Sports Minute: LEADING OFF: Astros making noise, Phillies seeking GM
A look at what’s happening around the majors today:
The Astros are making noise on and off the field in the postseason, and that’s fine with outfielder Josh Reddick.
Houston continues to draw the ire of fans across the majors for the sign-stealing scandal that came to light after last season. After slugger Carlos Correa homered to help finish a two-game sweep of Minnesota in the first round, the star shortstop said, “I know a lot of people are mad. I know a lot of people don’t want to see us here.” He added: “But what are they going to say now?”
The Astros next face Oakland in the best-of-five AL Division Series starting Monday at Dodger Stadium. Former Houston pitcher and current A’s starter Mike Fiers was the one who revealed the Astros’ scam.
“It’s all about silencing the haters,” Reddick said Saturday. “That’s what this year was about.”
TAKE YOUR TIME
If it seems baseball is going through an annual playoff slowdown, it’s true. Between all the pitching changes and commercials and everything else the postseason entails, the 17 nine-inning games in the first round averaged just shy of 3 1/2 hours. For those tracking the stats, it’s 3:29:18 so far.
The Philadelphia Phillies are looking for a new general manager after another late collapse. Matt Klentak’s inability to lead the team to the playoffs or even a single winning season cost him his job.
Klentak stepped down as GM on Saturday following a third straight September meltdown, which left the team out of the postseason for the ninth consecutive season. The 40-year-old will be reassigned to another position in the organization and Ned Rice will serve as interim general manager until the Phillies hire someone to run baseball operations.
“We’ve made progress but we haven’t made enough progress fast enough,” Phillies managing partner John Middleton said.
The Phillies were 326-382 in five seasons under Klentak. His biggest move was signing Bryce Harper to a $330 million, 13-year deal, though Middleton played a major role in that. Klentak also acquired catcher J.T. Realmuto from Miami, trading away top pitching prospect Sixto Sanchez to get him. Realmuto is set to become a free agent after the World Series.
In a 2020 season that's featured all sorts of odd twists, Aaron Boone will be managing the New York Yankees in an AL Division Series in an NL ballpark in the city where the Boone family dynasty has its roots.
While Boone is focused on the best-of-five series beginning Monday against AL East rival Tampa Bay, he said it’s always good to come back to the area that’s special to the first family to have three generations of big leaguers.
Boone’s grandfather, Ray, and father, Bob, went to San Diego high schools that aren’t far from Petco Park, which will host the Yankees-Rays ALDS and then the ALCS in one of MLB’s bubbles.
Due to COVID-19 protocols, this will be strictly a business swing for Boone, whose parents and brother Bret still live in the San Diego area.
“Unfortunately I don’t get to see them on the trip because of the bubble and things like that and so they won’t be coming to the games or having lunch or anything like that,” Aaron Boone said Saturday. “But it is always special to come back to Southern California."
END OF THE ROAD
Veteran catcher Francisco Cervelli announced his retirement Saturday after a 13-year major league career.
The 34-year-old Cervelli played in only 16 games this year for the Miami Marlins before his season was cut short by the latest in a string of concussions. A .268 career hitter, Cervelli spent his first seven seasons with the New York Yankees and also played for Pittsburgh and Atlanta. He finished with 41 home runs.
Early in his career, Cervelli won a World Series title as a backup with the 2009 Yankees.
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