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Last Build Date: Wed, 28 Sep 2016 08:53:00 PDT

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Final Volume: Ranking 2016 (Rotoworld)

Wed, 28 Sep 2016 08:53:00 PDT

With five days to go, Brad Johnson looks back at the top closers of the 2016 MLB season.



Baseball-Highlights of Tuesday's MLB games (Reuters)

Tue, 27 Sep 2016 22:44:57 PDT

(Adds later games) Sept 27 (The Sports Xchange) - Highlights of Major League Baseball games on Tuesday: Blue Jays 5, Orioles 1 Aaron Sanchez struck out 10 in six innings, Josh Donaldson and Ezequiel Carrera homered and the Toronto Blue Jays defeated the Baltimore Orioles. Carrera and Donaldson each had two RBIs for the Blue Jays (87-70) who have moved two games ahead of the Orioles (85-72) in the race for the first wild-card spot in the American League.



Playoffs unlikely, Royals aim for winning mark (The Associated Press)

Tue, 27 Sep 2016 22:44:33 PDT

Mathematically, the Kansas City Royals remain alive in the American League wild-card standings. Practically, the odds are next to impossible the Royals will make it back to postseason for the third consecutive year and get to defend their World Series championship. The Royals beat the Minnesota Twins 4-3 in 11 innings Tuesday to remain on life support.



Royals top Twins 4-3 in 11 innings on Burns' sacrifice fly (The Associated Press)

Tue, 27 Sep 2016 21:26:32 PDT

Billy Burns entered as a pinch runner in the ninth, but ended it two innings later with his bat. Burns' sacrifice fly scored Raul Mondesi in the 11th inning as the Kansas City Royals defeated the Minnesota Twins 4-3 Tuesday night, staving off postseason elimination. The Orioles lost 5-1 at Toronto on Tuesday night.



Royals pitcher Gee out with 2 blood clots (The Associated Press)

Tue, 27 Sep 2016 15:48:23 PDT

Right-hander Dillon Gee has two blood clots and will not pitch again this season for the Kansas City Royals. Gee was the winning pitcher Sunday at Detroit, but was hospitalized after the game. ''Dillon developed some shortness of breath after the game when we were packing up,'' Royals manager Ned Yost said before Tuesday's game against Minnesota.



Angels' Nolasco aiming for strong finish against A's (The Associated Press)

Mon, 26 Sep 2016 23:10:52 PDT

As he prepares for his final start this year, the Los Angeles Angels' Ricky Nolasco hopes an encouraging finish can provide the antidote to an exasperating season. The veteran right-hander will face rookie Daniel Mengden in the Angels' second game of their series against the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday night at Angel Stadium. The 11-year veteran has not allowed a run since the Seattle Mariners' Robinson Cano hit a solo home run in the third inning of an 8-1 loss on Sept. 12.



Indians overcome odds to clinch first AL Central title since 2007 (Big League Stew)

Mon, 26 Sep 2016 19:37:06 PDT

The Cleveland Indians came into the season with a tough task: Unseat the defending World Series champion Kansas City Royals in the American League Central. On Monday, they did just that. With their 7-4 win over the Detroit Tigers, the Cleveland Indians clinched the AL Central for the first time since 2007. A slow April may have been cause for concern early, but Cleveland eventually soared. The team went just 10-11 during the season’s first month, but then never posted a sub-.500 month the rest of the way.



Royals seek to continue dominance of Twins (The Associated Press)

Mon, 26 Sep 2016 12:38:02 PDT

This season has not gone the way the Kansas City Royals and the Minnesota Twins wanted or expected. The 2015 World Series champion Royals are on the cusp of being mathematically eliminated from the American League wild card. Kansas City still needs three victories to assure a winning season.



Baseball-Highlights of Sunday's MLB games (Reuters)

Sun, 25 Sep 2016 20:42:10 PDT

(Adds final game) Sept 25 (The Sports Xchange) - Highlights of Major League Baseball games on Sunday: Cubs 3, Cardinals 1 Jon Lester allowed three hits in 6-2/3 innings and the Chicago Cubs set a franchise record for victories at Wrigley Field in a season as they beat the St. Louis Cardinals. Lester earned his league-leading 19th victory and retiring catcher David Ross homered as the National League Central champions went 57-24 at home this season. Chicago won 56 games at the ballpark in 1933 and 1935.



