Hernandez: Randolph lost the Latins last year

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Keith Hernandez says that Willie Randolph lost the Latin players in his clubhouse last year:

I don’t know. I am not in that clubhouse. You know there’s a code of
silence in the clubhouse, and things are kept in house. But I do know
that a lot of the Latin players — and the key Latin players — did not
like Willie. And that’s why they probably felt the move had to be made.
Because they weren’t performing. And all of a sudden Jerry Manuel comes
in and it’s like someone turned a light switch on. And all of a sudden
Delgado is out of his slump and Reyes is playing like heck. So you
know, it’s one of those things.

I take this to mean that the players were less enthusiastic to play for
Randolph and that general lack of enthusiasm translated into poor play
as opposed to anyone intentionally dogging it. Either way, clubhouse
dynamics are something those of us on the outside really don’t and
can’t easily understand, so it’s interesting to hear Hernandez’s
opinion on this. I’ll only add that Randolph’s apparent loss of the
Latin vote, as it were, had additional consequences among the
non-Latins on the team. You’ll recall Billy Wagner going off last year
about how Delgado and some other players weren’t hanging around after
games to meet the press? If Hernandez is right, they were probably
doing that to hang Randolph out to dry, and in turn that hung guys like
Wagner out to dry. That whole dynamic is on the manager in my view.

The funny thing is, there is evidence now that Jerry Manuel is losing his
players too, with Johan Santana ignoring his signs Tuesday night and
David Wright recently seen imploring Manuel to get out on the field and
argue a call that went against the Mets (Manuel didn’t). So maybe it’s
just a New York thing.

In other news there would be worse things for Bobby Valentine to be doing than updating his resume right now.

Joey Votto thinks he can win the Home Run Derby, but hasn’t been invited yet

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Despite having hit at least 20 home runs in eight of his 11 seasons in the majors, Reds first baseman Joey Votto has never participated in a Home Run Derby. Currently, he’s tied for the National League lead in home runs with 20, and he hasn’t been invited to this year’s festivities at Marlins Park.

In the event he is invited, Votto said he thinks he can win it, C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. Votto likened himself to Ichiro Suzuki, a player known more for his contact abilities and mastery of the strike zone than power. “Just think of me as the Canadian Ichiro — Japan has theirs and Canada has theirs,” Votto said. “I could pull homers into the seats at will.”

Along with the 20 homers, Votto is currently hitting .306/.419/.601 with 53 RBI, and 52 runs scored in 313 plate appearances.

Teammate Scott Schebler also has 20 home runs at the moment and Adam Duvall, who made it to the semifinals of the Derby last year, has 16. Neither of them have been approached about participating in the Derby, either. Per Rosecrans, in the event each was invited, Duvall said he would consider participating if he wasn’t an All-Star and Schebler would participate regardless. Votto said he would only participate if he made the All-Star team.

There was apparently some miscommunication between Pete Mackanin and Pat Neshek

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The Phillies won their first game since last Thursday, beating the Cardinals 5-1 on Thursday afternoon. Starter Aaron Nola pitched into the eighth inning, but left with one out. Pat Neshek took the mound with a runner on first base and induced an inning-ending double play on a 3-1 count to Tommy Pham.

Given that Neshek only threw five pitches and the Phillies were staked to a four-run lead, it wouldn’t have seemed unreasonable if the sidewinding right-hander came back out to finish the ninth inning as well. But Luis Garcia had that honor, tossing a scoreless final frame to nail down the win in a non-save situation.

After the game, manager Pete Mackanin said he asked Neshek to go back out for the ninth, but Neshek didn’t want to, per Stephen Gross of the Morning Call. Neshek told the media that Mackanin never asked him. There was also a miscommunication on Wednesday. The combination of Joaquin Benoit, Hector Neris, and Edubray Ramos combined to allow four runs in 2 1/3 innings, helping the Phillies lose 7-6. Neshek never appeared. According to Mackanin, Neshek told him that he wasn’t available to pitch. Neshek said he was told he’d have the day off.

The disconnect between Mackanin and Neshek could speak to a larger divide between the manager and his failing team. The Phillies have underwhelmed across the board due to players like Odubel Herrera (whose head was down and did not see Juan Samuel’s stop sign last night in what became a base running blunder), Maikel Franco, Jerad Eickhoff, Vince Velasquez, Aaron Nola (today’s start notwithstanding), and Hector Neris not living up to expectations. The Phillies signed Mackanin to a contract extension last month, but the team has completely fallen apart since then and the latest communications issues certainly don’t reflect well on him. Neither does last night’s travesty of a game.

As for Neshek, he said that going to the Phillies was “the best thing that happened to me in a few years” but also realized, given the state of the team, that it remains very likely he winds up in a new uniform by the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. After Thursday’s performance, Neshek is carrying a 0.63 ERA with a 25/4 K/BB ratio in 28 2/3 innings. He very well could be the Phillies’ lone representative at the All-Star Game in Miami next month. That is, if he’s still wearing their uniform. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Nationals have shown interest in Neshek.