Can the St. Louis Cardinals afford to have two rookie pitchers in their starting rotation when the games become do-or-die? Can they afford not to? After all, it is the veterans who have gotten them into this touch-and-go spot.
“I’m trying to figure out what’s going on, whether it’s push things a little more or back off. I’m doing everything that’s in my power to be the best I can for the team, and unfortunately, I’ve let my team down,” Garcia said. “I’ve been through tough times before, and I’m going to continue to do what I can to fight and be there for the team.”
And more and more often, it seems as if he is not when the team is about to play a “most important” game.
Ellsbury has not been the player the Yankees thought they were getting when they signed him before the 2014 season. He is batting .266 overall as a Yankee, .270 this season, and has only 78 stolen bases in three seasons, and none since Aug. 21. But he is certainly still this team’s best option in center field and at the top of their lineup, and one they are financially committed to for four more seasons.
The good sinking action he gets on his fastball and changeup means he induces a lot of soft contact, which ties into a debate: How much of the Cubs’ historic defensive numbers are the result of great defense, and how much derives from the ability of Hendricks, Jake Arrieta, Jon Lester and the rest of the staff to limit hard contact? Your opinion on that might determine how you view Hendricks as a Cy Young candidate, considering he isn’t near the top of the league in strikeouts (15th) or innings (10th). The Professor, however, has a big lead in ERA, has allowed eight runs in his past eight starts and has a 1.33 ERA since the All-Star break. The biggest knock against him in the Cy Young race might simply be the perception that he’s the Cubs’ No. 3 starter (indeed, the Cubs rearranged their rotation today so Lester is lined up to start the playoff opener), no matter the numbers.
2. Rougned Odor, MVP candidate? This was brought up on a national baseball show, after Odor hit what proved to be the game-winning home run for the Rangers in the top of the 12th inning. It gave his team a 4-3 win over the Astros. The Rangers obviously have a big lead in the AL West, but they’re also two games up on the Indians for the AL’s best record and home-field advantage, something to push for, considering the Rangers are 47-22 at home.
Anyway, Odor is doing a lot of great stuff this season. He has 31 home runs, has knocked in 85 runs, plays a key defensive position and has done all this at 22. He’s one of just 28 players 22 or younger to hit 30-plus home runs and, along with Alex Rodriguez, the only middle infielder to do so. He has also delivered a lot of big hits for the Rangers, and this was his second go-ahead home run in extra innings. But he isn’t an MVP candidate, and it isn’t close. Because he rarely walks — just 17 times, which means he could join Andres Galarraga as the only players with 30 home runs and fewer than 20 walks — his OBP is just .306.