Last night, the final hit ball of the game -- Marlon Byrd's groundout to third base to end the Cubs' 1-0 loss -- resulted in a broken bat that went flying into the stands behind third base at Wrigley Field.
No one was injured, likely because the seats were mostly empty at the time. But what if a bat like this goes hurtling into the stands when there's a full house and everyone is in his or her seat? Even those paying attention to the game can't always devote 100% of their time looking intently at everything that happens on the playing field.
Maple bats shatter into large pieces with jagged edges. This is no longer a "rare event" -- Brad Ziegler of the Athletics had one hit him in the back three weeks ago, Tyler Colvin was hit on Sunday, and this one could have caused serious injury in the stands. As I wrote the other day on SB Nation Chicago, there is a simple and inexpensive fix to this problem. Maple bats don't have to be banned -- they just need to be made safer.
Do it, MLB. Before someone dies.
Back to actual game action, here's tonight's lineup via tweet from CubsInsider:
#Cubs lineup vs. #Giants (9/22): Barney 2B, Castro SS, Byrd CF, Ramirez 3B, Nady 1B, Soriano LF, Fukudome RF, Hill C, Wells P
|Today's Starting Pitchers|
|2010 - Randy Wells||7-13||30||30||0||0||0||0||179.2||197||94||89||19||58||136||4.46||1.42|
|2010 - Jonathan Sanchez||11-8||31||30||0||0||0||0||176.2||132||70||63||19||85||188||3.21||1.23|
Jonathan Sánchez is having a pretty good year. He's 15th in the NL in ERA, eighth in strikeouts... and first in walks allowed, so if the Cubs can be patient with him, they can get some baserunners and maybe score, unlike last night. Sánchez' only career start against the Cubs was May 4, 2009 at Wrigley Field and he issued six walks in four innings. Let's hope he's on his finest walk-giving form tonight. The only Cub who has faced him for more than three AB is Jeff Baker (4-for-11, .364, two doubles... and three walks). Oddly, Baker is on the bench tonight.
Randy Wells faced the Giants in San Francisco on August 12 and got hit pretty hard. It has been an up-and-down year for Randy, but his last start in St. Louis was outstanding. To end the year on an up note, he'll need to continue that. In that August 12 game, Pat Burrell homered twice off Randy and Pablo Sandoval also took him deep.
Today's game is on WCIU, which means a lot of you in the Midwest won't get it. Extra Innings should be carrying the CSN Bay Area feed. Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.
Today's first pitch thread will be up at 7 pm CDT, and the overflows will post at 8 pm, 9 pm and 9:45 pm CDT.
Discuss amongst yourselves.