Bob Geren has had a tough week, as demoted closer Brian Fuentes ripped the A’s manager for a lack of communication and then former Oakland closer Huston Street chimed in all the way from Colorado to basically agree with everything Fuentes said.
Geren’s job is probably pretty safe considering he’s best buddies with general manager Billy Beane, but just in case A’s owner Lew Wolff made it clear that he’s happy with the manager, telling John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle:
I personally love the way he deals with everybody. It’s a long season. He’s had some long seasons. I love the guy. He’s a good teacher. I love everything about him. He’s a very solid person, and I like the way he deals with everything all year long. This is a hard job. I have a rule in my own office that I never use the word “communication” as an excuse. The good thing about baseball is you could look at a piece of paper and see how a guy’s doing. Great athletes get frustrated. That’s all there is to it.
Asked specificially about Street calling Geren his “least favorite person I have ever encountered in sports,” Wolff replied: “He’s wrong.”
The Red Sox and Mariners left nothing on the table Friday night, going head-to-head in a series opener that eventually ended 14-10 in the Sox’ favor. Led by Steven Wright and Wade LeBlanc — neither of whom made it past the fifth inning — the teams combined for 34 hits and four home runs, including two moonshots from Seattle’s Nelson Cruz and a five-run rally that gave Boston the edge in the seventh.
In the sixth inning, however, the Red Sox were still scrambling to make up a four-run deficit. Left fielder J.D. Martinez cut it in half with one swing, pouncing on an 89.5-mph fastball from Seattle right-hander Nick Vincent and posting it to dead center field for a two-run shot.
The 427-foot blast was Martinez’s 23rd of the season, tying Mike Trout for the most home runs in the league this year. While he still has a ways to go before eclipsing the career-best 45-HR mark he set in 2017, he’s off to a strong start this season: Entering Friday’s game, the 30-year-old slugger was batting .315/.386/.623 with a 1.009 OPS and AL-leading 55 RBI in 308 PA. He finished Friday’s game 4-for-5 with five RBI, just one triple shy of hitting for the cycle.
Heading into the All-Star Break, both Martinez and Trout still have some competition for the home run title. Jose Ramirez is sitting at 22 homers, while Nelson Cruz and Khris Davis are tied at 20 apiece.