And it backfired.
Matt Kemp, the NL player of the month for April, hadn’t been intentionally walked all season before Colorado manager Jim Tracy gave him two free passes today. It was the second of those that was truly surprising, though: Kemp was put on as the tying run with a man on first and two outs in the ninth.
The Rockies were leading 5-3 when Rafael Betancourt walked Kemp, bringing up Dee Gordon. The move was made even though Kemp had just a lone single in 10 career at-bats against Betancourt. Gordon went on to hit a game-tying double, with Kemp scoring all of the way from first. The Rockies should have had a play at the plate on Kemp, but Troy Tulowitzki rushed the relay and threw the ball well up the first base line. A good throw likely would have had Kemp by several feet.
Fortunately the Rockies were able to preserve the tie from there: after an intentional walk to Andre Ethier, Jerry Hairston Jr. made a bid for a three-run homer, only to have the ball go foul. He ended up striking out. The Rockies then picked up their manager, as Jason Giambi hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth to win the game.
Brewers’ minor league infielder Julio Mendez remains in “critical but stable condition,” club GM David Stearns announced Friday. Back in August, Mendez suffered a cardiac event after he was inadvertently struck by a ball from the Angels’ Austin Krzeminksi during a game between the rookie-level affiliates. The 20-year-old was removed to a Phoenix-area hospital for treatment following the incident and has recently been transferred to a hospital in his native Venezuela.
Mendez was in his fourth season with the Brewers’ organization. He spent the majority of his 2017 run with the rookie-level AZL Brewers, slashing .255/.294/.355 with 10 extra-base hits, 16 RBI and four stolen bases over 119 plate appearances. He currently holds a career .241/.324/.309 batting line, 33 extra bases and a .633 OPS through 668 PA.
Baseball is still on the back burner, however, as Mendez appears to have made little progress nearly a month following the hit by pitch. Thoughts go out to his family during this difficult time.
The Tigers just announced that they will not be bringing Brad Ausmus back as manager in 2018. His contract was going to be up at the end of this season and they have decided not to renew it. Ausmus and his staff will manage the club for the final week of the season.
In the press release announcing the move, Tigers GM Al Avila said “[a]s we transition the ballclub in a new direction, I feel it’s best that we have a new approach and a fresh start with the manager position.” He went on to praise Ausmus for “doing an admirable job under difficult circumstances, especially this season,” a clear reference to the club’s decision at mid-season to blow things up. Justin Verlander and J.D. Martinez were traded in July and August, as were some more minor players. The club is clearly embarking on a lengthy rebuild of which Ausmus, who was brought in four years ago to lead a contending team, will not be a part.
In his four seasons at the helm the Tigers are 312-325. He won 90 games and the AL Central in his first season in 2014, but the Tigers were swept out of the ALDS in three games. In the past three seasons they finished fifth, second and will either finish in fourth or fifth this year. Injuries and poor bullpens have been the biggest problem, but clearly this Tigers team was supposed to win more over the past four years.
It’s unclear what direction the Tigers will take in their managerial search, but it’s clear they’re going to go outside of the organization, as Avila said in his statement that the status of the current coaching staff will be contingent on the wishes of whatever new manager they hire.
Happy trails, Brad Ausmus. Baseball’s Most Handsome Manager is now Baseball’s Most Handsome Unemployed coach.