Brad Snyder smacked a grand slam home run and Bobby Scales batted twice and drove in three runs with two singles to highlight a nine-run 7th, as the Cubs shutout the White Sox 13-0 before an all-time record crowd of 13,010 at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park this afternoon in hot & sunny Mesa, Arizona.
Aaron Heilman goes for the Cubs, Jeff Marquez for the White Sox.
Corey Koskie signed a minor league deal and will join the Cubs after Team Canada is eliminated from the WBC. The Cubs have been searching for someone that could play third base and spell Aramis Ramirez on occasion, and with his left-handedness he seems like the perfect fit if the game hasn't passed him by.
Perhaps you have run into "word clouds," a visual device that represents how frequently different words appear in a text. As a historian I love it, as I can do fun things like compare Obama's 2008 Democratic National Convention nomination acceptance speech with McCain's from the Republican National Convention.
That's useful stuff. I can show word clouds like those to my students, and ask them what the clouds do (and do not) reveal.
But who cares about utility. Let's use some word clouds to navel-gaze, and check out our favorite baseball-related websites.
Micah Hoffpauir hit a three-run homer and reached base three times, Mike Fontenot drove in four runs with a two-run homer and a two-run triple, and Sam Fuld smacked a solo home run, scored two runs, and threw a runner out at the plate, as the Cubs thrashed the Texas Rangers 10-4 at Surprise Stadium today.
Ted Lilly will start for the Cubs before heading off to Team USA. The Rangers will start Scott Feldman.
Lineup from Muskat:
SS Ryan Theriot, CF Reed Johnson, 1B Micah Hoffpauir, DH Jason Dubois,
C Geovany Soto, 2B Mike Fontenot, LF Doug Deeds, 3B Luis Rivas, RF So
Jake Fox slammed a three-run homer and Joey Gathright had three hits, a walk, an RBI, a run scored, and a stolen base (and made a nice running catch in right-centerfield as well), as the Cubs defeated the Milwaukee Brewers 7-4 in Cactus League action at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in sunny Mesa, Arizona this afternoon, before another smallish crowd (6,711).
Yovanni Gallardo vs. Sean Marshall to start the game at HoHoKam Park.
Lineup from Muskat:
CF Joey Gathright, 2B Aaron Miles, RF Milton Bradley, 3B Aramis
Ramirez, LF Micah Hoffpauir, 1B Jake Fox, C Paul Bako, SS Darwin Barney
and P Sean Marshall.
Micah Hoffpauir crushed a grand slam in the bottom of the 5th, turning a two-run Cubs deficit into a two-run Cub lead, as the Cubs defeated the Dodgers 5-3 in the Cactus League opener for both clubs at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in sunny and warm Mesa, Arizona
Baseball Prospectus had the Cubs running away with the NL Central a few weeks back. CHONE projections1 thinks it will be a tight race with the St. Louis Cardinals. They have the Cubs at 88 wins, just five ahead of the Cardinals, six ahead of the Reds and seven ahead of the Brewers.
Minor League Camp doesn't open for another couple of weeks, but here are the projected Cubs Minor League Camp rosters for the five squads (141 players) at Minor League Camp and also the DSL Cubs Reserve Lists (two teams - 70 players).
The Cactus League season begins with its newest member, the Los Angeles Dodgers strolling into HoHoKam Park. Jeff Samardzija and Mitch Atkins are set to go for the Cubs. The Dodgers will trot out Claudio Vargas to start the game.
Feel the excitement!
Lineups from Sullivan:
The World Baseball Classic Rosters were announced and eight Cubs will be involved with the event - five from the major league squad. (Drumroll please)
The Cubs moved their Spring Training operation a half-mile north up Center Street from Fitch Park to HoHoKam Park today, and as was the case each of the previous two years, Manager Lou Piniella once again eschewed the ubiquitous and traditional intrasquad game most MLB clubs play the day before Cactus League and Grapefruit League games commence. Lou just does not like to play any more games than necessary during Spring Training, even if it's an informal seven-inning intrasquad game.
