Buster Olney sought a comment from Rockies’ GM Dan O’Dowd on the Pirates hiring of former Rockies manager Clint Hurdle:
“The Pirates are getting a leader who brings a positive, passionate energy everyday, and someone who handles every situation with honesty and integrity!”
Obviously O’Dowd is not gonna bury the guy in such a situation, but whenever I read something like that I can’t help but think “then why the hell did you fire him in the first place?” The best of these ever — and it will never be topped — was when Ted Turner fired Bobby Cox during his first stint with the Braves. When asked who would be an ideal candidate to replace him, Turner said: “It would be Bobby Cox, if I hadn’t just fired him.” True story. Probably helps that Turner is as crazy as a peach orchard boar.
I know the dynamic: a team loses, and you can’t fire the players, so out goes the manager. It seems to me, however, that more teams would probably do themselves a favor if they acknowledged the limitations of a manager’s ability to make a team win by himself, found a guy who was really solid and smart and whom they could trust, and stick with him. Bruce Bochy is a good recent example. He was in San Diego a long time and has stuck in San Francisco through thick and thin too. How many organizations would have fired him after two 90-loss seasons right out of the gate? A lot, I’d wager.
My sense: fire a manager if he can no longer get along with the players or if he is failing to carry out the orders of the front office. Or, at a certain point, if the team just changes dramatically from one that is veteran-laden to one that is all kids, sure, there could be compatibility problems. But if he was the right choice at the time you hired him, and nothing about him has changed apart from the quality of players he has to manage, stick with him.
The Cubs wrapped up a four-game series against the Reds at Wrigley Field on Thursday afternoon, suffering a 13-10 loss to split the set. They’ll match up again against the Reds next week for a three-game series in Cincinnati. That’s good news for Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant, because that means he’ll get to see Reds first baseman Joey Votto some more.
As CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney reports, Bryant has grown quite fond of Votto. Bryant has already won a World Series ring, a Rookie of the Year Award, and an MVP Award, but he still looks up to Votto. According to Bryant, Votto is “the best player ever.” He added, ““He’s my favorite player. I love watching him. I love talking to him, just picking his brain. He gets a lot of (heat) about his walks and working at-bats and some people want him to swing at more pitches. But, gosh, I mean, he does an unbelievable job. You know that he’s going to give you a great at-bat every time he goes up there. It’s definitely a guy that I look up to and I can learn from.”
Bryant said that Votto is “a future Hall of Famer, that’s for sure.”
Bryant also explained how his approach changed by watching Votto. He said that in his rookie season, he was “swinging at everything.” Votto, however, is “aggressive, but he’s not going to swing at a pitch until he wants it.”
Indeed, in Bryant’s rookie season, he struck out in nearly 31 percent of his 650 plate appearances. This season, he has struck out in only 19 percent of his PA. His walk rate has also increased by more than 2.5 percent since his rookie campaign. Compared to last year, Bryant is down in HR and RBI, but his average is the same, his on-base percentage is markedly better, and his slugging percentage is only down by a minute amount.
Diamondbacks second baseman Daniel Descalso hit his team’s third inside-the-park home run of the season during Thursday’s 4-0 win over the Astros. In the top of the fourth inning, with the score 1-0 and the bases empty, Descalso ripped a 1-0, 83 MPH change-up to right-center field. The ball caromed off the wall, heading towards left field, which sent center Jake Marisnick on the chase. Marisnick tried to pick up the ball with his glove, but dropped it, which sealed Descalso’s destiny for an inside-the-parker.
It had only been five days since the Diamondbacks’ last inside-the-park home run. David Peralta hit one against the Cubs on August 12. Ketel Marte legged out his club’s first ITPHR on July 26 against the Braves.
As ESPN Stats & Info notes, the Diamondbacks have three as a team, which is amazing because the other 29 teams have hit seven combined.