Former White Sox ace Jack McDowell is in the news, as he was just hired by the Dodgers to manage their rookie league team, the Ogden Raptors. It’s the first managing job for Black Jack, a guy who never really struck you as managing material back in his heyday, but I suppose everyone matures.
And based on this interview by Scot Gregor of the Daily Herald, he sounds pretty interesting today.
McDowell wants to teach baseball and is excited about working with rookie leaguers. He is realistic about how analysis of the game has changed and admits that, had he posted his 1993 season in 2013, he wouldn’t have won the Cy Young Award given that wins and innings are no longer considered everything (though he still thinks wins are the most important pitcher stat).
Oh, and he has something to say about PEDs and the Hall of Fame too:
Q: You’ve been outspoken about suspected PED users and the Hall of Fame. Why?
A: I just think it’s too bad that only the handful of guys take the brunt of it from everybody. Meanwhile, a ton of other guys were into it. You can’t fix the other part, the players who (Hall of Fame voters) say are clean.
All of us who were around kind of smirk at each other. There are guys in there (HOF) already that everyone knows (weren’t clean). It’s part of the deal.
Unless you’re going to use a lie detector on everybody, you’re never going to know who did and who didn’t.
Don’t tell that to the Hall of Fame voters. They think they know.
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.