Cole Hamels delivered a sterling performance to pitch the Rangers past the Angels to clinch the AL West on the final day of the regular season. The lefty appeared to be shaky early, serving up a two-run home run to Albert Pujols in the first inning, but he settled down from there to pitch a complete game. On the afternoon, he yielded just the two runs on three hits and two walks with eight strikeouts in nine innings.
The Rangers acquired Hamels from the Phillies in a trade at the deadline along with reliever Jake Diekman, sending Matt Harrison and five minor leaguers to Philadelphia.
Third baseman Adrian Beltre put the Rangers on top 3-2 with a two-run homer of his own in the fifth inning. The Rangers would tack on six runs in the seventh to ensure the win.
It’s the Rangers’ first division title since 2011. That year, they went 96-66 and lost the World Series in seven games to the Cardinals. They finish at 88-74 this season.
The Angels, with the loss, are eliminated from contention for the second AL Wild Card. They finish with an 85-77 record. The Astros have officially clinched a playoff berth with the Angels’ loss as well.
In March, Major League Baseball agreed to pay minor league players $400 per week while the sport is shut down amid the coronavirus pandemic. That provision is set to expire at the end of May. As Craig noted earlier, the Athletics will not be paying their minor leaguers starting on June 1.
Several teams are doing the right thing, continuing to pay their minor leaguers $400 per week through at least the end of June. Per The Athletic’s Levi Weaver and James Fegan, the Rangers and White Sox will each tack on another month of pay. The Athletic’s Dennis Lin reported earlier that the Padres will pay their players through the end of August. Craig also cited a Baseball America report from this morning, which mentioned that the Marlins will also pay their players through the end of August.
Frankly, if the Marlins can find a way to continue paying their minor league players, then every team should be able to do the same. The Marlins are widely believed to be the least profitable among the 30 major league clubs. Here’s hoping the rest of the league follows the Rangers’, White Sox’s, Padres’, and Marlins’ lead as opposed to the Athletics’.