Craig Calcaterra

Atlanta Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez talks with the media before a baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park, Wednesday, April 13, 2016, in Washington. Braves outfielder Hector Olivera was placed on paid administrative leave by Major League Baseball after he was arrested when a woman accused him of assault at a hotel outside Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Fredi Gonzalez is a dead man walking

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Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez is in a bad position. His team is terrible. It was designed to be terrible and there is no hope that it won’t be terrible for the rest of the year. He’s likewise a lame duck and the organization has made no secret of the fact that next year, with the new stadium, will come a new beginning of some kind. The odds of him managing the Braves on Opening Day 2017 are zero and have been for a while.

The question, then, was always going to be how long he lasts. Given the Braves’ awful start it seems pretty clear that “until the end of the season” is not a reasonable guess either. Now it’s just a matter of when. Here’s a pretty good sign that “when” will be “in the next week and maybe even before the weekend”

You can click through to the column and get the straightforward and reasonable answer about it being time to make a change and how this isn’t Fredi’s fault but, hey, teams that go through this fire managers and thus Fredi will be fired and should be.

But the key thing here is that the column was written at all. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution folks have a pretty good relationship with the Braves’ front office. They’re not house organs or anything, but they’re plugged in and, when something is suggested to them from the front office, they tend to run with it in less critical ways than their counterparts in some other cities might. Based on my reading of AJC coverage of this team for the past 20 years or so, that Bradley is writing this column strongly suggests to me that someone with the Braves said to him “you know, it wouldn’t make you look dumb to write a fire Fredi column,” or something to that effect.

As for firing Gonzalez, yeah, he’d be a scapegoat. But it’s not like he’d be some uniquely wronged scapegoat. Like I said, managers in his position are almost always fired, even if the roster was dead on arrival and even if the record is not his fault. And to be sure, it’s not like Gonzalez was some amazing manager to begin with. Back when the team had an actually good roster he didn’t cover himself in glory managing it. Notably, he had the confidence of the front office then. Notably, no one who writes for the AJC was calling for his firing when he was squandering the Braves’ assets.

Regardless, I take this as a strong sign that Fredi is gone, maybe as soon as today, but if I was putting money on it I’d say no later than a week from today, when they have an off day just before beginning a homestand.

Huston Street strains his oblique, likely to hit the disabled list

Huston Street
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Last night the Angels won a two-run game and a save with issued to the last man to pitch for the hometown team. That man was not Huston Street, the Angels’ usual closer, however. It was Joe Smith. Street was unavailable. Why?

Because, as Street told reporters after last night’s game, he strained an oblique muscle while playing catch in the outfield before the game. Street is likely going to land on the disabled list today as a result. Never warm up, people. That’s the clear lesson here.

If Street’s oblique strain is like most such strains for pitchers he could miss a month or more.

David Cone tells a story about Wade Boggs in one tweet

OAKLAND -  AUGUST 1988:  Wade Boggs of the Boston Red Sox warms up before a Major League Baseball game against the Oakland A's in August 1988 at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in Oakland, California. (Photo by David Madison/Getty Images)
Associated Press
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They say every picture tells a story. Every tweet does too. And paints a picture. To that end, I give you David Cone, who tweeted this early this morning:

I wonder why he fell.

Oh wait. I don’t wonder why at all.

And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija, left, laughs with first baseman Brandon Belt before being removed in the sixth inning of the Giants' baseball game against the San Diego Padres on Wednesday, April 27, 2016, in San Francisco. San Francisco won the game 13-9. Samardzija was the winning pitcher. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
Associated Press
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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Tigers 9, Athletics 4: Decidedly less horses**t here than the night before, as the bats woke up. Justin Verlander looked pretty good too, at least until he ran out of gas in the seventh. I was watching this one. I know I’ve made a bunch of comments about Brad Ausmus’ job security lately — and they are totally subjective comments based on a cosmic vibe I’m picking up as opposed to actual news or rumors lately and not based on me WISHING he’d get fired or anything — but I still feel that way despite a relatively easy win. Verlander was pissed when Ausmus came to get him, and it seemed less like that “hey, he’s a competitor” thing than a “Jesus, are you KIDDING me?” thing. And while there is obviously no safe lead when the Tigers bullpen is involved, Ausmus did seem to manage the living hell out of the last couple of innings and iso shots of him in the dugout suggested a guy who hasn’t exhaled since early 2014. I dunno, things just seem off in Detroit, the win notwithstanding, and you just get the sense that a crusty SOB who’s been there and done that in ways Ausmus hasn’t would be a better fit right now.

Marlins 2, Dodgers 0: Switched to this one after the A’s-Tigers game was over. Some teams just go through a time when, as you watch them, you KNOW they aren’t getting many hits, let alone any big ones. They just look lost and impotent at the plate, flailing with pre-defeat. That’s the Dodgers the past couple of days. Marlins starter Justin Nicolino was almost toying with them, throwing 2-hit ball into the eighth. He wasn’t dominant — he struck out only two — but every pitch he threw looked like it weighed 100 pounds and the Dodgers, even if they made contact couldn’t send it anywhere. I’ll likewise admit, by the way, that I was on my second bourbon during this game so if my impressions of it were more poetic or fatalistic or something, that’s probably why.

