Dustin Pedroia told Rob Bradford of WEEI that he doesn’t think Bobby Valentine should be fired:
“I don’t think Bobby should be fired,” he said. “Listen, we haven’t played well. I mean, that’s the bottom line. I’m not going to blame anything on Bobby, and I don’t think anyone else is. It’s on the players. Last year wasn’t on Tito [Francona]. I know he took it hard. We all did. I mean, jeez. It’s on the players.”
Obviously this clashes a bit with Jeff Passan’s report that Pedroia, along with Adrian Gonzalez, led the “Fire Bobby V” charge last month. Of course you wouldn’t expect Pedroia or any of the players to admit that publicly.
But he is right: the losing is on the players. Say what you want about Valentine, but he’s not the one failing to pitch worth a tinker’s damn most nights.
Still: there is not anything necessarily inconsistent with the on-the-field performance being the fault of the players and the in-the-clubhouse strife being so intolerable that the players want the manager gone. Even great teams can hate one another. Just ask the late 70s Yankees. As such, Pedroia alluding to the team’s performance is something of a red herring.
Christian Yelich simply can’t be stopped. The Brewers outfielder (and defending NL MVP) entered Saturday’s game with a league-leading 11 home runs after swatting two against the Dodgers on Friday night, then clubbed another two homers in the first six innings of Saturday’s game.
The first came on a 2-1 pitch from the Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu, who lobbed a changeup toward the bottom of the strike zone before it was lifted up and out to center field for a solo home run in the third inning.
While Chase Anderson and Alex Claudio held down the fort against the Dodgers’ lineup, Yelich prepared for his second blast in the sixth inning — this one a 421-foot double-decker on a first-pitch curveball from Ryu.
Yelich’s 13 home runs not only gave him a stronger grip on the league’s leaderboard, but helped him tie yet another franchise record, too. Per MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, he’s tied with Prince Fielder for the most home runs hit by a Brewers player in a single month, and sits just one home run shy of tying Álex Rodríguez’s 2007 record for most home runs hit within any club’s first 22 games of the season.
It may be far too early to predict which players will finish first in the MVP races this fall, but there’s no denying Yelich has already set himself apart from the competition. Through Saturday’s performance, he’s batting .361/.459/.880 with a 1.329 OPS and MLB-best 31 RBI across 98 PA so far.