Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas is hitting .147 through 32 games, leading to speculation that he could be demoted back to the minors, but manager Ned Yost made it very clear yesterday that won’t be happening.
“I’m not doing it,” Yost told Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star. “Simple as that. I’m not really discussing it. He’s going to stay here right now.”
General manager Dayton Moore was slightly less extreme in his support of Moustakas, suggesting that a change could be made eventually, and at the very least it sounds like Danny Valencia will continue to eat into Moustakas’ playing time at third base.
Moustakas is a 25-year-old former No. 2 overall pick and was once a top prospect, so that helps explain why the Royals are showing so much patience with him. But every season he has a big spring training to get everyone excited and then fails to produce when the games matter. He’s a career .237 hitter with a .670 OPS and horrendous 280/103 K/BB ratio in 408 career games and has shown no real signs of improvement.
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.