OK, maybe Bobby Valentine isn't the best pick for the Mets

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Bob Melvin.jpegThe morning I made a half-hearted case for Bobby Valentine to take over as the Mets’ manager if and when Jerry Manuel gets fired. Part of my half-heartedness about it all was that I was agreeing with Mike Lupica, but part of it was based on the sense that while hiring Bobby Valentine could maybe make the Mets exciting again . . . hiring Bobby Valentine could make the Mets exciting again. In a bad way.  Things almost always seem to end badly for Valentine, and they ended rather badly the last time he left New York.

Jon Heyman — another guy I don’t always enjoy agreeing with, but who in this case I think is right — makes the point better than I just did:

Judging by what’s being said, the most popular choice for successor
would be Bobby Valentine, who did a superb job as Mets manager in
his first go-round, from 1996 through 2002. But Mets ownership seems
reluctant to go for Valentine II, according to people who talk to them.
[Bob] Melvin did a respectable job in Arizona, where he got the team to the
NLCS in 2007 and was known as a solid guy who was very receptive to
front office suggestions. In other words, he’ll be better than Valentine
at doing exactly what the bosses say without challenging them too much.

The Mets front office wants a company man, and Bobby Valentine, for all of his wonderful traits, is not a company man.

Dusty Baker expects Stephen Strasburg to make his next scheduled start

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Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg lasted only two innings in Sunday’s start against the Diamondbacks. The right-hander reportedly had trouble getting loose and it showed: he yielded a hit and three walks to the 10 batters he faced. According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, Strasburg had “some nerve impingement that has been alleviated.”

Manager Dusty Baker expects Strasburg to make his next scheduled start on Saturday at home against the Rockies, Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post reports. Strasburg was examined by doctors, who deemed him to be in good shape — enough to not warrant undergoing an MRI.

Through 20 starts, Strasburg owns a 3.25 ERA with a 141/37 K/BB ratio across 121 2/3 innings. Though the injury scare isn’t what the Nationals hoped for, he’s done well in the first year of his seven-year, $175 million contract extension.

John Lackey hit four White Sox batters today

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Cubs starter John Lackey didn’t have his best stuff on Tuesday afternoon at Wrigley Field against the White Sox. The right-hander hit four White Sox batters over the course of five innings. He yielded just two runs, though, on five hits and two walks with five strikeouts. He left with a 4-2 lead.

Lackey hit Jose Abreu with one out in the first inning, then hit Abreu again in the fifth. He then hit Matt Davidson and Yoan Moncada shortly thereafter. Chris Beck relieved Carlos Rodon for the White Sox in the bottom of the fifth and promptly hit Ian Happ with a fastball to lead off the frame. Home plate umpire Lance Barksdale issued warnings to both benches and the beanings stopped.

So, how often do pitchers hit four batters in a game? Not that often! The last to do it was the Reds’ Josh Smith on July 4, 2015 against the Brewers. Before that, it was the Nationals’ Livan Hernandez on July 20, 2005 against the Rockies. Lackey is only the ninth pitcher to hit four batters in a game since 2000 and the 26th since 1913. The only other Cubs pitcher to do it besides Lackey was Moe Drabowsky in 1957.