Getty Images

Padres doing due diligence on Ron Washington for managerial opening

8 Comments

Jon Heyman says that the Padres are doing “due diligence” on Braves third base coach Ron Washington as a possible candidate for their vacant manager job.

Washington managed the Texas Rangers from 2007 into 2014, winning two pennants and compiling a record of 664-611 (.521). Throughout that time current Padres general manager A.J. Preller was in the Rangers front office, so he is familiar with Washington and his work.

Given the young stars and rising prospects in their system, the Padres job would be an attractive one for anyone. Washington, in turn, has both that winning track record and a long and extremely distinguished coaching resume both before and after his time as the Rangers’ skipper. He’s particularly experienced in working with young infielders, where he helped turn players on both the Oakland Athletics and the Braves — including Eric Chavez, Miguel Tejada and all the way through to Ozzie Albies — into stars. The Padres, of course, have some pretty good young infielders who could be made great with the right guidance and an older one in Manny Machado who would no doubt benefit from Washington’s presence. In light of all of that it seems like a good fit.

Of course, given that Washington’s Braves are still playing in the postseason through at least tomorrow, we won’t know if that Padres’ due diligence and that theoretical good fit are reciprocated by Washington’s interest for a couple of days. He did, after all, leave the Rangers job for personal reasons, so it’s possible that neither he nor his family would be all that interested in getting back into managing. I suppose we’ll see.

Astros claim AL pennant with walk-off win against the Yankees

Astros
AP Images
10 Comments

Following a rollercoaster performance on Saturday, the Astros clinched the American League Championship Series with a decisive 6-4 walk-off win against the Yankees, claiming their second AL pennant and earning a well-deserved entrance to the World Series.

Both clubs decided to preserve possible Game 7 starters Luis Severino and Gerrit Cole, electing to have a “bullpen day” for a pivotal Game 6. Chad Green took the mound for the Yankees, tossing one inning before handing the ball off to a long line of relievers, while Brad Peacock‘s rare playoff start was capped at 1 2/3 innings. According to ESPN Stats & Info, that made it the first postseason game since 1999 in which neither starting pitcher lasted two innings or longer.

All told, the two clubs utilized a total of 13 pitchers to make it through nine innings. The Astros lost Ryan Pressly to a worrisome knee injury in the third, but were able to lean on José Urquidy for 2 2/3 innings of one-run, five-strikeout ball. Although Yankees’ bullpen fought back in every inning, they had considerable difficulty recovering from Yuli Gurriel‘s three-run homer off of Green in the bottom of the first:

Still, New York managed to get in a couple of knocks as well: first, with Gary Sanchez‘s RBI single in the second inning, then with Gio Urshela‘s 395-foot blast in the fourth inning — the second of his postseason career to date. That wasn’t enough to close the gap, however, and Alex Bregman‘s productive groundout in the sixth helped cushion the Astros’ lead as they headed toward the final few innings of the series.

That lead started to look a little shaky in the ninth. Only three outs away from a ticket to the World Series, Houston closer Roberto Osuna gave up a leadoff single to Urshela, which was quickly followed by a jaw-dropping, full-count, game-tying two-run shot from DJ LeMahieu that barely cleared the right field fence.

With the threat of extra innings and a potential loss looming, the Astros engineered a last-minute rally to regain the lead and stake their claim for the pennant. With two outs and no runners on, George Springer took a five-pitch walk from Aroldis Chapman. In the next at-bat, Houston pinned their hopes on José Altuve — and he didn’t disappoint, lifting a 2-1 slider out to left field for a 406-foot, two-RBI homer that confirmed the Astros’ series win.

The 2019 World Series will mark the third Fall Classic appearance for the Astros and the first for the Nationals. It all begins on Tuesday night.