Los Angeles Dodgers general manager has made some questionable moves in the past - *cough* Juan Pierre *cough* - but you have to admire his creativity with contracts. The latest such deal is for Orlando Hudson and today we get the details via MLBTR and Tony Jackson of the L.A. Daily News. Ultimately it boils down to $3M in guaranteed money this year, $380K in bonus money that has been deferred WITHOUT INTEREST until an unspecified time and up to $5M in incentive bonuses, some of which are also deferred without interest if they are reached.
Early on in the offseason, I hypothesized that the Cubs would get in on Hudson, but there was never much more than a whisper and that came late in the offseason. When the Cubs dealt Mark DeRosa to the Indians, I think it was clear that they didn't have $5M or more for a second basemen this season. The days and weeks dragged on and by February Hudson was going to take whatever he could get and that seems to be $3 to $8M, much of it not due until some ambigous future date. The Dodgers did have to give up their first round pick next year for the privilege of having Hudson turn double plays for them next year and at number 17, that's a pretty steep price. The Dodgers though did get a second round and supplemental pick when the Braves signed Derek Lowe, so not as big as a loss as it could have become for them.
The question though is if Hudson would have made the Cubs better?
W - Wood (3-2), History. Fastballs over the outside corner. Generous outside corners.
L - Reynolds (2-3), any losers who didn't see this game live because they were out in the rain and cold shooting a bad round of golf. Trying to come up with an adequate term for that freaky breaking pitch of Wood's.
Things to Take from This Game
1. Wood Strikes Out 20, Two Batters Reach in Complete Game Shutout
From the first few pitches of the game it was clear that Wood had a potentially history-making fastball and breaking stuff working today. Wood K'd his first five,and gave up his only hit on a grounder by Gutierrez off of Orie's glove. This won't make me the most popular guy around here, but yeah, it was a hit. It also was a play that Orie probably makes more often than not. Tough luck for everyone involved. The only other runner came on a curveball that got away from Wood and beaned Biggio. The performance is every bit as dominating as the box score will indicate. Almost without exception, the Astros looked completely helpless.
2. Cubs scratch out 2 runs against Reynolds
Reynolds threw a complete game gem, himself, with 10 Ks and 1 ER in 8 innings. The Cubs' scores came on a Grace "double" in the second, on an incredibly generous ruling where third-baseman Howell got completely devoured by a bouncer. Grace then advanced to third as left-fielder Dave Clark throws away the potential play at second base. Oh Henry! drove him in with a sac fly to Alou in deep center field. They added another for good measure in the eighth; Morandini and Grace singled, with Morandini scoring on an attempted 5-4-3 double play that was too slowly turned and resulted in a fielder's choice.
3. Greatest Game Ever?
A traditional recap can not adequatly contextualize this game. The central question at this moment, just minutes after witnessing this gem, is not "what do we take from this game?" but "where will this game place among the all-time great games ever pitched?" Larson's perfect game came in a far more important context. Haddix's perfect game through 12 innings kept more hitters off base for longer. Clemens has two 20-K games to his record, but as I thumb through the pages of my favorite baseball encyclopedia, I see that Clemens gave up five hits in his 1996 gem, and a run on three hits in 1986. The 1996 Tigers and 1986 Mariners, furthermore, were no 1998 Astros. IS this the greatest game ever? If only we had some sort of pitcher's in-game dominance statistic, and a place that compiled every statistic from every game ever played. Then we might have a more objective idea of where this game ranks on the list of all-time great pitching performances. In the meantime, here's hoping that Wood's career is as successful and distinguished as the Rocket's.
4. Looking to the Future... All the way to the Year... 2000...
This has to portend well for the Cubs. If Wood can stay healthy and anchor a rotation with Trachsel, and another talented young arm like Geremi Gonzalez or Terry Adams or Telemaco emerges as a compliment, we could have a dominant rotation for a decade to come. We just need Wood's health to hold, and though we know he was worked hard in high school, he seems to be a very well built young man, and hopefully can keep his strength up. The Cubs winning a world series may be about as likely as a black president or a second Great Depression, but Wood may have the arm to get us there.
The if-this-is-his-rookie-year, just-imagine-the-things-to-come details, below.
