Mike Oz

  • The Cubs’ faith in Addison Russell paid off big time in NLCS Game 4

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 15 hrs ago

    LOS ANGELES — One of the biggest questions the Chicago Cubs faced heading into Game 4 of the National League Championship Series was how to jumpstart their offense and, more specifically, what they should do about shortstop Addison Russell.

    Russell answered both questions in the fourth inning Wednesday in the Cubs’ win over the Los Angeles Dodgers. What should the Cubs do? Give the kid a high-five.

    With one swing, Russell showed why the Cubs were wise to stick with him and he sent Dodgers starter Julio Urias to the showers. Russell blasted a two-run homer to right-center that capped a four-run Cubs rally. It was one of the biggest moments of their 10-2 win, knotting the series at two and guaranteeing it returns to Wrigley Field.

    Before the game, manager Joe Maddon was asked about his faith in Russell and what kind of conversations they’d make the past few days.

    Sometimes you just need a 94 mph four-seamer across the plate.

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  • The one play that left the Dodgers fuming in their pivotal loss to the Cubs

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 16 hrs ago

    LOS ANGELES — There were three minutes between the final out of the game and when Adrian Gonzalez tapped the “send” button.

    Gonzalez marched off the field, through the bowels of Dodger Stadium, into his team’s clubhouse. He immediately grabbed his phone and made it clear he was still fuming about a play that happened three hours earlier.

    “Somehow this is an out,” Gonzalez tweet said, with a picture attached of the second-inning play where he was ruled out despite his contention that his hand beat the tag. “Take series lead tomorrow. Got to do this. Us against the world.”

    Somehow this is an out. #NLCS Takeseries lead tomorrow! Got to do this. Us against the world. pic.twitter.com/DAM8BRytrT

    — Adrián González (@Adrian_ElTitan) October 20, 2016

    In the Dodgers clubhouse, they were still talking about the tag and the replay and the ruling that they swear was wrong.

    “It’s pretty embarrassing,” said outfield Joc Pederson, whose locker is next door.

    Out. No run. Inning over. Still 0-0.

  • What Vin Scully did instead of attending NLCS Game 4 at Dodger Stadium

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 22 hrs ago

    LOS ANGELES — Vin Scully isn’t here. Instead, in broadcast booth No. 1 in the Vin Scully press box, his seat is filled by Fox’s play-by-play duo of Joe Buck and John Smoltz.

    Now, this isn’t a surprise, Vin retired and said there would be no postseason assignment because you can only really say goodbye once. But it’s not just the broadcast booth. Vin isn’t anywhere in Dodger Stadium — unless you count the various pictures and tributes.

    In the hours before Game 4 of the National League Championship, the on-field hypemen are still talking about “Win for Vin” — a mantra that followed the Los Angeles Dodgers this far into the postseason. But Vin ain’t here, man.

    What’s he doing instead? That answer might surprise you. According to Paul Sullivan of The Chicago Tribune, Vin is watching Game 3 of Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump:

    Friend of Vin Scully says he won't be at the game tonight. "He said he wants to watch the debate." pic.twitter.com/7Q3Efqx31o

    — Paul Sullivan (@PWSullivan) October 19, 2016

  • Canadian court rules against lawsuit seeking to ban Indians name and mascot

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 3 days ago

    Ontario Superior Court on Monday ruled against a lawsuit from an activist who was seeking to ban the Cleveland Indians’ team name and mascot during the Toronto portion of the American League Championship Series.

    The series starts its Toronto leg on Monday, with the Blue Jays and the Indians playing Games 3, 4 and 5 at Rogers Centre. The ruling from judge Tom McEwen came after a full day of arguments, just hours before first pitch.

    There was no immediate reason given for the decision, only that the lawsuit was shot down and the injunction it sought against the Indians, Major League Baseball and Rogers Communications had been squashed. A written decision is expected to be released in the next few days.

    The suit was filed Friday by Douglas Cardinal, a Canadian architect and member of the Blackfoot tribe. Cardinal, 82, is a prominent activist in the indigenous community. He also is the designer of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian.

    His attorney Monique Jilesen argued: “Someone like Mr. Cardinal ought to be able to watch the game, like every other person in Canada, without suffering from racial discrimination.”

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  • Clayton Kershaw just did something only Babe Ruth had ever done

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 3 days ago

    Clayton Kershaw’s performance in Game 2 of the National League Championship Series was unquestionably impressive — seven shutout innings and just two hits, stifling the Cubs bats enough so that his team could escape Chicago with a 1-0 win.

    Not only was it impressive, but it was historic in a way you probably never would have expected. Only one other pitcher in baseball history had beat the Cubs 1-0 in the postseason. That would be the great Babe Ruth. Kershaw and The Babe, how’s that for an unlikely pair?

