Author: Craig Calcaterra

Michael Young dugout

Let the “Michael Young for Rangers manager” stumping begin


As soon as Ron Washington stepped down I thought “it’s only a matter of time until someone says Michael Young should be the next Rangers manager.” Out of respect for Wash, I assume, they gave it a week. Now Richard Justice begins the stumping:

Young knows that the game is not easy, and because he had an awareness of the people around him, he would know that every player isn’t going to care as much as he cared. He was a leader in a quiet way, a guy who led more by example, but would also say what needed to be said. He was universally respected by his managers and teammates alike . . .

. . . With Rangers’ home attendance down for a third straight year, with it off almost 700,000 from two years ago, the Rangers need to do more than simply hire a competent manager. They need someone to inspire confidence in fans. Young is the only potential replacement for Washington who could instantly win over the fan base.

While Young would no doubt be respected by players, it’s also the case that he and Jon Daniels clashed on multiple occasions when Young was with the Rangers, with the discord that led to Young’s position-change dramas often being defended by Young partisans as a function of Daniels undercutting Young and not being straight with him. I have no idea if that’s true. For what it’s worth, Justice says Young and Daniels patched things up “at a wedding last summer.”

But in this day and age a GM wants a manager who will be his guy, no questions asked. Not a guy who can appeal to his own constituency in the press or among fans in such a way that, if the GM and he clash, the GM is undermined. That dynamic ended up causing riffs with Nolan Ryan and Daniels. Justice compares Young to Ryan in several places in this column. You think Daniels wants any part of that again?

There is a lot of talk about “optics” and washing away all of the bad news the Rangers have had in the past couple of years. Winning baseball games washes that stuff way more thoroughly than a nice press conference and a few stories about how Michael Young has “come home.”

(thanks to Caheezy for the heads up)

And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

Orioles celebrate

Orioles 3, Yankees 2:If I told you before the season that the Orioles would lose Manny Machado and Matt Wieters to injuries and that Chris Davis would hit below .200 and then be suspended for PEDs, you’d probably assume that they’d be in fourth or fifth place this year. Yet here they are, poised to clinch their first division title in 17 years. As for this game: with Davis suspended, the Orioles are going to need Kelly Johnson. Johnson was just dandy last night, hitting a walkoff double. He did that just after Steve Pearce hit an RBI double to tie it. Viva La Fill-Ins who have made this season for Baltimore.

Tigers 6, Indians 4: Homers from Ian Kinsler and Victor J.D. Martinez as the Tigers sweep the Indians and win their sixth of seventh and take a one and a half game lead in the Central. They have a series against Kansas City next weekend. If they tread water through the week they can put this thing away when they face the Royals.

Red Sox 8, Royals 4: Speaking of the Royals, they deserve whatever they get with Ned Yost. The game was lost in the sixth inning when Aaron Crow gave up a walk and a homer after coming in with men on. Yost said after the game that he was frustrated because they were “one out away from getting to Kelvin Herrera.” Asked why he didn’t just go to Herrera an out earlier: “Aaron Crow’s inning is the sixth inning. Kelvin’s is the seventh.” You see why this guy got fired just before the playoffs the last time he had a team this close.

Marlins 5, Phillies 4: Jonathan Papelbon blew a three-run lead in the top of the ninth, allowing four runs on four hits and a walk. As he left the mound he was booed by Phillies fans, then he appeared to grab his crotch and was ejected. He said he was just adjusting his cup. Joe West thought it was a rude gesture came in and rather forcefully ejected Papelbon, so who knows who was worse here. Man, it is so totally the end of the season.

Rays 6, Blue Jays 5: Yunel Escobar walked, singled, doubled and homered. And when he homered he played it up to the crowd with a big “safe” gesture and pointed and taunted as he crossed home plate. They don’t much care for Escobar in Toronto.

