From Comcast SportsNetALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) -- Oakland Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer suffered cracked ribs and a bruised lung after a hard hit by Carolina linebacker Greg Hardy and will not play in the team's final game.Who will start in Palmer's absence is uncertain.Matt Leinart took over after Palmer was knocked out of the game by the Panthers but struggled in his first extensive playing time this season. He completed 16 of 32 attempts for 115 yards, had several passes sail out of bounds and threw a costly interception just before halftime.Terrelle Pryor made a brief appearance against Carolina and caught a 22-yard pass from Palmer after originally taking the snap and throwing to Palmer behind the line of scrimmage. Pryor was also in on two plays near the goal line, running for 2 yards and passing for 5."We'll get both those guys reps in practice with the first team this week," coach Dennis Allen said Monday. "We're not ready to make that decision. We'll see how practice goes, and later in the week we'll be ready to name a starter."That's a 180-degree turn from Allen's stance after the 17-6 loss to Carolina when he told reporters that Leinart would be the team's No. 2 quarterback behind Palmer. He also said of Pryor -- a third-round pick in the 2011 supplemental draft and the final player selected by former team owner Al Davis -- that "we don't feel like he's ready to be the backup quarterback just yet."Leinart certainly didn't do much to help his own standing, which might be why the Oakland coach is mulling a change.The 10th overall pick in 2006, Leinart looked rusty while completing only 50 percent of his throws. Oakland drove down into the red zone twice with him at quarterback but settled for field goals both times. Leinart also threw an interception into triple coverage just before halftime with the Raiders trailing 7-3, and the Panthers converted the turnover into a touchdown that broke the game open."I think he would tell you there were some plays out there that we left on the table," Allen said of Leinart. "We expect him as well as anybody to make those plays. But some of it obviously has to do with getting rushed (in) and not getting an opportunity to play a lot."With the exception of two plays, Pryor spent the second half on the sideline.Oakland fans repeatedly have chanted Pryor's name during home games this season and general manager Reggie McKenzie has said he wants to see Pryor play to further evaluate the quarterback's abilities.That could happen if Allen decides to give Pryor his first NFL start next Sunday in San Diego."I don't know that he's got full command of everything that we're doing but I wouldn't expect a lot different out of any other young QB," Allen said. "We'll work him this week in practice (and) make a decision at the end of the week which way we want to go."Following the loss to Carolina, Pryor told reporters he would be ready to go if he was the starter against San Diego."I definitely don't make decisions like that," Pryor said. "I just go out and do my job. Whatever God has for me, it's going to happen. If not, I'll be fine."Palmer was hit in the back by Hardy late in the first quarter while rolling out to throw. Hardy appeared to lead with his helmet and drew an unnecessary roughness penalty, one of six such penalties accumulated by the two teams combined.Palmer was later taken to a hospital in Carolina and underwent a CT scan which revealed the cracked ribs and bruised lung. Palmer was able to rejoin his teammates for the flight home, but upon arrival in Oakland the quarterback was transported from the plane to Eden Medical Center in nearby Castro Valley and kept overnight.A Raiders spokesman said Palmer was released from the hospital Monday afternoon."He made the flight back home with us but spent the night overnight in a hospital for observation," Allen said. "He'll be out this week."Notes: Right guard Mike Brisiel suffered a concussion against Carolina. ... Safety Tyvon Branch (ankle) and cornerbackpunt returner Phillip Adams (groin) were also hurt in the game. ... Allen said the team might look at moving outside linebacker Miles Burris to the middle in the offseason. Burris, a fourth-round pick who has started 14 games as a rookie this season, led the Raiders in tackles against Carolina and also got his first NFL interception.
This became a three-ring circus on Wednesday night at Wrigley Field, Cubs manager Joe Maddon screaming at the umpires, the video board showing the replay of Curtis Granderson’s swing and the crowd of 42,195 booing and chanting “BULLS#$!!”
