Happy Cardinal Elimination Day!
Well, at least Cardinal Elimination Day, Part I. The Redbirds are officially done in the NL Central race, and this one was over from the start. Addison Russell‘s 2-out, bases-clearing double in the first was the lethal blow; the 7 runs they tacked on were just…fun, unnecessary brutality against a rival. But, the bats seem to be getting going at the right time, and the pitching isn’t giving much quarter these days either. No matter, the worst result that can happen for the division is a tie with the Brewers, but…the Cubs not winning another game this regular season is inconceivable. The Cubs have the division without any doubt. Running the Cards completely out of the playoff picture is the next goal, and is a possibility with a little bit of help from our friends out in Colorado.
As for Monday night, Lester gave us 6 solid innings, a bomb by Jedd Gyorko in the 2nd not withstanding. Not a whole lot of clean innings, but he never seemed to end up in much trouble; a lot of the Cards’ baserunners seemed to come with 2 out. There’s been a lot of discussion in the comments of late in discussing the postseason roster and rotation especially, and a lot of it centers around whether or not Lackey deserves a spot on the roster, let alone the rotation. Yes, Lester and Lackey have put up similar numbers, particularly since the All-Star break, but the potential for disaster from Lackey seems so much worse than it is with Lester–let’s not forget that the Cardinals staked their season in the 2015 NLDS, game 4, on John Lackey…who put the Cards in a 4-2 hole early. While they later tied it, and the winning run came off Kevin Siegrist, you don’t want a guy who’s prone to doing this on a regular basis. Jon Lester, faults and all, can do that–but not with the frustrating regularity that Lackey does.
Of course, we have to bring up the sensation that is Nachoman. In the 2nd inning, Addison Russell went into the stands after a foul ball, and wound up only with some cheese on his arm. Nachoman’s nachos, unfortunately, fell victim to Russell’s cleat, and got swept under the wall (been a while since they’ve needed brooms at Busch, maybe?). Interactions with ballplayers and food happen quite a lot–Prince Fielder stealing a nacho chasing down a ball sticks in my mind–but I don’t think I’ve ever seen what transpired afterward (sadly, I don’t know how to toss a video in here, but I’m sure most of us have seen it): Addison Russell bringing out a plate of nachos before the next inning got going to the fan, and hanging around for a selfie with him and his companion. It was a nice gesture for not only ruining his snack, but also knocking his team out of the division race, as it would turn out. Got Nachoman a good bit of notoriety, and a few balls to boot; by the end of the game, he was signing autographs (including one kid getting his autograph in cheese on his bare chest–eww).
In the future, I think MLB needs to mandate extra netting to prevent harm to other innocent food items.
Foul Balls, Foul Balls Galore
Late in the game, guys on both sides ended up falling victim to foul balls–Yadi Molina ended up taking a couple in a row off the bat of Kris Bryant, the latter of which was enough for Mike Matheny to get him out of there (he’s now in the league’s concussion protocol), and Javy Baez getting what looked to be (without my glasses on) his own foul ball off the outside of his right knee, sending him to the ground for a bit. In the case of Yadi, you hate to see it happen like that…and it’s honestly getting to a point where the team needs to look into putting him at 1B a little more often, if not an outright move. Between his knees and the years of fouls to the face, he can’t keep up the pace he’s been on in his career; he’s not the player he used to be, and if you look at a guy like Joe Mauer (who moved to 1B due to back issues a few years ago), a change could be good. For Javy, he wound up getting a knock but came out for a pinch runner right after. He’s probably OK, but with the regular season’s work pretty much done, it might be worth it to let him sit at least tomorrow.
How About That Kid?
You see talk everywhere, Facebook, Twitter, and whatnot, about putting together a dream team in Chicago–sign Bryce Harper, trade for Mike Trout, find a way to get Giancarlo Stanton from Miami, so on and so forth. But the one name I haven’t seen in those talks? Aaron Judge.
He’s a rookie, but he’s hit fifty bombs this year for the Yankees, even with a prolonged drought there in either July or August. Perhaps this year will end up being his outlier season, and he’ll end up being a pretty mundane player overall. Or he could end up being a holy terror for pitchers throughout the majors for years to come. Given the chance, I think I’d kick the tires on this kid if we’re talking putting together a fantasy team, payroll be damned.