25-year-old Cory Luebke didn’t have the easiest of assignments Friday night against the Rockies. Not only was he making his major league debut, he was being asked to stop the bleeding of a seven-game losing streak. No pressure or anything.
Luebke was predictably a little shaky, giving up a pair of two-run homers over five innings while walking two, hitting a batter and committing a fielding error. Edward Mujica, Mike Adams and Ernesto Frieri followed with seven strikeouts over four innings of hitless ball, but it wasn’t enough. The Padres lost 4-3 and have now dropped eight consecutive games.
Chase Headley told Corey Brock of MLB.com that it’s hard to point to any one thing as the reason for recent skid.
“The frustrating part of this is that we haven’t been playing bad
baseball in this streak,” Headley said. “It’s been one little thing that
can change the game.”
Headley is staying positive, but it’s not really a mystery. As David Pinto of Baseball Musings tells us, the Padres have batted .220 over the course of the streak, including .174 with runners in scoring position. The team’s pitching hasn’t been awful, but their opponents have batted .410 with runners in scoring position.
The Padres were 6 1/2 games up on the Giants on August 25. They’re now three games up with 29 left to play. Fortunately for the Padres, the Giants lost Friday night, so they didn’t lose any more ground. Jon Garland will try to snap the streak when he opposes Jason Hammel later this afternoon.
Ben Badler of Baseball America Reports that Major League Baseball has cancelled its Dominican national showcase, which was scheduled for today and tomorrow. Why? Because, Badler reports, trainers and players in the Dominican Republic planned to skip the showcase in protest over Major League Baseball’s push to implement an international draft.
The kicker: Major League Baseball explored bringing in lesser prospects to serve as replacement players for the showcase. MLB, you might recall, has a poor track record of getting replacement workers to fill in for picketing players.
As Badler noted recently, the international draft proposed by Major League Baseball is, despite whatever MLB says, all about paying international players less money. From the Players Union’s perspective, it’s all about selling out amateur players to the supposed benefit of current union members. The allegedly altruistic justifications for the draft simply don’t hold water.
They certainly don’t fool the Dominican players who, even if they are ultimately powerless to stop MLB from stripping them of their bargaining power, will not give it up quietly.
The Game: Chicago Cubs @ Cleveland Indians, World Series Game 2
The Time: 7:00 PM EDT
The Place: Progressive Field, Cleveland
The Channel: FOX
The Starters: Jake Arrieta (Cubs) vs. Trevor Bauer (Indians)
We get going an hour earlier tonight due to the threat of rain. As of now, that still looks like it will be the difference between getting this one in or not, as the chance of rain looks to be a lot higher after a 7pm game would reasonably end:
Still, it’s going to be dicey and the conditions will be less than ideal. It will be especially less-than-idea for Cleveland if the game is delayed early and they have to go to their bullpen earlier than expected tonight. Andrew Miller escaped some jams last night and did his job, but he used a lot of pitches to do it — 46 — and may be pretty limited tonight, if he’s available at all. That puts a lot on Trevor Bauer’s shoulders. Or, actually, his fingers, including the pinky finger on his pitching hand which is full of stitches. Those stitches not holding cost him his ALCS start. Terry Francona is hoping to get a lot more out of his starter tonight. Given how little he has pitched in the playoffs he should have the energy as long as his finger holds up.
As for the Cubs, teams that have lost Game 1 of the World Series are 40-70 and, in recent years, have a worse winning percentage than that, losing it all in 12 of the past 13 years. Eh, not too impressed with that stat as it doesn’t actually deal with the series at hand. At hand, the Cubs have superior starters set to go in each of the next two games, starting tonight with Jake Arrieta. He’s not been fantastic in the playoffs this year, but he’s capable of dominating a game any time out.
The Cubs figure to have a better night at the plate now that Corey Kluber is out of the way. Particularly a lefty like Anthony Rizzo, who is probably happy to see Bauer. Jason Heyward will likely be back in the lineup as well. They had better have a better night. Being down 1-0 is not a death sentence in the World Series, even if it has looked like one recently. Being down 2-0 is not something Chicago wants to chance.