Nathan Grimm

Baseball Daily Dose

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Daily Dose: The Cardinal Way

Sunday, July 15, 2018


With a string of success going back decades, the Cardinals have had just two managers since 1996.

 

Make that three.

 

After another uninspiring loss Saturday, an 8-2 dud against the surging Reds, the Cardinals dismissed the manager, they announced in a news release. Hitting coach John Mabry and assistant hitting coach Bill Mueller were also let go. Bench coach Mike Shildt will take over as interim manager.

 

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The move came as a surprise, more so because of the timing than the impetus behind it. The last time the Cardinals fired a manager in the middle of a season was 1995, when Joe Torre was let go that June.

 

"These decisions are never easy, but we felt that a change in leadership was necessary as the team prepares to enter into the second half of the season," said Cardinals President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak.

 

The move came as the Cardinals moved closer to the teams at the bottom of the division than those at the top, the continuation of a trend since the team finished with 100 wins in 2015. They missed the postseason the following year, finishing 17.5 games behind the Cubs in the division, and last season they finished third behind both the Cubs and Brewers.

 

This year, the team is 47-46 after Saturday's loss, and only lead the Pirates for third place in the division by virtue of having played three fewer games. The Reds, one of the hottest teams in the league, could also pass the Cardinals in the standings before long.

 

Also playing into the move, by some accounts, was Matheny's handling of some situations with players in recent weeks. Media reports regarding his relationship with Dexter Fowler, and his condoning of Bud Norris' treatment of rookie Jordan Hicks, didn't help Matheny's public perception, at best, and perhaps had a hand in his dismissal, at worst.

 

In the immediate aftermath of the move, much speculation on Twitter was regarding Joe Girardi as a potential fit. Girardi left the Yankees in a shocking move last fall, after the team made the ALCS under his guidance.

 

For now, though, the Cardinals will focus on getting through the season under Shildt's leadership.

 

Ramos To Miss All-Star Game

 

It was an injury that prematurely ended Wilson Ramos' time in Washington.

 

It's an injury, too, that will keep him from a long-awaited return next week.

 

Ramos, penciled in as the starting catcher for the American League in Tuesday's All-Star Game, won't play in the game after he suffered a strained left hamstring in Saturday's game against the Twins. Ramos is likely headed to the disabled list, he said after Saturday's game.

 

"I was very excited to participate in that game, but now I'm very sad because I will be out. … I worked really hard to make that team," said Ramos. "It's disappointing. It's very frustrating to not participate in the All-Star Game. But it's better to miss one game than two months. I have to be smart and do my rehab well and come back strong."

 

Ramos earned the distinction by batting .297/.346/.488 with 14 homers, 53 RBI and 30 runs scored in 78 games this year. It was his second All-Star selection, after he was chosen for the honor in 2016 as a member of the Nationals.

 

That year, he hit 22 homers with 80 RBI in 131 games and helped the Nats to a first place finish in the NL East. But he didn't get to participate in their postseason run -- they lost in the Division Series against the Dodgers -- after tearing the ACL in his right knee during a game on September 26.

 

The long road back appeared destined to lead him back to the nation's capital as well, but alas, he'll visit only as a participant in the festivities, not in the game. Salvador Perez will start the game for the AL, and Yan Gomes was named to the team in Ramos' absence.

 

Vizcaino Lands Back On Disabled List

 

For the second time this month, the Braves' closer is on the disabled list.

 

Arodys Vizcaino, less than two weeks after coming off the DL, was placed back on the shelf Saturday with right shoulder inflammation.

 

“It’s concerning, very much so, I think,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said after Saturday’s game. “Because he was feeling so good when he came back. Then last night I guess he didn’t feel real good when he was warming up to potentially come in the game.”

 

Both A.J. Minter and Dan Winkler saved games for the Braves in Vizcaino's previous two-week absence, and the Braves are rife with good relief options, making it tough to handicap who might close games while Vizcaino is out. Minter may be the best bet, but the most likely answer is that Snitker plays the matchups, rendering all of them dart throws at best.

