The Mariners now sit a season-worst 23 games under .500, but that wasn’t the ugliest part of Friday’s loss to the Red Sox.
An intense confrontation broke out in the Mariners dugout after manager Don Wakamatsu told Chone Figgins he was being removed from the game for failing to backup a throw at second base in the fifth inning. You can watch the play in question and the subsequent fracas here.
Several players and coaches attempted to separate the two, including Russell Branyan, who can be seen lunging over the confrontation, and Jose Lopez, who had his jersey ripped clean off his body by an M’s coach.
Figgins watched the rest of the game in the clubhouse, but left before speaking to the media. After the game, Wakamatsu told Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times that he was justified to remove Figgins from the game, despite numerous instances of poor baserunning in the past week.
“I think you’re talking about base running plays and not all of those
are cut and dried,” Wakamatsu said of the prior gaffes that went
unpunished. “I thought this was cut and dried.”
As Baker mentions, Figgins previously criticized Wakamatsu last month for dropping him to the ninth spot in the batting order. While that decision didn’t make a lot of sense, since Figgins was actually hitting pretty well at the time, many managers probably would have made the same decision Wakamatsu did on Friday night. But that doesn’t mean that he has the rest of the M’s locker room on his side. According to Baker, several players believe Wakamatsu forced Ken Griffey Jr. out of Seattle, something the skipper has denied. Fortunately, if the Mariners keep losing, he won’t have to worry about any more awkward Q and A’s with the press.
The Red Sox, who won the AL East last season with a 93-69 record, have under-performed so far this season, entering Wednesday’s action with just two more wins than losses at 23-21. The club hasn’t had a winning streak of more than two games since April 15-18. As a result, manager John Farrell may be on the hot seat, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported on Tuesday.
Beyond the mediocre record, Rosenthal cites two incidents that happened this season that caused Farrell’s stock to drop. The first was the brouhaha with the Orioles when Manny Machado slid into Dustin Pedroia at second base, causing Pedroia to suffer an injury. When reliever Matt Barnes intentionally threw a fastball at Machado, Pedroia was seen telling Machado, “It wasn’t me. It’s them.” The word “them,” of course, would ostensibly be referring to Barnes and Farrell.
The second incident happened last week when pitcher Drew Pomeranz challenged Farrell in the dugout after being removed with a pitch count of 97. Rosenthal suggests that some of Farrell’s players aren’t on the same page as the skipper.
Rosenthal also mentions that Farrell didn’t have the entire backing of the Red Sox clubhouse in 2013, when the club won the World Series. So the issues this year may not be unique; they may be part of a larger trend.
The biggest impediment in making a managerial change for the Red Sox is having a good candidate. After letting Torey Lovullo leave after last season to manage the Diamondbacks, the team’s two most likely interim candidates would be bench coach Gary DiSarcina and third base coach Brian Butterfield. DiSarcina has one year of managing experience above Single-A (Triple-A Pawtucket in 2013). Butterfield hasn’t managed in 15 years.