Louis: Where was my blocking?


Louis: Where was my blocking?

Its the famous old saying: You can take the boy out of the tight end but you cant take the tight end out of the boy.

Right guard Lance Louis was a tight end into his college career before outgrowing the job and becoming an offensive lineman. Against the Tennessee Titans, Louis had a chance to show his hands when a Jay Cutler pass was batted into the air and grabbed by Louis.

He knew what to do with it. Louis rumbled four yards before a phalanx of Titans stopped him short of the goal line.

Once you catch the rock, you always think you can do it and youre a tight end, Louis said. Im a lineman now, but when duty calls

Center Roberto Garza and left guard Chilo Rachal werent going to let that pass without a bit of commentary. Louis thought he might have scored with a little help.

I tried to juke one tackler, the 320-pound Louis deadpanned, but I was wondering where my blockers were.

Cubs: Jon Lester denied 20th win in loss to Reds


Cubs: Jon Lester denied 20th win in loss to Reds

CINCINNATI – Jon Lester says he speaks for the entire clubhouse when he offers to trade it all in – the individual numbers, All-Star selections, Cy Young honors, MVP hardware – for a World Series ring with the Cubs. 

The Cubs are trying to have it all, 100-plus wins, awards season, off-the-field endorsement deals and so much out-there fun that it draws the attention of baseball’s fun police. But Lester understands October is where this team will ultimately be remembered.

The Cincinnati Reds denied Lester his 20th win on Saturday at Great American Ball Park, jumping out to a four-run lead after three innings and hanging on for a 7-4 victory.

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Whether or not this dents Lester’s Cy Young chances, the big-game lefty reached the number that he believes defines the true value of a starting pitcher, surpassing 200 innings for the eighth time in his career.

Lester certainly lived up to the great expectations in the second season of that six-year, $155 million megadeal that came with a World Series mandate, finishing the regular season at 19-5 with a 2.44 ERA and the expectation that he will be the Game 1 starter in the playoffs.

How Cubs plan to deploy Javier Baez in the playoffs

How Cubs plan to deploy Javier Baez in the playoffs

CINCINNATI – Using common sense and Geek Department probabilities, Joe Maddon wants to know where the ball should be hit before deciding where to play Javier Baez, the kind of elite defender the Cubs manager envisions when he talks about creating a Gold Glove for super-utility guys. 

“I just like to put him where the most action may be,” Maddon said. “He really provides a lot of coverage on slow rollers. He’s got the arm. He’s got the flair.”

With lefty Jon Lester facing a Cincinnati Reds lineup stacked with right-handed hitters, Maddon started Baez at third base on Saturday at Great American Ball Park, where the Cubs gave a potential sneak preview for their Game 1 playoff lineup.

Baez has been credited with 17 Defensive Runs Saved this year while moving between second base, shortstop and third base, putting together a package of highlight-reel plays and giving Maddon even more freedom with his lineup and in-game strategy.

If offense will be at such a premium in the postseason – putting an even stronger emphasis on pitching and defense – could Baez become an everyday player in October?

“Not 100 percent,” Maddon said. “You catch a lead, he’ll be in the game. I think that we still may go with an offensive matchup – and then hopefully grab a lead – and then get him in there. Do that kind of a thing, not unlike what we did last year with ‘Schwarbs’ (Kyle Schwarber), as an example, (where you) pull him and move everything around.

“I haven’t decided, but that would be my first inclination.”

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The Cubs lead the majors in defensive efficiency, a breakthrough that has contributed to 102 wins and helped Lester and Kyle Hendricks put up Cy Young Award-worthy numbers, giving this group an overall dimension that could separate them from the franchise’s previous playoff teams.

“That’s where our pitchers have just been able to relax,” Lester said. “(We) know that: ‘Hey, I don’t have to be so perfect with each pitch.’ We’ve got such good defense behind us that it’s kind of like: ‘OK, just hit it. Those guys will figure it out after that.’”