Join us for a little pre-preseason debachuary tonight and a final farewell to Kid K in parachat. Plus the Oscars are tonight, so we can pull double duty talking about the red carpet (ZOMG, did you see what Kate Winselt was wearing?)
You have three viewing options, either you own the Chicago Cubs DVD set, Itunes for $2(search for Kerry Wood or a series called Baseball's Best) or Mlb.com(It's the Houston broadcast and you have to register and possibly been a past owner of MLB.tv). Game time is 9pm CST. With no commercials it shouldn't run more than two hours I believe and Transmission should be doing a parachat recap for tomorrow. Maybe this time we can get Kevin Orie to make the play.
Some quick notes from Mesa after the jump...
Twelve Cubs pitchers threw "live" BP at Fitch Park this morning, as Spring Training entered Phase Two.
- Everyone's favorite topic...lineups!!!
On days when switch hitter Aaron Miles plays second base and Kosuke Fukudome plays center field, Piniella said he likes this lineup: Soriano, Miles, Lee, Bradley, Ramirez, Fukudome, Geovany Soto and Ryan Theriot. That's a right-switch-right-switch-right-left-right-right alignment.
Armchair managers commence bitching! Between rumors of 400 AB's and now batting second, Aaron Miles has all the makings of being the new ¡Neifi! It's like no one in the Cubs organization has noticed that his likely unrepeatable .343 BABIP last season accounted for nearly all of his .753 OPS "success".
Spring training is nothing if not repetitive story lines, but Cubs manager Lou Piniella is once again hinting that he'd like to carry 14 position players and 11 pitchers.
Piniella admitted he doesn't have a set number of days off for
players. That won't be an issue until the regular season starts. Right
now, the Cubs have other matters to resolve. While thinking out loud,
Piniella said he'd like to carry 14 position players and 11 pitchers if
possible. The team isn't sure how to slot some players -- newcomer
Aaron Miles, for example. Piniella wants to see them on the field, and
the Cubs will have 39 spring games to evaluate the team.
It's not going to happen, it never does...but that won't stop me from taking a look at what the team might look like. And it's exponentially more interesting than where Alfonso Soriano might bat this year (hint: leadoff).
With kudos to Craig Calcaterra ("ShysterBall") over at The Hardball Times, who suggested giving the Facebook game, "25 Random Things About Me," a baseball twist, I offer my list of 25:(updated: mine now added, below Cubnut's, below the fold. - Trans)
1.) I attended my first Cubs game in 1968--Cubs v. Giants, Fergie Jenkins v. Ray Sadecki. I still have the scorecard and thanks to the miracle of Retrosheet have been able to confirm that I did a pretty decent job of keeping score for a 7-year-old.
2.) The first Cub baseball card I ever turned up in a Topps package was a 1968 Rob Gardner and yes, it was eventually thrown in the trash by my mother, along with all of my other precious cards.
3.) About three years ago, I bought a replacement Rob Gardner card on eBay. Take that, Mom!
In case Cubs history isn't your thing, there's a prospect post below this as well for today.
I've hinted at it enough over the last few months, but I suppose I'm ready to now to unleash it upon the world. Wiklifield (thanks to Cubnut for the name) has been my main project and passion this offseason and the goal is simple, if not ambitious - a community project to capture the entire history, culture and atmosphere of the Chicago Cubs. And I truly mean entire...
Players, coaches, songs, books, movies, Wrigleyville bars, rooftops, blogs, TCR memes, brain-cell killing articles, minor leagues, major leagues, you
name it, I would love to have it in there eventually. It's going to take years to accomplish and hopefully a lot of help from Cubs fans across the Internet, but I think it could be something special for Cubs fans to lose themselves in a few hours at a time. A few examples of similar projects include the Ultimate Mets Database, Sons of Sam Horn Wiki and the Baseball Reference Bullpen.
To achieve this massive goal, it's obvious that I couldn't do it myself,
nor the writers of TCR, so hence the open wiki interface that allows
anyone to contribute.
Now as you start looking through the site, you may start asking where's
this bit of info or why hasn't this been included. Well first, let me say back off...I've been doing it mostly by myself. Second, that's the
beauty of a wiki, if you don't see something just go ahead and add it. Of course that can also be its downfall as
the information can easily be corrupted, but more on that later.
