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2016 MLB thread. Baseball is upon us! Royals are the champs - Page 275

post #8221 of 72976
Damn, look at this catch from the Pirate's outfielder Travis Snider...Bummed out the Pirates faded...Would've been nice to see them & the O's make it...Old school like the old school...
post #8222 of 72976
^ Amazing catch lol at Gary Cohen "Its Outta Here no! he brought it back"
post #8223 of 72976
Oakland, Angels, Yankees all lose....Tampa Bay up next for the clean sweep?

O's one game back and I like the Baltimore Boston series. smokin.gif
Straight Cash Homey
Straight Cash Homey
post #8224 of 72976
Thread Starter 
Jim Thome's stake in the playoff chase.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
BALTIMORE -- In a city of row houses, it makes sense that the Orioles' success this year has been built game by game, at-bat by at-bat, pitch by pitch, brick by brick. They have one pitcher with more than 20 starts, a staff with one complete game and a bullpen that has contributed more than 500 innings. At the start of this season, their leadoff hitter was in Pittsburgh, their designated hitter was a pinch-hitter in Philadelphia and their third baseman was a shortstop in Bowie.

They had lost a few games this week, on Sunday to the Boston Red Sox and on Monday and Tuesday to the Toronto Blue Jays, shaving their lead for a wild-card berth enough to fuel anxiety. Deion Sanders was at Camden Yards on Wednesday to visit his old minor league manager, Buck Showalter, and to take some batting practice. When Showalter was asked whether Sanders' appearance might provide a needed distraction to lighten the mood, Showalter disagreed but acknowledged it was a fair question.

The Orioles needed a little jump-start, especially after falling behind 2-1 in the first 4½ innings against Carlos Villanueva, and it was Jim Thome who seemed to provide it.

Having faced Thome in the past, Showalter felt that the slugger would make needed adjustments pitch to pitch. A pitcher who stayed in a discernable pattern would become more vulnerable, because Thome would change when necessary.

And Villanueva had consistently pitched backward to the Orioles in the first innings Wednesday -- that is, throwing off-speed pitches in ball-strike counts when hitters might usually look for fastballs. Some hitters, who have made a lifetime of feasting on fastballs, struggle to adapt.

But in Thome's second at-bat, leading off the bottom of the fifth, he looked for a changeup and crushed it over the right-field wall for his 612th career homer. Thome explained after the game how Villanueva had been throwing so much off-speed stuff and how they talked about it in the Orioles' dugout, the type of group thought that can work.

Three batters later, Manny Machado -- who wasn't born until 10 months after Thome made his major league debut -- had a 2-1 count, and he jumped another non-fastball, a changeup, for the Orioles' third homer of the night. (Nate McLouth had homered in the first). Before the inning was over, Chris Davis -- who had seen nothing but sliders -- hammered a slider for a three-run homer.

Showalter mentioned after the game, after the Orioles finished with seven homers, how Thome had changed a lot in this victory with his adjustment.

Pitch by pitch. At-bat by at-bat. Brick by brick.

From Elias Sports Bureau: Thome and Machado homered in the same inning for the Orioles on Wednesday. This is the second-largest disparity in age between teammates who homered in the same inning. On June 14, 2005, Julio Franco (46 years, 295 days) and Kelly Johnson (23 years, 112 days) both homered in the fifth inning for the Braves against the Rangers. Thome was 42 years, 30 days old. Machado was 20 years, 82 days.

The Orioles have had only one pitcher with more than 20 starts this season, Wei-Yin Chen, who has 31. No team has ever made the playoffs with only one pitcher making more than 20 starts in a full season. (The Rockies had that in 1995, which started late because of the players' strike.)


• The Chicago White Sox are in a standings free fall, and they lost again to the Cleveland Indians. And while the Detroit Tigers will play the Kansas City Royals on Thursday and then the Minnesota Twins this weekend, the White Sox have to play the red-hot Tampa Bay Rays.

Andy Dirks saved the Tigers on Wednesday. The division is there for the Tigers' taking, writes Tom Gage.

• The Mariners lost and Felix Hernandez's Cy Young chances seem lost, writes Geoff Baker. A month ago, I thought Felix would roll to the award. Now, I think he's behind David Price, Justin Verlander and others.

• Omar Vizquel on what he's going to do once he retires this fall: "I'm going to listen to stories. Not tell them; listen. I'm going to drink them in." He was talking about spending more time with his kids, ages 17 and 5. Vizquel said he'd like to start down the path to becoming a manager or coach in the future.

• Dusty Baker is coming back for the final series of the season.

• CC Sabathia is on a roll again, and Joe Mauer says the left-hander was the best he has ever seen him on Wednesday, in the 190th victory of Sabathia's career.

From ESPN Stats & Info, how Sabathia beat the Twins:

A) Sabathia pounded the strike zone, leading to season highs in strikes (89), pitches in the zone (67), called strikes (29) and foul balls (26).
B) Sabathia was able to locate his pitches everywhere against Twins left-handers, throwing 19 pitches up, middle and down to them. Twins lefties did not record a hit against Sabathia, finishing 0-for-15 with seven strikeouts and seven ground outs.
C) Sabathia's slider was excellent, as he recorded 12 outs on the pitch, the most he has gotten with it since Aug. 3 (eight starts). Sabathia recorded seven called strikes with his slider, as many as he got with it in his previous three starts combined.

Most games for a Yankee with 10 K's and one or fewer BB (single season, since 1920)
5: Sabathia, 2012
5: Mike Mussina, 2001
4: David Cone, 1998
3: David Wells, 1998

This was the guy the Yankees signed up for, writes Joel Sherman. This was a really good sign, writes Bob Klapisch.

• The St. Louis Cardinals are saving their biggest celebration for when they beat the Atlanta Braves, says Adam Wainwright.

• Bobby Valentine doesn't have regrets, and he expects to be back as the Red Sox manager.

By The Numbers
From ESPN Stats & Information

9: Sliders the Blue Jays threw Chris Davis, who hit a pair of home runs off the pitch, countering his 2012 struggles against the pitch.
15: Number of two-strike pitches outside the strike zone by Paul Maholm that the Marlins swung at.
89: Strikes thrown by CC Sabathia against the Twins, a season high.
1,420: Number of hits for David Wright, which gives him sole possession of the most hits in Mets history.

Moves, deals and decisions

1. The Houston Astros have picked a manager. The hiring of Bo Porter makes sense: He's young, upbeat and energetic, and the team can grow with him as it develops in the years ahead. Plus, the Astros don't have to pay him much, and he'll be more open to the heavy dose of sabermetric tonic prescribed by the front office than a lot of more established managers would be.

2. It's unclear where Joe Mauer will get most of his playing time next year.

3. The Chicago Cubs will focus on rotation help this winter. They will be active in the free-agent market, says Jed Hoyer.

4. The Pirates won't be making major front office changes.

Dings and dents

1. Yu Darvish's neck won't prevent him from starting in the next few days.

2. Ubaldo Jimenez has been shut down.

NL East

• The Braves know they will host the wild-card game after their shutout victory Wednesday.

• Jayson Werth got a hit that gave the Washington Nationals some breathing room, writes Adam Kilgore.

• David Wright reached a milestone, and R.A. Dickey will be going for a milestone Thursday.

• In a season of lows, the Miami Marlins had a low point, writes Clark Spencer.

NL Central

• The Cardinals had no answers against Bud Norris.

• Shaun Marcum was The Man for the Milwaukee Brewers, who picked up a game in the wild-card standings.

• Bronson Arroyo had another tough game, writes John Fay.

NL West

• The San Francisco Giants are tuning up for the playoffs, and Buster Posey collected his 100th RBI, writes John Shea.

From ESPN Stats & Information, how Matt Cain beat the Diamondbacks:

A) Cain was excellent on the rare occasions he had to work out of full counts. Cain threw five pitches in a full count, all of them strikes, and struck out all three batters. Cain has now struck out 38 batters in full counts, sixth most among all starters. His strikeout percentage in full counts, 37.3 percent, is third in baseball behind Francisco Liriano (39.glasses.gif and Cole Hamels (41.4).
B) Cain got his outs in different locations depending on the type of hitter he was facing. Cain generated seven fly ball outs to right-handers and seven ground ball outs to left-handers. The only comparable start for Cain this year came on May 27 against the Marlins, where he got 72.7 percent of lefties outs on the ground compared to just 22.2 percent of righties. That game came in the middle of his eight-game win streak.
C) Cain threw more than 50 percent of his pitches to righties on the outer third, giving up one hit and recording seven outs. Right-handed batters are batting just .156 against Cain on pitches on the outer third this season, which leads all NL starters.

• Drew Pomeranz showed promise, writes Patrick Saunders.

• The Los Angeles Dodgers aren't dead yet; Matt Kemp helped keep them alive with a game that looked like something from the early season.

AL East

• The Rays extended their winning streak to seven games, but they were unable to gain ground, Marc Topkin writes. And then they laughed at their rookies, who put on a show.

• Yunel Escobar is set for his first Toronto start since his suspension, writes Brendan Kennedy.

• Jon Lester pitched OK but lost.

AL Central

• The Indians rallied and changed the standings.

AL West

• The Rangers' lead over Oakland is down to three games after a blowout loss.

• The Athletics are taking days off the calendar, edging closer to a wild-card berth, and they came up with a huge win on Wednesday despite setting a record for strikeouts. Thursday is the final day of a challenging stretch in which the Athletics played 17 of 20 games on the road, and after the game against the Rangers, they'll go home to finish their season.

• It's official: Oakland has been doing this with nothing but rookies in its rotation.

• Torii Hunter continues to be extraordinary for the Los Angeles Angels, who are two games behind the Athletics for the last wild-card spot; he had a very clear thought after the Mariners intentionally walked Mike Trout to get to him. Hunter has been crushing the ball.

• Justin Smoak has been on a home run binge.

Peavy's uncertain future in Chicago.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
CHICAGO -- Jake Peavy was among just a handful of players remaining in a quiet Chicago White Sox clubhouse Thursday night when he was asked whether he had given any thought to the idea that he might just pitched his last game in a home Chicago jersey. Peavy -- who had been cussing and screaming at himself as he battled the Tampa Bay Rays -- politely said that no, that really hadn't crossed his mind.

But in less than a week, Peavy's impending free agency could the front-burner issue for the right-hander, if the White Sox can't crawl back into the race in the next 125 hours.

The White Sox hold a $22 million option for 2013 on Peavy, and presumably, the team will decline that. Peavy has had bounce-back season, but that kind of salary would represent about 20-25 percent of the team's payroll, and it wouldn't be good business for the team to pay him at that rate.

But Peavy is going to get paid this winter, nicely, whether it's with a renegotiated deal with the White Sox or as a free agent, because he is one of the relatively small group of second-tier pitchers ready to hit the market.

Zack Greinke is going to be the highest-paid free agent pitcher, the only pitcher who might land a nine-figure deal, and behind him are Kyle Lohse, who turns 34 next week and is coming off a strong season with the Cardinals, Edwin Jackson, Ryan Dempster, Shaun Marcum, Francisco Liriano, Anibal Sanchez, Brandon McCarthy, and Dan Haren, whose $15 million option with the Los Angeles Angels may well be declined.

Peavy's resume stacks up well in that group, and because he had a lot of success at a young age, he is probably younger than most casual fans would realize. At 31 years old, he has proven this year that he's recovered from the groundbreaking surgery that he had, by making 31 starts and racking up 211 innings. This was his first year of more than 200 innings since 2007.

Peavy pitched his home games in a park that is not well-suited to him as a fly ball pitcher -- only three pitchers had a higher ratio of fly balls this season -- but he succeeded anyway; Peavy posted a 3.10 ERA in his home games. He was extremely consistent, month to month, and it will help Peavy that he has an excellent reputation as a teammate and a clubhouse leader. Other White Sox players say he has been a strong influence in the development of Chris Sale.

At the beginning of this season, the idea that Peavy would get another contract of more than a year seemed almost far-fetched, given the nature of his surgery and his recent history. But now Peavy has proven himself, and executives expect that there will be some crazy money at play this winter, now that the labor deal is signed and the draft restrictions are in place.

The Kansas City Royals are looking for a rotation anchor, and their ownership has indicated a willingness to spend. The Cubs have money to spend, and so do the Dodgers, the Red Sox, the Blue Jays (who have been aggressively scouting prospective free agent starters), the Angels, the White Sox, etc. It should be a seller's market in play this winter, and Peavy has demonstrated this year that he's got the goods.

Does this mean Peavy will get a two-year deal? A three-year deal? For something in the range of $12 million a year? We'll see. A year ago, there was no thought that Mark Buehrle would get a deal approaching $60 million, but the Marlins -- desperate for help at the time -- outbid the Nationals by $20 million, in giving the left-hander a four-year, $58 million.

