CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs fired manager Dale Sveum on Monday after finishing last in the NL Central for the first time in seven years, ending a two-year run that produced more losses than any other in the team's cursed history.
Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein said Sveum was not the "scapegoat" for the team's struggles.
"Today's decision to pursue a new manager was not made because of wins and losses," Epstein said. "Our record is a function of our long-term building plan and the moves we have made - some good, a few we would like back - to further this strategy."
He added: "I believe a dynamic new voice - and the energy, creativity and freshness that comes with this type of change - provides us with the best opportunity to achieve the major league environment we seek" (see full story).
Mets extend Collins
NEW YORK -- Terry Collins has completed his contract extension with the New York Mets to remain the team's manager.
The club announced the move Monday, one day after finishing 74-88 in its fifth consecutive losing season since moving into Citi Field. Collins' contract was set to expire after the season, his third in charge of the Mets, but it became increasingly clear late in the year that he likely would return.
His deal is for 2-year extension that gives the Mets an option for 2016.
The 64-year-old Collins is 225-261 as manager of the rebuilding Mets. Fielding an inexperienced lineup depleted by injuries and trades, he kept New York competitive down the stretch without most of his top players.
Rays, Rangers to play for wild-card spot
After 162 regular-season games, the Tampa Bay Rays and Texas Rangers need one more to decide the second AL wild-card spot.
While the visiting Rays have the benefit of turning to reigning Cy Young Award winner David Price in their biggest game of the year, the Rangers are set to welcome back All-Star Nelson Cruz on Monday night.
The Rays (91-71) held on for a 7-6 win over Toronto and the Rangers (91-71) beat the Los Angeles Angels 6-2 on Sunday, forcing a one-game showdown for the right to face Cleveland - which overtook both teams and clinched its playoff spot with a season-ending 10-game win streak - in the wild-card game Wednesday.
"Hands down my biggest game of this year, night and day bigger than opening day," said Price, who struck out eight over seven innings of two-run ball in Wednesday's 8-3 win at Yankee Stadium. "This is a moment that I want to be in. I want to be able to relish this moment and go out there and have fun."
Price (9-8, 3.39 ERA), though, is 1-7 with a 5.57 ERA in 11 starts against Texas, including the postseason. He will face a Rangers team that won seven straight by a 46-19 margin to keep its playoff hopes alive (see full story).