Six-way tie for the AL wild card still in play! Let's some talk some baseball.
Nats are making a great push for that second wild card spot. over/ under on number of games they can lose the rest of the way and still catch the reds. 2.5?
They're 5 back with 13 left to play. It can happen but near-impossible. If they go 11-2 that's 90 wins. Reds would have to go 5-6. Which is possible -- Reds still have six against the Pirates.
KC Royals and Pitt Pirates have never make the playoffs in the same year. Let's go KC and Pitt!
MVP Talk. Was thinking about role of pressure in sports.Some people believe there's no difference between a game in April and in September. A game is a game they say.I disagree. If that's true.... Why does ESPN, and sports fanatics every where keep track of Playoff Stats seperately?Because we recognize Playoff Games as different pressure than random game. Same playoff atmosphere is happening in places in Playoff Races. Beauty of Sept Baseball.Pressure does matter in sports, if it didn't we wouldn't track playoff stats.
I go back and forth on this. Maybe there is more pressure in September, but the wins don't count any more. So do you really give extra credit to a guy who does well in September? I'm not sure that is completely logical.
As a Braves fan, is it totally irrational to still worry about the Nationals? I mean, they were 15 games back not too long ago and are now 10 back. With the Braves struggling towards the finish line, a sweep by the Nats these next two days would mean a 7 game lead with 10 to play. It would still take a miracle after that, but I still remember two years ago pretty vividly.
Braves are safe. They'd basically have to lose every game to get caught. Relax there, James!
Do you realize that Gerrit Cole's worst start in his first 17 major league games was August 8 against the Marlins when he gave up 4 earned runs in 5 innings? That was the only time he has given up more than 3 earned runs in any start. Do you agree that Cole's rookie season and underapreciated consistently make him the Pirates true #1 for the (fingers crossed) playoffs?
I've noticed that. Great consistency, yes, but as many high-end performances as Liriano or Burnett. I still think he slots in at No. 3.
What sort of team can give the Red Sox the most problems? I don't see a lot of holes or weaknesses and I'm wondering if there is any particular team that would create matchup problems for them in the playoffs. Thanks!
Their OPS is 80 points higher against right-handed pitching, so you need lefties to beat them, both in the rotation and out of the pen to match up with Ortiz. Trouble is ... Tigers are all-righty in the rotation, so are the A's. Rays do have Price and Moore and Torres and McGee in the pen, so maybe they would be the toughest matchup.
What are you looking for in Yordano Ventura's first start tonight?
Well, we'll see how fast that fastball is. But I suspect he'll be on a short leash as they Royals make this a bullpen game.
Wins are the same in April or September but the time to make up a loss is quite different.
Fill in blank your two AL Wild Card teams are?
Rays, Indians. Hard to bet on the Rangers right now.
Does Washington lose his job if Texas falls out of the playoffs?
I think so. He has a lot of positives, but I think this would give Jon Daniels the excuse to bring in a guy who knows how to strategically manage a playoff game. (See: 2011 World Series.)
Mariners offense have been a dumpster fire, any hope FAs take serious look at landing in Seattle this offseason? Any logical fits in your opinion?
Shin-Soo Choo and Jacoby Ellsbury. They desperately need outfielders.
Tigers hitting tidbit: Every starter post all-star break is hitting .283 or higher except Jackson and Hunter in the .260's . Only Cabrera and Hunter have slumped in September. Is clinching a week early for proper rest most important for Detroit and getting Miggy fresh?
Rest is nice, but you don't want them to get too rusty, either. AL teams not in the wild-card don't began their series until Friday, so they have four days off between the end of the season and the first game.
Are either the A's or the Red Sox peaking to soon? "Peaking" is probably akin to "Clutch" but I wondered what you thought....
I've looked at this in the past and will probably do another piece, but there isn't really on correlation to finishing strong or not finishing strong and how you do in October.
The Yankees have a cupcake schedule the rest of the way, do they get in?
