Does the manager matter more in New York than in most places?


John Harper warns new Mets GM Sandy Alderson to be careful about his managerial pick. Why? Because things are totally different in New York:

In New York, the manager matters more than most places. The scrutiny on every decision demands a certain type of personality, as does the magnitude of dealing with the media – as well as creating the right clubhouse culture . . .  Joe Girardi has survived and even thrived to some extent despite being a control freak who gives the impression that he would be more comfortable undergoing a colonoscopy than he is dealing with the New York media on a daily basis.
I’d say there’s an argument that, in New York, a manager matters even less.  What other city has seen a team fire a successful manager only to have the team not miss a beat with his successor more often than New York?  Houk won after Stengel was let go. Lemon won after Martin. Girardi won after Torre. The guy in the dugout has probably mattered less in New York than anywhere.
Of course, all of those examples are the Yankees, not the Mets. But the Mets have been awful under a lot of different managers. Without fundamental changes in how the team does business, they’ll continue to be awful.  Which suggests to me that the manager is the least of the Mets’ concerns right now. It’s Alderson’s moves and his vision that will make the difference.
Is temperament irrelevant? Of course not. But whether Sandy Alderson hires a manager who can deal with the New York media is something that should concern the New York media more than it should concern Sandy Alderson.

Astros stave off AL West elimination, beat the Diamondbacks

Colby Rasmus, Gary Pettis
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Facing an elimination number of one, the Astros staved off elimination in the AL West by beating the Diamondbacks on Friday night by a 6-1 margin. The Rangers suffered a heartbreaking loss to the Angels on Saturday afternoon, which temporarily put the Astros’ fate in their own hands.

Colby Rasmus hit a pair of solo homers and Jose Altuve added a solo shot of his own. Starter Collin McHugh tossed seven innings of one-run ball, limiting the Diamondbacks to six hits and a walk with six strikeouts. Reliever Will Harris allowed a solo home run to Paul Goldschmidt in the eighth, but Luke Gregerson closed out the game with a scoreless ninth.

The Astros trail the Rangers by one game in the AL West and lead the Angels by one game for the second AL Wild Card slot. The Rangers can clinch the AL West on Sunday afternoon with a win or an Astros loss. The Astros can clinch the second AL Wild Card on Sunday afternoon with a win or an Angels loss.

The Yankees lost both ends of Saturday’s doubleheader against the Orioles and lead the Astros by only one game for the first AL Wild Card slot.

If the Astros win and the Rangers lose on Sunday, they will play an AL West tiebreaker in Texas. The winner will win the second AL Wild Card if the Yankees win on Sunday, or the first AL Wild Card if the Yankees lose on Sunday.

If the Astros lose and the Angels win on Sunday, the two teams will be tied for the second AL Wild Card. They would play a tiebreaker in Houston, and the winner would play the Yankees in New York in the Wild Card game.

Video: Kelby Tomlinson slides in for an inside-the-park home run

Kelby Tomlinson
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Giants second baseman Kelby Tomlinson looked more like Ladainian Tomlinson the way he was running during Saturday afternoon’s game against the Rockies. In the first inning with one out against starter Chris Rusin, Tomlinson hit a fly ball into the right-center field gap at AT&T Park, a great place to go if you’re in the mood for an inside-the-park home run.

Neither Carlos Gonzalez nor Chris Dickerson could corral the ball before it rolled all the way to the 421-foot marker at the fence. Tomlinson motored around the bases, but Gonzalez made a strong throw into cut-off man D.J. LeMahieu, and LeMahieu made a great throw in to catcher Tom Murphy, but Tomlinson slid in safely just ahead of the tag.

It was an exciting play and the hit proved important as the Giants eked out a 3-2 win against the Rockies.