The Chicago Cubs have fired hitting coach Chili Davis after one season, according to several media reports, after the team’s offensive production faltered in the second half of the season.
Davis, 58, was hired in October 2017 after spending the previous six seasons as a hitting coach with the Boston Red Sox (2015-17) and Oakland Athletics (2012-14).
Chicago won 95 games and set a franchise record with a fourth consecutive playoff appearance in 2018. However, the Cubs’ team batting average dipped 16 points to .249 after the All-Star break. Also after putting up an on-base percentage of .345 in the first half of the season, that mark fell to .316 in the second half.
The Cubs were held to one run in three of final four games, culminating with a loss to the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central Division tiebreaker game, and then a loss to the Colorado Rockies in the NL wild-card game.
—The Milwaukee Brewers have set their rotation for the first three games of their National League Championship Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, with left-hander Gio Gonzalez getting the nod for Game 1.
Gonzalez, who hasn’t pitched since Sept. 30, will take the mound opposite Dodgers ace southpaw Clayton Kershaw in the series opener in Milwaukee on Friday.
Gonzalez, 33, will be followed by left-hander Wade Miley in Game 2 on Saturday and right-hander Jhoulys Chacin in Game 3 in Los Angeles on Monday. The Dodgers will counter with left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu in Game 2, righty Walker Buehler in Game 3 and southpaw Rich Hill in Game 4 on Tuesday.
—Joe West has been selected as crew chief for the American League Championship Series, and Gerry Davis will lead the crew for the National League Championship Series, the commissioner’s office announced.
Davis has umpired a record 144 postseason games entering the NLCS between the Brewers and the Dodgers. West ranks second in major league history by umpiring 5,194 regular-season games. Bill Klem holds the record of 5,375.
Angel Hernandez, who was sharply criticized for his work at first base and behind the plate during the AL Division Series between the Red Sox and New York Yankees, is not part of either crew, as umpires cannot work two consecutive rounds in the postseason. Hernandez would be eligible for the World Series.
— The Texas Rangers reportedly have already interviewed three candidates for their vacant manager position, with more expected in the coming days.
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported that Jayce Tingler, the Rangers’ assistant GM who finished the season as the bench coach, interviewed Tuesday.
Chicago Cubs bench coach Brandon Hyde and Houston Astros bench coach Joe Espada both reportedly interviewed Thursday, the latter via telephone as he prepares for the American League Championship Series against Boston.
—The St. Louis Cardinals have re-signed right-hander Adam Wainwright to a one-year contract for the 2019 season, the team announced.
Financial details were not disclosed, though it is heavy in incentives based on games started and game appearances, according to a report from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Wainwright earned $19.5 million in 2018, the final season of a five-year, $97.5 million contract.
Next season will mark Wainwright’s 15th with the Cardinals, tying Bob Forsch for the third most in franchise history. Wainwright, 37, was 2-4 with a 4.46 ERA this season, spending the majority of the year on the disabled list with right elbow inflammation.
—Detroit right-hander Jordan Zimmermann and outfielder Christin Stewart each underwent core muscle surgery, the Tigers announced.
Both players had the procedures Thursday in Philadelphia, where Dr. William Meyers was the surgeon. Meyers said both players are expected to be ready for spring training.
Zimmermann went 7-8 with a 4.52 ERA in 25 starts in 2018. The 32-year-old is entering the fourth season of a five-year, $110 million contract. Stewart, 24, batted .267 with two homers in 60 late-season at-bats. He missed the final three games after sustaining an abdominal injury.
—Field Level Media