Mets' hitting coach Howard Johnson is probably going to get fired

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When you come off a 2-9 road trip in which your team was shut out four times, there’s a decent chance your hitting coach is gonna be in deep trouble. That seems to be the case with the Mets, reports Adam Rubin. Omar Minaya seems poised to fire someone, and that someone is likely to be Howard Johnson.

I remain of the opinion that hitting coaches basically make little difference in the grand scheme of things. Indeed, I think they serve a larger purpose as fall guys than they do in actually helping a team hit the ball better. And Johnson appears to be a fall guy here. The firing designed to forestall Jerry Manuel’s, whose firing in turn will be designed to forestall Omar Minaya’s.

Masahiro Tanaka throws two-hit shutout vs. Rays

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Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka went the distance, holding the Rays scoreless on two hits and one walk with 10 strikeouts across nine innings on Monday night in the Bronx. It’s the fourth shutout of his career, accounting for four of the Yankees’ last six shutouts. The other two were thrown my Luis Severino and Brandon McCarthy.

DJ LeMahieu provided the bulk of the offense, swatting a two-run home run off of Yonny Chirinos in the third inning. Cameron Maybin tacked on a solo homer off of Chirinos in the fifth as the Yankees went on to win 3-0.

After Monday’s performance, Tanaka owns a 3.23 ERA with 84 strikeouts and 20 walks across 92 innings on the season.

With the win, the Yankees increase their lead over the Rays for first place in the AL East to 1.5 games.