Don Mattingly’s job is safe no matter what happens in NLCS

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As of last week the Dodgers reportedly hadn’t decided on Don Mattingly’s fate for next season, but now Ken Gurnick of MLB.com talked to a source who says he’ll be back as manager regardless of what happens in the NLCS.

Mattingly’s job was in serious jeopardy in May and June, but the Dodgers turned their whole season around in a huge way and then beat the Braves in the NLDS. His contract includes an option for 2014, so to bring him back the Dodgers simply need to not fire him, although it’ll be interesting to see if there’s any tension surrounding what would be lame-duck status. Last offseason he asked to have his 2014 option picked up in advance and the Dodgers said no thanks, so clearly Mattingly isn’t keen on managing under a one-year deal.

Mattingly has a 260-225 (.536) record in three seasons since taking over for Joe Torre, including 92-70 this year for the team’s fifth 90-win campaign in the past 20 seasons.

Another interestingly named player is promoted by the Pirates

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When you promote a player from the minors, the first and foremost consideration is whether or not he can help your ball club. But, assuming that’s taken care of, teams should really, really make it a priority to call up dudes with cool sounding names because it makes life more interesting for the rest of us.

The Pirates are doing that. The other night Dovydas Neverauskas made his big league debut. In addition to being the first Lithuanian born-and-raised player in major league history, it’s a solid, solid name. Now the Pirates are making another promotion: Gift Ngoepe.

Yep, Gift Ngoepe. He’s an infielder from South Africa, making the leap to the bigs due to David Freese‘s hamstring injury. Ngoepe, 27, was batting just .241/.308/.379 through 66 plate appearances this season with Triple-A Indianapolis, his ninth in the minors, so he’s not exactly a prospect. But man, that’s a killer name.

It’s also worth mentioning that Gift and Neverauskas were arrested together in a bar fight last August in Toledo, so there is already a good basis for some bonding here.

Good luck, Gift. Gift Ngoepe. Mr. Ngoepe. G-Ngo. Man, I could do this all day.

Manny Machado teaches us to never give up

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The Rays beat the Orioles last night, but the play of the game belonged to an Oriole defender.

Evan Longoria was batting and he chopped a ball foul down the third base line. At least it started out foul. As we all know, however, it doesn’t matter where the ball starts, it matters where it is when it crosses the bag.

Manny Machado knows this and didn’t give up on the ball despite it starting several feet in foul territory. He watched it come back, stayed with it and threw out Longoria who, unlike Machado, did give up on it, assuming he’d merely get a strike and another hack. Watch:

Longoria would get Machado back, however, fielding a ball Machado smoked to third base in the ninth inning, recording the second to last out of the game.