Mets must now begin searching for a new manager

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Now that the Mets have locked up new general manager Sandy Alderson, it’s time to begin the search for a skipper.

Alderson is expected to lead the hunt and told Steve Popper of the Bergen Record on Friday that he is hoping for someone with a little fire and a decent level of independence.

“I think that we’re looking for somebody that fits intellectual requirements, but also intuitive and emotional ones,” Alderson said. “That manager may have experience. He may not have experience. We’re very open-minded about it at this point. But I do want to emphasize that whomever is selected is going to be the manager and making those decisions. Needs to have a certain level of independence, obviously, in order to accomplish what he needs to accomplish.”

The Mets have not yet begun speaking with candidates because of their search for a GM, but possibilities include Rangers hitting coach Clint Hurdle, minor league manager Wally Backman, ESPN analyst Bobby Valentine and current Mets scout Bob Melvin.  Former Mariners skipper Don Wakamatsu is also expected to get a look.

Managers have very little impact on the outcome of a game, let alone an entire season, but in New York it’s imperative to have a guy with thick skin and a guy that doesn’t mind the spotlight.  The new Citi Field has yet to host a playoff baseball game and the Mets are hoping to change that under the guidance of new leadership.

Red Sox look to punch their ticket to the World Series tonight

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Thanks to some amazing defense, some big hits and — to continue to beat this horse, a bad call by Joe West — the Red Sox have a 3-1 lead in the ALCS and look to clinch the AL Pennant tonight down in Houston.

If you believe in momentum, you’d have to say it’s on Boston’s side. If you believe that momentum is the next day’s starting pitcher, however, you’d have to say things favor Houston more than the standing of the series would suggest. All of which makes me wish Game 5 was starting right now, because it figures to be a tense and exciting affair.

ALCS Game 5

Red Sox vs. Astros
Ballpark: Minute Maid Park
Time: 8:09 PM Eastern
TV: TBS
Pitchers: David Price vs. Justin Verlander
Breakdown:

If someone told you that you had to win one baseball game against the Martians to save the human race, you could do far worse than calling on Justin Verlander to be your starting pitcher. Among the pitchers still in the postseason, he’d almost certainly be your choice right now.

Does Verlander himself appreciate the situation? This is what he said about that yesterday:

“I mean, these are all must-win games at this point. Every time you take the mound I don’t think there’s any difference whether it’s 2-2 or 3-1.”

Look, we’re asking him to beat the Martians here, not win the National Math Bee, so let’s let that go. The point is that after all of these years he’s still one of the most dominant pitchers in the game and after the exhausting, see-saw battle of Game 4, he stands the best chance of giving Houston what it needs: a quick, quiet and drama-free win.

Not that the Red Sox are likely to roll over for that. They didn’t the first time they faced Verlander in this series. They Astros won, yes, and Verlander limited them to two runs on two hits. But he also issued four walks and wasn’t his sharpest overall. Boston didn’t capitalize on his mistakes as best they could, but he’s not invincible.

For Boston it’s David Price. He allowed four runs on five hits and four walks over four and two-thirds innings in Game 2, not factoring in the decision. That’s not great, but given the talk leading up to that game being all about how Price is a postseason flop, the fact that the Sox won it in the end had to bouy him at least a little. As does the fact that, here, tonight, it’s not 100% on his shoulders. Sure, the Sox want to close this out, but with a 3-1 lead there is less pressure on Price than on his former teammate Verlander. Worth noting, though: Price is on short rest and warmed up in the bullpen last night in case he was needed to bail out Craig Kimbrel. He may not go deep into this game.