One manager down; who could be on the way out next?

Updated: May 15, 2009, 1:04 AM ET

Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

Given the new stadiums and constant expectations, the pressure is on in New York.

The firing of Bob Melvin in Arizona was not a knee-jerk reaction.

In fact, while talk radio is fertile ground for emotional outbursts, it is a good thing most team owners and general managers don't listen, and if they do, they don't react to fans who overpay for tickets and demand a manager be fired after a loss.

In Arizona, Melvin ultimately was let go because the team was not responding to him and there was some question about his in-game ability to manage. What strikes me as odd is that less than two seasons ago, Melvin was manager of the year. But he is hardly the first to win the award and then be gone within a couple of years. It happened to Buck Showalter on more than one occasion.

Who's next? Where are expectations big? Both Joe Girardi and Jerry Manuel in New York have to be concerned. The investments each team has made in stadiums and player payroll all but guarantee both will be held to a very high standard. The Mets continue to show an inability to close out games they should win. It is not a closer issue; rather, it's a "make the right play at the right time" issue. The sniping between player-manager and general manager about leadership never sits too well in the long term.

New ownership never bodes well, either, and in San Diego, Bud Black's team is in last place. Heavy odds suggest the Padres will stay there the rest of the season. They are not a good team, and it's hardly Black's fault. Still, that is the formula for a managerial change. Cleveland GM Mark Shapiro is very loyal, but you have to wonder how long Eric Wedge will last. The beginning of the season has been a disaster, and just like for the Mets and Yankees, expectations were very high.

The fact of the matter is, in 2009, the economy is down and teams are not as likely to pay a manager and then go lay out big money to bring in someone new. Teams are more likely to shed payroll than fire managers. I don't believe Melvin's dismissal was a sign of things to come.

Past Baseball Tonight Clubhouses: May 12 | May 11 | May 10 | May 7 | May 6


Touch 'Em AllWho went deep? Keep track of all the home runs hit each day on "Baseball Tonight" and on the Baseball Tonight Clubhouse page.

For more, check out the Home Run Tracker page.

Home Run Tracker
V. Martinez, Cle7CWSBuehrleBot 1: 1-1, 2 Outs. None on.
R. Garko, Cle2CWSBuehrleBot 4: 0-0, 2 Outs. 1 on.
F. Tatis, NYM2AtlCarlyleBot 4: 1-0, 0 Outs. Gr. Slam.
G. Sheffield, NYM2AtlSorianoBot 8: 1-1, 1 Out. None on.
M. Prado, Atl2NYMTakahashiTop 12: 3-2, 1 Out. None on.
T. Wigginton, Bal2TBNiemannBot 2: 1-0, 1 Out. None on.
J. Rollins, Phi2LAWolfBot 2: 3-2, 0 Outs. None on.
J. Bartlett, TB5BalBergesenTop 3: 2-0, 1 Out. None on.
B. Gardner, NYY1TorRichmondTop 2: 1-1, 0 Outs. 1 on.
S. Schumaker, StL1PitOhlendorfTop 4: 2-2, 0 Outs. None on.

The complete list of Wednesday's homers


Red Sox at Angels

Ervin Santana, who's been out so far this season with a sprained elbow ligament, makes his return to the Angels' rotation. Santana went 16-7 with a 3.49 ERA in 2008. He's not the only starter making a return this week; the Angels announced John Lackey will be back Saturday.

Dodgers at Phillies

Cole Hamels showed signs of last season's form in his most recent start, getting a win with a solid six-inning effort against the Braves. The Dodgers' Chad Billingsley has been strong all season; he has not allowed more than three earned runs in a start all season.

Yankees at Blue Jays

CC Sabathia is coming off his best start with the Yankees, a complete-game shutout on the road against Baltimore. The big lefty has found his control; after opening the season with 14 walks in his first four starts, he's issued only two over his past three.

For the rest of Thursday's schedule, click here.



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Host: Steve Berthiaume
Analysts: Tim Kurkjian, Eduardo Perez, Orestes Destrade
12 a.m. ET
Host: Steve Berthiaume
Analysts: Tim Kurkjian, Eduardo Perez, Orestes Destrade



Simon Says ESPN researcher Mark Simon digs deep, looking for the night's best baseball numbers.

Wednesday night, he looked at what happens to a player after his 30-game or longer hit streak comes to an end. The Nationals' Ryan Zimmerman saw his streak end at 30 games Wednesday.

Totals after hit streak of 30 games or more ends (since 2000)
Player Streak length BA next 10 games BA rest of season
Jimmy Rollins ('05-'06) 38 .364 .278
Chase Utley ('06) 35 .293 .272
Luis Castillo ('02) 35 .333 .279
Moises Alou ('07) 30 .273 .273
Willy Taveras ('06) 30 .171 .253
Albert Pujols ('03) 30 .294 .328



Cliff LeeCliff Lee is starting to look like he did last season. The left-hander, who went eight innings and allowed one run in his previous outing, threw seven shutout innings in a 4-0 victory against the White Sox on Wednesday. Lee permitted only one walk and struck out nine. Over his past four starts, spanning 30 innings, he has allowed only four runs.
Scott Richmond• Toronto's Scott Richmond, who had gotten off to a solid start to the season, was roughed up by the Yankees. He lasted only 1 2/3 innings, allowing seven hits and five runs in an 8-2 loss at home. In one start, Richmond's ERA went from 3.29 to 4.28.


Philadelphia Phillies lefty Cole Hamels is struggling, but it could be just bad luck. The 2008 World Series MVP is 1-2 with a 6.17 ERA but has had two starts cut short with non-pitching-related ailments (a line drive off the arm and a turned ankle).

His fastball is being hit hard. However, batters are swinging and missing on his fastballs more frequently than they did last season, so again, his biggest problem might be bad luck. Batting average on balls in play (BABIP) measures what a batter's average would be factoring in only balls in the field of play (no strikeouts, no home runs). The league average for fastballs is .310 and for changeups is .288. Hamels' numbers are well greater than those averages. This likely means he is suffering from some bad luck, as hitters are following that old baseball axiom and "hitting 'em where they ain't."

The Dodgers are hitting .319 against fastballs and .256 against changeups this season. Hamels has allowed four earned runs in 14.0 innings in two career regular-season starts against the Dodgers.

Cole Hamels, batter vs. fastball
Past two seasons
Fastball 2008 2009
BA .237 .345
BABIP .247 .381
Swing-and-miss pct. 13.4 16.5

Cole Hamels, batter vs. changeup
Past two seasons
Changeup 2008 2009
BA .203 .313
BABIP .276 .381
Swing-and-miss pct. 38.8 45.8

-- ESPN Stats & Information


AJ Mass examines the 12 games on Thursday's slate.

Fantasy Mass ranks the pitchers scheduled to take the mound and supplies loads of other information that could help shape your roster for Thursday. Daily Notes