The Rundown: Dodgers and Astros Advance, Red Sox One Win Away After Pummeling Yanks, Offseason Rumors

The Dodgers topped the Braves 6-2 in Game 4 of the NLDS on Monday to advance to the NLCS for a third straight year. All six runs were driven in by mid-season acquisitions, capped by a laser-beam three-run homer by Manny Machado that effectively put the game away. Machado had a huge game, driving in four runs after starting the series 1-for-12.

“Get that money,” Joc Pederson said. “Get that money.”

Trying to avoid being swept, the Indians were leading 2-1 thanks to a Francisco Lindor home run in the bottom of the 5th. Trevor Bauer, making his third appearance of the series, melted down in every way he could. Sometimes starting pitchers do not adapt to relief roles and the playoffs aren’t usually a good time to test that. John lackey proved that last year.

Trevor Bauer pitched a scoreless 6th, but then disaster struck and the 7th inning was a completely different story. Bauer didn’t miss any bats, lost control and command at the worst time, and fielded his position poorly. He left with Cleveland down 4-2 and the rout was on. The Astros won 11-3 in a game that didn’t even feel that close, if you can believe it. Houston is on an unbelievable roll right now, having won 29 of 39 games since August 18. They’ll face the winner of the Red Sox-Yankees series starting on Saturday.

In New York, the Red Sox exploded for 16 runs, silencing a raucous Yankee Stadium crowd with an historic beatdown fueled by a seven-run 4th inning. The 100-win Yankees now find themselves one game from elimination. The win represented the most runs the Red Sox have ever scored in a road playoff game and the most lopsided loss in Yankees postseason history. Brock Holt homered in the 9th off of backup catcher Austin Romine to become the first player to record a cycle in postseason history.

There was some controversy as to whether starting pitcher Luis Severino had enough to time to warm up before his start. The New York starter did not get to the bullpen until eight minutes before player introductions. Severino left the game in the 4th inning without recording an out. Before the top half of the frame was over, the Bronx Bombers were down 10-1 and the game was over for all intents and purposes.

Cubs News & Notes

Despite a disappointing finish, it would be incorrect to call the 2018 season anything but a success for the Cubs.

It’s sounding more and more like Cole Hamels will be back next season. “This was a fun experience to be a part of and hopefully this will be something I’ll be able to be a part of next year,” Hamels said. “…This is the right type of environment [for winning.] What Theo and the ownership have done and the players they have, they really look at that. They have the type of players that are capable of [getting back to the postseason year after year].”

It was an especially tough season for Kris Bryant, but both Bryant and the Cubs are confident that he’ll bounce back with a monster season next year. 

Jeff Burdick interviewed David Ross, discussing the former catcher’s pickoff in the 2016 NLDS and his favorite playoff moments in a Cubs Insider exclusive.

Brendan Miller gives expert analysis on the Cubs’ offensive meltdown this season.

Playoff News & Notes

MLB News & Notes

Angels OF Mike Trout is the perfect guy to be the face of the franchise — and of Major League Baseball.

The Marlins will not retain pitching coach Juan Nieves, first base coach Perry Hill, assistant hitting coach Frank Menechino, or strength and conditioning coach Ty Hill for the 2019 season, reports Joe Frisaro of MLB.com.

A look at six prime candidates to be overpaid in free agency this winter, including relievers Andrew Miller and Zach Britton.

Extra Innings

Peter Gammons absolutely trolled Angel Hernandez during last night’s game. Hernandez isn’t exactly known to accept criticism well. And this isn’t limited to players and managers.

Hernandez, who is suing Major League Baseball for racial discrimination, will be behind the plate for a potential elimination game tonight.

They Said It

  • “You look back at this series, [Machado’s] two homers essentially led us to two wins. We have a lot of good players, but I can’t say enough about his focus and preparedness.” – Dave Roberts
  • “Baseball is easy, you know. I mean, if you make it complicated, it’s going to be complicated. I didn’t feel anything. As soon as I hit it, it was out. It was just an unbelievable feeling.” – Manny Machado
  • “They beat us in every area of the game. They’re tough, man. They keep coming. We didn’t play our best. I’m not sure if they played their best either, but they played much better than we did. And so, the better team won.” – Trevor Bauer
  • “Does Tiger Woods tee off at 8 a.m. when he’s going to win a Masters? Does Floyd Mayweather fight the first fight of the night? No, he’s the main event. The ‘Stros need to be playing primetime television, 7 p.m, so we’re looking forward to playing primetime television in the ALCS.” – Alex Bregman

Tuesday Walk Up Song

Where Not to Look for Freedom by The Belle Brigade. Looks like the end of Jivewired, so I want to promote some of our better indie music videos. It was a great run, though. No regrets.