Giants 13, Padres 9: The sweep, thanks in part to Brandon Belt driving in five, in part to the Padres are revolting. I mean they stink on ice. The Giants have won five of six.

Phillies 3, Nationals 0: Jeremy Hellickson — the old man of this rotation now that Charlie Morton is out — allowed only two hits over seven. The Phillies are playing .500 ball, folks. Bet you didn’t see that coming.

White Sox 4, Blue Jays 0: Quintana, man. That creep can roll (6 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 10K).

Red Sox 9, Braves 4: Dustin Pedroia hit a grand slam and a solo shot. His two homers in this game are one shy of what the entire Braves roster had hit all season coming into this game. Freddie Freeman‘s more or less meaningless solo shot in the eighth broke Atlanta’s long homerless streak and gave them four on the year. I presume this is going on the season highlight reel, which will be entitled, “The 2016 Atlanta Braves: Getaway Day All Year Long.”

Mets 5, Reds 2: Six in a row for New York. Neil Walker hit his ninth homer. He took the place of Daniel Murphy who, at least late last year, hit homers in bunches himself. Mets second basemen must be like system quarterbacks. It’s just like replacing them with some random USC dude or whatever.

Orioles 3, Rays 1: Joey Rickard hit a three-run homer, O’s won, but nothin’ really mattered in this game except this play from Steven Souza, which as you’ll see, looked like another play he made a couple of years ago. Dude just has no regard for his body, for gravity, or any of that crap:

 

Rangers 3, Yankees 2: Elvis Andrus had a game-winning RBI triple. A couple of the game stories I’ve read talk about Alex Rodriguez‘s 100th career homer in the Rangers’ ballpark. Am I the only one who has sort of blocked out A-Rod’s Rangers years? We’ll never forget they existed because they’re the ones that gave him that $250 million contract, but my memories of him playing actual baseball games in a Rangers uniform are almost nil.

Pirates 9, Rockies 8: The Pirates blew a lead and were forced into extras, but Jordy Mercer hit a tiebreaking RBI double in the 12th. There are not a lot of easy marks in the Pirates lineup so far on the year. Heck, until the past few days Andrew McCutchen may have been the easiest one. Gonna be a scary team as the weather warms up.

Indians 6, Twins 5: Cody Allen retired Joe Mauer with a runner in scoring position to tend the game. If he had given up a homer it would’ve been the Twins’ third walkoff in a row. If I had an intern I’d have him look up for me the record for most consecutive walkoff wins but I don’t and I’m too busy this morning what with cats to feed and stuff. Jose Berrios made his debut and gave up five runs and six hits with five strikeouts in four innings so that won’t necessarily be one for the scrapbooks even if it’s one for the memory banks. Francisco Lindor drove in three for the Tribe.

Cardinals 11, Diamondbacks 4: The Cards have scored 26 runs in three games against the Dbacks and they get to play them again tonight. That’s almost not fair. They’ve scored 45 runs in their past five games, likewise not fair. Adam Wainwright hit an RBI triple one year after injuring himself while batting. That’s definitely an improvement.

Angels 4, Royals 2: The Angels sweep the Champs, but it’s costly as they lose Huston Street to a strained his left oblique muscle playing catch before the game. Mike Trout hit a two-run homer. Yunel Escobar and Andrelton Simmons had solo shots

Astros 7, Mariners 4: Jose Altuve led off the game with a homer — it was his third leadoff homer of the season — doubled twice and scored three runs. If you go to the dictionary and look up the word “spark plug,” well, you’ll find the definition. This is not a friggin’ children’s illustrated dictionary, pal. We’re all grownups here. Jesus, what were you expecting?

Brewers vs. Cubs — POSTPONED: So girl, hang your dress up to dry we ain’t leaving this room

Till Percy Priest breaks open wide and the river runs through
And carries this house on the stones like a piece of driftwood
Cover me up and know you’re enough to use me for good

Mariners CEO Howard Lincoln steps down

The rainbow-colored pride flag flies next to the U.S. flag and baseball team flags, Sunday, June 29, 2014, at Safeco Field in Seattle during a baseball game between the Seattle Mariners and the Cleveland Indians. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
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Call it a resignation, call it a retirement, but either way it’s a big deal for the Mariners: longtime CEO Howard Lincoln is stepping down. The news was first reported by Mike Salk of 710 ESPN radio in Seattle and then Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times.

Lincoln has run the Mariners since CEO, calling more or less all the shots given that the Mariners’ majority owner, Nintendo of America, is more or less of the absentee variety. Baker reports that team minority owner John Stanton will assume Lincoln’s role. He adds that many believe Stanton has designs on one day putting a group together to buy out Nintendo’s interests and assume control.

The club will hold a press conference at 6PM Eastern, 3PM Pacific time. Where they go in the post-Lincoln era remains to be seen.