I still the fact that they have to catch at least three teams works against them. And they're not good enough to go on a 10-2 run. I don't think.
Tigers pitching tidbit: Verlander day games(17 starts) 2.62 ERA and night games(14 starts) 5.02 ERA. Should Leyland base his DS start on the time of day?
Hmm, interesting. Usually power pitchers do better at night. But maybe he's not a power pitcher anymore. I'd put Verlander at No. 3 because Scherzer and Sanchez are better right now.
Josh Donaldson now has a higher WAR than Miguel Cabrera.
Yep, I believe better on both FanGraphs and Baseball-Reference. A large part of that is fielding: Donaldson +11 Defensive Runs Saved, Cabrera -19, both figures seems reasonable to me as Donaldson plays a pretty good third base and Cabrera does not.
Cabrera has one extra-base hit and three RBIs in his past 15 games. Question for MVP voters: Will they care about his drop-off since the Tigers basically had the division wrapped up in August?
This is tough because of the jumbled mess in the AL playoff chase, but which team, either league, that won't make the playoffs this year is most likely to be a serious contender in 2014?
Nationals. Maybe the Angels if they can find a couple starting pitchers.
Are you surprised the Rays haven't extended Wil Myers yet? What are they waiting for?
Maybe Wil Myers doesn't want to extend.
FWIW, Boston media dreads a matchup against the Rays.
Red Sox won season series 12-7.
Better with platoons: Maddon or Melvin?
Hmm, both are good. More teams should build strong platoons like the Rays and A's. Underutilized aspect of today's game.
I know MLB is not expanding anytime soon, but, if they were going to expand in 2015 which cities come to mind?
I'd probably put a third team in New York/New Jersey and maybe North Carolina. Maybe Montreal? People there did support the team fairly well in the '80s. But honestly, not a lot of great options out there.
Biggest metro markets without a team: Riverside/San Bernadino, Calif. (not sure if the Dodgers/Angels hold territorial rights); Charlotte, Portland, San Antonio, Orland, Sacramento (which ranks 23-27 in market size).
What's your take on the Freese/Carpenter/Wong situation brewing in St. Louis? Some rumors have floated that Mozeliak might non-tender Freese and shift Carpenter to third and insert Wong at second. I don't see that happening....mostly because I'm not sold on Wong being a solid, everyday 2nd baseman.
I'm with you on Wong. Freese won't be that expensive coming off this year and the Cardinals have thrived in recent years because of their depth. I say they keep all three next year, unless they can get something in a trade for Freese.
In 10 words or less; how are the A's able to compete year after year?
Depth. They always have a good backup plan.
David, if dWAR is equal oWAR, why did Brendan Ryan get replaced in Seattle, and dumped to NYY for next to nothing?
I don't think it's equal. The issue with Ryan was his hitting was so bad he had become a replacement-level player this year, even with his good D. So he wasn't worth anything on the trade, especially since he's just a three-week rental for the Yankees.
Ackley, Smoak, Montero, Saunders, any chance Franklin and Miller are the prospects that actually become above average regulars for the M's?
Umm ... not sold on Miller as a starting shortstop. Bad hands, erratic arm. He'll get one more year there but I think he's a second baseman. Which means no room for Franklin, who looked early and then turned into Kelly Johnson. Ackley ... a lot of singles lately, has no value as an outfielder, so he's another second baseman. Smoak ... ehh, not a playoff-caliber first baseman. Montero is awful and Saunders looks like a fourth outfielder.
Not sure if Charlotte could support a team given the popularity of college hoops, and the 3 other major sports already being represented. Anyone from NC out there to comment?
Yankees themselves are cupcakes this year. If it wasn't for the Bluejays, the yankees would be under .500
How about the Rays moving to Orlando!!! Would never happen, but would save me a ton in gas and hotels each year!!
Ha. You do wonder if Orlando would be a better market. Maybe pick up some of the tourism dollars as well?