All it takes is one bright-eyed bidder, and once Greinke signs his next deal comes off the free agent board, Peavy will have a lot of eyes on him.

From ESPN Stats and Info: Peavy allowed two earned runs in a no-decision for the White Sox in their 3-2 loss to the Rays. It is the 14th time this season Peavy has allowed three earned runs or less and not won the game.

Most Losses/No Decisions allowing 3 ER or less (AL starters)
Jeremy Hellickson 16
C.J. Wilson 16
Jake Peavy 14
Matt Moore 14

• The Rays' win here was their eighth in a row, and afterward, the celebration music and players' collective clapping thumped through the clubhouse door, as if this was a frat house on a Saturday night. Tampa Bay pulled off a miracle to make the playoffs last year and it's evident that the Rays think they can do it again.

• Ben Zobrist has played well enough as a fill-in at shortstop in recent weeks that the Rays may leave him there for 2013, depending on how the other elements of the team fall into place.

• The Rays won after the other two principals in the race for the second AL wild card berth had lost -- the Athletics, who finally played their last road game in what has been an excruciating stretch of games, and the Angels, who were hit hard by the Mariners.

It was a really tough loss for the Angels, writes Landon Hall.

Almost a year to the day after Evan Longoria hit the home run that put the Rays into the postseason, he hit another dramatic home run.

This was a huge win, James Shields said.

The White Sox are fading, writes Daryl Van Schouwen. The White Sox had it right in front of them again, says Jake Peavy, and they couldn't get it done.

Doug Fister had a record-setting performance, writes Jeff Seidel.

From ESPN Stats and Info, how Fister struck out nine in a row:

A) Fister finished off seven of the nine at-bats with a fastball. Six of the seven fastball strikeouts were preceded by an offspeed pitch (4 sliders, 1 curve, 1 change). All six pitches were strikes.
B) Seven of the nine strikeouts were on pitches up in the zone or above. Fister had seven strikeouts on pitches up in the zone or above in his last three starts combined.
C) Six of the nine strikeouts were on pitches looking, which is a season high for Fister.

• Manny Acta was fired, having lost his clubhouse, and Sandy Alomar, Jr. is the interim manager. The Indians will go through the process of interviewing candidates, but Alomar is the favorite to get the job, at this point. Manny Acta has no regrets. Acta is far from the Indians' only problem, writes Bill Livingston.

• R.A. Dickey picked up his 20th victory and Gio Gonzalez got his 21st. Here's the only thing we know about the Cy Young picks in both leagues: If you're looking for black-and-white choices, forget it.

In the National League, you could make a compelling case for four different pitchers -- R.A. Dickey, who is second in ERA and first in innings and strikeouts; Gio Gonzalez, who has the most wins; Clayton Kershaw, who leads the league in ERA; and Craig Kimbrel, who is having arguably the best season for any reliever in history, with 111 strikeouts and 14 walks and a 1.04 ERA.

In the American League, you could make sound arguments for David Price, for Justin Verlander, for Jered Weaver, for Fernando Rodney.

From ESPN Stats and Info, how Dickey won:

A) Dickey struck out a season-high 13 with his knuckleball, 12 of which were on swings and misses. The Pirates missed 23 Dickey knuckleballs on 62 swings (37.1 percent, season-high).
B) Dickey threw a season-high 66 pitches up in the zone or above, resulting in 13 outs (8 by strikeout). The 8 strikeouts up in the zone or above were also a season-high.
C) Dickey picked up five outs (three strikeouts) in at-bats against righties ending with a knuckleball inside. The Pirates righties were 3 for 12 with a home run in at-bats ending with a knuckleball down the middle or outside.

R.A. Dickey is the first pitcher to win 20 games who regularly threw a knuckleball since Joe Niekro, 1980 Astros, and he's the third-oldest player to record his first 20-win season (Mike Mussina and Jamie Moyer were older) and he also becomes just the 3rd National League pitcher in the last 30 seasons to win 20 games on a losing squad.

Moves, deals and decisions

1. Ben Cherington clarified remarks about a managerial search. Within the sport, it's regarded as a fait accompli that Bobby Valentine will be fired, but the Red Sox have followed through with the statements of Larry Lucchino and John Henry that Valentine would be the manager through the end of this season.

2. Jason Varitek was official named as a special assistant in Boston.

3. Dejan Kovacevic feels like nobody is being held accountable in Pittsburgh.

4. Mark Kiszla wonders if Jim Tracy and the Rockies are right for each other.

5. Stephen Drew could test free agency, writes Susan Slusser.

6. Bo Porter was formally announced as the Astros' manager. He says he won't let this hire distract him from his current duties as the third base coach of the Nationals.

His new bosses are confident in his abilities. His challenge is turning the roster of young players into a contender, writes Zachary Levine.

Dings and dents

1. A couple of Royals suffered injuries.

AL East

The Yankees have had a lot of good things happen with their rotation in the last two weeks, but Ivan Nova continues to struggle, as David Waldstein writes. Alex Rodriguez is prepared for backlash if he doesn't hit in the postseason.

Dan Connolly asks the question of whether the Orioles' lack of postseason experience is a good thing, or a bad thing. Peter Schmuck looks ahead at a possible Orioles' postseason berth.

AL Central

The Royals couldn't finish off a comeback.

AL West

The Rangers' magic number is down to three, after Texas pulled out the final game of their series against the Athletics. Yu Darvish is on course to start Sunday. Joe Nathan got $300,000 for his save, as Gerry Fraley writes.

Franklin Gutierrez made a game-saving catch.

NL East

Dan Uggla had a really good day, as David O'Brien writes.

The Phillies' future is filled with questions, writes Phil Sheridan. There is still no word when Chase Utley will play third base.

Michael Morse flexed his muscles.

The Marlins' losing streak has reached seven.

NL Central

The Cardinals can see the finish line. They are three games up with six games to play, and while they will close out their schedule against two playoff teams in Washington and Cincinnati, both of those clubs are preparing for the playoffs.

The Reds finished off their home schedule with a dramatic walk-off.

The Brewers are still hoping for a miracle, and they'll need one, after having their guts ripped out again. This loss was a crusher, writes Tom Haudricourt.

Travis Snider made a great catch, but the Pirates lost.

The Cubs were swept by the Rockies, completing a weird sort of accomplishment.

NL West

The Dodgers are still alive, and they won Thursday, getting bruises to show for it.

Bruce Bochy confirmed the Melky Cabrera decision. Barry Zito picked up his 14th win.

Kirk Gibson is quiet when discussing the Diamondbacks' drop-off.

The Rockies closed out their home schedule with a sweep.

By The Numbers: From ESPN Stats and Info

7: Oakland A's hitters who have hit at least 30 HR at age 25 or younger after Josh Reddick hit two in a 9-7 loss to the Rangers. The others are Nick Swisher, Eric Chavez, Jose Canseco, Mark McGwire, Reggie Jackson and Sal Bando

9: Consecutive Royals hitters struck out by Tigers starter Doug Fister, setting a new AL record. It is one behind Tom Seaver's record 10 consecutive strikeouts.

20: Wins for R.A. Dickey, the first Mets pitcher to that many wins since Frank Viola in 1990. Dickey is the sixth Mets pitcher to 20 wins in a single season.

21: Wins for Gio Gonzalez, setting a Nationals/Expos single season record. Gonzalez is the first pitcher to win 21 games while pitching fewer than 200 innings (199 1/3).

An alternate AL universe.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Driven by deep data sets, sophisticated technology and collaboration between skilled statistical and scouting staffs, major league teams have become increasingly adept at projecting player performance. In some respects, assembling a roster is the easy part of building a winning team.

The hard part is making sure that roster remains intact. Speaking at Internet Week in New York earlier this year, Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane stressed the importance of predicting and preventing injuries:

"The biggest indicator now -- for a sports team -- of whether you're going to be successful or not is whether or not you stay healthy. The health of baseball players, the health of football players, is going to be a better predictor of a team's performance. And the guy who gets his arms around that is going to be the wealthiest man in the world."

It's easy to see why Beane -- who has spent the past 15 years trying to make the most of Oakland's modest payroll -- would ascribe such importance to health. According to Baseball Prospectus' injury database, 20 teams have spent $10 million or more on injured players this season, led by the Boston Red Sox at $49 million. As a group, major league teams have spent more than $3 billion on player payrolls this season, and almost 16 percent of that total, roughly $480 million, has gone to players who were unavailable due to injury. The percentage is even higher if you exclude players with major league contracts who aren't on 25-man rosters and released players still being paid by their former teams. That's a lot of cash that could have gone to good use elsewhere.

The impact of injuries goes beyond the bottom line. It's also felt on the field. When starters are injured, more playing time goes to less talented replacement players, and team performance suffers. A team's financial and on-field fates are intertwined. The more prospects a team loses to career-ending injuries, the more it has to pay for free agents to fill holes. The more time a team's established starters miss, the more it has to spend on the players who take their places.

The less success a team has in the standings, the more its attendance will suffer, the smaller its season-ticket base will be and the less revenue it can expect to receive from merchandise sales and broadcast contracts. The ramifications from those missed opportunities to make money are often felt far in the future. The less money a team takes in now, the less it can afford to pay players later, which can lead to even harder times ahead.

Until Beane's "wealthiest man in the world" discovers the secret to preserving players, teams will have to accept that some seasons hinge on who stays healthy. Here are a couple divisions that could have looked different this season had injuries not intervened.

AL East
Four American League teams rank among the top 10 in WARP lost to injury, a number arrived at by determining each injured player's average WARP per plate appearance from 2010 to 2012 and multiplying by plate appearances missed this season. The Red Sox lead baseball with 8.3 WARP lost.

More talented teams tend to have higher WARP lost totals, since their players tend to produce more when healthy, but Boston also ranks second in days missed to injury and fourth in percentage of payroll lost.

Given the distance in the standings between the Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays, injuries probably only partially explain their fourth-place position.

AP Photo/Eric Gay
Injuries to Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez have greatly affected the Yankees' season.However, injuries could prove decisive for the teams toward the top of the division. The New York Yankees have lost roughly 6.6 WARP due to injuries to position players Brett Gardner, Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira, among others, as well as prominent pitchers CC Sabathia, Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte -- and that's without counting the potential contributions of Michael Pineda, who suffered a season-ending injury in spring training and was never on the active roster. Had the Yankees enjoyed better health, they might have a larger lead over the Orioles than 1½ games. Then again, the Yankees have by far the oldest team in baseball, so they might have been lucky not to have dealt with more injuries than they have.

The Baltimore Orioles have lost just 2.7 WARP to injuries, compared to 5.4 for the third-place Rays. Evan Longoria's injury, which robbed the Rays of an estimated 2.6 WARP, accounts for the difference between the two teams' WARP lost totals.

AL Central
The Detroit Tigers lead the Chicago White Sox by one game. They have also lost roughly 1.2 WARP to injury. If the two teams are separated by a similar margin at the end of the season, a slightly better health record might deserve some credit for salvaging Detroit's season.

It would be ironic if the White Sox missed out on October because of injuries, since the White Sox have long excelled at keeping their players in uniform. Even this season, the Sox have lost just 8 percent of their payroll to injuries, the same percentage as last season and the fourth lowest in baseball.

However, not counting Victor Martinez, who was never on the active roster and whose injury prompted the Prince Fielder signing, the Tigers have lost just 4 percent of their payroll to injury, the lowest figure in baseball. If Detroit's season ends in disappointment, the team won't be able to blame bad health. In the other divisions, the leads are large enough to have held up had injuries affected every team equally.

Injuries aren't always random. Some teams do a better job of avoiding them, whether by managing potential health problems more effectively or by targeting players who are less likely to get hurt. And some teams do a better job of constructing rosters with greater redundancy, putting good players in a position to step up if starters go down, as Todd Frazier has done for the Cincinnati Redsthis season.

The WARP lost totals don't account for how a team filled its holes, only that it had them. Still, Beane's quote hits home. Once a season starts, few factors are as likely to affect where a team finishes and how much money it makes as how healthy it is compared to the competition.

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Part-time play for Ethier?
AM ETAndre Ethier | Dodgers Recommend0Comments0EmailLos Angeles Dodgers skipper Don Mattingly would not commit to Andre Ethier's role in 2013 and hinted that he could sit versus left-handed pitching.

Ethier does just fine against right-handers but is batting just .214 versus southpaws, .236 for his career.

"I can say all day long that I think he's capable of hitting against lefties, but if the numbers keep telling us that maybe he can't, then we have to go a different route," Mattingly said.

If the club does plan to use Ethier primarily against right-handed pitchers, they could be in the market for a platoon partner this winter.