    Here’s the factoid, via Christopher Kamka of CSN Chicago:

    Pitchers to start 1-0 #postseason wins vs #Cubs Babe Ruth (9 ip), Game 1, 1918 World Series Clayton Kershaw (7 ip), Game 2, 2016 NLCS

    — Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) October 17, 2016

    Clayton Kershaw, he’s fantastic too.

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  • NLCS Game 2: Clayton Kershaw throws a gem as Dodgers even series with Cubs

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 3 days ago

    Wait, Clayton Kershaw is supposed to be bad in the postseason? That sure wasn’t the case Sunday night in Game 2 of the National League Championship Series. Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers evened things up with a 1-0 win over the Chicago Cubs.

    Kershaw was truly dominant through seven shutout innings, not even allowing a hit until the fifth. With Kershaw pitching like that, all the Dodgers needed was one run and they got it off the bat of slugger Adrian Gonzalez in the form of a solo homer early in the game.

    After that, minus a few tense moments here and there, the Dodgers cruised to victory. Now they’ll head home to Los Angeles, undoubtedly feeling better about their World Series chances.

    • You probably wouldn’t have guessed it at the time, but Gonzalez gave the game all the offense it would need in the second inning. That’s when he crushed an 88 mph cutter from Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks over the left-center fence.

    Think about it. Ball gets to Baez in under a second. He actively decided to short-hop it. His mind is a quad core. Everyone else is a 386.

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  • This new Cubs 8-bit video game mash-up is on like Donkey Kong

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 5 days ago

    If you don’t already know Johnny Fitz Live, the guy who makes 8-bit video game tributes to the Chicago Cubs, you oughta. He’s turned every Cubs playoff series the past two years into an old-school video game conquest.

    There was the “Duck Hunt”-inspired “Card Hunt” last year followed by “Punch-Out!” where Cubbie Mac KO’d Mr. Met. This year’s NLDS brought about a “Super Mario Bros.”-inspired Cubs video.

    Now for the NLCS, which starts Saturday against the Los Angeles Dodgers, it’s on like “Donkey Kong.” Behold the latest Johnny Fitz Live creation:

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  • This dude went nuts when he caught Francisco Lindor's decisive homer

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 5 days ago

    Nobody was happier than Cleveland Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor when he hit the decisive two-run homer in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series on Friday night.

    He ran around the bases smilin’ and hollerin’ like it was Game 7 not Game 1. That homer was the only offense the Indians would need to beat the Toronto Blue Jays 2-0, taking a 1-0 lead in the series. It was quite a moment — both for 22-year-old Lindor and for the Indians fans who had Progressive Field rocking for their first ALCS game since 2007.

    The fan who might have been the most psyched was beyond the outfield wall, wearing a No. 12 Lindor jersey. That’s because the ball flew right at him, he caught it and then went nuts. Check out his reaction:

    When you go to #ALCS Game 1 with dad in a @Lindor12BC jersey and catch a YIV_FILTER_HOLDER_0002 homer. pic.twitter.com/1l2BSqJtyA

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  • ESPN scout: There’s absolutely no baseball justification for Tim Tebow

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 5 days ago

    Tim Tebow hasn’t yet mustered a hit in the Arizona Fall League, where this week he started the second step in his attempt at a baseball career in the New York Mets farm system. So far, Tebow is 0-for-9 with a couple of walks and an RBI on a sacrifice.

    On Friday, however, he got sacked. Like a quarterback would. Tebow’s baseball turn got ripped apart by ESPN’s lead scout Keith Law, who called the entire thing a “farce” and wrote that there’s “absolutely no baseball justification for Tebow.” Ouch.

    And remember, this is ESPN, a network that has traditionally been supportive of The Tebow Show, and a network that still employs Tebow as a college football analyst. (In fact, Tebow is missing Friday and Saturday’s Arizona Fall League games for his TV gig).

    Here’s some of what Law wrote in his scouting report for ESPN, which is only available to ESPN Insiders:

    Tim Tebow is in the Arizona Fall League. He might be better suited to playing in an Arizona high school league. His presence here is a farce, and he looks like an imposter pretending to have talent he does not possess.

  • Curt Schilling says something dumb while trying to defend Donald Trump

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 7 days ago

    Donald Trump’s presidential campaign is losing supporters after a week in which he’s been haunted by things he’s said and done in the past. Some conservative politicians stepped away after the Trump Tapes leak last week and others have stopped coming to his defense as numerous accusations of sexual misconduct swirl around Trump.

    But you know who still has Trump’s back? Even to the point of making himself look bad? Ex-MLB ace turned conservative pundit Curt Schilling.

    Schilling appeared on Fox Business’ “The Intelligence Report” on Thursday, ready to defend Trump and give his insight into “locker-room talk.” But the segment with host Trish Regan went off the rails before even getting to the locker room.

    And later: