The B-Team Rides Again
Business done, division in hand, party complete…it looks like the regulars are going to get plenty of rest as we make our way to the postseason. These games against the Reds really don’t mean a thing, except to pad that win total–a sweep of the hapless Reds would have the Cubs finish up at a very nice 93-69–not too bad for a team that, at one point, looked like it might struggle to get to 85 wins.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get to watch the game, what with work being in the way and me not knowing it was a day game until…about the time it went final. But, it’s good to see Ian Happ notch his 24th homer as the decisive blow. And Hector Rondon wound up with a hit–only in September–after a replay review. And, well, the lineup was pretty much otherwise full of guys we won’t be seeing much of in a few days’ time. With all the beverages they had available Wednesday in St Louis, I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a lot of guys still nursing a pretty good hangover. Lackey and Theo might not even be sober yet.
Does Ian Happ fit in to the postseason roster as a regular, or a bat off the bench? He’s 5 homers shy of matching Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber, and while he’s not a great outfielder, he’d be an upgrade over Schwarber or Ben Zobrist out there. But, he hasn’t been on that stage before, it might not be worth thrusting him into that spotlight…no more guesswork with lineups come October, and I hope Joe Maddon gets it.
As for the NLDS rotation, I would presume we won’t know the plan until the day the series starts; not just because teams like to be secretive, but because they may just not know right now. All four of the starters that figure to be in the rotation–Jake Arrieta, John Lackey, Jose Quintana, and Kyle Hendricks (in no particular order)–all have arguments to be made in their favor, as well as arguments against. We could also get a surprise if John Lackey slots in somewhere. In any case, Arrieta won’t make what would have been his last start on Sunday, and instead throw a simulated game. Meantime, I would lay odds on the Nats putting Max Scherzer, he of the heterochromic eyes, out there to start things off.
In odd stats, an odd one that I wouldn’t quite have expected: which pitcher has the lowest ERA through 100 career games?
ERA through 100 career games:
Kyle Hendricks 2.94
Clayton Kershaw 3.19
Roger Clemens 3.20
Nolan Ryan 3.38
Greg Maddux 3.76
— Jeremy Frank (@MLBRandomStats) September 29, 2017
Yep. None other than Kyle Hendricks, better than…a pretty damn good list of names. The impressiveness of this can vary, depending on your thoughts of how effective ERA is as a measure of a pitcher’s quality.
Two more games before the second season starts. Time for a couple more wins, maybe get Bryant and Schwarber their 30th homers to give the team three 30 HR players on the year, and then hop on the roller coaster ride that will be the MLB Postseason.