Sometimes it just isn’t your day, but Saturday’s 4-1 loss to the Phillies is the latest sign that this just isn’t the Cubs’ year.
Carlos Marmol, who struck out the side in impressive fashion on Friday, entered Saturday’s game protecting a one-run lead. After getting Greg Dobbs to fly out to begin the ninth inning, he walked Brian Schneider and Ross Gload to put the tying run into scoring position. Marmol was able to strike out Shane Victorino for the second out, but surrendered a game-tying RBI single to Placido Polanco, who was activated from the disabled list prior to Saturday’s game.
Tyler Colvin, who was playing left field, actually made a very strong throw to the plate, however catcher Geovany Soto was unable to come up with the ball and apply a tag. Game tied. But that wasn’t the worst of it. Not only did Marmol walk the next batter Jimmy Rollins on four pitches, he threw ball four to the backstop, allowing Gload to score with the go-ahead run. Yeesh.
Marmol then intentionally walked Ryan Howard to load the bases after Jimmy Rollins stole second base. And that would make tons of sense if Marmol was capable of throwing strikes. He wasn’t. At least not on this particular day. Marmol proceeded to walk Jayson Werth, too, his fifth free pass of the inning. Just to put things in perspective for a minute, Cliff Lee has walked just six batters all freaking season.
Anyway, Cubs manager Lou Piniella finally pulled his closer from the game after he threw just 15 of 39 pitches for strikes. Again, bad day for Marmol, but he’s really been the least of the Cubs’ problems this season. Consider today’s painful loss just another notch in the “sell” column.
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.