Baseball Blatherings 2017

“Baseball players are smarter than football players. How often do you see a baseball team penalized for too many men on the field?”
Jim Bouton

75 Responses to “Baseball Blatherings 2017”

  1. Reid

    This sounds like a dumb idea

    They’re not going to do this. It sounds like they things are slow, and they’re trying to drum up publicity.

  2. don

    I think they should consider it after eleven or something like that. FWIW, this is how softball plays their extra inning games.

  3. Reid

    They should consider it, and then not do it. 🙂
    Seriously, I don’t like when rules are changed dramatically for sudden death or end of game situations (e.g., college football ties).

  4. Mitchell

    Or rally scoring.

  5. Reid

    Yep–at least when it was only used in the fifth set. (I hated that!)

  6. Mitchell

    Dan Le Batard’s cohost on the radio, John Weiner, has a list of ideas for making baseball more interesting. The one that’s gotten the most traction is what he calls the Magic At-Bat. It’s a stupid name for not a crazy idea. I think the idea is that once per game, each manager can use a Magic At-Bat and send to the plate anyone in his lineup, regardless of who’s up next in the batting order.

    It’s pretty ridiculous, and I would never support it, but he actually suggested it to Tony LaRussa and Chuck Tanner, on the air, and Tanner at least said it sounds like it might be a fun thing to try. I don’t remember what LaRussa said, but I don’t think he categorically dismissed it.

    They’re using the runner in scoring position for extra innings in the World Baseball Classic.

  7. Mitchell

    I’m trying to teach myself a few things I’m deeply interested in but am not sure where to start. Following just my favorite team isn’t good enough for some of this stuff, so I’ve decided that this season, I’m following the Athletics AND I’m going to pay attention to third basemen in the AL West.

    No idea if I’ll have the interest or energy to do it all season, but I hope that even if I just do it for part of the season, I’ll learn something useful.

    Feel free to ignore!

    Here are the projected depth charts for 3B in the AL West.

    Trevor Plouffe (R/R, age 30)*
    Adam Rosales (R/R, 33)*
    Ryon Healy (R/R, 25)(starting DH)
    Renato Nunez (R/R, 22)

    Los Angeles
    Yunel Escobar (R/R, 34)
    Luis Valbuena (L/R, 31)(starting 1B)*
    Jefry Marte (R/R, 25)
    Cliff Pennington (S/R, 32)

    Kyle Seager (L/R, 29)
    Danny Valencia (R/R, 32)*
    Shawn O’Malley (S/R, 29)

    Alex Bregman (R/R, 22)
    Yulieski Gurriel (R/R, 32)(starting 1B)
    Marwin Gonzalez (S/R, 27)
    Colin Moran (L/R, 24)

    Adrian Beltre (R/R, 37)
    Jurickson Profar (S/R, 24)(starting LF)
    Hanser Alberto (R/R, 24)
    Joey Gallo (L/R, 23)

    * = new on this team

  8. Reid

    I’m trying to teach myself a few things I’m deeply interested in…

    I’m not clear what that would be in your post. I mean, I’m pretty sure it involves 3rd basemen, but that’s it.

  9. Mitchell

    It’s a few things, but a lot of it is about some of the new metrics. I’m not sure where to start, but Keith Law has a new book coming out in mid-April that I hope will give me some ideas. Until I get to read his book, I’m doing a little bit of stat-diving on my own.

  10. Reid

    Basically, something to do with metrics.

  11. Mitchell

    Yes. But not just metrics.

  12. Reid

    Mitchell, I thought of you when I saw this:

    Too bad Marc wasn’t here to add his comments.

  13. Mitchell

    One of the things we really miss out on, no matter how devoted we are as fans, is the local TV commercials for the pro sports teams. This is a great example, and I’m thinking of some really great ones from the Billy Martin era in Oakland (“Billy Ball: It’s a different brand of baseball!”) and the Maddux-Glavine-Smoltz era in Atlanta.

    Have you seen the series of grocery store commercials from the San Antonio Spurs?

