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Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Baseball

Enrique Hernandez apologizes for calling out Dodgers fans

Kike Hernandez

Enrique Hernandez called out Dodgers fans for their lack of energy after the team’s 4-0 loss in Game 3 of the NLCS on Monday night, and the outfielder is already backpedaling.

Following a game in which he was 0-for-2 with a strikeout and a walk, Hernandez defended teammate Yasmani Grandal over the boos the catcher received from fans. Hernandez said the game was bad for everyone associated with the Dodgers, noting that the fans at Dodger Stadium “had no energy.” On Tuesday, he apologized.

Hernandez was also critical of the way the team played on Monday, which is what he emphasized in his statement of apology. He said his comments were taken out of context and that the players are to blame for allowing the Brewers to take the crowd out of it early.

“Again, we played like S—,” Hernandez wrote. “Unacceptable game to have during the postseason, especially at home.”

The 27-year-old went on to call Dodgers fans “the best fans in baseball” and vowed to give them something to cheer about during Game 4.

Hernandez was understandably upset after a rough game on Monday, but players calling out fans for their lack of support almost never ends well. He obviously learned that with the backlash he has received over the past 24 hours.

Manny Machado admits he doesn’t hustle: ‘That’s not my cup of tea’

Manny Machado

Manny Machado is well aware that he has been criticized for not hustling throughout the 2018 season and into the playoffs, but the Los Angeles Dodgers star says there is nothing he can do about it.

Machado could, of course, start running harder on grounders or sprinting out of the box instead of admiring his well-hit balls, but that simply isn’t his style. We know this because he openly admitted it during an interview with Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic this week.

“Obviously I’m not going to change, I’m not the type of player that’s going to be ‘Johnny Hustle,’ and run down the line and slide to first base and … you know, whatever can happen,” Machado said. “That’s just not my personality, that’s not my cup of tea, that’s not who I am.”

Like he did several times during the regular season, Machado chose not to run hard on a grounder to Milwaukee Brewers shortstop Orlando Arcia in the fourth inning of Game 2 of the NLCS. He was then mocked for his poor attempts at sliding into second base during Game 3 on Monday night.

Machado said he knows he “looks terrible” when he goes back and watches the film, but he simply can’t change the way he plays. He added that he’s not going to run hard when he scorches a ground ball into the shift that is in the shortstop’s glove before he even exits the batter’s box.

“I’ve tried changing it for eight years and I still can’t figure it out but, one of these days I will,” Machado said.

Machado already has three home runs and nine RBI in his first postseason with the Dodgers, so fans are hardly about to turn on him. Still, he was ripped by an MLB legend during Game 2 of the NLCS and had his own manager speak with him about not hustling before the playoffs began. It’s not a great look to dog it down to first, and it’s an even worse look to say you simply can’t bring yourself to hustle.

Rick Porcello has great quote about Chris Sale returning from hospital

Chris Sale

Chris Sale was released from the hospital on Monday and will join his Boston Red Sox teammates in Houston on Tuesday, but there are still questions about whether or not he will be healthy enough to make his scheduled start in Game 5 of the ALCS.

Sale, who spent a night in the hospital with a stomach illness, is scheduled to throw a bullpen session on Tuesday. That will help determine if he can still go in Game 5. When asked about the status of his teammate, fellow Red Sox pitcher Rick Porcello had a great quote.

That is the question on everyone’s mind, and time will tell if Sale is impacted by whatever ailment he had. While Red Sox manager Alex Cora initially said the illness was not why Sale looked a bit off in his Game 1 start, some information we learned on Monday indicates it may have played at least some role.

Fired Cubs hitting coach feels he did not connect with ‘millennial players’

Chicago Cubs logo

The Chicago Cubs chose to part ways with Chili Davis last week after the hitting coach spent just one season with the team, and it sounds like he was not surprised by the move. In fact, we might even venture to say Davis feels relieved.

While reflecting on his brief tenure with the Cubs, Davis said Monday that he felt his message was lost on “millennial players” from the start.

“I guess I need to make some adjustments in the way I deliver my message to the millennial players now,” he said, via Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times. “I need to make those adjustments for the next job I get, if there is one.”