- Jason A. Churchill
Tags:Los Angeles Dodgers, Andre Ethier
New outfield for NYM?
AM ETNew York Mets Recommend0Comments2EmailWhile the New York Mets aren't likely to release left fielder Jason Bay, it doesn't appear they will aggressive in terms of chasing big-name free agent outfielders, either, writes Andy Martino of the New York Daily News.

Martino specifically names Michael Bourn, B.J. Upton and Shane Victorino -- all centerfielders -- but a any of the one-year ilk could be in play.

Among the possibilities include Juan Pierre, but it's more likely the club checks the trade route to avoid spending big dollars.

- Jason A. Churchill
Tags:Juan Pierre, Michael Bourn, B.J. Upton, Shane Victorino, New York Mets
Potential Cubs targets
AM ETChicago Cubs Recommend0Comments1EmailTop free agent startersZack Greinke, RHPEdwin Jackson, RHPHiroki Kuroda, RHPRyan Dempster, RHPJeremy Guthrie, RHPShaun Marcum, RHPFrancisco Liriano, LHPDaisuke Matsuzaka, RHPAnibal Sanchez, RHPThe Chicago Cubs are planning to vastly improve their starting pitching this coming offseason and could spend big on a free agent or two. Any of the top free agents -- see right -- could be in play as the club has significant payroll flexibility.

Team president Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer could also look to the trade route where right-handers Josh Johnson and James Shields, and Phillies southpaw Cliff Lee could be available.

Additional free agents could hit the market if their current clubs decline 2013 options, including Jake Peavy and Dan Haren.

- Jason A. Churchill
Tags:Chicago Cubs, Anibal Sanchez, Josh Johnson, Cliff Lee, James Shields, Shaun Marcum, Francisco Liriano, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Edwin Jackson, Hiroki Kuroda, Zack Greinke, Jake Peavy, Dan Haren
Drew's options may include A's
AM ETStephen Drew | Athletics Recommend0Comments0EmailThe Oakland Athletics don't typically spend money on free agents but in a way, they could do just that with Stephen Drew, writes Susan Slusser.

Drew's 2013 option is worth $10 million, which Slusser points out would be the highest salary on the club next season. But a healthy Drew may be well worth the one-year commitment, as he's displaying at the plate the past week or so.

Drew's option is of the mutual variety, however, so if the shortstop wishes to test the free agent market, he'll be allowed to do so. Considering the lack of shortstops available, the 28-year-old could cash in on a multi-year contract, perhaps as much as the deal Baltimore handed J.J. Hardy a year ago -- 3-years, $22.5 million.

If Drew bolts Oakland after the season, Cliff Penning becomes the club's top option at shortstop, unless they check the trade and free agent markets for additional help.

- Jason A. Churchill
Tags:Oakland Athletics, J.J. Hardy, Cliff Pennington, Stephen Drew
Extension for Dickey?
AM ETR.A. Dickey | Mets Recommend0Comments0EmailNew York Mets right-hander R.A. Dickey is signed through 2013, but he just picked up win No. 20 and the knuckleballer may win the National League Cy Young Award in November, suggesting his next contract will bring greater riches.

Dickey will make just $5 million next season, but he believes his leverage has improved, and with the way he's pitched this year, he's probably right.

Dickey will turn 38 this fall, but his knuckle ball doesn't require youth for long-term success, as prior knuckle ball specialists can attest. The Mets are again likely to attempt to stay with a two-year deal, but Dickey could hit the open market 13 months from now.

Dickey also said this week that the club's approach to keeping David Wright will weigh heavily on his decision to stay or test free agency.

- Jason A. Churchill
Tags:R.A. Dickey, New York Mets, David Wright
New CF for Seattle?
AM ETFranklin Gutierrez | Mariners Recommend0Comments0EmailCenter Field OptionsB.J. Upton -- Free AgentDenard Span -- Minnesota TwinsChris Young -- Arizona DiamondbacksJuan Pierre -- Free AgentShane Victorino -- Free AgentJacoby Ellsbury -- Boston Red SoxMichael Bourn -- Free AgentAngel Pagan -- Free AgentThe Seattle Mariners may feel the need to find a new centerfielder for 2013 and beyond, despite the fact that Franklin Gutierrez is under contract through 2013.

Gutierrez, who has played in just 130 games combined over the past two seasons, injured himself again Thursday crashing into the outfield wall in Anaheim. The M's removed Gutierrez from the game as a precaution, but the 29-year-old said he feels fine after experiencing some dizzy spells.

Gutierrez has suffered a concussion this season, along with heel and a pectoral injuries that delayed the start of his season. He also missed nearly half of 2011 with a stomach ailment, though that appears to be under control.

He's owed $7 million guaranteed for 2013 and the Mariners have an option on 2014 for $7.5 million, but they can exercise a buyout for a half million.

Seattle is thirsting for offense, but perhaps even more so need reliable veterans and Gutierrez doesn't fit that bill. Don't be surprised if GM Jack Zduriencik looks for a relatively inexpensive centerfielder over the offseason. One who can serve as a fourth outfielder or slide into left field should Gutierrez again grab hold of the job and fly.

- Jason A. Churchill
Tags:Seattle Mariners, Jacoby Ellsbury, Shane Victorino, Juan Pierre, Chris Young, Angel Pagan, Peter Bourjos, Michael Bourn, B.J. Upton, Denard Span, Seattle Mariners, Franklin Gutierrez
Limits for Darvish?
AM ETYu Darvish | Rangers Recommend0Comments0EmailYu Darvish, who had his last start skipped due to neck stiffness, appears to be on track to make his next one Sunday, tweets Anthony Andro. Darvish would then on track to start one of the first two games of the league division series.

Matt Harrison, the club's most consistent starter, may go in Game 1, leaving Game 2 for the first-year major leaguer.

Darvish could be on an abbreviated pitch count for Sunday, just to make sure he's not pushed too far after the crick in his neck, and also to keep him fresh for the postseason.

He's used to a heavy workload, however, and there has been no word on any kind of limitations.

- Jason A. Churchill
Tags:Texas Rangers, Matt Harrison, Yu Darvish
Scherzer out a while?
AM ETMax Scherzer | Tigers Recommend0Comments0EmailDrew Smyly will start for Max Scherzer Friday, tweeted Bob Nghtengale Thursday, robbing the Detroit Tigers of an opportunity to take another step toward the postseason with their best possible starter on the mound. There's no word on how long Scherzer will be out but there is time for him to make one more start in the regular season.

The club, however, isn't sure when Scherzer will return and Lynn Henning tweets that privately the team is concerned the right-hander will miss more than just a start or two.

If the Tigers make the postseason and Scherzer is unavailable, the club may go with three starters -- likely a trio of Justin Verlander, Doug Fister and Anibal Sanchez -- and if they need a fourth they could choose between Rick Porcello and Smyly. Smyly is no sure thing to make the postseason roster, however.

An MRI earlier this week revealed no structural damage in Scherzer's shoulder, so it appears the issue is short-term.

- Jason A> Churchill
Tags:Drew Smyly, Justin Verlander, Doug Fister, Rick Porcello, Max Scherzer, Detroit Tigers
Mauer's position in 2013
AM ETJoe Mauer | Twins Recommend0Comments0EmailJoe Mauer, an all-star catcher with well above average defensive skills, has played first base 30 times and served as the DH some this season. If that trend leaks into 2013, the club's winter to-do list is likely to be different than if Mauer was to go back to catching, say, 125 games, opines Tom Powers.

If the Twins plan to use Mauer at all three spots next season, GM Terry Ryan may be on the lookout for a third catcher to rotate with Mauer and Ryan Doumit. Doumit is not a strong defender, but his bat is valuable and needs to remain in the lineup.

With Justin Morneau climbing back into form, there may not be 30 games available for Mauer to play the position next year, unless the club fields calls on Morneau, whop will be entering the final year of his contract, and could conceivably become trade bait this winter.

- Jason A. Churchill
Tags:Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, Ryan Doumit, Minnesota Twins
September 27, 2012Trading Masterson
PM ETJustin Masterson | Indians Recommend0Comments1EmailJustin Masterson has had a rough year after posting career bests in ERA (3.21) and wins (12) a year ago. The right-hander has reverted back to his struggles with control, suggesting perhaps a role change is in order. He's also arbitration eligible again this offseason, which could prompt the Indians to try and trade him.

Masterson could earn between $5 million and $7 million next season after making $3.825 million this year. He's long been thought by some scouts to be more of a reliever due to his control issues and the lack of a weapon versus left-handed batters.

The Indians, therefore, may have a tough time trading Masterson and could end up non-tendering him to avoid the hefty salary. If that occurs, he'll be a free agent at which time several clubs could jump into the fray.

Masterson could be dominant as a right-handed reliever, facing primarily right-handed batters whom he's held to a .617 OPS this season.

- Jason A. Churchill
Tags:Cleveland Indians, Justin Masterson
September 27, 2012Managerial candidates for Tribe
PM ETCleveland Indians Recommend0Comments0EmailThe Cleveland Indians have announced that Manny Acta has been relieved of his duties as manager of the club, putting in motion their search for his replacement.

The search is likely to span several candidates, perhaps including former Red Sox manager Terry Francona and Indians' Triple-A skipper Mike Sarbaugh.

Sandy Alomar, Jr., who has taken over the helm for the rest of the regular season, could also be a legitimate candidate for the long-term.

Torey Lovullo, Jose Oquendo, Joe McEwing and Tim Bogar could also me on the Indians' list to interview, among many other possibilities.

Last week, ESPN Insider's Jim Bowden wrote about 10 managerial candidates, including Ryne Sandberg, Pat Listach, Dave Martinez and DeMarlo Hale. Others to consider include Joey Cora, Pete Mackanin, Chris Maloney and Tom Runnells. Mackanin and Maloney have been finalists before, as have Hale and Martinez.

- Jason A. Churchill
Tags:Cleveland Indians
September 27, 2012Berkman's status
PM ETSt. Louis Cardinals Recommend0Comments0EmailThe St. Louis Cardinals are not optimistic that they will be at full strength or the postseason, reported Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch earlier this week, with veterans Rafael Furcal and Lance Berkman not likely to return this season.

General manager John Mozeliak said "time is not on our side," with either player. Furcal's elbow injury could linger into next season if he ultimately needs surgery and Berkman, who may consider retirement, just began swinging a bat during his recover from knee surgery. He is still aiming to return before next week's regular season finale.

The Cardinals are using Allen Craig at first base and a combination of Pete Kozma and Daniel Descalso at shortstop, and it appears that will be the alignment during the postseason, too.

- Jason A. Churchill
Tags:St. Louis Cardinals, Pete Kozma, Daniel Descalso, Lance Berkman, Rafael Furcal
September 27, 2012Izzy leaning?
PM ETJason Isringhausen | Angels Recommend0Comments1EmailHe's 40 years old and has made just four appearances in September, which may be feeding Jason Isringhausen's decision to retire, reports

The right-hander said there's a 70 percent chance this is his last season, citing his family as a big reason why he'd call it quits.

Isringhausen's departure wouldn't impact the Halos bullpen much, as he was being used in low-leverage situations, but he's pitched well enough to expect some team to make him a minor league offer should he decide to play one more year.

- Jason A. Churchill
Tags:Los Angeles Angels, Jason Isringhausen
September 27, 2012A's rotation without Anderson
PM ETOakland Athletics Recommend0Comments0EmailThe Oakland Athletics are in good position to lock up a playoff berth and if they do, their starting rotation is a bit up in the air.

Their ace, Brandon McCarthy, is out, their veteran horse, Bartolo Colon, may be able to return at some point next month and contribute and lefty Brett Anderson is dealing with an oblique strain.

Without those three, the A's playoff rotation likely will consist of Jarrod Parker, A.J. Griffin, Tom Milone and Dan Straily -- all rookies. Anderson, however, is working his way back and appears to be on target for the league division series, if the A's get that far.

Whether or not Anderson starts or is used in relief remains to be seen -- he's also coming off Tommy John surgery -- but if he does the most likely candidate to be shifted out of the rotation is Straily.

- Jason A. Churchill
Tags:Bartolo Colon, Brandon McCarthy, Oakland Athletics, Jarrod Parker, A.J. Griffin, Tommy Milone, Brett Anderson, Dan Straily
September 27, 2012Scherzer update
PM ETMax Scherzer | Tigers Recommend0Comments0EmailUPDATE: Smyly will start for Scherzer Friday, tweets Bob Nghtengale, robbing the Tigers of an opportunity to take another step toward the postseason with their best possible starter on the mound. There's no word on how long Scherzer will be out but there is time for him to make one more start in the regular season.


The Detroit Tigers appear to have dodged a bullet with Max Scherzer, who lasted only two innings in Tuesday's start against the Athletics with right-shoulder fatigue.

