UPDATE: Just a quick follow-up from this morning, Dodgers general maanger Ned Colletti told the Associated Press earlier this evening that manager Don Mattingly is “doing fine.”
Asked if it was false to say Mattingly would be fired this week, Colletti simply said: “My perspective hasn’t changed. I’m done talking about it.”
8:52 AM ET: I mean, yes, it’s totally reasonable to think his job is in jeopardy given how poorly the Dodgers have played amid high expectations. But Ken Rosenthal’s latest column is pretty bold in speculating that Mattingly’s days are numbered. Rather than just analyze the team’s struggles, Rosenthal talks about his gut feeling that Mattingly could be fired at any moment. And quotes an anonymous scout who feels the same way:
Watching Sunday’s meltdown on television, I thought, “Mattingly might be gone tomorrow.” And then I got a text from a rival scout, one who has no particular insight into the Dodgers, but is attuned — like so many in the sport — to the game’s day-to-day rhythms.
“Making the call — Donnie Ballgame will get the axe tomorrow,” the scout said.
When I asked the scout why he thought that, he replied, “Gut feeling. The way they’ve been losing.”
Rosenthal is kinda like Buster Olney in that rarely do either of them make predictions or speculate about things without a pretty solid basis for doing so and rarely do either of them tease something that is unlikely to happen. While I don’t have too big a problem with people who handle their beat differently, there’s a conservatism about Rosenthal and Olney that is admirable in the scoop business.
So I can’t help but wonder — and it is just a wonder — if maybe Rosenthal has some inside info on Mattingly’s future that, while not quite solid enough to be actionable in a proper news report, gives him some comfort to say stuff like this.
Either way: I look forward to the “Trey Hillman-as-interim-manager, transitioning to Mike Scioscia as permanent manager” era for the Dodgers with great eagerness.
If any team can turn a six-day rest period into an advantage, it’s the Indians. The club polished off their pennant race with another injured starter and an overtaxed bullpen, as Trevor Bauer exited in Game 3 of the ALCS with a laceration on his right pinky finger, leaving the bullpen to shoulder 16 innings through the last three games of the series. On Friday, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reported that injured starter Danny Salazar could rejoin the rotation in the World Series, though he’ll need at least one more simulated game before Terry Francona determines whether or not he’s fit to return for the team’s last postseason push.
Bauer, who has been under the close watch of hand specialist Dr. Thomas Graham, told the press that he feels confident that he’ll be ready for a World Series start when the final showdown commences on Tuesday. Keeping the wound bandaged is not an option during games, and Bauer said that Dr. Graham decided against additional stitches to keep the laceration from re-opening. Instead, they’re banking on extra days of rest to heal the cut naturally. Should Francona pencil the right-hander into the lineup for Game 3 or 4, he’ll have had 10-11 days to rest his finger between starts — just a hair under the seven games Bauer said he was prepared to pitch.
Salazar, too, has been preparing for a World Series showdown. He’s scheduled to pitch three innings of a simulated game this weekend, and if it goes well, it could land him a spot in the starting rotation alongside Bauer, Corey Kluber, Josh Tomlin, and newcomer Ryan Merritt. Salazar has been sidelined since September 9 with a right forearm strain, and even after undergoing a rigorous throwing program over the last several weeks, any kind of comeback is expected to be curbed by a strict innings limit. Francona has been understandably tight-lipped about his World Series roster, but he hasn’t yet nixed the idea of utilizing Salazar out of the rotation, provided the right-hander remains healthy for another week or so.
The Indians have had to remain flexible throughout their seven-game playoff run after weathering injuries to Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer, pushing their rotation through several games on short rest and relying heavily on Andrew Miller and Cody Allen‘s one-two punch in the ‘pen to clinch more than a few postseason victories. While history doesn’t always favor the first team to secure their league’s pennant race, an extra week of rest should only benefit Cleveland’s beleaguered pitching staff.
The Tigers will promoted Triple-A manager Lloyd McClendon to hitting coach for the 2017 season, according to a statement released by the team on Friday afternoon.
McClendon’s history with the Tigers is long and storied. After serving five seasons as the Pittsburgh Pirates’ hitting coach and manager, he got his start with Detroit in 2006 as a bullpen coach, then transitioned to hitting coach from 2007 through 2013. When the Tigers hired Brad Ausmus to replace former manager Jim Leyland, McClendon took the opportunity to break from the team and pursue another managerial position of his own with the Seattle Mariners, whom he guided to a 163-161 record between the 2014 and 2015 seasons.
Following his departure from Seattle during the 2015 offseason, McClendon took a spot as skipper of the Tigers’ Triple-A club, managing the Toledo Mud Hens to a 68-76 finish in 2016. His return to the big league stage is accompanied by the hiring of assistant hitting coach Leon Durham, who previously served as the long-tenured hitting coach for Triple-A Toledo.