The Rundown: Machado’s Reputation Grows, MLB Spygate Controversy, Javy Baez Named Sporting News All-Star
Woah, sorry so late. I had to take a major test today so I stayed up late last night studying, accompanied by what seemed like the longest game ever, and woke up late, just like the dream I suppose each of us has had at one time or another.
There’s really just one thing about last night’s game that I want to talk about: The more I watch Manny Machado play, the less I want the Cubs to pursue him this winter.
The fact that the Dodgers beat the Brewers 2-1 in 13 innings is probably the least important thing that happened in all of baseball yesterday. The series is tied at two games apiece with Game 5 being played as you read this.
In another “Manny being Manny” incident that has now become the most unforgettable moment in these playoffs, Machado’s bush-league kick and attempted spike of Jesus Aguilar in the 10th inning yesterday left his opponents angry and exasperated.
The Dodgers shortstop later scored the winning run on a walk-off single by Cody Bellinger in the 13th inning. Dodgers fans — who have taken to callling it “The Cody Bellinger Game” –are insanely wrong in comparing it to Kirk Gibson’s home run in the 1990 Word Series. Brewers players and fans are still wondering why Machado was still in the game. Where’s Joe West when you need him?
This doesn't look great for Manny Machado.pic.twitter.com/AZ5gT91gk0
— Sporting News (@sportingnews) October 17, 2018
When asked about the play at first and if Machado is going beyond the bounds of playing hard in this series, Craig Counsell said: “I guess they got tangled up at first base. I don’t think he’s playing all that hard.”
“It’s embarrassing,” said Dodgers broadcaster Orel Hershiser. “It’s embarrassing to himself. It’s embarrassing to the game. I wish he wouldn’t kick first basemen.”
Christian Yelich didn’t mince words when speaking of the controversial shortstop.
Christian Yelich speaks for the Brewers clubhouse regarding the Manny Machado incident. He wasn’t happy. #Brewers #NLCS pic.twitter.com/kzAWvmMrFC
— Joe Trezza (@JoeTrezz) October 17, 2018
Machado was also cited for interference on a call at second base earlier this series when he reached out and grabbed Brewers shortstop Orlando Arcia. The pending free agent has admitted he doesn’t like to run out ground balls, speaking candidly about his need to “preserve energy” in a recent interview with Ken Rosenthal.
Last night’s game took more than five hours to complete and featured 14 relief pitchers between the two teams. Milwaukee starter Gio Gonzalez lasted just one inning, leaving the game after twisting his ankle while trying to field an infield single by Puig in the 2nd. LA starter Rich Hill pitched five full innings. Between the two teams, the bullpens accounted for 19 2/3 innings pitched, 26 strikeouts against just 10 hits and one earned run.
Meanwhile, the Red Sox took game three of their series against the Astros when Jackie Bradley Jr. turned what had been a closely contested game into a rout with a grand slam in the 8th inning off of Houston closer Robert Osuna. The score was 3-2 Boston entering the inning. After Osuna departed, former Cubs pitcher Hector Rondon mopped it up for the Astros.
The Red Sox can go up three-games-to-one with a victory in Houston tonight. They’ll send Rick Porcello, who was dominant in a one-inning relief role in Game 2, to the mound. Taking the bump for the Astros in the 7:39 PM CT start is Charlie Morton.
Playoff News & Notes
- Machado was fined $10,000 for the way he went into first base last night.
- Today’s game could be Kershaw’s last start as a Dodger. I still don’t believe he will sign elsewhere if he opts out, but the buzz that he might is certainly getting louder.
- Kershaw’s long-debated playoff reputation is on the line in this afternoon’s game. This could be the biggest game of his career, though it feels odd to say so. If the Brewers get bad Clayton, Milwaukee will leave Los Angeles up three games to two.
- Gonzalez will miss the rest of the playoffs. The Brewers added Zach Davies to the roster to replace him.
- The Brewers will not use the Machado incident to motivate them.
- The Red Sox are 3-0 with a +22 in run differential on the road this postseason.
- Boston ace Chris Sale declared himself “ready to go” if he is needed to pitch during the rest of the ALCS.
- Porcello offered a great quote when told Sale was fit to pitch.
- MLB announced that the Astros will not be punished in what has been termed a “spying controversy.”
- Apparently the Astros were just using dugout photography to make sure that the Red Sox weren’t spying on them.
- The weird story about preemptive spying got a lot weirder when it turned out the Astros have been doing this for longer than this week.
- The Astros’ supporting cast has been critically important to their success.
- Down 2-1 in the 3rd inning of yesterday’s game, Astros left fielder Tony Kemp made an acrobatic catch against the wall, saving Houston from falling into a larger hole against the Boston Red Sox. It appears that the ball may actually have hit the wall.
.@tonykemp’s got ups. #ALCS pic.twitter.com/fW9IplioSJ
— MLB (@MLB) October 16, 2018
Cubs News & Notes
Though Machado and Bryce Harper are the obvious free agent targets for the Cubs and many other teams, the front office has other needs that need to address this winter, too.
Javier Baez was the only Cubs player named to the Sporting News 2018 NL All-Star team.
Evan Altman offers some thoughts on the lack of a contract extension for Joe Maddon, the negative perception that Machado has generated, and the Cubs’ seemingly cold shoulder toward Chili Davis.
The hiring of Anthony Iapoce signals a return to the foundation on which the current roster was built: Power, selective aggressiveness, and pull-side knocks.
Changing expectations have made it so that 95 wins is not necessarily a successful season for the Cubs.
According to multiple reports, Cubs VP of player development and amateur scouting Jason McLeod is considered to be a serious candidate for the general manager position with the San Francisco Giants. That might be a good thing for the Cubs.
Cubs bench coach Brandon Hyde, who was one of the few coaches to survive last offseason’s coaching purge, is reportedly a finalist to become the next manager of the Toronto Blue Jays.
Baseball News & Notes
A decent look at the pros and cons of the best free agents available this winter.
Cheating is completely out of control and it’s time for Major League Baseball to put a stop to it.
Potential trade destinations for Diamondbacks’ ace Zack Greinke include Seattle, Milwaukee, and Atlanta.
Brad Ausmus has interviewed for the opening managerial position with the Angels.
The Rangers are up to eight candidates for their managerial opening after interviewing incumbent Don Wakamatsu and Philadelphia third-base coach Dusty Wathan yesterday.
They Said It
- “One of the crazier games, where there’s really no margin on either side. The bullpen, what they did tonight against a very good offensive club, my hat’s off to these guys.” – Dave Roberts
- “Yeah, everybody (saw it). We’re good. I’ve known Machado since a long time ago and we already talked. A couple guys were really mad, but we’re just trying to win the game. He did (apologize), and that’s why I say we’re good.” – Jesus Aguilar
Thursday Walk Up Song
Alive and Kicking by Simple Minds. All kinds of obvious metaphors there.