June 17, 2008
This and every weekday a.m., let's rise and shine together with the most recent and decent major league happenings. Today's Roll Call starts on the Boston Celtics team plane, which logically is the next ordeal for Mets manager Willie Randolph to endure. After jetting to California for the team's western road trip, he lasted only one day, despite a win.
Game of the Day: Mets 9, Angels 6
Minaya Conventions: As soon as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the United Nations curb water boarding, they promise to crack down on the Mets for what they just did to Willie Randolph, sending out a press release announcing his departure at 3:14 a.m. Eastern time. Yes, you read that right. Randolph was cowardly axed with pitching coach Rick Peterson and first base coach Tom Nieto in the middle of the night when most of us were counting sheep.
This is a full flight: Omar Minaya, the team's GM, made the trip all the way to Orange County, too — which he rarely does. But if he was going to dump Randolph and the coaches anyway, why did them make him fly all the way across the country to face the firing squad? Did he want them to have one last shot at clocking some free frequent flier miles? A chance to have a good cry while looking over the Pacific Ocean? A meeting with Mickey and Minnie. I'm sure the players will be very understanding of the whole ordeal and side with the front office. In fact, you can no doubt now consider the NL East finally won now that Jerry Manuel's in charge as interim manager. The good news is that the Mets still owe Randolph $2.25 million in salary for 2009. If only we all had such a lovely parting gift.
Power brokers: Carlos Beltran, it was reported, said the players were told Randolph would finish the season. The players were told no such thing, Minaya says. We might not be able to count Carlos as a source on Willie, but consider him integral to the Jerry Manuel era starting well. He hit a pair of homers against Jered Weaver. Mike Pelfrey pitched unwell, but he won for the first time in 11 starts. Billy Wagner, that's two good ones in a row after a hat trick of bad.
Interleague activities: They should have included a pregame ceremony to honor Nolan Ryan and thank the Mets for trading him to the Angels for Jim Fregosi in 1971. ... In the Bobby Grich Room at 6 p.m.: "Teaching New Tricks to the Old Hit Dog: What it's like to have Mo Vaughn past his prime." Art Howe and Terry Collins moderate, with special guest Steve Phillips.
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Feelin' Rundown (Monday's other games):
Marlins 6, Mariners 1 — Not a good year for Bill Bavasi, who lost his dad, Buzzie Bavasi, on May 1. So, the new guy, Lee Pelekoudas, has some work to do. Gotta bring back Tully's Coffee as a sponsor at Safeco Field. There's the complete roster overhaul. Getting Carlos Silva kicked out of every game, but before it starts. And, for heaven sakes, more PDA.
Braves 7, Rockies 1 — Jair Jurrjens, Jair Jurjjens, Jair Jurrjens, Jair Jurrjens, Jair Jurrjens, Jair Jurrjens, Jair Jurrjens (one for each win). The Coxswains have won three of four on the road. Epic — it's nearly a third of their road wins for the entire season. Chipper. Good report. 2-4, .403. The Rockies expect Troy Tulowitzki and Clint Barmes to begin a rehab assignment at Triple-A today.
Phillies 8, Red Sox 2 — And the words of the prophets were written on the scoreboard at Citizens Bank Ballpark: "I believe we're destined to play each other in the World Series," Cole Hamels said. Moses, Muhammad, Hamels. ... Ryan Howard is about to slip past 100 strikeouts, he's still 100 points off his career slugging percentage — nearly 200 points behind 2006 — but he's also 8-for-18 with four homers, 13 RBIs and seven runs scored in his past four games. So, maybe he's come around. Colon pulled something swinging the bat. Get him a semi-private room with Wang.
Giants 8, Tigers 6 — Enticing pitching match-up between Verlander and Lincecum ends up in semi-offensive splendor. Another two-homer performance, this one by Marcus Markley Thames (love his river), but John Bowker — he who gets no Baseball Prospectus love — spoils the return of Rodney with a go-ahead three-run Kingman into the right-field arcade.
Cubs vs. Padres ppd. (rain) — Lou hopefully tried his best to avoid putting on his "Crotchety Old Man" face for this exhibition game, canceled after his team inconveniently made its way from Toronto, and the Pads from Cleveland. No more Hall of Fame Game with major leaguers after seven decades in Cooperstown. Too much of a hassle. Greg Maddux had a nice quote about going: "When you look at the schedule back in spring training you're like, 'Oh, that's an off day. We don't want to go.' But once you're here you're kind of glad you're here. For me it's a great place to spend an off day."
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Photo of the Day: The bus better still be here
Padres catcher Luke Carlin, batting .164, really gets the feeling the team left him behind at Doubleday Field in Coopertown, N.Y. "It probably was that jerk Kouzmanoff," Carlin said. "He told me to go back to the dugout and pick up the key to the batters box because Mr. Black needs it. I really am starting to wonder if there's such a key, because I've never seen the skip use a key."
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Jimmy Rollins (Phillies) 3-5, 2 R, HR, 3 RBI
Howard (Phillies) 3-5, 2 HR, 4 RBI
Hamels (Phillies) 7 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, Win
Jurrjens (Braves) 7 2/3 IP, 8 H, 2 BB, 7 K, Win
Beltran (Mets) 2-4, 2 HR, 2 RBI
Andrew Miller (Fish) 7 IP, 6 H, ER, BB, 2 K, Win
Thames (Tigers) 2-4, 2 HR, 3 RBI
Fred Lewis (Giants) 2-5, HR, 3 RBI
Bowker (Giants) 3-4, 2 R, HR, 3 RBI
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Manny, Lowell, Varitek (Red Sox) 0-12
Weaver (Angels) 6 1/3 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, BB, 5 K, Loss
Jose Vidro (Mariners) 0-4, .215 BA (he's the DH and hits third)
Silva (Mariners) 4 2/3 IP, H, 3 ER, BB, 4 K, Loss, ejection
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Words of Mouth
"I honestly don't think we go out there thinking, well, I've got to make sure we win this game so Willie can keep his job, because that's out of our control." — Billy Wagner.