Previewing Sunday Night Baseball: Yankees at Mets

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With the Yankees and Mets less than an hour from first pitch, here’s a few things to consider:

On the bump:

Livan Hernandez (5-2, 4.05) hopes to salvage one for the Mets.
Hernandez allowed three runs — two earned — over seven innings in a
loss to the Cardinals in his last start. It was his first loss since
April 23. Hernandez has become a real workhorse for the Mets, logging
86 2/3 innings this season — second on the team. He has never beaten
the Yankees in six career starts. He took a no-decision against them on
June 12, allowing six runs over 5 1/3 innings.

Chien-Ming Wang (0-6, 11.20) is still in search of his first
victory. He threw his best start of the season last time out, holding
the Braves to three runs over five innings, striking out four while
walking just one. Considering his rough start, Wang was very effective,
throwing 42 of 62 pitches for strikes. Wang is 0-3 with a 7.27 ERA in
four starts since returning from the bullpen. Wang is 1-1 with a 4.96
ERA in two career starts against the Mets.

Back in the lineup:

– Derek Jeter, who missed the two previous games due to a severe
headache, fever and cough, is back in the lineup and will leadoff on
Sunday. Jeter is enjoying an excellent season, batting .308/.377/.451
with nine homers, 30 RBI, 47 runs scored and 17 stolen bases. He is the
all-time leader with a .385 career batting average against the Mets.

The Replace-METS:

– The injury-riddled Mets are just 9-for-87 (.103) with one home run over their last three games.

Yanks take season series:

– The Yankees are 4-1 against the Mets
this season. This is the first time they have won the season series
against the Mets since 2003.

Fantasy angle:

– Alex Rodriguez is 11-for-19 with three homers and 10 RBI against Hernandez in his career.

– David Wright is ninth in the majors with a .370 batting average this month.

Theo Epstein named The World’s Greatest Leader

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Fortune Magazine has put out a list of The World’s Greatest Leaders. Not the greatest business leaders, not the greatest leaders in a given industry, but the Greatest Leaders, full stop. The greatest according to Fortune: The Cubs’ Theo Epstein.

For some context, Pope Francis was third. Angela Merkel was 10th. Lebron James was the next greatest sports leader, ranked 11th. Take Fortune’s methodology with a grain of salt, however, given that it has John McCain above Merkel — what, exactly, does he lead now? — and Samantha Bee in the top 20.

So what makes Theo the world’s best leader according to Fortune?

The Cubs owe their success to a five-year rebuilding program that featured a concatenation of different leadership styles. The team thrived under the affable patience of owner Tom Ricketts, and, later, under the innovative eccentricity of manager Joe Maddon. But most important of all was the evolution of the club’s president for baseball operations, Theo Epstein, the wunderkind executive who realized he would need to grow as a leader in order to replicate in Chicago the success he’d had with the Boston Red Sox.

I don’t want to take anything away from what Theo has done — he’s a Hall of Fame executive already in my view — but I feel like maybe one needs to adjust for the fact that this is a baseball team we’re talking about. They’re the whole world to us and their brands are nationally and even world famous, but as an organization, sports teams are rather small. There are guys who run reasonably-sized HVAC companies with more employees than a baseball team and they don’t get the benefit of an antitrust exemption and a rule which allows them to get their pick of the best new employees if they had a bad year the year before.

Really, not trying to throw shade here, just thinking that being the spiritual father for 1.2 billion Catholics or running a foundation that serves 55 million needy children — like the woman who comes in at number 14 — is a bit of a tougher trick.

But this will make a great framed magazine article on Theo’s wall in Wrigley Field.

 

 

Marcus Stroman named World Baseball Classic MVP

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United States starter Marcus Stroman was named Most Valuable Player of the World Baseball Classic after helping lead the U.S. to its first ever WBC title on Wednesday night in an 8-0 victory over Puerto Rico. Stroman flirted with a no-hitter through six innings, but gave up a double to lead off the seventh before being relieved by Sam Dyson.

Stroman also pitched 4 2/3 scoreless innings against the Dominican Republic in Pool C play on March 11. He struggled in Pool F play against Puerto Rico last Friday, surrendering four runs in 4 2/3 innings.

The WBC MVP award understandably goes to a player of the winning team. However, Wladimir Balentien of the Netherlands deserves special mention. In 26 at-bats during the WBC, he hit a double and had a WBC-high four home runs, 12 RBI, and 12 runs scored while putting up a .615/.677/.1.115 batting line. That’s MVP-esque as far as this tournament is concerned.