June 19, 2024

Tampa Bay Rays first baseman Yandy Diaz was criticized for taking the last regular-season game off Sunday when he and Texas Rangers shortstop Corey Seager were tied for the American League batting title with .330 averages.

Seager, who spent the first seven seasons of his career with the Dodgers, went 0 for 4, dipping to .327, and Diaz won the title while idle. His post on X, formerly known as Twitter, was succinct: “I got it”

Diaz seemed flustered early in the Rays’ 4-0 Game 1 loss to the Rangers in an AL wild card series. In the first inning, Seager, who went two for four with a run batted in, pulled a one-hop rocket down the first-base line that ate up Diaz, who after retrieving the ball made a poor throw to pitcher Tyler Glasnow and was charged with an error.

Diaz was out of position on a single by Leody Taveras that led to the first run of the game in the second inning, which ended with Diaz catching a throw from shortstop Taylor Walls to retire Marcus Semien with runners at second and third. Diaz, however, didn’t know it was the third out and frantically threw to the plate.

In Diaz’s defense — although defense clearly isn’t his forte — the criticism about sitting out Sunday was misplaced. He had two leg injuries in September, and with the finale essentially meaningless to the Rays, it was prudent to take the day off.

Also, Seager could have won the title just by going, say, one for three. Instead, he and the rest of the Rangers were punchless against the Mariners in a 1-0 loss that cost them the AL West title.

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