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.

Edwin Encarnacion: “I think [the Blue Jays] got too hasty in making their decision.”

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 19:  Edwin Encarnacion #10 of the Toronto Blue Jays reacts in the fifth inning against the Cleveland Indians during game five of the American League Championship Series at Rogers Centre on October 19, 2016 in Toronto, Canada.  (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
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1B/DH Edwin Encarnacion signed a three-year, $60 million contract with the Indians early last month. The 34-year-old had spent the last seven and a half seasons with the Blue Jays, but his future elsewhere appeared to be written on the wall when the Jays signed Kendrys Morales in November to essentially occupy Encarnacion’s role.

Encarnacion spoke about testing free agency for the first time in his career and the situation that led to him leaving Toronto for Cleveland. Via Jorge L. Ortiz of USA TODAY:

“Toronto was always my first option, but I had never been a free agent, and anybody who gets to free agency wants to find out what’s out there,’’ he said. “I think they got too hasty in making their decision, but now I’m with Cleveland and I’m happy to be here.’’

Encarnacion last season hit .263/.357/.529 with 42 home runs and an AL-best 127 RBI. He’s now on the team that defeated his Blue Jays in the ALCS to advance to the World Series. Encarnacion effectively replaces Mike Napoli, who returned to the Rangers.

Sammy Sosa compares himself to Jesus Christ

Sammy Sosa
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I’m on record saying that Sammy Sosa has been rather hosed by baseball history.

The guy did amazing things. Unheard-of things. He was truly astounding at this peak and was incredibly important to both his franchise and Major League Baseball as a whole. His repayment: he’s a pariah. His club won’t claim him and his greatness, by any measure, has not just been overlooked but denied by most who even bother to consider him.

Yes, he had PED associations, but they were extraordinarily vague ones. He’s in the same boat as David Ortiz as far as documented PED evidence against him, but Ortiz will be a first ballot Hall of Famer while Sosa barely clings to the ballot. He hit homers at the same cartoonish rate as Mark McGwire, but while Big Mac has been embraced by baseball and has coached for years, Sosa can’t get into Wrigley Field unless he buys a ticket and even then the Cubs might try to hustle him out of sight. The man has been treated poorly by any measure.

Yet, it’s still possible to overstate the case. Like Sosa did in this interview with Chuck Wasserstrom:

It’s like Jesus Christ when he came to Jerusalem,” Sosa told chuckbloggerstrom.com. “Everybody thought Jesus Christ was a witch (laughing) — and he was our savior. So if they talk (bleep) about Jesus Christ, what about me? Are you kidding me?”

At least he was basically joking about it. Still, it’s a totally unfair and almost offensive comparison.

I mean, anyone who watched Sosa’s career knows that he had trouble laying off breaking stuff low and away. In contrast . . .