Ron Washington, John Hirschbeck

Scouting the World Series umpiring crew

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Jeff Zimmerman of Fan Graphs crunched the numbers on the umpiring crew assigned to the World Series, using Pitch-F/X data along with strikeout and walk rates to rank the six umpires from most pitcher-friendly to most hitter-friendly:

Bill Miller
John Hirschbeck
Mike Winters
Gary Darling
Sam Holbrook
Jeff Kellogg

Hirschbeck, who in addition to being pitcher-friendly is also the crew chief, will be calling balls and strikes in Game 1 and, if the series goes the distance, Game 7 as well.

Zimmerman delved even deeper into the data, breaking out “heat maps” for each umpire’s strike zone for right-handed hitters and left-handed hitters. The whole thing is definitely worth checking out, but I’ll quote this one bit of analysis: “At least none of these umpires are at the extreme ends of the strike zone spectrum. Compared to the previous playoff series … this crew’s strike zone should be one of the more consistent ones.”

Here’s hoping.

Kyle Schwarber is on a private plane en route to Cleveland

PHOENIX, AZ - APRIL 07:  Kyle Schwarber #12 of the Chicago Cubs bats against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the MLB game at Chase Field on April 7, 2016 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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This is happening, people.

Earlier we heard Joe Maddon being non-committal about Kyle Schwarber joining the Cubs for the World Series. Now it seems pretty clear that the Cubs are committal indeed: Jon Morosi reports that Schwarber is en route to Cleveland from Arizona on a private jet and that he’s expected to DH in Game 1 tomorrow night.

Schwarber hasn’t played in a game that counted since April 7. His potent bat is could be a windfall for a Cubs team that didn’t have a game-changing option at DH in the American League park.

Schwarber lost the whole season due to a knee injury, but he hit .246/.355/.487 with 16 homers and 43 RBI in 69 games as a rookie in 2015. His big coming out party was in the playoffs, however, when he hit three homers in five postseason games while going 7-for-13 with two walks in five games.

Carlos Santana in left field? Sure, OK.

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 15:  Carlos Santana #41 of the Cleveland Indians celebrates after hitting a home run in the second inning against J.A. Happ #33 of the Toronto Blue Jays during game two of the American League Championship Series at Progressive Field on October 15, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that Indians First Baseman/DH Carlos Santana shagged some flyballs in left field during the Indians’ workout today.

Sure, why not? Santana has played one game in the outfield in his major league career and that was over four years ago, but the Indians will have to play in Chicago without the DH, meaning either losing Santana’s bat or that of Mike Napoli.

It would be up to Terry Francona to decide if that happens, but ultimately I don’t think he’ll make it real and, rather, will just forget about it, because Santana’s defense out there would in no way be smooth.

I’m sorry. I’m sick today and I’m on a lot of cold medicine.