Keeping the Line Movin’
And once again, the roller coaster seems to be on an uphill climb, with the Cubs taking the last game of the series and season against the Pirates, 8-2, and the season series against them by the narrowest of margins, 10 games to 9–the closest to even it’s been in a couple of years.
The lineup was a rather sane one tonight, with Ian Happ leading off (someone has to, thank god it wasn’t Kyle Schwarber) and Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo moving up a spot. Top of the order worked out well, letting the Cubs strike first with a run in the first after the delayed start. They’d keep bringing guys around for half the game, hammering away for runs without the benefit of a home run until the 7th. For a while, the pattern was getting so regular that it seemed possible the Cubs could wind up scoring 1 run per inning for the game–an occurrence I’m sure isn’t particularly common, but I’m not running over to baseball-reference to find out just how uncommon it is. It’s nice to see some variety in how guys are coming around in games that aren’t total blowouts.
Oh, and that home run? Courtesy of Albert Almora, who replaced Schwarber in the home half of the 5th. On the first pitch he’d seen all night. Contrast that with Schwarber’s 0-3 night (that surprisingly included no strikeouts), stranding 5 baserunners.
Lester pitched well, but wasn’t particularly efficient; if a guy is gonna chuck the ball 100+ times, you’d like to see the end of his night coming after 7 innings, except maybe in April when guys aren’t fully stretched out yet. Not a horrible night, but as October and bullpen questions loom–right now, outside of Wade Davis and maybe Brian Duensing, who can you trust?–the starters need to get deep into games.
Here’s a thought…
Heard a…different idea earlier today on my drive home from work on ESPN 1000: a scenario where Alex Avila–who has been hitting well, particularly with runners in scoring position, since coming to Chicago–catches and Willson Contreras mans left field, relegating Schwarber to the bench, or perhaps banishing him from the postseason roster. On one hand, you’re losing a bit defensively going from Contreras to Avila behind the plate, but keep your LF defense probably about the same (maybe a smidge of improvement); on the other hand, you’ll probably see a pretty good improvement in the offense, especially if Willson is good to go at the plate. Plus, so long as he stays in the game, you can move him behind the plate for defense later if you want, especially in a close game.
Do I see it actually happening? Probably not. Is it the worst idea in the world? Obviously not, I had that one a while back evidently.
Oh, and in his first rehab game with Myrtle Beach: 0-2 with a strikeout before being removed in the Pelicans’ loss to Down East.
In non-Chicago baseball news, apparently a window, siding, and door outfit in Cleveland ran a promotion that would give customers a rebate for all work completed during the month of July if the Cleveland Indians won 15 games in a row on a win streak that started in the month of August. Well, Thursday night was Cleveland’s 15th straight win, which means someone, somewhere, is going to be signing off on some pricey checks. An ESPN article indicated the value of the rebates would total around $1.7 million.
I hope this promo was insured in some way, or…ouch.
Weather and Postponements
Going on a bit of a tangent here, so bear with me. But, as we’ve all seen, the hurricanes in Texas and now coming to Florida have been wreaking havoc on scheduling of sports events (as have the wildfires in the Northwest, to be fair): previously, the Astros’ series against the Rangers was moved to Tampa, and another game against the Mets was delayed into a doubleheader after; now, the Myrtle Beach Pelicans’ playoff schedule has been condensed due to weather and the approaching hurricane, with a game today, and a possible decisive doubleheader back in Myrtle Beach on Friday–for a series that normally is 5 games. But the biggest adjustment of the year has to be the postponement of the Miami Dolphins’ Week 1 game against Tampa being postponed until the teams’ mutual bye week–meaning these teams will play 16 straight weeks.
These issues are unavoidable, the weather can’t be controlled…but the options taken are not always the best of all possible options–surely, with 14 other vacant stadiums for week 1, there was somewhere that game could be played.