The Tigers give Brandon Inge his unconditional release

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Wow, this is pretty big. From the Twitter feed of the Tigers’ media relations dude:

This isn’t big because Brandon Inge is big — he’s pretty insignificant, baseball-wise these days —  but because he’s probably the single most polarizing player in the world of Detroit Tigers fandom. He’s one of those rare guys who is still beloved by many despite possessing little if any of the value he used to possess as a player.  Which, in turn, makes more analytical fans go nuts.  Wanna start an argument among Tigers fans? Just voice a strong opinion about Brandon Inge. He’s a player cum mascot about whom no one can be rational.  If you don’t believe me, go check out this thread over at Bless You Boys soon.  It’s bound to be nutsy within an hour or two.

But now he’s gone. As well he should be. He’s 2 for 20 on the year with no walks. He hasn’t had a useful season in a couple of years. He hasn’t had a good one in, like, seven.  With Miquel Cabrera at third he has no defensive value on this team. He has been playing some sub-par second base because, well, because he has to be somewhere. Or had to, anyway.

You may remember Eldred from some brief time with the Pirates and Rockies a few years ago.  At the moment he’s absolutely raking at Toledo:  he’s 31 for 80 with 13 — 13! — homers in 20 games so far this year. Of course he’s also 31 years-old, has been at triple-A for seven years and plays first base, so it’s not like he’s going to change the season.

But he can hit. Inge can’t, and that’s why he’s now gone.

(Thanks to Michael M. for the heads up)

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.