I’m not 100% certain that Vlad Guerrero would make the Hall of Fame if he retired today. He probably should, but after spending his entire career playing in obscurity and/or the west coast, one wonders if he looms as large in the minds of Hall of Fame voters as his accomplishments warrant. But let’s say he does make the Hall. What cap does he wear? That’s the question Bill Shaikin asks:
Guerrero won his only Most Valuable Player award with the Angels in 2004. He has made his only playoff appearances with the Angels, with one home run in 75 at-bats, one run batted in his last playoff 63 at-bats and no trips to the World Series.
He has four All-Star appearances with the Expos, four with the Angels. He is the Expos’ franchise leader in batting average and home runs. He played more years in Montreal, with more runs, hits, home runs and RBIs for the Expos than for the Angels. Give him two more years in Anaheim, and he’ll have more runs, hits and RBIs for the Angels.
Hall caps are more about accurately reflecting history than anything else, and the raw stats don’t always matter. Look at Reggie. He won more World Series championships and had his best individual seasons with the A’s, but there he is in Cooperstown wearing a Yankees’ cap. And that makes sense, because when we think of Reggie, we think of Reggie the Yankee. At least those of us (a) outside of the Bay Area; and (b) under the age of 45 do.
To me Vlad Guerrero will always be an Expo. Yes, he has that MVP and has been in the playoffs and on TV more as an Angel, but when I think of him, I think of him in an Expos uniform. That’s where he played his most electrifying baseball. It’s where he burst into our consciousness.
Guerrero is a DH now, and he’s almost certainly on the downswing of his career. Unless he has some late-career Reggie-in-the-1977-World Series moment in Anaheim, I can’t see my mind changing about him, and I tend to think that the folks at the Hall of Fame will feel the same way. Assuming, of course, they get the chance to consider him.
Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson was forced to exit Game 1 of the ALDS against the Rangers on Thursday after he took a knee to the head on a takeout slide at second base. The Blue Jays announced after the game that Donaldson passed concussion tests, but he’ll be reevaluated on Friday.
After the game, the Fox Sports 1 panel consisting of Kevin Burkhardt, Pete Rose, Frank Thomas, and Raul Ibanez discussed the high-profile injuries from Game 1. This led Rose to suggesting that Donaldson should have stayed in the game despite his head injury. Seriously.
Courtesy of Big League Stew, here’s the quote from Rose:
His comments created some awkwardness, but the other panelists gently tried to remind him that things have changed for the better and nobody takes any chances with a head injury. In fact, Donaldson wouldn’t be the first player to pass a concussion test one day before feeling symptoms later. It’s remarkable that nonsense like this could be said on a major sports broadcast in 2015, but here we are.
With their rented ace on the mound and the home crowd riled up, this was supposed to be the Blue Jays’ game. After all, they’re the one overwhelming favorite to win their LDS. Well, they were. After a 5-3 loss to the Rangers on Thursday, the Blue Jays face an uphill climb to advance in the best-of-five series.
It’s not over, obviously. For one thing, the Blue Jays get to face left-handers in at least two of the next three games, and the Jays destroy southpaws. The Jays will have the pitching advantages in Texas after Friday’s Game 2 showdown against Cole Hamels, and they’ll probably have a sharper David Price out there next time if the series goes five games.
How Toronto’s lineup shapes up in the coming days will hinge on the health of Josh Donaldson and Jose Bautista. Donaldson passed his initial concussion tests after colliding with Rougned Odor‘s knee, but he’d be far from the first player to experience lasting effects after initially getting the all clear. Bautista, too, is expected to be ready to play Friday after leaving with a hamstring cramp. At this point, there’s no reason to suspect that the Jays are understating the extent of the problem.
If Donaldson is fine, the Jays will have a much better chance of taking down Hamels. Game 2 starter Marcus Stroman has looked outstanding since returning from his torn ACL, and he should be able to hold down the Rangers’ offense better than Price did. He might not even have to face Adrian Beltre, who left Thursday’s game with a back problem.
The Rangers have yet to announce the rest of their rotation, though it sounds like Martin Perez is the favorite to get the ball opposite Marco Estrada in Game 3. It would then be either Colby Lewis, Derek Holland or Yovani Gallardo on three days’ rest in Game 4 (with the Jays starting knuckleballer R.A. Dickey). Lewis seems the more likely choice because of Holland’s inconsistency and the Jays’ dominance of left-handers. Those would both be winnable games for Toronto.
So, what it comes down to is beating Hamels. If the Jays head to Texas tied 1-1, they’re still the favorites to advance to the ALCS. If it’s 2-0 Rangers, three in a row is going to be a lot to ask.
Jon Lester is lined up to pitch against John Lackey in Game 1 of the NLDS against the Cardinals on Friday, but Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com reports that the Cubs will start Kyle Hendricks in Game 2 on Saturday.
Hendricks got the nod over Jason Hammel, would could start Game 4 if he isn’t used out of the bullpen this weekend. Jake Arrieta, coming off his brilliant performance in the Wild Card game against the Pirates, is scheduled to pitch in Game 3 when the series shifts to Chicago.
Hendricks posted a 3.95 ERA and 167/43 K/BB ratio in 180 innings over 32 starts this season. He pitched well down the stretch, including back-to-back scoreless outings to finish the regular season. That ultimately gave him the edge over Hammel, who had a 5.10 ERA during the second half.