  14. Mitchell

    Here’s a bunch of them. They’re terrible, but they’re charming. Perfect for local fans of the team.

  15. Mitchell

    I wonder what Titans fans would think of their star if they saw those awful Island Insurance commercials.

  16. Don

    I wonder what Titans fans would think of their star if they saw those awful Island Insurance commercials.

    I’ll give this a facebook-like thumbs up. That’s Reid’s man as well. He should be ashamed too.

  17. Mitchell

    Why is the official Mariners Twitter account using the old logo for its avatar? They got rid of the trident when we were in high school. That’s irritating.

  18. Reid

    The Island Insurance commercials are awful? Maybe I didn’t see the ones you’re talking about.

    As for local commercials about pro teams, I’ve been looking for one of the Warriors, during the Run TMC era. I think it’s a black and white commercial with Coach Don Nelson going to the play ground, with him mouthing words that can be heard by a narrator: “You guys can’t play,” or something to that effect. I remember seeing it, but I haven’t been able to find it.

  19. don

    Will Mitchell get his predictions in before Opening Day? I don’t know nearly enough to make that many predictions. I do know a lot of the experts are picking a rematch between the Cubs and the Indians in the World Series. The Cubs is the obvious choice, but the Indians? They have added a hitter, in Edwin Encarnacion and they should get Brantley back. They have the best bullpen in baseball with Andrew Miller, who one pundit predicted would win the Cy Young, which is an out there pick as a middle reliever. But I’m not sure if the Indians has enough starting pitching (which is good, but are they a top ten group) and hitting (probably better than I think) to make a good regular season run. I agree though, they have a great lineup for the post season with that bullpen as they showed last year. Hopefully they will get enough out of their starters that they don’t have a worn pen comes playoff time.

    In the AL, everyone is sort of sleeping on the Royals because they weren’t great last year, but that was due to their injuries. Even in the Royals great two World Series runs I wasn’t a huge believer, but no one should be sleeping on them just because of last year.

    The Red Sox will be a good if not great regular season team, with good starting pitching and great hitting. Does any team have a better offensive lineup? The Blue Jays have more power, but not better hitters. The Cubs, maybe, if you remove Hanley Ramirez, the Sox’s DH. The Red Sox question is their bullpen, but they got Kimbrell to close, which should help. I think most pundits have the Red Sox over the Blue Jays in the AL East and a few have them even World Series bound.

    The best race in baseball will be between the Rangers, Astros, and Mariners. I would love to say this is the Mariners year. I just think that if the Astros get any starting pitching at all they will be the team to beat.

    As I said before, in the NL, it’s all about the Cubs again. Last year I said the Mets in the playoffs is the team I would choose (outside of the Cubbies of course), and I’m sticking to it. Harvey wasn’t great last year and the Mets had all sort of injuries down the stretch. But the talk is the Black Knight is back to form. How can a team have Syndergaard, deGrom and a healthy Harvey (if true)? That’s crazy.

    The Dodgers will be good again, and their starting pitching with Jansen in the pen is almost as scary as the Mets. They just need a Puig or someone to be a consistent power hitter. I wonder what their homerun totals as a team was last year?

    Oh and yes the Nationals are a great team again, but that team continually underwhelms come playoff time.

  20. Mitchell

    I didn’t read Don’s thoughts because I want to get mine down without his influence, so here goes. I’ll read his for comparison when I’m done with this.

    AL East
    Tampa Bay
    New York

    This is the second most difficult division to call, because I think the Yankees and Red Sox are volatile. They could blow the division up or they could get left behind. I’m voting for left behind, although I have to say the Red Sox, now that David Ortiz is finally gone are one of the most exciting offenses to watch. I like their team personality for the first time since the Johnny Damon — Kevin Millar days.

    AL Central
    Kansas City

    People are saying this is the last year in the Royals’ window. I’m not sure I buy that, but I also don’t think anyone here can compete with Cleveland, still the best team in the AL. It’s a really good team, and fun to watch. The Twins have some interesting guys in the bullpen, but I’m talking about interesting, not necessarily fantastic. It’s worth mentioning that the last three AL teams in the World Series are from this division — three years, three different teams.

