Quick hits: Happ to start Game 3 vs. Rockies

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– Saturday’s snow-out will allow the
Phillies to go with J.A. Happ in Sunday’s Game 3 against the Rockies.
Happ was knocked out of Thursday’s Game 2 after taking a comebacker off
the right shin, but appears to be good to go. With the inclusion of
Happ, the Phillies would presumably start Cliff Lee in Game 4 and Cole
Hamels in Game 5. If things go according to plan, Jayson Stark of ESPN
reports that
the Phillies would be the first team to start five left-handers in a five-game division series. The Mariners started four (Randy Johnson, Jamie Moyer and Jeff Fassero) against the Orioles in 1997.



– They’ll have to survive Saturday’s Game 3 first, but manager Tony LaRussa said Chris Carpenter will start on short rest in a probable Game 4 against the Dodgers on Sunday.
Carpenter yielded four runs over five innings in a 5-3 loss in
Wednesday’s Game 1. The Cardinals had considered John Smoltz or Kyle
Lohse for Game 4, but the early deficit has changed LaRussa’s mind. If
it happens, Carpenter, who missed large parts of two seasons following
Tommy John surgery, would be starting on three days rest for the first
time in his major league career.




– While former Nationals skipper Manny Acta acknowledged his interest in the Astros’ managerial vacancy on Friday night, it appears Jim Fregosi is also being considered for the job.
Fregosi, 67, hasn’t managed in the majors since 2000 with the Blue
Jays. He is 1,028-1,095 lifetime, making one World Series appearance
with the Phillies in 1993. Of course, current Astros general manager Ed
Wade was also the general manager of that team. While Fregosi is
highly-regarded for his handling of veteran players, it’s hardly an
inspiring choice for a team that has failed to make a postseason
appearance since losing in the World Series in 2005.




– And finally, Memories of Kevin Malone points out
that those with postseason inexperience (Randy Wolf, Cliff Lee, Adam
Wainwright, Brian Duensing and Clayton Kershaw) have outperformed those
who have been there before (Chris Carpenter, Cole Hamels, C.C.
Sabathia, John Lackey, Aaron Cook, Jon Lester, Ubaldo Jimenez). This is
a small sample-size, to be sure, but it goes back to what Jim Leyland
always says: Take talent over experience.

Rick Ankiel drank vodka before a start to deal with the yips

9 Apr 2000: Rick Ankiel #66 of the St. Louis Cardinals winds back to pitch the ball during the game against the Milwaukee Brweers at the Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri. The Cardinals defeated the Brewers 11-2. Mandatory Credit: Elsa Hasch  /Allsport
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The story of Rick Ankiel is well known by now. He was a phenom pitcher who burst onto the scene with the Cardinals in 1999 and into the 2000 season as one of the top young talents in the game. Then, in the 2000 playoffs, he melted down. He got the yips. Whatever you want to call it, he lost the ability to throw strikes and his pitching career was soon over. He came back, however, against all odds, and remade his career as a solid outfielder.

It’s inspirational and incredible. But there is a lot more to the story that we’ve ever known. We will soon, however, as Ankiel is coming out with a book. Today he took to the airwaves and shared some about it. Including some amazing stuff:

On drinking in his first start after the famous meltdown in Game One of the 2000 National League division series against the Braves:

“Before that game…I’m scared to death. I know I have no chance. Feeling the pressure of all that, right before the game I get a bottle of vodka. I just started drinking vodka. Low and behold, it kind of tamed the monster, and I was able to do what I wanted. I’m sitting on the bench feeling crazy I have to drink vodka to pitch through this. It worked for that game. (I had never drank before a game before). It was one of those things like the yipps, the monster, the disease…it didn’t fight fair so I felt like I wasn’t going to fight fair either.”

Imagine spending your whole life getting to the pinnacle of your career. Then imagine it immediately disintegrating. And then imagine having to go out and do it again in front of millions. It’s almost impossible for anyone to contemplate and, as such, it’s hard to judge almost anything Ankiel did in response to that when he was 21 years-old. That Ankiel got through that and made a career for himself is absolutely amazing. It’s a testament to his drive and determination.

 

Justin Turner talks “Easy D”

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 22:  Justin Turner #10 of the Los Angeles Dodgers warms up prior to game six of the National League Championship Series against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on October 22, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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A couple of weeks ago our president wrote one of his more . . . vexing tweets. He was talking about immigration when he whipped out the phrase . . . “Easy D”:

No one was quite sure what he meant by Easy D. Was it the older brother of N.W.A.’s founder? The third sequel to that Emma Stone movie from a few years back? So many questions!

Baseball Twitter had fun with it, though, with a lot of people wondering how they could work it in casually to their commentary:

It wasn’t a scout who did it, but twelve days after that, a player obliged Mr. McCullough:

I have no more idea what Turner was talking about with that than Trump was. We’ll have to wait for the full story in the L.A. Times. But I am going to assume Turner was doing McCullough a solid with that one rather than commenting on the president’s tweet. Either way, I’m glad he made the effort.

And before you ask: yes, it’s a slow news day.