'P' Stands for Pitching?
The first hint that it was not a normal night at Principal Park came when the national anthem was whistled.
Then a thing uncommon in the PCL, where there are typically lots of bombs bursting in air, broke out - a pitchers' duel! The scoreboard practically had the night off as Nashville, behind undefeated Mike Fiers, nipped the I-Cubs, 1-0.
All was not lost for the home team - hardly. The enigmatic Jay Jackson recorded his 6th consecutive quality start and matched a career high with 11 whiffs in his six inning stint. He was succeeded by Bobby [there's no Roberts in baseball!] Coello who continued his sparkling work out of the bullpen with three more scoreless frames. Since moving exclusively to relief duty Coello has worked 34 innings, allowing a mere 18 hits while walking 13 and fanning 46. The non-starter ERA is 1.04; the BAA .158! Significantly, he's been touched for no home runs after serving up 11 in 60 innings as a starter. If he keeps this up, call him Robert-0.
Watch out for Fiers in the NL Central. He's 7-0 since promotion from Double A and his cumulative body of work for the summer shows only 80 hits permitted in 120 innings. He never exceeded 90 on the scoreboard radar last night but complete game shutouts in this league are about as rare as whistled anthems.
As for record-breaking slugger Bryan LaHair, he was in the lineup after shoving Joe Hicks even deeper into franchise trivia with his 38th homer of the season the night before. He flew to the warning tracks in both left and right while playing 1B after a recent run in left. On my way to the park I heard him interviewed on the pre-game radio show where he strongly hinted that he has reason to believe any playing time he gets upon call-up to Chicago will be in the outfield. He also mentioned that, thanks to lots of vacancy in the right-field bleachers Tuesday night, it was his wife that was able to fetch his record-setting long ball. Ah, the charms of the minor leagues.
Andrew Cashner is on hand and slated to work an inning tonight after manning a post as bullpen sentry last night while Coello loosened.
I think that if a team objects to the 1-game wildcard playin game so much, they could just win the pennant and avoid themselves the trouble.
Per Jesse Sanchez at mlb.com, Cubs reportedly have signed 20-year old Cuban OF Eddy Julio Martinez for $3M bonus.
BLOCK: Of course any advantage is an advantage. An MLB, NBA, or NHL team getting the extra game at home in a seven game series is an advantage, I just don't think it is enough of an advantage for winning a division and/or having the best record in a conference or league over the course of an 82-game season (NBA and NHL) or 162 game series (MLB).
TEX takes the opening game from TOR (@TOR) 5-3.
TOR lost bautista + donaldson in-game due to injuries...TEX lost beltre...dunno if any will be lingering issues leading to missed games.
Ride the Kid Magic! Schwarber hadn't homered in a long time before last night.
Greg Maddux was 8-18 in his rookie season. Kyle has the 8 wins down pat.
Think Baby Maddux.
Prof. Harold Hill's THINK system at work.
Kyle is on the far left.
I support this. Hendricks has not only looked better lately but seems to start struggling after a few innings which is better than the 1st in the playoffs.
Just tweeted via Jesse Rogers: Hendricks starting Game 2. Wow. Just wow.
That was good!
Well said. On one hand, I thought the HBP was a bad baseball play -- down 4 runs, put a runner on for a red-hot Fowler. On the other hand, they needed to do something -- I hadn't thought about the warning/pitching inside point. Is Hurdle that smart? He does not strike me that way. By the way -- not clear which fan base you are referring to in your "first" 3rd point.
My unsolicited opinions on topics covered in this thread:
1. I hate the fact that after 162 games, a team could be out after 1 game. However, I think the system is pretty close to perfect right now. 2 of 3 isn't feasible unless they shorten the regular season, and it ices the division winners for way too long. This creates excitement, and rewards the division winners.
Personally, I think the game could have had a very different look had the Pirates held onto the ball and tagged Fowler out on the steal in the first. Cole was clearly frazzled, but if they took that runner off the base, it could have relaxed him a lot.
Football games are played once a week. There are 16 games a year. I'm not even remotely following at all how you can compare the two leagues and playoff systems. It is physically impossible to play a home and away series. The idea of not having any road games in baseball playoffs is certainly a head scratcher.
How is not having the first and last game at home a benefit for the division winners and team with the best record? How is it not an incentive to win the division when a WC team has to blow their top pitcher?
Call me lost.
Two 97+ win teams in a do-or-die, great bullpens, overpowering starters, plenty of pop--hard to believe that game wouldn't be tense. A 4-0 lead is not a blowout, especially in that situation and with the Cubs' young bullpen. Not only would a defensive play here or there make a difference, but you get the win there also on the home plate umps strike zone (generous strike calls for Arrieta, including a couple Ks), and on Schwarber sitting on the right pitch at the right time.
I just noticed the Dodger's payroll today. It is just absurd. $300,000,000+!!
Here is where just some of their money is for 2015:
Carl Crawford $20MM
Brandon McCarthy $17MM
Bronson Arroyo $3.5MM
Darwin B $2.2MM
Dan Haren $10MM
Matt Kemp $18MM
Brian Wilson $10MM
Ryan Webb $2.2MM
Dee Gordon $2.5MM
So I think tomorrow will be the most important test of how far we can go. We can win it all with two pitchers since Arietta has shown he can carry over his success to the post season. If Lester can be dominant also then I think we can go far no matter how Hendricks or Hammel do.
And in terms of pitching just went through to see how we could maximize Lester and Arietta and came up with this (Lester would be going on 4 days rest three times and Arietta twice):