A Jason Lane home run will be featured in a new movie

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Jason Lane has not hit a home run in the big leagues since 2007. Heck, he was out of the bigs for the past seven years too, only recently resurfacing as a relief pitcher. Yet a home run of his will be featured in a movie coming out soon.

The movie: “Boyhood,” the new movie from Richard Linklater of “Dazed and Confused” and “Before Sunrise” fame. The flick seems crazy-ambitious: it was filmed over 12 years with the same boy Ellar Coltrane, playing the lead role from age 6 to age 18, being shot a few days at a time on an annual basis. One year, they filmed a scene with Coltrane and Ethan Hawke, who plays the boy’s father. It takes place at an Astros game and they actually filmed it during a real Astros game. During filming, Lane gave them a gift. From Salon’s interview with Linklater, following a question about the level of improvisation in the film:

I was thinking about that scene at the Astros game, where that guy hits a home run. You couldn’t possibly have known that was going to happen.

Yeah, I just — in the script, it says “At Astros game.” There’s little dialogue: “Hey, Dad, do you have a job?” That’s all kind of worked out, but where to fit it in and how to do that, no. That was a wonderful collaboration with the unknown, and the film gods were with us. I’m pointing my camera for one inning, and the Astros are one of the worst offensive teams in baseball at this time. I’m pointing my camera down the third base line, basically the point of view of my people. I’m just saying, well, let’s just hope something happens. I need something! And then Jason Lane, who’s my favorite player of all time now, hits a home run. It’s not out of the frame, it’s not to center or right. It’s right down the line, in the shot. You know, it wasn’t planned, but it just happened.

I hope if “Boyhood” is nominated for an Academy Award that Lane gets an invite to the ceremony. With Adam Dunn going to the ceremony this year and maybe Lane next year, we could have a cool tradition on our hands.

 

 

The Cubs are in desperate need of relief

Associated Press
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Tonight in Chicago Yu Darvish of the Dodgers will face off against Kyle Hendricks of the Cubs. If this were Game 1, we’d have a lot to say about the Dodgers’ trade deadline pickup and the Cubs’ budding ace. If this series continues on the way it’s been going, however, each of them will be footnotes because it has been all about the bullpens.

The Cubs, you may have heard, are having tremendous problems with relief pitching. Both their own and with the opposition’s. Cubs relievers have a 7.03 ERA this postseason, and have allowed six runs on eight hits and have walked six batters in seven innings of work. And no, the relief struggles aren’t just a matter of Joe Maddon pushing the wrong buttons (even though, yeah, he has pushed the wrong buttons).

Maddon pushed Wade Davis for 44 pitches in Game 5 of the NLDS, limiting his availability in Games 1 and 2. That pushing is a result of a lack of relief depth on the Cubs. Brian Duensing, Pedro Strop and Carl Edwards Jr. all have talent and all have had their moments, but none of them are the sort of relievers we have come to see in the past few postseasons. The guys who, when your starter tosses 80 pitches in four innings like Jon Lester did the other night, can be relied upon to shut down the opposition for three and a half more until your lights-out closer can get the four-out save.

In contrast, the Dodgers bullpen has been dominant, tossing eight scoreless innings. Indeed, Dodgers relievers have tossed eight almost perfect innings, allowing zero hits and zero walks while striking out nine Cubs batters. The only imperfection came when Kenley Jansen hit Anthony Rizzo in Game 2. That’s it. Compare this to the past couple of postseasons where the only truly reliable arm down there was Jansen, and in which Dodgers managers have had to rely on Clayton Kershaw to come on in relief. That has not been a temptation at all as the revamped L.A. pen, featuring newcomers Brandon Morrow and Tony Watson. Suffice it to say, Joe Blanton is not missed.

Which brings us back to Kyle Hendricks. He has pitched twice this postseason, pitching seven shutout innings in Game 1 of the NLDS but getting touched for four runs on nine hits while allowing a couple of dingers in Game 5. If the good Hendricks shows up, Maddon will be able to ride him until late in the game in which a now-rested Davis and maybe either Strop or Edwards can close things out in conventional fashion, returning this series to competitiveness. If the bad Hendricks does, he’ll have to do what he did in that NLDS Game 5, using multiple relievers and, perhaps, a repurposed starter in relief while grinding Davis into dust again. That was lucky to work there and doing it without Davis didn’t work in Game 2 on Sunday night.

So it all falls to Hendricks. The Dodgers have shown how soft the underbelly of the Cubs pen truly is. If they get to Hendricks early and get into that pen, you have to like L.A’s chances, not just in this game, but for the rest of the series, as bullpen wear-and-tear builds up quickly. It’s pretty simple: Hendricks has to give the Cubs some innings tonight. There is no other option available.

Just ask Joe Maddon. He’s tried.