And That Happened: Thursday's scores and recaps

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In the wake of Michael Jackson’s passing, all of the players in yesterday’s games wore one glove in his memory. . .

Yankees 11, Braves 7: Buster Olney went all Jerod Morris on A-Rod yesterday (query: does the fact that Rodriguez tested positive for steroids six years ago,
and a year before the institution of punitive testing give one license
to play the “one never knows” card all these years later? Geoff Baker
— can I get a consult here?). Less problematic than the steroids
speculation garbage was the quoting of scouts and wringing of hands to
the effect that Rodriguez has suddenly become a poor decrepit old man
who will likely not survive the length of his contract let alone
produce during its duration. Jesus. The guy rushed back from hip
surgery, played too much, and still isn’t 100% right. Is that really
the best time to declare someone’s career dead? Especially someone who
raked like hell just last season? I bet Buster liquidated his 401K in
March too. Anyway, reports of Rodriguez’s death are greatly exaggerated
(3-5 HR, 4 RBI).

Tigers 6, Cubs 5: Geovany Soto pinch hit and struck out. When he was not playing, he regaled Carlos Zambrano with tales about this one amazing killer bong he saw in Iowa City that one time.
He ought to straighten up that hophead attitude of his and fly right,
though. Look at Magglio Ordonez. That fine young man has shed those
hippie locks (and the stoner lifestyle that necessarily accompanies
long hair) and not surprisingly he’s back on track (1-4, HR, 2 RBI). If
only every player could emulate those clean cut and clean living stars of yesteryear!

Pirates 3, Indians 2:
Cliff Lee has to be looking around that locker room and feeling like
Michael did while looking around the Jacksons’ dressing room circa
1979. He’s better than these guys, they’re doing nothing to help him,
and they bring nothing to the party. In fact, I’m going to call Ben
Francisco “Tito” for the remainder of the season.

Reds 7, Blue Jays 5:
It felt so good to watch Joey Votto break out the whuppin’ stick (4-5,
2B, HR 3 RBI). By the way, as I did on Monday, I watched a good 45
minutes of this game on a treadmill at the gym. Unlike Monday, however,
I didn’t change the channel. Why? Because George Grande and Chris
Welsh, while certainly no luminaries, understand that there’s a
ballgame going on in front of them and actually talk about what’s
happening in it from time to time. Something else learned from this
game: Scott Rolen comes to the plate to Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock and
Roll.” I guess it’s a play on “Rolen,” but at bottom, isn’t that song
about a guitar chick lusting after a teenage boy?

Mets 3, Cardinals 2:
Good pitching matchup, as Santana beats Carpenter and the Mets take
three of four from the Cards. The crowd was the largest in Citi Field’s
young history. According to the article “New York had offered 50
percent discounts on some tickets.” With eight dollar beers and all of
the rest you’d think that any team with empty seats would cut prices
like Crazy Eddie, promote the crap out of it and be confident that
they’re making it all up in grub, suds and merch.

Marlins 11, Orioles 3:
There are some Baltimore Orioles truthers out there who insist that I
have decided to not say anything nice about their team. I’ll make you a
deal, guys: they do something worthy of praise, I’ll praise it. In the
meantime I will throw you a bone and note that Nick Markakis went 4 for
4 and drove in Z-game. Unfortunately it was 11-2 in the ninth inning at
the time. As for the Marlins, Hanley Ramirez went 3 for 5 and knocked
in five runs in what turned out to be a laugher.

White Sox 6, Dodgers 5:
Chad Billingsley let a 4-0 lead slip away and actually stood to be the
loser when he left the game after six. He got bailed out, but the Sox
pulled it out in 13. Weisman makes an excellent observation
regarding Torre’s bullpen use in extra innings: “Torre chose to save
Jonathan Broxton for a save situation rather than ensure he’d get an
inning out of him. It’s an old philosophical bug: the idea that your
best pitcher is more useful when you can afford to give up a run,
rather than when you can’t afford to.”

