This summer’s new reality show: “When Managers Manage!”
“We’ve got to get better, and we’ve got to start stringing together wins,” McClendon said. “That’s the message I’m going to send to my club starting the second half. I’ve given my club a lot of string and allowed them to do a lot of things, but it’s not working and we’ve got to change things . . . You try to stay positive and encourage your club, but maybe it takes prodding of a different nature,” McClendon said. “And if that’s the case, then that’s what I have to do.”
I suppose tone matters, but none of the hands-on or hands-off stuff from McClendon will matter much if no one besides Nelson Cruz swings a decent bat and the bullpen can’t figure it out. As the linked article makes clear, there is not a great chance of the M’s adding any big parts — the Mark Trumbo trade was probably it for them — so the current roster just has to turn it around.
Will McClendon cracking the whip help? Hard to see how. But what else can he do?
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.