While the Rangers downplayed the idea that anything happened between manager Ron Washington and center fielder Josh Hamilton in the dugout during Wednesday’s season finale, GM Jon Daniels admitted that his former MVP is struggling some at the moment.
Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com has the quotes:
“It’s easy to pick out one guy, but it’s been more than that,” Daniels said. “Has Josh played his best? No. Did he have an unusual injury? Yeah. I think the focal point of media, fans and some of us was the popup yesterday in center field.
“That contributed to the loss, but that’s not why we lost the game. Josh struggling is not why we’ve slumped the last two weeks, but it certainly contributed. The reality is there’s no one reason why we’ve had a rough two weeks. We’ve got a clean slate right now, go out and play tomorrow and win.”
Washington had an exchange with Hamilton in the dugout Wednesday after Hamilton missed a popup in center field, giving the A’s in two runs in what had been a 5-5 game. The Rangers went on to lose 12-5, which cost them the AL West title.
“There was no issue with Josh and I, I don’t care what you’ve seen on the camera,” Washington said. “I’m the manager. I’m allowed to ask questions.”
Hamilton went 10-for-39 with no homers, four RBI and a 17/0 K/BB ratio in the Rangers’ last nine games, seven of which were losses. Miguel Cabrera overtook him for the home run title on his way to the Triple Crown.
The Red Sox have clinched the AL East for a third consecutive season, beating the Yankees 11-6 in the Bronx on Thursday night. It’s the third consecutive season in which the Red Sox have won the division, the first time that’s ever been done in club history. In fact, the only other times the Red Sox won the division in back-to-back years were 1903-04 and 1915-16.
AL MVP candidate Mookie Betts went 4-for-5 with a two-run single in the second inning off of Masahiro Tanaka and a three-run homer in the eighth against Aroldis Chapman to put the game out of reach. Jackie Bradley and Brock Holt also hit homers. Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez was on the hook for five runs in 3 2/3 innings, but three of them scored when Heath Hembree inherited a bases-loaded situation, then served up a grand slam to Giancarlo Stanton in the fourth. The rest of the bullpen combined to fire five scoreless innings. Steven Wright had three of them followed by zeroes from Ryan Brasier and Craig Kimbrel.
With the loss, the Yankees’ lead over the Athletics for the first Wild Card slot shrinks to 1.5 games. Meanwhile, the Red Sox will try to clinch home field advantage throughout the playoffs. With a 104-49 record, their closest competitor is the 95-57 Astros. With nine games remaining in the regular season for the Red Sox, they would have to lose every game remaining in the regular season and the Astros would have to win their 10 remaining games in order to fail to claim home field advantage.