Joe Torre and Jim Tracy: a study in contrasts

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Joe Torre, Dodgers Manager:

If the Dodgers aren’t still sitting atop the National League West
one month from now, it won’t be the fault of the pitching, the offense
or even the defense. No matter what happens between now and then, if
the team isn’t in first place, go ahead and blame manager Joe Torre. He
won’t mind. Really.

With an 8 -game lead in the division heading into play Monday, as
well as the best record in baseball, the Dodgers are in good shape at
the start of June. And when July arrives, the roster will get a boost
with the return of Manny Ramirez. So Torre went ahead Monday and said
that if Ramirez doesn’t return to a first-place club, then the manager
should be blamed.

“I don’t know how many we’ll be ahead, but you’re right, if anything goes bad I screwed up, no question,” Torre said.

Jim Tracy, Rockies Manager:

One of the charges against Tracy in Pittsburgh was that he took too
much credit when the team won and blamed the players too much when the
Pirates lost. After the game Sunday, Tracy blamed his starter Jorge De
La Rosa for not pitching properly to Gonzalez when he had an 0-2 count,
allowing the Padres slugger to homer. Gonzalez wouldn’t have homered if
he were standing on first base . . .

. . . Tracy then blamed his pinch-hitter Smith for not hitting
properly when he had a 3-2 count. According to Tracy, the Rockies
cannot “do any hitting with the bat on their shoulder.”

All in all, I think the Dodgers are better off now than they were four years ago.

(links via BTF)

Mets’ Neil Walker expected to undergo season-ending back surgery

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 21: Neil Walker #20 of the New York Mets sits in the dugout before the game against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park on August 21, 2016 in San Francisco, California.  The New York Mets defeated the San Francisco Giants 2-0. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
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Jared Diamond of The Wall Street Journal reports that Mets second baseman Neil Walker is expected to undergo season-ending surgery to fix a herniated disk in his lower back. Walker has avoided the disabled list but hasn’t played since last Saturday and has only two starts since August 22.

If Walker does indeed go under the knife, he’ll end his first season with the Mets with a terrific .282/.347/.476 triple-slash line with 23 home runs and 55 RBI in 458 plate appearances. While the Mets couldn’t have foreseen Daniel Murphy having such a terrific season, Walker was more than adequate in Murphy’s shoes at second base.

Kelly Johnson and Wilmer Flores have handled second base in Walker’s absence and will continue to do so through the remainder of the season.

Video: Stephen Cardullo celebrates his birthday by hitting a grand slam

DENVER, CO - AUGUST 31:  Stephen Cardullo #65 of the Colorado Rockies watches his first career Major League home run during the seventh inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Coors Field on August 31, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
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Rockies 1B/OF Stephen Cardullo celebrated his 29th birthday on Wednesday, so the rookie decided to celebrate by homering in both games of his team’s doubleheader at home against the Dodgers.

In the first game, Cardullo pinch-hit for Chris Rusin in the seventh inning and drilled a solo home run off of Casey Fien. In the second game, Cardullo smacked a grand slam to left-center field off of Bud Norris in the first inning.

Cardullo made his major league debut this past Friday. He was hitless in his first five at-bats before singling as a pinch-hitter on Monday.