    AL West
    Los Angeles

    The Astros are the most interesting team in the AL, which is what I think I said last year too. Honestly, I suspect their post-season chances depend on whether Dallas Keuchel is good or just okay. I have a feeling he’s going to be good. I don’t like this Rangers team at all and I don’t get why they keep winning. Adding Mike Napoli should make them better, but I’m not feeling it.

    NL East
    New York

    I just want to say this right off: if the Mets win the East, they go to the World Series. They just have too many questions for me (as they did last season), and the Nationals look better to me than they did last year. I still love Stephen Strasburg, and I like Trea Turner at short. It’s a really good team. Atlanta might not win a ton of games, but they’re going to be fun to watch as well.

    NL Central
    St. Louis

    The Cubs are the best team in baseball, possibly by half a mile. The only reason I’m not picking them to win the World Series is just that it’s so incredibly difficult (and rare) to repeat as world champs. The last NL team to win back-to-back World Series is the ’75-’76 Reds (The Big Red Machine!) but you have to go back to the 1921-1922 New York Giants to get the most recent one before them. That’s Babe Ruth days.

    NL West
    Los Angeles
    San Diego
    San Francisco

    I have nothing intelligent to say about my picks here. I just have a bad feeling about the Giants and a good feeling about the Padres. It doesn’t make me happy to say it, since I listen to a lot of Giants games (their radio broadcast team is one of my favorites).


    AL Wildcards: Seattle, Baltimore
    NL Wildcards: St. Louis, Miami

    World Series: Washington over Houston

    AL MVP: Carlos Correa
    NL MVP: Giancarlo Stanton

    AL Cy Young: Corey Kluber
    NL Cy Young: Stephen Strasburg

  21. don

    Picking Boston last in the AL East is pretty bold. Same with picking the Phillies last as well. Just kidding on one of those statements.

    Bumgarner hit two homers and loses yesterday. Actually he didn’t take the loss, but the Giants loss. If Bumgarner was hitting cleanup they probably win.

  22. Mitchell

    They have the best bullpen in baseball with Andrew Miller, who one pundit predicted would win the Cy Young, which is an out there pick as a middle reliever.

    I agree with this, but the pickings were kind of slim for a legit Cy Young candidate in the AL last season. I think a reliever should only win it if there’s no really outstanding starter (that’s why Melancon was the leading candidate before the Os traded him to the Nats), and if it’s going to be a reliever, why not the best reliever? Miller is the best reliever in the AL.

    But I’m not sure if the Indians has enough starting pitching (which is good, but are they a top ten group) and hitting (probably better than I think) to make a good regular season run.

    They have the advantage of playing in an iffy division this season. They’re easily the class of the AL Central, so I can see why a return to the World Series sounds like a good prediction. I think Kurkjian picked the Cubs and Indians both to return.

    Even in the Royals great two World Series runs I wasn’t a huge believer, but no one should be sleeping on them just because of last year.

    I think we feel the same way about them. They’re still a young, talented team.

    The Red Sox will be a good if not great regular season team, with good starting pitching and great hitting. Does any team have a better offensive lineup?

    I think the Os have a better lineup in the AL, but if they do it’s not by much. I think one of the reasons I think the Sox are going to be bad is I’m still not a believer in Chris Sale, which I know doesn’t make any sense. I actually listened to a few of his games last season and he was great. It’s a young, exciting lineup for sure, though. I may also be allowing my dislike for Boston fans to taint my prediction.

    We totally agree on the AL West. That’s going to be a good second half of the season, I think. This could by the Ms year.

    The Dodgers are such a good team, but I question their ability to get from starter to Kenley. The Nats supposedly have the same issue, but I actually like their pen, and if someone doesn’t emerge as the closer (they’re going with Blake Treinan for now), they’ll pick someone up before the deadline. I’m big on the Nats this season, if you can’t tell. I just can’t get enough Strasburg.

    Bumgarner is going to be in the HR derby this year.

