Showing posts with label A.J. Hinch. Show all posts
Showing posts with label A.J. Hinch. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Astros, Dodgers move on to the next round

Alex Bregman
The Houston Astros and the Los Angeles Dodgers are the first two teams to advance to the League Championship Series.

Houston defeated the Boston Red Sox, 5-4, on Monday afternoon to win the ALDS, 3-1. Later Monday, the Dodgers defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks, 3-1, to complete a three-game sweep in the NLDS.

The Houston-Boston game probably was the most interesting of the four playoff games played Monday, because both teams had their respective aces, Justin Verlander and Chris Sale, on the mound by the fifth inning.

Houston starter Charlie Morton lasted 4.1 innings. Boston starter Rick Porcello worked only three innings. I found it interesting that neither manager was desperate enough to start his ace in a Game 4, but both managers were desperate enough to use their ace in a relief role.

I was especially surprised to see Verlander on the hill.  The Astros, after all, led the series 2-1. Had they lost, they had a Game 5 in Houston to fall back on, and I would have liked their chances to win with Verlander starting that game.

But Houston manager A.J. Hinch had other thoughts. He pushed his chips to the center of the table to win Game 4, and win it he did.

I wasn't as surprised to see Sale work in relief because, well, it was do-or-die for the Red Sox. If you're gonna die, die with your best on the mound.

Verlander entered in the fifth inning with his team leading, 2-1, but he lost the lead quickly by giving up a two-run homer to Boston left fielder Andrew Benintendi. That ended up being the only hit Verlander allowed over his 2.2 innings of relief, but for a time, it looked as though he was going to take a 3-2 loss.

Sale was brutal in a Game 1 defeat, but he was dealing in the middle innings Monday. The Astros did not get a single hit off him in the fourth, fifth or sixth innings. Sale fanned six and did not walk a batter over his 4.2 innings of relief.

However, the Astros broke through with a two-run eighth inning. Alex Bregman tied it with a home run off Sale to start the inning. Evan Gattis singled sandwiched in between two outs, and Sale was removed from the game with two outs in the top of the eighth and the score tied at 3.

Boston closer Craig Kimbrel was ineffective. He walked the first hitter he faced, George Springer, then gave up an RBI single to Josh Reddick that put the Astros ahead, 4-3. Houston added another run off Kimbrel in the ninth, which proved to be key. Rafael Devers had an inside-the-park home run for the Red Sox in the bottom of the ninth to make it 5-4, but it was not enough.

Give the Astros credit. I always say you're not going to win championships beating up on chump pitchers. You have to go through people, and Houston went through two All-Stars -- Sale and Kimbrel -- to score three late runs Monday.

As a result, they await the winner of the series between the New York Yankees and the Cleveland Indians, which is tied at 2-all. Game 5 is Thursday night.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Joe Girardi signs 4-year extension to remain Yankees manager

I never bought into the idea that Joe Girardi would be managing the Cubs in 2014.

Oh, I wouldn't be surprised if he did indeed express interest in the Cubs through "back channels." I don't doubt that Girardi's "camp" let it be known he would be willing to listen if the Cubs called.

I just think all this chatter was about nothing more than leverage. The Yankees were offering a 3-year extension. Girardi wanted 4 years. He let it be known that he had other options, namely the Cubs, so the Yankees caved and gave him the extra year.

Girardi and the Yankees agreed to terms Wednesday on a four-year, $16 million contract that will make Girardi the second-highest paid manager in the game.

"After talking with my family, we decided that (New York) was where we wanted to come back," Girardi said on a conference call with reporters Wednesday. "It's a special place to manage because of the opportunity that you have every year and the tools that they give you. The history of this organization is unbelievable. There are special things that happen here every year."

The Yankees kept their man. Meanwhile, the Cubs are back to square one in their managerial search. So far, we've heard three names connected to the opening. I assume others will emerge before a hire is made. But here are the names that have been bandied about so far:

Manny Acta: He managed the Washington Nationals from 2007 to 2009 and the Cleveland Indians from 2010 to 2012. His record is 372-518 in 890 career games, a .418 winning percentage.

A.J. Hinch: The current vice president of professional scouting for the San Diego Padres had a rough go as manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2009 and 2010, going 89-123 for a .420 winning percentage.

Rick Renteria: The San Diego Padres bench coach has never managed before, but is expected to meet with Cubs brass sometime next week.

Obviously, the names of Hinch and Renteria have popped up because of their ties with Cubs GM Jed Hoyer, who was previously the GM in San Diego.

I'm not one of these people who believes teams need to hire a manager with experience. I think a first-time manager is fine if you believe it's the right guy. I'm pretty sure Acta is the wrong guy. Only two managers in Major League Baseball history have managed more games than Acta and had a lower winning percentage than Acta's .418 mark. Given the choice between hiring a managing newbie or recycling Acta, I would opt for giving someone new an opportunity.