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Monday, May 21, 2018

Baseball

Joe Girardi a candidate to be next White Sox manager?

Joe Girardi

Less than seven months after being let go by the New York Yankees, Joe Girardi is already drawing buzz for another managerial job in the AL.

Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reported this week that Girardi could be a name to keep an eye on for the Chicago White Sox job if they decide to fire incumbent manager Rick Renteria. Heyman does add however that the Sox are expected to stick with the third-year skipper Renteria “for now.”

Girardi, 53, managed the Yankees for ten seasons from 2008 to 2017, going 910-710 (.562) with six playoff appearances and a World Series title in 2009. The former Manager of the Year is also an Illinois native and played in Chicago for three seasons as a catcher for the Cubs from 2000 to 2002.

As for the White Sox, they have limped to a 80-125 record (.390) in Renteria’s two seasons at the helm so far, including an MLB-worst 13-30 this year. While they are clearly in a hard rebuild right now, their fans are quickly losing faith regardless, so a flashy hire like Girardi could definitely help the Sox restore it.

Angels’ Cozart critical of Rays for starting Sergio Romo

Zack Cozart

Los Angeles Angels third baseman Zack Cozart was critical of the Tampa Bay Rays for utilizing an interesting strategy against them.

The Rays started relief pitcher Sergio Romo in both Saturday and Sunday’s games. On Saturday, Romo struck out the first three batters he faced. The Rays then had starter Ryan Yarbrough begin his outing in the second. He pitched well for 6.1 innings, and the Rays won 5-3.

On Sunday, Romo began the game against the Angels. He went 1.1 innings, walking two and striking out three. The Rays used two more relievers after Romo and ended the game with Anthony Banda, who often starts/makes longer appearances. This time the Angels won the game 5-2.

Cozart walked and struck out in his two at-bats against Romo. Afterwards, he called the Rays’ strategy “weird” and said it was bad for the game.

“It was weird…it’s bad for baseball, in my opinion…It’s spring training. That’s the best way to explain it,” Cozart said, via The Athletic’s Fabian Ardaya.

The Rays used the strategy because Romo is particularly effective against right-handed hitters. The Angels’ best batters are right-handed — Mike Trout, Justin Upton, Andrelton Simmons — so the strategy works well against them. You could try to counter the move by putting left-handed batters at the top of the lineup, but the Angels don’t have many options. Their only lefty batters are Kole Calhoun, Luis Valbuena, and Shohei Ohtani when he’s in the lineup. Calhoun is only hitting .161 this season, so putting him at the top just to counter Romo might actually backfire.

The strategy might not be orthodox, but there’s nothing in the rules against it. Maybe it’s a sign to the Angels to add a left-handed bat.

Cardinals P Jordan Hicks clocked at 105 mph on pitch

Jordan Hicks

If you don’t know about Jordan Hicks, allow us to introduce him to you.

The St Louis Cardinals reliever is one of the hardest throwers in all of baseball and proved that on Sunday. He pitched 1.1 innings of scoreless ball to secure the 5-1 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies. During his appearance, he hit triple-digits on the radar gun multiple times, include 105 mph twice.

During a 5-pitch strikeout of Odubel Herrera, all of Hicks’ pitches were clocked at at least 103.7 mph by Statcast.

Here’s a look at some of those pitches:

The 21-year-old has a 2.05 ERA in 22 innings this season. He surprisingly does not have more strikeouts (nine in 22 innings) despite throwing as hard as he does.

Indians reportedly bringing up Melky Cabrera

Cleveland Indians logo

Melky Cabrera is returning to the big leagues.

The Cleveland Indians are reportedly promoting Cabrera in a bid to bolster their struggling outfield after signing the outfielder in late April.

Cabrera played just ten games at Cleveland’s AAA affiliate, but they clearly feel he’s ready to help. He hit .285 with 17 home runs between two teams last season, and he can still play a bit of defense.

Cleveland has three outfielders on the disabled list right now, with only Michael Brantley really performing up to standards. Cabrera may not be an All-Star anymore, but he could give the Indians offense a lift as they try to steady themselves and take control of the AL Central.

Nationals place Ryan Madson on DL with pectoral injury

Washington Nationals

The Washington Nationals have had some trouble with the back end of their bullpen this season, and those problems could be magnified if Ryan Madson is forced to miss an extended period.

Madson was unavailable for Sunday’s game against the Los Angeles Dodgers because of a sore pectoral muscle, and Nationals manager Dave Martinez confirmed after the game that the right-hander will be placed on the disabled list and undergo an MRI.

Madson, whom the Nationals acquired in a trade with the Oakland A’s last season, has a 4.19 ERA this season but is still Washington’s most trusted eighth-inning reliever behind Sean Doolittle. The 37-year-old has also been called upon in save situations and has converted in three out of four of them.

The Nationals were swept by the Dodgers over the weekend, and their bullpen issues were on full display Sunday. They entered the eighth inning trailing by one and ended up losing 7-2 when Wander Suero and Shawn Kelley allowed L.A. to break things open. Madson has appeared in 21 of the Nationals’ 45 games this season, so it’s possible the heavy workload has caught up to him.

Vlad Guerrero Jr has four-hit game including walk-off HR

It is only a matter of time before the Toronto Blue Jays call Vladimir Guerrero Jr. up to the big leagues, and the 19-year-old continued to state his case with yet another monster game on Sunday.

Guerrero, the son of soon-to-be Hall of Famer Vlad Guerrero, has been destroying Double-A pitching this season. In the first game of a double-header on Sunday, the younger Guerrero went 4-for-4 and carried the New Hampshire Fisher Cats to a win with a towering walk-off home run.

The first of two games on Sunday boosted Guerrero’s average to .423, and he now has eight homers, 44 RBI and an OPS of 1.173 in 38 games. He simply doesn’t look like he belongs, and we mean that in the best way possible.

When you see how far some of the home runs Guerrero has hit this season have gone, it’s hard not to think of his old man. Vlad Jr. has a very bright MLB future ahead of him.

Addison Russell ignoring Manny Machado trade rumors

Addison Russell

The Chicago Cubs have been linked in trade rumors to Baltimore Orioles shortstop Manny Machado in the last week, and such a deal would likely cost Addison Russell his starting job.

For now, though, Russell is tuning out the noise, as there’s little he can do about it.

“I really don’t pay attention to all that,” Russell said Saturday, via Patrick Mooney of the Athletic. “All I know is I play for the Cubs — and I’m going to play for the Cubs as hard as I can. I like this team. I like this organization.

“As far as the trade rumors, if it happens, it happens. But I really don’t pay them any attention. The only time I really even hear about them is the media bringing it up to me.”

Of course, Machado might be a rental, and the Cubs wouldn’t be the only suitor. For now, it seems like more rumor than anything else, but Russell would be vulnerable if something came to fruition.

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