Puerto Rico blanks Spain 3-0

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A three-spot in the bottom of the first was all Puerto Rico needed to defeat Spain in a battle of Pool C contestants in the World Baseball Classic. Carlos Beltran doubled to score Angel Pagan, Mike Aviles hit a sacrifice fly to score Alex Rios, and Carlos Rivera walked with the bases loaded to plate Beltran in a shaky opener for Spain pitcher Sergio Perez.

From there, the offense subsided at Hiram Bithorn Stadium. Puerto Rico’s Giancarlo Alvarado threw four scoreless innings and Hiram Burgos four and two-thirds, the duo holding Spain to a meager five hits — all singles — while striking out seven and walking one. Xavier Cedeno came on with two outs in the ninth, striking out Salomon Manriquez looking to close out the game. None of Puerto Rico’s hitters logged more than one hit, but the team drew five walks and stole four bases in an attempt to generate offense.

Spain’s Perez rebounded with a scoreless second before giving way to Richard Salazar, who tossed an impressive five innings of scoreless baseball. Edgar Gonzalez and Ricardo Hernandez combined for a scoreless eighth inning.

Puerto Rico joins the Dominican Republic at 1-0 in Pool C while Spain drops to 0-1 with Venezuela. Spain plays the DR tomorrow at 11 AM ET while Puerto Rico will play Venezuela later in the evening.

Who are the candidates for the Cardinals managerial job?

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If you logged off over the weekend, you may not have heard that Mike Matheny was sacked as the Cardinals manager late Saturday night. I wrote about the reasons for this yesterday morning. Mike Shildt was named the interim manager and he will keep the job through the rest of the season. Between now and then the Cardinals’ brain trust is going to figure out who they want for the job full time.

Today Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch goes over a list of potential candidates. No, the Cardinals have not identified any officially, but Goold is a smart cookie and hears stuff and what wasn’t heard is informed speculation. At the very least, expect to hear many of the names he lists several times as the process goes on.

You gotta read his article to get the list, but there are a couple on there I want to talk about for a second.

The first one is Joe Girardi, who makes it because (a) he is the most prominent marquee manager who doesn’t have a job at the moment; (b) he played 16 games with the Cardinals in his final season; and (c) far more important than that is that he is tight with John Mozeliak. But while Girardi seems like a perfect candidate for a club in win-now mode, I question whether he’s truly the right guy given that he left New York for many of the same reasons Matheny left St. Louis (i.e. not relating well with young players). We can’t overstate that, however, because Girardi is, by every other measure, a superior manager to Matheny, primarily when it comes to managing a bullpen, so his rapport with the kids is not the be-all, end-all.

Goold also mentions Mark McGwire. He’s obviously a legend in St. Louis and, unlike a lot of former players who talk about wanting to get into managing these days, McGwire has been putting in his time as a coach for a long, long time. He’s currently the Padres’ bench coach. I’d like to see McGwire get the job for petty, personal reasons: a lot of people would get really, really mad about a PED guy getting the gig, they’d say and write a lot of dumb stuff and that, for me, is the key to a lot of content. Not gonna lie about that.

A lot of other interesting names on that list too. And there will likely be a lot of people, beyond those who the Cardinals initially identify, who express interest in the job too. It’s a sweet gig with historic job security for a marquee franchise in a baseball city, so what’s not to like?