Updated: June 14, 2008, 4:31 PM ET

  • Comment
  • Email
  • Share

AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

At least Oliver Perez stepped up for the Mets.

Willie Or Won't He

When the first-place Chicago White Sox started to struggle a little bit at the plate, Ozzie Guillen ranted and raved, challenging his players, calling out his coaches and throwing management under the bus. He all but dared the team to fire him. So what happened? The White Sox went on to win seven in a row, and the tirade was all but forgotten in the wave of success.

Now let's look to New York, where the Mets had lost six of seven and found themselves 7 1/2 games out of first. Willie Randolph, at least publicly, remains perfectly calm. He smiles and shrugs and gives off an air of "what can you do?" as the rumors of his looming firing fly fast and furious. Willie Randolph is no Ozzie Guillen. However, that hardly matters if the team responds, and so far … so good.

Oliver Perez pitched seven strong innings, his only real mistake being a first-inning home run he surrendered to Josh Hamilton. Other than that, he had practically no problems with the Rangers' high-octane offense, allowing only three hits and striking out eight as the Mets won the game, 7-1 -- keeping Randolph employed for at least one more day. But really, it appears to be just a matter of time before the other shoe finally drops and Jerry Manuel takes over the reins of this underachieving ship.

Let's look at the facts: The only hitters on the roster who are hitting better than .300 -- Ryan Church and Moises Alou -- are on the disabled list. The lineup is old, with David Wright and Jose Reyes the only regulars younger than 30. The bullpen is overworked and generally ineffective, having lost almost as many games (11) as they've saved (13), with a 4.10 ERA. And even with the addition of Johan Santana, the Mets' starting rotation is only two games over .500 for the season and has walked more hitters than any team in the National League except San Francisco.

Ozzie Guillen may have a temper, but he also has a ring. Willie has neither, and after a few more losses, he might not have a job. But if Randolph does get fired, those facts listed above aren't likely to instantly change because of it. It's best to steer clear of this mess of a team until well after the dust settles.

Past editions: 6/13: Jake Peavy's gem | 6/12: Pujols, Soriano injuries

Box Score Bits
Always looking for that extra piece of fantasy insight? We've got you covered. ESPN Fantasy experts Matthew Berry and Nate Ravitz provide you with all the fantasy strategy you'll need on the Fantasy Focus podcast!
Listen to the Fantasy Focus
Eric Hinske and Dioner Navarro provided the offensive spark, driving in two runs apiece in the Rays' 7-3 win over their intrastate rivals as the latest round of interleague game began. … Jason Michaels hit a three-run home run off Brian Burres to help the Pirates build an early lead, but the bullpen faltered. Melvin Mora had three hits and an RBI for the Orioles, whose pen was up to the task in retiring the final 17 batters to help the Orioles achieve a 9-6 comeback victory. … Boston rookie Justin Masterson pitched well, striking out a career-high nine batters in 6 2/3 innings, but the solo shots he allowed to Adam Dunn and Jay Bruce were enough for the Reds and Aaron Harang to win, 3-1. Harang (3-9) had not won a game since May 12. … Thanks to a long rain delay, Grady Sizemore had to wait nearly five hours between his two home runs. Catcher Kelly Shoppach added his fourth home run of the season (that's four more than Victor Martinez), and Cleveland beat San Diego, 9-5. … Scott Rolen and Matt Stairs went back-to-back, and A.J. Burnett struck out seven in five innings to win for the first time in four starts. Toronto topped the Cubs, 3-2. … Joba Chamberlain is getting stronger. Fear Joba! Mr. Chamberlain pitched six strong innings and increased his workload to 88 pitches as he dueled with Houston's Shawn Chacon. Derek Jeter's solo homer in the eighth inning off Doug Brocail ended up being the difference as the Yankees won 2-1. … The good news? Gavin Floyd allowed only four hits against the Rockies. The bad news? They were all home runs. Ian Stewart had a pair, and Willy Taveras and Brad Hawpe also went deep for Colorado. The best news? Juan Uribe drove in two runs and then scored the game-winner as the White Sox came from behind to win, 5-4. … Kevin Slowey proved he can hit as well as pitch, getting his first two career hits and driving home two runs as he helped shut down the Brewers 10-2 to earn his third win of the year. … Omar Vizquel stole home in the second inning, but that was all the scoring that San Francisco could muster. And since Barry Zito was on the mound, let's just say things didn't go too well for the Giants. Zito fell to 2-10 on the season, allowing four runs and six hits in 5 2/3 innings, in the 5-1 loss to Oakland. … Zack Greinke and Doug Davis locked horns in a scoreless battle for seven innings, and it seemed like nobody was ever going to score. That is, until Chad Tracy ended the game with a walk-off homer in the 10th inning off of Yasuhiko Yabuta. … Jesus Flores and Ronnie Belliard each drove in two runs in a six-run second inning for Washington. The Nationals held on for dear life and managed to fend off Seattle, 7-6. Jon Rauch picked up his 14th save. … In Friday night's only National League contest, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Pat Burrell hit home runs in consecutive at-bats in the first inning, and the offense continued to flow. Philadelphia brutalized St. Louis pitching, 20-2. The silver lining? Perhaps the Cardinals found a new closer in infielder Aaron Miles, who came in and worked a perfect ninth inning. OK, maybe not; and remember, if you own Miles, those pitching stats don't count!


