As the Divisional Series are drawing to a close, the MLB postseason will shortly be down to just four teams left. This postseason has already been highly entertaining with outstanding play, heroic performances, and even some controversies.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the biggest stories of the week, both on and off the field.
White Sox Pitcher Suspects Astros Of Home Field Shenanigans
At this point, most everyone is aware of the Houston Astros’ cheating scandal that has tainted their 2017 World Series championship. While it happened four seasons ago, not everyone thinks Houston is done despite only having five players remaining from that championship season.
After their Game 3 win, White Sox pitcher Ryan Tepera made some postgame comments alluding to the fact that he felt there was something still awry with the Astros when they play in their home ballpark of Minute Maid Park.
Most notably, he commented on how there were significantly more swings and misses from the Astros in Chicago than the two games in Houston.
Granted, as Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News pointed out on Twitter, the “Astros had the lowest swing & miss rate in MLB at home at 4.6 percent. Also lowest on the road at 4.9 percent.”
In other words, especially after still putting up six runs in the loss, the Astros are a good offensive club whether at home or on the road.
For the White Sox, they enjoyed a boost from playing at home as well. After scoring just five runs and having no extra-base hits in two games in Houston, they broke out for 12 runs and four extra-base hits in their Game 3 win.
Regardless of whether there is anything nefarious going on, tensions are certainly running high, and this should be an exciting finish to this series.
Kershaw Shutdown, But Won’t Have Surgery
As the Dodgers battle the Giants in the NLDS, Los Angeles is without one of their premier pitchers. Clayton Kershaw is out as he is dealing with arm issues.
According to Kershaw, after getting a platelet-rich plasma injection to deal with his elbow, he is definitively out for the rest of the postseason.
Still, he will avoid having to have surgery and expects to be ready by Spring Training. It will be interesting to see what happens this offseason as the lefty is set to be a free agent.
This season, in 22 starts, he went 10-8 with a 3.55 ERA, 1.019 WHIP, and had 144 strikeouts in just 121.2 innings pitched.
Rockies Extend Cron, Sentzatela
On the heels of a 74-87 season, the Colorado Rockies finished in fourth place in the NL West. Despite their subpar season, they have already gotten off to an early start with their offseason checklist as they agreed to extensions with two of their players.
First baseman C.J. Cron signed a two-year extension with Colorado that is worth $14.5 million.
The 31-year-old Cron hit .281/.375/.530 this season with 28 home runs, 92 runs batted in, and 70 runs scored.
Having played on a team-friendly minor league deal, Cron earns a solid paycheck for his performance this season.
The Rockies also extended pitcher Antonio Senzatela. The righty signed a five-year deal worth just over $50 million. The deal also includes incentives that could boost his salary up even more.
The 26-year-old went just 4-10 with a 4.42 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, and had 105 strikeouts in 156.2 innings.
Always tough to pitch in Coors Field, Senzatela has at least performed admirably since being called up in 2017 as a 22-year-old.
Padres Moving On From Tingler
To the surprise of no one, the San Diego Padres have decided to move on from Jayce Tingler and find a new manager.
The Padres had a remarkable collapse to end the season as they went 30-50 over their last 80 games after starting 49-33. Their collective 79-83 record was good for just third in the NL West, 28 games behind the first-place San Francisco Giants.
On paper, this club should be able to compete for a championship, and with A.J. Preller as the general manager, expect San Diego to be very active this offseason.
One of Preller’s first decisions, though, will be who to replace Tingler with as a manager. Early indications are that he is looking for a veteran skipper, and names like Ron Washington, Bruce Bochy, Jeff Bannister, and even Aaron Boone have already surfaced.