LEADING OFF: Manic Monday often spells trouble for managers
A look at what’s happening around the majors on Monday:
Every year, the day after the regular season can be dicey for managers whose teams didn’t do so well. Might not be any different this time as a few clubs start looking at their future.
Padres manager Jayce Tingler’s team was considered a World Series contender on opening day and seemed to be in good shape at 67-49 in mid-August. San Diego was still 10 games over .500 in early September, but lost 18 of its last 22 and finished 79-83.
Mets manager Luis Rojas, like Tingler, was in his second season and looked good for much of the year. New York led the NL East for three months, but dropped back in mid-August and wound up 77-85.
Often times, too, pitching coaches and hitting coaches find themselves looking for new spots after Manic Monday.
More than a few people are bound to look toward the Green Monster and reminisce as the Yankees and Red Sox work out in preparation for their AL wild-card matchup Tuesday night.
That was the spot at Fenway Park where Bucky Dent’s flyball sailed over the wall for the deciding drive in the famed 1978 one-game AL East playoff between the longtime rivals.
This time, New York ace Gerrit Cole (16-8, 3.23 ERA) will start against ex-Yankee Nathan Eovaldi (11-9, 3.75).
The Dodgers will see how first baseman Max Muncy is feeling, a day after he exited the season finale with an injured left elbow.
Manager Dave Roberts says it’s “very unlikely” the slugger will play in the NL wild-card game Wednesday night against St. Louis at Dodger Stadium. Tests were “unclear,” Roberts said, while adding, “I just don’t want to count Max out.”
Muncy hit 36 home runs with 94 RBIs for the 106-win Dodgers this year. He was hurt when Milwaukee’s Jace Peterson bunted and got to first base just as the throw arrived. Peterson ran into Muncy’s arm and was called out for interference.
Albert Pujols took over at first base after Muncy left.
The status of Boston Red Sox slugger J.D. Martinez for the AL wild-card game against the Yankees is uncertain after he sprained his left ankle jogging out to his position Sunday.
Martinez, usually a designated hitter, stumbled over a base while heading to right field between innings and was removed from Boston’s 7-5 victory at Washington in the regular-season finale.
“He stepped on the bag and twisted the ankle,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said.
Martinez is a key part of Boston’s lineup. He batted .286 with 28 homers and 99 RBIs this season, tying for the major league lead with 42 doubles.
“We’ll know more later,” Cora said.
The Yankees will be minus All-Star infielder DJ LeMahieu for the AL wild-card game after putting him on the 10-day injured list with a sports hernia.
New York also transferred slugger Luke Voit to the 60-day injured list, ending the 2020 home run champion’s season.
Infielder Gio Urshela, meanwhile, had a pronounced limp after making a sensational catch in Sunday’s 1-0 win over Tampa Bay that put the Yankees into the playoff. Urshela sprinted 126 feet after Austin Meadows’ popup from a shifted formation in the sixth inning, caught the ball a stride before reaching the top step of the Rays’ dugout, then appeared to leap from the warning track full-speed into an empty spot on the bench.
Urshela emerged about a minute later and limped back to the Yankees bench. He was replaced in the ninth.
Manager Aaron Boone said there wasn’t any structural damage, but Urshela will be re-evaluated before determining his future availability.
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