseball behind Mike Trout (4.4) and Mookie Betts (4.1). They’re the only players at three wins or above.