An MRI revealed no structural damage and 28-year-old will be reevaluated in a few days. The righthander says he can make his next start, although that's not guaranteed.

Any absence would be devastating for the Tigers, who are three games off the pace in the AL Central. Scherzer, the major league leader in strikeouts (224), entered the game 8-1 with a 2.61 ERA since the All-Star break and has settled in as the No. 2 starter behind Justin Verlander.

Left-hander Drew Smyly would likely move into the rotation if Scherzer needs to miss a start.'s Eric Karabell has more on Scherzer's early exit:

- Doug Mittler

Eric Karabell
Scherzer's status

"Scherzer, the major league strikeout leader and 19th among starting pitchers on the Player Rater, added four strikeouts to his total but his fastball velocity was noticeably down. No structural damage was found in Scherzer's shoulder, but don't be surprised if he misses his weekend outing against the Twins."
Tags:Detroit Tigers, Max Scherzer, Drew Smyly
September 27, 2012SF without Melky for postseason
PM ETMelky Cabrera | Giants Recommend0Comments1EmailThe San Francisco Giants, who appears headed for the playoffs again, will not activate Melky Cabrera, reports Andrew Baggarly of

Instead, the Giants will use an outfield alignment of Angel Pagan, Gregor Blanco and Hunter Pence, plus either Xavier Nady, Justin Christian or Aubrey Huff, or even two of the above.

The Giants, who enter play Wednesday 25-12 without Cabrera, figure to play matchup with the left fielder, but Blanco figures to get most of the time when defense is the goal.

- Jason A. Churchill
Tags:Melky Cabrera, Angel Pagan, Hunter Pence, Henry Blanco, Aubrey Huff, Xavier Nady, Justin Christian, San Francisco Giants
September 27, 2012Winter trade candidates
PM ETFuture Trade Candidates Recommend0Comments8EmailWhile several names rumored to be on the trade block this summer that didn't get moved may again be shopped this offseason, there are likely to be new names surfacing once the 2012 season is over and clubs look to reshape their rosters.

Denard Span, Justin Morneau, Josh Willingham, Josh Johnson, Matt Garza and Justin Upton could again be available, but so could Kansas City's Billy Butler, as the Royals search for impact starting pitching, as well as Cleveland's Shin-Soo Choo and Boston's Jacoby Ellsbury, two names that were mentioned but talks reportedly did not go very far in either instance.

Both Choo and Ellsbury will be a free agents after 2013, while Butler is signed through 2014 with a club option for 2015. The Royals could entertain offers for Gordon rather than Butler, especially if rivals hold out for a more valuable player -- Gordon can play the field well while Butler is relegated to DH duties -- in return for pitching. Prospect Wil Myers could replace Gordon in the field and eventually as a productive bat, if not right away.

Hunter Pence, who was traded to the Giants last month, could be on the move again as his 2013 salary figures to be north of $13 million via arbitration.

Jed Lowrie could also be shopped over the winter, as could fellow shortstop Yunel Escobar, Arizona outfielder Gerardo Parra. A player such as Upton, Butler, Gordon or Baltimore's J.J. Hardy, could be candidates for trade next summer if things fall just right, including health, performance and the development of players behind them.

- Jason A. Churchill
Tags:J.J. Hardy, Gerardo Parra, Jed Lowrie, Justin Upton, Shin-Soo Choo, Billy Butler, Alex Gordon, Jacoby Ellsbury, Kansas City Royals, Arizona Diamondbacks, Baltimore Orioles
September 27, 2012Impact of Valverde hiring Boras
AM ETJose Valverde | Tigers Recommend0Comments2EmailJose Valverde has hired Scott Boras just weeks before he hits the free agent market, reports John Lowe of the Detroit Free Press. The move could very well change the closer's fortunes this offseason.

Valverde has not had a great season, posting 31 saves in 36 chances and a 4.02 ERA. He'll be 35 before the 2013 schedule begins and relievers flood the free agent market, as always.

As a result, Valverde, Boras client or not, may have to settle for a one-year deal this winter. Boras has been known to hold out for the extra year or the extra dollar, so his new client may be on the market beyond Christmas.

- Jason A. Churchill
Tags:Jose Valverde, Detroit Tigers
September 27, 2012Cubs winter wish list
AM ETChicago Cubs Recommend0Comments4EmailThe Chicago Cubs have stood pat in terms of player acquisitions since Jed Hoyer and Theo Epstein have taken the reins, instead choosing to lay low and wait for the right time to pounce. There may be indications that the club is ready to do so.

Courtesy of Carrie Muskat of, Hoyer says that the Cubs have payroll flexibility and "we'll obviously be active in the free agent market. That's a big part of our research and work now is evaluating free agents. We have some money to spend and we'll focus on it heavily."

The Cubs are likely to begin with starting pitching but also could seek answers at third base, catcher and second base, as well as the bullpen.

- Jason A. Churchill
Tags:Chicago Cubs
September 27, 2012Ramos or Suzuki in '13?
AM ETWashington Nationals Recommend0Comments0EmailWashington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo says the club;s No. 1 catcher will remain the injured Wilson Ramos in 2013, but that there will be plenty of playing time available for Kurt Suzuki.

Suzuki was acquired from the Oakland Athletics this summer and turned his season around with the Nats. Since the trade, the 28-year-old has batted .271 with a .322 on-base mark and five home runs, all significant improvements over his time in Oakland this season.

Ramos has been on the disabled list almost the entire season, but he's expected to recover fully in time for spring training.

- Jason A. Churchill
Tags:Washington Nationals, Wilson Ramos, Kurt Suzuki
September 27, 2012Sanchez on KC's radar?
AM ETKansas City Royals Recommend0Comments0EmailAnibal Sanchez blanked the Kansas City Royals Tuesday, striking out 10 and yielding just thee hits. After witnessing such domination, Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star wonders if the Royals didn't just get shut out by a future member of their starting rotation.

Sanchez will become a free agent after the season and his recent run of strong starts can only help his case. The Royals, however, appear ready to spend on the right starting pitcher.

Other options for GM Dayton Moore's club include right-hander's Kyle Lohse, Shaun Marcum and perhaps Dan Haren if the Angels declne their options -- which they are expected to do.

Sanchez is likely to draw interest from several teams and the Detroit Tigers may consider re-signing him.

- Jason A. Churchill
Tags:Anibal Sanchez, Kansas City Royals, Shaun Marcum, Kyle Lohse, Detroit Tigers
September 27, 2012Starting pitching market
AM ETFree agent starters Recommend0Comments6EmailFree Agent Starting PItchersZack Greinke, RHPHiroki Kuroda, RHPEdwin Jackson, RHPBrandon McCarthy, RHP Anibal Sanchez, RHP Ryan Dempster, RHPColby Lewis, RHPFrancisco Liriano, LHPKyle Lohse, RHPShaun Marcum, RHPDaisuke Matsuzaka, RHPRoy Oswalt, RHPJeremy Guthrie, RHPEvery offseason starting pitching is among the very hottest commodities. Clubs are trying to trade for it and the top names are being pursued by most teams looking to make a serious run at the World Series the following season. This year's free agent crop isn't as deep as some in recent years, but if some teams decline options on key names, it could become a buyer's market.

Among those with options that aren't sure things to be exercised by their respective clubs include right-hander Jake Peavy of the Chicago White Sox and Dan Haren of the Los Angeles Angels, as well as left-hander Paul Maholm of the Atlanta Braves. Braves veteran Tim Hudson may also be in such a position.

The Sox, Angels and Braves could decline the options and look to bring back their pitchers on multi-year deals -- Peavy's option for 2013, for example, would pay him $22 million, Haren's would pay him $15 million -- in attempt to save on the average annual value.

Greinke is likely to be coveted by many, including both L.A. teams, and perhaps the Orioles, Yankees and Reds, and Kuroda has done nothing but improve his stock from last winter with a strong year in the Bronx.

One club that may be a few starting pitchers away from jumping back atop their division is the Milwaukee Brewers, who dealt Greinke in July. They figure to lose Marcum to free agency, but they could make a play for a few No. 2 or 3 starter types.

Dempster's free agency should be entertaining; the Dodgers tried to get him at the deadline and he reportedly wanted to go there, so it's conceivable he could land there over the offseason.

The Rays are not likely to decline their option on James Shields, but could entertain trade offers for the right-hander. The White Sox and Angels have options to consider on Gavin Floyd and Ervin Santana, too.

- Jason A. Churchill | Dave Cameron
Tough call for Angels?

"Before the season, this looked like a lock to be picked up, but Haren has struggled with back problems that have led to reduced velocity, and in turn, his worst season since his rookie season in 2002. However, an offseason of rest could solve all of his issues, and he's had stretches of effectiveness this season, including his most recent few starts in September. However, Haren's strikeout rate has been trending in the wrong direction for four years now, and even early in the season, he wasn't the same front-line starter he was with the Arizona Diamondbacks. At a net cost of $12 million, the question for the Angels will really come down to whether they can afford to keep both Haren and free-agent starter Zack Greinke, or if they need to choose between them. If picking up Haren's option stands in the way of retaining Greinke, then paying the buyout and hoping to bring him back at a lower salary seems like the best bet. If they don't believe they can re-sign Greinke, however, then they can allocate a few million that would have gone toward keeping him to picking up Haren's option, making sure they don't lose two starters in one fell swoop this winter. Verdict: Decline if they can re-sign Greinke, exercise if they can't."
Tags:Detroit Tigers, Anibal Sanchez, Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Angels, Milwaukee Brewers, Paul Maholm, Tim Hudson, Jake Peavy, Gavin Floyd, Ervin Santana, Dan Haren, Shaun Marcum, Francisco Liriano, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Ryan Dempster, James Shields, Zack Greinke
September 27, 2012Aardsma's role for NYY
AM ETDavid Aardsma | Yankees Recommend0Comments0EmailThe New York Yankees could get a boost from David Aardsma, who joined the team in Minnesota and expects to be activated soon, reports Jeff Bradley of the Newark Star-Ledger.

Aardsma, who recorded 32 saves for Seattle two years ago, has recovered from Tommy John surgery and is looking to get on the mound for the first time in more than two years.

If he proves fully healthy, or close to it, Aardsma could be a key addition for the Yankees over the season's final 10 days, and possibly in the postseason, providing a chance to rest David Robertson, David Phelps, and even Rafael Soriano.

There's likely to be some soft landings for a short while, but if he handles them well, Aardsma could be an option late in games next month.
post #8225 of 72976

Edited by JesusShuttlesworth34 - 9/28/12 at 11:04am
Straight Cash Homey
Straight Cash Homey
post #8226 of 72976
Yo Jesus, you gotta turn that thing right side up yo...

Nice cover!!!
post #8227 of 72976
Originally Posted by psk2310 View Post

Yo Jesus, you gotta turn that thing right side up yo...
Nice cover!!!

laugh.gif stupid phone.....good looks. Haven't seen that in a long time, but the article was some sappy self absorbed nostalgic blog post from the writer. It's all good though.
Straight Cash Homey
Straight Cash Homey
post #8228 of 72976
Originally Posted by JesusShuttlesworth34 View Post

Originally Posted by psk2310 View Post

Yo Jesus, you gotta turn that thing right side up yo...
Nice cover!!!

laugh.gif stupid phone.....good looks. Haven't seen that in a long time, but the article was some sappy self absorbed nostalgic blog post from the writer. It's all good though.

laugh.gif Nice. Repped...

Got Boston coming to Baltimore, gotta get these games...
post #8229 of 72976
Thread Starter 
Congrats to Homer Bailey!
post #8230 of 72976
Big opportunity for Baltimore. O's need this W tonight.
Straight Cash Homey
Straight Cash Homey
post #8231 of 72976
Originally Posted by JesusShuttlesworth34 View Post

Big opportunity for Baltimore. O's need this W tonight.

Yesiir...Ryan Flathery wit his first grand slam!! Congrats to Wieters & his wife on the birth of their first child...
post #8232 of 72976
can't count on boston for sh*t !!!!! mean.gif

Yanks Knicks Jets
Yanks Knicks Jets
post #8233 of 72976
Da O's hon! Chris Davis & Handy Manny hittin' like a bawse!!!

onewearz -
Didn't you celebrate an anniversary? If so, happy anniversary...Wish you & yours many more....
post #8234 of 72976
it was in august but good lookin fam laugh.gif

now please lose ...... happy.gif
Yanks Knicks Jets
Yanks Knicks Jets
post #8235 of 72976
Great night at Camden yesterday. Atmosphere was amazing - incredible difference from years past playing the Sox. Brooks Robinson had his statue unveiled, and all the legends were in attendance.

Entirely too pessimistic to start celebrating until they clinch a berth, but if they manage to win the division I'll be in danger of alcohol poisoning.

