I don’t know if this makes me a cynic, an optimist or what, but the first thing I thought today when I realized that Jim Joyce was going to be working behind the plate was “boy, I bet the Tigers get a wide strike zone today!” I mean, I want to believe that people don’t try to make up for mistakes like that, but people are people, ya know?
For what it’s worth the game wasn’t close — the Tigers killed the Indians 12-6 — and the strike zone, while not the best in the world, didn’t seemed skewed in the Tigers’ direction or against the Tribe.
Here are starter Rick Porcello’s pitches plotted over at Brooks Baseball. Just about as many missed balls as missed strikes. Joyce obviously gives the pitcher the benefit of the doubt on the left edge and harms him on the lower right, but it’s not like this is a crazy or unprecedented game for anyone. Indians’ starter David Huff had a little better zone. Of course he got clobbered, but that’s not Joyce’s fault.
I dunno. Probably expecting too much — or too little, maybe — out of people to even make such an inquiry, but it’s a fun one all the same. If anyone else with better Pitch f/x-fu than me wants to take a crack at it and tell me what I missed, by all means, let me know in the comments.
With Game 6 of the NLCS just hours away, the Dodgers will opt for a lefty-heavy lineup against right-hander Kyle Hendricks. Batting leadoff is rookie outfielder Andrew Toles, who made one appearance at the top of the lineup during the 2016 season. The Cubs, meanwhile, will bench Jason Heyward in favor of Albert Almora Jr.. This will be Almora’s first start of the playoffs, and while he has yet to face Kershaw in October, his right-handed bat could play well against the lefty at the bottom of the lineup.
Game time is scheduled for 8 PM EDT; lineups are below.
1. Andrew Toles (L) LF
6. Wilson Contreras (R) C
8. Albert Almora Jr. (R) RF
9. Kyle Hendricks (R) RHP
UPDATE, 5:08 PM EDT: Cubs’ manager Joe Maddon will not rule out a World Series appearance for Kyle Schwarber if the Cubs advance. MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat reports that Schwarber could play through a simulated game on Sunday, during which the Cubs’ medical and baseball staff would evaluate his chances for a late season return. If he does play, it will likely be in a pinch-hitting or DH role and not on the field.
Cubs’ outfielder Kyle Schwarber will return to the playing field on Saturday, per a report by the Chicago Tribune’s Mark Gonzales. The club’s prized left fielder suffered a season-ending injury when he collided with Dexter Fowler back in April, tearing both his ACL and LCL and undergoing intensive knee surgery later that month.
While no nerve damage was discovered during the surgery, the Cubs have kept a close eye on Schwarber during his recovery and put a kibosh on any part-time or full-time role with the team until the spring of 2017. Getting a few reps in during the Arizona Fall League appears to be the last step in the 23-year-old’s rehab process. He will be part of the Mesa Solar Sox’ ‘taxi squad,’ making him eligible for games on Wednesdays and Saturdays only.
Schwarber batted .246/.355/.487 with 16 in 69 games with the Cubs during his debut season in 2015. He will be added to the Mesa Solar Sox roster in advance of their set against the Salt River Rafters on Saturday evening.