The World Series begins tonight, in what will be one of the best in recent memory for pitching match-ups. Scherzer versus Cole. Strasburg versus Verlander. Corbin versus Greinke. That’s gonna be some good stuff. (And then the teams proceed to score like 500 runs this week because baseball is weird.)
- I love completely unspecified, totally-out-there rumors that (almost certainly) aren’t connected to the Cubs, and I can just have fun thinking about the crazy possibilities:
One person connected to team has said a “bombshell candidate” is in the mix if a clear favorite does not emerge from the current group. Have fun with that one. No way David Wright would ever do this so don’t go down that road btw
— Andy Martino (@martinonyc) October 22, 2019
- Who would qualify as a “bombshell candidate” in New York? Alex Rodriguez? Bobby Valentine? Brodie Van Wagenen as GM/Manager?
- It wouldn’t be the Astros in the postseason without serious controversy, though this kind doesn’t involve sign-stealing or spies or foreign substances. Instead, it involves an allegedly egregious comment and performance by a high-ranking member of their front office:
During the Astros’ ALCS celebration, assistant GM Brandon Taubman yelled, half a dozen times, to three female reporters, “Thank God we got Osuna! I’m so f——— glad we got Osuna!” On a systemic problem, in Houston and across the league: https://t.co/8zyVwG2Lpo
— Stephanie Apstein (@stephapstein) October 22, 2019
— Lindsey Adler (@lindseyadler) October 22, 2019
- The alleged outburst, which SI indicates was corroborated by multiple reporters, would be a disgusting display of chest-thumping about a deeply sensitive issue. It’s not exactly something to get pumped about (Cubs fans know all too well the awkward, and sometimes ugly situations these organizational decisions create). Also, Osuna had just given up a game-tying home run in the 9th inning, so that was weird anyway.
- The Astros declined to comment for the story, but then after it was published, released a statement:
The Astros just released the following statement. pic.twitter.com/KnA6kQt0hq
— Chandler Rome (@Chandler_Rome) October 22, 2019
- The Astros, it seems, have decided not to deny what happened, but instead are focusing on how it transpired. In these situations, it is often the case that different people have different perspectives, but it seems like there could have been a better way to handle things (like, for example, offering a thoughtful, comprehensive comment to SI when asked in the first place).
- This is not going to go away – nor should it – because reporters who were there aren’t buying the Astros’ denial:
The Astros called this @stephapstein report misleading. It is not. I was there. Saw it. And I should’ve said something sooner.
— Hunter Atkins (@HunterAtkins35) October 22, 2019
- Continued good performance from Cubs pitchers in the AFL:
Catching up with this afternoon’s AFL box score.
Erich Uelmen pitched two hitless innings, with two walks, no strikeouts, 4 groundouts and a lineout. His AFL ERA is down to 0.75. Giddy. Up.
Miguel Amaya went 1/4 with a double, Zack Short went 1/3 with a walk.
— Cubs Prospects – Bryan Smith (@cubprospects) October 21, 2019
- Uelmen, the Cubs’ 4th rounder in 2017, has one of the best sinkers in the farm system, which certainly gives you a reason to watch him in the coming years. To be sure, his profile (command/control, get groundballs) has not been a successful one in recent years – generally, if you’re not also getting a lot of strikeouts in the lower minors, when you climb the latter, you just give up too much damage on balls in play. But anytime a pitching prospect is supremely good at *something*, then you hold out hope that a couple other things will come along (a new pitch, improved movement or velocity, etc.) to click the guy over into future big leaguer. Below AA, hitters just couldn’t do anything with Uelmen’s sinker. We’ll see what happens next year.
- Huge sale at Fanatics today on tons of gear, plus free shipping. Head over and poke around today.
- Cole Hamels hanging with an old friend (who is actually only three years older than Hamels):
- Prior, who’d been an assistant coach with the Dodgers, was recently promoted to become their pitching coach. Obviously Prior’s road in professional baseball was a painful one (both literally and metaphorically), but it’s great to see he’s having a successful run as a coach.
- I make topical visual jokes:
Me when there's no Cubs baseball for five months. pic.twitter.com/RNA65hYYoy
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) October 22, 2019