Mariners 9, Padres 3:
I’m not sure what surprised me more yesterday: the news that Michael
Jackson died or the news that Mike Sweeney was still alive. Good game
for him though (4-4, 2B, 2 RBI), as well as Ichiro and Beltre, who
combined to go 7-10 with four runs scored. The Mariners now set off on
a death march against the Dodgers, Yankees and Red Sox, all on the
road. We’ll certainly know what this team is made of in about nine or
ten days, won’t we?

Rays 10, Phillies 4:
It’s sort of not fair that the Rays can lose a guy like Evan Longoria
and then have his replacement — Willy Aybar — hit a homer and drive
in three runs. More evidence that the universe is unfair: the Marlins
beat the Phillies in this series, are playing much better baseball
overall, and have a lineup that could bash them across the country and
back, yet Philadelphia remains in first place and the Rays are in
fourth, six games back.

Nationals 9, Red Sox 3:
Smoltz got pounded (5 IP, 7 H, 5 ER), but he struck out 5 and walked
only one. Eh, dude’s allowed to warm up a bit. I’m sure someone will
analyze his start more closely than I have, but whatever that shows, my
gut tells me that he’s going to be alright pretty soon and will pitch
extremely well until the very moment his shoulder or elbow explodes

Astros 5, Royals 4:
Lance Berkman launched two dingers and drove in four. The game wouldn’t
have been as close, though, if it weren’t for a bunch of Astros errors
leading to three Royals’ runs.

Rangers 9, Diamondbacks 8:
Chris Davis had four hits, including a two-run homer in the 12th to win
it. He wouldn’t have had a chance to hit that one if Miquel Montero had
held on to a two-strike foul tip the pitch before.

Twins 6, Brewers 4:
I live in a city that has a massive (and probably justified)
inferiority complex, and one of the funniest things about it is that
Columbus can’t ever seem to decide which other city it should feel
inferior to. Chicago? That’s just silly, but you hear it sometimes.
Charlotte? Austin? Nashville? Those all make sense for various reasons,
but none are perfect. Anyway, as I was staring at the box score of this
game and failing to find anything really interesting to say about it, I
wondered: does Milwaukee compare itself to Minneapolis? To Chicago? Or
is it a city that is comfortable in its own skin, never giving a
thought to other places (except when making fun of the elitists in
Madison)? The thought gripped me for a while so I decided to Google it
a few different ways and came up with this:

Is Milwaukee, with its rich industrial legacy, however small it is
compared to its heyday, headed toward a manufacturing heavy Detroit, a
financial services hub that Minneapolis is, or something altogether
different? Bill Bonifas, an executive vice president with The Polacheck
Co. Inc., says the answer to that question illustrates two points: Why
Milwaukee is different than Detroit and Minneapolis and where the
city’s headed.

“You can’t say Milwaukee is going in the direction Detroit is because
to begin with Detroit has a more spatial dynamic whereas the money is
located in Milwaukee.

“Though I think our momentum matches that of Minneapolis, I don’t think
we’ll end up like that city either because that’s such a regional
center for finance that Milwaukee is, and will have to be, a
combination of the two.”

Detroit never occurred to me, though I have to admit, there are some
basic similarities. An industrial past, Great Lakes access, a snobby
little overeducated town a short drive to the west. It works if you
squint a little.

I know there’s no purpose to this, but does anyone have any ideas
here? Lar? And if you don’t know a thing about Milwaukee, does your
town engage in this neurotic behavior, or is it just a Columbus thing?
Does every Springfield have its Shelbyville?

Who will be the 2016 World Series’ breakout star?

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 22:  Javier Baez #9 of the Chicago Cubs looks on prior to game six of the National League Championship Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Wrigley Field on October 22, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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Watching baseball most every day between April and October is a lot of fun, but it also can be a bit desensitizing. People like me and like many of you see some of baseball’s biggest stars every night and some of those same stars multiple times a week. We appreciate them but, after a little while, we tend to take them a little bit for granted.

