Houston’s decision to fire Cecil Cooper with 13 games remaining left Dave Clark with a two-week stint as interim manager and the assumption seems to be that he won’t be offered the full-time job. So who will the Astros tab as their next manager? Alyson Footer of MLB.com and Jose de Jesus Ortiz of the Houston Chronicle both tackled that subject this morning.
Footer separated potential candidates into three groups consisting of 14 total names: Clark, Jim Fregosi, Bobby Valentine, Manny Acta, Willie Randolph, Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio, Brad Ausmus, Jim Deshaies, Phil Garner, Bill Ripken, Tim Bogar, Kirk Gibson, Tim Wallach.
Not included on Footer’s list is longtime Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan, who discussed his possible interest in the job with Ortiz:
Earlier in my career I think I had a desire to manage more than I do now. I don’t think that you go into the job like that without making a really strong commitment. And usually it has to have some length to it. So my interest right now, you know I’ve been around a long time, and I don’t know whether I’d have the same desire to make that type of commitment than I might have in years past.
Clark is Houston’s fifth manager in the past nine seasons and the job awaiting skipper No. 6 is a tough one, because the Astros don’t have much in the way of MLB-ready impact prospects coming up through the farm system and are 10 games below .500 despite spending over $100 million on the oldest team in the league. Among the 27 players who’ve batted 100 times or pitched 25 innings for Houston this season, only Hunter Pence, Michael Bourn, Felipe Paulino, Bud Norris, Alberto Arias, and Wesley Wright are in their twenties.
UPDATE: He’s perfect through eight! He has ten strikeouts on the night. One more inning to go. And, of course, the Dodgers need to give him at least one run or else this thing doesn’t end in nine. Note: No Dodgers pitcher has tossed a perfecto since Sandy Koufax did it against the Chicago Cubs on September 9, 1965.
9:09 PM: Dodgers starter Rich Hill is facing off against the Pirates in Pittsburgh tonight. And he’s not having any trouble with them: he’s absolutely perfect though seven innings. He’s needed 73 pitches to get that far, so if he can keep the perfection up he certainly has enough in the tank to finish it.
Thing is: he may not even get the win. That’s because Pirates starter Trevor Williams has blanked the Dodgers through eight, scattering seven hits and four walks yet, somehow, not allowing a run to score.
The Pirates are coming to bat in the bottom of the eighth. We’ll keep you posted.
On September 20, 2015, Zach Britton blew a save against the Rays. Little did he know that he wouldn’t blow another save until August 23, 2017, converting 60 consecutive save opportunities.
Britton took the mound with a 7-5 lead in the top of the ninth inning of Wednesday afternoon’s game against the Athletics. He yielded a single to Jed Lowrie, a double to Boog Powell, an RBI single to Marcus Semien, and a sacrifice fly to Matt Joyce to allow the A’s to close the two-run deficit. In the next at-bat, he uncorked a wild pitch and then walked Khris Davis before being removed from the game. Miguel Castro relieved Britton, but walked Ryon Healy on four pitches to load the bases. Castro wriggled out of the jam by getting Matt Olson to pop up and striking out Matt Chapman, stranding two of Britton’s runners.
Britton entered Wednesday’s action 11-for-11 in save chances on the season with a 2.88 ERA and a 19/12 K/BB ratio in 25 innings. He missed two months earlier this season with a strained left forearm.