With the White Sox in last place despite a perfectly decent pitching staff hitting coach Jeff Manto is on the hot seat. Chicago’s lineup ranks dead last in the American League in runs scored, but manager Robin Ventura gave Manto a vote of confidence:
It’s one of those it’s part of the game. I see what Jeff’s doing. I’m behind him because I know how hard he works, what he’s put into it and what he’s teaching. The things he talks about, he and Harold [Baines], I’m definitely in his corner.
Harold Baines is Manto’s assistant hitting coach, so the White Sox are actually employing two people devoted to coaching the league’s lowest-scoring offense. Ventura also suggested “you look at me too” when criticism is being thrown around, which is one of those be careful what you wish for things. Whatever the case, once the votes of confidence start up the clock is ticking on someone getting fired.
Stephen Strasburg‘s bat was on fire Thursday night in Atlanta. He hit a three-run home run off of Touki Toussaint to cap off an eight-run third inning, then added a two-run single off of Toussaint in the fifth.
The last time a pitcher knocked in at least five runs was on April 11, 2014 when Madison Bumgarner homered and drove in five runs at home against the Rockies. Strasburg is just the seventh pitcher since 2000 to knock in five runs in one game. The others, along with Strasburg and Bumgarner:
- Chris Carpenter (Cardinals) vs. Reds, October 1, 2009 (HR, 6 RBI)
- Jason Marquis (Cubs) vs. Mets, September 22, 2008 (HR, 5 RBI)
- Micah Owings (Diamondbacks) vs. Braves, August 18, 2007 (2 HR, 6 RBI)
- Robert Person (Phillies) vs. Expos, June 2, 2002 (HR, 7 RBI)
- Shawn Estes (Giants) vs. Expos, May 24, 2000 (HR, 5 RBI)
Strasburg is 3-for-3 overall as he also singled to lead off the third. Tonight’s homer marked the fourth of his career and he’s now up to 25 RBI.
Strasburg is performing well on the mound as well. At the time of this writing, he has held the Braves to a lone run on four hits and a walk with six strikeouts over four innings as the Nationals lead 10-1.