Royals beat reporter Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star has been providing great coverage of the team throughout the playoffs, and I particularly enjoyed this tidbit about what manager Ned Yost is doing while waiting for the World Series to start:
Ned Yost piloted his family toward the Capitol Grille on the Country Club Plaza. Awaiting him was a reception he had neither expected nor ever before experienced. Before Yost could dine on steak, lobster mac and cheese and French fries, he feasted on a wave of adulation. The reaction was immediate, intense and emblematic of the good feeling inspired by the team’s berth in the World Series. Once upon a time, Yost used a fake name at Starbucks to avoid recognition. Now he cannot dodge it.
“I walked in, and the whole place went nuts,” Yost said. “I mean, everybody came out of the bar, everybody came out of their seat in the dining area. We just couldn’t get past that desk there. We were high-fiving, hugging, taking pictures. It was a tremendous experience.”
But wait, there’s more: “The next morning he was on the phone with his close friend Jeff Foxworthy.”
What a world.
It’s not even time for the first pitch in San Francisco yet and already there’s NLCS drama!
Let that be a lesson to the kids out there: Beware of those titanium-wrapped sticks of gum.
Here are the lineups for Game 5 of the Cardinals-Giants series in San Francisco:
3B Matt Carpenter
CF Jon Jay
LF Matt Holliday
SS Jhonny Peralta
1B Matt Adams
RF Randal Grichuk
2B Kolten Wong
C Tony Cruz
SP Adam Wainwright
With a left-hander on the mound Cardinals manager Mike Matheny has made some changes. Jhonny Peralta and Matt Adams flip-flop in the 4-5 spots, Randal Grichuk bats sixth while Jon Jay stays second, and Tony Cruz is behind the plate instead of A.J. Pierzynski.
CF Gregor Blanco
2B Joe Panik
C Buster Posey
3B Pablo Sandoval
RF Hunter Pence
1B Brandon Belt
LF Travis Ishikawa
SS Brandon Crawford
SP Madison Bumgarner
Standard lineup for Giants manager Bruce Bochy, who sticks with Travis Ishikawa in left field over Michael Morse and keeps shortstop Brandon Crawford in the eighth spot. Madison Bumgarner, who shut out the Cardinals for 7.2 innings in Game 1, has a 2.58 ERA in 59 career postseason innings.
As part of his end-of-season chat with reporters Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski said the team is expected to stick with Joe Nathan at closer next season despite his struggles this year.
However, the GM also indicated to James Schmehl of MLive.com that Nathan will likely be on a very short leash:
I would think he starts as our closer going into it, but he has to perform up to the capabilities required of doing it. Nathan, we know was very inconsistent. Particularly early in the season.
Nathan blew seven saves and had a 4.81 ERA after posting a combined 2.09 ERA for the Rangers during the past two seasons. He improved in the second half, throwing 23 innings with a 2.70 ERA, but even then his 17/13 K/BB ratio suggests Nathan was nowhere near his old self.
He also pitched through some arm issues and will be 40 years old next month. Nathan has a lengthy track record of elite work at closer and is under contract for $10 million next season, but it sounds like he’ll be on thin ice from Day 1.
Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports that the Pirates will make the $15.3 million qualifying offer to free agent Russell Martin. He previously reported that Martin turned down a multi-year contract extension offer late in the season.
Martin seems likely to reject the qualifying offer in search of a much bigger payday on the open market following a season in which he hit .290 with a .402 on-base percentage and .832 OPS in 111 games.
By doing so he’d still be able to re-sign with the Pirates, but if he signs elsewhere Pittsburgh would receive draft pick compensation. And his new team would have to give up a draft pick, potentially hurting his market. Still, given the MLB-wide dearth of quality catching and the fact that Martin is still just 32 years old he should have plenty of suitors.