Weiland learns the hard way in MLB debut


Weiland learns the hard way in MLB debut

By Jessica Camerato
CSNNE.com Follow @JCameratoNBA
BOSTON -- Kyle Weiland sat in silence at his locker on Sunday morning with his headphones on. The music coming through the speakers drowned out any noise going on around him in the Red Sox clubhouse.

The quiet was temporary, though. It wouldnt be long before he was surrounded by a stadium packed with over 37,000 fans, cheering and reacting to every pitch he threw in his Major League debut at Fenway Park.

The outing didnt go exactly as planned.

Weiland, 24, was called up from Triple-A Pawtucket to fill-in in an injury-stricken starting rotation. (He was 8-6 with a 3.00 ERA for the PawSox this season.) Red Sox manager Terry Francona said before the game that he looked excited and confident -- and it showed in his 1-2-3 first inning.

But the Orioles bats would not be so quiet in the second. They scored six runs off seven hits, including a home run by Derrek Lee. The Red Sox two-run lead quickly became a four-run deficit. Francona kept Weiland in the game, however, as the Red Sox fought back to tie the game at six apiece by the end of the second inning.

Second inning was a difficult inning, said Francona following the Red Sox 8-6 win. A couple of bleeders, a couple of balls hit really hard, a lot of hits and a lot of runs. Saying that, he stayed composed and gave us some more. At a point, you cant go too far. Alfredo Aceves (who began warming up in the bullpen) is pitching as much as he is down in the bullpen.

"Stuff was good, just didnt locate a couple and really paid for it. Hes probably not used to paying for it that much . . . in the minor leagues, maybe you get away with some of those. You throw it to Derrek Lee over the heart of the plate and it goes a long way.

While the runs stopped coming from the Orioles, Weiland faced a new set of difficulties. He hit Mark Reynolds with a pitch in the third inning, and after Jeremy Guthrie hit Kevin Youkilis in the fourth, both teams were warned. Weiland missed on a pitch to Vladimir Guerrero the following inning and hit him on the hand, leading to an automatic ejection of both him and Francona.

Not really the way Weiland pictured leaving the mound in his debut (13.50 ERA, 4.0 IP, 8H, 6ER, 2BB, 2K).

Its not exactly what you have written out and planned for, but it is what it is and it was a great experience, he said. I got the first one under my belt. Obviously I would have liked a few things to go different, got a little ahead of myself, things kind of snowballed on me in the second inning. But obviously having this Red Sox lineup supporting me is a luxury, so it got us right back into the game. After that I felt like I started to calm down and control the adrenaline a little bit more.

Aceves entered the game in place of Weiland, whom Francona said would not have continued to pitch much longer even if he had not been ejected, and helped keep the game under control for the Red Sox in their victory.

The debut -- ejection and all -- was a learning experience for Weiland. Later in the game Orioles reliever Michael Gonzalez and manager Buck Showalter were also thrown out as a result of the warning issued earlier in the game. It capped off a heated series between the two games that included a brawl on Friday night.

Obviously everything up here at this point is all new to me, Weiland said. So when the ejection happened I was like, well, thats the rules I guess. I didnt think the warnings were really warranted. Youkilis got hit on a changeup, so that was a little confusing that we got warned, but if thats the way the rules go, I know with the past few games you cant really do much about it and had to take a walk.

With his big-league debut in the books, Weiland can look back on it and grow. The Red Sox can also looked toward him in the future.

I thought he threw the ball much better than his results, said Jason Varitek, who caught Weiland. He learned a lot, hes come a long way from the last time I got to see him.

Jessica Camerato is on Twitter at http:twitter.com!JCameratoNBA

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.