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.
Brewers closer Corey Knebel set a modern major league record for relievers to start a season, as Thursday’s appearance marked his 38th consecutive appearance with a strikeout. He set down the side in order in the ninth inning, striking Josh Bell out to start the frame.
Aroldis Chapman held the record previously, recording a strikeout in his first 37 appearances of the season in 2014 with the Reds.
Knebel, 25, has flown under the radar despite having an incredibly good season. He moved into the closer’s role in mid-May when Neftali Feliz, now a free agent, struggled. After Thursday’s appearance, Knebel is 12-for-15 in save chances with a 0.96 ERA and a 65/17 K/BB ratio in 37 2/3 innings.
Despite having hit at least 20 home runs in eight of his 11 seasons in the majors, Reds first baseman Joey Votto has never participated in a Home Run Derby. Currently, he’s tied for the National League lead in home runs with 20, and he hasn’t been invited to this year’s festivities at Marlins Park.
In the event he is invited, Votto said he thinks he can win it, C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. Votto likened himself to Ichiro Suzuki, a player known more for his contact abilities and mastery of the strike zone than power. “Just think of me as the Canadian Ichiro — Japan has theirs and Canada has theirs,” Votto said. “I could pull homers into the seats at will.”
Along with the 20 homers, Votto is currently hitting .306/.419/.601 with 53 RBI, and 52 runs scored in 313 plate appearances.
Teammate Scott Schebler also has 20 home runs at the moment and Adam Duvall, who made it to the semifinals of the Derby last year, has 16. Neither of them have been approached about participating in the Derby, either. Per Rosecrans, in the event each was invited, Duvall said he would consider participating if he wasn’t an All-Star and Schebler would participate regardless. Votto said he would only participate if he made the All-Star team.