LEADING OFF: Red Sox ready for Astros, Yanks begin offseason
A look at what’s happening around the majors Wednesday:
The Red Sox are set for a postseason rematch with the World Series champion Astros. Boston eliminated the Yankees with a dramatic 4-3 victory Tuesday night in Game 4 of their AL Division Series, and now rookie manager Alex Cora and his club will wait until Saturday night to open the AL Championship Series against Houston at Fenway Park. Ace lefty Chris Sale figures to get the ball after making an impressive turn in a setup role for the eighth inning Tuesday. It’ll also mark a reunion for Cora and the Astros — he was the bench coach during their championship run last season.
“I’ve been talking about them the whole season, so now we go,” Cora said. “Best of seven. They know me. I know them. It should be fun.”
The Yankees, meanwhile, begin an offseason that’s sure to bring a few changes. CC Sabathia, Brett Gardner, David Robertson and J.A. Happ can become free agents, and New York could be major a player in an anticipated free agent market that will likely include Manny Machado, Bryce Harper, Patrick Corbin, Dallas Keuchel and possibly even Clayton Kershaw. The Yankees have lost four straight postseason home games to the Red Sox, and now they’ll watch on TV as Boston chases a fourth World Series title in 15 years — New York has just one pennant and championship during that span (2009).
STAY OR GO?
Braves manager Brian Snitker expects to find out this week whether general manager Alex Anthopolous will bring him back. Snitker is not yet under contract for 2019, though there’s nothing to indicate he won’t return for his third full year at the helm — especially after a season that makes him one of the leading candidates for NL manager of the year. Still, Anthopolous met with Snitker and the coaching staff Tuesday and didn’t make any promises.
“Until something gets done ... I understand that you’re never guaranteed tomorrow,” said Snitker, who turns 63 next week. “I don’t know. I know I’d like to (return). I enjoyed it. I love that group in there. I like being around ’em. That group in there is awesome. I’ve got a few more years in me.”
NOT A HIT
San Diego is hunting for a new hitting coach a day after firing Matt Stairs. The rebuilding Padres continued to rank at or near the bottom of the majors in key offensive stats in their first year under Stairs. His replacement will be the Padres’ 10th hitting coach since Petco Park opened in 2004. While saying he felt Stairs did a good job with mostly younger players, general manager A.J. Preller said he and manager Andy Green decided that the team needed a different approach. The team is expected to promote someone from within the organization.