|Robin Ventura is having a good first season as manager.|
Not a bad season so far for a team whose general manager at one point during the winter used the word "rebuilding" to describe its status and his approach.
There is credit to be spread around, and some of it should go to Robin Ventura, the truly rookie manager of the Pale Hose.
Ventura's selection to succeed Ozzie Guillen raised eyebrows because he had not managed a team on any level. Nor had he been a coach. A successful player, absolutely— Ventura may be the best third baseman in franchise history — but making such a man the dugout boss without an intervening training period has long been regarded as a discredited approach.
I'm not aware of any specific change in on-field strategy or tactics between Guillen and Ventura. There is, however, an obvious difference in public persona. Ventura projects a aura of quiet professionalism. There is nothing quiet about Guillen.
|Manny Acta and the Cleveland Indians have seen|
enough of Derek Lowe.
Lowe is 39, and this may well be the end of his road; his strikeout rate this year is almost half his career norm, and his walk rate is nearly a career high.
Not many pitchers have led the league (in different seasons) in wins, saves and losses. Lowe has.
Lowe also holds this distinction: In 2004, he was the winning pitcher for the Red Sox in all three postseason series — Game Three of the division series against the Angels, Game Seven of the ALCS against the Yankees, Game Four of the World Series against St. Louis.
Answer to the Olympian question above: Brian Duensing, who pitched for Team USA in the Beijing Games in 2008. The Americans won the bronze medal in those games, the last with baseball or softball in the mix.