The Chronicle’s Ray Ratto breaks down the numbers that are up against the A’s fourth year manager:
There have been 663 managers in major-league history, 176 of whom have
held the job since 1980. Of those 176, 46 have held the same job for
more than four years, which is where Geren would be at season’s end. Of
those 46, 10 have held the job for at least four years without taking
that team to the postseason. Of those 10, only four have not taken any team to the postseason. And only one has a lower winning percentage than Geren’s.
Ratto notes, however, that Geren and Billy Beane are really, really close and that the A’s, in general, are notoriously dismissive of a manager’s impact on wins and losses. Geren is cheap, both this season and in terms of his 2011 team option, and there isn’t any strong reason to believe that he’s either the cause of the A’s recent woes or an impediment to future success.
I think more telling than anything the team does with Geren this year is whether the fans and newspapers in the Bay Area will be calling for his head if the A’s get off to a bad start. I bet it will be rather quiet. Why? Because my fear — and what should be the fear of the A’s front office — is that people in Oakland are far less angry at the course the team is taking than they are utterly indifferent.
Who says no-hitters can’t be just as fun when they happen during spring training?
Angels’ right-hander Bud Norris delivered two perfect innings on Friday night, paving the way for an eight-pitcher no-hitter against the Mariners at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Jose Alvarez, Cam Bedrosian, Andrew Bailey, Austin Adams, Drew Gagnon and Justin Anderson each filed a hitless inning of their own, leaving right-hander Abel De Los Santos to close out the ninth inning with just three pitches — and three game-saving plays by the defense.
Of course, it didn’t hurt that the Angels were facing a bevy of Mariners’ backups, rather than their starting lineup. In fact, Seattle’s lineup featured just two starting players — outfielder Leonys Martin and shortstop Jean Segura — while the majority of their everyday position players took on the Royals in a 4-3 win elsewhere in the Cactus League. The Mariners managed to reach base twice, first on catcher interference in the fourth inning, then on a four-pitch walk in the sixth, spoiling the Angels’ chances of turning their combined no-hitter into a combined perfect game.
Still, whether it’s executed in spring training or the regular season, against an All-Star lineup or one comprised of minor leaguers, a no-hitter is a no-hitter. The team’s eight-pitcher effort marked the first spring training no-no the Angels had completed since 1996, when they took on the Giants in a 15-0 showdown. Unfortunately for the 1996 squad, their regular season ended with a 70-91 record, good for last place in the AL West. Perhaps this no-hitter will prove a better omen for the coming season.
Rangers’ bullpen candidate Tanner Scheppers left Friday’s Cactus League game with pain in his “lower half,” according to reports by Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. The specifics of the right-hander’s injury have yet to be determined, but he was accompanied by the athletic trainer when he exited the game and is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Saturday.
Scheppers, 30, has a long history of elbow and knee injuries. He missed all but 8 2/3 innings of the 2016 season after undergoing a procedure to repair torn articular cartilage in his left knee. While he appeared healthy enough through his first seven appearances this spring, he failed to impress with three runs, five walks and six strikeouts over 7 2/3 innings with the club.
Should Scheppers find himself on the disabled list for another lengthy stay, MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan speculates that his absence could clear some room in the bullpen for Rule 5 draft pick and fellow righty Mike Hauschild. Hauschild, 27, has dealt seven runs, five walks and 15 strikeouts through 17 1/3 innings in camp.