Look, I’m not saying I would be a better manager than Don Mattingly. I know I wouldn’t be. I’d screw up every single double switch, I’d forget to warm up guys in the bullpen, I’d drop F-bombs on my local radio show and the first time my clubhouse got a little out of control I’d handle it poorly and have a revolt on my hands that even A.J. Hinch would mock.
But I do think that, if I managed the Los Angeles Dodgers, I’d do everything in my power to make sure the bat was never taken out of Matt Kemp’s hands if it could be helped. This is something Donnie Baseball did not do last night.
The scene: eighth inning of last night’s Dodgers-Giants game. Bobby Abreu on second base, Dee Gordon on first, Mark Ellis at the plate. No one out. Mattingly has Ellis bunt and he’s “successful.” That success, however, ensures that Kemp — who was on deck — would be walked because it put runners on second and third with one out and first base open.
So Kemp was walked, Bruce Bochy brought in lefty Javier Lopez to face lefty Andre Ethier (and behind him were two more lefties, so it was certain that Bochy would bring in Lopez). Eithier hits into a double play, ending the last best chance the Dodgers had to win the game.
Mattingly defended the move after the game, saying that Ethier led the league in RBI and he had confidence in him and all of that. But really: wouldn’t you rather have Matt Kemp in a position to where he could do some damage rather than have him given the inevitable free pass? And that’s before you figure in what Ellis giving away an out does for your scoring chances.
I don’t usually second-guess like this, but man, there is no one hitting like Matt Kemp right now. I think I’d let the man hit.
The story of the Indians postseason cannot be told without talking about injuries to starting pitchers Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar. They have forced Terry Francona to lean even harder on his bullpen than he otherwise may have and have cause the Indians to press rookie Ryan Merritt into service.
But Cleveland will be getting at least one of their starters back: Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway that Danny Salazar will be part of the World Series roster.
Salazar has not pitched since early September due to a strained right flexor muscle, but according to Callaway, Salazar is ready to throw 65-70 pitches in a game. That could mean a start, probably in Game 4 after Corey Kluber, Trevor Bauer and Josh Tomlin. Merritt was a possible Game 4 starter, but he could either pair up with Salazar in a tandem start or serve in long relief.
Cubs’ left fielder Kyle Schwarber missed virtually the entire 2016 season due to torn knee ligaments, but he has been working his way back to health more quickly than initially expected. Indeed, he has been playing for the Cubs in the Arizona Fall League, serving as a DH. Many have speculated that the Cubs will activate him for the World Series.
Today, at his World Series media session, Cubs manager Joe Maddon said that reports from Arizona are good on Schwarber and that the he will fly to Cleveland to join the team after tonight’s game in Arizona. Maddon says the team will make a decision on activating him once he arrives. The Cubs have until tomorrow morning to set their World Series roster.
Our guess is that Schwarber will get the call and will serve as the DH for the Cubs in Games 1, 2 and, if necessary, 6 and 7 in Cleveland. If so, a lost season could very quickly turn into a storybook season for the Cubs’ young slugger.