Why did Jerry Manuel pull Johan Santana?

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Johan Santana.jpgIn one of the better pitchers’ duels I’ve had the pleasure of seeing this season, Johan Santana and Yovani Gallardo swapped zeroes over the first eight innings of Friday’s game. The Brewers eventually won the game 2-0 on a walkoff two-run blast by Corey Hart off Ryota Igarashi in the bottom of the ninth inning, ending a 35-inning scoreless streak and an 86-inning homerless streak by Mets’ hurlers.

I’m still wondering why Santana, who was only at 105 pitches after eight innings, didn’t get a chance to decide his own fate.

Manuel explained his decision to Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com:

“Once he had doubled, fought through the eighth, I didn’t think it would
be a good move,” Manuel said of Santana’s continuing. “And Fielder, I
think, was seeing him pretty good anyway. I didn’t want to chance him to
lose that ballgame out there after the way he had performed.

Anyway, Feliciano retired Fielder on a groundball to David Wright, but then Igarashi was brought in to face a series of right-handed hitters. Igarashi gave up a single to Ryan Braun, then retired Casey McGehee on a flyball to right, but them, boom, a two-out, two-run shot by Hart. Game over.

Santana told Rubin that he understood Manuel’s decision:

“At that point right there, Jerry decided to bring in Feliciano, but I
was fine. … He decided to go to the bullpen and that’s about it.

“The
way everything was going — the situation, the atmosphere, everything
— you don’t want to come out of the game, for sure,” Santana continued.
“At the same time, we were playing baseball and trying to win the
ballgame.”

That makes one of us.

*Note: Admittedly, I got the whole Santana ground-rule double thing wrong. Jerry isn’t that crazy. But I stand by my point that he should have been left in the game.

Edwin Encarnacion: “I think [the Blue Jays] got too hasty in making their decision.”

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 19:  Edwin Encarnacion #10 of the Toronto Blue Jays reacts in the fifth inning against the Cleveland Indians during game five of the American League Championship Series at Rogers Centre on October 19, 2016 in Toronto, Canada.  (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
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1B/DH Edwin Encarnacion signed a three-year, $60 million contract with the Indians early last month. The 34-year-old had spent the last seven and a half seasons with the Blue Jays, but his future elsewhere appeared to be written on the wall when the Jays signed Kendrys Morales in November to essentially occupy Encarnacion’s role.

Encarnacion spoke about testing free agency for the first time in his career and the situation that led to him leaving Toronto for Cleveland. Via Jorge L. Ortiz of USA TODAY:

“Toronto was always my first option, but I had never been a free agent, and anybody who gets to free agency wants to find out what’s out there,’’ he said. “I think they got too hasty in making their decision, but now I’m with Cleveland and I’m happy to be here.’’

Encarnacion last season hit .263/.357/.529 with 42 home runs and an AL-best 127 RBI. He’s now on the team that defeated his Blue Jays in the ALCS to advance to the World Series. Encarnacion effectively replaces Mike Napoli, who returned to the Rangers.

Sammy Sosa compares himself to Jesus Christ

Sammy Sosa
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I’m on record saying that Sammy Sosa has been rather hosed by baseball history.

The guy did amazing things. Unheard-of things. He was truly astounding at this peak and was incredibly important to both his franchise and Major League Baseball as a whole. His repayment: he’s a pariah. His club won’t claim him and his greatness, by any measure, has not just been overlooked but denied by most who even bother to consider him.

Yes, he had PED associations, but they were extraordinarily vague ones. He’s in the same boat as David Ortiz as far as documented PED evidence against him, but Ortiz will be a first ballot Hall of Famer while Sosa barely clings to the ballot. He hit homers at the same cartoonish rate as Mark McGwire, but while Big Mac has been embraced by baseball and has coached for years, Sosa can’t get into Wrigley Field unless he buys a ticket and even then the Cubs might try to hustle him out of sight. The man has been treated poorly by any measure.

Yet, it’s still possible to overstate the case. Like Sosa did in this interview with Chuck Wasserstrom:

It’s like Jesus Christ when he came to Jerusalem,” Sosa told chuckbloggerstrom.com. “Everybody thought Jesus Christ was a witch (laughing) — and he was our savior. So if they talk (bleep) about Jesus Christ, what about me? Are you kidding me?”

At least he was basically joking about it. Still, it’s a totally unfair and almost offensive comparison.

I mean, anyone who watched Sosa’s career knows that he had trouble laying off breaking stuff low and away. In contrast . . .