The Northsiders used everything in their arsenal to even the series at one.
It was 54 degrees on October 3rd in Milwaukee, and the Cubs were bunched around the batting cages, working on their bunting. Manager Joe Maddon, who spent years as a nuts-and-bolts minor-league instructor, and whose mantra this year has been “Do Simple Better” was convinced that his players would need to come up big in a bunt situation come playoff time, and wanted to drive home that message on the penultimate day of the regular season. Maddon’s decision took just a week to pay off. The Cubs did simple better Saturday night in St. Louis, beating the Cardinals 6-3 in their own ballpark and taking the series back to Chicago knotted at one.
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A look at three more pitchers returning from major arm injuries in 2015.
A couple of months ago, we went under the microscope with a trio of pitchers who were coming back from major elbow injuries, as Jose Fernandez, Matt Cain, and Matt Moore each made his 2015 debut (on the same day, no less). Today we take a similar approach but open up the scope beyond elbows to see how some pitchers have fared in their own comebacks from injury, specifically focusing on pitchers for contending clubs who will be counted on to maintain effectiveness as their teams make the push for the postseason. Not every pitcher comes back to the mound in the same condition that he left it, and a pitcher's mechanics can offer a glimpse into his progress in getting back to 100 percent, while helping us to understand some of the details of his prognosis over the next couple of months.
These five hurlers missed most of the 2013 campaign with arm ailments, but they could be fantasy bargains next year.
If it wasn’t made clear in my first article on starting pitchers who were due for a bounce back, my view on starting pitching is that depth is everywhere. I mean, hell, I tried to make a case for Edinson Volquez as a viable option heading into next season (author’s note: I’m a dolt). Perhaps Volquez was the wrong option to hang my case on, but I selected him in an effort to prove a point. That point you ask?
The point is that starting pitching depth is just about everywhere. Don’t believe me? Check out this list of five NL starting pitchers who either haven’t pitched in 2013, or have only just returned recently. They range from “I’ve been waiting on him for a couple years” to “I legitimately forgot he existed even though he’s on my favorite team*.”
Paul takes a tour of the league's two-start pitchers to see which are worth using this week.
It’s been a shaky start to the two-start week for several of our American League options from last week. Drew Smyly and Max Scherzerwere both touched up in Chicago. Jeff Niemann had his leg broken and now sits on the 60-day disabled list. Ivan Nova and Jason Hammel were smacked around in an 8-5 slugfest against each other.
National Leaguers didn’t fare much better as Erik Bedard, Ryan Dempster, and Chad Billingsley were among the casualties in their first start. I should’ve known better with Dempster; I gave the reason not to start him within the article—he was facing St. Louis. They have become a team you must sit your non-star pitchers against.
Phil Hughes, Jamie Garcia, Chris Capuano, and Jake Peavy get the Preseason VP treatment this week
It’s March 1 as you’re reading this, and that is noteworthy if only because we’re finally into a month where there’s going to be real, live Major League Baseball that counts—even if the Japan-based series between the M’s and A’s will take place in the middle of the night for most of us. With the season fast approaching, fantasy drafts are really starting to heat up. Here are some thoughts on four pitchers who may or may not be on your radar for various reasons…
If you tuned out when the Rangers led 7-5 in the ninth, you missed quite a finish
It was the best worst World Series game—or perhaps the worst best World Series game—I've ever seen. Four and a half hours, 11 innings, 42 players, 19 runs, 23 men left on base, six home runs, five errors, two final-strike comebacks, a handful of bad relief performances, some managerial howlers including a cardinal (not Cardinal) sin… and it all ended with the much-maligned Joe Buck giving a fitting nod to history by emulating one of his father's most famous calls. As David Freese's game-winning blast landed in the grass beyond the center field wall of Busch Stadium, Buck exclaimed, "We'll see you tomorrow night!" Game Six of the 2011 World Series will be remembered as a classic—a Game Six that can sit alongside those of 1975, 1986, and 1991, among maybe a couple others—as the Cardinals staved off elimination to beat the Rangers 10-9, forcing a Game Seven.