  23. Mitchell

    Woo. Dallas Keuchel: 7 IP, 2 H, 2 BB, 4 K, 0 R.

  24. don

    Has a middle reliever ever won a Cy Young? They don’t have any stats like wins or saves. Yes, holds I guess. Miller would have to dominate like he did last year and still it would take everything to fall right for him to win it. But your point about no great starters is valid.

    I don’t know much about Baltimore. I didn’t think they even had a better hitting team than Toronto. I only know of Machado (of course), Trumbo, and Davis. Oh I think they have Jonathan Schoop or something like that. Boston has bigger names and I think they won the last two rookies of the year (Betts and Bogaerts) and should win another this year (Benintendi). They also have Jackie Bradley Jr, the Panda, Pedroria, and Ramirez.

    Weird because I’m sort of iffy on Sale as well, but it was their bullpen that let them down last year even without Sale, but they lost Papi so I guess it’s a little different. I can see their starting pitching wavering, but they seem to have depth in that position with a guy like Joe Kelly or even Steven Wright being their number five once Price comes back.

  25. Don

    I know no one but me cares, but I think the Phillies will do decent this year. And I don’t think they will come in last in the NL East, but with the Nats, Mets, and Marlins in the division that only leaves the Braves to beat out, so it’s very possible. But I think it’s possible that they could finish second as well, behind either the Nats or Mets. There’s always hope.

  26. Mitchell

    At this moment,’s power rankings have the Nats at 1 and the Astros at 2. If the season ends today (after 19 games), my preseason predictions look pretty good. 🙂

  27. Mitchell

    ESPN laid off 100 people today, including a bunch of on-air and on-screen talent. I’m not as irritated at losing Trent Dilfer as I am Ed Werder and Jayson Stark, but the whole thing is just wrong.

    Jayson Stark? Everything just got stupider, including ESPN’s baseball coverage.

  28. Don

    The Phillies are tracking the Nats down, winning five straight. hahaha

  29. Don

    Aaron Judge, right fielder for the Yankees is making the news as he started pretty well this year. Dude is 6’7″, 280 pounds. He’s a monster. He looks like the Mighty Casey on steroids.

  30. don

    Shohei Otani a Japanese baseball player is being compared to Babe Ruth because he’s able to hit and pitch very well. He is supposed to eventually play in the majors. If it’s true he can pitch and hit incredibly, what is the best possible way to maximize his talents? Would you start him as a pitcher in game 1 and start him every fifth start and play him as a fielder in game 3 and play him there every fifth game? Is that conceivable? Or would you make him a play full time on the field and make him a reliever if necessary? Is that even possible? I know they can ask for warm up pitches on the mound, but I think that’s a limited amount. Would he be better off as a National League Player so he can hit as a starting pitcher or an American League Player where he could DH and be a relief pitcher in the same game? I doubt he’s as good as people think in both areas, but the possibilities would be fun if he was.

  31. Mitchell

    Honestly, it depends on how good he is in each position. If he’s Mike Trout, his pitching career is over, right? But if he’s he’s a front-of-the-rotation starter, designate him a pitcher and use him as a PH or DH. It doesn’t help comparing him to Babe Ruth because nobody believes he’s Babe Ruth. We need a better comparison!

  32. mitchell

    Remember when J.T. Snow snatched up Dusty Baker’s kid who was in the way of a possible home plate play? Today the Nationals drafted that kid.

  33. don

    Carlos Correa and Jose Altuve of the Astros are having an amazing start to this year. I was trying to think of any pair of middle infielders in the recent past that has had this kind of start/year. Any ideas?

  34. Mitchell

    That’s a good question. But I will take this moment to remind you that I picked Carlos Correa as my AL MVP this year. 🙂

    Are you talking about their power? Because I think the case can be made for Boston’s Dustin Pedroia and Xander Bogaerts, although maybe I’m wrong because right now, Pedroia is .303/4/41/.382 and Bogaerts is .303/6/41/.359. Geez, those numbers are almost identical. Anyway, they don’t compare to Correa (.325/20/65/.402) and Altuve (.347/13/50/.417) right now.