Before I get to the nuts and bolts on how you can contribute, let me demonstrate a few examples of what I'm hoping to capture. Let's start with the entry for the Cleveland Indians. My idea for these major league franchise pages is to include every way that the teams have interacted with the Cubs. The main sections as you'll see are head-to-head record, all transactions between the two franchises (including any rumors), and finally thanks to Baseball Reference and their multi-franchise player finder, players that have played for both teams. I've started pages for the current 30 franchises and some have been done already. I also needed to give a big shout out to reader homerzzz, who has volunteered a tremendous amount of his own time helping me take the retrosheet transaction files and converting them into something we can use on Wiklifield.
1. Josh Vitters, 3B
2. Jeff Samardzjia,RHP
3. Jose Ceda, RHP
4. Hak-Ju Lee, SS
5. Andrew Cashner, RHP
6. Tyler Colvin, OF
7. Dae-Eun Rhee, RHP
8. Ryan Flaherty, SS
9. Welington Castilo, C
10. Donald Veal, LHP
11. Micah Hoffpauir, 1B
Just Missing: Matt Cerda, INF; Jay Jackson, RHP; Logan Watkins, INF
Sleeper: Kyler Burke
What They Say: The Cubs are a very tough team to rank. That said, the top three prospects on my initial snapshot never moved, and you see them exactly where they started. Everything after that is a bit of a mess however, as one could jumble up the players ranked fourth through eleventh in any order and make some kind of reasonable argument for all.
We do love our guest columns since we all get to take the day off from writing. Today, it's the ever cantankerous Real Neal taking on The Fielding Bible System.
The other day I bought The Hardball Times 2009 Baseball Annual. I haven’t finished yet, but as of so far, I would say save your money.
Rich Harden was all the news yesterday even though there was nothing new going on. Harden was newsworthy because he's starting the spring camp with long toss rather than work off the mound like the other pitchers. He's been on an off-season strengthening program for an achy-breaky shoulder that everyone in Cubs camp is still struggling to label. It's kind of like having a family member with a psychiatric diagnosis in the 1950's. Nobody wants to label the poor fella because of the stigma and gossip. Sun-Times beat reporter Gordon Wittenmyer, in his blog, was irked that once again there was misinformation delivered this off-season regarding what the diagnosis of Harden's shoulder issues are.
Can anybody tell me what the advantage is in omitting those details and being vague about these things? It's not like the Cubs have to protect the information for the purposes of shopping Harden or for any on-the-field competitive reasons (scouts have eyes).
I've covered three other teams in my career, and the ones that were most up front about these kinds of things had the fewest headaches with the way the information got out. And the fans stayed well informed, without the yo-yo effect.
I was meaning to write a nice update of spring training storylines like Rob has done in the post below, but I'm too busy
reading rejection letters from Universities being chased by spurned Valentines to scour the globe for the informative content that you, the reader deserve.
Then I remembered that it's spring training, and the stories write themselves.
So here are your Mad Libs that need filling in. The story itself is below the fold. (No peeking until you've entered your words!)
1. A Cubs Player
2. A number
3. A celebrity
4. A food
5. A gerund (a verb + ing)
6. A noun
7. A Cubs Player
8. A body part
9. A medical procedure
10. A number
11. A roster position
12. A Cubs Player
13. An adjective
14. A Cubs Player
15. An Adjective
16. A player from another baseball team
17. A sports reporter
18. A retired player
19. An adjective
20. A roster position
21. A feature of Wrigley Field
22. + 23. Two corporations
24. An occupation
25 + 26. Two Celebrities
27. A tragedy
28. A Cubs Player
29. A noun.
- Bruce Miles and the beat writers are back in business with the start of spring training. Miles says Geovany Soto has come to camp in great shape, Z is sporting a 'stache and will not pitch for Venezuela in the WBC. He also says that Z is holding off on laser eye surgery due to an infection and some odd eye geometry on his behalf. There appears to be some video at the Trib of Z and the Cubs in Arizona on the sidebar, but I can't get it to load.
- Fangraphs takes a look at the best outfield arms and comes to the shocking revelation that Alfonso Soriano is good and Juan Pierre is not.
