Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

The divisional round of the playoffs starst today, with the A’s taking on the Tigers at 5pm CT, and the Reds taking on the Giants at 8:30pm CT – both games are on TBS.

  • The Wild Card round of the playoffs played out yesterday, with the Orioles taking out the Rangers 5-1, and the Cardinals voodoo magicking their way to a 6-3 win over the Braves. The latter game was, I’m sure, a frustrating affair for the Braves, who made a number of costly errors, and who were burned by a questionable infield fly rule call when a pop fly dropped in left field in between the shortstop (going out) and the left fielder (coming in). It was sufficiently screwed up (1) that Braves fans littered the field with debris, something you almost never see at baseball games, and (2) that the Braves officially protested the game, which was upheld by MLB shortly after it ended. The Braves had won 23 straight games started by Kris Medlen, but they clearly hadn’t been facing the Cardinals in an elimination game in any of those starts.
  • Rangers fans booed Josh Hamilton, who finished his night 0-4 with 2 Ks, and maybe finished his career with the Rangers.
  • Bruce Miles is, as usual, the man, and he hooked readers up with the full quotes from Theo Epstein about Josh Vitters and Brett Jackson, which quotes provide necessary context for understanding why the Cubs called up Brett Jackson in spite of a belief that he would struggle, and why the Cubs have handled Josh Vitters the way they have. Each is now expected to start 2013 back at AAA. Theo’s quotes, from Bruce:

Actually, I don’t think it was really surprising what happened with either player. And you can’t generalize. You have to talk about each player specifically because they’re at different points of their development, different skill sets, different personalities.

Josh Vitters is a player who struggled initially at every level that he’s advanced to. That’s Josh’s nature. It takes him a little bit longer to get comfortable. It takes him a little bit longer to learn. It takes him a little while to manage that anxiety level. So it takes longer for his skills, which I think what he does well with experience will play at any level. It takes him longer to adjust. It’s not surprising at all that coming to the big leagues maybe a little bit before he was ready that it’s not surprising to see him struggle and struggle pretty dramatically. That’s to be expected. I think that will help him down the line. He’s got major adjustments to make, but really for him, it’s more of a process of getting comfortable. That’s the type of person he is. He needs to get comfortable. I think he will.

Brett Jackson was promoted for specific reasons. We sat in Dale’s (manager Sveum’s) office and those of us who had seen him play at Triple-A and those who know him a lot better than I do realized that right now, his swing is not ready to compete up here. He does a lot of other things very well. We don’t think he’s necessarily ready to succeed up here, but there were other reasons to get him up here. Dale wanted to see it firsthand. We wanted Dale and James (hitting coach Rowson) to have a chance to work with him, and we wanted to show Brett certain things, certain adjustments that he needed to make to ultimately have success at the big-league level. I think he’s going to have a much more productive off-season because of what he was exposed to than if he had stayed at Triple-A in what was for him somewhat of a disappointing season that he recognizes and needs to work hard to bounce back.

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