Notebook: Valentine likes the team he has


Notebook: Valentine likes the team he has

BOSTON -- With the trade deadline looming and rumors swirling including reports of trade talks that involve Josh Beckett Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said hes satisfied with the team he has.

I like my team, Valentine said. I think were a good team and if theres any way general manager Ben Cherington thinks we can improve it for this year and beyond, Im sure hes going to do that. But this is a good group of guys that I dont see any gaping holes. I see more holes on the other teams than I see on ours.

I think we just play one game and try to do our best tonight and thats the best that we can do.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia is in the starting lineup, serving as the designated hitter with Kelly Shoppach catching for righthander Clay Buchholz.

Well, I just felt that it was either Salty or Cody Ross and I just thought that Cody would probably be a better option pinch-hitting if I needed it Get Salty off his legs, coming in at 3:30 in the morning and getting Cody a day off because hes been grinding it out--all contributing factors.

Reliever Andrew Bailey, on the DL all season after right thumb surgery, was scheduled to fly to Fort Myers today. He is expected to play catch tomorrow and may begin his rehab assignment in a Gulf Coast League game on Wednesday.

The Sox are waiting on the results of right-handed reliever Scott Atchisons MRI. Atchison, on the DL since July 14 with right forearm tightness, pitched one inning in a rehab assignment Friday with Pawtucket. He faced Indianapolis, giving up three runs on three hits, including a home run, with no walks in two strikeouts but felt discomfort.

Valentine said the discomfort may be more in Atchisons elbow than his forearm now.

It seemed like he went in with a forearm that might have moved back a little up closer to the elbow, Valentine said. It seemed like 15 days ago it was just going to be a couple of days rest and then we gave him a lot of rest and when he threw it didn't feel good the next day.

Valentine said closer Alfredo Aceves, who threw 37 pitches in 2 13 innings Sunday night against the Yankees in New York and was expected to be available Monday night against the Tigers.

Of course. He only threw 33 pitches, Valentine said. He usually throws that in an inning, or he can. Not usually, but he can. I call it a hunch that hes fine. I havent heard anything to the contrary.

Aceves was charged with his fifth blown save, before earning the win, improving to 2-6, with a 3.57 ERA.

Valentine was ejected in the 10th inning for arguing with home plate umpire Brian ONora. Valentine argued that Will Middlebrooks was hit by a pitch, while ONora said the pitch hit Middlebrooks bat on a bunt attempt. ONora, who was also hit by the ball and fell down, could have had his view obscured. Television replays appeared to support Valentine.

Currently, umpires can't consult TV replays on such plays.

Not yet. We kind of like the human element, Valentine said. I just always like to get it right and if I was on the other side of the coin, I wouldve liked it to have been called a foul ball. On the other side of the field.

Josh Beckett, in the dugout, was also ejected for arguing the call.

Right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment with Pawtucket Wednesday night. Matsuzaka, who has been on the DL since July 3 with a right upper trapezius strain, is scheduled to start in Rochester against ScrantonWilkes-Barre. Valentine said Matsuzaka is expected to make 75-90 pitches.

I think he has that in him, yeah, depending on how it goes, Valentine said. But it might get cut down to 45, depending on how he comes out of the chute. Hes feeling pretty good.

Valentine said Matsuzaka is free of the trapezius ailment, and now its just a matter of build up his pitches and his competitiveness.

ScrantonWilkes-Barre, the Yankees affiliate, is permanently on the road this season while their home field is being renovated.

Shortstop Mike Aviles was out of the lineup again, sidelined by turf toe in his right big toe. Pedro Ciriaco is in the starting lineup, playing shortstop, batting ninth. Valentine said Aviles could be available, but would not be used to pinch-run.

Mikes dealing with turf toe, just so we know what the situation is, Valentine said. Its not a life-threatening situation but it sure is an encumbrance and were just trying to see what we can do to get that feeling out of there. Most of us have had itits not fun to deal with. The less he strains it in the athletic motions of playing, the better it calms down. If it calms down, well have a hundred percent of Mike back. He could play in the game, go in in emergency, pinch-hit, all those things. I wouldnt pinch-run him necessarily. But he could if we had to.

NLCS: Cubs eliminate Dodgers, reach Series for first time since 1945


NLCS: Cubs eliminate Dodgers, reach Series for first time since 1945

CHICAGO -- Cursed by a Billy Goat, bedeviled by Bartman and crushed by decades of disappointment, the Chicago Cubs are at long last headed back to the World Series.