You must be signed in to post a comment

Already have an account?

Standing Out

Luke Scott, Orioles
Hot streaks sure are fun, aren't they? Scott is currently enjoying a five-game stretch in which he has a .400 average along with four home runs and five RBIs. He might have trouble keeping it up when he faces two lefties this weekend.

Todd Wellemeyer, Cardinals
When you're outpitched by Aaron Miles, it's a bad night. That said, this was just a blip on the radar of Todd Wellemeyer's season. He hadn't allowed more than three runs since April 28. That Wellemeyer is the one to believe in.
News and Notes
Chipper Jones almost saw his quest for .400 come to an end last night, when he fouled off a pitch in batting practice that ricocheted off the cage and hit him just under his left eye. Jones went for medical tests and missed Friday night's game. Jones told reporters that he was experiencing a little blurred vision in close, but was otherwise fine and expected to be in the lineup on Saturday. … Also dodging a bullet, if not the baseball, was Michael Cuddyer, who left Friday's game after being hit by a pitch on his right hand. "It hurt," said Cuddyer, who is day-to-day. X-rays were negative. … Milwaukee's J.J. Hardy had tests done on his left shoulder, but they showed no structural damage. He will likely miss the rest of the weekend series against Minnesota. … Victor Martinez's surgery to remove bone chips from his right elbow went well, but the catcher is still expected to miss, at a minimum, the next six to eight weeks. … Carl Crawford began his four-game suspension for his role in the Red Sox-Rays brawl. Jonny Gomes' five-game exile ended, but he was not in Friday night's lineup. … Armando Galarraga, who improved to 6-2 on Friday night, got hit on the right ankle with a line drive from the bat of Juan Pierre leading off the sixth inning. The ankle swelled up after the game, and although Jim Leyland said there might be a need for precautionary X-rays, he was not worried. … Daisuke Matsuzaka has been scheduled to pitch in a minor league game on Monday as part of his shoulder rehab. Looks like he's at least a week away from a return to Boston. … Toronto's Jeremy Accardo won't be coming back any time soon. The Blue Jays reliever suffered a setback in his recovery from a strained right forearm and will take the weekend off. … The news was far better for Hank Blalock, who was able to take batting practice for the first time on Friday and could rejoin the Texas lineup next weekend.

• The Angels finally activated Chone Figgins from the 15-day disabled list. Figgins, whose hamstring problems had caused him to miss 33 of the past 34 games, played third base without incident and was 1-for-2 with two walks in his return.

• Also returning to action was Troy Percival of the Rays, who was activated from a two-week stint on the DL to recover from a hamstring strain. Percival pitched a perfect ninth inning in a non-save situation, receiving a standing ovation from the home crowd. Al Reyes was placed on the disabled list to make room on the roster.

• Let's say it again, shall we? Don't go nuts over rookies! Arizona optioned Max Scherzer back to Tucson and recalled Billy Buckner, who ended up getting a vulture win in Friday's game by pitching the top of the 10th inning. The team says it needed pitchers who can go back-to-back nights, and right now, that's not Max.

• The Diamondbacks also traded veteran Trot Nixon, who had been hitting .309 with 10 home runs in Triple-A, to the Mets for future considerations. The Mets need an outfielder badly, with Moises Alou returning to the 15-day disabled list.

• The White Sox placed Esteban Loaiza on the 15-day disabled list with right shoulder inflammation and will rehab him in the minors in the hope that he will regain enough arm strength to return as a long reliever/spot starter.

• The Mariners finally relented, and officially placed J.J. Putz on the 15-day disabled list with a hyperextended elbow. Reliever Roy Corcoran was recalled from Triple-A Tacoma.

On The Farm

• Detroit might be getting its bullpen back very soon. On Friday, Fernando Rodney struck out three batters and didn't allow a hit in two innings for Triple-A Toledo, and he should be ready to rejoin the club on Monday. Tomorrow night, Joel Zumaya will pitch for the minor league club and might be only a week or so behind Rodney.

Josh Willingham started in left field for Double-A Carolina, where he holds the record for home runs in a season, but he went 0-for-2 with a walk in his first rehab game. If his back spasms do not return -- a big "if" -- he could be back with the Marlins by next weekend.

• When will the Padres call this guy up? No, not Chase Headley. We're talking about Wil Inman, who continues to destroy Double-A hitters and improved to 7-2 with a rain-shortened shutout on Friday. As for Headley, all he did was hit yet another home run, his 13th of the season for Triple-A Portland, and once again failed to receive "the call."