Jeff Francoeur says Mets are "110 percent" behind Jerry Manuel

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Francoeur Mets.jpegAccording to MetsBlog, last night on ESPN’s Baseball Tonight, host Seth Everett said Jeff Francoeur, John Maine, Jose Reyes and Johan Santana were unhappy with manager Jerry Manuel. This forced Francoeur to issue a denial before Saturday’s game against the Cardinals, via Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com.

“We’re 10 games into the season. We’ve lost a lot of close games,”
Francoeur said. “We’re behind Jerry 110 percent. Are you always going to
agree with everything a manager does? No. Nobody does. At the same
time, he’s our manager. He’s a guy that has fought for us, stuck up for
us through a tough offseason, through this time. We’re here for him at
this point to stick behind him because he’s the guy we want leading us
out there.”

I hope Francoeur learns his lesson here. Earlier in the week he told reporters that he would like to see Jose Reyes remain as the leadoff man as opposed to batting third. It’s a reasonable opinion to have, but he should have had the presence of mind to realize that the press would run with the story, positioning it as though he was questioning his manager’s authority. It’s really a frivolous storyline when there are many other aspects of Manuel’s decision-making that are fair-game for criticism.

Red Sox beat Yankees 11-6 to clinch AL East for third consecutive season

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The Red Sox have clinched the AL East for a third consecutive season, beating the Yankees 11-6 in the Bronx on Thursday night. It’s the third consecutive season in which the Red Sox have won the division, the first time that’s ever been done in club history. In fact, the only other times the Red Sox won the division in back-to-back years were 1903-04 and 1915-16.

AL MVP candidate Mookie Betts went 4-for-5 with a two-run single in the second inning off of Masahiro Tanaka and a three-run homer in the eighth against Aroldis Chapman to put the game out of reach. Jackie Bradley and Brock Holt also hit homers. Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez was on the hook for five runs in 3 2/3 innings, but three of them scored when Heath Hembree inherited a bases-loaded situation, then served up a grand slam to Giancarlo Stanton in the fourth. The rest of the bullpen combined to fire five scoreless innings. Steven Wright had three of them followed by zeroes from Ryan Brasier and Craig Kimbrel.

With the loss, the Yankees’ lead over the Athletics for the first Wild Card slot shrinks to 1.5 games. Meanwhile, the Red Sox will try to clinch home field advantage throughout the playoffs. With a 104-49 record, their closest competitor is the 95-57 Astros. With nine games remaining in the regular season for the Red Sox, they would have to lose every game remaining in the regular season and the Astros would have to win their 10 remaining games in order to fail to claim home field advantage.