Manny Mach pimp.gif
post #8236 of 72976
O's winning and the Yanks are losing....time to take the division.
Straight Cash Homey
Straight Cash Homey
post #8237 of 72976
Stupid ****** Danny Espinoza mean.gif
post #8238 of 72976
Originally Posted by abovelegit1 View Post

Great night at Camden yesterday. Atmosphere was amazing - incredible difference from years past playing the Sox. Brooks Robinson had his statue unveiled, and all the legends were in attendance.

Entirely too pessimistic to start celebrating until they clinch a berth, but if they manage to win the division I'll be in danger of alcohol poisoning.

Manny Mach pimp.gif

Did you get to see the statue revealed? Awesome that Earl Weaver, Eddie Murray, Frank Robinson, Jim Palmer, & Cal were at the game for a great win against a division foe.

post #8239 of 72976
Schucks. Da O's won, but so did the Yanks. As a MLB fan in general, it's good to see Ichiro playing well after toiling away in Seattle for the last several years...
post #8240 of 72976
Good to see Dusty will be back in the Reds dugout when the Reds play St. Lou...
post #8241 of 72976
I hope they're inspired by Dusty and sweep the Cards
post #8242 of 72976
Having a chance to knock the Dodgers out in front of their fans smokin.gif
post #8243 of 72976
The O's clinch a spot smokin.gif Been a while...

edit: well they clinch the opportunity to play-in for the final spot at the very least
Edited by Mr Brown - 9/30/12 at 8:18pm
post #8244 of 72976
Thread Starter 
The AL MVP debate, from the inside.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
CHICAGO -- I haven't kept notes each time I've talked with players, managers and front-office types in the past month about the American League Most Valuable Player vote, and I can't tell you exactly how many have addressed the question of whom they would pick, Miguel Cabrera or Mike Trout. Probably about 50.

But the conversations have been so strikingly similar that I can say, for sure, that all but a very small handful of uniformed personnel -- by small handful, I mean two -- have told me they would pick Cabrera. And all but a very small handful of front-office types -- as in, one -- have told me they would pick Trout.

More than what it says about Cabrera and Trout, this phenomenon tells us that a massive gap of perspective between the on-field and off-field baseball folks remains, at a time when the use of advanced statistical metrics has become more pervasive than ever. "Ten years ago, you'd never see a general manager in the clubhouse," one longtime coach said this week. "Now you see all these stat guys running around, and they're always bringing you theories."

No endorsement of Cabrera or Trout for MVP should be confused for criticism of the player not picked; both players have engendered extraordinary respect within the game. When I've asked, I've done so with the promise of anonymity to encourage complete honesty of opinion.

The on-field personnel see Cabrera as an incredibly reliable, consistent and irreplaceable source of run production, someone who wrecks bad pitching but also hits good pitching. "I've seen him fight off bastard pitches with two strikes, a slider on the black -- he'll foul it off," one player said. "Then, when you're thinking he's leaning over the plate, you try to bust him inside, and he crushes it. He's the best, and he's out there every day. He's really tough, and I don't think you can put into numbers what he means to that team."

A prominent veteran player: "I would be really, really disappointed if Cabrera didn't win."

Players and coaches also mentioned the impact of Cabrera on his teammates, on how they see him provide confidence for the others merely with his presence. "He's a leader, in a way that Trout hasn't had a chance to be yet," one coach said. "You take Trout away from the Angels and it hurts, but they've got other guys. You take Cabrera away from the Tigers and they are a completely different team."

A response from an executive, which is typical of many responses I've heard: "Why is there even a conversation?" In other words, this executive views Trout as so much the superior player overall -- with his peerless baserunning, extraordinary defense and exceptional offensive skills -- that he doesn't view them as close.

"We're seeing a combination of talents we've never seen before," said one highly ranked NL official. "He does everything. He's among the best hitters in the game right now; he is the best baserunner; and he might be the best defender [in the outfield]. It's actually hard to put into words how good he is."

The advanced metrics do it for them. Some executives don't use WAR, viewing it as something of a junk stat, but virtually every team uses some form of metrics to provide a summary of a player's overall value, and Trout has dominated those, in that way that Tiger Woods once dominated in golf.

Those advanced metrics are used now more than ever to pick players, to build teams, to structure decisions made in games every day. The Cabrera-Trout debate is falling along the lines of red states and blue states, and it is just the latest clue about how much players, coaches and managers remain skeptical about the numbers that are crunched all around them.


Trout jump-started the Angels on Friday night, and Jered Weaver took it from there, in picking up his 20th victory. From ESPN Stats & Information, how Weaver won:

A) Weaver threw fastballs 37 percent of the time, his lowest percentage in more than two years and the first start this season in which he has thrown more nonfastballs than fastballs.

B) Rangers hitters were 0-for-12 with two strikes against Weaver, striking out five times. Weaver's five strikeouts came on four pitch types -- two with his slider and one each with his fastball, curveball and changeup.

• Homer Bailey was still a couple of outs from finishing his no-hitter, with Michael McKenry at the plate in the bottom of the ninth inning, and Reds catcher Ryan Hanigan set in the target the way Bailey and the other pitchers love -- demonstratively, precisely where he wants the ball. In this case, Hanigan wanted Bailey to elevate his fastball, to coax McKenry to chase the ball out of the strike zone.

McKenry fouled off a couple of pitches, but he wasn't really close to putting the ball in play, and then, after Hanigan called for a couple of sliders low and away, he beckoned Bailey to go back to a high fastball. This time, McKenry popped the ball into the air, for the 26th out; a few moments later, Bailey got the 27th out, on another popout.

As this season has gone on, Bailey has just gotten better and better, more precise, so he can hit the fringe of the strike zone, or just outside of it, especially with his high fastball. Small sample sizes mean more at this time of year than any other, and, as the Reds prepare to begin the playoffs with Bailey lined up at the back of their rotation, he's throwing the ball very well, with a 2.01 ERA for the past month. That's 11th-best in the majors for September.

The pitchers among the top 10 who are likely to be playoff-bound? The Braves' Mike Minor (a 1.09 ERA in September), Kris Medlen (1.46), Chris Tillman (1.57), Gio Gonzalez (1.74), Yu Darvish (1.80) and Lance Lynn (1.88).

From ESPN Stats & Info, how Bailey threw a no-hitter:

A) Bailey threw his fastball 71 percent of the time, his fourth-highest percentage of the season. He got 19 outs with the pitch.

B) He threw his fastball more as the game went on, including 81 percent of the time from the seventh inning on. He also threw it harder. In the first three innings, his fastball averaged 90.0 mph; in innings seven through nine, it was up to 92.1.

C) Bailey struck out seven hitters with his fastball, five on pitches in the upper half of the zone or higher.

D) Ten of 17 balls in play against Bailey (59 percent) were grounders, his third-highest percentage this season. Eight of the 12 fastballs the Pirates put in play (67 percent) were grounders.

Most no-hitters in a single season, MLB history
1884 -- 8
2012 -- 7
1991 -- 7
1990 -- 7
1969 -- 6
1908 -- 6
1917 -- 6

Bailey looked calm on the outside but had some nerves working on the inside, as John Fay writes.

Dusty Baker wasn't at the park, but he will be soon. Ryan Ludwick will be back in the lineup Sunday after passing a test.

• Robin Ventura's postgame news conference was broadcast in the White Sox clubhouse after their heartening victory Friday, just as it was after their terrible defeat Thursday, and Jake Peavy watched both and was struck deeply by how Ventura sounded and looked exactly the same. "Do you know how awesome that is?" Peavy said. "Do you know how important that is for young players?"

"Robin remembers what it's like to be a player, and that's incredibly important. This guy is going to grow into a great manager. That demeanor is a quality that is hard to [find]."

Chicago's win Friday was just its second in 10 games, yet Ventura has remained consistent throughout. "We've been dragging this man through a wringer with the way we've been playing, all these close games," Peavy said. "He's going to be like Keith Hernandez in that Just For Men commercial by the time he's done with this job. All that hair is going to be gray."

Cheers erupted in U.S. Cellular Field after Detroit's final score was posted, as Toni Ginnetti writes. Jose Quintana will start for the White Sox on Sunday.

Ryan Doumit provided the opportunity for the White Sox to gain ground, as John Shipley writes. Brayan Villarreal just didn't have it for the Tigers, as John Lowe writes.

• Just a guess: I don't think Terry Francona will manage the Cleveland Indians. He has put himself in an elite salary class, with his work and time in Boston, and some executives expect his salary will be in the range of $3 million for his next job. Being a part of the AL Central provides the Indians with an additional level of opportunity, but Cleveland doesn't appear ready to contend immediately because of rotation issues -- and Francona probably will get a better competitive situation elsewhere.

Sandy Alomar is the interim manager -- and probably the favorite to be the permanent choice -- and the Indians won in his first game. Francona will probably interview for the position in the near future.

Alomar talked about how Mike Hargrove has been a managerial influence for him.

Dings and dents

1. Robinson Cano got some X-rays, and Yankee Nation awaits the results.

2. This is a significant blow to the Texas bullpen: Mike Adams is sidelined indefinitely.

3. Neil Walker's season is over.

Moves, deals and decisions

1. The Phillies ended the third-base experiment for Chase Utley, writes Matt Gelb.

2. The Madoff money is being distributed, and the Mets aren't getting any, as Richard Sandomir writes.

3. Ozzie Guillen says he deserves another shot.

4. Tim Kawakami guesses that Barry Zito will be part of the Giants' postseason rotation. That would be a heck of an accomplishment, considering that he was left off the postseason rosters completely in 2010.

5. The Angels' rotation could undergo major changes in the offseason, as Bill Plunkett writes.

6. Tsuyoshi Nishioka did something pretty honorable.

NL West

Buster Posey appears to be OK after an injury scare, and he boosted his lead in the race for the NL batting title. The Giants have stepped up in the clutch, writes Henry Schulman.

Clayton Kershaw was "the man" for the Dodgers, but they weren't able to gain any ground. They're just running out of time.

Justin Upton did some damage.

Jeff Francis had a tough day.

A Padres rookie starter had trouble against the leadoff man.

NL Central

Here's the good news for the Cardinals: Their hitters came out of hiding, taking them one step closer to clinching a wild-card berth. The bad news: Matt Holliday was hit by a pitch and had to come out of the lineup, at a time when David Freese is already hobbling.

For the 21st straight year, the Pirates will not finish with a winning record -- and that milestone was reached in an excruciating manner, at the hands of Homer Bailey. If there was a way to quantify misery, I can't imagine another fan base has had a more difficult finish to the 2012 season than the Pittsburgh fan base.

Milwaukee lost to the Astros, and the Brewers' playoff dreams are almost over.

Darwin Barney's errorless streak ended at 141 games.

NL East

Edwin Jackson was hit hard.

On a night when Chipper Jones was honored, it was the Mets who won -- and there were questions about whether David Wright will finish his career in New York.

The Phillies were officially eliminated.

The Marlins were able to end their losing streak. For the 12th consecutive season, Mark Buerhle has compiled 200 innings, writes Craig Davis.

AL West

Ryan Dempster struggled against a quality opponent again, writes Evan Grant.

Coco Crisp was back in the lineup and helped the Athletics take a day off the calendar, as they work to hang on to their two-game lead for the second wild-card berth.

The Mariners were overpowered, as Geoff Baker writes.

AL Central

The Royals have been losing a lot lately.

AL East
The Yankees were scoreboard watching and knew they had to win, and they did, as David Waldstein writes. Russell Martin provided a powerful spark for the Yankees, writes Joel Sherman.

The Rays' eight-game winning streak ended, and in one day, Tampa Bay's playoff hopes dimmed considerably, as Marc Topkin writes. Tampa Bay doesn't want Matt Moore worrying about tipping pitches.

The Orioles blasted the Red Sox, with a lot of help from Ryan Flaherty, and now they are on the verge of clinching a playoff berth. Meanwhile, Matt Wieters is a dad.

Aaron Cook had a really bad day.

By the Numbers
from ESPN Stats & Info

7: No-hitters this season, tied for the most in one season since 1901.
19: Number of outs Bailey recorded with his fastball in his no-hitter against the Pirates.
6,541: Number of games played between being no-hit for the Pirates entering Friday; a streak dating back to 1971 when Bob Gibson no-hit Pittsburgh.

Mike Trout's shot at 30-50 season.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Joey Votto may be among the very few players in the majors today -- hell, maybe even in baseball history -- who don't define themselves by the statistics they generate. Votto doesn't set numerical goals, he explained earlier this summer. Rather, his goal is to have the best plate appearance he can as often as he can.

But Votto is more Platonic in his world view than his peers, most of whom are attracted by statistical benchmarks like a politician to a television camera.

Buster Posey acknowledged the other day that he understands that 100 RBIs isn't necessarily something that defines him -- but he wanted to reach that benchmark, and he did.

