Jim Riggleman

History is not on Jim Riggleman’s side


As I mused yesterday, two competing explanations for Jim Riggleman’s departure from the Nationals are (1) a fit of pique or genuine disgust which forced his sudden resignation; or (2) a calculation that, if he wasn’t going to be the Nats’ manager in 2012, he’d have a much better shot at landing a new job by leaving now than waiting out the year as a lame duck.

Only Riggleman can say which explanation — or a third one we haven’t thought of — is the correct one.  But if it was a calculation about setting himself up for future employment, he may be in for a rude awakening. That is, at least if historical precedent controls.

Over at The Platoon Advantage, The Common Man runs down the experiences of several managers who, like Riggleman, just up and quit in the middle of the season for whatever reason.  A few of them got jobs again, though they weren’t exactly treated as hot properties. Many of them didn’t get jobs again.  The fact that, as The Common Man notes, there are only a few managerial jobs and many, many men who would like to fill them tends to mitigate the efficacy of the dramatic in-season resignation as career enhancer, you see.

What to watch for on the final day of the regular season

Cole Hamels
AP Photo/LM Otero
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Here we are, the final day of the regular season. And every game with playoff implications will start at the same time: 3:05 p.m. ET. What to watch …

American League Wild Card


This is where the most intrigue lies heading into the day. We have the Yankees currently in position for hosting duties, but they’re only one game up on Houston. And then Houston is only one game up on Anaheim. Also at play here is that the Astros are just one game back of the Rangers in the American League West standings. If the Yankees, Astros, and Rangers all win on Sunday the current postseason map stays the same — the AL Wild Card Game on Tuesday will be at Yankee Stadium with the Astros visiting. And the Angels would obviously be out. But if the Angels win and the Astros lose, we’ll have a play-in game Monday. And if the Yankees lose, the location of the Wild Card Game on Tuesday could change.

American League West


As we touched on above, the Astros are still in a position to force a tiebreaker for the division if the Angels beat the Rangers again in Arlington. It’ll be Garrett Richards against Cole Hamels in that one. Houston is throwing Lance McCullers vs. Robbie Ray in Arizona.

American League Best Record


If the AL Central-champion Royals (94-67) beat the Twins on Saturday behind deadline acquisition Johnny Cueto, they’ll get the Wild Card Game winner in the ALDS and clinch homefield advantage throughout the postseason. But if they lose, the Blue Jays (93-68) could move into that top seed because they won their season series against Kansas City 4-3. Mark Buehrle is pitching for Toronto in what is supposed to be his final major league game.

National League Wild Card


Pittsburgh losing and Chicago winning on Saturday kept Wild Card Game hosting duties alive for Wrigley Field. If the Pirates fall again to the Reds and the Cubs win at Miller Park, the game Wild Card Game Wednesday will be in Chicago because the Cubs have the season-series edge (11-8) over the Bucs. Pittsburgh can wrap up clinching duties with a victory behind J.A. Happ.

Stay tuned. We’ll be covering all angles as the 2015 regular season comes to a close.

Video: Joey Votto tips his cap to A.J. Burnett

A.J. Burnett
AP Photo/Keith Srakocic

There was a pretty cool moment in Saturday’s game between the Reds and Pirates.

A.J. Burnett has announced that this will be his final season, so his start Saturday at PNC Park might have been the last time he ever pitches off a major league mound. (Pittsburgh has to make it through the Wild Card Game to get the 38-year-old right-hander another turn).

Aware of all this, Joey Votto made eye contact with Burnett just before his at-bat in the top of the first inning and gave a tip of the cap. Er, batting helmet …