- An interview with the Phils former GM, Pat Gillick, gives some insight on the Cubs corner outfielder pursuit this winter.
--On whether the Phillies may have overpaid for Ibanez (three years, $31.5 million), given the one-year, $6 million deal that Bobby Abreu
just signed with the Angels: "The Cubs were after [Ibanez] pretty
thick. Lou [Piniella] and he had a good relationship, so I think Lou
was plugging pretty hard for him. I don't think [the Phillies could've
waited]. The Cubs were searching for left-hand hitting. My opinion is I
would prefer Ibanez to Milton Bradley, just from an
injury standpoint. Milton Bradley to me is an American League player, a
DH/part-time outfielder. He's not a day-in, day-out player in the
From Tracy Ringolsby...
Cardinals manager Tony La Russa began lobbying last fall for the release of second baseman Adam Kennedy, wanting to keep Aaron Miles instead. Now he winds up with neither, the front office letting Miles go back in December, and then this week giving in on Kennedy and his $4 million salary when it became apparent there was no trade market for Kennedy.
We've been meaning to do this most of the offseason, but I think we've finally settled on a date. So Sunday, February 22nd at 9PM CST, we're going to gather in Parachat and watch the Kerry Wood 20K game. We know a lot of you own the Chicago Cubs DVD set and that's what most of us will be watching. I believe they showed the game on MLB Network recently, so maybe you Tivo'd it. Considering we normally have people watching from various different feeds during the season, we'll figure out how to sync it up to everyone's satsifaction. If you don't have access to the game and want to partake in the festivities, drop a note in the comments and I think we can work out something.
So come join us and get your Parachat fix on, Transmission will be doing one of his game recaps. I believe it's Oscar night as well, so that should give us some good material as well.
UPDATE: One of our dear readers points out that you can purchase the game from Itunes for about $2.
More fun after the jump...
Oriole-turned-Cub-turned-Mariner Garrett Olson talks about what it was like to hear he was Chicago-bound in the deal that sent Felix Pie to the O's.
From the Fresno Bee:
"Going to the Cubs, I had talked to the GM, talked to the pitching coach, a few other guys in the office. You definitely get excited for that. The thing is everybody knows the story about Chicago: haven't won a World Series in 100 years, and playing at Wrigley [Field], that's kind of like an icon in baseball. The opportunity developing in front of you is exciting."
Now Olson is with the Mariners, who have only gone 31 years without winning a World Series.
(Note: seems that we have reached the point in this country where it is physically impossible for someone from outside Chicago to say the word "Cubs" without saying the words "100 years" in the same sentence.)
Baseball Prospectus updated their team depth chart with new PECOTA information and the Cubs are hands down the class of the simulated National League Central. The Cubs come out with 96 wins and an easy division crown with the Brewers being their closest competition at 83 wins. That's also the best record in the NL and second best in the league behind the 98 imaginary wins that Boston has under their belt.
Some interesting storylines developing this weekend.
Alex Rodriguez, Donald Fehr and Bud Selig are going to have some splainin' to do with Sports Illustrated breaking a blockbuster HERE regarding ARod testing positive for two anabolic steroids in 2003 while with Texas. In fact, it's not just ARod but 104 players in total are on this list, which led to MLB adopting a random testing program for steroids in 2004. More than 5% of players tested were showing positive results in what was hoped to be proof that steroid use was nothing more than a rare situation. When the games biggest stars get pantsed as cheaters, in this case as defined by ARod turning his talents into $25-30 million/year contracts, the steroid era stain just keeps on spreading. Kind of like that pink spot in "The Cat in the Hat Comes Back".
When approached by an SI reporter on Thursday at a gym in Miami, Rodriguez declined to discuss his 2003 test results. "You'll have to talk to the union," said Rodriguez, the Yankees' third baseman since his trade to New York in February 2004. When asked if there was an explanation for his positive test, he said, "I'm not saying anything."
Primobolan, which is also known by the chemical name methenolone, is an injected or orally administered drug that is more expensive than most steroids. According to a search of FDA records, Primobolan is not an approved prescription drug in the United States, nor was it in 2003.
