The Rundown: Blown Call Sends Dodgers to NLCS, Manfred Stymies Sinclair Plans, La Russa Expected Back Next Season, Cards Fire Shildt
There really isn’t any new Cubs news and rightfully so given the context of last night’s NLDS elimination game. With that in mind, I’m just going to get to some Game 5 playoff notes and baseball bullet points, but it should be pointed out that the ending of last night’s game has put a big black eye on what has been an extraordinary postseason so far. Only one person in the free world doesn’t know Wilmer Flores checked his swing on the final pitch of last night’s game, and that’s first base umpire Gabe Morales.
It’s too bad that an epic rivalry between two 109-win juggernauts was ultimately decided by a blown call. Flores entered the game 0-for-17 in his career against pseudo-closer Max Scherzer, so chances are the San Francisco first baseman wouldn’t have beaten the Los Angeles ace, but I guess we’ll never know.
The 1B Coach’s reaction says it all pic.twitter.com/Wig2aBTGiZ
— Jay Scott Smith (@JayScottSmith) October 15, 2021
Morales was the recipient of some brutal Wikipedia edits after last night’s game.
Giants manager Gabe Kapler graciously labeled the missed call as “disappointing.”
Flores was equally polite. “I don’t think I went,” Flores said. “Every at-bat matters in a close game, but there are some things you can’t control.”
Fans of baseball all over social media were a lot less diplomatic.
Should the bad call force a rule change to define what is and is not a swing? I hope not.
As Morales and the other five umpires left the playing field and exited through a tunnel on the first base side of home plate at Oracle Park, fans threw objects at them, including cups of beer.
Kris Bryant was victimized by a couple of bad strike calls by home plate umpire Doug Eddings. It’s remarkable that Angel Hernadez was part of last night’s umpiring crew and practically nobody noticed, which says a lot about Morales and Eddings I suppose.
Maybe Hernandez was keeping a low profile after his brutal Game 2 behind the plate.
I wanted to root for Bryant and the Giants but I just didn’t have the heart after last week’s Sports Illustrated article. Additionally, it’s hard to root against the Dodgers because of manager Dave Roberts and an ownership group that is not afraid to spend whatever is necessary to win.
Roberts was masterful last night, by the way.
Dodgers reliever Blake Treinen isn’t making very many friends on social media.
Both teams entered last night’s game with 109 wins, including the playoffs. It’s a shame that the season is over for San Francisco. The Giants were truly the surprise of baseball this season and Kapler should be named Manager of the Year, though Cora will undoubtedly get some votes, too.
Though it’s not official, Bryant is a pending free agent, and it’s not a given he will remain with the Giants. I hope Jed Hoyer still has his former third baseman on speed dial.
Logan Webb got the Game 5 start for San Francisco and was masterful once again.
Webb drinks a disturbing amount of Red Bull on game days.
Scherzer celebrated shirtless again after last night’s clinching win. That’s a baller move that never gets old, though I wouldn’t do it.
Maybe Scherzer is taking a cue from Seinfeld’s George Costanza.
The 37-year-old starter earned the first save of his career last night.
Cubs News & Notes
- Rob Manfred threw some serious shade on Sinclair’s plan to stream local baseball games through their RSNs.
- Last night represented quite an emotional anniversary for most Cubs fans.
- Carlos Correa has mastered the art of the tease. After stoking the hopes of Cubs fans the other day, he turned his attention to an unnamed New York team.
Odds & Sods
You’ve gotta give Chicago pitching prospect Max Bain a ton of credit for keeping it real.
In this attempt to build my personal brand, I’ve made an effort to not strictly post the good things that happen. The bad makes us human. More to come when I speak publicly on the mental struggles of ‘21.
For now, here are the nukes I gave up 💣
Let’s do this less in ‘22 🐻⚾️ pic.twitter.com/tu1JOJVnXW
— Max Bain (@mbain_38) October 14, 2021
How About That!
In a surprising move, the Cardinals fired manager Mike Shildt before yesterday’s game, citing “philosophical differences.”
Cardinals fans deserve a better explanation (subscription to ESPN+ required).
White Sox manager Tony La Russa will return to lead the team in 2022.
Boston and Houston begin their ALCS tonight. The Astros will start Framber Valdez while the visiting Red Sox will go with Chris Sale.
Houston starter Lance McCullers Jr. may be held out of the series due to forearm tightness.
Expect the Astros cheating scandal to resurface immediately tonight, especially since Alex Cora has returned to manage the Red Sox after a one-year suspension.
The Mets are pursuing Billy Beane to head the organization’s baseball operations.
The Yankees fired three coaches in the wake of their Wild Card loss to the Red Sox, including third base coach Phil Nevin. A decision has yet to be made regarding a new contract for manager Aaron Boone.
Pete Rose blasted Yankees outfielder Joey Gallo. “Ray Charles wouldn’t strike out that much,” said the game’s all-time hits leader.
The Rockies are interested in keeping starting pitcher and pending free agent Jon Gray, but an extension is probably unlikely.
Last Night’s MVPs
- Logan Webb – Pencil Webb in as San Francisco’ new ace. The 24-year-old went seven innings last night, holding Los Angels to one run on four hits with seven punchouts.
- Cody Bellinger – His 9th inning single scored Justin Turner, giving the Dodgers the win.
- Max Scherzer – At 37 years of age, Scherzer became the oldest pitcher in MLB history to earn his first career save in a postseason game.
Baseball’s signature moments are chill-inducing.
On this day in 1988, Kirk Gibson hit his famous walk-off homer for the Dodgers in Game 1 of the World Series.
The classic calls from Vin Scully and Jack Buck are great, but you can argue that Don Drysdale's seldom-played radio call was the best one.
— Sporting News MLB (@sn_mlb) October 15, 2021
They Said It
- “Super tough. Obviously, you don’t want a game to end that way. I know these guys work really hard to make the right call, so it’s super challenging on our end. … There’s no need to be angry about that. I just think it’s just a disappointing way to end. There are other reasons we didn’t win today’s baseball game.” – Kapler
- “All I can say is that where we felt the team is going, we were struggling to get on the same page. And ultimately with [Mike Shildt] having one year remaining on his contract, we could have certainly gone into 2022 with him having that [hanging] over him, we just decided internally that it would be best to separate now and take a fresh look as we enter a new season.” – Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak
Friday Walk-Up Song
Everything Zen by Bush. I don’t think so. Not this morning, anyway.