Joe Haggerty of CSNNE.com believes that the Red Sox have given up and the season is lost.
I don’t know that that’s true. While things seem bleak, the race for the wild card is still tight enough that a week’s worth of good fortune could totally transform things.
But for a moment, let’s pretend that the season is definitively over. Even if that were the case, can someone tell me how this translates to giving up?
Like John Lackey, who apparently needs to travel with the team and work with trainer Mike Reinold while recovering from Tommy John surgery – a fairly standard rehab that literally thousands of pitchers have come back from stronger-than-ever over the last 30 years. But for whatever reason, the underachieving righty needs to travel with the team even though he won’t be throwing even one measly pitch for them.
Lackey was so busted up after the latest defeat that he was strutting around the clubhouse with a can of Bud Light in each hand, or what is known as “double-fisting” on every college campus in the history of mankind. So much for the Bobby Valentine ban on alcohol in the Sox clubhouse that was implemented during spring training.
1. Bobby V. owns a bar. I go to it on occasion, and they have a lot of really good beer there. In light of that, I’m going to assume that Valentine realizes that Bud Light does not actually qualify as alcohol, so he likely does not consider this to be a violation of the policy.
2. Since when is traveling with the team when you’re injured a sign of a lack of dedication and commitment? Usually guys get slammed for staying away from the team. This line of attack on Lackey and the Sox totally baffles me.
But hey, it’s the Red Sox. And it’s apparently utterly impossible to see anything that happens with that team in either a positive or at least a neutral light.
Former first base and infield coach Nick Leyva was promoted to senior advisor of baseball operations on Saturday, per a report by Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. The Pirates also fired third base coach Rick Sofield, with no named successor as of yet.
Leyva joined the Pirates’ organization in the 2011 offseason as a third base coach under manager Clint Hurdle. He shifted to his role as the first base coach and infield coach in 2014, when first base coach Rick Sofield was reassigned to third base prior to the 2015 season. According to Biertempfel, the swap was made in order to optimize the team’s baserunning strategies, all of which appeared to fall flat during the 2015 and 2016 seasons:
The results this season were awful. The Pirates ranked 13th in the National League with a minus-7.0 BsR — a FanGraphs.com metric that measures how many runs above or below league average a team gets via its baserunning.
In 2013 and 2014, the Pirates had one of the top five BsR ratings in the NL. In 2015, they were seventh with a 2.8 BsR.
This season, the Pirates made the second-most outs at third base in the league and were last in taking extra bases on singles and doubles. Their baserunners went from first to third base on hits a league-low 63 times.
Sofield, in particular, highlighted the Pirates’ poor baserunning choices in games like this one, when he sent Sean Rodriguez home too early during the last vestige of a ninth inning rally against the Phillies.
Following the announcement, Pirates’ GM Neal Huntington issued a statement elaborating on Leyva’s role within the organization:
We have great respect and appreciation for both men. We thank them for their time and effort as part of our Major League team and the Pirates organization. It was a difficult decision, but we felt it was the right time to make this change on our Major League staff. We look forward to Nick’s continued impact in his future role with the Pirates. Nick has held nearly every coaching position at the major league level and at the minor league level, including Major League manager, in his extensive career and will be a quality mentor for our minor league managers, coaches and players.
With Game 6 of the NLCS just hours away, the Dodgers will opt for a lefty-heavy lineup against right-hander Kyle Hendricks. Batting leadoff is rookie outfielder Andrew Toles, who made one appearance at the top of the lineup during the 2016 season. The Cubs, meanwhile, will bench Jason Heyward in favor of Albert Almora Jr.. This will be Almora’s first start of the playoffs, and while he has yet to face Kershaw in October, his right-handed bat could play well against the lefty at the bottom of the lineup.
Game time is scheduled for 8 PM EDT; lineups are below.
1. Andrew Toles (L) LF
6. Wilson Contreras (R) C
8. Albert Almora Jr. (R) RF
9. Kyle Hendricks (R) RHP