Atlanta Braves v Washington Nationals

What they’re saying about the collapses

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We had a taste of what was said about the Red Sox’ collapse last night, but there will be more commentary and reaction coming in all day today.  Come, let us bask in the failure:

  • Mark Bradley, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “They failed. They failed in the way this entire month had been a failure. They took an 8 1/2-game lead and threw it all away, and by the time they got done losing Game No. 162 they had made us suffer through all the failures that comprised this failed month.”
  • Peter Abraham, Boston Globe: “There have been nights of anguish over the years for the men who have worn the uniform of the Boston Red Sox. But nothing quite like what transpired at Camden Yards last night.”
  • Scott Lauber, Boston Herald: “It had been a plodding, month-long march to baseball’s version of death — elimination from the playoff race — for the Red Sox. But the execution took only minutes”
  • Grant Brisbee, BaseballNation: It wouldn’t have been right to complete a monumental collapse with a garden-variety loss. There had to be some hope after the hope faded — a dead-cat bounce of hope … The Braves could have made the playoffs if they had won just one game out of their last five. They did not.
  • ESPN Boston: “The long, cold winter has begun.”
  • Chipper Jones: “When you’re in a slump as a team, you find a bunch of different ways to lose. The bats go silent, you get wild on the mound, you walk in runs – whatever. You find ways to lose. Man, we sure did it in the last couple of weeks.”
  • Fredi Gonzalez: “I’m proud of the club. We battled today.”

And that sums up everything you need to know about Fredi Gonzalez. He wasn’t paying attention to last night’s game. He wasn’t paying attention to much of anything, it seems.

Brett Anderson and Mike Montgomery could share Cubs’ rotation spot in 2017

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 01:  Mike Montgomery #38 of the Chicago Cubs throws a pitch during the seventh inning against the Cleveland Indians in Game Six of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 1, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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Cubs’ manager Joe Maddon hasn’t selected a fifth starter for his 2017 rotation yet, but told reporters that he could envision left-handers Brett Anderson and Mike Montgomery sharing the spot throughout the year. Neither pitcher was stretched out to the full 200-inning threshold last year, Maddon added, and suggested that the two could alternate innings out of the rotation and bullpen as needed (via MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat).

Anderson, 29, was acquired by the Cubs in January on a $3.5 million deal. He’s coming off a rough 2016, during which he underwent back surgery and missed all but 11 1/3 innings of his last season with the Dodgers. His last full, healthy year in the majors yielded a 3.69 ERA, 2.3 BB/9 and 5.8 SO/9 over 180 1/3 innings with Los Angeles in 2015.

Montgomery, meanwhile, is vying for a rotation spot after pitching almost exclusively from the bullpen during the second half of the Cubs’ 2016 run. The 27-year-old lefty put up a 2.82 ERA, 4.7 BB/9 and 8.9 SO/9 over 38 1/3 innings for Chicago last year, returning in the postseason to post a 3.14 ERA during the Cubs’ championship finish.

Maddon also mentioned the possibility of throwing a sixth starter into the mix, which would help prevent his other starters from getting overworked too early in the year. Either way, Anderson and Montgomery are expected to get a lot of looks early in spring training as rotation spots are finalized in the weeks leading up to Opening Day.

Michael Bourn to miss four weeks with a broken finger

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - SEPTEMBER 6:  Michael Bourn #1 of the Baltimore Orioles looks out of the dugout as he waits to get on deck to bat during the sixth inning of a game against the Tampa Bay Rays on September 6, 2016 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
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Orioles’ center fielder Michael Bourn is expected to be sidelined for four weeks while he rehabs a broken ring finger on his right hand, according to reports from the Baltimore Sun’s Peter Schmuck. Bourn broke the finger while playing catch with a football after a spring training workout.

The veteran outfielder re-signed with the club earlier this week on a minor league deal and was prepared to compete for a bench role this season. He’s in line to receive a $2 million salary if he makes the major league roster and can make an additional $3.5 million in incentives based on a set number of plate appearances. Now, however, his chances of cracking the roster out of spring training look considerably diminished, as his current timetable gives him an approximate return date of March 25 if all goes well.

Bourn had an impressive, if short-lived run with the Orioles following his trade to Baltimore last August, batting .283/.358/.435 with two home runs and a .793 OPS in 55 PA. While still somewhat removed from the totals that brought him an All-Star nod with the Braves in 2012, his defensive chops should give the Orioles some depth in center once he’s healthy again.