Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times caused a bit of a stir after publishing a scathing takedown of the culture within the Mariners’ front office, quoting various former employees. Among them were ex-manager Eric Wedge and former special assistant to the GM Tony Blengino.
In the report, Baker writes that Blengino prepared a job application package for then-GM-hopeful Jack Zduriencik painting the man as a “dual threat” capable of utilizing both scouting and statistical analysis. Blengino, however, told Baker: “Jack never has understood one iota about statistical analysis. To this day, he evaluates hitters by homers, RBI and batting average and pitchers by wins and ERA.” According to Baker’s article, Zduriencik reduced Blengino’s role within the organization more and more before ultimately getting rid of him back in August. “Jack tried to destroy me,” Blengino said.
Jim Duquette of MLB Network Radio recently tweeted this, adding yet more intrigue:
If misleading resumes, bitter office politics, and a complete lack of organizational direction and leadership are “just the tip of the iceberg”, one has to wonder what lies beneath the surface.
Update: Benny Heis from MLB Network Radio linked me to the audio of Blengino’s interview on Twitter. Click here to listen to it.
The Yankees defeated the Astros 4-1 during Game 5 of the American League Championship Series on Friday night, staving off a potential postseason elimination and forcing the series to at least six games.
In just the third playoff appearance of his career, Yankees southpaw James Paxton turned in another impressive performance, limiting the Astros to four hits and four walks over six innings of one-run ball. According to MLB Stats, his nine strikeouts made him the second Yankees lefty to record multiple starts of 8+ strikeouts in the same postseason campaign, two decades after David Wells did so for the 1998 championship-winning club.
Paxton’s strong outing was backed by a handful of runs from DJ LeMahieu and Aaron Hicks, both of whom went deep against Astros ace Justin Verlander in the bottom of the first inning. LeMahieu’s leadoff solo shot marked his first postseason home run since Game 1 of the ALDS, while Hicks’ three-run 347-footer was his first home run of any variety since July 24 (and his first in the playoffs since the 2017 ALDS).
Neither team managed a single run after the first inning, leaving the two pitching staffs to duke it out for eight quick innings. Verlander outlasted Paxton — taking the game through the seventh with five hits, four runs, and nine strikeouts — but even with a flawless contribution from Brad Peacock in the eighth, there was little the hurlers could do to help the Astros solve Paxton and an airtight Yankees bullpen.
With the win, the Yankees will try to push the series to a full seven games in order to snatch the AL pennant from the Astros. They’ll have to do in Houston, however, as the Astros will regain home field advantage when Game 6 kicks off on Saturday at 8:08 PM EDT. Neither starter has been announced yet; per Houston skipper A.J. Hinch, it will likely be a bullpen day.