With four days left in the season, some players have opportunities to reach big, round numbers.

200 hits: Miguel Cabrera needs just one more hit to join Derek Jeter as the only members of the 200-hit club this season. Andrew McCutchen could get there with nine hits over the next four days.

40 homers: Adrian Beltre and Giancarlo Stanton each have 36, so both would have to go on a crazy tear over the next 100 hours to make it happen. And as we know, they're both fully capable of doing that.

30 homers: Prince Fielder, Billy Butler and Mike Trout are all within one homer of hitting this milestone. For Fielder, it would be his sixth consecutive season with at least 30 homers; it would give Trout a shot at a 30-50 season (he has 47 stolen bases).

100 runs: Three Yankees are closing in on this in the final days -- Robinson Cano (98), Jeter (97) and Curtis Granderson (96). And Bryce Harper has 96 runs scored, as well.

100 RBIs: Sixteen players already have hit this mark this year, and a few more could join: Adam LaRoche (99), Granderson (98) and Jay Bruce (98). A group of four players sit at 94: Adam Dunn, Ryan Zimmerman, McCutchen and Freddie Freeman.

50 steals: Trout is three away, with five games to play, and Rajai Davis has 45 steals. Davis has been on a tear.

40 steals: Michael Bourn and Ben Revere each have 39 stolen bases, Shane Victorino has 38, and four others have 37, including Juan Pierre.

50 doubles: Albert Pujols has 48 doubles to go along with his 30 homers. It could be his first 50-double season since 2004.

A .300 batting average: There are a handful of players hovering right around that number: Dexter Fowler (.300), Austin Jackson (.299), Aramis Ramirez (.299); Paul Konerko, Adrian Gonzalez and David Freese all sit at .296. Fowler is locked in because he's been shut down for the rest of the year with an injury.

200 strikeouts, for pitchers: Zack Greinke needs three more to get there; 12 others already have.

20 wins: Johnny Cueto and David Price each have 19 victories, and both make their last scheduled starts of the season today. For Price, in particular, this could be nice window dressing to have in the Cy Young award conversation -- like putting a plastic cover on a book report. Price tells Marc Topkin he wouldn't mind getting No. 20, but says he isn't focused on it.

50 saves: The Orioles' Jim Johnson has 49. Adding another would be the capper to an incredible season for him.

40 saves: Chris Perez of the Cleveland Indians has 39.

A 3.00 ERA: Chris Sale sits at 3.05, and in order to get under 3.00, a series of events would have to happen. First, there would have to be a one-game playoff for the AL Central title on Thursday; second, Robin Ventura would have to elect to start Sale; and third, he would have to generate a strong pitching line, of zero or one earned run in at least four innings. But that's the least of the White Sox's worries these days.


• Here's a pretty cool number: We have four days left in the AL schedule and not one playoff spot has been clinched. Four champagne celebrations could happen today.

• Brandon Moss was mobbed by teammates after Oakland won in another walkoff. The finish line is in sight for the Athletics, who could theoretically clinch a playoff spot today.

• Cabrera leads all Triple Crown categories after mashing his 43rd homer, and the Detroit Tigers have a two-game lead with four games to play. Justin Verlander added to his Cy Young Award résumé.

Verlander's velocity
Justin Verlander's average fastball velocity by inning this season.

Inning April-Aug. Sept.
1-3 92.9 94.7
4-6 94.3 96.1
7-9 95.6 95.5
From ESPN Stats & Information, how Verlander won:

A. With seven lefties in the Twins' lineup, Verlander threw 33 changeups, his most in a start since July 2007.
B. Verlander had three strikeouts on his changeup and two more that were set up by a changeup on the previous pitch.
C. For the fifth time in six September starts, Verlander's fastball averaged at least 95 mph (95.2 on Saturday). He averaged 95 mph just twice in 27 starts prior to September. The big jump in his velocity has been early in the game, where he was averaging 93.5 before the seventh inning and has been averaging 95.3 this month.

• Sale was hammered, and now the White Sox will need a lot of help if they're going to win the AL Central.

• Manny Machado homered to push the Baltimore Orioles into a first-place tie with the Yankees, Eduardo Encino writes. Jason Hammel continues to try to work his way back from injury, as mentioned within this Dan Connolly notebook.

Best winning percentage in one-run games (since 1901):
2012: Orioles -- .757
1981: Orioles -- .750
1908: Pirates -- .733
1970: Orioles -- .727

• The New York Yankees squandered a bunch of chances, David Waldstein writes. It was an unacceptable loss, writes Joel Sherman.

Here's a scary number: David Robertson -- so crucial to the success of the Yankees' bullpen -- already has 29 appearances in August and September, and scouts are reporting that his stuff appears to have regressed. His fastball velocity is down almost 4 mph from his season high of 94.6 early in the season.

From the Elias Sports Bureau: Alex Rodriguez, who was 0-for-3 with two walks on Saturday, has not driven in a run in 10 straight games. That's his longest streak without an RBI in more than seven years -- since an 11-game drought in May/June 2005.

• The Tampa Bay Rays are hanging in the race; they are within three games of Oakland for the second wild-card spot after their wipeout victory Saturday.

• A rainout in Texas means that the Rangers and Angels will play a doubleheader today. Nelson Cruz is feeling better.

The Angels sat around and lost ground, Bill Plunkett writes.

• Wild times could be ahead for the Angels, writes Jeff Fletcher.

From his story:

The Angels could play on Wednesday in Seattle, Thursday in Oakland, Friday in Baltimore and Sunday in Anaheim.

"That's a lot of road games, huh?" Angels outfielder Mark Trumbo said. "Until things become a little more clear I'd rather not spend too much time spinning the wheels on all the combinations."

• Posey has widened the lead for the NL batting title, Alex Pavolic writes.

Playoff decisions

1. The Washington Nationals have some dilemmas in lining up their postseason rotation.

2. Kyle Lohse deserves to pitch in Game 1 of the postseason for the St. Louis Cardinals, writes Bernie Miklasz.

3. Eric O'Flaherty is nursing a sore back and will be rested down the stretch.

4. Within this notebook, there is word that Brett Anderson continues to work to come back.

Moves, deals and decision

1. John Tomase writes that when the Boston Red Sox start their search for a new manager, experience will not be needed.

2. Terry Francona will interview with the Indians in the week ahead.

3. Justin Morneau is not sure of his future with the Minnesota Twins, writes Joe Christensen.

4. Robin Ventura wants to continue managing.

5. The Colorado Rockies will be open to trading position players for pitching, writes Troy Renck.

6. The Arizona Diamondbacks will be talking about possible staff changes Monday, writes Nick Piecoro.

Dings and dents

1. Ryan Howard broke his toe in the on-deck circle.

2. Eric Hosmer has a slight tear in his rotator cuff.

3. Jason Giambi is going to need offseason surgery, but he is not ready to retire.

AL East

• The Red Sox continue to have really bad luck against the Orioles. Boston has been unlucky in 12 of 17 games against Baltimore.

AL Central

• The Royals ended their losing streak.

AL West

• Jason Vargas finished his season on a strong note, writes Geoff Baker.

NL East

• Washington's magic number for clinching the NL East is down to one after its latest victory. Kurt Suzuki continues to validate the trade for him.

• With the postseason around the corner, Mike Minor is throwing great, and he shut out the Mets on Saturday.

A different Brave
Mike Minor's season split into two halves.

Stat April-June July-Sept.
Innings 85 2/3 93 2/3
Homers 18 8
BB per 9 4.0 1.7
ERA 6.20 2.21
From ESPN Stats & Info, how Minor beat the Mets:

A. Minor threw fastballs on 49 percent of his pitches, his second straight start and just the fifth of his career in which he threw more offspeed pitches than fastballs.
B. Mets hitters were 1-for-13 with four strikeouts in at-bats ending with a Minor offspeed pitch. He had two strikeouts on both his curveball and slider, the first start of his career he's had at least two strikeouts with each.
C. Minor started 16 of 21 hitters (76 percent) with a first-pitch strike, his highest percentage this season and second highest of his career.

• Ricky Nolasco had a rough final start.

NL Central

• The Cardinals lost in extra innings; they're still in the driver's seat for the second wild-card spot.

• The Milwaukee Brewers are still alive after their latest victory.

• Andrew McCutchen lightened the mood in Pittsburgh.

• The Reds are not hitting that well, writes Hal McCoy.

• The Cubs lost their 99th game.

NL West

• The Dodgers and Matt Kemp are still alive.

• Madison Bumgarner was shaky in his last start before the postseason.

• Chase Headley bashed his 30th homer.

• Trevor Cahill threw a complete game.

By The Numbers
From ESPN Stats & Info

9: Fastball strikeouts by Marco Estrada on Saturday, tied for the third most by any pitcher this season.
14: Walkoff wins by the A's this season, matching their total for the previous three years combined.
24: Home runs by Cabrera in games won by Verlander since the two became teammates in 2008. According to Elias, that's the highest such total for any batter-pitcher combination in the majors during that span.
93: Two-strike hits for Martin Prado this season, which leads the majors; he had two two-strike hits in the Braves' win Saturday.

The Orioles' September magic.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Baltimore's victory over the Boston Red Sox on Friday carried with it a significance that likely went unnoticed except by the most dedicated and exacting of baseball nerds: In defeating the Red Sox 9-1, the Orioles were owners of a positive run differential for the first time since June 24, when they beat the Washington Nationals 2-1 at home. For the three-plus months and 84 games in between, however, the O's were a team that, despite winning games, couldn't pile up more runs than their opponents.

The practical implications of Baltimore's negative run differential were minimal, of course. Despite a midseason lull that found the Orioles just two wins above .500 and 10 games behind the New York Yankees in the middle of July, the Orioles did more winning than losing for most of the summer. After that June 24 win against Washington, Baltimore stood at 41-31 (a .569 winning percentage) and 2.5 games out of first place in the American League East.

Going into today's action, the Orioles' record is 91-67 (.576) and they're tied for first place in the East. Their odds of making the postseason are better than 96 percent.

Trailing the Orioles for much of the summer, however, were constant questions regarding the sustainability of their performance. Since Bill James' work on Pythagorean (or expected) record, it's been pretty well established that the correlation between run scoring/prevention and winning games is extraordinarily strong -- and that a team's ability to score runs while preventing them is more predictive of a team's future record than present wins and losses.

Instead of excellent run scoring and prevention, much of the Orioles' success was due to their almost impossible fortune in one-run games. While an excellent bullpen and/or particularly skilled manager can provide a slight edge in such instances, it's overwhelmingly the case that a team's record in one-run games will gravitate toward the .500 mark.

Baltimore, on the other hand, has posted a 28-9 record in one-run games this season, giving it roughly 10 more wins than one might reasonably expect by that measure. While the odds suggest Baltimore would ultimately fade away, something different has happened this September: Rather than seeing their record regress back to what we'd expect given the Orioles' poor seasonal run differential, what's happened is that their underlying performance has improved dramatically.

Consider the following:

• Between April and August, the Orioles scored 554 runs while allowing 593. That sort of performance would typically produce a .469 winning percentage, or a record of 61-70. The Orioles' record through August was 73-58 (.557 winning percentage).

• In September, the Orioles have scored 147 runs while allowing just 100, a run that will typically produce about a .670 winning percentage, or a 18-9 record. That's Baltimore's record this month.

Even by a more granular measure, wins above replacement (WAR), the Orioles' improvement remains visible. During those first five months of the season, Baltimore posted a team-wide 21.6 WAR, just 26th among the league's 30 teams. In September, it has posted 9.6 WAR, the league's fifth-best mark.

In both cases, Baltimore's improvement is unrivaled. Here are the five teams whose Pythagorean winning percentages in September most greatly exceed their Pythagorean winning percentages from April through August (April through August/September/difference):

1. Orioles: .469/.670/.202
2. Los Angeles Angels: .532/.676/.143
3. Philadelphia Phillies: .480/.612/.132
4. San Francisco Giants: .531/.651/.120
5. Tampa Bay Rays: .563/.649/.086

And here are the five teams whose total September WAR most exceeds their WAR from April through August (April through August/September/difference):

1. Orioles: 21.6/9.6/21
2. Rays: 32.7/10.4/13
3. San Diego Padres: 25.8/6.6/11
4. Giants: 34.1/10.1/10
5. Houston Astros: 13.9/4.3/9

In effect, the Orioles have become in September what they merely appeared to be during the first five months of the season: namely, a playoff-caliber team.

