Author: Bill Baer

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Edinson Volquez becomes the first AL pitcher to get a hit in the World Series since 2010

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Royals starter Edinson Volquez singled to lead off the top of the third inning against Mets starter Matt Harvey. He was promptly erased when Alcides Escobar grounded into a 4-6-3 double play, but he became a part of an interesting, though not particularly meaningful, bit of trivia.

As MLB.com’s Andrew Simon notes, Volquez is the first American League pitcher to record a hit in a World Series game since Cliff Lee did so in in Game 1 of the 2010 World Series as a member of the Rangers against the Giants.

As Volquez heads back out to the mound for the bottom of the third, he has yielded one run to the Mets, a leadoff solo home run by Curtis Granderson in the first inning.

Curtis Granderson homers, staking Mets to an early lead in Game 5

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Leadoff batter Curtis Granderson wasted no time getting the Mets on the board in Game 5 of the World Series, drilling an 0-2 Edinson Volquez change-up to straightaway center field in the first inning. Granderson has now reached base in 14 consecutive post-season games, as SB Nation noted on Twitter. He’s also the first Met to hit a leadoff homer in a World Series game since Lenny Dykstra

Volquez struck out David Wright and Daniel Murphy, then got Yoenis Cespedes to ground out to escape the inning without any further damage.

Matt Harvey tossed a scoreless first inning for the Mets. The Mets, if they fall to the Royals in Game 5, will lose the World Series. It is, literally, a must-win game for them.

Terry Collins’ wife thought he should have used Jeurys Familia for six outs in Game 4

Terry Collins
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Mets manager Terry Collins’ decision to start the eighth inning of Game 4 with Tyler Clippard rather than Jeurys Familia was heavily second-guessed following the Mets’ crushing loss on Saturday, and continued on Sunday. Among those second-guessing Collins is his own wife:

Collins said that Familia will be available for six outs in Game 5, but that may be too little, too late.

Dusty Baker thinks baseball is going backwards in diversity

Jay Bruce
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Dusty Baker was one of two finalists for the Nationals’ open managerial position, but lost out to Bud Black. If he were hired, Baker would have been the only African American manager in baseball and only the second non-white manager along with Fredi Gonzalez.

Baseball’s lack of diversity in its coaching staffs and front offices has been a topic of conversation in recent times, and Baker is among those who feels the sport isn’t doing enough. Baker, who has 20 years of managing experience, said baseball is going “backwards”. Via John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle:

Beyond the fact the percentage of African American players has dipped from 27 in 1975 to below 10, African American managers are nowhere to be found. In 2002, there were eight. Now there are none.

“If that’s not backwards, I don’t know how much more backwards we can go,” Baker said.

When I asked him afterward about the subject, he said, “You wonder if it’s an accident or by design.”

The list of African American managers is rather short. While front offices aren’t consciously passing over black manager candidates specifically due to race, the structure of the sport creates an unlevel playing field for those who aren’t white. According to that list, there have been 27 managers since the game was integrated in 1947, an average of one African-American manager for every 2.5 seasons.

Shea notes that 38 percent of baseball’s players are black or Latino. Specifically, eight percent of baseball players were black in 2014 and that percentage was as high as 27 percent in 1975. The odds that an 8-27 percent player base would yield only a three percent manager base over multiple seasons is rather low. Baseball absolutely has a diversity problem and Baker is rightly pointing that out.

Orioles making an early effort to sign Chris Davis

Chris Davis
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The Orioles are making an early effort to sign 1B/OF Chris Davis, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports. Heyman notes that it’s hard to imagine Davis would agree to a deal before hitting free agency.

Davis, 29, rebounded from a disappointing 2014 season, batting .262/.361/.562 with 47 home runs (leading the majors) and 117 RBI in 670 plate appearances. He will be one of the better-hitting free agents and will likely be able to pursue a hefty multi-year contract, which might force the Orioles out of the conversation.

The Orioles acquired Davis and pitcher Tommy Hunter from the Rangers in a July 2011 trade that sent reliever Koji Uehara to Texas.