Nationals 3, Mets 0: Wilson Ramos hit a two-run homer and Jordan Zimmermann pitched shutout ball into the seventh. The Nats have taken 13 of 16 from the Mets this year.

Pirates 7, Cubs 3: Josh Harrison hit a two-run double and started a triple play. Harrison is .317/.351/.508 on the year and has come on like crazy lately. Edinson Volquez allowed one earned run over seven innings. The Cubs are officially eliminated. In case you were still holding out hope that they’d make a playoff push.

Editor’s Note: Hardball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $30,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Monday night’s MLB games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $5,000. Starts at 7:05pm ET on MondayHere’s the FanDuel link.

Twins 6, White Sox 4: Trevor May struck out ten in six innings. On Saturday Phil Hughes struck out 11 while Jose Quintana struck out 13. All kinds of Ks in these meaningless games.

Brewers 9, Reds 2: Matt Clark his a three-run homer and Mark Reynolds hit a solo shot. The Brewers have won four of five and remain a game and a half back.

Cardinals 4, Rockies 1: Marco Gonzales struck out nine in five and two-thirds, allowing one run, and five relievers shut out the rockies the rest of the way. Jhonny Peralta hit a two-run homer. Colorado has lost six straight. They’ve scored eight runs in those games. Wheeeee!

Rangers 10, Braves 3: The Rangers sweep the Braves, who have done more in the past few weeks to show they got no business being mentioned as part of a playoff race than any team that still gets mentioned as being part of a playoff race. Now they’re four out of the wild card, which puts them out of it for good, I reckon. Just a terrible second half for a team that should not be this bad, even with the injuries to the rotation. Whether anyone actually pays for this failure of a season is an open question, but I’m not holding my breath.

Dodgers 4, Giants 2: L.A. takes two of three from the Giants and extending its lead to three games. Clayton Kershaw picked up his 19th win, tossing eight effective innings. Matt Kemp’s sixth inning, two-run homer helped seal it.

Astros 6, Angels 1: Dallas Keuchel allowed one run over seven and the Angels’ ten-game winning streak ends, but at this point what does it matter?

Athletics 4, Mariners 0: Six shutout innings for Jon Lester despite him not having his best stuff with three relievers finishing off the shutout. The A’s take two of three in a critical series with Seattle. The A’s have a one and a half game lead over Kansas City and two and a half over the Mariners.

Diamondbacks 8, Padres 6: Trevor Cahill wasn’t too effective, but the Snakes’ bullpen was up to the task for awhile. Then in the ninth Addison Reed faltered, but not enough to cost ’em the game.

Wally Backman to coach with the Mets for the final nine games of the season

Wally Backman, Tim Teufel

God, will Sandy Alderson’s blackballing and hatred for Wally Backman ever end? Oh, wait . . . 

Wally Backman will be a major league coach for the final nine games of the season.

Backman, who guided the Las Vegas 51s to their second straight division title in the Pacific Coast League, is due to join the Mets in Atlanta next Friday and be with the club for the remainder of the season.

I’m sure they’re just setting him up to fail. Or they’re gong to get him to New York just so they can fire him or something. I’m not sure about the details, though. One of the Backman truthers in the New York press corps will no doubt explain it all to us.

(Thanks to John Fitzgerald for the heads up)

Kevin Towers is probably not going back to the Padres

Kevin Towers

When the Diamondbacks relieved Kevin Towers of his duties as their GM, there was speculation that he could return to the Padres in a special assistant role. Towers’ specialty, of course, is scouting, so you’d figure it would be a special assistant in that capacity. Looks like that’s not happening now, however, as Dennis Lin of the Union-Tribune reports that the Padres have hired hired David Post as a special assistant for scouting.

Maybe you can have more than one special assistant. But you have to figure Towers would like a job where he actually has stuff to do in order to distinguish himself for a possible future GM position.

The Diamondbacks, for what it’s worth, have said that they would like him to stay on. Possibly as a special assistant for scouting. So maybe he’s not going anyplace.