The year-after-year Jeff Francoeur propaganda — or, as I shall henceforth call it, “Francoeurganda” — has been well-cataloged by now. No matter how poorly he does, someone is going to say that this, by gum, is the year he breaks out. No matter how little he progresses, Francoeur himself is going to say that he’s working on his plate discipline. You can set your watch by this alternate universe jive. And frankly, I’d miss it if we didn’t have it.
But I gotta tell ya, friends, we may have peaked with this stuff. Because I see no way anyone can pull off a nutsier bit of Francoeurganda than what Royals hitting coach Kevin Seitzer just pulled, explaining away Frecnhy’s brutal spring training, during which he had an 0-for-25 skid:
“From a swing standpoint, when you watch his video, it is clean and it’s good. It’s solid. He was staying inside the ball. He was staying on the ball. It’s just that his timing was all jacked up because he wasn’t ready to get on it when it’s time to get on it. That’s because he was making sure everything is in its place and exactly right.”
Look, I don’t expect Jeff Francoeur’s own hitting coach to simply come out and say “yeah, he’s having problems and may not be all that good at hitting,” but it seems like there is some truth that can be told between, you know, the real truth, and “he isn’t hitting because he’s making sure everything is just so.”
Now, let us all sit back and wait until June when Francoeur is benched and he demands a trade to a place where he can play full time.
With Game 6 of the NLCS just hours away, the Dodgers will opt for a lefty-heavy lineup against right-hander Kyle Hendricks. Batting leadoff is rookie outfielder Andrew Toles, who made one appearance at the top of the lineup during the 2016 season. The Cubs, meanwhile, will bench Jason Heyward in favor of Albert Almora Jr.. This will be Almora’s first start of the playoffs, and while he has yet to face Kershaw in October, his right-handed bat could play well against the lefty at the bottom of the lineup.
Game time is scheduled for 8 PM EDT; lineups are below.
1. Andrew Toles (L) LF
6. Wilson Contreras (R) C
8. Albert Almora Jr. (R) RF
9. Kyle Hendricks (R) RHP
UPDATE, 5:08 PM EDT: Cubs’ manager Joe Maddon will not rule out a World Series appearance for Kyle Schwarber if the Cubs advance. MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat reports that Schwarber could play through a simulated game on Sunday, during which the Cubs’ medical and baseball staff would evaluate his chances for a late season return. If he does play, it will likely be in a pinch-hitting or DH role and not on the field.
Cubs’ outfielder Kyle Schwarber will return to the playing field on Saturday, per a report by the Chicago Tribune’s Mark Gonzales. The club’s prized left fielder suffered a season-ending injury when he collided with Dexter Fowler back in April, tearing both his ACL and LCL and undergoing intensive knee surgery later that month.
While no nerve damage was discovered during the surgery, the Cubs have kept a close eye on Schwarber during his recovery and put a kibosh on any part-time or full-time role with the team until the spring of 2017. Getting a few reps in during the Arizona Fall League appears to be the last step in the 23-year-old’s rehab process. He will be part of the Mesa Solar Sox’ ‘taxi squad,’ making him eligible for games on Wednesdays and Saturdays only.
Schwarber batted .246/.355/.487 with 16 in 69 games with the Cubs during his debut season in 2015. He will be added to the Mesa Solar Sox roster in advance of their set against the Salt River Rafters on Saturday evening.