Angels clinch postseason berth by beating Mariners

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The Angels have essentially had the AL West wrapped up for weeks now, but it was Monday’s win over the Mariners that officially put them into the postseason, as they became the first team this year to clinch a berth.

It will be the Angels’ first trip to the postseason in five years. They lost in the ALCS in 2009, which concluded a run in which they went to the postseason six times in eight years.

Rookie Matt Shoemaker got the victory in an 8-1 game Monday, taking a shutout into the eighth inning before giving up a run and leaving with a minor injury sustained on a grounder up the middle. He improved to 16-4 with a 3.04 ERA on the season.

The other bad news was that Albert Pujols left the game with a mild hamstring injury that he might need to rest for a few days. The Angels got homers from David Freese and Brennan Boesch in the rout.

For the Mariners, it was another big loss, putting a major crimp in their own postseason plans. They’ve dropped three in a row to fall two games back of the Royals for the second wild card.

At 94-56, the Angels merely need to play .500 ball from here on in to win 100 games for the second time in franchise history. If they go 7-5, they’ll overtake the 2008 Angels, who finished the season 100-62 before losing in the ALDS.

Giants hire Gabe Kapler as new manager

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The Giants announced on Tuesday the hiring of Gabe Kapler as manager. Kapler, filling the extremely large shoes of future Hall of Famer Bruce Bochy, inked a three-year deal, Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area reports. Kapler was one of three finalists for the job, beating out Astros bench coach Joe Espada and Rays bench coach Matt Quataro.

Following his 12-year playing career, Kapler was a coach for Israel’s team in the 2013 World Baseball Classic qualifier. He then became an analyst for FS1 before joining the Dodgers’ front office as the director of player development in November 2014. He was involved in three scandals there: one in which he tried to handle a sexual assault incident involving two Dodgers minor league players without telling police, one in which he allegedly discriminated against Nick Francona, a veteran and former baseball operations employee, and an incident that implicated most of the Dodgers’ front office concerning the recruiting of international free agents. The Dodgers reportedly kept a spreadsheet of employees and their level of criminality.

Despite Kapler’s background, the Phillies hired him as their manager ahead of the 2018 season. He would lead the Phillies to an 80-82 record that year and then helped them improve by one game in 2019, finishing at exactly .500 before being fired. Kapler’s tenure in Philly was tumultuous, often drawing ire from the local media and subsequently the fan base for not being tough enough on his players. The Phillies also reportedly had a clubhouse issue in 2018 in which players were playing video games in the clubhouse during games, prompting Carlos Santana to smash a TV with a bat.

Kapler has a history with Farhan Zaidi, the Giants’ president of baseball operations. They worked together in the Dodgers’ front office as Zaidi served as GM from November 2014-18.