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.

Rougned Odor didn’t technically steal home, but he basically did

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Just saw this from last night’s Tigers-Rangers game. It was pretty wild.

Rougned Odor walked in the seventh inning. He broke for second on a steal and was safe due to the throw going wild, allowing him to reach third base. The Tigers called on reliever Daniel Stumpf and he was effective in retiring the next two batters, leaving Odor on third with two out.

Stumpf, a lefty, was paying no attention whatsoever to Odor, so Odor just took off for home, attempting a straight steal. Stumpf was so surprised that he tried to throw home to nail Odor, and in so doing, he balked. That technically means that Odor scored on the balk, but I think it’s safe to say he would’ve scored on the strait steal regardless. Watch:

 

He definitely gets points for style.

 

Aroldis Chapman is pitching himself out of a job

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Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman looked shaky again last night, coming in to the game with a three-run lead before allowing a two-run homer to the Mets’ Amed Rosario. He would nail down the save eventually, giving Sonny Gray his first win as a Yankee, but Chapman’s struggles were the talk of the game afterward.

It was the third appearance in a row in which Chapman has given up at least one run, allowing five runs on three hits — two of them homers — and walking four in his last three and a third innings pitched. He’s also hit a batter. That’s just the most acute portion of a long slide, however. He posted a 0.79 ERA in his first 12 appearances this year, before getting shelled twice and then going on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation, missing over a month. Since returning he’s allowed 12 runs — ten earned — in 23 appearances, breaking out to a 4.09 ERA. He’s also walked ten batters in that time. At present, his strikeout rate is the worst he’s featured since 2010. His walk rate is up and he’s allowing more hits per nine innings than he ever has.

It’s possible that he’s still suffering from shoulder problems. Whether or not that’s an issue, he looks to have a new health concern as he appeared to tweak his hamstring on the game’s final play last night when he ran over to cover first base. Chapman told reporters after the game that “it’s nothing to worry about,” and Joe Girardi said that Chapman would not undergo an MRI or anything, but he was clearly grimacing as he came off the mound and it’s something worth watching.

Also worth watching: Dellin Betances and David Robertson, Chapman’s setup men who have each shined as Yankees closers in the past and who may very soon find themselves closing once again if Chapman can’t figure it out. And Chapman seems to know it. He was asked if he still deserves to be the closer after the game. His answer:

“My job is to be ready to pitch everyday. As far as where I pitch, that’s not up to me. If at some point they need to remove me from the closer’s position, I’m always going to be ready to pitch.”

That’s a team-first answer, and for that Chapman should be lauded. But it’s also one that suggests Chapman himself knows he’s going to be out of a closer’s job soon if he doesn’t turn things around.