In an earlier post today I talked about how two things can be true at the same time. Here are two things that are both true: 1. Joe Maddon and the Cubs won the World Series; and 2. Joe Maddon didn’t optimally deploy Aroldis Chapman in the World Series.
I hope people can get their head around that, because it seems pretty obvious. He was used far too long with a big lead someone else could’ve protected in Game 6 and was obviously gassed in Game 7 as a result. Was it somewhat understandable that he wanted to nail down Game 6 in no uncertain terms? Sure. Did it all work out fine? Yes, of course it did. But it was still pretty riksy, many who know what they are talking about questioned it both at the time and after the fact and Maddon continues to be asked about it. With good reason.
Today Aroldis Chapman, his deal with the Yankees official, met the New York press. And he echoed the criticism of Joe Maddon:
Despite all of the criticism Maddon has received, it’s unusual for it to actually come from a player. Typically, even if a manager is hacking a pitcher’s arm off with a rusty chainsaw (figuratively speaking), the pitcher will say “I’m just doin’ what my manager asks of me and trying to help the ballclub win.” Thats often BS — and, like I said, I agree with Chapman’s assessment here — but it is notable that he’s saying it publicly. I’m guessing this will lead to a new round of people asking Maddon for comment on it all.
Which, in keeping with the two-things-can-be-true ethos, he would be totally justified in answering via fax on “2016 World Series Champion” stationary with a cover sheet made out of press clippings of Chapman’s $86 million deal. That stuff works both ways, you know.
Jaime Garcia has been at the center of trade talks for several days now, but on Friday night, he commanded center stage for an entirely different reason. The Braves’ southpaw went head-to-head with Dodgers’ lefty Alex Wood and mashed his first career grand slam: a two-out, 399-foot blast that cleared the wall in right field and put the Braves up 9-0 in the fifth inning.
The bases-loaded knock was the third career home run for Garcia, whose contributions at the plate have been few and far between over his nine-year track in the major leagues. Not only did the homer mark an impressive career first for the 30-year-old, but it was just the second pitcher grand slam in Braves’ history and the first since 1966.
Garcia looked almost as impressive on the mound during Friday’s series opener, issuing one run, four hits and three strikeouts through his first six innings. The Braves currently lead the Dodgers 12-1 in the top of the seventh inning.
As for whether the slam will affect negotiations between the Braves and Twins? MLB.com’s Mike Petriello put it best:
Athletics’ first baseman Ryon Healy had a scary moment during Friday’s loss to the Mets. Lucas Duda smacked a single to the first base side, where the ball took a high hop and caught Healy in the left temple. He crumpled to the ground after getting struck by the one-hopper, but was eventually able to stand and walk off the field with assistance from a trainer.
Prior to the injury, Healy went 2-for-3 at the plate with an RBI single in the first inning. He was replaced by Yonder Alonso, who finished off the rest of the night’s 7-5 loss with a walk in two plate appearances.
Following the game, manager Bob Melvin told reporters that Healy did not appear to have sustained a concussion as a result of the hit. Healy said he thinks he’ll be good to go for Saturday’s game, though a final decision likely won’t be made until tomorrow.