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Rangers shut down Adrian Beltre

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Now that the Rangers have been eliminated from contention, they have shut down their third baseman, Adrian Beltre for the final weekend of the season.

It was a weird year for Beltre. He hit magnificently when he was in, posting a line of .311/.382/.533 with 17 homers and 71 RBI. He also picked up his 3,000th career hit. Still, Beltre called it his “most disappointing season” due to the injuries he has suffered. He started late due to an injured quad and missed a lot of time late with an injured hamstring. In all, he’s played only 93 games. The shutdown now is an acknowledgment that, even though he’s been active, he’s not been at 100%.

Next year will be the second year on a two-year contract extension Beltre signed and he’ll be paid $18 million. He’ll turn 39 in April. Whether or not he’ll remain with the Rangers after 2018 — or even if he’ll last the whole 2018 season with them — is up in the air. It mostly depends on whether the Rangers look to rebuild or if they’ll simply reload and try to compete again. At the moment the signs suggest the latter course, not the former. Either way, Beltre has 5/10 rights, meaning that he’d have to approve any trade.

Age gets all players eventually. At the moment, it seems to be getting to Beltre far less than most players with his mileage, at least in terms of his productivity when healthy. How much it impacts how often he can be on the field going forward will be what impacts what the Rangers and he decide his future will be most of all.

José Ramirez’s 17-pitch at-bat kickstarts Indians’ five-run comeback in ninth inning

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With his team trailing 8-3 to begin the bottom of the ninth inning of Sunday’s game against the Astros, Indians third baseman José Ramirez eventually won a 17-pitch at-bat against closer Ken Giles, ripping a double off of the wall in right field. The Indians would go on to score five runs on seven hits to tie the game against Giles and Hector Rondon. Ramirez almost won the game in his second at-bat of the ninth inning, but first basebamn Yuli Gurriel made a terrific diving catch on a line drive otherwise headed for the right field corner.

Giants first baseman Brandon Belt set a new modern record for the longest at-bat last month, seeing 21 pitches against the Angels’ Jaime Barria. The Astros’ Ricky Gutierrez sfaw 20 pitches from the Indians’ Bartolo Colon on June 26, 1998, which was the previous record. Kevin Bass saw 19 pitches from the Phillies’ Steve Bedrosian in 1988. There have also been five 18-pitch at-bats from Brian Downing, Bip Roberts, Alex Cora, Adam Kennedy, and Marcus Semien.

Sunday’s game wound up going 14 innings. The Astros pulled ahead 9-8 in the top of the 13th on a solo home run from Evan Gattis. However, the Indians’ Yonder Alonso responded with a solo shot of his own in the bottom of the 13th to re-knot the game at 9-9. Greg Allen then lifted a walk-off solo homer in the bottom of the 14th to give the Indians a 10-9 win.

After Sunday’s effort, Ramirez is batting .292/.389/.605 with 15 home runs, 37 RBI, 34 runs scored, and seven stolen bases. According to FanGraphs, his 3.5 Wins Above Replacement ranks third across baseball behind Mike Trout (4.4) and Mookie Betts (4.1). They’re the only players at three wins or above.