Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Shaun Marcum bobbles a bunt from St. Louis Cardinals' Jon Jay in the 1st inning of Game 2 of the MLB National League Championship Series baseball playoffs in Milwaukee

Great Moments in Denial: Shaun Marcum edition

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If you hadn’t watched last night’s game, and instead, simply read the quotes from manager Ron Roenicke and last night’s starter Shaun Marcum in this Tom Haudricourt blog post, you’d think that Marcum and the Brewers lost a 4-3 game in the late innings or something:

  • “He left the ball up to Pujols in the first inning, tried to come in on him,” said Roenicke. “Beside that, he really wasn’t hit that hard.
  • “I thought my command today was pretty good, definitely a lot better than it was in Arizona and a lot better than it was in my previous starts. I thought I threw the ball better today. When I got ahead in counts, I didn’t make good pitches with my changeup but for the most part I located all right today.”

Always look on the bright side of life, I suppose.

Yes, the Brewers’ defense let Marcum down and no, he wasn’t totally obliterated by hard-hit balls (apart from Pujols, who crushed everything Marcum threw at him). But he seems kinda gassed and there just isn’t an out pitch there. He’s looked horrible for a month now, and that’s whether he’s getting tattooed or not.

So the question is this: if this series goes six games, does Marcum get a start in Game 6?  Right now Roenicke says that he will.  That may be because there isn’t a fantastic option beyond Marcum.  Chris Narveson could go. He started two games against the Cardinals this year and was pretty effective, but it’s not like he’s some panacea or secret weapon or anything.

My guess is that Marcum gets a Game 6 start if there is one but that it becomes an all-hands-on-deck kind of situation and he gets a quick hook.  Because at this point, Ron Roenicke can’t play the “it’s gonna get worse before it gets better” game while waiting for Marcum to return to form.

Miguel Cabrera blasts two home runs against Braves

DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 28: Miguel Cabrera #24 of the Detroit Tigers hits a three-run home run during the fifth inning of the game against the Cleveland Indians scoring teammates Cameron Maybin #4 and Ian Kinsler #3 (not in photo) on September 28, 2016 at Comerica Park in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
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Even while injured, Miguel Cabrera is a force to be reckoned with. The 33-year-old slugger has been playing with a contusion on his knee since Wednesday, according to postgame comments made by Tigers’ manager Brad Ausmus.

That didn’t stop him from whacking a 410-foot home run against Atlanta right-hander Matt Wisler on Friday night, skirting the center field fence to put the Tigers up 3-0 in the first inning. In the third, he lead off the inning with another long drive off of Wisler, targeting his changeup for a 421-foot shot, his 38th home run of the season:

It’s Cabrera’s sixth two-run homer game since the start of the season, and his first against the Braves since 2005. He needs just two more home runs to keep an even 40 on the year, which would return him to the kind of league-leading levels that accentuated his MVP case in 2012 and 2013. If he can do it by the end of this Tigers-Braves game (unlikely, but not unheard of), he’ll be the 15th major leaguer to hit four home runs in a single game.

Reds’ manager Bryan Price extended through 2017

PHOENIX, AZ - AUGUST 28: Manager Bryan Price #38 of the Cincinnati Reds looks on during the fifth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on August 28, 2016 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
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The Reds will roll with manager Bryan Price for at least one more season. Per MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon, Price has been extended through the 2017 season with a club option for 2018. He won’t be the only familiar face leading the team, as the Reds have reportedly asked the entire coaching staff to return as well.

This is Price’s second consecutive season with 90+ losses since Cincinnati signed him to a three-year contract back in 2014. While he hasn’t been able to replicate the same kind of success that former skipper Dusty Baker found in 2012 and 2013, he’s been saddled with a team that’s still in the throes of rebuilding, not one that looks on the cusp of playoff contention. It is, after all, the same team that has not seen a healthy season from Homer Bailey since Price’s arrival, one that unloaded Jay Bruce for a pair of prospects earlier this year and one whose pitching staff set a single-season record for most home runs given up by a major league team.

Justifying Price’s extension requires a different kind of yardstick, one that measures player development and individual success over the cumulative win-loss record. Here, Price has overseen solid performances from contributors like Adam Duvall, who is batting .244/.297/.506 with 2.9 fWAR in his first full major-league season, as well as young arms like Anthony DeSclafani, Brandon Finnegan, and Michael Lorenzen, among others.

From comments made by Reds’ CFO Bob Castellini, Price’s success within a rough rebuilding process appears to have cemented his place within the club, at least for the time being.

I like the young, aggressive team Walt and Dick have put together with players from within our system and from recent trades. […] Bryan has been here seven seasons now. He’s comfortable with the direction we are heading with our young players, and we are comfortable with him leading us in that direction.