Trevor Hoffman

Trevor Hoffman wants to pitch in 2011


Jon Heyman tweets that Trevor Hoffman wants to pitch in 2011 if someone will give him a chance to close.

My first thought: what’s with him and Edgar Renteria?  One ended 2011 on top, and the other ended 2011 well enough — 600th save! — to make everyone forget how much of a train wreck his year was, so why not just ride off into the sunset? The future is way more likely to hold an Apollo Creed/Ivan Drago beatdown for those guys than it is to hold a return to All-Star form.

My second thought — and it wasn’t my thought:  Gleeman told me I was being too hard on Hoffman based on his second half numbers — is that things could theoretically work out for Hoffman.  While all of those early-season blown saves caught our attention, his second half — a 2.66 ERA in 20.1 innings with 13 strikeouts, six walks and 15 hits — was decent work. Decent enough to be worth a middle relief job, I’d say.  If we wants one and would be willing to take middle relief money, that is.

But as a closer? If Heyman is right and that’s Hoffman’s prerequisite for returning, we’ve likely seen the last of him, because I can’t think of a team that would take that chance.

NL Wild Card Game: Cubs vs. Pirates lineups

Jake Arrieta

Here are the Cubs and Pirates lineups for tonight’s Wild Card game in Pittsburgh:

CF Dexter Fowler
RF Kyle Schwarber
LF Kris Bryant
1B Anthony Rizzo
3B Tommy La Stella
2B Starlin Castro
C Miguel Montero
SS Addison Russell
SP Jake Arrieta

Cubs manager Joe Maddon wanted Tommy La Stella in the lineup over Jorge Soler or Chris Coghlan, so he starts at third base and Kris Bryant shifts to left field. Bryant started just four games in left field all season, compared to 136 starts at third base. Also of note: After batting Addison Russell ninth–behind the pitcher–116 times this season Maddon has him in the more traditional eighth spot tonight.

RF Gregory Polanco
3B Josh Harrison
CF Andrew McCutchen
LF Starling Marte
C Francisco Cervelli
2B Neil Walker
SS Jordy Mercer
1B Sean Rodriguez
SP Gerrit Cole

Pedro Alvarez started 119 games at first base for the Pirates and with right-hander Jake Arrieta on the mound he was the presumed starter tonight, but instead manager Clint Hurdle has benched the 27-homer slugger in favor of utility man Sean Rodriguez. Alvarez is vastly superior to Rodriguez offensively, especially versus a righty, but he’s also very shaky defensively. During the regular season Rodriguez started a grand total of one game at first base against a right-hander, so this qualifies as a hunch by Hurdle.

The Cardinals are optimistic about Yadier Molina’s status

St. Louis Cardinals' Yadier Molina celebrates as he arrives home after hitting a solo home run during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the San Francisco Giants Monday, Aug. 17, 2015, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
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Jenifer Langosch of reports that Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina‘s bum thumb responded well after participating in baseball activities Tuesday, including catching, hitting, blocking balls and the like.

This morning Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said that he’s now even more optimistic that Molina will be on the NLDS roster. The Cards’ first game will be Friday against the winner of tonight’s Cubs-Pirates tilt.

Having Molina would obviously be a boon for the Cardinals on the field. For a look at what Molina means to the Cardinals off the field, however, take some time to go read Derrick Goold’s excellent story about what Molina’s teammates think of him. Short version: the world. It’s worth your time, even if you’re not a citizen of Cardinals Nation.