Rangers outfielder Alex Rios left before taking the field for the bottom half of the fourth inning in Sunday’s series finale against the Rangers. In the top half, Rios had doubled in a run with no outs. After the Astros retired two Rangers consecutively, Adam Rosales weakly lined a single into the hole between shortstop and third base. The ball skipped away from Marwin Gonzalez, and Rios was sent home after rounding the third base bag. Rios slid foot-first into catcher Carlos Corporan’s mitt, kicking the ball out but injuring his ankle in the process. Jim Adducci took his place in right field after the frame.
Rios was making his first start since Wednesday due to reaggravating his right ankle. He suffered the initial injury in July, missing a few games shortly after the All-Star break. Jose de Jesus Ortiz of the Houston Chronicle reports that Rios will be reevaluated on Monday.
Rios, 33, was having a great season, but his numbers have fallen as of late, posting a .486 OPS since returning from the All-Star break. Including today’s limited action, Rios has a .294/.324/.415 slash line with four home runs, 46 RBI, and 16 stolen bases.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter is not expected to retain his position with the club beyond the 2018 season, according to multiple reports from Jon Heyman of Fancred and Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports. Nothing appears to be finalized just yet, however, and the Orioles have yet to address rumors of Showalter’s impending departure or news of a possible contract extension for general manager Dan Duquette.
Even so, it’s been a year of near-unprecedented disaster for the 62-year-old skipper, who helped lead the team to a 44-108 record prior to the outcome of Friday’s series opener against the Yankees. With the Orioles’ 108th loss — a 4-6 heartbreaker against the Blue Jays on Tuesday — they tied the 1937 St. Louis Browns for the second-most losses in a single season, eclipsed only by the 43-111 record of the 1939 Browns. As they have just 10 games remaining in the regular season, this year’s team has no chance of climbing out of last place in the AL East and may well finish with the worst record in the AL to boot.
While the Orioles’ missteps don’t bode well for Showalter’s future in Baltimore, he’s brought far more good than harm to the organization over the last eight and a half years. He assumed the managerial position from interim manager Juan Samuel in the middle of the team’s 2010 season and guided the club to five winning seasons and three postseason appearances in 2012, 2014, and 2016. Entering the 2018 season, his record sits at 666 wins and 677 losses, the winningest mark by any of the team’s skippers since Earl Weaver wrapped his 17-season run with the team in 1986. Whether the Orioles believe Showalter is capable of recovering from two consecutive losing seasons and returning the team to their former days of glory (and the occasional division title) remains to be seen, of course, though there’s plenty to recommend him as they prepare to advance a full-scale rebuild over the offseason.