For nearly a quarter-century, the Atlanta Braves have been all about stability. In their first major off-the-field firing since 1990, the Braves dismissed general manager Frank Wren less than 24 hours after being eliminated from the NL playoff race. Former Cleveland and Texas general manager John Hart will serve as Wren’s interim replacement. ”It was time,” team President John Schuerholz said.

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Post info: By RangersFan10 on September 22nd, 2014
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Although Huston Street is never pleased about giving up a ninth-inning homer, the veteran closer thinks he learned something he can use next month in games that matter a bit more. The Los Angeles Angels all plan to take a cautious, learning approach to their final games of the regular season as they prepare for what they hope will be a memorable postseason run. Ryan Rua hit his first major league homer, and the Texas Rangers beat the playoff-bound Angels 2-1 Sunday for their eighth win in nine games. Although the AL West champion Angels (96-60) wrapped up their home schedule with a quiet loss, they still finished with a league-best 52 home victories.

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Post info: By RangersFan10 on September 22nd, 2014
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Matthew Pouliot makes recommendations for final week adds and drops in the Strike Zone.

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Post info: By RangersFan10 on September 21st, 2014
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Clayton Kershaw wins his 20th, Rusney Castillo makes his debut and Glen Perkins’ season is over in the Week That Was.

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Post info: By RangersFan10 on September 21st, 2014
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It’s hard to believe that the Oakland Athletics are still holding a postseason spot since they are on the verge of losing a home series to a second consecutive last-place team. They hope to avoid that fate by adding to Philadelphia Phillies starter A.J. Burnett’s woes Sunday in the finale of this three-game set. Oakland (84-70) fell 3-0 on Saturday, although Kansas City also lost to ensure that the Athletics would maintain a wild-card slot going into Sunday. Oakland has totaled a league-low 60 runs since that date, scoring nine while batting .186 on this homestand.

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Post info: By RangersFan10 on September 20th, 2014
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The biggest series in nearly 30 years at Kauffman Stadium got off to a very disappointing start for the home-standing Royals. Before the 37.945 fans had a chance to settle in, Detroit struck for three first-inning runs, including an RBI double from Miguel Cabrera that was horribly misjudged by left fielder Alex Gordon. With a locked-in Justin Verlander on the hill, they never looked back, cruising to a big 10-1 victory . ”We just went out there and did what we’re capable of doing,” Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter said. ”But there are no statements. Our intent is just to play the game.” The Tigers have been in this position before, so their mindset isn’t surprising. Yet they definitely looked like the hungrier team, at least for one night. Every batter in Detroit’s order had a hit before the fourth inning. Ian Kinsler paced the 19-hit attack with three hits and three RBIs. He doubled home Detroit’s fifth inning run and later capped the scoring with a two-run homer. Victor and J.D. Martinez both remained hot, combining to go 5 for 10 with three runs scored. It was an all around shellacking, but Royals skipper Ned Yost doesn’t seem concerned by the result.  ”There’s no carry-over,” Yost said. ”They whipped us, they beat us, they spanked us, whatever you want to say. We’ll show up again tomorrow and be ready to play.” And we’ll be ready to watch. Saturday’s matchup should be a dandy with Max Scherzer set to face James “Big Game” Shields.  OAKLAND WINS BEHIND JON LESTER: It wasn’t much of a breakout, but it was enough. The A’s offense scored three runs in the second inning on consecutive RBIs from Derek Norris, Eric Sogard and Coco Crisp, and then rode their pitching to the finish line in a 3-1 win .  Starter Jon Lester went seven innings, allowing one earned run on five hits while striking out seven. Ryan Howard got him for a solo homer in the fourth, but Philadelphia never truly threatened to turn the game around. Luke Gregorson handled the eighth, and then closer Sean Doolittle, who imploded against the Texas Rangers on Wednesday, bounced back with a perfect ninth to seal it.  With the win, Oakland regained the lead in the wild-card by one-half game over Kansas City. As for the Mariners… SEATTLE’S FOUR HOMERS SINK HOUSTON :

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Post info: By RangersFan10 on September 20th, 2014
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Logan Morrison felt no weight on his shoulders from the Seattle Mariners’ two-game offensive drought and teetering playoff hopes when he stepped to the plate with two outs in the ninth inning of a scoreless game. This is what you dream about as a kid.” Morrison only imagined the possibilities – and with one big swing, he blasted the Mariners forward in the AL postseason race. Morrison hit a three-run homer, and Seattle boosted its wild-card hopes with a 3-1 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday night. Felix Hernandez struck out 11 during seven innings of three-hit ball as the Mariners pulled within one game of the slumping Oakland Athletics for the second AL wild-card spot.

