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Josh Bell keys Pirates’ rout of Cubs with three homers

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Pirates All-Star first baseman Josh Bell swatted a trio of homers and knocked in seven runs, helping his team rout the Cubs 18-5 on Monday night. The Buccos amassed 23 hits of which 12 went for extra bases. Four of those extra-base hits came in the form of Adam Frazier doubles.

Bell now has a .308/.381/.654 batting line with 25 home runs, 77 RBI, and 65 runs scored in 362 plate appearances just past the halfway point of the season. I just can’t help but think about that anonymous scout who, for some reason, decided to trash Bell when he was interviewed by Sports Illustrated in a season preview. Wonder what he’s up to these days.

Bell is the 10th player this season to enjoy a three-homer game. He joins Paul Goldschmidt, Gary Sánchez, Christian Yelich, Justin Turner, Kris Bryant, Derek Dietrich, Pedro Severino, Max Kepler, and Hunter Renfroe. Bell is the first Pirate to have a three-homer game since Andrew McCutchen on July 30, 2017 against the Padres. McCutchen actually had the Pirates’ most recent three three-homer games prior to Bell.

In case you were curious, there have been only four other four-double games dating back to 2010: Víctor Martínez (Red Sox) on June 1, 2010; Brock Holt (Red Sox) on June 1, 2014; David Peralta (Diamondbacks) on April 22, 2017; and Matt Carpenter (Cardinals) on August 26, 2018.

The Pirates racked up 45 total bases, the most they’ve had in a game since their 47 total bases on August 1, 1970 against the Braves. The Cubs surrendered 45 or more total bases in a game just one other time dating back to 1995 — May 28, 2006 against the Braves.

Padres fire Andy Green

Andy Green
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The Padres fired manager Andy Green on Saturday, per an official team release. Bench coach Rod Barajas will step into the position for the remaining eight games of the 2019 season.

Executive Vice President and GM A.J. Preller gave a statement in the wake of Green’s dismissal:

I want to thank Andy for his tireless work and dedication to the Padres over the last four seasons. This was an incredibly difficult decision, but one we felt was necessary at this time to take our organization to the next level and expedite the process of bringing a championship to San Diego. Our search for a new manager will begin immediately.

In additional comments made to reporters, Preller added that the decision had not been made based on the Padres’ current win-loss record (a fourth-place 69-85 in the NL West), but rather on the lack of response coming from the team.

“Looking at the performance, looking at it from an improvement standing, we haven’t seen the team respond in the last few months,” Preller said. “When you get to the point where you’re questioning where things are headed … we have to make that call.”

Since his hiring in October 2015, Green has faced considerable challenges on the Padres’ long and winding path to postseason contention. He shepherded San Diego through four consecutive losing seasons, drawing a career 274-366 record as the club extended their streak to 13 seasons without a playoff appearance. And, despite some definite strides in the right direction — including an eight-year, $144 million pact with Eric Hosmer, a 10-year, $300 million pact with superstar Manny Machado, and the development of top prospect Fernando Tatís Jr. — lingering injuries and inexplicable slumps from key players stalled the rebuild longer than the Padres would have liked.

For now, they’ll prepare to roll the dice with a new skipper in 2020, though any potential candidates have yet to be identified for the role. It won’t come cheap, either, as Green inked a four-year extension back in 2017 — one that should have seen him through the team’s 2021 campaign.