I haven't seen any "tank of the night" columns recently....Realistically, how high of a draft choice can the Rockies tank themselves into?
Yeah, it was getting a little mean-spirited. In part, the players and managers ARE trying to win, so they're not really doing anything on purpose to lose. Well, other than the Mets starting Dice-K. But I'll run the standings again. It is important who finishes in the worst 10.
Re: Cabrera in last 15 games. Playing through significant injury, to which the team is only playing .500. Just more evidence to how valuable healthy Cabrera is to the team.
They also went 28-27 in May and June when Cabrera was red hot.
good afternoon good sir,espn has been playing up the 1k more pitches that the sox have seen compared to the rest of the league this year. i get that more pitches equals less time facing starters and a greater chance at seeing the soft underbelly of a bullpen but the twins are ranked 2nd overall in this category and they aren't exactly a run scoring juggernaut. what say you regarding the overall importance of this stat?
I saw that. I think it can be a little overrated, in part because most bullpens allow runs at a better rate than their rotations, so knocking out the starter isn't always a good thing (unless you score runs while knocking him out). Of course, the Red Sox see more pitches in part because they score more runs (and thus more batters get up). Pitcher per plate appearance would be the better stat than just raw number of pitches.
I know that sacrifice bunts can be infuriating for certain fans. What frustrates ME even more than that is when the team pitching to a team trying to bunt does the routine where they try to get cute and work to get them to screw up their bunts. Are teams really that unwilling to just take a free out?
Take the out, absolutely. What if Mariano Rivera had thrown to first base in Game 7 of the 2001 World Series?
@Enrique: They are never crippled by stupid long-term contracts. Flexible
Off the wall question here....do you think Joe Jackson should be removed from the "ineligible list". Doesn't the evidence point to him NOT being involved in the fix. Sure, maybe he knew about it and should have reported it, but would anyone have believed Joe? I think the ban should be lifted after all these years so he can be inducted to the HOF.
No, the evidence DOES point to him being in the fix, primarily that he took the money. I can think of a lot of guys who deserve the Hall of Fame more than Jackson -- starting with all the steroid users.
The problem with saying a guy is clutch in baseball is that it's always random. Even Jeter's playoff average over his career is .308, which is less than his career average. There is no Robert Horry in baseball.
People bemoan the Braves inability to beat elite pitching, yet have dominated a division headlined by Zimmerman, Strasburg, Gio, Hammels, Lee, Fernandez, and Harvey. They have the best record against winning teams by far, but experts say they can't win in the playoffs because they strike out too much. That's ludicrous. What elite pitching have the Dodgers seen and beaten outside of Matt Cain? Bottom line: the Braves are NL favorites. What are your thoughts on Braves/Dodgers?
Maybe I should look up each team's record against the best 10-15 pitchers? But I don't know if that "proves" anything. It could come down to health? Will Heyward be healthy? What about Justin Upton? Dodgers are banged up in the lineup. Quick thoughts: They're pretty even, slight edge to Dodgers because of Kershaw/Greinke.
Camden Riversharks outfielder Delwyn Young said on Twitter yesterday that he wants to play for the Phillies. Is this the Phillies big offseason outfield acquisition?
I'm guessing the Phillies are doing with Youngs for awhile.
Vlad Guerrero retired recently without much fanfare. Is he a Hall of Famer in your book?
One of my favorite players, so a little biased. I would vote for him, he's probably borderline, but I think he gets in pretty easily.
Greg Colbrunn then comes up instead of Jay Bell and belts a 2 run HR to win the game?
Nice. I believe Colbrunn was on deck for three or four different batters that inning but never actually pinch-hit.
If the Rays played between Universal and Disney (near the Arnold Palmer Invitational), we would put 20,000-25,000+ regularly. The tourists and the locals would do what St Pete can't do.
Even though miggy has had a monster year, it's hard to argue that cano isn't the MVP IF the Yankees make the playoffs right? He's been the only consistent hitter all year while miggy has had some help.
