Life gets a little crazy for GMs in July
J.P. Ricciardi is an analyst for "Baseball Tonight"
Baseball Tonight Live
"Baseball Tonight" analysts, ESPN.com writers and SweetSpot Network bloggers chatted and gave their in-game opinions throughout the day's games -- all in Baseball Tonight Live.
Touch 'Em All
Who went deep? Keep track of all the home runs hit each day on "Baseball Tonight" and the Baseball Tonight Clubhouse page. For more, check out the Home Run Tracker page.
|Alex Rodriguez, NYY||12||SEA||Bot 8: 0-1, 1 Out. 1 on.||Aardsma|
|Matt LaPorta, CLE||4||TOR||Bot 4: 1-2, 1 Out. 2 on.||Marcum|
|Wilson Valdez, PHI||4||PIT||Top 3: 2-1, 0 Outs. None on.||McCutchens|
|Robinson Cano, NYY||16||SEA/td>||Bot 4: 0-0, 2 Outs. None on.||Rowland-Smith|
|Shelley Duncan, CLE||4||TOR||Bot 4: 2-2, 1 Out. None on.||Marcum|
Friday's Best Matchups
Giants at Rockies, 8 p.m. ET
After three consecutive wins, Tim Lincecum had a brief and ineffective outing in 5-1 loss against the Red Sox. He lasted just three innings and threw 79 pitches, giving up five hits, four runs and three walks. Jhoulys Chacin started the year 2-0, not giving up a run in either outing. Since then, he's 2-7.
White Sox at Rangers, 8:05 p.m. ET
Two of the hotter teams in baseball meet. Freddy Garcia still carries a 4.66 ERA, but he is 5-0 over his past six starts -- and the White Sox won the game in which he walked away with a no-decision. Colby Lewis faced Chicago last month and gave up three home runs in a 4-3 loss.
Rays at Twins, 8:10 p.m. ET
Rays starter David Price is coming off his first double-digit strikeout game of the year; he whiffed 11 in a 5-3 win at home against the Diamondbacks. The Twins' Scott Baker has given up 20 hits, 11 runs and four homers over his past two starts, a stretch of only 10 1/3 innings.
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WEB GEMS LEADERBOARD
THURSDAY'S BEST AND WORST
BESTJered Weaver, RHP, Angels
Weaver smoothly, well, weaved his way through a hot-hitting Rangers lineup, allowing only two hits over seven shutout innings of the Angels' 2-1 win. Weaver struck out six and permitted two walks for his third consecutive winning decision.
WORSTFrank Mata, RHP, Orioles
Wouldn't be too hard picking someone from the Orioles each night. This time, it's Mata's dishonor. He retired just one batter in the seventh inning of an 8-1 loss against the A's. He did, however, four hits and four runs as Oakland blew the game open.
You can't fire all the players, the old saying goes, so fire the manager. He is, after all, the easiest target. When a team performs poorly the front office can point to the guy in charge on the field, the figurehead, as the scapegoat. It is, after all, his job to coax the best possible performances out of his players. If things go wrong, the front office can turn the manager into a symbol for the futility. By getting fans to focus on the symbol, the front office can take the heat off everyone else. And as Tim Kurkjian writes Thursday, the ever-increasing spotlight is making it harder than ever to be a big league skipper.So far this season, we've seen three managers axed. After nearly three years of futility, the Baltimore Orioles finally showed Dave Trembley the door. A team in rebuilding mode, the Orioles probably wouldn't have kept Trembley much longer anyway. But the team so greatly underperformed its modest expectations that management thought something had to change. Also, the Kansas City Royals fired Trey Hillman after a little more than two years on the job. While the Royals didn't project to perform very well this season, they figured to be better than the 12-23 mark realized under Hillman. Under Ned Yost they have performed much better. So it might also seem that the Florida Marlins fell short of expectations under Fredi Gonzalez. They were just 34-36, 7 1/2 games behind the first place Atlanta Braves, when the Marlins announced Gonzalez's firing. This came as a disappointment after the 87-75, second-place finish from last year, and even the 84-77, third-place finish in 2008. The problem with this comparison is that the 2010 Marlins are not the 2008 or 2009 Marlins. They're a different team that should carry a different set of expectations. Given the team's preseason projection, it doesn't appear that the team underperformed at all.