Everybody is understandably talking about Manny right now, but there was another piece of interesting news to come out of Chicago on Monday. Andruw Jones told Scott Merkin of MLB.com that he would like to play five more seasons.
“Everybody says he’s getting old or he’s losing it,” said the
33-year-old Jones. “There are things you have to work on and try to get
yourself more consistent. Hopefully when you get the opportunity to
play, you can get back on that roll. But I’m looking for another five
years, and if I play consistently, I should be where I want to be.”
It’s funny that he mentions consistency, because let’s compare his production over the past two seasons:
2009: .214/.323/.459 with 17 home runs, 43 RBI and a 782 OPS in 281 at-bats
2010: .215/.321/.474 with 18 home runs, 42 RBI and a 795 OPS in 251 at-bats (entering play Monday)
Whether you think he’s been good or bad, that’s pretty darn remarkable. Thankfully, looking at the patterns of his last two seasons, we know that if he gets off to a hot start again next April, it doesn’t mean “he’s back.” At this point, he’s merely a decent power bat who is still fairly capable in the outfield.
Jones, who signed a one-year, incentive-laden $500,000 contract with the White Sox last November, told Merkin that he would like to stay in Chicago next season. It’s worth noting that he enters play Monday with 406 career home runs, so staying in the American League is obviously his best bet if he hopes to have any shot at cracking 500 home runs. With the game increasingly shifting towards youth, however, it seems unlikely he’ll stick around long enough.
After 71 years, the Cubs are headed back to the Fall Classic.
The dominance with which Clayton Kershaw attacked the Cubs in Game 2 of the NLCS was nonexistent in Game 6 as the Dodgers’ ace loaded the bases to start the first inning and scattered five extra bases and five runs over five frames. By the time Dave Roberts pulled his starter in the sixth inning, Kershaw was sitting on a Game Score of 33, the lowest he’s mustered since the start of the 2015 season. Only one of his strikes came via curveball, and whether he was having difficulty locating his off-speed stuff or felt more confident with the fastball-slider combo, it was the fewest curves he’d seen land for strikes all year (per David Adler).
Where the Dodgers were able to give Kershaw the edge in Game 2, they found themselves powerless against opposing hurler Kyle Hendricks. Hendricks turned out 7 1/3 scoreless frames with two hits and six strikeouts, preserving the Cubs’ second shutout of the postseason and the first since they bested the Giants in Game 1 of the NLDS. After his 1-0 loss to the Dodgers early in the NLCS, seeing the MLB ERA leader turn out a gem was a relief for the Cubs, especially one as spectacular as an 88-pitch two-hitter.
With Hendricks effectively stymieing the Dodgers’ best attempts to get on base, the Cubs played to their strengths at the plate. Kris Bryant and Ben Zobrist cleared the bases in the first inning for a two-run lead, followed by a Dexter Fowler RBI single in the second. Willson Contreras came through in the fourth inning for the Cubs, lifting an 87 m.p.h. slider to left field for his first home run of October, while Anthony Rizzo hit his second homer of the postseason on a 1-1 fastball in the fifth.
Neither bullpen allowed a single run from the sixth inning onward. Dodgers’ right-hander Kenley Jansen took the ball from Kershaw in the sixth, scattering four strikeouts over three innings and denying the Cubs so much as a single baserunner through the end of the game. Aroldis Chapman, meanwhile, issued just one walk in 1 1/3 scoreless frames, inducing a Yasiel Puig double play to clinch the Cubs’ 17th franchise pennant.
With the win, the Cubs will face off against the Indians in Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday at 8 PM EDT. And, in case you needed a reminder:
So much for Clayton Kershaw posing a threat tonight. The Cubs got their knocks in early and often against the Dodgers’ ace during Game 6 of the NLCS, racking up three runs in the first three innings before rookie catcher Willson Contreras unleashed his first postseason home run in the bottom of the fourth inning.
According to MLB.com’s Phil Rogers, Contreras became the 10th Cub to homer in the 2016 playoffs, following big hits by Addison Russell, Anthony Rizzo, Dexter Fowler, Miguel Montero, David Ross, Jake Arrieta, Kris Bryant, Travis Wood, and Javier Baez. Of the ten home run hitters, Contreras joins catchers David Ross and Miguel Montero as yet another backstop capable of driving the long ball (and, less importantly, as another player capable of a sweet, sweet bat flip).
Rizzo, whose last homer was a deep drive to right field off of Los Angeles right-hander Pedro Baez in Game 4 of the NLCS, piled on Kershaw’s five-run outing with another home run in the bottom of the fifth inning. Kershaw called it a night after five frames, and the Cubs currently lead the Dodgers 5-0 in the sixth inning.