Rodriguez finished the 2003 season by winning his third straight league home run title (with 47) and the first of his three MVP awards.
Because more than 5% of big leaguers had tested positive in 2003, baseball instituted a mandatory random-testing program, with penalties, in '04.
Truth or Consequences? This is the Katie Couric Interview with ARod after the Mitchell Report was released last year where he flat out denies using PED's. Here are three blunt questions he was asked in that interview:
Q: For the record, have you ever done steroids, Human Growth Hormone or any other PED's?
Q: Have you ever been tempted to use any of those things?
Q: Who do you think has the real HR record, Hank Aaron or Barry Bonds?
was on vacation (at the Dunes in Vegas) for his regular ESPN radio
"Talkin' Baseball" show. Jonathan Hood substituted and Len Kasper was
interviewed. Len did say they will have 9 Cub games on TV this spring starting with two from Las Vegas begining March 4th. ESPN-1000's website now has downloadable archives
to Levine's weekly show for those who need a "BRUUCE" fix.
The Waddle and
Silvy show, daytimes (locally in Chicago) on ESPN-1000 radio has a similar site that has archives.
Their show from Feb 4th has an interview with Steve Stone who typically
is critical of the Cubs (this time for trading DeRosa and not signing
In a separate interview (same show) they talk to Todd Hollandsworth who will
now be doing the pre/post game duties for the Cubs on Comcast Sports
Network. Hollandsworth should be a nice addition, replacing Dan Plesac who has moved on to the new MLB network. Hollandsworth had been a weekly feature on David Kaplan's WGN radio Sports Central show, which essentially turned into a test run for him getting the CSN job. Color me a big fan of Plesac's work and the new MLB network which just added Bob Costas to their talent pool this week.
Rock on Len. Roll on Bruce.
Free agent Ben Sheets is hurt and has a torn flexor tendon origin at the elbow. The injury happened last August, he tried to play thru the injury and his last Brewer appearance was 2.1 IP against the Cubs on Sept 27th. Missing the playoffs after 8 seasons as the Brewer ace plus being in a free agent year must have been nearly as painful as his elbow. Yet circumstances of impending free agency may have created some controversy as to who is responsible to pay for treatment of Sheets elbow malady. After all, if Sheets was still under contract with the Brewers and if they thought his injury needed surgery, wouldn't he have already undergone the surgery that is now proposed for him? The Brewers did offer Sheets arbitration, which he declined and no surgical decision was made as his season ended nor at the time he declined arbitration. This implies that the Brewers medical staff didn't think his elbow needed surgery and would heal with rest. So in looking for a new employer, the Texas Rangers were readying a 2 year deal when Sheets physical exam (functionally a second opinion) set off alarms.
From the above article:
Talks between the Rangers and Sheets reached an impasse within the past several days, according to a person with knowledge of the discussions. The two sides were close to agreement on a two-year deal, according to a major-league source, but they already had concerns regarding the right-handers' checkered health history. It is believed that the physical examination revealed the tear and caused the Rangers to scotch the deal.
The surgery, to repair Sheets' partially torn flexor tendon, is expected to be performed by noted orthopedist Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala. Sheets' agent, Casey Close, could not be reached for comment, but sources say that he maintains Milwaukee should pay for the surgery since the injury stems from his time with the Brewers. While that dispute is resolved, Sheets now hopes to have the surgery next week, sources say.
Brewers assistant GM, Gord Ash in an mlb.com article added:
We're working our way through all of the details and we don't know the answer yet," Ash said. "Major League Baseball has regulations related to workers' comp and there are procedures and protocols that have to be respected. We're working our way through those so I can't give you much insight other than that.
I always wondered if pro baseball players who get injured are covered under workman's compensation?
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):
i still can't believe that crawford contract (7/142). all that loot and years for a LF'r who's entire hitting game revolves around his legs and line-drive power. those triples that raised his value are deceptive as hell to his true power, but it helped him get paid.
there's also pause about a guy who's ob% is almost totally driven by hits rather than walks. BOS got lucky unloading that crap deal.
I think the Cubs take Berry and Soler off playoff roster and add Hammel & Ramirez. Believe Maddon will find Denorfia & Jackson defense too hard to lose.