Associated Press

Felix Hernandez one of many victims of a high-end burglary ring

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Seattle police have broken up a high-end burglary ring dubbed the “Rock Smash Burglary Crew.” I’ll give you three guesses as to why they got that name and I’ll spot you the rock and the smashing.

Whatever you call them, though, they were going pretty good for a while: they stole $3 million in jewelry from over 100 homes in expensive neighborhoods since April. One of the victims: Mariners ace Felix Hernandez:

Mylett said the burglars stole cash, jewelry and high-end handbags, including one worth upward of $300,000. Other loot included Hernandez’s 2015 Major League Baseball All-Star ring and an engraved watch, stolen from the pitcher’s home in November, said Mylett.

One of them, a guy named Severson, was clearly the brains of the operation. He got caught because he dropped his cell phone at one of the crime scenes. But it’s not like his accomplishments were that smart either:

Severson’s alleged accomplices were arrested Monday at a home in the 3200 block of 62nd Avenue Southwest in West Seattle, according to Bellevue police. One of the men was wearing a customized wristwatch, engraved with Hernandez’s nickname, “King Felix,” at the time of his arrest, Mylett said.

Way to go, buddy.

This is not the first time Hernandez has been victimized. You may recall that in 2013 Maria Peguero, the wife of then-Mariners outfielder Carlos Peguero, pleaded guilty to wire-fraud charges for making nearly $180,000 worth of online purchases on a debit card belonging to Sandra Hernandez, Felix Hernandez‘s wife.

The guy gets no run support for years and bad luck after that. Born under a bad sign I guess.

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.