The Cubs’ pumpkin is still a coach—for now

Baez finally found his swing at the best possible time for the Cubs in Game Four . . .

Baez finally found his swing at the best possible time for the Cubs in Game Four . . .

Cinderella bought one extra day, at minimum, before the coach turns back to a pumpkin. Joe Hardy had Applegate blocked at all gates. A guy who began Wednesday evening having gone 0-for-the-postseason at the plate hit two out.

And nobody had to steal a base with two out in the bottom of the ninth, either. It didn’t get that far in Wrigley Field. If it had, instead of singing “Go, Cubs, Go!” when it ended in the arduous 3-2 Cubs win, Cub Country would have been singing the Rolling Stones’s chestnut, “19th Nervous Breakdown.”

Blowing in the crosswinds

Anthony Rizzo's jam shot floated into the crosswinds and hit the grass eluding three Nats to put the Cubs ahead to stay in Game Three, NLDS . . . will it help send the Nats home early again?

Anthony Rizzo’s jam shot floated into the crosswinds and hit the grass eluding Trea Turner (left), Michael Taylor (center), and Jayson Werth (right) to put the Cubs ahead to stay in Game Three, NLDS . . . will it help send the Nats home early again?

Don’t look now, but the Cubs are one game away from pushing the Nationals out of the postseason in round one. That would be territory both teams are accustomed to seeing, even if last year it was the Dodgers giving the Nats the push and the Cubs moving forward at the Giants’ expense.

Aroldis who? The Cubs deal for Davis; the Royals say goodbye H-D-H

Davis, the last man standing on the mound when the Royals won the 2015 World Series . . . now gets a chance to return with the world champ Cubs . . .

Davis, the last man standing on the mound when the Royals won the 2015 World Series . . . now gets a chance to return with the world champ Cubs . . .

Once upon a time, Motown included a venerable songwriting and production trio, Eddie Holland, Lamont Dozier, and Brian Holland. Colloquially, they were known as HDH. Half a century later, the Royals had a late-game bullpen corps of Kelvim Herrera, Wade Davis, and Greg Holland. Also known colloquially as H-D-H.

Deadline lines

The White Sox swear they're not looking to move Sale but in baseball (thanks, Joaquin!) and at trade deadlines there's just one word---you never know.

The White Sox swear they’re not looking to move Sale but in baseball and at trade deadlines there’s just one word—you never know. (Thanks, Joaquin!)

Who’s going? Who’s coming? Who’s buying? Who’s selling? Good questions. A few prospective answers . . .

* SALE OF THE DECADE? Not necessarily having to do with his tailoring misadventures of almost a week and a half ago, Chris Sale continues drawing big enough interest from the Dodgers, the Rangers, and the Red Sox. They have the prospects the White Sox seem most to want in any such deal; it may come to whose prospects entice them most.

WS Game One: Crazyball

What Escobar began on the first pitch with a little help from two miscommunicating Mets . . .

What Escobar began on the first pitch with a little help from two miscommunicating Mets . . .

Open a World Series with an inside-the-park home run thanks to an unexpected brain vapour by the opposing battery and a pair of outfielders. Finish the game after fourteen innings and with a sacrifice fly.

These Kansas City Royals may have done crazier things than that in their two-season-and-maybe-counting return to American League supremacy. But they’re not about to bet on it.

The Royals win the pennant on the run

In 1946 it was Enos Slaughter’s mad dash home in the eighth inning while Johnny Pesky held the ball. (Actually, he didn’t, but Pesky had no chance to throw home in time after taking a high throw in from center field.)  And it meant a World Series triumph for the St. Louis Cardinals.

Almost seventy years later, it was Lorenzo Cain’s mad dash home while Jose Bautista threw to second. Also in the eighth inning. But it meant a trip to the World Series for the Kansas City Royals Friday night.

Lorenzo Cain, channeling his inner Enos Slaughter . . .

Lorenzo Cain, channeling his inner Enos Slaughter . . .

It’s Trout’s All-Star Game, everyone else is just along for the ride

Mike Trout launches in the first. And what's with the gold trimmed gear on Buster Posey?

Mike Trout launches in the first. And what’s with the gold trimmed gear on Buster Posey?

What to take away from the All-Star Game other than the American League’s 6-3 win and thus home field advantage for this year’s World Series? The Mike Trout Show?

* Trout (Angels) became the first player in 38 years to lead off an All-Star Game going deep, hitting Zack Greinke’s (Dodgers) fourth pitch the other way, into the right field seats next to the Great American Ballpark visitors’ bullpen. Add scoring ahead of a powerful throw by Joc Pedersen (Dodgers) on Prince Fielder’s (Rangers) single in the fifth, and Trout—who’d reached base in the first place by beating out what might have been a double play finisher—joined Willie Mays, Steve Garvey, Cal Ripken, Jr. and Gary Carter as baseball’s only two-time All-Star Game MVPs.

This kind of Bumming around the Royals don’t need . . .

Bumgarner's traveling in seriously historic World Series company . . .

Bumgarner’s traveling in seriously historic World Series company . . .

We’ve learned two more things from Game Five. Thing one: Madison Bumgarner is traveling in the World Series company of Sandy Koufax, Bob Gibson, Curt Schilling, Whitey Ford, and Lefty Grove. Thing two: H-D-H, or at least H and D, are only human, too.

Bumgarner pitched a masterpiece of a shutout Sunday night, Kelvim Herrera left first and second for Wade Davis in the eighth only to see them score on Juan Perez’s fat-the-calf double, and the San Francisco Giants put themselves on the threshold of becoming the second team other than the Boston Red Sox to collect three World Series rings in the 21st century.

Strickly speaking, the Royals even things out . . .

Strickland was unamused---not at Infante, rounding first after his bomb, but at Perez who'd doubled home two just prior . . .

Strickland was unamused—not at Infante, rounding first after his bomb, but at Perez who’d doubled home two just prior . . .

The seventh inning proved to be the poison that took down Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League division series. The sixth inning Wednesday night proved to be poisonous for the San Francisco Giants in Game Two of the World Series. In more than one way.

Uh oh, these Royals can hit like—well, Orioles, if need be

Gordon opens the tenth with a blast---who did he think he was, an Oriole?

Gordon opens the tenth with a blast—who did he think he was, an Oriole?

If you learn Buck Showalter asked the Oriole front office for a team cardiologist after Friday night’s American League Championship Series opener, try not to be too surprised. You might, too, if you were the manager whose closer opened the ninth of a tie game by walking the bases loaded before getting a run-erasing force at the plate.