ST. LOUIS — The Cardinals fired former National League manager of the year Mike Shildt over organizational differences Thursday, just one week after St. Louis lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers on a walk-off homer in the wild card game.
Cardinals president John Mozeliak said the firing was “something that popped up recently,” but he refused to expand on what he called “philosophical differences” between Shildt, the coaching staff and the front office.
“All I can say is where we felt the team was going, we were struggling to get on the same page,” Mozeliak said. “With him having one year remaining on his contract, we could have gone into 2022 having that over him and we just decided that internally it would be best to separate now and take a fresh look as we head into a new season.”
It is exceptionally rare for clubs to fire managers the same day as a playoff game — the Dodgers and San Francisco Giants played the decisive game in their divisional series late Thursday. But Mozeliak and Cardinals owner Bill DeWitt Jr. decided that it was important enough to seek permission from Major League Baseball to make the move immediately.
Mozeliak declined to discuss possible replacements, but he did say there are plenty of internal candidates. He said the coaches who remain under contract are expected to return next season.
Shildt’s record of 255-199 with the Cardinals gave him a winning percentage better than franchise luminaries such as Branch Rickey and Tony La Russa. Shildt led St. Louis to a 90-72 record this year, including a franchise-record 17-game winning streak in September that catapulted the Cardinals into the NL wild card game.
Astros ace McCullers unlikely to pitch in ALCS
HOUSTON — Astros right-hander Lance McCullers Jr. likely won’t pitch in the American League Championship Series because of forearm tightness in his pitching arm that forced him out of the deciding game of the ALDS vs. the Chicago White Sox.
McCullers underwent an MRI on Thursday, which reportedly revealed no long-term concerns. He may need some extra time off for the tightness to subside.
The Astros must decide by 9 a.m. Friday whether to include McCullers on their roster for the ALCS against Boston head of Game 1 later that day.
McCullers allowed one run in 10ª innings in two starts in the ALDS. He was 13-5 with a 3.16 ERA with 185 strikeouts in 162⅓ innings in the regular season.
Positive test may keep Braves’ Soler out of NLCS
ATLANTA — Atlanta is preparing to play without outfielder Jorge Soler in the NL Championship Series as they await his clearance following his positive COVID-19 test.
Soler was pulled from the lineup for Game 4 of the NLDSagainst Milwaukee on Tuesday.
Braves manager Brian Snitker would like to have Soler’s power bat on his roster for the NLCS. Soler hit a combined .223 with 27 homers and 70 RBIs with Kansas City and Atlanta in the regular season.
Soler has been vaccinated but may not be cleared to return until after the best-of-seven NLCS.