Four players (Cole Hamels, Domonic Brown, David Buchanan, and Kyle Kendrick) have publicly criticized and/or disrespected Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg this month, but the skipper in his first full season insists it’s “not a big deal.”
In particular Sandberg tried to downplay Hamels leaving the mound before the manager got there to remove him during Tuesday’s game and then giving non-answers to reporters about the removal after 84 pitches, telling Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com:
You know what, I gave him a verbal when I was about six feet from the grass, “Hey, we’re going to pick you up right here, Cole. Nice job.” So he thought that that was the release to let him go. I just clarified that with him. He was upset about the home run.
However, according to Salisbury “a person with knowledge of the situation said Sandberg was ticked off by what Hamels did.”
Philadelphia’s roster has a lot of veteran players who experienced a whole lot of success with the previous manager, Charlie Manuel, so being in last place with a near-rookie manager in a recipe for issues. That doesn’t preclude Sandberg from making things worse with his actions, of course, and at some point having near-daily meetings with players about their disrespecting the manager will be tough to brush off.
Following the Astros’ decisive 4-0 shutout over the Yankees on Saturday night, Justin Verlander was named the Most Valuable Player of the American League Championship Series. Hall of Fame outfielder and former MLB manager Frank Robinson handed the award to Verlander, who was beaming as he thanked his teammates and members of the Astros’ organization.
“I’ve got to say, it came down to the wire, and one thing kept going off in my head was Dallas,” Verlander told the crowd gathered at Minute Maid Park. “When he called me, he said that I won’t regret my decision to join the Houston Astros. And here we are right now, it’s the best feeling in the world. We’ve got four more wins to win a World Series, and I do not regret my decision to come here. This is the best feeling a player can have. So, thank you.”
Among a cast that boasted the likes of Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and Dallas Keuchel, among others, Verlander was spectacular. He locked down a complete game win in Game 2, holding the Yankees to one run on five hits and a walk and striking out a postseason-high 13 batters. In Game 6, he saved the Astros from elimination with seven scoreless innings, helping propel the club to their eventual 7-1 finish that set up their series-clinching finale on Saturday.
The 34-year-old righty also took his place among some postseason greats. Thanks to an eight-strikeout outing on Friday night, his collective 136 postseason strikeouts are good for sixth-most in MLB playoff history, just a smidgen shy of Tom Glavine (143), Mike Mussina (145), Roger Clemens (173), Andy Pettitte (183) and John Smoltz (199). He also joined Bob Gibson, Curt Schilling and Sandy Koufax as one of just four hurlers to strike out 20+ Yankees in a postseason series.