Cliff Lee loses shutout streak, winning streak versus Blue Jays

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Cliff Lee, coming off three straight shutouts versus the Marlins, Cardinals and Red Sox, took the loss Sunday as the Blue Jays beat the Phillies 7-4.

Lee had his scoreless streak snapped at 34 innings when Rajai Davis tripled and then scored on a groundout in the third inning of the game.  The Blue Jays went on to add single runs in the fifth and sixth innings to chip away at what had been an early 4-0 lead for the Phillies.

Suddenly, in the eighth inning, it was bombs away.   Lee, who hadn’t allowed a homer in six stats since May 31, gave up three in a span of five batters.  Eric Thames and Jose Bautista went back-to-back to start the frame, and Edwin Encarnacion added a two-run shot with one out.

The Blue Jays held on from there, sending Lee to his first loss since that aforementioned May 31 outing against the Nationals.  He had been 5-0 since.

Lee ended up with nine strikeouts and no walks on the day, but all seven runs, six of which were earned, were charged to him.  He gave up three homers in a start for the first time since allowing four in a loss to the Orioles last Aug. 21.

Bautista added to his major league lead with 27 homers.  He went deep in all three games of the series against the Phillies.

Cincinnati Reds fire Bryan Price

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The Cincinnati Reds have fired manager Bryan Price. He’ll be replaced on an interim basis by bench coach Jim Riggleman. The team also fired pitching coach Mack Jenkins. The club also added Louisville manager Pat Kelly to the staff as the new bench coach and Double-A pitching coach Danny Darwin as the new big league pitching coach.

It was only a matter of time for Price, whose Reds have begun the season 3-15. This was Price’s fifth season at the helm and the Reds never won more than 76 games in any of his previous seasons, doing so in his first year, in 2014. They won 68 games in both 2016 and 2017 and 64 games in 2015. While that’s far more attributable to the Reds talent level than anything Price ever did or did not do, at some point the manager will take the fall for a team that makes no progress.

Price’s tenure will likely be considered largely forgettable in the view of history, but he did have a pretty memorable moment as Reds manager in April of 2015, when he went on a profanity-laced tirade at the media because they reported the availability or lack thereof of certain players for an upcoming game. Which is part of the media’s job, even if Price didn’t fully grok that at the time. The tirade itself was pretty epic, though, with then Cincinnati Enquirer reporter C. Trent Rosecrans reporting that “there were 77 uses of the “F” word or a variant and 11 uses of a vulgar term for feces (two bovine, one equine).” 

Taking over will be Jim Riggleman, who last managed in the big leagues with the Washington Nationals, resigning in June of 2011 because he was unhappy that he did not get a contract extension. It was a weird episode, the sort of which a lot of guys couldn’t have come back from, perhaps being considered quitters. Riggleman took a job managing the Reds’ Double-A team, however, then moved on to Triple-A and then the Reds’ big league coaching staff. There’s something to be said for persistence. And for being a big league lifer.

Anyway, Price’s exit is not likely to change the Reds’ course too much in 2018. But, as it is so often said in baseball, sometimes you gotta make a change all the same.