Hurdle feeling pinch of slow start; Wedge might survive Tribe's funk
The managing careers of
And now the question comes up: Will they have even one more thing in common?
The Diamondbacks' Melvin was fired this week, and the Rockies' Hurdle appears to be on the firing line.
Hurdle has outlasted Melvin. But it remains to be seen by how many days. Reached Sunday, O'Dowd declined to comment on what's obviously a very sensitive and difficult situation.
"Hurdle's relationship with Dan is really good, but Hurdle's on the spot now,'' one competing executive said.
The Rockies, now 12-18 and tied for last with the rebuilding Padres, avoided a series sweep at the hands of the Marlins at home on Mother's Day but have seemingly lacked inspiration most of the year, a problem manifested in a surprisingly ineffective offense. Coincidentally, that was Melvin's Arizona team's biggest issue: They couldn't hit, though the D-backs' hitting woes were more pronounced (a baseball-worst .226 batting average).
This past winter, Colorado dispatched its best hitter,
There's little indication to this point the intense workaholic O'Dowd, who has as great as grasp on what's happening around the league as anyone, is in jeopardy. But another Rockies storyline could be a July tradeoff barring a turnaround, highlighted by third baseman Atkins, reliever
While both Melvin and Hurdle are well-regarded personally, neither is seen as a standout tactician. Competing executives say Melvin's strategic shortcomings were obvious back while he was managing in Seattle, and he and Diamondbacks GM
The D-backs' choice of the studious, respectful
Hurdle's strategic shortcomings were seen as being made up for by an unusual wit and personality that fit their young team. But lately, it hasn't inspired the troops. Hurdle also is said to have an excellent relationship with O'Dowd. But it remains to be seen whether that's enough to spare him now.
The Indians, now down to 11-21 after a four-game losing streak, are about the most disappointing team, to date. But several competing executives quizzed about Indians manager
"He's always been very close to Mark. I'd be shocked [if Wedge was fired],'' one competing GM said.
This is the Indians' second straight horrendous start. Both times, a dismal bullpen has been one of the culprits (the staff's 5.86 ERA is second-worse to the Yankees, who play in the bandbox known as new Yankee Stadium). But whether Wedge should take the hit for that is highly debatable.
Last year, the Indians made a stark turnaround after trading three longtime veterans, including star pitcher
Other executives see the Indians' executive team as less likely to stubbornly stick with a losing hand and continue to suggest they can see staff ace
• While Dodgers owner
• In the meantime, the Dodgers aren't nearly themselves without Manny (they went 1-3 at home versus the rival Giants after starting with 13 wins there), and his absence could give the rest of the West an opportunity -- that is, if anyone else out there has what it takes. One scout who recently watched three other three teams (Giants, Rockies and Padres) said he didn't think any of them looked ready to challenge L.A. That scout did say, "
• Giants third baseman
• I may have underrated the Blue Jays in a recent column assessing the hot teams' chances. "They can flat-out hit.'' one scout said. Although, I probably shouldn't need a scout to help me out there (they're first in runs with 199 and OPS at .830).
• My list of 15 feel-good stories on Friday didn't include
• San Diego State phenom