Some serious high road avoidance was taken by Thom Loverro of the Washington Times earlier this week. In his column he basically decided to call former National Michael Morse stupid:
Michael Morse wasn’t the sharpest pencil in the box in the Washington Nationals clubhouse when he was here. Nice guy, good for some laughs, but if the clubhouse ever had to show up for a collective IQ test, let’s just say it would be a good time for Morse to take one of his many trips to the disabled list.
Why does he get called dumb? Because Morse reiterated his displeasure at the Nationals shutting down Stephen Strasburg two years ago. And, apparently, because Morse said nice things about the fans in San Francisco compared to the fans in Washington.
Obviously people have different opinions about the Strasburg thing, but I don’t think it’s a matter of intelligence like Loverro says it is. No matter what you may have done in that situation, there is no set of hard facts or evidence that suggests you were 100% correct. Personally I’d love to have pitched Strasburg in the playoffs, but I have no guarantee that’d he’d do better or that he wouldn’t have hurt himself. Loverro thinks differently and thinks anyone who disagrees with him is a dolt. He has no definitive evidence to support his case either.
But more than just classless for calling Morse dumb, Loverro’s column is plain wrong too. He says the Nationals are better off without Morse. This despite Morse putting up way better numbers playing mostly left field than the Nats’ primary left fielder in Bryce Harper’s absence — Nate McLouth — has. And Adam LaRoche missed time at first too. Think having Morse cover for those two might have been a good thing for the Nats?
Just a weird bitter column written, apparently, as a sop to those fans who took personal offense to Morse not saying Nats fans were the best ever. Which is a really silly basis on which to waste column inches.
St. Louis announced its roster for the NLDS and the biggest news is the inclusion of Adam Wainwright as a reliever.
Expected to miss the entire season following a torn Achilles’ tendon in April, he instead returned to make three relief appearances in the final week of the season and now may be counted on to get some key late-inning outs against the Cubs.
Right-hander Steve Cishek and left-hander Randy Choate are not on the NLDS roster, losing their bullpen spots to Tyler Lyons and Carlos Villanueva. Outfielders Jon Jay and Tommy Pham both made the roster, which had been a topic of much debate in Cardinals nation.
First baseman Mark Reynolds made the roster, but first baseman Matt Adams did not despite returning from the disabled list for some late-season action. And of course catcher Yadier Molina is on the roster and will give it a go playing through a sprained left thumb that’s sidelined him since September 20.
John Lackey will start Game 1, followed in the rotation by Jaime Garcia in Game 2, Michael Wacha in Game 3, and Lance Lynn in Game 4.
Here are the Rangers and Blue Jays lineups for Game 1 of the ALDS in Toronto:
CF Delino DeShields
RF Shin-Soo Choo
3B Adrian Beltre
DH Prince Fielder
1B Mike Napoli
LF Josh Hamilton
SS Elvis Andrus
2B Rougned Odor
C Robinson Chirinos
SP Yovani Gallardo
With left-hander David Price on the mound for Toronto the Rangers are going with Mike Napoli at first base over Mitch Moreland. Beyond that it’s a pretty standard lineup for Texas, or at least standard for what manager Jeff Banister used down the stretch once Josh Hamilton was healthy enough to play left field.
LF Ben Revere
3B Josh Donaldson
RF Jose Bautista
DH Edwin Encarnacion
SS Troy Tulowitzki
1B Justin Smoak
C Russell Martin
2B Ryan Goins
CF Kevin Pillar
SP David Price
After returning from the disabled list for the final weekend of the regular season Troy Tulowitzki is in the lineup and batting fifth. That allows Ryan Goins to play second base in place of the injured Devon Travis. Justin Smoak gets the nod over Chris Colabello at first base against a right-hander.
Houston made one unexpected change to the roster for the ALDS, leaving off veteran reliever Chad Qualls.
Qualls warmed up but never appeared in the Wild Card game win over the Yankees and during the regular season the 36-year-old right-hander logged 49 innings with a 4.38 ERA and 46/9 K/BB ratio. Qualls was on the Astros’ last playoff team in 2005.
Utility man Jonathan Villar has been bumped off the roster in favor of outfielder Preston Tucker, as the Astros opted for a good left-handed bat off the bench versus the Royals rather than Villar’s speed.