David Price entered Monday’s tiebreaker game with a 1-7 record and 5.57 ERA in 11 career regular and postseason matchups against the Rangers. That history mattered very little in Game 163.
Price fired a complete game in Arlington, holding the home team to two runs on seven hits and a walk in the 5-2 victory. Rays manager Joe Maddon had Joel Peralta warming up prior to the eighth with Price at 98 pitches and had Fernando Rodney warming up before the ninth with Price at 108 pitches. He chose to stick with his ace, though, and it obviously paid dividends.
Evan Longoria was the offensive hero for the Rays, going 3-for-4 with a big two-run blast in the third inning off of Rangers starter Martin Perez. The Rays got only two singles among their other starters, though David DeJesus and Sam Fuld both contributed base knocks off the bench.
The Rays now advance to take on the Indians Wednesday in the American League Wild Card game. Tampa will send Alex Cobb to the hill, while Cleveland will counter with young fireballer Danny Salazar. If the Rays advance, they’ll have Price set up to pitch again in Games 2 and potentially 5 of the ALDS versus the Red Sox.
Cubs Fire Sveum; Twins Keep Gardenhire
Two floundering clubs made big decisions about the future of their team Monday, with one choosing to shake things up and the other opting for the status quo.
The Cubs have given manager Dale Sveum his walking papers after two years and a 127-197 record. President Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer were under no illusions that the Cubs could be postseason contenders in the first two years with Sveum at the helm, but they felt necessary progress wasn’t being made. Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo, for example, are supposed to be cornerstone players for the Cubbies, but they both regressed from 2012 to 2013.
"There has to be a clear, unified message, and they can't be getting different signals from different directions and collectively -- myself included -- we failed to provide that," Epstein said on MLB.com.
The immediate speculation about who could take over for Sveum has revolved around Yankees skipper Joe Girardi, whose contract expires after the World Series. Girardi is from the Chicago area and spent seven of his 15 major league seasons with the Cubs. He’s been vague about his future intentions, with the Yankees, Cubs and the broadcasting booth all representing possibilities.
While the Cubs have decided to go in another direction, the Twins will stick with Ron Gardenire, who is the second-longest tenured manager in the majors behind the Angels’ Mike Scioscia. Gardy was given a new two-year contract on Monday.
The Twins have lost at least 96 games in three straight seasons, but, in fairness to Gardenhire, he has been working with one of the most talent-deficient teams in baseball. That figures to change in the coming years, as Minnesota has one of the best farm systems in baseball, highlighted by Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano.
National League Quick Hits: Mat Latos is dealing with bone chips in his pitching elbow but expects to be fine to pitch Thursday if the Reds win Tuesday’s Wild Card game ... Carlos Gonzalez will test out his sprained right middle finger in the instructional league starting on Wednesday to determine whether he’ll undergo surgery ... Andrew McCutchen was hit in the face by a line drive during batting practice Monday but is expected to be fine for Tuesday’s Wild Card game ... Brandon Phillips (shin) is expected to be in the lineup for Tuesday's Wild Card game ... Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said Monday that the club would consider re-signing Johan Santana for next season ... Tony Cingrani (back) has resumed workouts and hopes to join the Reds late in the postseason ... According to FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal, the Braves are leaning toward starting Freddy Garcia in Game 4 of the NLDS ...
American League Quick Hits: Michael Bourn (calf) is expected to be ready for Wednesday's Wild Card Game ... Manny Machado (knee) will rest and rehab rather than undergo surgery after receiving a second opinion from Dr. James Andrews on Monday ... Justin Masterson could be an option in the ninth inning during the playoffs with the Indians moving away from Chris Perez ... Alex Rodriguez began the appeals process of his 211-game PED suspension on Monday ... Jeff Niemann (shoulder) is playing catch from 90 feet and hopes to be ready for spring training ... According to MASN's Roch Kubatko, there is a "mutual attraction" between the Orioles and Scott Feldman regarding a new contract ... Oswaldo Arcia will push back the start of his offseason workouts due to continued soreness in his right knee but should be fine for spring training ... The Rangers will bring back manager Ron Washington next season ...