Rookie, veteran to square off in Angels-A's opener (The Associated Press)

Sun, 25 Sep 2016 19:57:00 PDT

Two pitchers who are hitting their stride as the season concludes will face each other when the Oakland Athletics meet the Los Angeles Angels on Monday night to begin a three-game series at Angel Stadium. Rookie left-hander Sean Manaea has pitched 11 shutout innings in his past two starts for the A's. Veteran right-hander Jered Weaver posted his 150th career win in his last start with the Angels as he continues his finest stretch of the season. In six starts since Aug. 25, Weaver has gone 4-1 with three quality starts and 31 strikeouts in 34 2/3 innings.



Tigers aim to spoil Indians' celebration (The Associated Press)

Sun, 25 Sep 2016 19:47:33 PDT

Rubbing out tough defeats has been a trait of the Detroit Tigers all season long. "I'm very adept at forgetting the last game," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said the morning after Saturday's tough 7-4 loss to Kansas City, which the Royals accomplished by scoring five times with two out in the ninth. Cleveland could have clinched the division title Sunday by winning but it dropped a 2-0 verdict to the visiting Chicago White Sox, getting just two hits in the game.



Royals win 12-9, knock Tigers 1½ games behind wild card (The Associated Press)

Sun, 25 Sep 2016 15:47:05 PDT

The Kansas City Royals began the game by hitting for the cycle as a team, then Whit Merrifield nearly did it by himself. Merrifield hit a triple as part of Kansas City's four-run first inning, and he later added a single and a double in a 12-9 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Sunday. The Royals hit four homers to drop the Tigers in the AL wild-card race - and avoided elimination themselves.



Cruz homers twice, Mariners beat Twins 4-3 (The Associated Press)

Sun, 25 Sep 2016 15:43:56 PDT

Nelson Cruz is playing a vital role in the Seattle Mariners' postseason drive. Cruz homered twice before leaving with left wrist soreness, Jesus Sucre homered for the first time in 14 months and the Mariners beat the Minnesota Twins 4-3 on Sunday. Nick Vincent, Steve Cishek and Edwin Diaz combined for 3 2/3 innings of no-hit relief for Seattle, including Diaz's 17th save in 19 chances.



Indians' title hopes denied by Rodon, lose 3-0 to White Sox (The Associated Press)

Sun, 25 Sep 2016 14:14:12 PDT

The Indians silently packed their bags for the road. With a chance to clinch its first AL Central title since 2007, Cleveland was shut out 3-0 on Sunday by the Chicago White Sox, who got eight dominant innings from Carlos Rodon and spoiled the Indians' home finale. Disappointment could be sensed in every corner of Cleveland's clubhouse as players stripped off uniforms that remained dry instead of being drenched with champagne.



Sports world reacts to news of Jose Fernandez's shocking death (Big League Stew)

Sun, 25 Sep 2016 06:50:00 PDT

Miami Marlins star pitcher Jose Fernandez was one of three people who died in a boating accident in Miami Beach on Sunday morning. He was 24.



Orioles pursue wild card, series sweep (The Associated Press)

Sun, 25 Sep 2016 00:26:53 PDT

The Baltimore Orioles took back the second wild-card spot in the American League with their 6-1 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday night. The Orioles will get that chance in the series finale with the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday. Baltimore will try to wrap up a three-game sweep and keep pushing for the wild card.



LEADING OFF: Mets need innings, Lester makes Cy pitch (The Associated Press)

Sat, 24 Sep 2016 23:37:57 PDT

A look at what's happening all around the majors today:



Royals rise above .500, try to stay there against Tigers (The Associated Press)

Sat, 24 Sep 2016 22:23:45 PDT

While the Detroit Tigers continue their playoff push, the defending World Series champion Kansas City Royals find themselves battling to finish above .500. Kansas City reminded Detroit and everybody else on Saturday that the Royals are, after all, the defending World Series champions. "For me, it's extremely important," Royals manager Ned Yost said Saturday about moving above .500.



Baseball-Highlights from MLB games on Saturday (Reuters)

Sat, 24 Sep 2016 22:19:08 PDT

Highlights from Major League Baseball games on Saturday: Nationals 6, Pirates 1 Washington won their third National League East title in the last five years with a victory over the Pittsburgh at PNC Park on Saturday night, coupled with the New York Mets' 10-8 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies. Bryce Harper and Wilson Ramos each drove in two runs and reliever Reynaldo Lopez (4-3) pitched 5 1/3 scoreless innings for Washington (90-64). The Nationals' Joe Ross was making his second start since missing 66 games because of right shoulder inflammation.



