I was looking over the history of the Manager of the Year award in preparation for this year’s winners being announced tonight and it struck me just how many of them were fired within a couple years.
Jim Tracy won in 2009 and was canned by the Rockies last month.
Lou Piniella won in 2008 and stepped down from the Cubs in mid-2010.
Bob Melvin won in 2007 and was fired by the Diamondbacks in early 2009.
Eric Wedge won in 2007 and was fired by the Indians after 2009.
Joe Girardi won in 2006 and was let go by the Marlins that same year.
Buck Showalter won in 2004 and was canned by the Rangers after 2006.
Tony Pena won in 2003 and was fired by the Royals after 2005.
There are more examples, but you get the idea. Ron Gardenhire and Bud Black were the 2010 winners and both remain on the job, but they’ve combined to go 276-372 since then for a .426 winning percentage.
As for why so many Manager of the Year winners are goners within 2-3 years … I’m not sure. It might be due to the winners often coming from teams that surprised people and out-performed preseason expectations significantly, and in many cases those teams come back down to earth in the following seasons. Or maybe it’s just the nature of being a big-league manager and the lack of job security is just more noticeable when they have a recent award.
Lost in the nifty base running by Dustin Pedroia that won Sunday’s game against the Rays, the Red Sox set a new major league record by striking out 11 batters in a row, per Peter Abraham of The Boston Globe. Starter Eduardo Rodriguez struck out the final six Rays he faced and reliever Heath Hembree struck out five Rays in a row after that. Tom Seaver had the previous consecutive strikeout streak of 10, set on April 22, 1970 against the Padres.
The Red Sox also set a team record with 23 strikeouts in total: 13 by Rodriguez, five by Hembree, one by Matt Barnes, and four by Joe Kelly. Per Abraham, that’s the most strikeouts in a 10-inning game since at least 1913 and the most in a game of any length since 2004.
For Rodriguez, Sunday marked the first double-digit strikeout game of his career. He has pitched quite well since returning to the rotation at the start of the second half. Over 13 starts, the lefty has a 3.10 ERA with a 70/23 K/BB ratio in 72 2/3 innings.
Dodgers second baseman Charlie Culberson delivered a walk-off solo home run in the bottom of the 10th inning, clinching the NL West for the Dodgers on Sunday afternoon. What a way to celebrate Vin Scully’s final home game behind the microphone.
The Dodgers were trailing 2-1 in the seventh inning, but shortstop Corey Seager tripled in a run to tie the game. Rockies outfielder David Dahl untied the game in the top of the ninth with a two-out solo home run off of Kenley Jansen. But Seager once again rose to the occasion, blasting a game-tying solo shot in the bottom half of the ninth against Adam Ottavino. That would set the stage for Culberson in the next frame.
Culberson, a former Rockie, came into the afternoon with a .591 OPS and zero home runs in 53 plate appearances. He finished the afternoon 3-for-5 with the homer.
It’s the fourth consecutive season in which the Dodgers have won the NL West. The Cubs have clinched the best record, which means they’ll play the winner of the Wild Card game. The Dodgers will play the Nationals in the NLDS. The Nationals have a 1.5-game lead over the Dodgers for home-field advantage, so both teams are still playing for something of importance in the regular season’s final week.