Last month, it was Ryan Howard who was upset to be out of the lineup for three straight games.
Two weeks ago, it was Kyle Kendrick, ticked he was given what he felt was an early hook in San Francisco. In spring training, Jimmy Rollins and Ryne Sandberg had to speak after the franchise shortstop was given an oddly-timed break from regular playing time in the middle of March.
Over the weekend, rookie righthander David Buchanan and struggling left fielder Domonic Brown both made suble criticisms of their manager (only to take them back a day later).
On Tuesday night, Cole Hamels joined the club. After serving up a game-tying home run to Asdrubal Cabrera to begin the eighth inning, Hamels saw Sandberg emerge from the dugout and didn't make eye contact with the manager as he made a quick handoff-and-run off the mound.
With the chance to clarify what had happened, Hamels only heightened the possible issue afterward, refusing to answer whether he was upset with the manager. Hamels and Sandberg spoke today.
"I had a brief conversation with him," Sandberg said Wednesday afternoon. "He was upset with what had happened in the 7th inning and he was upset with the leadoff home run when he had a chance to go deep in that game. But, he knew that he was in there for an at-bat at-a-time style of situation. And the home run erased that possibility."
But is it worrisome that this was the fourth time a player publicly showed he was upset with the manager in the span of less than two weeks?
"No, (Hamels) was upset about the home run," Sandberg said. "You know what, I gave him a verbal when I was about 6 feet from the grass. ‘Hey, we’re going to pick you up right here, Cole. Nice job.’ So he thought that that was the release to let him go. I just clarified that with him."
Sandberg said he's dealt with others through similar conversations. When asked if he currently had a handle on his clubhouse, the first-year manager said he did.
Is it just a case of competitive professional athletes being upset during a season that they've spent in last place for the majority of the summer, then?
"First of all we’ve had a real nice homestand," Sandberg said. "If we won tonight we’ve had a very good homestand. So we’re playing good baseball. We’re playing hard. That’s where the focus should be. Guys are playing good ball. And numerous guys are playing good ball. We’re getting some good pitching, we’re getting some good hitting and we’ve beaten some teams on this homestand. That’s a positive."