What has led to the improvement in September? As one might expect, there are a number of factors. Here are the three most significant:

Nate McLouth, LF
When McLouth was promoted from Triple-A Norfolk, no player had made as many as 25 starts in left field for the Orioles. After Saturday's win, McLouth has now started 42 of the past 43 games for the Orioles in left. His performance during that time (220 plate appearances, 1.4 WAR) has been above-average, even for a position that requires considerable offensive production. This, of course, is from a player who was released by Pittsburgh, as a 30-year-old, at the end of May.

Manny Machado, 3B
Machado, as a hitter, has produced runs at roughly the same rate this season as Wilson Betemit, whom Machado replaced at third following his August promotion to the majors. Machado has hit for more power, while Betemit got on base more frequently. The difference is in the field. While defensive metrics are to be considered with some care, we know two things: First, Betemit, over a rather large sample, has been worth close to minus-15 runs every 150 games as a third baseman. Second, Machado moved to third base from shortstop, a more challenging position.

Tommy Hunter, RHP
Before September, right-hander Tommy Hunter made 23 appearances -- all but three of them as a starter. The results were poor: In 121 innings, he allowed 32 home runs while striking out fewer than five batters per nine innings, leading to a 5.95 ERA. After moving to a bullpen role at the beginning of the month, Hunter is now throwing 94-97 mph after sitting 91-92 as a starter. The numbers are vastly improved, too: In 12.2 innings, Hunter has posted a 12-2 strikeout-to-walk ratio while allowing zero home runs.

The Orioles could pass the Yankees and win the AL East. They could win one of the two wild-card spots and play a one-game playoff to advance to the ALDS. It's also possible that they miss the postseason altogether. But as September turns to October, at least we know that Baltimore's latest magic is indeed real.

Yadier Molina for NL MVP.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
The race for the American League MVP award is stealing most of the headlines, but the National League competition has become compelling as well.

There are five players between 6.6 and 6.9 Wins Above Replacement per Baseball Reference, and except for David Wright, they are all on teams that have been in the mix for the postseason. In particular, Andrew McCutchen, Buster Posey and Ryan Braun are perceived favorites. Those three players are the top three in the NL in runs created, and their offensive contributions will likely push them to the top of the list of many voters.

In fact, their production has been so similar that it may be difficult to put one ahead of the others. That is why the other member of their class, the less-heralded Yadier Molina, should not surprise anyone if he wins the award.

Molina has always had a reputation as an excellent defender. He has won the last four Gold Gloves, but his victory in 2011 seemed to be more the result of his reputation than his play on the field. From 2005 to 2010, Molina saved 72 runs with his defense, which could account for more than a win per season compared to the average catcher. Over that time, he was in the top three in Defensive Runs Saved among catchers in five of the six seasons.

Yadier Molina's defensive runs saved by component, 2005-2012

Year Adj. ER SB Bunts GFP/DME Total Catcher Rank
2005 3 9 0 -1 11 3
2006 1 7 -1 7 14 1
2007 6 8 1 0 15 2
2008 -2 6 0 -1 3 7
2009 0 4 0 5 9 3
2010 6 6 1 7 20 1
2011 -6 0 -1 3 -4 22
2012 3 8 4 1 16 1

For the first time in his career, Molina cost the Cardinals runs with his defense in 2011. His -4 defensive runs saved dropped him to 22nd at catcher for the year. Specifically, Molina struggled to control the running game of his opponents. In his best seasons, Molina has thrown out between 40 and 55 percent of runners trying to steal, which is exceptional. Last year, he threw out only 25 percent of base-stealers, which was the lowest mark of his career.

One of the main reasons his defensive slump went unnoticed was because Molina had a career year offensively. For the first time, he slugged over .400 (.465). In addition, he had personal bests in home runs (14), doubles (32) and runs scored (55). His offensive improvements made up for much of his defensive lapse. The real question was what kind of player Molina would be going forward.

The Cardinals must have had an inclination when they rewarded Molina with a five-year, $75 million contract extension in the offseason. Since, Molina has continued to hit -- he is slugging .507 with 21 home runs, 28 doubles and 61 runs, which are even better numbers than in 2011 -- and he has rebounded, defensively, to have one of the best seasons of his career.

Molina has excelled in several facets of catcher defense. He has thrown out 31 runners attempting to steal, which is the most of any catcher. By percentage, he has thrown out 45 percent of would-be base stealers, which returns him to the level of his best seasons. As a comparison, Posey has thrown out only 26 percent of runners attempting to steal.

It is remarkable that Molina leads baseball in runners caught stealing, because they are less likely to run against him. Even though Molina is third among catchers in innings with 1,117, runners have only attempted to steal 72 bases against him. There are 19 catchers that have seen more attempts against them, and no catcher with fewer steal attempts has played more than 900 innings.

Somehow, despite the conservative approach baserunners have when he is behind the dish, Molina has still been able to pick off three runners, which is second-best in baseball. All told, Molina has saved eight runs with his stolen base prevention.

Molina has saved another run by his penchant for Good Fielding Plays and avoidance of Defensive Misplays and Errors, the predominant component of which is blocking balls in the dirt. Molina leads the position in blocks with 538, nearly 200 more than Posey's 342. Molina makes life easy on his pitchers by controlling the runners on the basepaths with his glove and his arm, and he also helps them in more subtle ways.

When Molina has been the catcher, his pitching staff has compiled an ERA of 3.60. His primary backup, Tony Cruz, has gotten an ERA of 4.30 from the same staff. That 0.70 point difference is greater than the 0.48 point difference between Posey and his primary backup, Hector Sanchez, and suggests that Molina has helped his pitchers get outs with his game calling.

In total, Molina has saved the Cardinals 16 runs with his defense this season. The closest catcher to him, defensively, has been Salvador Perez, and he has only seven defensive runs saved. The discrepancy between Molina and the next-best catcher is enough to amount to an additional win for the Cardinals over the course of a typical season.

Posey has -1 defensive runs saved. McCutchen has -6 defensive runs saved. Braun has nine defensive runs saved. Molina is well clear of the other candidates, and, as a catcher, he plays a premium position. With the positional adjustment, Molina is ranked third in the NL with 2.6 defensive WAR.

Defensively, Molina has been far more valuable to the Cardinals than the other three MVP candidates have been to their teams, and Molina is not as far behind the others in offense as they are behind him in defense. In fact, his .320 batting average, .377 on-base percentage and .885 OPS are all in the top 10 in the league.

With Albert Pujols now on the Angels, Molina has stepped up as the Cardinals' best player, both offensively and defensively. Were it not for him, the Cardinals would undoubtedly be in a worse position in the standings, and, since they are only a few games up on the Brewers and Dodgers for the final wild-card spot, Molina may have been the difference between the team making the postseason and not.

The numbers make the case: Yadier Molina should be the NL MVP.
post #8245 of 72976
I would have thought that the Orioles had a chance to be in the conversation for best record in the AL?

Blue Jays gave that game away yesterday and now we have the final three games of the year. I can see the Sox taking one from New York, but it is going to be tough to sweep Tampa in TB after we swept them last time.

Should be fun.
Straight Cash Homey
Straight Cash Homey
post #8246 of 72976
Thread Starter 
Kimbrel’s Season For the Ages.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Craig Kimbrel is putting the finishing touches on one of the best relieved seasons in history. He has struck out 113 of his 226 batters faced this season, producing a 50% strikeout rate that nobody with 30+ innings in a season has matched or exceeded.

In fact, nobody has ever thrown 30+ innings with a 45% strikeout rate either. Kimbrel isn’t merely en route to establishing a new record. He is about to blow right by the existing record, which was set in 2003 by Eric Gagne. Gagne struck out 44.7% of the opposition in his Cy Young campaign. Only two other relievers have even topped 44% throughout history: Aroldis Chapman‘s 44.4% rate this season, and Kenley Jansen‘s 44.0% rate last year. While relievers face such a small sample of batters, and another strikeout or two could materially affect the strikeout rates in question, Kimbrel still has a commanding lead. He has simply been unhittable this season and may have established the new benchmark for evaluating relief pitching performance in this era.

Kimbrel has thrown 61.1 innings over 61 appearances this year — both of which are down relative to his oft-cited over usage last season — and has allowed a whopping 26 hits. He has a .245 BABIP against and a 92.6% strand rate. His latter rate leads the league by a full two percentage points. He has also only walked 14 batters this season, which represents the third straight year in which his walk rate dropped. His walk rate was 18.2% in 2010, 10.5% last year, and now 6.2%, which is low before even comparing it to a gaudy 50% strikeout rate. His 8.07 K/BB ratio ranks 2nd all-time among pitchers with at least 30 innings and a 40% strikeout rate: Sergio Romo‘s 70 punchouts against five walks last season has him beat.

One of the biggest reasons Kimbrel wasn’t going to succeed like this was his control: he didn’t have much of it as he progressed through the minors. Whether it be his own work, the tutelage of Roger McDowell, or both, Kimbrel has become a strikeout juggernaut that rarely gives up hits, limits free passes, and strands almost everyone that reaches.

His 1.03 ERA is far and away the lowest among senior circuit relievers. Chapman is in 2nd place at 1.55. Kimbrel also has a ridiculous 0.84 FIP to his name, which is not only substantially lower than Chapman’s 2nd-place 1.51 mark, but happens to be the lowest of all-time. Kimbrel’s 0.84 FIP narrowly edges Gagne’s 0.85 FIP in 2003.

Let’s not stop at the raw rates either, as changes in the scoring environment have made it tougher to score runs over the last few years. Context is key in any analysis and production relative to the league is more important than quoting raw numbers. Kimbrel has a 26 ERA- and a 22 FIP-. Gagne had a 30 ERA- and a 20 FIP- that season. Gagne logged more innings in 2003 — 82.1 to Kimbrel’s current total of 61.1 — but the two were essentially equals from a rate perspective.

Kimbrel has also kept balls on the ground at a 48% clip, up from last year’s 44% rate, and way up from his 28% rate as a rookie. He isn’t an extreme groundballer, but his rate is solid, especially in the context of his other rates. It has been historically tough to put a ball in play against Kimbrel this season, and almost half of the batters who didn’t strikeout or walk batted the ball on the ground. Be it weak contact or hitting the ball directly at fielders, a .245 BABIP with ~50% grounders is a very fruitful combination.

It’s difficult to evaluate relievers with WAR, especially across different eras, given the overall change in reliever usage. Relievers pitched more even 10-12 years ago, let alone 20-25 years ago, and WAR is a counting metric. Gagne’s 4.5 WAR is over a full win greater than Kimbrel’s 3.4 WAR, but that shouldn’t, in any way, invalidate what he has done this season. When great pitchers throw more innings, they produce more overall value.

However, a closer look at the post-1995 reliever leaderboards shows just how much per-inning value Kimbrel has generated this season. There have been 10 relievers with 3.4+ WAR in a season since 1995 and, aside from Kimbrel’s current season, the other nine ranged from 74.2 to 107.2 innings. That Kimbrel has produced 3.4 WAR with 13 fewer innings than anyone else in that leaderboard is remarkable.

Strictly using WAR, Kimbrel’s season might not seem like one for the ages. But he is literally doing things that nobody else in baseball history has either done, or come close to doing. That is the mark of a truly special pitcher, and a truly special season.

A’s Rookie Starting Pitchers Defying Odds.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
The other day, a clerical error on Major League Baseball’s part gave Athletics pitcher Travis Blackley another chance to be a freshman. As a result, the A’s — who had already received more than 60 starts from rookie pitchers — moved even further up the leaderboard of games started by rookie pitchers. But while many rookie-laden pitching rotations stumble, Oakland has gotten some of its finest efforts this season from its group of youngsters.

Since 1947, there have been 85 teams who have had rookies start at least 60 games. Five of those teams were in their expansion season: the 1961 Angels, 1962 Mets, 1969 Padres, 1969 Expos and 1977 Blue Jays. Three teams reached the postseason: the 1952 Dodgers, 1984 Royals and 2003 Giants. It’s this latter group that the A’s and their now six rookie starters hope to join.

Even if Oakland doesn’t reach the postseason, the team has already defied some pretty long odds. These 85 teams averaged only a .431 winning percentage, which is essentially a 70-win season. At a minimum, Oakland will become one of 13 teams in this group to compile a winning record — and the team;s winning percentage will be either the third- or fourth-best among the group. Even though veterans started six of the team’s first eight games, the rotation is all rookies now.

Veterans Brandon McCarthy and Bartolo Colon led the rotation into Japan this March, and then started four of the first six games stateside. But ever since, rookies have dominated the A’s rotation. Really though, it took a while for them to get to the big leagues. Rookies Tommy Milone and Graham Godfrey started the first two games that didn’t involve either McCarthy or Colon. This makes Milone the only wire-to-wire rookie Oakland starter, as mediocrity — as well as a blister problem — conspired to torpedo Godfrey’s season after just five appearances. When Godfrey was demoted the first time, Jarrod Parker came up. Because of that, the A’s essentially had two rookies in the rotation all season. Blackley didn’t hop across the Bay until mid-May, A.J. Griffin arrived in late June and Dan Straily didn’t make his major-league debut until August. Since Straily’s first start though, rookies have started 68% of Oakland’s games. And now with McCarthy and Brett Anderson injured — and Colon suspended — rookies have started the team’s past eight games, and 17 of its past 20.