So Cano is more valuable because his teammates are worse?
Weekly Trout question - what would it take to extend him (1 more cheap year, 3 arb years and then FA). I say 13/$330M. That's 9/$270M for his FA years and gets you 22-34.
My guess is that a more likely scenario would be signing him through age 29. He gets security, Angels get some of his free agent years, but Trout doesn't sign away ALL of his prime free agent years.
By the way, Trout hit his fourth 450-foot-plus home run last night. Only player with as many is his teammate Mark Trumbo with five.
I was reading your column about 1st basemen, people forget Donnie hurt his back the 1st time in 87, if he didn't do that this 5 year WAR would have been even higher. 84-88
Even then, his peak years were a little overrated because he didn't have the monster OBPs of some of the other first basemen. Career-high was .394.
Is the TV market the only reason MLB wouldn't consider a Puerto Rico team? Because I bet they'd sell out every game there.
Hasn't baseball declined in popularity in Puerto Rico? Fewer players coming from there, basketball gaining in popularity. Not sure there is enough money there to support a team for 81 games.
I don't think Charlotte could support a 3rd major sport team right now. Bobcats/Hornets struggling at the gate. Also, they are building a new stadium for their AAA team downtown that will open in April 2014. City is also taking a bath from building NASCAR Hall of Fame.
If we've learned anything over the past few years, it's that Florida does not deserve baseball. A move to Orlando shouldn't even be an option. How about Indianapolis? They seem to be a good pro sports town
Is there any difference in value between lefthanded and right handed throwing outfielder?
I don't think so, but ... how many outfielders with great arms threw left-handed? I guess if you're left-handed and have an arm they turn you into a pitcher.
I mean, I'm drawing a blank trying to think of the left-handed outfielder with the best arm. Hmm.
Griffey? Always thought his arm was more good than great.
2016 World Series - Twins vs. Cubs...???
Could be. Just need to find some pitching.
Best left-handed throwing arm was Ceasar Geronimo!
Josh Hamilton used to have a cannon. If he wasn't such a great hitter early on, he would have become a pitching prospect.
Rick Ankiel, cannon from the OF
Jay Bruce has a pretty good arm... not sure its elite though.
Nick Markakis. Another guy some teams would have developed as a pitcher.
I doubt an MLB team could be sustainable over the long run in Orlando. Economy is too uneven. How about a team in Houston?...oh wait
Barry Bonds, but he had some help
Bonds has a weak arm. That's why he played left instead of center.
Does Fred Wilpon own the Mets or the Phillies? I'm having an increasingly difficult time telling these teams apart. I find their positional "talent" creepily similar as is their unwillingness to pay top level free agent position talent. The Mets have this public excuse but the Phillies are following the Mets path without justification, in fact the Phillies financials are in the opposite direction.
New Orleans for a baseball team? Obviously do well with the Saints and one of the top merchandise sellers in the league for hte NFL, and sell out LSU's stadium (have led in attendance for years in the NCAA with a 12,000 seat stadium- hour away from NOLA but still same target crowd) game after game. Would love a retractable roof stadium there. Market too small?
Too small, not enough money there. A team in Hartford would do better.
Strawberry had a good arm as well.
if the nats do make it in, do they become the team no one wants to face? stras gio and zim are unmatched at the top of the rotation (no one the dodgers could run out in a game 3 compares with zim) and the hitting has been on fire of late
Ryu is as good as Zimmermann. And Nolasco has been great for the Dodgers other than his last start.
Jason Heyward throws lefty
willing to bet you're wrong on Trout - absolutely no reason to give away any FA years. He has only 1 more cheap year, then 3 arb years that will probably net him $60M. Then he's a FA. Doubt he's concerned about regression to the mean.
It's most about security against a catastrophic injury. But less of an issue with a position player.
How good a H.S. q/b was Todd Helton? Wasn't he a backup to Peyton Manning? Is he up there with Deion, Bo and Brian Jordan?
