Should the Phillies fire Charlie Manuel now?

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Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Inquirer suggests that the Phillies should do right by Charlie Manuel and remove the uncertainty about his future by letting him go before the season is over.

Brookover writes:

Anything other than a harmonious conclusion would be sad and shameful, because the Phillies have meant so much to Manuel and vice-versa.

If the Phillies plan on keeping Manuel around for another year, which I do not think is the case, then they should get it done.

If they’re hoping for a smooth transition from Manuel to Sandberg and the current manager knows it, then why not get that message out to the public as soon as possible?

Manuel joined the Phillies after the 2004 season. Under his leadership, the Phillies have won 779 and lost 634 (.551). The Phillies won the NL East five years in a row from 2007-11, won the World Series in 2008, and tried unsuccessfully to repeat in 2009. This season portends to be the first losing season for the Phillies since Manuel took over.

The belief is that, after the Phillies move on from Manuel, Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg — currently the third base coach and formerly the manager of the Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs — will be installed as the new manager as the team begins a transitional period of sorts.

John Lackey stole the first base of his career

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Cubs starter John Lackey stole the first base of his 15-year career on Wednesday against the Reds. Of course, he spent the first 11 and a half years of his career in the American League, where opportunities to bat, let alone attempt to steal a base, were rare. Lackey entered Wednesday having taken 250 plate appearances, reaching base just 31 times on 17 singles, seven doubles, and seven walks for a .134 on-base percentage. One can imagine the 38-year-old is not exactly the swiftest base runner.

Still, Lackey managed to swipe a bag in the fourth inning. He singled with two outs against Homer Bailey. Then, with an 0-1 count on Ben Zobrist, Lackey broke for second even before Bailey began his windup. Tucker Barnhart stood up to alert Bailey that Lackey was running, so Bailey wheeled around and threw to second base, but Lackey slid into the bag easily safe. It wasn’t a pretty slide, but it did the job.

Lackey, however, was picked off of second base by Barnhart later that inning. Bailey threw a 3-2 fastball wide of the strike zone, walking Zobrist. Lackey had wandered too far off of second base, so Barnhart threw behind Lackey and the tag was applied by Zack Cozart. Lackey was called safe initially. The play was reviewed and the ruling on the field was overturned, ending the fourth inning.

Base Ba’al giveth and Base Ba’al taketh away.

Video: Aaron Judge sends a baseball into the upper deck at Citi Field

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Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge hit another jaw-dropping home run, victimizing Mets starter Robert Gsellman in the top of the fourth game of Wednesday night’s game at Citi Field. Left fielder Yoenis Cespedes didn’t even move. The ball traveled 457 feet and was hit 117 MPH off the bat, according to Katie Sharp of River Ave Blues.

The home run moved Judge’s AL-best total to 37, putting him two ahead of the Royals’ Mike Moustakas. Along with the prodigious dinger total, he has 80 RBI, 90 runs scored, and a .291/.421/.616 triple-slash line in 499 plate appearances. Judge is on pace for 50 dingers. If it holds, that would give him the rookie record for home runs in a season. Mark McGwire currently holds the record, having hit 49 for the Athletics in 1987.