So, I think Michigan might be pretty good. Maybe really good. Maybe really, really good.
- Jaime Garcia departed after the second inning yesterday, which, at the time, felt like a relatively normal playoff game move after a guy had given up five runs – Mike Matheny seemed to confirm the same. The Cardinals, though, subsequently announced that it was due to a stomach virus, which Garcia said he’d been dealing with for days, and Matheny was aware (Cardinals.com). After Garcia was removed, the Cardinals went with presumed Game 4 starter Lance Lynn for an inning of work, on the thinking that it was his day to throw on the side anyway (and, hey, there’s no difference between a bullpen session and an inning of work in a playoff game, right? No chance he was maxing out, right?). It was all a very strange, and un-Cardinal-like sequence – much like that entire yakety sax second inning. Pretty sure the whole thing is going to be the start of a new era where the Cardinals are synonymous with screw ups.
- Speaking of which, remember all those squeeze bunts the Cubs busted out late in the season? Remember how it looked like they were, essentially, practicing for the postseason? Well, clearly it paid off yesterday.
- Yesterday’s offensive hero Jorge Soler gives a lot of credit to Cubs assistant Manny Ramirez for his continued improvement (CSN). I’m not sure how you can not start the guy on Monday, even if it’s against a righty, and even if you consider defense.
- Kyle Hendricks’ start yesterday, on the whole, was not necessarily successful. When you give up three homers – three loooong homers – in 4.2 innings, it’s hard to call the outing a success. HOWEVER, did he really pitch that badly? For one thing, teams won’t always be able to crush every single mistake you make, and Hendricks really didn’t make many. For For another thing, in between the homers, he retired 14 of 15 and struck out 7 with no walks (which helped ensure that all of the homers were solo shots). Can we call that a decent, but not necessarily “successful” start? I’m still a big Hendricks believer, and I think we’re going to see that he has a great 2016 season.
- I knew the Cardinals would go for any edge they could get, but this is a commode too far: Cubs closer Hector Rondon was trapped in the bullpen bathroom on Friday during the game when a “latch froze”, according to the AP. Fortunately, with some assistance, Rondon was able to MacGyver his way out. Just an unfortunate coincidence, right? I DON’T THINK SO! It’s pretty clear that the Cardinals tried to take Rondon out of the picture during a tight game, and then only allowed him to escape the bathroom after the game got out of hand in the 8th inning. Don’t even try to dissuade me from this theory.
- How good did Trevor Cahill look last night? Hopefully for folks around here it wasn’t a surprise, since he’s been talked up a bit for a while, but it was especially impressive to see him do it (1) in a tight playoff game, and (2) in a role he’s not really pitched in yet. Consider that, in a three-run game in the 8th inning, Joe Maddon could have gone with Pedro Strop, Justin Grimm, or Fernando Rodney, or he could have gone with multiple guys and match-ups. But he went with Cahill in a true set-up appearance.
- Kris Bryant’s had a rough go of it so far in the playoffs, but he’s pretty much a mortal lock for a couple huge games at Wrigley on Monday and Tuesday. His home/road splits this past season remain one of the more bizarre and unexplainable phenomena from the year – 181 wRC+ at home, 94(!) wRC+ on the road. It’s not like it’s Coors Field, and it’s not like he’s playing in a park that caters exclusively to one side of the plate.
- Checking in as we near the end of Instructional Ball, you can see recent write-ups at TCR and Cubs Den that are worth perusing.
- Playoff Miscellany earlier today, including that really questionable Chase Utley slide.
- Seriously, this helps if you’re a listener and you’ve got a minute:
Thanks so much to those of you who've taken time to write a review about the 'Limited Range' podcast. Helps a lot: https://t.co/qVebLQ84yk
— Brett Taylor (@BleacherNation) October 10, 2015