Not sure how highly recruited he was a QB. I believe he started a few games at Tennessee then got replaced by Manning?
Gerardo Parra's got a gun.
True. He does have a great arm.
If you combined Johnny Damon, Kenny Lofton, and Juan Pierre you'd have a decent, but not elite arm
The very fact we have to debate this about the Rays just shows how much of a joke Buddy Selig is as commissioner. With one little wave of his wrist the team could play in a new stadium within 3 years. The A's could play in a new stadium in that time, too. But no. That's not important to the "integrity of the game". Neither is fixing it so it's not a stupid ONE-GAME playoff when even in the regular season teams play three. And I guess having destructive owners in Miami and New York don't matter for integrity either.
A one-game wild-card game is akin to an NFL playoff game lasting six minutes. Great job, baseball. Guess what ... what has the wild-card race done for attendance in Tampa, Cleveland, KC or Baltimore?
What are you talking about Schoenfield!? Zimmermann has FIVE MORE WINS than Ryu! *wink*
Just because you said Donnie best years were overrated, I am going to say all DH's best year's are overrated. :)
Edgar had 11 seasons with a .400-plus OBP. That's 11 more than Donnie Baseball!
Didn't Ichiro Suzuki have a pretty good left arm from right field?
David...can you tell me...if MORE then 2 teams tie for ANY of wild card game HOW does MLB handle that since they allowed only 1 day for tiebreakers and how does a 3 team tie work?
One team gets a bye while the other two play on Monday.
All the rules in the link, but first tiebreaker for the tie is the best record amongst the three teams. http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130904&content_id=59527184
Elliott Johnson (with his .273 OBP) is leading off for the Braves. It's become apparent that Freddi doesn't want to play Uggla, as he shouldn't, but their playoff hopes seem to be relying a lot on Heyward, who just started taking swings again. I love the Braves, but there is no way anybody can call them the favorites.
One guy doesn't determine a team's fate, of course, but I think there's a fair argument that Heyward is the most important position player heading into the NL playoffs.
Red Sox next year at some point could have a AAA rotation of Webster, Barnes, Ranaudo, Owens and De La Rosa. And with Lester, Buchholz, Peavy, Lackey and Doubront on the big club, that has to be the best 2 level pitching rotation in baseball
Could be. Tampa Bay is still pretty deep as well.
to fearful, fretful James: Nats up 3-0, Top 4th. Let the boot shaking begin!
I love to read your columns each day. Started as a daily follower/reader this year. How often do you write in the off-season?
Thanks, Ernie. I write regularly all offseason, probably take the weekend off. Plus some vacation days in there, but hopefully I can fill it with some other contributors.
And Donnie had 11 gold gloves. We all know that Gold Gloves are a really award, kind of like a grammy! Plus Donnie was a star of the best Simpsons epsiode.
I thought Griffey was the star!
Sid Bream and a legion of Bucs fans would have an issue with Barry's arm.
I'm rooting for a 5 way tie for the 2ND wild card, with the Orioles owning the first!
No scenario for a five-way tie!
Can Dempster make an easy transition from starter to the 'pen for the playoffs or should the Sox not include him on the roster?
Do they need him? I'd have to run down the roster, but maybe he gets dumped for a pinch-runner (Quintin Berry).
Should I trust Johnny Cueto and his fragile body going into the playoffs? If he does stay healthy, does he significantly improve the Reds chances of a deep run if they get by the one game playoff?
Yeah, tough call. Not sure how much to read into last night's start since it was against the Astros, but Reds fans did say his curve looked pretty good. I'd probably make him the fourth guy after Latos, Bailey and Arroyo since Leake hasn't been that great of late and Cingrani is hurt. I don't think he SIGNIFICANTLY helps since Leake isn't horrible and we don't know if Cueto is 100 percent.
Is Andrelton Simmons best defensive SS in MLB right now?
Easiest question of the day! (Yes.)
Predicted order of finish for the NL Central? Will the Bucs host a playoff game at PNC this year?
