As we noted in the recaps, Neftali Feliz imploded in the eighth inning for the Tigers last night, capped off by a Franklin Gutierrez grand slam. Of course the real problem there as not Feliz — a bad pitcher is gonna bad pitch sometimes and Feliz has been a bad pitcher late and in jams this year — but Brad Ausmus’ bullpen management which put Feliz in a position to fail. And, more to the point, put him in a position to fail with no chance of being bailed out by better pitchers.
Specifically, Ausmus had no one warming up in the pen during Feliz’s meltdown. This despite the fact that both Joakim Soria — who has had multi-inning saves already this year — and Alex Wilson — who has been effective — were both available. Nope, it was Feliz’s inning to sink or swim. Why? Here’s Ausmus:
That’s the reason Tigers fans are grumpy right now, folks. And it’s just latest reason why, for all of the talent on the Tigers’ roster, their season is skidding off the rails.
The Pittsburgh Pirates have hired Ben Cherington as the team’s new general manager. They do so after the general manager meetings ended, but better late than never.
Cherington served as GM of the Boston Red Sox for four years, winning the World Series in 2013, but resigned during the 2015 season after Dave Dombrowski was named Boston’s new president of baseball operations. Which was a defacto demotionn for Cherington who, until then, had the final say in baseball decisions. Dombrowski, of course, was fired late in the season this year. Cherington went on to work for the Toronto Blue Jays as a vice president, but was seen as biding his time for another GM position. Now he has one.
Cherington takes over in Pittsburgh for executive vice president and general manager Neal Huntington, who was fired after a 12 years at the helm. Also fired was team president Frank Coonelly. Travis Williams replaced Coonelly recently. While the Pirates experienced a few years of contention under Huntington and Coonelly, they have slid out of contention in recent years as the club has traded away promising players for little return, all while cutting payroll. There’s a very big rebuilding job ahead of Cherington.
The first move he’ll have to make: hire a manager, as the team still hasn’t replaced Clint Hurdle since he was dismissed in the final weekend of the regular season.