Today Edwin Rodriguez addressed his team for the first time this season. And since is the first time he’s been the manager at the outset of spring training, it’s the first time he’s ever gotten to do that whole set-the-tone thing. And according to Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald, the tone he set was optimistic:
“I can feel it. We’re going to be the last team standing come October.”
They’re actually probably not going to be the last team standing in October. The odds simply don’t favor most teams over “the field” when it comes to such matters. But I don’t say that criticize Rodriguez for unwarranted optimism. I merely offer it to ask what, given what we know about any one team’s chances, is a manager is supposed to say in such instances?
Does the rah-rah thing work in baseball? I’m skeptical. But is it any worse than soberly saying “I want us to play hard and, if we get the breaks, we could possibly win”? That may have the benefit of being true, but it’s also not the way to kick off a season.
I guess what I’m saying is that managing looks hard. How you get your team ready, especially when you don’t have years of experience behind you or on your roster, has to be one of the more difficult things in the business.
Pirates first baseman John Jaso hit for the cycle on Wednesday night against the Cubs, becoming the first Pirate to do so since Daryl Ward against the Cardinals on May 26, 2004. It’s the third cycle of the 2016 season, as Jaso joins Freddie Freeman and Rajai Davis.
Jaso singled in the second inning for his first hit. He smashed a three-run homer in the fourth inning to break a 1-1 tie. He hit an RBI double in the fifth to push the Cubs’ lead to 5-1. Then, in the seventh, Jaso hit an RBI triple to make it an 8-4 game.
Coming into Wednesday night, Jaso was hitting an adequate .259/.342/.384 with six home runs and 35 RBI in 416 plate appearances. He’s been limited mostly to right-handed pitching as the Pirates have used David Freese and Josh Bell at the position as well.
Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman extended his hitting streak to 30 games with a single to center field in the bottom of the sixth inning of Wednesday night’s win against the Phillies. Prior to that at-bat, he had grounded out, been hit by a pitch, and walked.
Freeman entered Wednesday night batting .382/.477/.673 with 11 doubles, seven home runs, 27 RBI, and 24 runs scored over his past 29 games. Though his numbers are lacking compared to National League MVP Award favorite Kris Bryant, Freeman will get some top-five votes. On the season, he entered Wednesday hitting .307/.404/.576 with 33 home runs, 88 RBI, and 99 runs scored in 673 plate appearances.
Freeman’s 30-game hitting streak is the longest such streak in the majors this season, according to ESPN Stats & Info. He has also reached base safely in 46 consecutive games.