Cubs manager Joe Maddon’s gamble didn’t pay off and his team paid for it with a 4-1 loss in Game 2 of the NLCS on Sunday night. The skipper opted to bring in John Lackey in the ninth inning rather than Wade Davis to pitch to Chris Taylor and Justin Turner. Lackey ran the count full before walking Taylor, then served up the three-run dinger to left-center field on a 1-0 fastball.
The game was a low-scoring affair otherwise, with each team managing just one run through the first eight innings. Dodgers starter Rich Hill went five innings, giving up one run on an Addison Russell solo home run in the top of the fifth. That was one of three hits he allowed along with a walk and eight strikeouts. Brandon Morrow pitched two innings of scoreless relief followed by Josh Fields for one out, Tony Watson for two, and Kenley Jansen for three.
On the Cubs side, Jon Lester didn’t escape the fifth inning, when he yielded a run when Turner drove in Charlie Culberson with a single to right field. Lester overall gave up three hits, walked five, and struck out two. Carl Edwards, Jr. got the final out of the fifth and then managed a scoreless sixth. Pedro Strop put up a zero in the seventh. Brian Duensing got through the eighth with no issue, then started the ninth but was lifted after striking out Kyle Farmer for the second out. That set up Lackey for Turner’s walk-off moment.
Turner’s walk-off homer is the Dodgers’ first since Kirk Gibson against Dennis Eckersley in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series.
The two clubs will take Monday off before resuming the NLCS for Game 3 on Tuesday at 9 PM ET in Chicago. Yu Darvish will start for the Dodgers opposite Kyle Hendricks.
We’re entering what is typically one of the slowest news weeks in the baseball calendar. Occasionally some big free agents sign around now. For example, it was 20 years ago today Andres Galarraga signed with the Braves, and I still remember being in an airport on the way home to visit my parents when I heard the news. I’m an old man.
The biggest news that is likely to happen this offseason is Giancarlo Stanton being traded. That hasn’t happened yet, but here are the latest bits of news on that:
Jon Morosi of MLB Network reports that the Cardinals have made a formal trade offer to the Marlins for Stanton. No word what they’re offering, but the clubs have been in discussion for some time and it has been reported that the Marlins are the most interested in doing a deal with St. Louis due to the prospects they could send to Miami. There is a sense, however, that Stanton would be hesitant to approve a trade to the Cardinals because he prefers to play on the West Coast;
The Giants play on the west coast, and over the weekend they were reported to be the “most aggressive team” in trade talks for Stanton at the moment. Ken Rosenthal reports that the Giants have likewise made an offer. Their farm system is nowhere near as stocked as that of the Cardinals, so it’s unclear whether they have the prospects to make Miami happy. They could, of course, eat a lot of Stanton’s $295 million contract to make up for that, of course, but (a) doing so would put them over the luxury tax; and (b) the Marlins no doubt want to spur a rebuild with a Stanton trade, so if they can’t get some blue chip prospects back in return, what’s the point?
UPDATE: Who knows if this is anywhere close to enough — I’m guessing not — but this is what the Giants reportedly have on the table:
Anyway, that’s where we are as we begin Thanksgiving week.