EXTRA BAGGS: Melky Cabrera returning to Kansas City?


EXTRA BAGGS: Melky Cabrera returning to Kansas City?


MIAMI Melky Cabrera prefers to use a translator in formalinterviews, and Emmanuel Burriss happened to be the bilingual teammate within aSpanish-English dictionarys length of him after Thursday nights victory.

So after Cabrera turned in another three-hit game, I proceeded to ask a fairlyinnocuous icebreaker: Have you felt really comfortable at the plateall year?

Oh, no, no, dont answer that! Burriss said. Let me. Iwill, I will. Ill answer it.

Burriss looked me in the eye.


Burriss was only slightly placated when Iagreed to tap Cabreras wooden locker.

You dont ask that! he said.

The answer is yes, of course. Yes to all of it. Yes toCabrera being the savior for a Giants offense that has dead production zones atthree or four infield positions every night. Yes to the trade with the KansasCity Royals looking so lopsided, Dayton Moore might never take another callfrom Brian Sabean. And yes to Cabrera returning to Kansas City to represent theGiants in the All-Star Game.

The Giants didnt have a four-RBI game from anyone allseason. Cabrera and Angel Pagan each drove in four in Thursdays 14-7 victory.

Cabrera leads the majors with 67 hits and 22 multi-hitgames. Hes on a pace for 241 hits, which would be the most by National Leagueplayer since Bill Terry for the 1930 New York Giants. (Terry, a Hall of Famer, had 254 hits that season.)

And then you think of that miraculous throw from left fieldin Milwaukee. And then you notice how Cabrera made an instant read to score thetying run from second base on Pagans jam-shot single in the fourthinning.

I just knew off the bat it was hit good and in the rightspot, Cabrera said, fielding a question that Burriss allowed him to answer. Ididnt need to hesitate at all.

Cabrera is hitting .361, and the most impressive part isthat his average isnt the most impressive part. Its amazing what happens whenyou mix talent, intelligence, instincts, focus and dedication.

Melkys just unbelievable, said Ryan Vogelsong, who justmight join Cabrera in Kansas City in July. Hes done nothing but impresseverybody in this locker room from the day he got here.

Still, there are 117 games on the schedule. Theres a reasonthe words on pace dont mean a lot in May. But the early returns, at least,would favor the notion that Cabreras 201-hit campaign for the Royals last yearwas no flash in the cooking implement of your choice.

Yes, its possible to sustain this pace. Ive seen it oncebefore, when I covered the Anaheim Angels in 2000. Darin Erstad hit .355 thatseason and finished with 240 hits, and the most marvelous part about it waswatching his daily routine. He took countless swings off a tee and in the cage.He stuck to a rigorous schedule. He never rested after a two-hit game, or athree-hit game, or a four-hit game. He was out there the very next day, doingeverything possible to stay sharp. And then hed spit out more hits with thatflat-bat swing of his.

Thats how teammates describe the relentless way Cabreragoes about his business, both in the cage and in the weight room.

Know this: The man travels with his personal medicine ball.

Every day I work hard and make sure I prepare myself totake good at-bats, Cabrera said. Its all about preparation, doing whatever Ican.

His routine does not include being overly chatty. ButCabrera offers peeks to his personality.

When asked what he thought of Sergio Romo copying hischinstrap beard, Cabrera didnt wait for the translation.

He looks better, he said, smiling.

The Giants didnt just score 14 runs against Anibal Sanchezand Co. They also looked smart doing it.

How about the discipline that Buster Posey showed in thesixth inning? He worked a count to 3-2, and when he got a breaking ball, hedidnt lunge at it. That's something he wasn't doing earlier this month, when the strikeouts were piling up in uncharacteristic fashion.

And how about Angel Pagan? Hes proving to be quite anasset as the No.5 hitter. When Posey walked to load the bases, Paganstiebreaking double drove in two runs.

You could argue the two most important moments in the game came with the bases loaded: Pagan's double in the sixth, and Vogelsong's getting Giancarlo Stanton to pop out in the fifth.

One more small thing I noticed, even if I forgot when it happened: With a hit-and-run on, Joaquin Arias found a way to foul off a pitch that was a footoutside. It didnt make a major difference in Thursdays outcome, but those arethe little things that add up over the long haul.

The Giants set season highs with 15 hits and four stolenbases. So the early returns on Marlins Park are favorable, no matter what an art critic would say about the home run fountain in center field.

Check out Romos before-and-after barbershop photos. Heposted them to his Twitter page.

I also happened to go for a haircut today near Little Havana. Theplace was called Manny Sosas. Sadly, the barber didnt look anything likeManny Mota or Sammy Sosa.

Tomorrow for lunch: Versailles, and arroz con pollo. With plaintains and then Cafe Cubano, of course.

Cubs, Indians name starting pitchers for Game 1 of World Series


Cubs, Indians name starting pitchers for Game 1 of World Series

World Series ace Jon Lester is all set to start Game 1 for the Chicago Cubs.

Lester will be fully rested when he pitches Tuesday night at Cleveland. Corey Kluber will start for the Indians.

The 32-year-old lefty is 2-0 in three starts during this postseason, with wins over the Giants and Dodgers in the NL playoffs. He was 19-5 during the regular season.

Lester is 3-0 in three starts in the World Series with a sparkling 0.43 ERA. He helped the Boston Red Sox win championships in 2007 and 2013.

Cubs manager Joe Maddon says Lester is "really, really in the moment" right now.


Indians ace Corey Kluber will start Game 1 of the World Series against the Chicago Cubs.

Manager Terry Francona said Sunday that he will go with Kluber, an 18-ame winner during the regular season, in the opener on Tuesday night. The right-hander is 2-1 with a 0.98 ERA in his first postseason.

Francona has right-handers Trevor Bauer and Josh Tomlin penciled in for Games 2 and 3, respectively. The order could change depending on how Bauer's injured right pinkie heals over the next few days.

Bauer's start in the AL Championship Series lasted less than one inning after his pinkie began bleeding against Toronto. He injured his finger when he sliced it open while repairing a drone.

Also, injured starter Danny Salazar could be available against the Cubs. Salazar hasn't pitched since Sept. 9 because of forearm tightness but he's made major progress in the past week and could be on the World Series roster.

How Cubs beat Kershaw to move on to World Series

How Cubs beat Kershaw to move on to World Series

Two quick runs off the best pitcher on the planet on Saturday night afforded the Cubs exactly what they needed to snap a 71-year-old drought.

Already confident after consecutive offensive outbursts in the previous two games, a two-run first inning against Clayton Kershaw had Cubs hitters in a positive frame of mind.

They rode the surprising rally and a dominant performance by Kyle Hendricks to a 5-0 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers at Wrigley Field in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series. The win earned the Cubs their first NL pennant since 1945 and on Tuesday night they’ll seek their first World Series title since 1908 when they face the Cleveland Indians in Game 1.

“It’s huge for the confidence, the positive momentum from LA, to carry over back home,” left fielder Ben Zobrist said. “Those were the biggest moments in the game early on to help everybody keep pushing and that we got this thing -- that we’re in charge of the game early. That’s a huge momentum builder.”

The Cubs did a little bit of everything in the first inning against Kershaw, who dominated them for seven scoreless frames in a 1-0 Dodgers victory in Game 2 on Sunday night. Some hitters took a more aggressive approach against the three-time NL Cy Young winner while others remained patient. The one constant throughout the 30-pitch frame was that Cubs hitters took advantage whenever Kershaw made a mistake.