Blue Jays One Loss Away from a Participation Trophy; Both Series Continue Later Today

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Hi all. Here’s how I see baseball on this Tuesday, Oct. 18.

After their demolition of the Rangers, I expected more out of the Blue Jays than they have shown in 3 straight losses to the Indians. Last night, even with the Tribe starter removed pouring blood from an injured finger in the very first inning the Jays still looked pathetic in a 4-2 loss.

The injury came about because last Thursday Indians’ starting pitcher Trevor Bauer was playing with a drone, a toy I understand little about since none of my nephews have them. Apparently it has an electric cord and propellers.  The propellers shouldn’t have started turning the instant he plugged the gizmo into the wall, but they did and he paid the price in pain Thursday and humiliation last night.   The gash to his pinky finger he received was stitched up at the time with 10 stitches.   He couldn’t start game 2 as planned, and even with added rest he lasted all of 21 pitches before the stitches split.   He exited the mound with blood streaming. The last time a starter failed to survive the first inning of an LCS game was in 2000 when Rick Ankiel  did it. Two men were out and two were on when Dan Otero replaced Bauer and got out of the inning with no runs scoring.  No other pitcher who left in the first inning did so without allowing a run. It took 6 relievers to beat the Blue Jays, giving up 2 runs after Bauer left.  Mike Napoli and Jason Kipnis hit home runs for the Indians. Napoli had doubled a run home in the visiting first inning to give his side the early lead. After Bauer’s gory  departure, the Jays’ Michael Saunders homered to start the second, tying the game.  Napoli homered in the home 4th Although the Jays tied it in the 5th  the Tribe scored twice in the sixth to chase starter Marcus Stroman and effectively win the game.    Andrew Miller was the last of their relievers, getting 4 outs for the save. He now has 13 strikeouts from the bull pen which is an ALCS record. With the win, the Indians are up 3 games to None. That has happened 35 times in a best of 7 series in baseball, and only once has the team on the short end come back to win.  That was Terry Francona’s Red Sox in 2004 against the Yankees.  Francona is now the Indians’ manager, making this a daunting task indeed for manager John Gibbons’ Blue Jays. The sad truth is, they’re hitting .177 with only 4 extra base hits in 3 games. Just one of the Birds’  17 hits has come with a man in scoring position, which is a poultry .111, or is that a paltry_ .111 average.   Corey Kluber will go for the Indians in game 4 this afternoon at 4 PM, trying to propel them to the World Series for the first time since 1997.  He has never worked on short rest before. He hasn’t given up a run in the postseason in 13.1 innings. The desperate Blue Jays turn to Aaron Sanchez, who was 15-2 in the regular season.  The Rangers kicked him around for 6 runs in game 3 but the Jays  outscored them 7-6 in 10 innings .

The Cubs and Dodgers will resume their NLCS, tied at a game apiece at  8 PM Eastern tonight at Dodger Stadium. After Clayton Kershaw bested the NL ERA champ Kyle Hendricks 1-0 Sunday to even the series, the Cubs turn to last year’s sensation Jake Arrieta in game 3. He saw the Dodgers once this year in May, throwing 7 shutout innings. For the year he was 18-8  with a 3.10 ERA.  He faces Rich Hill, who between blisters and poor pitching hasn’t lasted in any postseason start. At 36, the lefty from Massachusetts has been around the block a few times. He was a Cub from his MLB beginnings in 2005 until the end of 2008. They drafted him in round 4 in the 2002 draft from the University of Michigan, Jim Abbot’s old school. He saw his share of adversity early on, going a combined 1–9 in his first two pro seasons. He started game 3 of the 2007 NLDS. He lost, and the Cubs were swept. At home the Dodgers are 53-28.  Only one team had a better home record-and it was the Cubs. At the end of August they took 2 of 3 from the Cubs at Chavez Ravine. The Cubs will need some help.  Anthony Rizzo has had all of 1 hit in 23 tries this postseason. The one real rally the Cubs had was a 5-run 8th inning on Saturday night to win game 1 after the Dodgers had tied it in the top half.   As things stand now, the Dodgers would use Julio Urias tomorrow and Kenta Maeda on Thursday. A badly-timed loss could bring Clayton Kershaw back Thursday on 3 days rest.  The Cubs in all likelihood would turn to John Lackey in game 4 if they win tonight and either Jason Hammel or John Lester if they were to lose.

Former pitcher and current White Sox radio play-by-play man Ed Farmer is 67 today. The Indians drafted him out of an Illinois high school with their 5th-round pick in 1967.  He played all or parts of 11 seasons in the bigs. The best of these were with the White Sox, when he made his lone All-Star appearance in 1980. In May 1979 while still with the Rangers, he broke the Royals’ Al Cowens’ jaw and Frank White’s wrist in the same game. A year later, Cowens’ who had been shipped to Detroit jumped Farmer from behind instead of running out a grounder and landed several punches before Farmer could be rescued. The league mandated a 7-game suspension and the state put out an arrest warrant for Cowens so he had to skip the rest of the series, suspended or not.  Farmer wouldn’t press charges. He was an Orioles’ scout from 1988-90, then became color commentator with John Rooney on White Sox games. When John Rooney jumped ship for St. Louis, Farmer took over play-by-play. For some years now he has worked with ex-jock Darrin Jackson, whose performance is  nothing special.  Farmer makes up for that with the odd shocking remark.  Just last year, as the Royals were marching toward glory, their center fielder Lorenzo Cain homered in the 13th inning of a game against the White Sox.  Farmer said had he been pitching, Cain’s next atbat he would knock him down. While this would have been a normal ploy in Farmer’s pitching days, Royals’ fans hearing him on the Internet failed to be amused.

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