Carlos Silva is a "battler"

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I hope Bert Blyleven makes the Hall of Fame this year. I’m happy Bert Blyleven writes for NBC Sports.com.  I also wish I had some of what Bert Blyleven was smoking when he went on the radio this afternoon and gave us the Carlos Silva scouting report:

“What the Cubs got is, if he’s healthy, a guy that could pitch 200 innings for them.  He’s got a great sinking fastball, very good control. He’s a battler. He’s a lot like Carlos Zambrano as far as attacking the strike zone. Carlos Silva does not walk a lot of guys. He’s not going to strike out a lot of guys. He’s a contact-type pitcher that when he’s on has a good sinking fastball . . . As far as a person, this guy works his rear end off. He’s a good clubhouse presence. He’s got very good chemistry with all the other players. He’s a nice addition to the Cubs as long as he’s healthy.”

I suppose a lot of that is true. It’s also true that this battling chemistry god is currently getting lit up to the tune of a .400 opponents batting average in the Venezuelan winter league. Which means that either (a) he’s not healthy, in which case the Cubs will surely cancel the deal; or (b) Blyleven is overstating the merits of Carlos Silva just a weeeeeee bit.

A.J. Hinch: “We’ll use every pitcher in Game 7 if we have to”

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It’s not entirely clear why the Astros threw Ken Giles into the ninth inning of Game 6 of the ALCS. With a six-run advantage and the bottom half of the Yankees’ lineup due up, pushing the series to its seven-game capacity looked like a sure bet. Giles may be one of Houston’s better bullpen arms, but he’s not their only option, and it would have made more sense to keep him fresh for a do-or-die Game 7 on Saturday night.

Of course, there’s no such thing as a sure bet when it comes to postseason baseball. That’s more or less what Astros’ manager A.J. Hinch had to say after the game, telling reporters that he had envisioned a quick three outs from his closer as they tried to pull back from the brink of elimination. “We didn’t have the luxury of limping into that inning,” Hinch said. “We’ve seen how these guys can explode in these innings.”

It’s not difficult to recall the Yankees’ explosive drive in the eighth inning of Game 4, when they exploited the holes in Houston’s ‘pen and evened the series with Gary Sanchez‘s go-ahead double off of Giles. Back home in Minute Maid Park, however, there was a slightly different feel to the eighth and ninth innings of Game 6. Jose Altuve led off the eighth with a solo home run, followed by Alex Bregman‘s two-run double and Evan Gattis‘ sac fly. In the ninth, Giles labored through a 23-pitch outing to lock down the win, handing out a base hit and a seven-pitch walk before eventually whiffing Chase Headley on three straight pitches for the last out.

So, while Hinch’s decision to lean on Giles in Game 6 may have felt wasteful, his concerns were not entirely unfounded. He’s prepared to roll with the same strategy during Saturday’s series finale, too, leaving nothing on the table as the Astros battle for their first World Series showdown since 2005. According to Dallas Keuchel, that means all hands on deck — except for Justin Verlander, whose four wins, 24 strikeouts and 1.46 postseason ERA have gotten the Astros as far as he could possibly be expected to take them. “No pitcher is going to be in the dugout,” said Keuchel. “They’re all going to be in the bullpen, myself included. Any way we can help out, we’re trying to get to the World Series, the same way the Yankees are, and that’s a nice feeling to have.”

Does that mean Giles will be available for a Game 7 appearance? Stranger things have happened. Joe Sheehan notes that the right-hander has pitched in back-to-back days 13 times this year, though he’s never thrown as many as 23 pitches on Day 1. Granted, he likely doesn’t have enough left in the tank for another 20+ pitch run on Saturday, but with the World Series on the line, any help he can offer will be invaluable.