The Rundown: Phillies and Astros Advance to World Series, Happ Named Gold Glove Finalist, Contreras Linked to Cards Again
The surprising Phillies and the Make-America-Hate-Again Astros will battle it out in this year’s World Series. If Houston wins, do we call it cheater’s proof? To be fair, the whole “Garbage Pail Kids” scandal never really bothered me because I believe baseball hasn’t been clean since the Cleveland Forest Cities and Ft. Wayne Kekiongas took the field on May 4, 1871. I still love the game regardless.
Kyle Schwarber and Rhys Hoskins are the loudest .200 hitters you’ll ever see play the game, and Bryce Harper was one of the quietest .400 hitters until he shook the world yesterday. I don’t believe Philadelphia has the pitching to beat Houston, but the Fightin’ Phils seem to be a team of destiny, don’t they? I’d much rather root for Schwarber, Harper, and David Robertson than José Altuve and Alex Bregman. The series kicks off Friday night in Houston, and here’s your schedule:
- Friday, October 28 and Saturday, October 29 at Houston
- Monday, October 31; Tuesday, November 1; and Wednesday, November 2 (if necessary) at Philadelphia
- Friday, November 5 (if necessary) and Saturday, November 6 at Houston (if necessary)
Rob Manfred has given us all permission to decorate for the holidays on the day off between Games 5 and 6. Expect plenty of football promos and Christmas commercials during the FOX Sports telecasts. I’m eagerly anticipating the studio shot of a Christmas tree with Astros and Phillies baseball ornaments. After all, the most enduring traditions of the season are best enjoyed in the warm embrace of kith and kin. Let’s also hope the pregame analysts have plenty of egg nog to go around. By the way, Philadelphia has had eight instances of measurable October or November snow since 2010.
I love that baseball keeps extending its season year after year. We could be calling Pete Crow-Armstrong Mr. December by the time the Cubs play in their next Fall Winter Classic. I’m kidding, of course, but don’t be surprised if we end up with a neutral site World Series before this decade passes. Manfred would love that just because he loves anything that pisses off baseball fans. If the People’s Commish had his way, that neutral site would be in Mexico City, Taiwan, or Guam. Were it my choice, I’d love to hear Pat Hughes broadcasting a Cubs World Series game from Bora Bora. Imagine the adjective overload.
Fun aside, it is nice that each team has almost a full week to rest their starting pitchers ahead of Friday’s tilt. Still, if any starting pitcher works more than five innings it will be a minor miracle. I’m not a Padres fan, but I was hoping Blake Snell could have had his shot at redemption for his early exit in 2020. Perhaps he’ll get that chance with the Cubs next year or the year after.
In the meantime, have fun watching Schwarber flex his muscles against Houston’s pitchers. Stock up on firewood and blankets first, of course.
Cubs News & Notes
- The Cubs continue to be connected to Japanese starter Kodai Senga. Imagine Senga and Shohei Ohtani in the same rotation.
- Wrigley Field’s new sportsbook is a continuation of the organization’s attempt to rob the ballpark of its timeless aesthetic beauty.
- Joe Maddon believes the Cubs should have retained Anthony Rizzo as an anchor and conduit to the team’s next wave of winning baseball.
- Though some have linked the Cubs to Rizzo or José Abreu, another potential first-base option could be Wilmer Flores, who would also provide depth at any infield position.
- Assistant coach Jonathan Mota believes Christopher Morel will develop into a multi-position star and mentioned Kris Bryant, Chris Taylor, and Kiké Hernández as potential comparisons.
- Ian Happ was named a Gold Glove finalist in left field.
- Happ will be Chicago’s left fielder in 2023 barring a trade, but what happens after that? One would think the Cubs would consider extending the switch hitter.
- Matt Mervis has had a pretty impressive AFL, and pitchers Riley Martin and Bailey Horn look good, too.
- Martin and Mervis are among a handful of future stars to keep an eye on, according to Jordan Bastian of MLB.com. The others are Luis Devers, Darius Hill, and Yonathan Perlaza.
- St. Louis fans and writers continue to link Willson Contreras to the Cardinals.
Odds & Sods
Phillies_Muse is worth following just for the playoff exit videos.
Padres season is over, roll credits pic.twitter.com/QWa9DVqpDN
— Red October Muse (@Phillies_Muse) October 23, 2022
Postseason News & Notes
The Yankees owned baseball in the last century. Things haven’t gone quite as swimmingly since we entered this one.
The Astros remain undefeated in this year’s playoffs.
Houston is one win away from tying the Royals for the longest postseason winning streak in MLB history. Interestingly, the Reds are the only team with a playoff winning streak of seven or more games to actually win the World Series.
Dusty Baker gets another chance to win that elusive World Series ring.
Harper was named the NLCS MVP on the strength of his clutch home run in Sunday’s clinching game. He had three game-winning hits in the series.
Jeremy Peña took ALCS MVP honors and has been Houston’s “heartbeat” throughout the postseason.
Now that the Yankees have been eliminated, everyone wants to know what Aaron Judge will do.
The Yankees are probably the favorites to retain Judge, but the Giants and Mets could try to pry the slugger away.
Bruce Bochy was named as the new manager of the Rangers over the weekend. He signed a three-year contract with Texas.
The White Sox will interview Ozzie Guillén next week to potentially replace retired manager Tony La Russa.
Chicago has cast a wide net in its search for a new manager.
Pending free agent closer Kenley Jansen said he is open to returning to the Dodgers.
Here is the full list of Gold Glove finalists.
Monday Morning Six-Pack
- Justin Fields has struggled with consistency, but to be fair, he hasn’t had much to work with through 16 NFL starts.
- The Bears play the Patriots tonight and Sean Holland provided an excellent preview.
- While you’re enjoying a beverage or two during tonight’s game, take time to consider the wonderfulness of an aluminum can.
- Elon Musk’s torturous acquisition of Twitter is expected to be a done deal by Friday. Musk said he intends to can 75% of Twitter’s workforce.
- William Shatner is probably the most famous civilian astronaut on the planet, but he was filled with grief while traveling in outer space. “It was the death that I saw in space and the lifeforce that I saw coming from the [Earth]— the blue, the beige, and the white,” Shatner said. “And I realized one was death and the other was life.”
- Bono still regrets his hairstyling choice at Live Aid in 1985.
Owen Caissie, this is your wake-up call.
A slow start in the AFL could only last so long for Owen Caissie.
The No. 10 @Cubs prospect broke out with his first AFL homer and 4 RBIs. pic.twitter.com/aHviTSr79G
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) October 23, 2022
They Said It
- “Man, it’s exciting. You can sit here and talk about whatever rankings you want to. We don’t pay attention to that one bit. It’s a lot of fun to sit on the bench and watch these guys go out there and compete and do what they do. You get to sit there and watch a guy like Ryan Jensen and watch a guy like DJ Herz, and that’s only naming a few of the guys. You see the breakout season from a guy like Porter Hodge and [Luis] Devers. It’s a lot of fun to be around because we look at it as challenging each other. We see a guy go out there and throw five shutout [innings] and we’re like, ‘I want to do that.’ And so it’s really just an iron-sharpens-iron type of atmosphere. And we’re excited.” – Jordan Wicks
- “[Brennen Davis] is probably not as strong as he usually is. He wasn’t able to fully get back to that after the back surgery. But I have no doubt he’ll work hard … and he’ll be able to get back to his normal strength. We’re excited to have him this spring.” – Jed Hoyer
Monday Walk-Up Song
I wanna shot at redemption.