“How to fix the All-Star Game” stories run pretty thick this time of year. Everyone looks at the rosters and, more significantly, looks at all of the fill-ins and beg-outs after the rosters are announced and realizes that there has to be a better way to run a railroad.
I’m sort of blah about it all because, even though I will watch the game, I have more or less given up on the All-Star Game as some sort of important or particularly worthy pursuit. Occasionally interesting, sure, but asking how to fix it is sort of like asking how I’m going to fix that swag lamp in the corner of the basement rec room over the beanbag chair. Eh, what’s the point?
Put people still try, and as far as those efforts go, Jeff Passan’s proposals over at Yahoo! are some of the better ones I’ve seen. I think the key is the requirement that starters and starting pitchers play four or five innings. Because really, it’s the token player usage and constant pitching changes which kill the proceedings more than anything. I’d like to see how Roy Halladay adjusts to facing a whole lineup of good hitters, some of them he seems twice, more than I want to see him mow down four dudes and then leave.
And yeah, Wily Mo Pena in the Home Run Derby seems pretty essential to me.
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.
The Game: Los Angeles Dodgers @ Chicago Cubs NLCS Game 6
The Time: 8:00 PM EDT
The Place: Wrigley Field, Chicago
The Channel: FS1
The Starters: Kyle Hendricks (Cubs) vs. Clayton Kershaw (Dodgers)
We’re pulling out the big guns for this one. The Cubs took Los Angeles by storm again in Game 5, closing out their road trip with an eight-run spread over the Dodgers, and tonight they’ll try to clinch the NLCS on home turf in Game 6.
Pitching-wise, it’s a rematch of Game 2 with Kyle Hendricks (16-8, 2.13 ERA) and Clayton Kershaw (12-4, 1.69 ERA) on the mound. Kershaw took the first set against the Cubs, going seven scoreless innings with six strikeouts in Game 2 while Hendricks held the Dodgers to a single run over 5 1/3 innings. Adrian Gonzalez was the only Dodger to capitalize on Hendricks’ cutter, going yard in his first at-bat to generate a 1-0 lead.
The Cubs’ biggest strength so far this series has been an electric offense, something the Dodgers have struggled to replicate against left-hander Jon Lester and Joe Maddon’s airtight bullpen. While they’ve already beaten Hendricks at Wrigley Field once this October, they’ll need Kershaw to go the distance in another playoff gem if they intend to keep the Cubs’ championship hopes at bay with a 3.4-run average. Should Kershaw and his crew knot the series again, the tiebreaker will fall to Rich Hill and Jake Arrieta in Game 7.