It’s been a busy 24 hours or so in baseball. A few quick hits.
- The Phillies fired manager Charlie Manuel today. They’ve named Ryne Sandberg as the interim manager. Sandberg, a former Chicago Cub and a Hall of Famer, is the uncle of former Hudson Valley Renegades skipper Jared Sandberg, who’s now managing the Bowling Green Hot Rods in the Midwest League.
- MLB will likely have an expanded video replay system in 2014. The plan is still subject to the approval of players, owners and umpires. Managers will be allowed to challenge calls of virtually every type – except balls and strikes. An owner’s committee estimated that the new rules would affect play once “every five games,” which means there would be three reviews per day. The umpires on the field would not be the ones looking at the replays, as there will be a “war room” set up at the league office in New York, with officials there monitoring every game. We’ll see what happens with this proposal moving forward…
- The Yankees did indeed sign former Indians slugger Mark Reynolds, who was recently DFA’d by Cleveland. The Yankees haven’t yet posted their lineup for tonight’s game, but I’d imagine they’d like to get him in tonight against lefty-throwing Felix Doubront. Reynolds can play first and third and offers tremendous power potential, but he’s also a huge strikeout threat. (This just in: Reynolds is playing first base and batting eighth).
- The latest twist in the Alex Rodriguez saga involves a report from 60 Minutes. According to the program, people in Rodriguez’s camp were responsible for leaking the information that helped get Ryan Braun and Francisco Cervelli suspended. So there should be plenty of questions today in the visiting clubhouse at Fenway Park. Do Rodriguez’s teammates think any less of him now that he’s been outed as a rat? Personally, I doubt anybody says anything controversial – well, maybe except for A-Rod himself – but it will be interesting to see if the Yankees can keep their clubhouse intact after the latest revelations.
The Yankees and Red Sox will play three games at Fenway this weekend. The Yankees head into tonight’s game at 8 1/2 games back in the
division. They trail Tampa Bay, Oakland, Baltimore, Cleveland and Kansas City in the Wild Card standings.
Here are the pitching matchups:
Friday: Andy Pettitte vs. Felix Doubront
Saturday: Hiroki Kuroda vs. John Lackey
Sunday: CC Sabathia vs. Ryan Dempster
In his career at Fenway, Pettitte is 7-4 with a 3.98 ERA. He has allowed 127 hits in 106 1/3 innings there, including six home runs.
In Mets news, Zack Wheeler set a career high with 12 strikeouts at San Diego last night in a 4-1 win.
Wheeler gave up seven hits and one run over six innings and took a no-decision.
A positive sign for Wheeler is that he’s starting to throw more breaking balls for strikes than he had earlier this season. Last night, 32 of his 46 breaking pitches landed for strikes, as did 59.4 percent of his fastballs.
Wheeler’s biggest problem against the Padres was efficiency. In the third, fourth and fifth innings, he threw 28, 25 and 21 pitches, respectively. Wheeler did admit after the game that he probably went after too many strikeouts, lost control of his fastball and wound up throwing more pitches than he would have liked.
Still, the success with his breaking balls is a good sign for Wheeler moving forward.