Cardinals, Pirates, Reds. Francisco Liriano vs. Mat Latos in the WC game.
Homer. As always, was the star
Re: Edgar's 400 OBP. You do realize that scoring was a lot higher during the expansion 90's early 2000s. Not that I think Donnie is an HOF either.
Will Tavares for Profar ever happen? Profar is being wasted.
Rangers need to acquire a big bat for the outfield or first base, so, yes, I think Profar gets traded in the offseason.
Darryl cried real tears. He was the star.
I thought I told you to trim those sideburns
I desperately want a team in SLC. Make it happen Schoenfield.
I'm a fan of the 1 game playoff series. Even a best of 3 would punish the division champs too much. So its got to be a 1 game playoff or only 1 wildcard winner, which doesn't give enough of an edge to the division winners. I prefer the 1 gm playoff.
Does Ned Yost make it past this year in KC?
Sorry, Royals fans, but Ned probably gets another year after this late run.
I am no fan of 1 game playoff - I prefer the old 1 team per league actually. I do dislike all the whining about it though. I mean there were teams MUCH better than those fighting for a 1 game playoff who never tasted the playoffs.As for the plan, it seems it was to allow more teams to have something to play for at year's end and that has been basically accomplished, non-baseball towns like Tampa notwithstnding.If a team or its fans don't want the 1 game playoff do better in the regular season, which is (so I hear) what is the really important part).
we all know cap anson and mordecai "three finger" brown were the starts of that episode
I would argue Allen Craig is a pretty darn important position player for the postseason too.
You talked about Tigers rotation earlier. But do you manage the rotation based on overall quality or do you micromanage your rotations by the splits (home/away. day/night. who you are facing))
85 percent quality/15 percent matchups. You can overthink it. But I mentioned Kris Medlen, big home/road split this. Teheran has better overall numbers, but maybe you start Medlen at home in Game 2 over Teheran because of that split.
I'm pretty sure Ozzie was the star of that episode.
How realistic a shot do the Royals have? They get two more at home with Cleveland, then the slumping Rangers at home, and then finish at Seattle and Chicago.
I can't believe they've hung in there. Our playoff odds from coolstandings has them at 13 percent, which sounds about right.
at this point would you actually trade taveras for profar if you were the cards?
At least Profar has been healthy all year.
You all or wrong! George Stein... I mean, C. Montgomery Burns clearly owned that episode.
I am fading down the stretch, can I lose the MVP?
Unlikely. I still think the best chance for one of the other guys isn't Trout but Chris Davis. If Orioles make the playoffs and he passes Miggy in RBIs it could happen. Trouble is, Davis/Trout/Donaldson/Cano may split the "other guy" but everyone will have Cabrera first or second on their ballot.
I think the whole season should be one giant round robin tournament and at the end everyone is a winner and gets a trophy. Minnesota Twins, 2013 World Series (Co-)Champions. Sounds pretty good to me.
If Yordano is awesome tonight, who will be first to use the term "Ace Ventura"?
Kansas City Star is the odds-on favorite, followed by MLB.com, ESPN and CBS Sports.
The thought of Scott Feldman in a one game playoff = yuck
Helton a hall of famer?
Just short for me. Great peak, Coors numbers. Not sure he's really any different than John Olerud in a different park.
Steve Sax had the best line in that Simpson's episode!!
it's like there's a party in my mouth and everyone's invited
Rays vs. Boston..The rays pitch Matt Moore game 1 and Game 5 and Price the critical game 3. With the addition of Jesse Crain to the rays bullpen...could we see an upset?
Or if he was working for MLB HO: Ace Ventura PED Detective...
If Chris Davis had hit 8 fewer HRs, would that make Miggy more valuable?
Well, you know how voters are ...
Once again, Wade Boggs and Barney are underrated, as they were the best part of that episode.
OK, thanks everyone! Have to run to a meeting. See you next week. Enjoy your baseball.