It’s like Jon Lester and Jose Quintana created a baseball version of HORSE – Chicago Tribune (blog)
For those of you scoring at home, one day after newly acquired Jose Quintana struck out 12 and walked none while allowing just three hits in seven scoreless innings in Baltimore, Jon Lester held the Braves to one run in seven innings while also allowing just three hits to go along with six strikeouts and one walk.
Pitching six innings while allowing three runs or fewer is called a quality start. Throwing seven innings of two runs or fewer should be called an outstanding start. Because that’s what Quintana and Lester were.
It’s as if the two lefthanders created their own little baseball version of H-O-R-S-E for the right to start the playoff opener.
The Cubs bats won Quintana’s start early, bombing the fraudulent major league pitching the Orioles run out there. The Cubs bats had to come back against the Braves, sandwiching run-scoring hits from Ben Zobrist and Addison Russell around yet another Anthony Rizzo homer.
But no matter. It was all about the starting pitching.
It’s always about the starting pitching.
It’s why the Cubs paid a big price to improve their starting pitching to acquire Quintana last week. It’s also why the Cubs still need to pay a price to improve their starting pitching yet again this month because no sane person trusts John Lackey, Mike Montgomery or Eddie Butler if they are going to reach the postseason.
(Spoiler alert: They’re going to reach the postseason)
Give Kyle Schwarber a 10 for his execution of the full Jeter.
Rant alert: Lester gave up one run that should’ve been unearned but wasn’t because of a dumb baseball scoring rule.
Lester should’ve been out of the third inning after three batters, but Javier Baez misfired the relay on a potential inning-ending double play so badly that it looked like he killed an iPad in the Braves dugout. Consequently, Ender Inciarte was awarded second base and would score one batter later when Brandon Phillips singled.
The run goes down as earned because of the cockamamie reasoning that you can’t anticipate a double play. But here’s the deal: You can anticipate a double play, absolutely, and you should. These are the best players in the world, so how can you not expect them to execute something so basic?
Inciarte’s grounder to Zobrist that was relayed to Baez was a perfect example. There was no reason to expect anything except a double play.
Baez was given an error for a throw that nearly took out the Braves coaching staff. The batter was awarded second. The batter did not get into scoring position because Lester didn’t do his job. No, the batter got into scoring position because a fielder did not do his job, and when a fielder doesn’t do his job and the runner eventually scores because of it, it is almost always an unearned run.
Except with this idiotic rule.
Look, let the official scorer determine whether a double play should’ve been turned the way the official scorer determines whether every other play should’ve been made. It’s an easy fix, and it’s the right way to handle the situation.
These are major leaguers. They should be expected to play like major leaguers. But Baez couldn’t, and Lester suffered. Why is that fair? It’s a dumb rule. The pitcher deserves a “Get Out Of Fail Free’’ card.
Email from Chris S.: “Read your article hoping to justify why I’m still paying for a subscription to the Tribune, and finished wondering if one of my junior high teachers in Frankfort, il (sic) would’ve accepted your article as a coherent piece of writing.’’
If you study real hard and do well on tests, then in a couple years you can run this by your high-school teachers.
What’s up, Micah Bowie?