Mets

Mets to buy the Syracuse Chiefs, who will become their Triple-A affiliate in 2019

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Some minor league affiliate news: the Mets have purchased the Syracuse Chiefs of the International League. The Chiefs will become their new Triple-A affiliate following the 2018 season.

The Chiefs have been the Nationals’ top affiliate for the past nine years and, before that, was the Blue Jays top club for decades. The franchise has also been community owned for decades, but have experienced financial difficulties in recent years, so it certainly helps out for the Mets to take over.

The Mets have flown in their prospects from Las Vegas since 2013. Before that they were affiliated with Buffalo for four seasons and New Orleans for two. Before that they had been affiliated with Norfolk/Tidewater since 1969. No one like their affiliate to be in Las Vegas due to the high elevation and hot dry weather — it’s murder on pitchers — so the Mets will certainly be happy to be gone from there.

They still have one more year to go, however, as the Mets affiliation argeement with Las Vegas and the Nats’ agreement with Syracuse runs through 2018.

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.