Confirmed: Joe West is in big trouble

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Joe West.jpgYesterday I presumed, based on some comments from Bob Watson, that umpire Joe West was going to get disciplined over his recent antics.  Last night Jeff Passan of Yahoo! confirmed it. West might even get suspended:

A source said the league plans to suspend or fine West, one of its
most tenured umpires, after he solicited reporters this week to talk
about the controversy he created in April when he called the New York
Yankees and Boston Red Sox “pathetic and embarrassing” because of their
long game times.

Between West dredging up a subject MLB was peeved he addressed in
public in the first place, and the fallout from his ejections of Chicago
White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen and pitcher Mark Buehrle on Wednesday,
his behavior reached a tipping point for baseball officials. MLB
reprimanded West during a phone conversation Thursday and will continue
to consult with the World Umpires Assocation – of which West is
president – to determine the severity of his punishment.

I would have hoped that the “tipping point” would have come before the whole deal about West having his publicist solicit the media — he’d already done enough in my mind — but whatever it took Major League Baseball to get on this case, good for them finally getting on it.  Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

Struggling Francisco Rodriguez’s job seems to be secure

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Tigers closer Francisco Rodriguez continued to struggle on Thursday, allowing a run in a 2-1 loss to the Mariners. It’s the sixth time in nine appearances that the right-handed veteran has allowed a run, bumping his ERA up to 6.23. He’s blown two saves and has two losses on the year.

Despite that, it doesn’t sound like Rodriguez’s job as the Tigers’ closer is in any jeopardy, Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press reports. When asked how much of a leash Rodriguez has, manager Brad Ausmus said, “I’ll let you know.” Ausmus continued, “I think people have short memories. This guy did a pretty good job for us last year. Early on, people were worried because the velocity was down. Well, the velocity is back.”

“But at some point,” Ausmus said, “he does have to pitch the way he pitched last year, because he did an outstanding job for us last year and in a city that has been looking for a closer that was consistent for a long time, he was that.”

Rodriguez, 35, doesn’t have the stuff he once did. And the Tigers do appear to have someone who would be a better option in high-leverage situations. Lefty Justin Wilson has thrown 9 2/3 scoreless, hitless innings so far this season with 15 strikeouts and three walks. But for now, it sounds like Rodriguez will be free to work through his issues.

The Nationals are sad to be leaving Coors Field

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Don’t look now, but the Nationals have the best record in baseball at 16-6. They’re coming off a 10-game road trip in which they went 9-1, including sweeps of the Braves and Mets and a 3-1 series against the Rockies at Coors Field. During that series with the Rockies, the Nationals scored 46 runs, which is nearly as many as the Royals (54) have scored all season long. The Nats scored double-digits in all three wins.

The first game at Coors, an 8-4 loss, saw a three-hit game from Anthony Rendon and a homer from Ryan Zimmerman.

The second game featured Trea Turner hitting for the cycle and driving in seven runs. Daniel Murphy had three hits and five RBI.

The third game saw Turner finish a triple short of the cycle. Bryce Harper had four hits. Zimmerman had three hits including a homer. Murphy homered, too.

The fourth game featured homers from Adam Eaton, Harper, and Murphy. Seven members of the lineup had multiple hits and six had multiple RBI including pitcher Gio Gonzalez.

The series helped the Nationals bring their run differential to +34, the best in the National League. The Yankees are the only team with a better differential at +35.

Indeed, the Nationals are sad to be leaving Coors Field. They return home to open up a three-game set with the ailing Mets on Friday night.