Dice-K's beatdown begins

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A day after Dice-K declared the Red Sox’ training methods as the reason for his injuries
(no word on whether he blamed them for his second chin and inability to
throw a pitch down the middle), the team is striking back. And, as is
the custom in Boston, they’re doing it through the media. First, Tony Massarotti hits him,
relaying that the team is “downright angry” at him, and that “the truth
is that the Red Sox were tired of Matsuzaka’s high-maintenance act a
long time ago, but they kept their mouths shut and put up with it
because Matsuzaka won games.”

Then Dan Shaughnessy,
who has long been a trusted messenger for the Sox, says “the Sox are
steamed. Matsuzaka talked out of turn, infuriated his bosses and his
teammates, and unwittingly took the focus away from Hall of Famer Jim
Rice on the night the slugger’s number was retired . . . It is
reasonable to wonder if Matsuzaka will pitch again for the Sox this
season. Or ever.”

One wonders if Dice-K fully understands the influence the Boston
media has on what happens on that team (and what influence team
management has on the media). It’s slow season in Beantown. The Bruins
and Celtics are on hiatus and Patriots’ camp is not yet at full speed.
Between that and the Sox struggling of late, there is no way in hell
that someone who talks out of turn the way Matsusaka did yesterday
isn’t going to be the subject of an epic beatdown.

Side note to all of this — offered by longtime reader MooseinOhio:
“I wonder if Scott Boras will continue comparing Stephen Strasburg’s
contract demands to Dice-K’s as the evidence that is being put forth,
and will continue to be put forth, on how Boston overpaid for his
services continues to mount.”

Good point.

Miguel Cabrera blasts two home runs against Braves

DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 28: Miguel Cabrera #24 of the Detroit Tigers hits a three-run home run during the fifth inning of the game against the Cleveland Indians scoring teammates Cameron Maybin #4 and Ian Kinsler #3 (not in photo) on September 28, 2016 at Comerica Park in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
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Even while injured, Miguel Cabrera is a force to be reckoned with. The 33-year-old slugger has been playing with a contusion on his knee since Wednesday, according to postgame comments made by Tigers’ manager Brad Ausmus.

That didn’t stop him from whacking a 410-foot home run against Atlanta right-hander Matt Wisler on Friday night, skirting the center field fence to put the Tigers up 3-0 in the first inning. In the third, he lead off the inning with another long drive off of Wisler, targeting his changeup for a 421-foot shot, his 38th home run of the season:

It’s Cabrera’s sixth two-run homer game since the start of the season, and his first against the Braves since 2005. He needs just two more home runs to keep an even 40 on the year, which would return him to the kind of league-leading levels that accentuated his MVP case in 2012 and 2013. If he can do it by the end of this Tigers-Braves game (unlikely, but not unheard of), he’ll be the 15th major leaguer to hit four home runs in a single game.

Reds’ manager Bryan Price extended through 2017

PHOENIX, AZ - AUGUST 28: Manager Bryan Price #38 of the Cincinnati Reds looks on during the fifth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on August 28, 2016 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
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The Reds will roll with manager Bryan Price for at least one more season. Per MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon, Price has been extended through the 2017 season with a club option for 2018. He won’t be the only familiar face leading the team, as the Reds have reportedly asked the entire coaching staff to return as well.

This is Price’s second consecutive season with 90+ losses since Cincinnati signed him to a three-year contract back in 2014. While he hasn’t been able to replicate the same kind of success that former skipper Dusty Baker found in 2012 and 2013, he’s been saddled with a team that’s still in the throes of rebuilding, not one that looks on the cusp of playoff contention. It is, after all, the same team that has not seen a healthy season from Homer Bailey since Price’s arrival, one that unloaded Jay Bruce for a pair of prospects earlier this year and one whose pitching staff set a single-season record for most home runs given up by a major league team.

Justifying Price’s extension requires a different kind of yardstick, one that measures player development and individual success over the cumulative win-loss record. Here, Price has overseen solid performances from contributors like Adam Duvall, who is batting .244/.297/.506 with 2.9 fWAR in his first full major-league season, as well as young arms like Anthony DeSclafani, Brandon Finnegan, and Michael Lorenzen, among others.

From comments made by Reds’ CFO Bob Castellini, Price’s success within a rough rebuilding process appears to have cemented his place within the club, at least for the time being.

I like the young, aggressive team Walt and Dick have put together with players from within our system and from recent trades. […] Bryan has been here seven seasons now. He’s comfortable with the direction we are heading with our young players, and we are comfortable with him leading us in that direction.