When you’re as exuberant as Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig, you’re bound to rub some people the wrong way. According to MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick and Lyle Spencer, Puig ticked off the NLCS umpiring crew with some of his reactions to balls and strikes:
Puig has enraged the crew, which believes he is showing up umpires at home plate. It nearly came to a head in Game 5 when Puig was called out on strikes by plate umpire Ted Barrett and stood in the batter’s box, left hand on hip, staring at Barrett. Earlier in the at-bat, Puig said something to Barrett, who came out from behind the plate, brushed off the plate and apparently said something to Puig.
Earlier in that game, Barrett called out Hanley Ramirez on a third strike and Ramirez shook his head repeatedly and had some words with Barrett as he walked away. In a regular-season game, Puig might have been ejected. Before each postseason series, however, umpires meet with managers and general managers and explain that, because of the importance of the series, umpires will exercise restraint on ejections, as long as uniform personnel don’t take advantage of their patience.
Gurnick and Spencer also note that Dodgers president Stan Kasten and MLB executive vice president Joe Torre were talking during batting practice prior to Friday night’s start, ostensibly about Puig. Puig was noticeably more reserved early in Game 6, not reacting at all to borderline calls by home plate umpire Greg Gibson.
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.