Juan Pierre has been a below average hitter with some speed (though not stellar base running skills) and meh-to-poor defense for several years now. Seemingly everywhere he’s gone, the fan base soon starts to cry out for his ouster. Yet Pierre continues to find work and continues to get playing time at a rate which seems to outpace his performance.
Why? Mostly because the guy works his butt off, and teams really like having guys like that around:
The daily routine begins around 3:30 p.m.
Juan Pierre plays a short game of catch with Phillies bench coach Pete Mackanin before stepping into the batting cage for a prolonged session of bunting practice. Mackanin is his pitcher … The 34-year outfielder lays down bunt after bunt after bunt while his teammates are still inside the air-conditioned clubhouse at Citizens Bank Park.
Ruben Amaro waxes approvingly of him too. We’ve heard things similar to this everywhere he’s played. I wonder what the shelf life of a player with his exact performance but without the work ethic would be in the bigs.
The Dodgers and Astros have selected their starters for Game 1 of the World Series. Left-hander Dallas Keuchel will open the series for the Astros, while fellow lefty Clayton Kershaw will take the mound for the first of two home games at Dodger Stadium.
Keuchel, 29, has been a steady presence for the Astros this postseason. He clinched Game 2 of the ALDS with 5 2/3 innings of one-run, seven-strikeout ball against the Red Sox and returned for his second postseason win with seven scoreless innings against the Yankees in Game 1 of the ALCS. He was outmatched in Game 5 of the Championship Series, however, scattering four runs and eight strikeouts across 4 2/3 innings while the Yankees worked their way up to a 5-0 shutout. Nevertheless, he’s perhaps the Astros’ strongest arm behind ALCS MVP Justin Verlander and has not surrendered a single home run in 17 1/3 consecutive innings this postseason.
Kershaw, on the other hand, has had a less consistent track record in the playoffs. While his postseason yips have been well-documented thus far, his struggles on the mound haven’t always led to disaster — at least not this time around. The Dodgers are 3-0 in all three of Kershaw’s starts this month and enjoyed a quality start from their ace during Game 5 of the NLCS last Thursday. The 29-year-old southpaw recorded his second win of the playoffs with a run, three hits, a walk and five strikeouts over six innings. Unlike Keuchel, he’s given up a home run in each of his outings to date (and four homers in Game 1 of the NLDS).
Game 1 is set for Tuesday evening at 8:00 PM ET. The Dodgers have home field advantage through Games 1 and 2 before the series moves to Houston, and will try to capitalize on that advantage in order to extend their postseason winning streak at Dodger Stadium. They’re 4-0 at home and 3-1 on the road this October, while the Astros boast a 6-0 advantage in Houston and a significantly less impressive 1-4 record away from home.