Marlins starter Jose Fernandez was staked to a 5-0 lead after three innings, but in reality, all he needed was one run given how dominant he looked against the Indians tonight. The 20-year-old Cuban struck out 14 batters over eight innings, allowing just three hits and one walk. In his previous start against the Pirates, he struck out 13 and walked none in eight innings. He now has a 2.54 ERA and continues to pad his case for the NL Rookie of the Year and NL Cy Young awards.
The bulk of the Marlin offense tonight came from first baseman Logan Morrison, who went 4-for-5 with four runs batted in. Christian Yelich, Adeiny Hechavarria, and Jake Marisnick also contributed three hits apiece. The Fish scored five against Indians starter Ubaldo Jimenez, who lasted four innings. They then added a five-spot in the bottom of the eighth against reliever Matt Albers.
The 14-strikeout performance is Fernandez’s first of the season and the seventh overall in baseball this year. Yu Darvish has accomplished the feat four times, including last night, while Chris Sale and Anibal Sanchez have done it once each.
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.