Charlie Manuel calls out his hitters

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You know who’s happy today? The Phillies.  Because of the Stanley Cup Final and because of all of the Jim Joyce and Ken Griffey rumpus, not too many people are talking about them today.  About how, you know, they’re in a total flat spin and how they can’t hit anymore and look to be playing uninspired baseball and everything.

Well, I notice of course, because I have a vested interest.  But Charlie Manuel notices too, and yesterday the normal even-keeled Cholly let loose on his players for not hitting the ball:

“It’s definitely not Milt Thompson’s fault. He doesn’t do the
hitting. You’ve got to hold people accountable. I don’t see a young player on our roster. These guys have been
around a long time. If they haven’t learned something from their
hitting by now, and they don’t know some of the things that they do when
they go bad . . . we can talk to them and we can tell them things that
we see. I talk to them all the time, and I hear Milt talk to them . . .

“You’re the one making the outs. That’s how I look at it.
It’s up to you to master your hitting. If you listen and you learn, the
more you play, you should know something about yourself.”

Manuel then said that maybe he’d hire a house peeper to keep an eye on the fellas next time they hit the bricks for a road trip so’s to put the kibosh on all that rumpty the night before go-time.

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.