Larry Bowa says Ryne Sandberg quit because he felt disrespected by his players

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Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com has an exclusive interview with Phillies bench coach Larry Bowa in which he talks about why he thinks Ryne Sandberg unexpectedly quit as Phillies manager a few weeks ago.

Coming change in the front office which would likely result in his termination may have been part of it. Losing is not easy either. But Bowa believes that Sandberg simply got tired of feeling disrespected by his players:

Several pitchers — Hamels, A.J. Burnett, Kyle Kendrick and David Buchanan — openly disrespected Sandberg during visits to the mound last season . . . There were issues this season, as well. Cameras caught Chase Utley chastising pitching coach Bob McClure during a relief appearance by Jeff Francoeur last month in Baltimore, and Ken Giles showed up the manager and got an earful in return in Pittsburgh.

Bowa said that Giles is a good kid, but that he got caught up in the moment. But it seems Sandberg got caught up too, yelling at Gile: “He went over and said, ‘I’m running this team. If I want to put that guy on, I’m putting him on. I’m the manager, you’re the pitcher.'”

Was that one of the moments that led to Sandberg’s decision?

“Maybe,” Bowa said. “Maybe.“

Salisbury prefaces all of this with some stuff about how Sandberg, going back 20 years to his autobiography, said that he just couldn’t abide the younger players’ lack of work ethic. Of course, old baseball men have been saying that for over 100 years. And of course when you have A.J. Burnett, Cole Hamels and Chase Utley on your case, it’s not exactly a function of “young guys” not getting it. It’s a function of you pretty much having lost your entire clubhouse. If you ever had it.

Maybe the Phillies’ job would’ve been impossible for anyone given the state of the roster and the fact that, in following Charlie Manuel, Sandberg was following a man who was seen as a players’ manager and a man who was immensely popular with the veterans on the team.

But there sure is a whole heck of a lot suggesting that maybe Ryne Sandberg wasn’t the right man for the job and that he wasn’t of the experience and temperament to deal with a major league clubhouse.

Astros claim AL pennant with walk-off win against the Yankees

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Following a rollercoaster performance on Saturday, the Astros clinched the American League Championship Series with a decisive 6-4 walk-off win against the Yankees, claiming their second AL pennant and earning a well-deserved entrance to the World Series.

Both clubs decided to preserve possible Game 7 starters Luis Severino and Gerrit Cole, electing to have a “bullpen day” for a pivotal Game 6. Chad Green took the mound for the Yankees, tossing one inning before handing the ball off to a long line of relievers, while Brad Peacock‘s rare playoff start was capped at 1 2/3 innings. According to ESPN Stats & Info, that made it the first postseason game since 1999 in which neither starting pitcher lasted two innings or longer.

All told, the two clubs utilized a total of 13 pitchers to make it through nine innings. The Astros lost Ryan Pressly to a worrisome knee injury in the third, but were able to lean on José Urquidy for 2 2/3 innings of one-run, five-strikeout ball. Although Yankees’ bullpen fought back in every inning, they had considerable difficulty recovering from Yuli Gurriel‘s three-run homer off of Green in the bottom of the first:

Still, New York managed to get in a couple of knocks as well: first, with Gary Sanchez‘s RBI single in the second inning, then with Gio Urshela‘s 395-foot blast in the fourth inning — the second of his postseason career to date. That wasn’t enough to close the gap, however, and Alex Bregman‘s productive groundout in the sixth helped cushion the Astros’ lead as they headed toward the final few innings of the series.

That lead started to look a little shaky in the ninth. Only three outs away from a ticket to the World Series, Houston closer Roberto Osuna gave up a leadoff single to Urshela, which was quickly followed by a jaw-dropping, full-count, game-tying two-run shot from DJ LeMahieu that barely cleared the right field fence.

With the threat of extra innings and a potential loss looming, the Astros engineered a last-minute rally to regain the lead and stake their claim for the pennant. With two outs and no runners on, George Springer took a five-pitch walk from Aroldis Chapman. In the next at-bat, Houston pinned their hopes on José Altuve — and he didn’t disappoint, lifting a 2-1 slider out to left field for a 406-foot, two-RBI homer that confirmed the Astros’ series win.

The 2019 World Series will mark the third Fall Classic appearance for the Astros and the first for the Nationals. It all begins on Tuesday night.