Brennan Boesch to undergo thumb surgery

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Tigers outfielder Brennan Boesch was hoping to put off thumb surgery until after the season, but the pain from his torn ligament has prevented him from swinging a bat and he made the decision Sunday to have the procedure now.

Boesch was one of the AL’s better corner outfielders during the first half of the season, hitting .306/.360/.490 with 12 homers, 57 runs scored and 44 RBI in 84 games before the All-Star break.  Unfortunately, a thumb injury he sustained earlier in the season got a whole lot worse when he aggravated it on Aug. 10.  He played scarcely afterwards and failed to drive in a run in any of his remaining eight appearances.

With Boesch done, the Tigers will hope that Magglio Ordonez or Andy Dirks can step up and claim the right-field job headed into the postseason.  Ordonez had a big game Thursday, homering and doubling twice against the Royals.  Still, he’s hitting just .239/.288/.321 in 293 at-bats.  Dirks, a rookie, is batting .253/.296/.404 in 178 at-bats.  The Tigers can also give Ryan Raburn time there if they wish.  He’s hitting .239/.277/.402.  Dirks, being the lefty swinger and the superior defender, would be the preferable choice to step into Boesch’s shoes.

The Cubs live for another day, but death will come soon

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The Cubs had a nice night last night. Javier Baez finally broke his hitless streak with not one but two homers. Willson Contreras hit a nearly 500-foot homer. Jake Arrieta, possibly pitching for the last time as a Cub, dug down for a gutsy performance, pitching into the seventh inning, working around some walks to allow only one run while striking out nine.

After the game, Cubs players sounded hopeful notes about believing in themselves, taking them one game at a time, getting the series back to L.A. for a Game 6 and Game 7. They’re professional athletes who know better than any of us that to achieve a thing you have to believe you can achieve that thing, so it’d be dumb to expect anything else from them in this situation. Ballplayers, quite admirably, don’t sound a note of defeat until they are actually defeated.

But let’s be realistic there: they’re still a dead team walking.

  • They’re dead because, as we have been reminded oh so many times, only once in 35 tries has a team come back to win a seven game series in which they’ve found themselves down 0-3. That team did so because Dave Roberts worked some magic. Dave Roberts is working for the other team now.
  • They’re dead because their biggest weakness this postseason — their bullpen — is not going to have its best pitcher, Wade Davis, available today in Game 5 after throwing 48 pitches in Game 4.
  • They’re dead because while the Dodgers used five relievers last night, none of them were worked particularly hard and neither Brandon Morrow nor Kenley Jansen were used at all, allowing them to come in and work hard and heavy tonight if need be.
  • They’re dead because the man on the mound to start tonight’s game is Clayton Edward Kershaw. Yes, he has had some less-than-glory-filled moments in the postseason in recent years, but all of those have come at the tail end of starts, when his managers have left him in perhaps an inning too long. See the above bullet point — and Dave Roberts’ early hook in Game 1 — if you think that’ll be a problem tonight.

The Dodgers lost last night, yes, but it was their first loss in the postseason. All teams have lost at least one postseason game since it went to the three-round format, so it was likely inevitable that L.A. would drop one. Heck, maybe they’ll drop two before the NLCS is over, but they’re not going to drop the next three in a row.

Last night’s Cubs win was nice for them, but it only delayed the inevitable.