Tonight is Dustin Ackley bobblehead night at Safeco Field. However, Ackley isn’t playing. Manager Eric Wedge said he’s resting his second baseman, even though the Angels are throwing a right-hander.
Which is just plain stupid.
Ackley should be playing tonight regardless of the bobblehead matter. He’s a left-handed hitter who has hit righties far better than southpaws, so there’s certainly no good reason to rest him. He’s even 4-for-13 with a triple and a couple of RBI against Angels starter Ervin Santana, which is better than most of his teammates.
So those are the baseball reasons to put him in the lineup.
And there’s the other stuff, the stuff that a manager really shouldn’t think about when putting together a lineup, but that many of them would anyway, simply because they’re human.
I’m sure there are a whole bunch of 8- and 10-year-old kids out there whose favorite player is Dustin Ackley. Some of them live in Tacoma, Yakima, Vancouver or wherever and probably get to go to one or two games per year. This is the game their mom and/or dad took them to so that they could see their idol and get his bobblehead. And because Eric Wedge is a doodie head, they’re going to be half-disappointed.
Cubs starter Yu Darvish suffered a setback during Sunday’s rehab start with Low-A South Bend, The Athletic’s Jon Greenberg reports. Darvish threw just 19 pitches in the first inning and felt fine. However, when he took the mound to warm up ahead of the second inning, Darvish “felt something” in his injured right elbow. He exited the game to undergo an MRI.
Darvish’s condition isn’t yet known, but it’s obviously bad news. Darvish signed a six-year, $126 million contract in February and has made just eight starts this season. He owns a 4.95 ERA with 49 strikeouts and 21 walks in 40 innings and hasn’t pitched since May 20.
Darvish said he hopes to return before the end of the regular season to help the team. Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein is realistic about the situation. He said, “It’s a process. We’ll see how he feels. It’s been a long road back, so there’s no point in rushing it now. We probably have one chance given where we are on the calendar to get this right, so that’s the priority.”
Mike Montgomery has pitched out of the rotation in Darvish’s place but he is also currently on the disabled list. Tyler Chatwood, with a 5.22 ERA and 93 walks in 101 2/3 innings, was booted from the rotation at the end of July after the Cubs acquired Cole Hamels. The Cubs, entering Sunday 20 games over .500 and fewer than five games ahead of the Cardinals and Brewers in the NL Central, need some reliability at the back of the rotation.