Kyle Hendricks outpitched Clayton KershawAnthony Rizzo and Willson Contreras homered early and the Cubs won their first pennant since 1945, beating the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-0 Saturday night in Game 6 of the NL Championship Series.

The drought ended when closer Aroldis Chapman got Yasiel Puig to ground into a double play, setting off a wild celebration inside Wrigley Field, outside the ballpark and all over the city.

Seeking their first crown since 1908, manager Joe Maddon's team opens the World Series at Cleveland on Tuesday night. The Indians haven't won it all since 1948 - Cleveland and Cubs have the two longest title waits in the majors.

"This city deserves it so much," Rizzo said. "We got four more big ones to go, but we're going to enjoy this. We're going to the World Series. I can't even believe that."

All-everything Javier Baez and pitcher Jon Lester shared the NLCS MVP. Baez hit .318, drove in five runs and made several sharp plays at second base. Lester, a former World Series champion in Boston, was 1-0 with a 1.38 ERA in two starts against the Dodgers.

Deemed World Series favorites since opening day, the Cubs topped the majors with 103 wins to win the NL Central, then beat the Giants and Dodgers in the playoffs.

The Cubs overcame a 2-1 deficit against the Dodgers and won their 17th pennant. They had not earned a World Series trip since winning a doubleheader opener 4-3 at Pittsburgh on Sept. 29, 1945, to clinch the pennant on the next-to-last day of the season.

The eternal "wait till next year" is over. No more dwelling on a history of failure - the future is now.

"We're too young. We don't care about it," star slugger Kris Bryant said. "We don't look into it. This is a new team, this is a completely different time of our lives. We're enjoying it and our work's just getting started."

Hendricks pitched two-hit ball for 7 1/3 innings. Chapman took over and closed with hitless relief, then threw both arms in the air as he was mobbed by teammates and coaches.

The crowd joined in, chanting and serenading their team.

"Chicago!" shouted popular backup catcher David Ross.

The Cubs shook off back-to-back shutout losses earlier in this series by pounding the Dodgers for 23 runs to win the final three games.

And they were in no way overwhelmed by the moment on Saturday, putting aside previous frustration.

In 1945, the Billy Goat Curse supposedly began when a tavern owner wasn't allowed to bring his goat to Wrigley. In 2003, the Cubs lost the final three games of the NLCS to Florida, punctuated with a Game 6 defeat when fan Steve Bartman deflected a foul ball.

Even as recently as 2012, the Cubs lost 101 times.

This time, no such ill luck.

Bryant had an RBI single and scored in a two-run first. Dexter Fowler added two hits, drove in a run and scored one.

Contreras led off the fourth with a homer. Rizzo continued his resurgence with a solo drive in the fifth.

That was plenty for Hendricks, the major league ERA leader.

Hendricks left to a standing ovation after Josh Reddick singled with one out in the eighth. The only other hit Hendricks allowed was a single by Andrew Toles on the game's first pitch.

Kershaw, dominant in Game 2 shutout, gave up five runs and seven hits before being lifted for a pinch hitter in the sixth. He fell to 4-7 in the postseason.

The Dodgers haven't been to the World Series since winning in 1988.

Pitching on five days' rest, the three-time NL Cy Young Award winner threw 30 pitches in the first. Fowler led off with a double, and Bryant's single had the crowd shaking the 102-year-old ballpark.

They had more to cheer when left fielder Andrew Toles dropped Rizzo's fly, putting runners on second and third, and Ben Zobrist made it 2-0 a sacrifice fly.

The Cubs added a run in the second when Addison Russell doubled to deep left and scored on a two-out single by Fowler.


Maddon benched slumping right fielder Jason Heyward in favor of Albert Almora Jr.

"Kershaw's pitching, so I wanted to get one more right-handed bat in the lineup, and also with Albert I don't feel like we're losing anything on defense," Maddon said. "I know Jason's a Gold Glover, but I think Albert, given an opportunity to play often enough would be considered a Gold Glove-caliber outfielder, too."

Heyward was 2 for 28 in the playoffs - 1 for 16 in the NLCS.


Kerry Wood, wearing a Ron Santo jersey, threw out the first pitch and actor Jim Belushi delivered the "Play Ball!" call before the game. Pearl Jam front man Eddie Vedder and actor John Cusack were also in attendance. And Bulls great Scottie Pippen led the seventh-inning stretch.