Yankees-Red Sox: not as big a deal as it usually is

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Yankees Red Sox rivalry.jpgHow often do the Yankees face the Red Sox and have the mere fact of the matchup not be the biggest thing going that week?  That’s certainly the case this week as, at least by my reckoning, the two-game tilt with the Sox ranks third or maybe fourth on the Bronx Bombers’ hype-o-meter.  Above it:

  • Coming to grips with the Mariano Meltdown yesterday.  Like I said earlier today, I think Mo will be just fine — we all have bad days at work sometimes — but you can bet that the team will be asked many more questions about yesterday’s aberration before tonight’s game than they will about the Red Sox;
  • The Rays series. The Yankees took two of three from the Rays back in the first week of the season, but that was before we all got our minds around how good the Rays are.  Two games against the team you’re trailing in the standings > two games against a scuffling Red Sox squad, and that’s the case no matter how much lip service the Yankees pay the Sox today and tomorrow;
  • The Subway Series kicks off this weekend with three games at Citi Field.  Maybe the players are above it all, but the press and the fans in New York are probably wondering if the Yankees can deliver a knockout blow to the Jerry Manuel era with a decisive series. That is, if Manuel even survives the week.

So yes, Yankees-Red Sox is a big deal and, usual ESPN-bashing notwithstanding, it is probably the best matchup going tonight and thus worthy of the national broadcast (that is, unless San Francisco and San Diego want to move their game to 4:05 PM Pacific Time). 

But it ain’t the kind of big news it usually is, and probably isn’t even the biggest thing on the Yankees’ mind this week.

Royals fire manager Mike Matheny after 65-97 end to season

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Manager Mike Matheny and pitching coach Cal Eldred were fired by the Kansas Cty Royals on Wednesday night, shortly after the struggling franchise finished the season 65-97 with a listless 9-2 loss to the Cleveland Guardians.

The Royals had exercised their option on Matheny’s contract for 2023 during spring training, when the club hoped it was turning the corner from also-ran to contender again. But plagued by poor pitching, struggles from young position players and failed experiments with veterans, the Royals were largely out of playoff contention by the middle of summer.

The disappointing product led owner John Sherman last month to fire longtime front office executive Dayton Moore, the architect of back-to-back American League champions and the 2015 World Series title team. Moore was replaced by one of his longtime understudies, J.J. Picollo, who made the decision to fire Matheny hours after the season ended.

Matheny became the fifth big league manager to be fired this year.

Philadelphia’s Joe Girardi was replaced on June 3 by Rob Thomson, who engineered a miraculous turnaround to get the Phillies into the playoffs as a wild-card team. The Angels replaced Joe Maddon with Phil Nevin four days later, Toronto’s Charlie Montoyo was succeeded by John Schneider on July 13 and the Rangers’ Chris Woodward by Tony Beasley on Aug. 15.

In addition, Miami’s Don Mattingly said late last month that he will not return next season.