Diamond Update

June 15, 2011

June 15, 2011
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Diamond Update

AL Player of the Week
Dustin Pedroia, Boston

For the third week in a row a player from the Red Sox is our AL Player of the Week. Pedroia led the AL with a 1.405 OPS, a .474 batting average and .615 on-base percentage. He scored nine runs and drove in eight with three doubles and a home run.

AL Pitcher of the Week
John Danks, Chicago

Coming off his worst start of the season, Danks tossed 15.0 innings last week, allowed just 14 baserunners, and struck out 10. He won both of his starts with a 1.20 ERA and 0.93 WHIP.

NL Player of the Week
Prince Fielder, Milwaukee

There should be no discussion for NL Player of the Week. Prince had a royal week with six bombs, including a two-run blast that provided the winning margin on Sunday, completing a sweep over rival St. Louis, and 13 RBIs. He hit .500 and slugged 1.500 for an OPS of 2.143. Amazingly pitchers kept throwing to him, but he managed seven walks and struck out just once.

NL Pitcher of the Week
Tim Stauffer, San Diego

The San Diego offense did Stauffer few favors last week. The righthander threw 15 scoreless innings over two starts, but had just one win to show for his work. He won a 2-0 decision over Colorado by tossing eight innings, then threw seven shutout frames against Washington before the Nats scored twice in the ninth to win.

Trivia Corner
Who is the only player in postseason history to get a hit and score two runs in a game without taking a defensive position or playing DH or pinch-hitting?
(Answer below)

Athlon Spotlight
Mike Scioscia’s Growing Manager Tree

It’s popular in college sports to trace coaching trees and argue about the most successful coaches at mentoring and producing other top coaches.

There’s the Nick Saban tree in college football, and the Rick Pitino tree has a pretty lengthy list of protegés.

But there is a baseball manager tree that is growing tall and sturdy enough to stand with any tree in any sport.
Mike Scioscia of the Los Angeles Angels has reared three current successful major league managers.

Joe Maddon, a veteran of the Angels’ system prior to Scoiscia’s arrival, served as his mentor’s bench coach for 10 years. Maddon took over the Tampa Bay Rays in 2006 after the franchise had finished last in its division in seven of its eight years of existence. The payroll was low, attendance was low and, seemingly, interest in winning was low.

After two last-place finishes, the Rays took the AL East by storm in 2008, winning the division and advancing to the World Series. No surprise, Maddon was named AL Manager of the Year. The Rays have finished third and first since then.

Bud Black of the San Diego Padres was the next to leave the Angels’ dugout. He took over the San Diego job in 2007 and guided the underpaid Padres to a tie for the National League wild card before losing the 163rd game of the season at Colorado for the fourth spot in the NL playoffs. Last season, Black was named NL Manager of the Year after keeping the Pads in the race until the final weekend of the season.

Another former Scioscia aide, Ron Roenicke, took the Milwaukee Brewers’ managerial job over the winter. Clearly, it’s too early to evaluate the rookie manager, but he has the Brewers playing the best baseball in the National League over the past month and in first place in the NL Central.

Don’t be surprised to hear the names Dino Ebel, the current third base coach for the Angels, or Rob Picciolo, Scioscia’s bench coach, in the future as teams look for the next great manager.

Seats Getting Warm
Last week, the Oakland A’s made manager Bob Geren the first to be fired this season. Prior to his arrival in 2007, the Oakland A’s were coming off eight straight winning seasons and finishes no lower than second in the AL West. Under Geren’s watch, Oakland managed just one season at .500 (2010) and finished no higher than third. Is the recent losing trend all Geren’s fault? No, but he is the man in charge of the clubhouse and must take responsibility.

Will there be another manager casualty this season? Probably so.

So who’s the best candidate?

Edwin Rodriguez at Florida seems the most likely. The Marlins are beginning to dive in the standings, and the strong pitching staff produced high expectations among fans and management. A fourth-place finish is not what the front office had in mind.

Mike Quade has supporters in the Cubs’ front office, but his seat is getting warmer. Sure, the Cubs have suffered through several key injuries this season, but few teams haven’t. There’s no fire and enthusiasm. It’s almost as if the Cubs are already just playing out the string.

Don Mattingly is probably not the right guy in Los Angeles, but he’ll be given more time. The Nationals may make Jim Riggleman the scapegoat as they try to keep fans enthused in late summer. Brad Mills (Houston), Terry Collins (New York Mets) and John Farrell (Toronto) are not long-term answers, but it’s too early in their tenures to give up on them.

Numbers Game
      7-0  Record of Mets rookie starter Dillon Gee, who is the first Mets rookie to start a season 7-0.
       33  Multi-hit games for Mets shortstop Jose Reyes, the most in the majors this season.
  5,002  ...and counting. Number of games Tony La Russa has managed, second most all-time.
      0-8  Jayson Werth’s production in his first two games at the leadoff spot this past weekend after spending the year almost exclusively in the No. 3 hole.
    .500  The Braves’ all-time winning percentage as of last Saturday. It marked the first time since 1923 that the team had scaled the breakeven hump.
       16  Home runs for Lance Berkman of St. Louis, eclipsing his total of 14 in 2010 with the Astros and Yankees.
         9  Wins in June for the Twins, surpassing their total for entire month of May (eight).

Turn Back the Clock
June 14, 1952

Warren Spahn of the Boston Braves punches out 18 Cubs in a 15-inning affair, but gives up a two-run triple to Hal Jeffcoat as the Cubs prevail, 3-1. A Spahn home run provides the lone Braves’ run.
June 15, 1964
The St. Louis Cardinals trade Ernie Broglio and two others to the Chicago Cubs for Lou Brock.
June 15, 1977
The New York Mets shock their fans by trading ace Tom Seaver to the Cincinnati Reds for Doug Flynn, Dan Norman, Steve Henderson and Pat Zachry.

TRIVIA ANSWER: In Game 5 of the 2002 ALCS, Chone Figgins of the Anaheim Angels pinch-ran for catcher Bengie Molina during a 10-run seventh inning. He scored on an Adam Kennedy home run, and came to bat as the Angels batted around, then singled and scored again. Backup catcher Jose Molina took the field in the eighth.

<p> Players and Pitchers of the Week, Numbers Game, Mike Scioscia's Manager's Tree and more.</p>
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