Jays Live to Fight Another Day; Cubs Don’t, Neither does Mattingly

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IT’s rarely a good thing when my computer won’t work. This morning while I was getting it fixed, the bulletin came across that Don Mattingly won’t manage the Dodgers in 2016. What more could the Dodgers ownership group expect of him? The former team gave him the keys to a ’59 Edsel when he took over at the start of  2011. The team was in shambles. The owners were a bitter married couple who spent more time wrangling over their divorce than tending to their child, the Dodgers’  team. Joe Torre, standup guy that he is, walked out a week before the end of the 2010 season in disgust. Bad as his team was, Mattingly coaxed 82 wins out of them that year, then 86 in 2012 good for second place in the West. The next 3 seasons the Dodgers won the NL West outright, winning 92, 94 and 92 games. I guess the owners’ beef is that only once, in 2013 did they make the NLCS which they lost to the Cardinals. They lost the NLDS to the Cards last year and to the Mets in an agonizing best 3 of 5 this year. It’s enough to make me wonder if the owners spend their time reading the Los Angeles Times, which has been against Mattingly since he was hired. They could also be listening to Andre Ethier, one of the Dodgers’ veteran players who in game 5 was caught on camera saying a highly unprintable thing to his boss. In a better day, the player would be unloaded and the manager respected. John McGraw would gain a player’s respect by punching him a good one on the jaw if a player were fool enough to curse out McGraw.    Now the manager finds himself unemployed, temporary though that state probably will be.

In the first of yesterday’s two LCS games, the Toronto Blue Jays got a stay of execution by beating the Royals 7-1. The Jays broke out 1-0 in the second on a Chris Colabello home run. Starters Edinson Volquez and Marco Estara matched zeros until the home sixth, when Volquez dug his own grave without giving up a hit. He walked Ben Revere, hit Josh Donaldson with a pitch, then walked Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion driving in a run. That’s when manager Ned Yost came out with the hook for his starter. Kelvin Herrera got Chris Colabello on strikes, but served up a 3-run double to Troy Tolowitzki. The Jays put up one more run in the 7th and 8th. Marco Estrada lasted into the 8th until a home run by Salvador Perez and a single by Alex Gordon finished his afternoon. He pitched the game of his life, giving up only 3 hits and a run and leaving the bull pen only needing 4 outs. The Jays now head to Kansas City for game 6 tomorrow night, where David Price will try to save the season against Yordano Ventura.

Later last night, there was to be no reprieve for the North Side die-hards as the Mets took game 4 to sweep the Cubs, 8-3. So much for all that bosh from ’80’s nerds about the prediction made in one of the “Back to the Future” movies about the Cubs winning it all in 2015. That sort of cod’s wallop may sell a few more DVD’s but is worth no more than that. The bottom line was, particularly in games 3 and 4 the Cubs’ starting pitching was dreadful and the Mets capitalized on it. Jason Hammel didn’t survive the second inning last night. The Mets’ starters weren’t dominant but the Cubs did not take advantage of this. Last night in the visiting first inning, Curtis Granderson singled. After two men were retired Yoenis Cespedes walked setting the stage for two bombs-one hit by the struggling Lucas Duda good for 3 runs and a solo shot by the equally struggling Travis D’Arnaud. After a hit batsman and a single, pitcher Steven Matz hit a shot to right, which if Jorge Soler hadn’t caught it might have sent Cubs fans scurrying to the exits right then. Hammel’s leash was extremely short in the second. After a walk to David Wright his manager Joe Madden brought out the derrick to send him to the showers. Travis Wood wasn’t much help. He gave a single to Daniel Murphy and a two-run double to Lucas Duda. On the hill, Matz didn’t give up a hit to the Cubs until the fourth when Soler doubled  and Anthony Rizzo singled. Soler scored on an infield grounder but that was all until it was much too late. Daniel Murphy and Chris Bryant each hit two-run homers in the 8th for the final score of 8-3. When Dexter Fowler took a called third strike from Jeurys Familia, the Mets’ place in this year’s World Series was set.

Daniel Murphy has a spot in history no matter what the Mets do from here. He has now hit home runs in 6 straight postseason games which had never been done. He also has 7 for the postseason. Only 3 other men can claim this: Jason Werth with the Phillies in 2009, Troy Glaus in 2002 with the Angels and B. J. Upton in 2008 with what were then called the Devil Rays. If he hits one home run in the World Series he joins Barry Bonds, Nelson Cruz and Carlos Beltran as the only men to have 8 postseason home runs.

Should he reach number 9 he will be all alone at the top of the hill. He and the Mets have to wait until Tuesday to start the World Series, even if tomorrow night wraps up the ALCS. It will start in the American League city, as the American League won the All-Star game this year.

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