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Michael Canter

Favorite Quote: "Look Ma! Top of the World!" Cubs fan since I was five years old (1969): lover of B&W movies, the Oxford Comma, classic rock, and of course, baseball; annual roto-champ; partial insomniac; I detest the liberal use of the word 'albeit' by baseball writers; Nice guy, though somewhat brooding. Comment me, please and thank you.

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19 Comments

  1. Proof that MLB has the dumbest leadership in all professional sports: Angel Hernandez working the playoffs. The man should not even be allowed to watch the game from the stands…

  2. Two notes on Machado:

    (1) Machado made 2 errors in the 4-game series. Reason I bring this up is Jeff Burdick’s post during the summer on how World Series winners need defensive-capable short stops. Machado, being new to the position, is far from there. Probably best for him to go back to 3rd base or an American League dh.

    (2) Based on his quote, he’s not a good fit for the Cubs. Epstein makes baseball far too complicated wanting (it seems anyway) often to be something that they are not.

    If I were Machado, I’d be afraid that the Cubs would do something to me like they did with Heyward — trying to get him to be the type of hitter he was not. Chili Davis, for all his criticisms post mortem the season, brought Heyward back to what he was and at what best he can succeed at as a batter.

    Davis perhaps is not the right fit for Epstein’s style, but he definitely understands players.

    1. I think Machado will want to stay in LA and I’m pretty sure they’d love to re-sign him. I really don’t see him leaving the Dodgers, and they will probably pay what it takes to keep him.

      1. Yeah, I don’t know that I put too much stock into these guys wanting to reunite with their buddies – and that steering what team they go to. They know that they only get one career, and it has a finite number of years to it. Thus I think predominantly their order of priorities goes 1. Money/years 2. Likeliness to compete for titles / best surrounded by talent 3. Overall team/organizational culture 4. “Does my childhood buddy play there?!”

  3. So I looked at those free agents (to be overpaid), and most of them could also be good signings performance wise. Perhaps except Miller – he seems like “over-used goods”.

    What if the Cubs somewhat skipped the Machado / Harper lottery and went after Josh Donaldson and Patrick Corbin? Donaldson had a rough year with injuries, but could get healthy for a big bounce-back season. A 2-3 year contract would be ideal. Corbin flew under the radar all season, and had a good year. He’s more unlikely though, with Hamels likely coming back, and Darvish hopefully getting healthy.

    1. I think if the Cubs spend in free agency they have to hit a home run. So I don’t think Donaldson is worth the risk. As far as Corbin – great pitcher but I don’t see anybody outbidding the Yankees or Dodgers for that guy. Give me Harper and build a dominant bullpen through trades and/or free agency. There could be some interesting guys who are starters that should be power relievers available. If I was GM – and I’m obviously not – I’d:

      1. Sign Harper
      2. Reup Hamels and Chavez
      3. PRAY Kintzler gets a better deal than the $5M the Cubs will have to pay him.
      4. Trade offense for power relievers. A great trade matchup that comes to mind is Schwarber for Brad Hand.
      6. If Smyly looks good, think about trading Quintana. That’s a $10.25M option. If you are rid of that, Addy Russell’s contract, and if you can handle being over the cap for one year (Hamels, Zobrist,Morrow and Smyly going into final year) you are in great shape for 2020 free agency (Gerritt Cole?).
      7. Trade Mike Montgomery. His value will never be higher than it is now. Then find someone to get Chatwood’s control right and he becomes your swing guy.
      8. Make Strop (anoint) your co-closer and make Cishek strictly an eighth-inning Guy. Only let him come into a clean inning.
      9. Put Harper in LF, Almora in CF unless you can trade for a prototype leadoff guy, Heyward in RF, Happ is your 4th OF. Bryant at 3rd, Baez at SS, Zobrist at 2B, Rizzo at 1B, Bote at UT.
      10. Ease Darvish back.

      1. You didn’t say trade Schwarber, although I take it you have him on the block if Happ is your #4 OF. If they dangled trade chips of Quintana, Montgomery, Schwarber, and potentially Russell (if you did a sign and trade), man – there isn’t much they couldn’t get.

        Donaldson may still be a good plan B if he’s still available after Harper and Machado are off the table. I have to think he would be quite the discount comparably in both years and $.

          1. I read it 3 times (earlier), and all I got was “get Brad Hand”. Proof point for why I could never be an editor.

  4. Boston rolls, and now we have the 4 best teams in the finals. This should be fun.

    I think we are going to see Brews / Astros in the Series, and I better not hear from any Astros fans about how they are a “small market team done good”. (Houston is the 5th largest metro area in the country)

    1. Didn’t Houston surpass Chicago as #3? If not I know they’re close. I think the Brewers and Dodgers series can go either way. Should be fun. Jeez Houston looks unbeatable

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