Because of (a) a rain delay; and (b) the fact that the Tigers couldn’t get the Mets out last night, Jon Niese ended up going an hour and a half between his last pitch of the third inning and his first pitch in the fourth. The delay was consequential: The Tigers couldn’t touch Niese for the first three innings last night, but after the delay he gave up six runs on seven hits.
I’m assuming the reason Jerry Manuel sent Niese out was because he was staked to a 10-0 lead and, with a couple innings more, he would have gotten the easy win. In fact he ended up with a no-decision, unable to make it through five. Here’s Manuel on what happened:
“I thought what hurt him was trying to be careful with the lead knowing
he only had to go a couple more innings. He was throwing his
pitches for strikes but at the end he was just trying to get by. I
thought it was a great learning experience for him.”
Sure, being careful was what hurt him. It had nothing to do with going cold in the long delay and coming back with zero life in his arm, all because the manager thought it was important for him to get a little W on the back of his baseball card.
Apropos of nothing, I was reading a pretty neat article in the New York Times yesterday about something called the Dunning-Kruger Effect, which is a condition in which an incompetent person is unaware of his own incompetence. It’s not clear from the article if becoming aware that you are unaware of your own incompetence solves the problem, but it may be worth sliding the article under Jerry Manuel’s door all the same.
With Game 1 of the Red Sox-Indians ALDS set to commence on Thursday, there’s no better starter for the job than Corey Kluber. The only question is whether or not the right-hander will be up to the task after sustaining a mild quadriceps strain earlier this week.
Indians’ manager Terry Francona appeared optimistic about Kluber’s chances of recovering in time for the Division Series, but admitted that he doesn’t have his rotation set in stone for the first couple of postseason games. Complicating matters is Monday’s potential make-up game between the Indians and the Tigers, which they’ll be forced to play if the outcome has bearing on playoff seeding.
Per MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian, Francona doesn’t have a starter for the make-up game, either, though he clarified that rehabbing right-hander Danny Salazar would not be eligible. Salazar is still working his way back from a forearm injury in hopes of joining the Indians for their postseason run, and needs to toss another simulated game before he can be expected to return to the mound. Kluber, meanwhile, will throw off the mound on Sunday.
With Kluber or Salazar limping out of the gate, the Indians will likely have to fall back on right-handers Trevor Bauer and Josh Tomlin. Bauer is slated for Saturday’s face-off against the Royals and confirmed his willingness to pitch on short rest through the playoffs. The 25-year-old also spoke to the Indians about his ability to pitch out of the bullpen, though it’s an option they appear unlikely to exercise. While Francona’s comments on Friday stressed the club’s patient approach toward their rotation, Bauer appeared revved and ready to go:
If it was up to me, […] I’d pitch and be ready to start or be available out of the ‘pen every game. In the playoffs, there’s really no reason to save anything. So, whenever I can get in there, whenever they want me to get in there, I’ll be ready.
Matt Holliday might not have a landing spot with the Cardinals in 2017, but that doesn’t mean he’s ready to hang his cleats up just yet. Prior to the Cardinals’ afternoon set against the Pirates on Saturday, the 36-year-old expressed his desire to further his career elsewhere, even if staying in St. Louis is not a possibility.
It’s been a down year for the outfielder, who batted .242/.318/.450 through 107 games before landing on the disabled list with a fractured right thumb. His 0.6 fWAR is the lowest mark of his career to date. Notwithstanding two injury-riddled seasons (he was sidelined through most of 2015 with a right quadriceps strain), he’s performed admirably for the Cardinals over the past eight years, putting up a .292/.379/.494 batting line, 156 home runs, and 26.8 fWAR with the club. With a return to full health, he might not be on the market for long.