Next season probably isn’t even on Tony La Russa’s mind right now, but Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that the 67-year-old manager and the Cardinals must both decide whether to exercise their half of a mutual contract option within two weeks of the World Series ending.
When asked if he knew La Russa’s plans, general manager John Mozeliak said: “I think I have an idea of his thinking.”
Strauss quotes “many close to La Russa” as saying they expect him to return for a 17th season with the Cardinals regardless of what happens in the World Series and Mozeliak pointed out that “he does appear to be having fun … enjoying this run and enjoying this team.”
La Russa is also just 35 wins from passing John McGraw for second place on the all-time list behind Connie Mack and would likely receive a raise from his current $5 million salary, which is already the highest in baseball.
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.