Time for Crawford to go under


Time for Crawford to go under

Hey now. Hope everyone had a great weekend, or at the very least, a better weekend than the Red Sox. Then again, even poor Tony Scott had a better weekend than Bobby V's boys; the bar isn't set very high.

But on the brightside, with 38 games left and the Sox 7.5 games back in the Wild Card, David Ortiz is finally seeing the light! And not to be outdone, John Lackey's progressing in his rehab from Tommy John surgery! The front office is currently deciding whether to have Lackey make a couple starts in September or just individually kick every Red Sox fan in the groin. Stay tuned.

Speaking of Tommy John, the big story today will no doubt be Carl Crawford, who's set to meet with the Sox this afternoon and decide once and for all whether to have surgery on his ailing elbow. According to the reports, Crawford probably will elect to have surgery (most likely tomorrow), and in the process close the curtain on his 2012 season.

The final tally: 31 games, .282 AVG, .785 OPS, three homers, 19 RBI, 22 Ks, three walks and five stolen bases. Or if you want to break it down another way, that's roughly 161K per game, 1.7M per home run and 2M per stolen base.

Not a bad deal, Carl.

But despite his latest wildly disappointing season, I don't think anyone has an issue with Crawford going under the knife. In fact, most of us wonder why it took so long. I mean, you can understand why Crawford wanted to delay things a little bit; you admire the fact that he genuinely feels bad about how his time with the Sox has gone and wants to do everything he can to make up for it. But it's obvious that we've reached the point where the best way for Crawford to make up for these last two seasons is to do everything he can to be ready for next season. To get this elbow taken care of and once again try to start fresh.

According to Sean McAdam, Tommy John recovery times for position players range from 7-9 months, which would put Crawford on track to be ready right around April. Actually, it puts Crawford on track to be ready by next August, but hopefully this time around he'll recover at a more reasonable rate. Either way, I don't think you'll hear anyone make a stink about Crawford shutting it down.

I don't think there'd be a problem if anyone wanted to shut it down. Papi? Beckett? Ellsbury? A-Gon? I don't care who it is. If you don't feel like playing, take a seat, and let's unleash the farm on Fenway for the rest of the year. Bring up Jackie Bradley, Jose Iglesias and Matt Barnes. I know Xander Boegarts is all of seven years old but bring him up, too.

I know the owners might be worried about people losing interest, but I guarantee fans would be more interested than they are right now. And who cares? After all, no matter how many people show up to Fenway, you know it still counts as a sell out.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

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.