 

National League Quick Hits: Zach Eflin (blister) has been scratched from his scheduled start Sunday against the Marlins. Eflin left a start earlier this month due to a blister, so this issue doesn't come as a huge surprise. Enyel De Los Santos will start in his place Sunday. When healthy, it's been a promising first half for the 24-year-old Eflin, who has a 3.15 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and 67/14 K/BB ratio in 12 starts to date ... Dodgers optioned RHP Walker Buehler to Triple-A Oklahoma City. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said the demotion isn't performance-related -- the young righty has a 3.45 ERA through 57 1/3 innings this year -- and more about Buehler's workload, according to Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times. After the All-Star break the team will decide whether to continue on with their six-man rotation or whether they'll go in a different direction ... Jon Gray yielded one run on five hits over 7 1/3 innings in Saturday's win over the Mariners. Gray was optioned to Triple-A on June 30 to cap the end of a brutal first three months of the season. Perhaps that humbling demotion lit a bit of a fire under his belly, as he came out in complete control of his arsenal on Saturday after being recalled. While Gray's ERA still sits at an unwieldy 5.44, with this outing in the books he at least has something positive to build on heading into the second half of the campaign ... Brewers placed Eric Thames on the 10-day disabled list with a right hamstring strain. Thames suffered the injury during Friday's game against the Pirates. With the All-Star break on the horizon, he won't need to miss many games and should be ready to return as soon as he's eligible or shortly after. Nate Orf was recalled from Triple-A in a corresponding move ... Pirates placed C Francisco Cervelli on the 7-day concussion disabled list with post-concussion symptoms. Cervelli hasn't been the same player since returning from the disabled list on July 8, and now we learn it could be because he's still dealing with the after-effects of his concussion. Jacob Stallings was recalled from Triple-A in a corresponding move ... DJ LeMahieu was scratched from Saturday's lineup with lower back tightness. Pat Valaika started in his place. With one more game left and then four days off, the Rox may also choose to keep LeMahieu out Sunday to let him rest. Check back in Sunday to be sure ... Zack Greinke hurled 7 2/3 scoreless innings to earn an impressive win over the Braves on Saturday. He punched out seven batters without issuing a walk and surrendered just four base hits in the sterling outing. His only disappointment was that he didn't get a hit in three chances (he entered the game with a .294 batting average). The win moved him to 10-5 with a 3.18 ERA in 20 starts. He has a marvelous 124:23 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 121 2/3 innings. He will be in the nation's capital for the All-Star game next week ... Jose Peraza collected five hits with a pair of RBI and a run scored as the Reds thumped the Cardinals 8-2 on Saturday. Peraza finished 5-for-6 in the contest, with all five hits coming in the way of singles. It was the latest notable game in a string of them for the 24-year-old, who has gone from a fringe starter to a vital part of the Reds' lineup during their recent resurgence. After owning a .251/.276/.322 line through May 19, Peraza is now hitting .288/.333/.387 with five homers, 34 RBI, 52 runs scored and 17 steals overall.

 

American League Quick Hits: Gary Sanchez (groin) will begin a rehab assignment Sunday with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Yankees manager Aaron Boone alluded to that possibility earlier in the week, and now it's set. Sanchez only hit the disabled list on June 25 with a Grade 1 groin strain, so this would represent a return ahead of schedule assuming the rehab assignment is relatively short. With a few days off for the All-Star break, Sanchez may only miss a handful more games before rejoining the Yankees in the season's second half ... Yoan Moncada left Saturday's game against the Royals with a bruised right knee. He's day to day, the team said, and X-rays came back negative. Moncada may sit out Sunday's first half finale to give him a handful of days of rest before the season's second half picks up late next week -- although he said he wants to play -- but either way, he should be able to avoid a DL stint ... Jed Lowrie (leg) was not in the lineup for Saturday's game against the Giants. Lowrie was diagnosed with a left leg contusion after colliding with teammate Stephen Piscotty during Friday's game, so it's not a huge surprise that he'd sit out Saturday. He's day to day for now ... Fernando Romero will be recalled and will start for the Twins Sunday against the Rays. Aaron Slegers was forced to go on the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation, creating a need for a Sunday starter. Enter Romero, who has been in the minors since being demoted June 23. He's pitched well in three starts since the demotion, and owned a decent 4.38 ERA in 10 starts prior to being sent out. There's some streaming appeal here against a Rays team without Wilson Ramos on Sunday, for those so inclined ... Xander Bogaerts blasted a walk-off grand slam in the 10th inning on Saturday, powering the Red Sox to a 6-2 victory over the Blue Jays. Bogaerts has exceeded expectations from a fantasy perspective, slashing .284/.355/.529 with 15 homers and 62 RBI on the year ... Athletics designated RHP Santiago Casilla for assignment. Casilla owned a serviceable 3.16 ERA in 31 1/3 innings, including picking up one save for the A's this year, but the club obviously has other relief alternatives it prefers and thought the 40-man roster spot better used. It will be interesting to see whether he's claimed or if he clears waivers.



Nathan Grimm is a baseball writer for Rotoworld. He can also be found on Twitter (@Nate_Grimm).
Email :Nathan Grimm



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