Cubs Manage a Sweep!
Now that’s something we haven’t seen in a little while–a Cubs sweep. Not that Sunday’s game was a drama-free experience for those watching. The first nine innings were pretty standard fare, for the most part; the Cubs got a few runs in early on a nice Almora double (compounded by the Jays’ inability to get Kyle Hendricks out on a horrible bunt), and the Jays pecked away through the middle innings, ultimately becoming a battle of relievers down the stretch.
Only, in the 10th, it seemed to be a battle to be the worst reliever. Enter our friend, Koji Uehara, newly activated off the DL. That ended up going about as well as we expected: hit by Josh Donaldson before getting an out. That little voice in your head may have been tempted to pipe up with the prospect of a double play to get out of it, move to the bottom of the inning, get the offense back out there. If so, your little voice forgot that Koji was on the mound. After possibly the strangest throwing error charged to a catcher I’ve seen–Alex Avila, trying to get the ball back to Uehara, ended up throwing it somewhere around 60 degrees off target–Joe Maddon decided it would be better to just go ahead and but Jose Bautista on base (not a bad decision, actually). After inducing a flyout, we finally get the Full Koji–a run scoring ball to right.
Now, normally when the manager calls for a new reliever, it’s to get a better guy out there. Instead, we get: JUSTIIIIIIN WILLLLSONNN!
How bad was he? First batter: walked on 5 pitches. Next batter: walked on 6 pitches without a swing. To force in a run. Seriously. Nori Aoki seemed to know that the easiest way to get some insurance was to just freaking stand there, even with a full count. Wilson will probably be headed to the DL soon just to put him somewhere else. The MLB trade market doesn’t have a real easy returns policy, so sending him back to Detroit for an exchange isn’t going to happen.
Not to be outdone, Jays closer Roberto Osuna promptly asked someone to hold his Molson. I have a hard time imagining a worse inning pitched by a closer (and I remember the Carlos Marmol days). A brief summary:
- 2 runners reached on strikeouts
- 1 run allowed on a wild pitch
- 1 hit by pitch after a steal
The game ended with 1 out. If those strikeouts don’t end up rattling around somewhere other than the mitt, the Cubs don’t win. You can argue that part of that rests on the catcher, but, honestly, Osuna wasn’t pitching well anyway.
End of the day, it’s a W, and I’ll take it.
Umpires in Protest of Mean Words
After the game on Saturday, I saw a statement issued by the World Umpires Association (the Umps’ union) wharbargling about being treated badly by the players, and the league not doing anything about it. They announced that they would be wearing white wristbands in protest (Joe West’s looked more like a cut-off tube sock in a picture tweeted by the union), though since Rob Manfred is going to give them an audience, they’ve decided to cut it out for now–not that it seemed all too many of them were on board.
The impetus of the whole thing seems to have been Ian Kinsler’s tirade about veteran
nincompoop umpire Angel Hernandez, and how leniently he was punished for it (a fine, which Brad Ausmus said was the largest he’d seen a player get), and this somehow gave the impression of ‘open season’ on umpires. Except, not really. Players and managers don’t get in umps’ faces for giggles, it’s usually because they’re doing their job badly. Which Hernandez and West (and CB Bucknor) are well known to do. If there’s any accountability for that, like the union’s statement refers to, I’ve yet to see it with any meaningful force–sorry, keeping these guys off of postseason crews isn’t a punishment, it’s common sense, and something that doesn’t get exercised enough anyway.
And it’s not as though there’s physical violence coming at these guys, either; if you’re barking at an umpire, and the bills of your caps graze each other–that’s a suspension. Even if the umpire is the one bobbing his head forward. The solution is simple: if you don’t want to get yelled at for being bad at your job, be less bad at your job. Don’t expect your employer to discipline others for pointing out that you’re bad at your job, no matter how vocal they get with it. While you’re at it, lets get back to having umpires we as fans don’t know by name because of how bad they are.
Ok, enough about umpires. That’s two posts in a row I’ve gotten on about ’em.
Eclipse Day Cometh
Non-baseball wise, it’s eclipse day! Out of curiosity, I checked to see whether or not MLB were smart enough to NOT schedule day games for today, and sure enough, they did alright–the earliest start time is 4:10 Central for the first game of a Sox-Twins doubleheader, that will probably be the ‘Game 2 starts 20 minutes after the end of Game 1’ variety. I didn’t honestly think they would have been foolish enough to schedule day games–you’d end up with a guaranteed delay anyway, unless it was a dome–but it was worth checking.
In any case, if you’re planning on giving it a watch in person, be safe and make sure you have yourself an indirect viewer or the proper eye protection. And if you’re travelling to get a better view, drive safe–around here, a combination of construction and Carbondale-bound traffic has caused a nightmare already.