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MANAGERS ABANDON STARTING PITCHERS

By Murray Chass

October 15, 2017

Where have all the starting pitchers gone? Look quickly and closely, or you may miss them. This has been probably the most unusual post-season ever, marked by manager after manager rushing from the dugout to the mound to summon relief pitchers with the games still in the early innings.

The managers can’t seem to wave their arms, left or right, quickly enough in the directions of the bullpens to call for new pitchers. Joe Girardi, the Yankees’ manager, set the tone in the very first post-season game, yanking Luis Severino only one out into the American League wild-card game with Minnesota. Other managers quickly followed suit.

Through Thursday night’s National League division series final game, 38 pitchers had started post-season games, and fewer than half pitched long enough to qualify for a winning decision.. All of the starters – 38 in number – averaged 12.7 outs a start. Fifteen outs constitute five innings, the number needed to be the winning pitcher.

That 12.7 average is significantly below the average number of outs starters have recorded in recent post-seasons, according to Elias Sports Bureau, though it follows the trend of starters being removed from games earlier than ever:

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FOR HIS LATEST TRICK, MANFRED’S FELLOWS

By Murray Chass

October 11, 2017

The timing was stunning. It was impossible to ignore. Less than two and a half days after the previous column on the very subject was posted on this website, a news article popped up on MLB.com. It carried the byline of the MLB.com reporter who for years has written house pieces about Major League Baseball and its commissioners. Mark Newman probably wrote enough puff pieces about Bud Selig when he was commissioner to fill a book.

It was as if Rob Manfred or an aide to the commissioner summoned Newman and said, “OK, Mark, we got another one for you.” I don’t want to be fanciful about this, but Newman might also have been told …

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BREAKING NEWS: MEULENS IS INTERVIEWED

By Murray Chass

October 8, 2017

This might be my favorite time of the baseball year. No, not because of the playoffs and the World Series. This is the time of year when teams fire managers (three already) and general managers (one), and we can witness the futility of Commissioner Rob Manfred’s wishes for teams to fill their vacancies with Latinos or African Americans.

Manfred has talked a lot about diversity hiring but has done little to achieve it. He talks a far better game than he plays.

Today, however, Manfred is ahead of his usual game. Hensley Meulens told me from his home in Curacao Saturday evening that the Detroit Tigers interviewed him last week. Given that the Tigers told Meulens that he is one of 8 to 10 candidates they plan to interview for their managerial vacancy before paring the list to four or five for in-person interviews, a telephone interview might not seem like a big deal. However, in Meulens’ case, it is.

Meulens is the San Francisco Giants’ 50-year-old hitting coach. More relevant in this case, he has …

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