The Los Angeles Dodgers are still in command of this National League Championship Series, but the Cubs won’t go quietly into the offseason, unleashing All-Star closer Wade Davis for the final two innings of a 3-2 thriller that kept them alive for at least another night.
The Cubs can worry about the daunting task of winning three more elimination games in the morning. Once Davis forced Cody Bellinger into the double-play groundball that left Justin Turner stranded in the on-deck circle and this one ended at 11:16 p.m., he pulled at his right sleeve and buttoned the top of his jersey while waiting for the Cubs to start the high-five line. “Go Cubs Go” blasted from the stadium’s sound system and fireworks erupted beyond the center-field scoreboard and Davis acted as if nothing had happened.
To put the idea of beating the Dodgers three times in a row in perspective, the Cubs blasted three homers and got a classic big-game performance out of Jake Arrieta and still needed Davis for a heart-stopping, high-wire act.
Maddon already ruled out Davis for Thursday night’s Game 5 after the closer fired 48 pitches – or four more than he did during last week’s seven-out save that eliminated the Washington Nationals. But at least the Cubs will have those decisions to make instead of cleaning out their lockers.
“I don’t know,” Davis said. “We’ll definitely come in tomorrow and get some treatment and go out and play catch and see how I feel.”
It looks like Davis doesn’t feel anything on the mound. Davis didn’t react to Turner chucking his bat and yelling into the visiting dugout after crushing a 94-mph fastball for a home run to begin the eighth inning. Davis didn’t seem bothered by Yasiel Puig flipping his bat after drawing a walk. And Davis never lost his composure while Maddon got ejected for the second time in four NLCS games.
Maddon flipped out at home plate umpire Jim Wolf – and really the entire crew – when what was initially called a swinging strike three on Granderson got overturned and ruled a foul tip.
“Wade doesn’t care about any of that,” first baseman Anthony Rizzo said. “That’s the right guy to have on the mound. With the mentality he has, he’s going to strike the guy out on the next pitch. Obviously with the replay, it’s not easy to keep your composure. But he’s just different. He’s a different animal.”
While the fans at Wrigley Field got loud and turned angry, Davis chatted with catcher Willson Contreras: “I was just trying to think of the next pitch I was going to throw if he ended up staying in the box.”
Davis got Granderson (0-for-4, four strikeouts) swinging at strike four, walked Yasmani Grandal and then blew away Chase Utley with a 95.1-mph fastball, needing 34 pitches to finish the eighth inning. Davis wasn’t finished, using a Kris Bryant bat to hit against Dodger lefty Tony Cingrani, fouling off five pitches before striking out looking at a 94.9-mph fastball.
“Yeah, I gave up there after a little bit,” Davis said with a look that sort of resembled a smile. “He was bringing it pretty good, and I hadn’t seen a baseball in a while coming in like that.”
If the Cubs are going to match the 2004 Boston Red Sox – the only other team to come back from an 0-3 deficit since the LCS format expanded to seven games in 1985 – they are going to need the offense to generate more runs, a great start from Jose Quintana on Thursday night and someone else to run out of the bullpen. Not that Davis is ruling himself out for Game 5.
“Go get some sleep and then come in tomorrow and start getting ready,” Davis said.
It’s not Jake Arrieta getting greedy and the Cubs being cheap when he holds up another jersey in a different city this winter, smiling for the cameras while super-agent Scott Boras watches the press conference unfold, marketing an ace to a new audience.
Even Arrieta admits that if he had Theo Epstein’s job, he would do the exact same thing, letting it play out until a 30-something pitcher hits the free-agent market. And Epstein wouldn’t have left the Boston Red Sox and taken over baseball operations at Clark and Addison if he didn’t believe in the need for change, to get outside the comfort zone and test yourself.