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Post info: By RangersFan10 on September 19th, 2014
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The Oakland Athletics are stunned by their September collapse, yet stuck to find a solution. And with the way things are going, manager Bob Melvin can’t talk about playoffs, let alone plan for them. Sonny Gray and the A’s kept tumbling Thursday, falling out of the top AL wild-card spot with a 7-2 loss to Texas that gave the Rangers a three-game sweep. ”It’s not very fun. When you’re in a race, it’s supposed to be fun,” left fielder Brandon Moss said. ”But I don’t see anyone in this clubhouse having any fun, because it’s not. We’re pretty frustrated. We’re disappointed. But it’s not over, and we know that.” The latest loss to the team with the worst record in the majors dropped the A’s a half-game behind idle Kansas City for the first wild-spot slot. Oakland owned the best record in the big leagues as recently as Aug. 15. ”We’re still in the wild card. All that’s moot unless we start to play better. We’ll find ourselves in no position if we continue to lose,” Melvin said. ”You’ve got to fight being beat down based on what has transpired here recently. … It’s tough sometimes to get over these things. They’re all accountable for what they do. We all are.” Texas roughed up Gray (13-9) for four runs in the first inning and won its season-best sixth in a row. Oakland has lost six of eight. Gray saw his winless stretch reach five starts. The right-hander in his first full major league season has only one victory in 10 starts since his 5-0 July that earned him AL pitcher of the month honors. ”It’s these games we need to win and I think everyone knows that. It’s tough to play away the last three days,” Gray said. ”Unfortunately for us, I dug us in a hole a little bit too deep. If you give up four in the first, nine times out of 10 you’re not going to overcome that. It’s probably easier said than done, but we honestly have got to put this behind us.” Nick Martinez (4-11) allowed two runs and three hits in 5 2-3 innings. Leonys Martin hit an RBI double and the Rangers came out swinging for 15 total hits. Texas got four straight two-out singles in the first, including RBI hits from Jake Smolinski, Tomas Telis and Ryan Rua. A passed ball added another for Texas. Smolinski had four hits, and the Rangers’ rookies were 9 for 22. This series was a far cry from the end of the 2012 season, when the A’s stunned the Rangers by sweeping the final three games at the Coliseum to win the AL West. Sam Fuld’s RBI triple in the third accounted for Oakland’s runs. The A’s were outscored 19-6 in an embarrassing sweep and have struggled to support their starting pitchers during this long funk. ”I think if anyone had any answers it wouldn’t be happening,” Gray said. ”Today was just ugly, it was bad.” The Rangers won again only hours after former manager Ron Washington publicly apologized in Texas, to wife of 42 years, Gerry, for breaking her trust. It was his first public comment since resigning Sept. 5. ”These are good teams we’re beating but I think we can beat anyone if we continue to play the way we are capable,” A’s infielder Adam Rosales said. ”I think they’re pressing right now, trying to do too much. It’s got to be tough on them.”  

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When Oakland dropped its fourth straight game to the Angels on August 31 to cede control of the American League West race to its biggest rival, the A’s surely believed their once-promising season had reached rock bottom. Little did they know at the time how much worse things could get. Oakland has lost 11 of its first 16 games in September, a miserable stretch that continued Thursday when the A’s were swept at home by the last-place Texas Rangers. Two errors and two wild pitches cost Oakland in game one, a ninth-inning bullpen collapse spoiled game two and the A’s hardly seemed to have any fight left by game three. Whereas Oakland boasted baseball’s best record and a four-game lead over the Angels as recently as August 10, the A’s have since lost an astonishing 16 games in the standings to their rivals to the south. Now there’s no guarantee Oakland will even make the playoffs, let alone win the division, as the A’s currently hold just a 1.5-game lead on Seattle for the final Wild Card spot That the A’s could miss the playoffs is staggering considering the heights this team achieved during the first two-thirds of the season. They won a franchise-record 59 games before the all-star break. They were averaging a league-high five runs per game at the trade deadline. And though they sacrificed some offense in dealing Yoenis Cespedes to the Red Sox, acquiring Jon Lester to pair with Sonny Gray, Scott Kazmir and Jeff Samardzija gave the A’s an otherworldly rotation with four starters boasting a sub-3.00 ERA. It’s easy to blame the Cespedes-Lester trade for the subsequent Oakland collapse, but the truth is Lester doesn’t deserve the blame. He has actually lowered his ERA from 2.52 to 2.45 since joining the A’s, but Gray, Kazmir and the rest of the rotation have hit the skids at the worst possible time.  Given the unexpected struggles of the starting pitching staff, the A’s desperately needed their offense to maintain its pre-trade deadline level despite the loss of Cespedes. Alas, that hasn’t happened as Oakland has averaged a meager 3.31 runs per game since its high-water mark on August 10. Also problematic for the A’s has been their maddening inability to come through late in close games. They’re 6-12 in one-run games in August and September, a stat made worse by the heartbreaking nature of a few of those narrow setbacks. Perhaps none was more agonizing than Wednesday’s loss to Texas that enabled the Angels to spray champagne in their clubhouse a mere five weeks after they trailed Oakland by four games. First the A’s failed to score in the bottom of the eighth inning despite loading the bases with nobody out. Then closer Sean Doolittle imploded, turning a 1-0 ninth-inning lead into a 6-1 defeat. Moments after that nightmarish ninth inning, Doolittle told reporters he believed the setback would serve as a turning point for the A’s one way or the other.  “Are we going to look back and point at tonight and be like, ‘This is the game where the wheels came off for good,’” Doolittle said. “Or are we going to be able to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and talk about how resilient we are as a team and how we were able to overcome a game like this and still get it done? The early returns weren’t promising Thursday. Oakland fans booed the home team as Gray surrendered four first-inning runs, the A’s never mounted much of a comeback and a season that had so much promise a mere five weeks ago continued to sink to new depths. – - – - – - – Jeff Eisenberg is the editor of The Dagger on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at daggerblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @JeffEisenberg

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Post info: By RangersFan10 on September 18th, 2014
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Once accustomed to reaching the postseason, the Angels have had a long and sometimes bumpy road to make it back.

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Post info: By RangersFan10 on September 18th, 2014
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