This is not really a deep post or anything — and it’s likely not all that interesting to Brewers fans who are familiar with the guy already — but I thought it was worth noting that Ron Roenicke makes a great impression, seems very thoughtful and bright and seems like a dude I’d like to have manage my team.
He spoke to assembled media in his office for about 20 minutes. Since there isn’t any real news happening now, the questions were somewhat random and lent themselves to Roenicke making some jokes and talking about his philosophy on a number of things as opposed to facts and moves and things.
The funny: there are split squad games tomorrow and today’s game against the Indians, of course. He wasn’t sure which teams they were playing when and where. He turned to the team PR guy to his left to ask what was what. The PR guy wasn’t sure either. Roenicke: “Sometimes I don’t know who we’re playing the next day, to be honest. I just know if we’re home or away.”
The thoughtful: first he was asked about how much more he knows about the team now as opposed to his managerial debut. He said that he doesn’t feel like he is a master of anything, really, and that “every day I feel like something happens where I learn something. From both positive and negative experiences.” Very zen. Not at all surprising that he comes from the same managerial tree as Joe Maddon.
He continued in that vein when asked about Johnny Narron’s approach to hitting. He was asked how Narron differs from former hitting coach Dale Sveum. He said that Narron is unique in that he’s all about positive reinforcement. According to Roenicke, that’s not a common approach for hitting coaches. Which he finds strange because “hitting is so negative,” he said. “Guys go up to the plate sometimes and, no matter what, they think they’ve already got no chance.” He said it’s a natural thing and that everyone does it, especially when they’re struggling, and that Narron tries to counteract that.
Is that all touchy-feely? Maybe. I dunno. I’m in a fantastically good mood today, though, and it just seemed right. And refreshing to hear, especially in the soft-spoken and affable manner Roenicke has. It made me jealous that my team doesn’t have him as its manager. It would probably make most fans feel that way.
Raul Alcantara was in the business of distributing home runs on Friday night.
Robinson Cano caught the tail end of a 94.1 m.p.h. fastball in the first inning, driving it to center field to put the Mariners on the board. In the second, Norichika Aoka found his fourth home run of the year on a similarly-placed heater. The Mariners then targeted Alcantara’s off-speed stuff, picking on the right-hander’s changeup and slider to get two more home runs in the third: the first, another dead-center blast by Cano, and the last, a bomb by Nelson Cruz that popped off the center field wall and survived an umpire review.
Taijuan Walker, who enjoyed the spike in run support from his 3.6 average, was not immune to the home run bug either, giving up the first and only run of the night on Ryon Healy’s 102-m.p.h. home run in the sixth inning.
While Walker excelled at run prevention, he also came one walk shy of hitting a career-high mark, with five walks spread over six innings. Seattle’s bullpen stepped in for three perfect innings to close out the game and, despite six perfect frames from Oakland relievers Zach Neal and Daniel Coulombe, quashed the A’s hopes of closing a four-run gap.
The Mariners’ win on Friday puts them one game back of the wild card; if they take the rest of the series and the Tigers and Blue Jays lose one of their remaining weekend games, the Mariners will tie for the remaining wild card spot. With Hisashi Iwakuma and Felix Hernandez on the hill this weekend, winning shouldn’t be an issue. Getting the Blue Jays to collapse against the Red Sox (and, to a lesser extent, the Tigers against the Braves) is another story.
Here are the rest of the box scores from Friday’s games. Keep an eye out for the first modest bat flip of Jose Bautista‘s career, Madison Bumgarner‘s eighth RBI of the year, and the Orioles’ three-homer inning.
Orioles 8, Yankees 1
Marlins 7, Nationals 4
Mets 5, Phillies 1
Cubs 7, Reds 3
Red Sox 5, Blue Jays 3
Tigers 6, Braves 2
Rangers 3, Rays 1
Rockies 4, Brewers 1
White Sox 7, Twins 3
Indians 7, Royals 2
Cardinals 7, Pirates 0
Diamondbacks 5, Padres 3
Angels 7, Astros 1
Mariners 5, Athletics 1
Giants 9, Dodgers 3
If tonight was his last night in a Cardinals uniform, Matt Holliday made the most of it.
After sitting out most of the second half with a fractured thumb, the 36-year-old was activated from the disabled list on Friday and slotted in as a pinch-hitter during the seventh inning of the Cardinals’ 7-0 shutout. What happened next could hardly have elicited more sentiment had it been scripted:
The solo shot was Holliday’s first home run as a pinch-hitter, and his first home run of any kind since August 9. The triumphant moment might have been the last of its kind in St. Louis, as it was reported earlier today that the Cardinals do not plan to exercise Holliday’s option in 2017.
Prior to the game, the left fielder released a statement in which he expressed his gratitude for the past eight seasons with the Cardinals’ organization:
I would like to thank Mr. Dewitt, Mo and the entire ownership group for the opportunity to play for the St. Louis Cardinals.
I am proud of what we have accomplished on and off the field during the past seven years. I have also been humbled by the incredible support and participation in our Homers for Health program.
It has been an honor to play in front of such great fans and for such a historic organization. I can honestly say it has been a dream come true.
While I’m disappointed this could be it here in St. Louis, I understand that it might be time to move on.
I’d like to express my love and admiration for Tony, Mike and all of the coaches and staff that I have had the pleasure to do life with these past seven-plus years.
The most emotional part of this is my teammates and the relationships I’ve built with some of these guys over the years. Particularly, Adam and Yadi, to be considered part of the core with two of the finest human beings I’ve ever known.
Finally, I’m eternally thankful for the Lord bringing me to the city of St. Louis in August of 2008. Lots of cool stuff has happened since then. On behalf of my wife Leslee and our children Jackson, Ethan, Gracyn and Reed: Thank you!