It’s just business, but this still felt very personal on Wednesday night at Wrigley Field, Arrieta probably making his last start in a Cubs uniform while the defending World Series champs survived an elimination game against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Three straight trips to the National League Championship Series might have spoiled Cubs fans to the point where standing-room-only Game 4 tickets were selling for $60 on StubHub less than an hour before the 8:01 p.m. first pitch.
By 10:13 p.m., the crowd of 42,195 started booing when manager Joe Maddon popped out of the dugout in the seventh inning to take the ball from Arrieta after 111 pitches. It turned into a standing ovation as Arrieta walked off the mound and tipped his cap, his shaved head set against a mountain-man beard.
“Hopefully, it’s not a goodbye,” Arrieta said after a dramatic 3-2 win, surrounded by reporters at his locker. “It’s a thank you, obviously. I still intend to have another start in this ballpark.
“If that’s where it ends, I did my best and I left it all out there. But we’ve won four in a row plenty of times this year. And there’s no reason we can’t do it again.”
So many times, Arrieta has been worth the price of admission, must-see TV through two no-hitters and those two World Series games he won on the road last year against the Cleveland Indians. None of this would have been possible without the Cubs finding a winning lottery ticket in that Scott Feldman flip deal with the Baltimore Orioles on July 2, 2013.
“I took a little bit of extra time in between pitches,” Arrieta said, “just to look around, foul pole to foul pole, behind home plate, just to relish it and take it in. You got the fans on their feet, pulling on the same side of the rope. It breeds some added energy.
“I had that mindset of I’m going to do everything in my power to get it to tomorrow.”
Arrieta’s pitches dart and dive in directions that even he can’t always control, but he has guts, swing-and-miss stuff (nine strikeouts) and the ability to work through traffic. He gave up five walks, hit Chase Utley with a pitch and watched as Cody Bellinger hammered a ball off the video-board ribbon in right field for a third-inning homer.
But lefty reliever Brian Duensing backed Arrieta up with two outs and two runners on in the seventh inning, forcing Bellinger to lift a flyball into shallow left field, keeping it a 3-1 game and setting the stage for a two-inning Wade Davis save.
“Jake was amazing,” Davis said. “He was throwing Wiffle balls, it looked like. Guys were just swinging at balls that started in on the zone and finished a foot off the plate. He’s just got some amazing stuff.”
For perspective on how far this franchise has come, just look at the lineup from Arrieta’s first spot start as a Cub, the second game of a July 30, 2013 doubleheader against the Milwaukee Brewers at Wrigley Field:
David DeJesus, CF
Junior Lake, LF
Anthony Rizzo, 1B
Dioner Navarro, C
Luis Valbuena, 2B
Starlin Castro, SS
Cody Ransom, 3B
Cole Gillespie, RF
The Cubs actually sent Arrieta back to Triple-A Iowa for two more starts that summer, part of a mental/mechanical reset and the service-time calculus that would delay his free-agency clock by a year.
By 2015, Arrieta’s raw talent and natural confidence converged with a young, inexperienced team that caught fire in the second half, his Cy Young Award campaign fueling 97 wins and the momentum for chairman Tom Ricketts to authorize a spending spree on free agents that almost totaled $290 million.
"That was pretty special,” Maddon said. “I've never witnessed on the field that kind of consistent performance from a pitcher. It was other-worldly, right down to the wild-card game.
“My God, you pretty much knew if you scored one or two runs, you're going to win that night somehow. I don't know how this is going to look moving forward. But I know one thing, man, that one year of watching him play was different. It was a throwback to the ‘60s kind of pitching (I watched) as a kid.
“He's special – his work ethic and who he is and how he goes about his business. He's a very special young man.”
But Arrieta really isn’t in the mood to wonder if this is the end scene to this chapter of his life.
“There’s a little thought of that, yeah, because you never know,” Arrieta said. “But at the same time, now that the game’s over, it’s out of sight, out of mind. The thought process for me now is to be ready if I’m needed.”