Playoff Reset: Orioles, Royals look to wrap it up

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It’s do-or-die time for two of the clubs — the favorites, to many — on the AL side of the postseason bracket. Let’s break down Sunday’s action …

The Game: Baltimore Orioles vs. Detroit Tigers, American League Division Series Game 3
The Time: 3:30 PM Eastern
The Place: Comerica Park, Detroit
The Channel: TBS
The Starters: Bud Norris vs. David Price
The Upshot: It’s cliché, but here is the reason is the Tigers acquired Price. Detroit’s bullpen has been an embarrassment through the first two games of this series, so Price needs to be both good and efficient versus the O’s, taking his start as deep as possible. He’s gone eight innings or longer in five of his 11 outings since leaving the Rays. The Orioles have scored 19 runs already in this best-of-five and will try to break out the big bats again with the champagne on ice.

The Game: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim vs. Kansas City Royals, ALDS Game 3
The Time: 7:30 PM Eastearn
The Place: Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City
The Channel: TBS
The Starters: C.J. Wilson vs. James Shields
The Upshot: Kansas City’s second postseason home game in 29 years — the first was Tuesday night’s Wild Card thriller — could be a Division Series clincher. What a story. The scrappy, underdog Royals grabbed two extra-inning wins in Anaheim and now “Big Game James” can pitch them into the ALCS. The Angels probably aren’t overjoyed that Wilson has to play the role of savior. He had a rough 4.51 ERA (81 ERA+) and 1.45 WHIP in 175 2/3 innings during the regular season. The Halos will need some offense.

Pirates hire Ben Cherington as their new general manager

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The Pittsburgh Pirates have hired Ben Cherington as the team’s new general manager. They do so after the general manager meetings ended, but better late than never.

Cherington served as GM of the Boston Red Sox for four years, winning the World Series in 2013, but resigned during the 2015 season after Dave Dombrowski was named Boston’s new president of baseball operations. Which was a defacto demotionn for Cherington who, until then, had the final say in baseball decisions. Dombrowski, of course, was fired late in the season this year. Cherington went on to work for the Toronto Blue Jays as a vice president, but was seen as biding his time for another GM position. Now he has one.

Cherington takes over in Pittsburgh for executive vice president and general manager Neal Huntington, who was fired after a 12 years at the helm. Also fired was team president Frank Coonelly. Travis Williams replaced Coonelly recently. While the Pirates experienced a few years of contention under Huntington and Coonelly, they have slid out of contention in recent years as the club has traded away promising players for little return, all while cutting payroll. There’s a very big rebuilding job ahead of Cherington.

The first move he’ll have to make: hire a manager, as the team still hasn’t replaced Clint Hurdle since he was dismissed in the final weekend of the regular season.