The Rundown: Three Teams Advance to LCS, Lots of Cubs News & Rumors, Correa Opts Out

The Phillies are continuing their quest to wreak havoc on the global economy, Dodgers fans are bummed and pissed at Dave Roberts, and the Yankees and Guardians are going to sudden death.

Pepper’s gonna need new shorts. Let’s get into it.

Phillies Bounce Braves

It’s more than just a coincidence that we are facing a devastating economic downturn if the Phillies win the World Series. We’ve had global recessions in 1929, 1930, 1980, and 2008. In each of those years, teams from Philadelphia have won the World Series. Over the weekend, Kyle Schwarber, Nick Castellanos, and friends advanced to the NLCS to face the Padres. Inflation is at an all-time high. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to deduce that supernatural forces may be at work here.

Philadelphia knocked the Braves out of the playoffs on Saturday, ending Atlanta’s quest for a repeat. Brandon Marsh was the big hero and the Phillies are starting to look like a team of destiny, which is great for Bryce Harper, who bolted Washington a year too early. The Nationals were champions in their first season without Harper, if you recall.

Padres Eliminate Dodgers

Out west, Dodgers fans are piling on Roberts, who predicted a championship just before the season started.

“We are winning the World Series in 2022,” Roberts told Dan Patrick. “We are winning the World Series this year, put it on record. That’s our focus, that’s our goal.”

Oops, that didn’t age very well. Dodgers fans were obviously disappointed because 111 regular season wins mean little when you’re no longer playing postseason baseball. Los Angeles has already indicated they’ll retain their manager in 2023, but how about giving little credit to the Padres? This is their first trip to the League Championship Series since 1998, when they upset the Braves before the Yankees blanked them in the World Series.

In fact, the city of San Diego hasn’t celebrated a championship since the Chargers destroyed the Boston Patriots 51-10 in the 1963 AFL championship. Bears fans who are upset with Thursday night’s loss to the Commanders should relax a little. San Diego was 4-10 in 1962 behind rookie QB John Hadl and was outscored 392-314.

Astros Sweep Mariners

Did you watch all 18 innings on Saturday? Game 3 of the Astros-Mariners game took so long to play that the condensed version looks like a miniseries. It was the first playoff game to remain scoreless through 17 innings. Jeremy Peña was the Houston hero, but Yordan Alvarez was a monster in Games 1 and 2. On the flip side, Jose Altuve was 0-for-16 with six strikeouts. Apparently, postseason baseball is a lot harder when you don’t know which pitch is coming. The Astros have remarkably played in four of the eight longest playoff games in MLB history.

Yankees and Guardians to Stage Elimination Tilt

The Guardians travel back to the Bronx tonight with a chance to get to the ALCS for the first time since 2016. They knocked off the Blue Jays that year, in case you forgot, and then lost the World Series in seven games to the Cubs. Most of you probably remember that series.

Oscar Gonzalez is playing out of his mind since the playoffs started, and could be a factor tonight. Aaron Civale will face pending free agent Jameson Taillon and a Yankees loss would mean the Astros will be the last division champion standing. When Jed Hoyer says “all you have to do is get in,” he obviously understands the nuances of postseason baseball. Gerrit Cole was magnificent in the Game 4 win that evened the series.

The team with the best bullpen will win tonight, and I’m picking Cleveland for that reason. Besides, I’m ready for the Aaron Judge rumors to take Chicago by storm. By the way, the home team hasn’t won a winner-take-all game since 2015. Not for nothing, but Cleveland’s payroll is about $200 million less than New York’s.

(Lots of) Cubs News & Notes

Odds & Sods

I assure you that nobody will boo Judge in Wrigley Field. Of course, we said that when the Cubs signed Jason Heyward, too.

Postseason News & Notes

Shortstop Carlos Correa will opt out of his deal with the Twins and enter free agency.

Have the expanded playoffs rendered the regular season meaningless? I have been loathing this article, by the way, and if we were talking over beers I would give you 10-20 reasons why that’s an idiotic notion. I think more teams should make the postseason, specifically eight from each league. Here are two reasons why to whet your appetite:

  1. There are upsets every year, and I can still hear the purists calling for the elimination of the single Wild Card team after the Marlins won the World Series in 1997.
  2. More postseason teams mean fewer tanking teams, which is baseball’s biggest problem by a million miles.

Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic says the sample size is too small ($) to make a judgment.

The Yankees are the lone major market team remaining in the playoffs. I still think Houston is a major market, by the way. The city is bigger than Chicago and nearly as populous.

Guardians slugger Josh Naylor called Cole “his son” while rounding the bases and purists lost their damn minds.

The qualifying offer for 2022-23 free agency has been set at $19.65 million.

The Red Sox are targeting New York starters Taillon and Chris Bassitt, among others.

The Giants may pursue Dodgers shortstop Trea Turner.

The Hanshin Tigers of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball are going to make right-hander Shintaro Fujinami available to MLB clubs this offseason via the posting system.

Extra Innings

Give me a veritable M*A*S*H unit in 2023. Mervis, Judge, and Shohei Ohtani all in the same Cubs lineup. Yeah, that’s not happening.

Monday Morning Six-Pack

  1. Not sure which beer to drink? Here are 40 to start you out. I prefer the hazy IPAs.
  2. Why does your pint glass have a bulge near the top? Use this tasty bit of information to win yourself some free drinks.
  3. Wanna feel old? Eminem turns 50 today.
  4.  A Star Wars-obsessed mother-and-daughter baking team in the Bay Area has created a six-foot sculpture of Han Solo out of bread. The doughy sculpture, dubbed “Pan Solo,” is the duo’s entry for their town’s scarecrow contest.
  5. It seems like an oxymoron of sorts, but there’s a Wikipedia page dedicated to common misconceptions, such as the fact that George Washington Carver did not invent peanut butter.
  6. Dolly Parton is a true American hero.

They Said It

  • “Am I doing a good job or not? Winning championships is the goal. Even then, it will be on to the next one. After that happens, it will be on to the next one, right? That’s just how this seat works. I don’t know if I can self-scout and say I’m doing good, bad or indifferent. I just continue [to] stay on the course of the expectations here being championship-caliber baseball, and never [let] that down.” – Ross
  • “I love working with David [Ross]. All he cares about is: ‘How can we get better every day? How can we build this to be special?’ He always talks about: ‘I know what winning looks like through the lens of a player.’ He won the World Series in ‘13. He won the World Series in ‘16. He was part of some really good Atlanta teams. That is his entire focus. I haven’t been around many people in my life that are as good as he is at creating a culture. Not just a fun culture, which I think he does, but also a culture of accountability. He builds real relationships with our players. But then when he needs to hold them accountable, he does, and they know it’s for the right reasons. That’s an incredible attribute.” – Hoyer

Monday Walk-Up Song

A club remix of “Jolene?” Where was this 30 years ago?

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