Stephen Drew is said to be “perfectly healthy”

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In listing the reasons why Stephen Drew is still out there on the free agent market, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News cited an official with one team that the shortstop’s medicals “are raising some concerns.” Well, Rob Bradford of WEEI.com hears otherwise:

Drew underwent surgery to repair a fractured ankle in 2011 and wasn’t quite himself upon returning in 2012, but he rebounded with the Red Sox last season by hitting .253/.333/.443 with 13 home runs and 67 RBI over 124 games while playing excellent defense. The 30-year-old missed some time around the All-Star break with a hamstring injury, but he finished the regular season strong before struggling offensively in the playoffs.

Even if Drew is “perfectly healthy,” it’s not too difficult to understand why he’s still looking for a home, as he’s attached to draft pick compensation and few teams are willing to make a costly upgrade at shortstop at this stage of the winter. On on a related note, Martino hears that the Red Sox and Mets are the “only known clubs” to be engaged with Drew and his agent Scott Boras. He would likely have to settle for a one-year deal to return to Boston and the Mets appear content waiting out the market.

The Cubs live for another day, but death will come soon

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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.