UPDATE: It’s official:
Wednesday, 6:53 PM: After seven years managing in the minors and six more coaching in the majors, Rick Renteria has hit the big time. The Cubs will name him their new manager on Thursday, CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman and others are reporting.
Renteria played parts of five seasons in the majors as a light-hitting infielder from 1986-1994. His only season with more than 100 plate appearances was 1993, when he played in 103 games for the expansion Marlins franchise and hit .255/.314/.326 in 263 at-bats. He started out managing in the Marlins system in 1998 and he joined the Padres organization in 2003, working his way up from A-ball hitting coach to Triple-A manager to major league bench coach.
Renteria, who was with the Padres as a bench coach when current Cubs GM Jed Hoyer worked in San Diego, recently got Jake Peavy’s endorsement for the job.
“He’ll make an outstanding manager if the Cubs do go that way,” Peavy told CSNChicago.com’s Dan Hayes. “He brings a lot of intangibles. He knows the game, is gonna work hard, gonna get after it. He just holds guys accountable, but at the same time has a great relationship with the players. He gets the best out of guys and I’m pulling for him to get that job.”
The Cubs had a nice night last night. Javier Baez finally broke his hitless streak with not one but two homers. Willson Contreras hit a nearly 500-foot homer. Jake Arrieta, possibly pitching for the last time as a Cub, dug down for a gutsy performance, pitching into the seventh inning, working around some walks to allow only one run while striking out nine.
After the game, Cubs players sounded hopeful notes about believing in themselves, taking them one game at a time, getting the series back to L.A. for a Game 6 and Game 7. They’re professional athletes who know better than any of us that to achieve a thing you have to believe you can achieve that thing, so it’d be dumb to expect anything else from them in this situation. Ballplayers, quite admirably, don’t sound a note of defeat until they are actually defeated.
But let’s be realistic there: they’re still a dead team walking.
- They’re dead because, as we have been reminded oh so many times, only once in 35 tries has a team come back to win a seven game series in which they’ve found themselves down 0-3. That team did so because Dave Roberts worked some magic. Dave Roberts is working for the other team now.
- They’re dead because their biggest weakness this postseason — their bullpen — is not going to have its best pitcher, Wade Davis, available today in Game 5 after throwing 48 pitches in Game 4.
- They’re dead because while the Dodgers used five relievers last night, none of them were worked particularly hard and neither Brandon Morrow nor Kenley Jansen were used at all, allowing them to come in and work hard and heavy tonight if need be.
- They’re dead because the man on the mound to start tonight’s game is Clayton Edward Kershaw. Yes, he has had some less-than-glory-filled moments in the postseason in recent years, but all of those have come at the tail end of starts, when his managers have left him in perhaps an inning too long. See the above bullet point — and Dave Roberts’ early hook in Game 1 — if you think that’ll be a problem tonight.
The Dodgers lost last night, yes, but it was their first loss in the postseason. All teams have lost at least one postseason game since it went to the three-round format, so it was likely inevitable that L.A. would drop one. Heck, maybe they’ll drop two before the NLCS is over, but they’re not going to drop the next three in a row.
Last night’s Cubs win was nice for them, but it only delayed the inevitable.