Much of the success of this rookie class rests with Parker, but it’s not as if he’s breaking new ground this season. His 83 FIP- doesn’t show up until the seventh page of the rookie leaderboard that dates back to 1947. Instead of one rookie leading the way, it’s been a team effort in Oakland. And now this young crew holds their team’s playoff fate in their hands.

That runs in stark contrast to the 2003 Giants. That season’s Giants overcame their World Series hangover to reach the postseason, and rookies Jerome Williams, Jesse Foppert, Kurt Ainsworth and Kevin Correia helped get them there. But Williams was the only one who pitched in the postseason, and he logged only the two innings following Jose Cruz’s dropped fly ball, and even though it was a whole new game, San Francisco was probably dead in the water already.

We find a similar pattern for the 1984 Royals. Mark Gubicza, Bret Saberhagen and Danny Jackson contributed 58 of the team’s starts that season (and Frank Wills chipped in with five), but in the ’84 ALCS, Saberhagen was the only one who pitched. Perhaps Gubicza or Jackson would have pitched had the series continued, but the Royals — who had no business being in the playoffs, look at how bad the AL West was in ’84 — were quickly dispatched by the Tigers.

In ’52, the Brooklyn Dodgers had eight rookie pitchers start games, though five of the eight started five or fewer games. One of those five was rookie Joe Black. Black, primarily a reliever that season and throughout his career, started just two games in the regular season, but was trusted with starting Games 1, 4 and 7 of the World Series that season. The move paid off too, sort of. Black was tagged with the loss in two of his three starts, including Game 7, but the eventual 1952 National League Rookie of the Year only allowed 23 baserunners in 21.1 innings — hard to say it was his fault. Fellow rookie Billy Loes started Game 6, giving rookies four of the seven starts. That is probably the closest parallel, at least in terms of number of games started to this year’s Oakland team. And it still doesn’t do Oakland justice.

While those teams made the playoffs, as the A’s hope to, that doesn’t mean they were necessarily the best among rookie-heavy teams. The ’75 Giants got over with John Montefusco (7.0 WAR) and Pete Falcone (2.0). The ’69 Royals had four rookie starters each compile a FIP of 3.66 or lower and a WAR of 1.7 or higher. In 1968, the famous rookie card brothers, Nolan Ryan and Jerry Koosman, helped the Mets compile the best ERA (2.42) and FIP (2.92) among this 85-team sample. And that’s not even the best season for Mets rookie hurlers. That honor goes to the 1984 team fronted by Dwight Gooden, Ron Darling and Sid Fernandez. No matter how you want to slice it, Gooden’s ’84 is going to come out as the best rookie starting pitcher season since ’47, and probably of all-time. But Darling and Fernandez weren’t exactly chopped liver either for the 90-win, second-place Mets. This year’s A’s don’t have a star like Gooden, but they will end up being a similar quality team. The only difference is now there are extra playoff spots, so Oakland will get to play one more game. And it will be started by a rookie.

The A’s have relied on rookie starting pitchers like few other teams, and they have succeeded to boot. That five rookie pitchers are poised to lead a team into the postseason is basically unprecedented. Only three teams who were so reliant on rookie starters in the regular season reached the postseason, and two of them didn’t lean very heavily on them during their abbreviated playoff runs. Jarrod Parker, Tommy Milone, A.J. Griffin, Travis Blackley and Dan Straily may not be the most imposing rotation in history, but let’s take a moment to appreciate just how rare their accomplishment would be.

Yadier Molina is Having a Johnny Bench Season.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Yadier Molina has always been an amazing defensive catcher, but like most amazing defensive catchers, he hasn’t always been a very good hitter. In fact, for the first three years of his career, he was a pretty terrible hitter, and then he spent four years as an average-ish hitter before his breakout season last year. Well, we thought last year was his breakout season anyway. This year is Breakout 2.0, as Molina has put himself among not just the elite hitting catchers in the game, but has produced at a level that is outstanding for any position. And in the process, he’s having one of the best all-around catcher seasons in baseball history.

There have always been catchers who can hit but can’t throw, and throw but can’t hit, but there haven’t been many who have hit and thrown like Molina has this year. Below is a table of every season in Major League history where a catcher posted both a 140 wRC+ or better and threw out 45% or more of attempted base stealers.

Name Season PA wRC+ SB CS CS%
Joe Torre 1966 614 156 36 34 49%
Johnny Bench 1972 652 155 24 31 56%
Elston Howard 1961 482 149 20 20 50%
Johnny Bench 1970 671 144 32 30 48%
Darrell Porter 1979 679 144 64 57 47%
Ed Bailey 1956 446 144 30 25 45%
Yadier Molina 2012 541 143 38 34 47%
Carlton Fisk 1977 632 143 60 50 45%
Rick Wilkins 1993 500 142 66 56 46%
Johnny Bench 1975 605 142 32 27 46%
Johnny Bench 1974 708 141 37 35 49%
Gene Tenace 1979 582 141 42 38 48%

This is only the 12th time that combination has ever been achieved, and because Bench did it four times, Molina’s only the ninth different catcher to ever pull this off. While invoking Bench’s name might seem like heresy, the reality is that Molina’s 2012 season fits perfectly into Bench’s peak.

Using the custom leaderboards here on the site, we can put all of Molina and Bench’s individual seasons together on one page, then sort as we see fit. Between them, they’ve played in 26 different seasons – Molina’s 2012 ranks 1st in BA, 2nd in OBP, 6th in SLG, 5th in wOBA, and 3rd in wRC+. While Molina can’t quite keep up with what Bench did in 1972 — it might be the best catcher season of all time — his overall performance is essentially a perfect match for any other season of Bench’s career. This year, Yadier Molina is basically performing at Johnny Bench’s normal levels during the prime of his career.

Buster Posey is probably going to win the NL MVP award, and he’s a terrific candidate. Unlike in the AL, there is no real clear cut best player, and you can make strong, valid cases for Posey, Ryan Braun, or Andrew McCutchen. However, given that we know that catcher defense is still something of a black box, and all of the evidence available points to Molina being the best defensive catcher in the game, we shouldn’t overlook Molina as a legitimate contender for the award. He’s hit a little less than the others — though, he still ranks 5th in the NL in wRC+ — and played a little less than Posey, but it’s not that much of a stretch to believe that Molina could have made up the offensive gap with his defensive performance this year.

If you just look at Batting Runs, the totals for the four NL MVP contenders are:

Braun: +55.6
McCutchen: +48.6
Posey: +43.1
Molina: +30.8

Molina’s 25 runs behind Braun, 18 runs behind McCutchen, and 12 runs behind Posey as a hitter. We know that it’s much tougher to find a good hitting catcher than it is to find a good hitting outfielder, so Molina and Posey get a boost from the positional adjustment, while Braun takes a bit of a hit because of where he plays. Including Batting and Position together, the list changes.

McCutchen: +50.8
Posey: +49.1
Braun: +48.9
Molina: +40.3

Now the gap from top to bottom is only 10 runs, with the top three in a virtual tie and Molina lagging just a bit behind. UZR likes Braun’s defense more than McCutchen’s (relative to their peers, which we’ve already adjusted for), which is why he’s the NL leader in WAR, but of course there is some variance in single season defensive data, and Braun hasn’t historically been known as much of a glove guy. But, for us, the question is more along the lines of whether we think Molina could be as many as +10 runs better defensively than the three guys ahead of him.

I see no reason why we wouldn’t consider that a possibility. The range of defensive performance at other positions over significant periods of time has proven to be about +15 to -15, and there isn’t much reason to think that catcher defense matters less than, say, third base defense. If anything, we’d probably want to default to it mattering more, since they are also interacting with the pitcher on balls not in play. And, while we’re limited to currently measuring things like blocking pitches in the dirt and controlling the running game, we know Molina is amazing at those things.

The NL has averaged one stolen base attempt per 10 innings this year, and they’ve been successful 73.5% of the time. Against Molina, the league has averaged one stolen base attempt per 16 innings and been successful just 53 percent of the time. In other words, the only guys trying to steal against Molina are those who are really good at taking second base, and he’s still gunning them down at a league best rate. Meanwhile, runners have taken off against Posey once every eight innings and have been successful 70% of the time.

Pitchers have an affect on SB/CS as well, so maybe we don’t want to lay all of the blame for team’s aggression against SF on Posey, but he’s certainly not deterring the running game in any significant way, nor is he taking advantage of all those extra opportunities to create more outs for his team. Opponents have stolen 51 more bases off Posey than off Molina, and yet he only has two additional caught stealings.

Even if you only give each catcher half credit for the bases advanced and the outs they’ve created, you’re still looking at a net of 25 fewer stolen bases for Molina. The average run value of a steal is about +0.25 runs, so again, you’re looking at a minimum of a six runs difference. If you think the credit for SB/CS should be 100%, then you’re looking at a 12 run difference. In this one area, Molina makes up almost all of the offensive gap between he and Posey.

And it’s not much of a stretch to think that he’s probably better at other parts of catcher defense that we can’t easily measure as well. While Dave Duncan got most of the credit for being the guru who turned mediocre pitchers into aces, he’s been away from the team this year and Kyle Lohse has still put together the a ridiculously great season seemingly out of nowhere. Even without Chris Carpenter, and with Jaime Garcia missing a good chunk of the summer, the Cardinals pitching staff has still been one of the better groups in baseball. Molina is part of that, even if we don’t know exactly how much of that he’s caused.

I don’t have any problem with anyone deciding that they prefer Braun, McCutchen, or Posey for the MVP. They’re all great candidates. Let’s just not ignore the fact that we essentially have a modern day Johnny Bench this year, and Yadier Molina is a pretty great candidate himself.

post #8247 of 72976
Originally Posted by JesusShuttlesworth34 View Post

I would have thought that the Orioles had a chance to be in the conversation for best record in the AL?

Blue Jays gave that game away yesterday and now we have the final three games of the year. I can see the Sox taking one from New York, but it is going to be tough to sweep Tampa in TB after we swept them last time.

Should be fun.

I think the O's need to win the last 3 games & the Yanks to lose 2 to clinch the division...Think that's what I heard on the radio. Sucks because the Yanks have Teixeira. Not sure how at 32 he's going to look after being off what 2 months?

Buck should win AL manager of the year, but Joe Girardi has done a rock solid job this year...Just sayin'.

What are the odds Valentine is coming back? He should've never left Bristol...
post #8248 of 72976
Originally Posted by psk2310 View Post

I think the O's need to win the last 3 games & the Yanks to lose 2 to clinch the division...Think that's what I heard on the radio. Sucks because the Yanks have Teixeira. Not sure how at 32 he's going to look after being off what 2 months?
Buck should win AL manager of the year, but Joe Girardi has done a rock solid job this year...Just sayin'.
What are the odds Valentine is coming back? He should've never left Bristol...

Red Sox desereve everything they are getting from running the Manager that brought them a couple of championships out of town. They used to be a likeable franchise and have now turned into everything they once stood against.

Hopefully they can muster up some competitive edge to knock off the Yanks. If the O's and Yankees finished tied.....they will have a one game playoff to decide the dvision.

I don't like Chen pitching for the Orioles, he keeps the ball up too much and gives up too many HRs. Heard the O's had to have an emergency landing on their plane yesterday after a small fire broke out on board.
Straight Cash Homey
Straight Cash Homey
post #8249 of 72976
O's, man smokin.gif

Woke up to great news this AM that the O's clinched at the minimum, a WC berth. **** that...we're going for the division. Hopefully the Sox relish the idea of actually playing a spoiler here and play a good series vs. the Yanks.

Was rocking some O's gear all weekend while I was upstate for a wedding. I love the fact that random people on the street were more than willing to stop and chop it up about O's baseball.
post #8250 of 72976
Originally Posted by JJs07 View Post

O's, man smokin.gif

Woke up to great news this AM that the O's clinched at the minimum, a WC berth. **** that...we're going for the division. Hopefully the Sox relish the idea of actually playing a spoiler here and play a good series vs. the Yanks.

Was rocking some O's gear all weekend while I was upstate for a wedding. I love the fact that random people on the street were more than willing to stop and chop it up about O's baseball.

Since the Steelers had a bye week, I had an O's fitted on all weekend. I'm so glad they went back to the cartoon bird with the white front, orange bill, black hat. Old school like the old school.

Maybe the apocalypse is coming since the Nats & the O's are going to post season with some much momentum....
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