With so many teams with postseason hopes and/or still jockeying for playoff position, there are all manner of relevant game on tap between today and Wednesday. Not relavant? Cubs vs. Astros at Wrigley this week. Heck, they’re not even playing for the top pick in the draft next year, as Houston is seven games worse than Chicago. I suppose the Cubs need to hold off the Rockies for the second pick, but that’s hardly enthralling.
In any event, it’s priced accordingly:
The Cubs currently sit a 99 losses, and if you’re interested in heading out to Wrigley Field one last time this season, you can do so for less than it takes to do just about anything in Chicago.
That’s right, two tickets in section 533, row 3 are listed for 19 cents apiece on StubHub.
Night games tonight and tomorrow. But it shouldn’t even reach the 40s at Wrigley. You should totally go.
The Angels’ bench is looking woefully thin this winter — so thin, in fact, that manager Mike Scioscia says he’s considering utilizing starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani as a pinch-hitter and pinch-runner on the days he’s not scheduled to pitch.
I’ve never had a pitcher pinch-run,” Scioscia told reporters Saturday. “There’s more bad than good that can come out of it. But Shohei is not just a pitcher. He’s a guy that has the ability to do some of the things coming off the bench, whether it’s pinch-hit or pinch-run, and we’re definitely going to tap into that if it’s necessary, because we feel we’re not putting him at risk. It’s something he’s able to do.
Granted, spring training allows for a certain amount of experimentation before managers and players decide what works best for them, so this may not be the strategy the Angels employ for the entire season. In addition to coming off the bench between starts, Ohtani is also expected to see 2-3 days at DH every week, forcing Albert Pujols to shift over to first base to accommodate the new two-way star.
Ohtani’s hitting prowess has already been well-documented — he has a lifetime .286/.358/.500 batting line from NPB and crushed a batting practice home run during his initial workouts with the team this week — but his skills on the basepaths have received less attention so far. MLB Pipeline describes the 23-year-old phenom as a “well-above average runner” whose speed has yet to manifest stolen bases: he’s nabbed just 13 bases in 17 chances over the last five years. That’s a number Scioscia hopes to see increased this season, though he doesn’t want his ace pitcher making any head-first slides on the basepaths to do so.
To be sure, it’s an unorthodox role for any young player to step into, but if anyone can pull it off, Ohtani can.