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Carlos Martínez had a bad day yesterday


In Thursday’s Game 1 of the Braves-Cardinals NLDS matchup, Cardinals closer Carlos Martínez gave up a two-run home run to Braves outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. Acuña, clearly pumped by the homer, watched it fly and celebrated with no small amount of exuberance as he rounded the bases.

This, you’ll recall, agitated Martínez, who said after the game that he didn’t care for Acuña’s antics and that he “wanted [Acuña] to respect the game and respect me as a veteran player.”

Flash forward to last night, when Martínez was called on to protect the Cardinals’ 1-0 lead in the top of the ninth inning. He gave up a leadoff double to Josh Donaldson, who was replaced by pinch runner Billy Hamilton. Check out Martínez blowing a kiss to Hamilton at second base:

I actually think that’s kind of funny and would love to see more low-level in-game taunting like that, but Martínez’s “respect the game” schtick sort of undercuts his claim to irreverence, no?

Two RBI hits later the Braves had taken the lead from the Cardinals and Martínez was still in the game to face his nemesis from Thursday, Acuña. He walked him on six pitches, with balls 1, 3, and 4 all coming inside, two of which were high-and-tight. It’s not hard to conclude that, having blown the lead, Martínez was trying to take out his frustrations on Acuña. After ball 4, he still obviously had frustrations, however:

The Braves have certainly gotten under Martínez’s skin in this series. And have  tagged him twice in the process. All of which makes you wonder if Martínez’s skin isn’t a little too thin. All of which makes you wonder if there isn’t a competitive utility to big celebrations of home runs.

All of which makes you wonder if, in the event the Cards have a late lead to protect this afternoon in Game 4, Mike Shildt even bothers to get Martínez up in the bullpen.

Giants hire Gabe Kapler as new manager


The Giants announced on Tuesday the hiring of Gabe Kapler as manager. Kapler, filling the extremely large shoes of future Hall of Famer Bruce Bochy, inked a three-year deal, Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area reports. Kapler was one of three finalists for the job, beating out Astros bench coach Joe Espada and Rays bench coach Matt Quataro.

Following his 12-year playing career, Kapler was a coach for Israel’s team in the 2013 World Baseball Classic qualifier. He then became an analyst for FS1 before joining the Dodgers’ front office as the director of player development in November 2014. He was involved in three scandals there: one in which he tried to handle a sexual assault incident involving two Dodgers minor league players without telling police, one in which he allegedly discriminated against Nick Francona, a veteran and former baseball operations employee, and an incident that implicated most of the Dodgers’ front office concerning the recruiting of international free agents. The Dodgers reportedly kept a spreadsheet of employees and their level of criminality.

Despite Kapler’s background, the Phillies hired him as their manager ahead of the 2018 season. He would lead the Phillies to an 80-82 record that year and then helped them improve by one game in 2019, finishing at exactly .500 before being fired. Kapler’s tenure in Philly was tumultuous, often drawing ire from the local media and subsequently the fan base for not being tough enough on his players. The Phillies also reportedly had a clubhouse issue in 2018 in which players were playing video games in the clubhouse during games, prompting Carlos Santana to smash a TV with a bat.

Kapler has a history with Farhan Zaidi, the Giants’ president of baseball operations. They worked together in the Dodgers’ front office as Zaidi served as GM from November 2014-18.