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Friday, September 21, 2018

Baseball

Jeff Banister out as Rangers manager

Texas Rangers

The last-place Texas Rangers are making a change in the dugout.

According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the Rangers have fired manager Jeff Banister with ten games remaining in the season.

The Rangers confirmed the news shortly thereafter.

Benister went 325-313 in a four-year tenure as Texas manager. That included two playoff appearances, though the Rangers failed to win a series in either year. He had one year remaining on his contract and after a 64-88 season, the Rangers clearly saw fit to simply move on now and get the building blocks in place with a new manager ahead of their move to a new stadium in 2020. As Banister was one of the managers with shaky job security, this doesn’t come as a huge shock.

Addison Russell placed on administrative leave amid domestic violence investigation

Addison Russell

Addison Russell was not with the Chicago Cubs for their game against the Chicago White Sox on Friday, and it sounds as if he will not return to the team for the remainder of the season in the wake of some new domestic violence allegations that surfaced against him.

Russell’s ex-wife, Melisa Reidy, filed for divorce over a year ago citing domestic violence. At the time, Major League Baseball launched an investigation that Reidy declined to cooperate with. But after a blog post Reidy published earlier this week detailed some of the abuse she endured, Russell was placed on paid administrative leave.

In her post, Reidy encouraged women who are victims of domestic violence to not stay silent. She also detailed some of what she went through while married to Russell.

“Emotional/verbal abuse started way before I even realized, eventually it started to be an everyday thing,” Reidy wrote. “Being blamed for just about anything that went wrong, name calling, intimidating me with personal force, manipulating me to think I was the problem, destroying my personal things, threatening me to “send” me & our son home to my parents as if I was privileged to be living in our home. Basically, I felt like I was nothing, a nobody & I was nothing without him, & I couldn’t do anything without him.”

Reidy also said that she was “cheated on with so many different women” and lost confidence in herself. She recalled being “in shock” the first time Russell abused her but said she forgave him and chalked it up to him letting his emotions get the best of him.

Russell, 24, was first accused publicly of domestic violence when Reidy and a friend ripped him on social media last year.

Carlos Gomez rips umpire with tweets, videos after ejection

Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Carlos Gomez was forced to leave Thursday night’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays early after he was ejected for complaining about a called third strike in the sixth inning, and to say he was furious would be an understatement.

Gomez, who entered as a pinch-hitter, took to Twitter to make his case against Fletcher while he was in the clubhouse and the game was still going on. He started with a video showing the pitch he was called out on:

Gomez claimed Fletcher called about 30 pitches the wrong way, and he shared more evidence with clips from other at-bats:

Fletcher later capped off his rant with a live video ripping Fletcher for doing a “brutal” job.

“I get it, we’re human. We all make mistakes,” Gomez said during the live feed. “But, how are you gonna miss more than 30 pitches in a game?”

Gomez also mentioned in the video that he believes Major League Baseball should consider the use of electronic strike zones, and he tweeted that at the league and the MLB Players Association.

Gomez will undoubtedly be facing a fine for his Twitter tirade, but those of us who have followed his career aren’t all that surprised. The veteran outfielder has showcased his temper in enthusiastic fashion already this season, and being thrown out of Thursday night’s game obviously set him off.

Alex Cora: Red Sox are ‘too passive at the plate’

Alex Cora

The Boston Red Sox have lost two in a row to the New York Yankees, scoring only three runs combined in the defeats. Alex Cora thinks he knows one of the reasons for their struggles at the plate.

Cora said after Wednesday’s 10-1 loss that the team is getting too passive at the plate and taking too many good pitches instead of swinging at them.

Despite seemingly being too passive, the Red Sox only walked twice on Wednesday, though they had four on Tuesday. The team actually got nine hits on Wednesday. Three came from JD Martinez, but the three hitters behind him failed to get a hit. When you can’t put it all together in the same inning, you’re not going to score any runs.

The Sox still lead MLB in most offensive categories, so they’re not in bad shape. They just need to avoid falling into a slump.

Yankees’ Luke Voit: It’s ‘scary’ how good we will be

New York Yankees

Luke Voit was a monster for the New York Yankees on Wednesday night, and he was brimming with confidence after the team’s 10-1 win over the rival Boston Red Sox.

Voit went 4-for-4 with two home runs and three RBIs in the big win. The Yankees have now won two in a row against the Sox to guarantee the series win, with the finale of the three-game set coming on Thursday.

After the game, Voit said the team was motivated by trying to prevent the Red Sox from clinching the AL East. He added that the Yankees will be “scary” in the playoffs.

The Yankees are almost a lock to make the postseason even if they haven’t clinched a berth yet. And while catching Boston for the division title seems like a stretch, they seem destined for the wild-card game.

Having Voit, who is batting .323 with an OPS over 1.000, remain hot will be key to continuing the success. The Yanks also are getting healthy at the right time, with Aaron Judge and Aroldis Chapman rejoining the team.

Bryce Harper offers thoughts on potentially playing last home games for Nats

Bryce Harper

Bryce Harper could be entering his last homestand ever as a member of the Washington Nationals. He knows that, and he imagines that reality could sink in over the next week.

“I think it’ll really hit that last game I guess, running off the field or something like that. I’m just trying to enjoy it and see what happens,” Harper said via The Washington Post’s Chelsea Janes.

The Nats play seven more games at home this season, beginning on Thursday. They close things out with a 3-game series on the road at Colorado.

Nobody knows where Harper will be playing next season. He has expressed an openness to remaining with the Nats, but over the years he has dropped hints about a desire to team with other players. The public revelation that the Nats placed him on waivers this year may also have affected his attitude towards the team.

When Harper was at the peak of his abilities, delivering an MVP season in 2015, some thought he was in line for a $400 million contract. His struggles this season could give teams pause about offering such a hefty deal.

Trevor Bauer to start for Indians on Friday

Trevor Bauer

The Cleveland Indians will have the opportunity to assess Trevor Bauer ahead of the playoffs after all.

The team announced Wednesday that Bauer will start on Friday against the Boston Red Sox and will get a handful of innings under his belt, with a second start slated for Tuesday.

This isn’t a guarantee that Bauer will start in the playoffs, but it looks likely that they’ll have him despite a stress fracture in his leg. They’ve floated the possibility of using him out of the bullpen, but if he responds well during these trial runs, it’s entirely possible he’ll start after all.

Bauer was a Cy Young candidate before his injury, with a 2.22 ERA in 25 starts this season. He hasn’t pitched since August 11 due to the injury.

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