  35. don

    The closest I can think of is Cano and Jeter, but I have a feeling that Cano’s best came after the Jeter’s peak. I would say both at their best would be very close to Correa and Altuve.

  36. Don

    I haven’t been following the MLB as much as I usually do. Not that I’m an avid fan, but even less this year. I have a few thoughts though, right or wrong. The Dodgers don’t want to face the Diamondbacks, who seem to own the Dodgers this year. The Cubs, Nationals will be a hell of series despite the differences in records. The Nationals has supposedly built a good bullpen. If that’s the case, I like their chances. Did the Nationals ever play in the NL Championship? I don’t remember if they did. Man, if wasn’t for the Nationals being bad in the playoffs every year I would go them from the NL in the World Series. But I cannot put my money on them, I’m going Cubs in a surprise.

    In the AL, Boston against Houston is the match up to watch. Boston’s bats were quiet last year in the playoffs, but I like them in that series. Harold Reynolds picked the Yankees to go from the AL. I sort of see what he sees, and I think they can beat Cleveland if they got to face them. I’m going Boston to go from the AL, but I would love for Houston to go.

    So my picks are Cubs and Boston. But really my picks have no basis for being right.

    Waiting on Mitchell’s predictions…

  37. Reid

    I’m too lazy too check, but do you guys know if there is a paid (or legally free) subscription to watch all the MLB games, like NFL game pass? Or at least the playoffs? I want to try and do this, at least for the playoffs.

  38. Don

    Trust me listen to it on the radio. Just as fun. Unless you cannot listen to it live, then in that case I’m not sure if you can still listen to it.

  39. Mitchell

    If you want to watch them at your convenience, there’s a plan for that. You might not be aware (why would you?) but MLB has been leading the way among the major sports for getting content into its fans’ hands.

    I pay $20 per year for the live radio broadcasts via the MLB@Bat app, but you can listen through a web browser as well. It includes the post season, but it doesn’t let you listen at your convenience. You have to buy the video package for that, I think.

    The AL Wildcard game starts at 2, so I’ll get my picks up before then.

  40. Reid

    OK, thanks you guys. I’ve listened to the games in the car. It’s OK, but I don’t think it’s as good as watching the game.

  41. Mitchell

    For the wildcard games, I just flipped a coin. Because really there’s no way to predict what’s going to happen in a single baseball game.

    AL wildcard game: Twins over Yankees (it landed on heads)
    NL wildcard game: Rockies over D-Backs (heads again)

    ALDS: Astros over Red Sox, Indians over Twins. I have no faith in the Red Sox team but there’s no question they could easily take out the Astros. I just don’t think they will. And the Indians were unbelievable in September.

    NLDS: Nationals over Cubs, Diamondbacks over Dodgers. The Dodgers are so good, but Don is right: the D-Backs had their number all season. I actually think the Nationals will take care of the Cubs quickly, like in 5, even with Scherzer’s bad hammy.

    ALCS: Astros over Indians. This makes me sad because I would love to see Terry Francona win a World Series in Cleveland.

    NLCS: Nationals over Diamondbacks. Also in 5.

    World Series: Nationals over Astros in 6.
    World Series MVP: Daniel Murphy.

  42. Don

    I’m not 100% sure, but I think the ALDS and NLDS is a best of 5.

    I was sure you will have the Nationals over the Astros since that was your picks before the season. I just wasn’t sure how you were going to get there.

  43. Mitchell

    Wouldn’t that be amazing if that happens? That’s never happened in almost 40 years of predicting baseball.

  44. Mitchell

    Oh yeah, the divisional series are 5 games. Just looked it up. So I’ll say Nationals in 4, which isn’t exactly quickly but it’s as quickly as you can do it without a sweep.

    Also: I said Rockies over D-Backs, but made the next prediction as if it were the D-Backs. So I have to change the NLDS to Dodgers over Rockies, then NLCS to Nationals over Dodgers.

