Eric Wedge: dead man walking

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It’s not a feeding frenzy yet, but blood is definitely in the water in Cleveland:

The fate of manager Eric Wedge is in the hands of owner Larry and
team president Paul Dolan. If they say he’s gone, he’s gone . . . When
asked if he was considering a change, Larry Dolan said, “I’ll talk to
you later.” When asked if that meant a change was being considered,
Dolan said, “I just don’t want to lie to you.”

Since then Paul Dolan said that nothing was imminent, and GM Mark
Shapiro says he thinks that Wedge should keep his job. As the article
says, though, it’s probably not Shapiro’s call.

I’m not one of those guys who thinks that firing a manager is
necessarily the best solution — in fact it rarely is — but I can’t
say I see any benefit to keeping Eric Wedge around. His defenders will
cite all of the injuries the Indians have suffered, but (a) they were
playing poorly right of the gate this season; and (b) even if they
weren’t, injuries are a fact of life in baseball that just have to be
overcome. Except Cleveland never overcomes them, and at some point
someone has to be held responsible for that. Maybe that’s Mark Shapiro
for not supplying the kind of depth an otherwise talented team needs in
order to work through this stuff. There’s an order in which these
things tend to proceed, however, and that usually involves the manager
getting axed first.

Not that we’d be talking epic unfairness if Wedge were to get
canned. He has has had seven years to make something work with this
team, and with one near-magical exception, it hasn’t worked. Better
managers than Eric Wedge have been let go after compiling shorter and
less disappointing records. When you add in the observation by the great Terry Pluto
that Wedge just looks lost and beat and demoralized these days, one
can’t help but think that a change would do both him and the Indians
some good.

Red Sox even ALCS 1-1, defeat Astros 7-5 in Game 2

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Game 2 of the ALCS, held Sunday night in Boston, was a play in three parts. For the first three innings, it was a back-and-forth affair between the offenses of the Red Sox and Astros. The middle three innings involved both team’s pitching staffs calming things down. The final third of the game saw the Red Sox add insurance. Ultimately, the Red Sox went on to win 7-4 to even the ALCS at one game apiece.

The Red Sox opened the scoring in the bottom of the first inning, with Andrew Benintendi and Rafael Devers hitting RBI singles off of a shaky Gerrit Cole. The Astros returned the salvo in the top of the second against David Price as George Springer fisted a double that just barely stayed fair down the right field line to plate two runs to tie the game. Marwin González broke the 2-2 tie in the top of the third, turning on an inside cut fastball for a two-run homer over the Green Monster. In the bottom half of the third, the Red Sox put together a rally, loading the bases with one out. After Ian Kinsler struck out, Jackie Bradley, Jr. drilled an opposite-field double off of the Monster with the carom taking left fielder Marwin González back towards the infield, allowing all three runs to score, putting the Red Sox back on top at 5-4.

Price, whose postseason woes are well-publicized, pitched better than his line indicated. He was on the hook for four runs on five hits with four walks and four strikeouts. His counterpart, Cole, went six frames, on the hook for five runs (four earned) on six hits and a pair of walks with five strikeouts.

Once Price was out of the game, Matt Barnes got four outs with nary a scrape. Ryan Brasier worked around a two-out walk in the seventh for a scoreless frame. In the bottom half of the seventh, facing Lance McCullers, Jr., Mookie Betts led off with a walk. As Benintendi struck out, Betts moved to second base on a wild pitch. During J.D. Martinez‘s at-bat, Martín Maldonado allowed a passed ball, which gave Betts the opportunity to move to third base. Martinez struck out, but Maldonado was unable to handle a pitch from reliever Josh James, so Betts ran home to score a crucial insurance run.

Rick Porcello took over in the eighth, setting down Tony Kemp, González, and Carlos Correa in 1-2-3 fashion, striking out the latter two. In the bottom half of the eighth, Betts added yet another insurance run with an RBI double to right-center.

Kimbrel has had a rough postseason thus far, giving up a run in Game 1 of the ALDS against the Yankees followed by two more in Game 4. Those struggles continued on Sunday. He got Evan Gattis to pop up, then struck out Josh Reddick. So far, so good. Unfortunately for Kimbrel, Springer poked a double to left field, then advanced to third base on a wild pitch while José Altuve batted. Altuve then ripped a single off of the Monster to bring the tying run to the plate in the form of Alex Bregman. Mercifully, for the Red Sox and their fans, Kimbrel got Bregman to fly out to Benintendi just in front of the Monster in deep left field.

David Price’s team won a postseason game he started for the first time. This was his 10th postseason start and he had been 0-8 with one no-decision.

With the ALCS tied up at one game each, the Red Sox and Astros will take Monday off to travel to Houston. Game 3 is slated for a 5:09 PM ET start on Tuesday. The Red Sox haven’t yet named a starter but the Astros will go with Dallas Keuchel.