Dustin Pedroia's grand slam helps Red Sox clinch playoff berth (Big League Stew)

Sat, 24 Sep 2016 21:41:43 PDT

For most of the season it looked like the American League East would be the one division not decided until the season’s final weekend. The Boston Red Sox have all but eliminated that possibility thanks to a winning streak that was extended to 10 games in their come-from-behind 6-4 win against the Rays at Tropicana Field. With the win, Boston officially clinched a postseason berth.



Indians fall 8-1 to White Sox, don't lower magic number (The Associated Press)

Sat, 24 Sep 2016 20:41:31 PDT

The Indians had plenty of chances. With an opportunity to trim its magic number for winning the AL Central to one, Cleveland played sloppily on Saturday night and lost 8-1 to the Chicago White Sox, leaving the title - and a playoff berth - just out of reach. The Indians squandered early scoring chances against Jose Quintana (13-11) and disappointed a crowd of 32,088 fans who came hoping to see them move closer to the postseason.



Orlando, Hosmer spark late comeback as Royals top Tigers 7-4 (The Associated Press)

Sat, 24 Sep 2016 18:50:43 PDT

With their playoff hopes fading fast, the Kansas City Royals showed some fight. Paulo Orlando hit a tying, two-run double and Eric Hosmer followed with a three-run homer against Francisco Rodriguez, capping a ninth-inning comeback that led the Royals over the Detroit Tigers 7-4 Saturday. Kansas City stopped a four-game losing streak, and its tragic number for elimination from postseason contention remained at three.



Blue Jays' Bautista comes up big in key situation and other takeaways from win over Yankees (Eh Game)

Sat, 24 Sep 2016 18:24:24 PDT

TORONTO — The right guy, at the right time. That’s how Toronto Blue Jays manager John Gibbons described the situation in the bottom of the eighth inning when, with two on and two out, Jose Bautista came up to bat. On a 2-0 pitch right down the middle of the plate, the right fielder didn't miss, hitting a three-run blast into the left field stands, giving the Blue Jays the 3-0 lead against the New York Yankees on Saturday afternoon. It was a lead they would not relinquish, earning themselves back-to-back wins to open the final homestand of the regular season at the Rogers Centre. " Looks like he’s heating up at the right time," Gibbons said in his post-game press conference. "Jose, he’s been known to do some things at key spots. I was sitting there on the bench with DeMarlo (Hale), and I mentioned that to him. You know, right guy, right time basically." According to the Blue Jays’ public relations staff, it was the 16th time in Bautista’s career that he’s given his team the lead with a the long ball in the eighth inning or later. Fourteen times he did it for the Blue Jays. In other words, Bautista has been "the right guy, at the right time" many times before. “Obviously last year and obviously this year, it seems like he always steps up in those key moments when we need him most,” sais Blue Jays starter Marcus Stroman about Bautista. The win also helps the Blue Jays tighten their grip on the top wild-card spot in the American League. At the conclusion of their 3-0 win, the Blue Jays held a two game-lead over the Detroit Tigers and the Baltimore Orioles for the top wild-card spot. (Note: The Orioles could cut that lead to 1.5 games with a win against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday night). After a shaky start to September, the Blue Jays look to be hitting their stride again when it matters most. With that in mind, here are three other takeaways from Saturday’s game: Pitching duel for last playoff rotation spot: For a second day in a row, a Blue Jays starter held the Yankees scoreless. On Saturday afternoon, Marcus Stroman took the mound and pitched seven shutout innings, allowing just one hit, while striking out five. That performance comes just one night after veteran starter Francisco Liriano did much the same, blanking the Yankees through six innings Friday night in the eventual 9-0 rout. With J.A. Happ, Marco Estrada and Aaron Sanchez all but locks for the potential playoff rotation, there could be a battle brewing between Liriano and Stroman for that fourth spot. Gibbons said Stroman looked “as good as I’ve seen him,” in his outing Saturday. As for Stroman, he said he was happy with his performance. “I had everything going. I felt great out there. I felt strong. Felt like I was pretty much hitting all my spots,” he said. “I don’t know if it was best, but I put it up there as one of the best performances that I’ve had as far as stuff wise and as far as giving us an opportunity to win late in the game.” Scoreboard watch: With just eight games left on the schedule, the American League playoff picture is beginning to take shape. The Texas Rangers have clinched the AL West, while the Cleveland Indians and Boston Red Sox appear poised to secure top spots in the AL Central and East, respectively. As mentioned, the Blue Jays are currently in possession of the top wild-card spot with Detroit and Baltimore jockeying for the second position. On the outside, but still ve[...]



