AP Photo/Frank Franklin II
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
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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.
• 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.
• 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."