The World Series, however, is a time when a lot of people who only watch their own team on a regular basis start watching other teams. It’s also when a lot of people who don’t watch a lot of baseball in general pay closer attention to a sport that may only be their second or third love. These people are getting a first glimpse, in many cases, of some truly special players performing on baseball’s biggest stage for the first time. They’re seeing stars break out. Their very act of paying attention to them now contributes to the breakout. It’s a cliche, but October is when stars are born.  It’s like relativity or something: they’re born because so many people are looking on, seeing their light for the first time.

The Indians have a handful of exciting young players who have not fully captured national attention as of yet. Sure, Francisco Lindor has been on the radar of baseball obsessives for a few years now, but he’s just completing his second big league season and is, for all practical purposes, entering the national spotlight for the first time this postseason. Jason Kipnis has played for six seasons and, for many of those seasons, was one of baseball’s most underrated and overlooked stars. Eventually, as happens with a lot of players like that, hardcore baseball fans came to truly appreciate him . . . but is he that well known to casual fans and those who have not seen much of the Indians over the past few years? Could his playing this World Series with a sprained ankle turn him into something bigger than he already is in the public consciousness?

The Cubs have a bit more of a national following and have had players in advertising campaigns and the like. As a result, even casual fans know who Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo are. But have they seen them play as much as they’ve seen their images in TV commercials? Even if they have, there are still some generally overlooked and relatively unknown players on that Cubs roster. Catcher Willson Contreras didn’t come up until the middle of June. If you’re a Cubs fan or a fan of one of the many teams the Cubs have vanquished on their way to the World Series you know and love (or, possibly, loathe) Contreras well, but most people haven’t had a chance to see him much. Now he’s poised to play in the Fall Classic. Second baseman Javier Baez has been up and down in his brief major league career, but he’s been electric down the stretch and in the postseason, having drastically cut down on his strikeouts and having flashed some serious leather of late. There’s something about him that just screams “superstar,” and he now has the chance to show that to the world.

The idea of a “breakout star” is a bit amorphous. It could be someone young who shows himself and his talents to the world for the first time, like a Lindor or a Baez. It could, on the other hand, be someone who has been around for a long time — say, a David Ross or a Rajai Davis — who creates a signature moment for himself in the Fall Classic with one big swing of the bat. Heck, Edgar Renteria did both of those things in two different World Series, announcing his presence on the national stage with a big hit in the 1997 Series and bowing out gracefully with a big hit in the 2010 Series. Someone could create a prologue or an epilogue to a wonderful career, starting tonight.

Ultimately the question in the headline above is a rhetorical one, not a predictive one. We don’t know who will make the 2016 World Series his own and who will, in turn, make himself into a household name. But a short series, laden with drama like the World Series, all but guarantees that we’ll have one. A player who, after the next five to nine days, will forever be known by both the baseball obsessives and the casual fans. Watching that star being born will be just as enjoyable as watching the overall content at hand.

World Series Game 1 Lineup: Schwarber and Coghlan in, Heyward out

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 18:  Chris Coghlan #8 of the Chicago Cubs reacts after lining out to end the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the ninth inning of game three of the National League Championship Series at Dodger Stadium on October 18, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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The Cubs and Indians have released their lineups for Game 1 of the World Series.

Joe Maddon makes two notable changes: Kyle Schwarber as the DH and Chris Coghlan in right, with Jason Heyward on the bench.

Heyward has been close to a lost cause at the plate all season for the Cubs and is 2-for-24 in the playoffs this year. While his defense is a plus, Maddon has decided that he’d rather have the lefty Coghlan facing Corey Kluber.

1. Dexter Fowler (S) CF
2. Kris Bryant (R) 3B
3. Anthony Rizzo (L) 1B
4. Ben Zobrist (S) LF
5. Kyle Schwarber (L) DH
6. Javier Baez (R) 2B
7. Chris Coghlan (L) RF
8. Addison Russell (R) SS
9. David Ross (R) C

For the Indians:

1. Rajai Davis (R) CF
2. Jason Kipnis (L) 2B
3. Francisco Lindor (S) SS
4. Mike Napoli (R) 1B
5. Carlos Santana (S) DH
6. Jose Ramirez (S) 3B
7. Brandon Guyer (R) LF
8. Lonnie Chisenhall (L) RF
9. Roberto Perez (R) C