Jason Heyward is who we thought he is…

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Thumbnail image for jason heyward first homer.jpgA 20-year-old rookie. Jason Heyward got his rudest awakening yet during Friday’s extra-inning 5-4 loss to the Giants, going 0-for-5 with four strikeouts and a walk.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy told the San Jose Mercury news that they intended to pitch the rookie phenom “under the ground,” and they did just that, getting him to strike out four times swinging, three of them on pitches in the dirt. After Friday’s action, Heyward is hitless in his last 11 at-bats. He has an 8-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio over his first 17 major league at-bats.

According to what he told John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle, Heyward understands that it’s all about adjustments from here on out:

“A game like this, if you don’t learn from it, you don’t do anyone a
favor,” said Heyward, 20. “That’s what baseball’s about. That’s what
life’s about. Adjustments. Learn from it. Be more patient. Get a feel
for the strike zone.”

Friday’s starter Jonathan Sanchez told the Chronicle that he saw a similar pattern emerge after Pablo Sandoval’s initial success:

“It’s what happened to Pablo (Sandoval) in the beginning. They were
throwing it in the dirt, and he was swinging at everything. He made

NL Wild Card Game: Cubs vs. Pirates lineups

Jake Arrieta

Here are the Cubs and Pirates lineups for tonight’s Wild Card game in Pittsburgh:

CF Dexter Fowler
RF Kyle Schwarber
LF Kris Bryant
1B Anthony Rizzo
3B Tommy La Stella
2B Starlin Castro
C Miguel Montero
SS Addison Russell
SP Jake Arrieta

Cubs manager Joe Maddon wanted Tommy La Stella in the lineup over Jorge Soler or Chris Coghlan, so he starts at third base and Kris Bryant shifts to left field. Bryant started just four games in left field all season, compared to 136 starts at third base. Also of note: After batting Addison Russell ninth–behind the pitcher–116 times this season Maddon has him in the more traditional eighth spot tonight.

RF Gregory Polanco
3B Josh Harrison
CF Andrew McCutchen
LF Starling Marte
C Francisco Cervelli
2B Neil Walker
SS Jordy Mercer
1B Sean Rodriguez
SP Gerrit Cole

Pedro Alvarez started 119 games at first base for the Pirates and with right-hander Jake Arrieta on the mound he was the presumed starter tonight, but instead manager Clint Hurdle has benched the 27-homer slugger in favor of utility man Sean Rodriguez. Alvarez is vastly superior to Rodriguez offensively, especially versus a righty, but he’s also very shaky defensively. During the regular season Rodriguez started a grand total of one game at first base against a right-hander, so this qualifies as a hunch by Hurdle.

The Cardinals are optimistic about Yadier Molina’s status

St. Louis Cardinals' Yadier Molina celebrates as he arrives home after hitting a solo home run during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the San Francisco Giants Monday, Aug. 17, 2015, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
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Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports that Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina‘s bum thumb responded well after participating in baseball activities Tuesday, including catching, hitting, blocking balls and the like.

This morning Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said that he’s now even more optimistic that Molina will be on the NLDS roster. The Cards’ first game will be Friday against the winner of tonight’s Cubs-Pirates tilt.

Having Molina would obviously be a boon for the Cardinals on the field. For a look at what Molina means to the Cardinals off the field, however, take some time to go read Derrick Goold’s excellent story about what Molina’s teammates think of him. Short version: the world. It’s worth your time, even if you’re not a citizen of Cardinals Nation.