  45. Don

    From what I hear the only team in the AL that can come close to matching Cleveland’s bullpen is the Yankees. If the Yankees don’t beat Cleveland, man it would be tough to see Houston beating Cleveland. I understand that’s what you picked before the season, but Kluber has been crazy good and their bull pen may have gotten better from last year. Francona is scheduled not to start Kluber in game 1, and many say it’s because of that bull pen and because Kluber would still be able to pitch Game 5 if necessary.

  46. Mitchell

    I know. I’m only sticking with Houston because of my prediction. I’ll be pretty happy if I’m right or if I’m wrong. And I also picked Kluber to win the Cy Young, although everyone seems to think that’ll go to Chris Sale. The ESPN Cy Young predictor says it’ll be Kluber.

  47. Don

    What I was hearing of the Yankee bullpen must be correct. They go eight and two-thirds (starter had one out) and gave up one run. They were pretty much cruising too.

  48. Don

    Yesterday’s games were great. Although the scores didn’t show it, but games were one run games going into the eight. I didn’t think the games leading up to this have been as exciting with a few exceptions.

    Yankees, Astros will be great. Astros have amazing talent (their bats seem to be stronger than the Cubs last year, which at the time seem unbeatable), but I would have to put my money on the Yankees for this series. The Yankees seem to have the right balance of power hitting and bullpen pitching.

    Nationals’ bats have been cold, but luckily their pitching has been great. I think the way both teams (Nationals and Cubs) have been playing that the winner of today’s game will have a hard time with the Dodgers.

  49. Don

    Crazy Game 5 between the Nats and Cubs. Pitchers on both sides struggled to get anybody out, and that led to more drama, not to mention running out of pitchers, drama. Cubs closer went two and two-thirds innings I believe.

    Pressure got to both teams as there were many sloppy plays, but I thought the Nats showed some resolve coming back after the way they fell behind.

  50. mitchell

    I’m too irritated to respond right now. I know the game well enough to expect things not to work out the way I think they should, and I love the game enough to appreciate its randomness and its weird justices and injustices. And I don’t even have an attachment to the Nationals. But for some reason I’m really disappointed and annoyed that the Nats didn’t beat the Cubs. Gr.

    Anyway. Now with Washington and Cleveland out, I’m all in on Houston.

  51. Don

    I think Yankee fans can be optimistic about being down 2-0 to the Astros. Yankee bullpen for the most part has been able to stifle the Astros’ bats. In turn while the Yankees haven’t been able to hit Astros’ pitching, I have my doubts about how much the Astros starting pitching can dominate this series like they did in the first two games. The Yankees will have to win the next two at home, though.

  52. Mitchell

    I don’t think it’s going to happen. The NY bullpen does look great, but there’s something about this Astros team. The Yankees do look like an easy favorite for the AL East title next year, though. And mostly with homegrown talent, I think.

    It’s weird that the Dodgers haven’t been to the series since ’89. That’s club shouldn’t have this issue. I like this Cubs team better, but Cubs fans are getting to be like Red Sox fans, so I kinda would like them to just shut up.

  53. Don

    You could be right, but the feeling I get listening to the games is if the Astros don’t get a three run lead in the first four innings, they are going to have a hard time winning the last five innings.

    Yeah I picked the Cubs, but that is a solid Dodger team. The scary part is the two young Dodger stars Bellinger, who has been average thus far in the playoffs, and Seager, who is hurt, haven’t had a huge impact in the playoffs(although I think Bellinger helped win a game against the D-backs).

  54. Don

    These series are the 2-3-2 type, which means the Yankees will get one more at home before going back to Houston. I’m going to say Houston will need to win this next game to have a chance despite going back to Houston to play the last two. I think Keuchel is going to pitch tomorrow so more so they need to win this one.

  55. Mitchell

    I listened to the second half of Astros-Yankees Game 7 while out for a walk. Man, I have never seen Lance McCullers pitch, but his curveball sounded devastating. In the last two innings he struck guys out on three pitches. He pitched 4 innings in relief and gave up no runs. It was beautiful.

    Should be a fun series, even though it’s going to feel like a regular NL West series at first.

  56. Don

    You have to give the Astros credit. They looked like a different team in the last two games, from the team that played the first five.