Davis added that he “learned a lot” in his one year in Chicago, but he said he needs to be sure he can connect with a team’s players before he accepts another position.

“I hope that the next guy connects better with the players, because I felt that there were multiple players there I didn’t connect with,” Davis admitted. “It wasn’t that I didn’t try. It just wasn’t there.”

There was an obvious difference in philosophy between Davis and the Cubs’ front office. Davis wanted hitters to focus on driving the ball to the opposite field, which they were successful with over the second half of the season. However, Chicago’s power numbers and overall offense tanked, and Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said he wanted Davis to emphasize power and launch angle more.

According to Davis, that approach no longer works.

“But regardless of who’s (the hitting coach in Chicago next year), certain players there are going to have to make some adjustments, because the game’s changed, and pitchers are pitching them differently,” Davis said Monday. “They’re not pitching to launch angles and fly balls and all that anymore. They’re pitching away from that.”

Davis enjoyed success as the hitting coach with the Boston Red Sox and Oakland A’s before he arrived in Chicago, but the reports we have heard since his dismissal make it clear there were players who did not enjoy working with him. It will be interesting to see if that costs him future job opportunities.

AJ Hinch shares thoughts on Alex Bregman trolling Red Sox pitcher

Alex Bregman

Alex Bregman provided Boston Red Sox Game 3 starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi with some bulletin board material this week, but neither Bregman’s manager nor Red Sox manager Alex Cora are getting too excited over it.

On Monday, Bregman shared some clips on his Instagram story from a start Eovaldi made against the Houston Astros earlier this year. The right-hander was with the Tampa Bay Rays at the team, and he gave up back-to-back-to-back homers to George Springer, Bregman and Jose Altuve. Bregman said he was rewatching the tape for a “lil pregame video work.”

Houston Astros manager A.J. Hinch was asked about the social media activity, and he basically chalked it up to kids being kids.

“Welcome to the current generation,” Hinch said, per Kristie Rieken of The Associated Press. “Obviously there’s fun banter. … We want guys to have their personalities, have their fun. Then go out and back it up.”

Cora compared the friendly jab to when Aaron Judge walked by Boston’s clubhouse playing the New York Yankees’ victory song in the ALDS, but he said his team doesn’t need any extra motivation.

Of course, the Red Sox went out of their way to troll the Yankees after they defeated them in the ALCS, so it’s not as if they’re in a position to point fingers. If Eovaldi manages to shut down the Astros on Tuesday, you can bet he’ll let Bregman know about it.

Enrique Hernandez calls out Dodgers fans for lack of energy

Kike Hernandez

Enrique Hernandez knows his Los Angeles Dodgers need to play better in the NLCS, and he also wants the team’s fans to do better as well.

Hernandez was 0-for-2 with a walk and a strikeout and was replaced as part of a double-switch in the Dodgers’ 4-0 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers in Game 3 of the NLCS on Monday. After the game, he defended teammate Yasmani Grandal over the boos the catcher received from the fans.

In the process Hernandez said Dodgers fans had no energy.

The problem here is that the fans often respond to the play on the field. The Dodgers fell behind 1-0 in the top of the first inning and never scored a run. It’s hard to generate energy when that sort of thing happens.

Fans probably won’t like hearing Hernandez’s words, but maybe they’ll feel a need to defend themselves during Game 4 on Tuesday.

Dodgers bench struggling catcher Yasmani Grandal for Game 4

Yasmani Grandal helmet

Yasmani Grandal will not be in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ lineup for Game 4 of the NLCS due to his struggles this postseason.

Grandal has been in and out of the Dodgers’ lineup in the NLCS, and that pattern will continue on Tuesday. Manager Dave Roberts announced after the Dodgers’ 4-0 loss in Game 3 to the Milwaukee Brewers that Grandal will be on the bench to start Game 4.

Grandal suffered through a brutal defensive game in the series opener. For Game 2, Grandal found himself on the bench.

The veteran catcher was once again inserted into the lineup for Game 3. He went 1-for-4 with three strikeouts, including a strikeout with the bases loaded in the 9th inning. He also committed two defensive mistakes, leading him to be showered with boos at Dodger Stadium.

Austin Barnes, who went 0-for-3 with a walk and RBI in Game 2, will be behind the plate in Game 4.