MLBits: Mangerial Changes Coming? Red Sox Shot at History, Ankiel's Return, Soto, Davidson, More

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MLBits: Mangerial Changes Coming? Red Sox Shot at History, Ankiel’s Return, Soto, Davidson, More

Chicago Cubs

The Cubs have the best record in the National League one week into August, and they’ve done that largely without Yu Darvish, Kris Bryant, and Brandon Morrow.

The best record. In August. Without the top player from each of the lineup, rotation, and bullpen for prolonged stretches of time. Just reminding you of that.

  • This past year, Luke Heimlich went 15-1 at Oregon State with a 2.42 ERA and was named the Pac-12 Conference Pitcher of the Year for the second consecutive season. However, he went unselected in both the 2017 and 2018 drafts after news that he pled guilty to molesting his 6-year-niece when he was 15 years old became public last summer. You may recall the story.
  • But although his shot at the Major Leagues may be long gone, he did try to continue playing baseball for the Lamigo Monkeys of the CPBL. However, after word of his contract with the Monkeys spread, the league decided not to approve his deal and demanded that they terminate his contract immediately.
  • After the end of last season, three postseason qualifiers were among the six teams to make changes at the manager position, but that may have just been the start. According to Ken Rosenthal, this offseason could be just as busy.
  • Already, in his opinion, you can more or less mark down the Blue Jays, Angels, Reds, and Cardinals to make a change, while the Orioles, Dodgers, and even Nationals (Dave Martinez) could theoretically be in store for a new skipper. But it’s not all their fault. Instead, the availability of guys like Joe Girardi, John Farrell, Mike Matheny, and Dusty Baker could force some teams’ hands a little sooner than expected.
(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
  • And, yes, that apparently includes the Cubs who, in Rosenthal’s estimationcould be convinced to replace Joe Maddon if 1) Joe Girardi wanted to come on board and 2) they “flop in the playoffs.” Frankly, I just don’t see that happening – like, at all – but it’s not because Girardi would be a bad manager. In fact, I tend to think he’d be one of a VERY small handful of guys Cubs fans would welcome. But, yeah, no, it’s not happening unless the Cubs completely poop their pants the rest of the way. And even then … nah.
  • YES Network announcer Michael Kay made some waves recently when he called out Clint Frazier (among others) for apparently … not healing up fast enough: “Shame on guys like Jacoby Ellsbury for not getting healthy. Shame on Clint Frazier for not getting healthy. Again, you can’t make them get healthy, but if those guys are available, it’s a completely different animal.”
  • Upon hearing those comments, Frazier answered back by saying he doesn’t appreciate what Kay said and that he’s doing everything he can to get back to his team. Kay’s “apology” was … mediocre:

  • Aside from the fact that Frazier is returning from a concussion (one in which he suffered a set-back at the end of July), Kay’s apology contains those seven little words every terrible apology seems to have: “If you took it the wrong way.” I mean, honestly, has that ever worked for anyone? When you say that you’re completely shirking responsibility and suggesting the lone problem was with the reception not the substance. And again, the fact that this had to do with a concussion (and how serious those injuries can be) makes it all the worse.
  • Speaking of the Yankees, their Minor League affiliates threw a no-hitter last night … and lost the game in extras. And in case you missed it, no, I don’t mean they threw a no-hitter, went to extras, and then lost the no-hitter before losing the game. I mean they lost a game in which the other team failed to record a single hit from start to finish.
  • Rick Ankiel really is trying to come back:

  • The nerds over at FiveThirtyEight have created a cheat sheet to help fans know when it’s more or less safe to leave a ballgame depending on the score and inning. For example, if you’re team is down six runs in the 2nd, four runs in the 5th, or two runs in the 8th. But just so we’re clear …

  • Every year, there’s at least one team that gets off to a roaring start and is awarded the “Do they have a shot at the Mariners” team of the year award. But in almost every case (the Cubs in 2016, the Dodgers in 2017) something happens to slow them down. And yet, here we are on August 7 and the Red Sox have already won 79 games. If they kept this pace up the rest of the year, they’d win 113 games. If they went .500 the rest of the way, they’d win 103 games. The projections have them splitting the difference (108 games) and I’m gonna guess that’s about where they end up. At MLB.com, however, Andrew Simon runs through some other similar teams, gets into the Red Sox schedule and discusses issues like laying off the gas on purpose in September that can stand in their way. Good stuff.
  • Jeff Sullivan thinks Juan Soto might be the best teenage hitter in history. And, I mean, yeah, sure. He looks great and Sullivan is a great baseball analyst, but also … let’s just see what happens. I’ve been around long enough to know that almost every “… in history” winds up not applying, unless it’s about Mike Trout.
  • This is cracking me up and has to be one of the most creative trolls during a tantrum I’ve ever seen.

  • Some fun stuff going on this year with hitting pitchers, er … pitching hitters or whatever:

  • Obviously, we more or less expected this from Ohtani, but how about Matt Davidson? You go, dude:

  • For what it’s worth, Anthony Rizzo is two pitching appearances away from joining these ranks, Ian Happ is two appearances and three homers away, and Victor Caratini is one appearance and … 15 homers away. It can happen.

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Author: Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami covers the Chicago Cubs, Bears, and Bulls at Bleacher Nation. You can find him on Twitter @Michael_Cerami