The fact that Tony La Russa makes an incredible number of pitching changes is a surprise to no one, but Matthew Leach of MLB.com crunched the numbers and found that the Cardinals are on pace to set the all-time record for relievers used in the playoffs.
With at least two and possibly three games remaining La Russa has gone to his bullpen 61 times, which is one short of the record set by the Indians in 1997 and Giants in 2002. And those two teams played 18 and 16 games, respectively, while the Cardinals have played only 15 so far.
Ron Washington and the Rangers aren’t that far behind, either, going to the bullpen 54 times in 14 games. By the end of the World Series there’s a decent chance the Cardinals and Rangers will hold the top two spots on the all-time reliever usage list.
Fresh off our “Manny Machado didn’t hustle” post, here’s one about him trying a little too hard. Machado was called for interference in the bottom of the fourth inning during Monday night’s NLCS Game 3 against the Brewers at Dodger Stadium. It was actually Machado’s second attempt to interfere with Orlando Arcia during the game.
In the bottom of the second, Machado led off with a single. Cody Bellinger followed up by hitting a grounder to second baseman Travis Shaw, who fed to Arcia. Machado slid towards Arcia enough to disrupt the play, allowing Bellinger to reach first base safely. The Brewers didn’t challenge, in part because Arcia didn’t attempt a throw.
Fast forward to the bottom of the fourth. Machado again leads off and again reaches base, this time with a walk. Bellinger hits another grounder. First baseman Jesús Aguilar snags the ball and fires to Arcia covering the second base bag. Machado slides into second base and reaches out with his right hand to mess with Arcia’s throw to first base. It succeeds, as Arcia’s throw skips past first base towards the dugout. Brewers manager Craig Counsell challenged the call, alleging slide interference (the “Chase Utley rule”). The umpires reviewed the play and agreed that Machado did indeed interfere with Arcia, so Bellinger was called out. What made Machado’s effort even worse is that Bellinger would’ve reached easily regardless, so there was no need to interfere with Arcia.
The Dodgers trail the Brewers 1-0 through the first half of the game. The Brewers got their run early thanks to an RBI double by Ryan Braun off of Walker Buehler in the top of the first. Jhoulys Chacín has pitched excellently for the Brewers thus far.