I'm ready for the weekend. Oh crap, it's only Wednesday.
- The New York Mets are tied for last place in the NL East (technically percentage points ahead of the Phillies) and that's clearly someone's fault. So they released Jose Valverde and fired hitting coach Dave Hudgens.
- Jon Heyman hopes that this isn't a prelude to firing manager Terry Collins, whom he feels hasn't gotten a fair opportunity in Flushing yet.
- Jonathan Bernhardt thinks that GM Sandy Alderson should be more worried about his job than Collins, since Hudgens was considered an Alderson guy. He also thinks this is all so Mets.
- Jay Jaffe chimes in on Hudgens' firing and examines the Mets' hitting woes. Jaffe thinks the problems are more Alderson's fault than Hudgens'.
- Hudgens, however, is not going quietly. He stuck up for Alderson and said that he's hampered by ownership payroll restrictions.
- And not just that. Hudgens gave an interview to mlb.com in which he blamed Mets fans for the team's hitting woes at Citi Field.
- Steve Wulf writes: "Sorry. It's all my fault."
- Another team that's in trouble is the Royals. Craig Calcaterra thinks it's time for Ned Yost, The Worst Manager In Baseball™ to get the axe. Hilariously, he suggests Ozzie Guillen might be a good replacement. He's just spitballing, but I hope he's right. Baseball is more entertaining with Ozzie saying stupid stuff.
- That's not surprising coming from Calcaterra. What is surprising is that Ken Rosenthal also thinks it's time for Yost to go. Not only that, he thinks GM Dayton Moore should go with him. (I'm trying to think who would get the title of TWMIB when Yost gets canned. Don Mattingly? Matt Williams?)
- Joe Posnanski wrote something on Twitter yesterday and he got a lot of flack from fans of a lot of different teams, the Cubs included. (I re-Tweeted one of those). But he defends his assertion that the Kansas City Royals are the toughest team in all of sports to love. You can read it and see if you buy it.
- This is as good a time as any to introduce the butcher's bill, since it involves the Royals. But this time, it's good news as Yordano Ventura has no structural elbow issues and will only miss one start.
- Of course, as Royals beat writer Andy McCullough points out "the thing about elbow injuries is they always go away and never come back." Gulp. I guess it really is hard to be a Royals fan. At least they have 1985.
- Rob Neyer wants to know just how in the world does the short, skinny Ventura hit 100 mph on radar guns. He thinks it could be quite valuable to teams to figure that out.
- The news isn't all good for the Royals, however. Top prospect Kyle Zimmer will be shut down for at least six to eight weeks with tightness in his back. Zimmer has yet to throw a pitch outside of extended spring training this season.
- The news is better for Mets top pitching prospect Noah Syndergaard. The MRI on his pitching elbow came back clean, so he'll just need to rest and recuperation rather than surgery. Wait. The Mets got good news?
- Yu Darvish missed a start with a sore neck, but the Rangers' horrible season didn't get any worse as his MRI was "unremarkable." They don't know when he'll make his next start.
- The Indians sent Nick Swisher to the DL with a knee injury and Carlos Santana to the 7-day concussion disabled list.
- The Phillies Jesse Biddle missed a start after suffering headaches after getting caught in a hailstorm.
- Ryan Zimmerman has been cleared to swing a bat, and he's apparently working on playing the outfield when he returns.
- A.J. Eliis injured his ankle in the celebration of Josh Beckett's no-hitter. You wouldn't think anyone would want to emulate Kendrys Morales, but you'd be wrong, apparently.
- This story was just a few outs away from being the lead story today. The day after Beckett's no-hitter, Hyun-Jin Ryu took a perfect game into the eighth inning before it was broken up by a leadoff double by Todd Frazier. No team has ever thrown back-to-back no-hitters before, although the 1917 St. Louis Browns did throw no-hitters on consecutive days. (The second no-hitter was game 2 of a doubleheader.)
- A lot of people blamed Dodgers announcer Charley Steiner for costing Ryu his perfect game, as he mentioned it several times during the broadcast. (Vin Scully was out sick.) But as Matt Yoder pointed out, Steiner did the very same thing the day before during the no-hitter that Beckett completed. There is no no-hitter jinx, people.
- Of course, I don't know how Dodgers fans could get upset about that since most of them couldn't actually watch the game with Steiner's commentary.
- PUIG! Don Mattingly thinks he's the best right fielder in baseball. He even draws little hearts around his name on the lineup card.
- It wasn't that long ago that Matt Kemp was the best center fielder in baseball. Now he can't even get into the starting lineup, and he's pretty unhappy about that.
- Jerry Crasnick talks to Dee Gordon about how he's learned to become a better ballplayer this season.
- Albert Chen thinks that prospect Joc Pederson is the key to the Dodgers' future: either as a star starting outfielder or as a trade chip.
- Richard Justice thinks that the Yankees have overcome a lot of adversity to remain contenders in the AL East.
- Matthew Kory thinks the Red Sox are going in the opposite direction and the season is slipping away. He looks at the bad decisions the team made in the offseason and has some suggestions as to how they might yet turn the season around.
- Duane Kuiper, move over! Ben Revere hit his first major league home run last night. It only took him 1,565 trips to the plate.
- Giancarlo Stanton doesn't have that problem. In fact, he hits the ball farther than anyone.
- They said it couldn't happen, but it did. Carlos Marmol signed a minor league deal with the Reds.
- Rob Neyer examines whether George Springer strikes out too much to be successful in the majors.
- Bob Nightengale is all concerned that players suspended in the Biogenesis scandal will make the All-Star Game. I have a solution for this. Do what I do: Stop caring about who makes the All-Star Game.
- MLB is investigating a racist death threat aimed at the Brewers' Khris Davis.
- Tom Verducci has another column about how his idea is going to save baseball. Now that's a little dismissive of me, because if I didn't think there was something worth discussing in there, I wouldn't have linked to it. Most of the article is about the pace of the game and stuff we've already heard before: enforcing the rules about time between pitches, cutting the number of warmup throws on the mound and limiting the number of pitching changes. Stuff like that. All fine and good. The games should be quicker. But then he tosses out a really radical and unrelated idea: institute an "illegal defense" rule in baseball that would ban the infield shift. I have no idea how this would speed up the game, it seem to me it would slow it down by increasing offense. But a lot of people do dislike the infield shift and his solution seems like a simple thing if there's a consensus that it's bad for the game. Is this something we want? The NHL made changes to limit the neutral zone trap that everyone outside of New Jersey hated. I'm not sure I'm in favor of this, but I am in favor of (intelligent) discussion about the subject. And I don't know why Verducci would toss it at the end of a column about speeding up the game as if it were a throwaway line.
- The New York Times has a profile of Pulitzer-winning composer John Luther Adams and his love of baseball and the art of scorekeeping. He compares scorekeeping to music notation.
- The greatest Cubs ballplayer of the last 40 years ate cat food as a kid. And now we know the secret to Ryno's success.
- Finally, this is what everyone is talking about this morning. The rapper 50 Cent made one of the worst baseball first pitches of all time. Throw a strike or die tryin', I guess. He died.
And tomorrow will be a better day than today, Buster.