Baseball-Highlights from MLB games on Friday (Reuters)

Fri, 23 Sep 2016 23:40:00 PDT

Highlights from Major League Baseball games on Friday: Cubs 5, Cardinals 0 Jake Arrieta's goal may be perfection but he realizes he can occasionally ease up and still have good outcomes. Arrieta (18-7) scattered five hits in a seven-inning shutout effort as the Chicago Cubs beat the St. Louis Cardinals at Wrigley Field. Chicago (98-55) topped last year's 97-win total and matched the most victories by any Cubs team since 1945 with its fourth straight in the opener of a three-game weekend series.



Tigers continue playoff pursuit, host Royals (The Associated Press)

Fri, 23 Sep 2016 21:30:37 PDT

DETROIT -- "Just win" continues to be the daily mantra of Detroit and Kansas City until winning will no longer be mathematically good enough to get them into baseball's postseason. "They're trained themselves not to look too far ahead," manager Brad Ausmus said of his Tigers, who Saturday afternoon host the Royals in the middle game of their weekend series. The Tigers beat the Royals 8-3 on Friday night to maintain their position as the second wild-card team in the American League.



Fulmer sharp as playoff-chasing Tigers rout Royals 8-3 (The Associated Press)

Fri, 23 Sep 2016 21:11:40 PDT

Michael Fulmer is one of the biggest reasons the Detroit Tigers are still in the mix for a postseason spot. Fulmer pitched seven strong innings for his first win in over a month and the Detroit Tigers homered three times in an 8-3 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Friday night. Justin Upton, Victor Martinez and Cameron Maybin went deep for the Tigers, who won their fifth game in a row to remain in the lead in the race for the AL's second wild card.



Baseball-Major League Baseball roundup (Reuters)

Fri, 23 Sep 2016 17:11:36 PDT

New York Mets right-hander Noah Syndergaard will miss Saturday's scheduled start due to a case of strep throat. It is the latest blow for New York's starting rotation. On Thursday, the Mets announced Steven Matz was scratched due to discomfort in his shoulder while Jacob deGrom and Matt Harvey are out for the season.



Asdrubal Cabrera's clutch home run keeps Mets in NL wild-card spot (Big League Stew)

Thu, 22 Sep 2016 22:56:42 PDT

Asdrubal Cabrera knew it was gone as soon as he connected. Twice in this game it appeared the Mets were headed to a fourth straight loss, not ideal at a time when they’re trying to hold onto a wild-card spot in the National League. New York went to the plate in the home half of the ninth down 6-4 and Jose Reyes sent the game to extra innings with a two-run homer.



Baseball-Highlights from MLB games on Thursday (Reuters)

Thu, 22 Sep 2016 22:29:35 PDT

(Adds later games) Sept 22 (The Sports Xchange) - Highlights from Major League Baseball games on Thursday: Red Sox 5, Orioles 3 Andrew Benintendi lined a tiebreaking single in the fifth, Hanley Ramirez added a solo homer, and David Price threw seven solid innings as the Boston Red Sox completed a four-game sweep of the Baltimore Orioles. The Red Sox (89-64) improved their American League East lead over the idle Toronto Blue Jays to 5-1/2 games while Baltimore (82-71) fell seven games back and are in a tight battle with the Detroit Tigers and Houston Astros for the second AL wild card.



Tigers banking on young arms against Royals (The Associated Press)

Thu, 22 Sep 2016 21:19:55 PDT

Not quite a law firm, but a trio definitely representing the Detroit Tigers' postseason chances as they argue their case in front of the high court of a 162-game season. Rookie right-hander Michael Fulmer plus callow lefties Daniel Norris and Matt Boyd will pitch for Detroit this weekend against the visiting Kansas City Royals as the Tigers try to enhance their playoff credentials. "We wouldn't be here without them," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus has said on several occasions.