Charlie Manuel: “I’ve always liked Francoeur”

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I just went over to Charlie Manuel’s press availability because — let there be no mistake about this — Charlie Manuel is awesome.  If I could take a road trip with any guy in baseball it would be him. Well, maybe Ozzie Guillen if I wasn’t all hung up on coming back alive, but Cholly would be way up there.

Important for our purposes is that one of the first questions asked of Manuel was what he thought of Jeff Francoeur, in whom the Phillies are apparently interested. The answer: “I’ve always liked Francoeur.”  He then made a comparison between Frenchie and Jayson Werth when he first joined the Phillies, referring to how each of them hadn’t yet lived up to their potential. he talked about how Francoeur “hadn’t had success for a couple of years,” and that he was sure he was due to come back. It was unclear where Francoeur was supposed to come back to, because objectively speaking he’s always been gone, but everyone loves Charlie Manuel and no one pressed the issue.

When asked if he thought he could help Francoeur — the big talking point among Philly fans this week being whether Manuel could “fix” him — Manuel said that he saw “mechanical flaws” in Francoeur’s game.  I just checked my Cholly-to-English dictionary and it seems that “mechanical flaws” translates roughly to “a complete and utter inability to play the game and an utter hostility to instruction or suggestion designed to make oneself better.”  But like I said: roughly.

Manuel then went on to talk about how Jimmy Rollins needs to be Jimmy Rollins or some such thing, but really, my work was done by then.

Sign him, Ruben. You know you want to.

Blue Jays clinch playoff berth with Orioles’ loss to Red Sox

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TORONTO — The Blue Jays clinched a postseason berth Thursday without taking the field.

Toronto was assured of an AL wild card berth when the Boston Red Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-3.

If Toronto holds its current position as the first of the AL’s three wild cards, the Blue Jays would open a best-of-three wild-card series at Rogers Centre next week.

“These guys are excited to be in this position,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said after Wednesday’s 8-3 loss to the New York Yankees. “You’ve got three really good pitchers lined up against a good Boston team, playing at home. So I think it’s more excitement more than it’s nerves or anything. I think the guys are going to come out and be ready to roll on Friday night.”

Toronto became the fourth AL team to clinch a playoff berth, joining division champions Houston, the Yankees and Cleveland. The Astros and Yankees have first-round byes.

The Blue Jays last went to the playoffs in 2020, when they were knocked out with two straight losses to Tampa Bay.

Eight of the 12 berths in the expanded postseason have been clinched: The Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis earned division titles, and Atlanta and the New York Mets are assured no worse the wild cards while still competing to win the NL East. The Dodgers have a first-round bye.