Craig Calcaterra

Blogger at NBC Sport.com's HardballTalk. Recovering litigator. Rake. Scoundrel. Notorious Man-About-Town.
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Curt Schilling says he’ll run for Senate in 2018. As long as his wife says it’s OK.

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Curt Schilling has been toying with the idea of launching a political career lately. I’d say “planning” or “investigating” a political career if he had done more than post dumb political memes on his social media platforms and rant incoherently on talk radio and cable TV, but at the moment we’ll have to just call it “toying.”

That may be about to change, however!

All sensible people would check with their spouse before mounting such a run, of course, and I will thus give Schilling good family man points for noting that if Shonda doesn’t want him to run, he won’t. For now we’ll set aside the notion that the folks who are likely to make up Schilling’s core constituency likely view such caveats as the behavior of a weak and henpecked Beta Male or whatever.

I do hope Shonda consents, however. I certainly don’t want Curt Schilling in command of anything other than a fastball and slider, so I would root for the people of Massachusetts to send him to electoral defeat, but boy howdy, would I love to cover that campaign.

Hiroki Kuroda is retiring

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The Kyodo News reports that former Yankees and Dodgers pitcher Hiroki Kuroda will retire at the end of the season.

Kuroda left MLB after the 2014 season and has been pitching for the Hiroshima Toyo Carp for the past two years. The 41-year-old had a 3.09 ERA and 98/30 K/BB ratio over 151.2 innings this season and he will end his career pitching against the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters in the Japan Series, which begins this weekend.

Kuroda’s statement announcing his retirement shows that, despite obviously still having the chops to compete in NPB, going out on top is a big factor:

“Winning the league championship and advancing to the Japan Series is one big reason for this,” said Kuroda. “Because I’m going out after the ultimate season, I have no regrets.”

Kuroda was 79-79 with a 3.45 ERA (115 ERA+) and 986 strikeouts against 292 walks in 1,319 innings across seven major league seasons. In NPB, Kuroda is 124-105 with a 3.55 ERA and 1,451 strikeouts and 504 walks in 2,021.2 innings across 13 seasons, all with Hiroshima.

Playoff Reset: Cubs vs. Dodgers NLCS Game 3

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The Game: Chicago Cubs @ Los Angeles Dodgers NLCS Game 3
The Time: 8:00 PM EDT
The Place: Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles
The Channel: FS1
The Starters: Jake Arrieta (Cubs) vs. Rich Hill (Dodgers)

The Upshot:

Back in 1948, the NL pennant-winning Boston Braves leaned heavily on two aces: Warren Spahn and Johnny Sain. The Braves’ dependence upon them led Boston Post sports editor Gerald Hern to write this little poem:

First we’ll use Spahn
then we’ll use Sain
Then an off day
followed by rain
Back will come Spahn
followed by Sain
And followed
we hope
by two days of rain.

For the 2016 Dodgers, it’s kinda like this:

First we’ll use Kershaw
Then we’ll use Jansen
Then we’ll engage in a whole bunch of dancin’
Then we’ll start Kershaw
Followed by Jansen
And maybe Rich Hill unless blisters need lancin’

Eh, I’ll work on it.

Unlike the ALCS, this one is still a series with any number of possible outcomes. We’re tied at one after Miguel Montero‘s heroism in Game 1 and Clayton Kershaw‘s dominance in Game 2 and now we get to see what the back end of the Dodgers rotation is made of.

Rich Hill is not a back end starter, not this year anyway, but he has as many questions about him as a number 4 starter might have in such a game. Those deal primarily with his durability. The Dodgers won his last start, Game 5 of the NLDS against the Nationals, but he only pitched two and two-thirds innings and the victory required Kenley Jansen working to the extreme extent of his capacity and Clayton Kershaw coming in in relief. That’s not going to happen here. Prior to that his woes with a blister on his finger have cut into several starts and had him shelved for long stretches this season. The Dodgers want to win this game, of course, but another short start from Hill will cause Dave Roberts to use his bullpen liberally and that will have some big consequences when Julio Urias and Kenta Maeda come back around in the rotation.

The Cubs starter has far fewer questions about him. He has faced the Dodgers twice. The last time he faced them in Dodger Stadium all he did was toss a no-hitter against them in 2015. The last time he faced them at all, in Wrigley Field back on May 31, he tossed seven shutout innings. The Dodgers have their work cut out for them against the reigning Cy Young Award winner.

The ALCS seems all but over. This one feels like it’s just beginning.