    Hopefully the Astros that played the last two games will show up in the World Series.

  57. Don

    Kershaw was dealing, and really had just one bad pitch. Turner hit the game winning homerun. Turner’s game reminds me a lot of Manny Ramirez. They both don’t look athletic, but they both can hit for average and pretty good power.

  58. Mitchell

    That whole Dodgers infield is amazing.

  59. don

    And I heard their (the Dodger) bullpen didn’t give up one run this entire post season thus far. Crazy.

  60. don

    Incredible game last night. Verlander is special right? He has sort of resurrected a career that was going south fast. This second half of the season and this post season is cementing his HOF career. Without it, I would say maybe not.

  61. Mitchell

    Yeah, maybe not. He lost major velocity on his heater, but then somehow during the season, as he was developing other pitches, his fastball started picking up speed. So now he has his 95 fastball and an assortment of other stuff. Pretty cool.

  62. Reid

  63. Mitchell

    There was no final out of the 1993 World Series, when Joe Carter hit that homer off Mitch Williams. I’ll look at the video later, but I wonder if they just skip that year.

  64. Reid

    No, it’s in there. Same with Luis Gonzalez’s hit off Rivera.

  65. Mitchell

    Game 5 was ridiculous. Also thrilling and fun. And long.

  66. don

    Jensen has been average at best in this World Series. Why is he great anyway, he doesn’t throw hard. Does his ball have that much movement?

  67. Mitchell

    Tom Verducci wrote in SI that none of the pitchers who rely on sliders are getting any real sliding action on that pitch. The word is that the balls are slicker. But Janson, Keuchel, and Darvish have all had issues with that slider, dramatically different numbers on swings and misses in this series.

  68. don


  69. Mitchell

    Here’s that Verducci piece if you’re interested. The part I referred to says:

    With 39 sliders, Kershaw obtained only one swing and miss—his lowest whiff count on the pitch in his past 134 starts. His troubles with the slider echoed those of Dodgers Game 3 starter Yu Darvish (zero swings and misses on his slider for the first time in 34 starts this year) and Astros Game 2 starter Justin Verlander (one swing and miss on the pitch for the first time in 36 starts this year of more than two innings), both of whom told SI that the unusual slickness of the World Series ball made throwing the pitch difficult, a claim supported by both pitching coaches, Brent Strom of the Astros and Rick Honeycutt of the Dodgers. (MLB officials denied any change to the ball other than the ink color.)

  70. don

    Thanks for the article. The fans dig the long ball and maybe more offense was part of the MLB plan.

  71. Mitchell

    This is a great story. Dan Patrick interviewed Ben Reiter today because Reiter’s cover story in SI in June of the 2014 season proclaimed that the Astros would win the 2017 World Series.

    I still have to carve out some time to read these, but here is the original SI article, “Astro-Matic Baseball,” and here is Reiter’s October 24, 2017 recollection of how that went down, “About That Prediction: How the Astros Went from Baseball’s Cellar to the 2017 World Series.”

  72. Mitchell

    Corey Kluber (Cleveland) wins his second Cy Young. I got that one right! Woo.

    Haven’t seen the results, but it wasn’t looking good for me for most of the season. Chris Sale dominated the AL picture through the all-star break, which is about when Kluber and the Indians got white-hot. Sale cooled off a little, and ta-da! It was not an easy call but I got it. Giving myself a pat on the back even though it all seems like luck.

  73. Mitchell

    Max Scherzer wins the NL Cy Young. I think most people would have been fine with either Scherzer or Kershaw winning it. Kershaw takes second. I picked Stephen Strasburg, who finished third. I really think he’s on the verge of winning one: over his last 61.1 innings pitched, he gave up earned runs in only one of those innings! Not a single inning with an earned run in the other 60.1.

    Next year.

  74. Mitchell

    AL MVP goes to Jose Altuve as everyone predicted. NL MVP goes to Giancarlo Stanton as _I_ predicted. Woo.

  75. don

    Man I didn’t even know Votto was in the running. I mean I know he is sort of always in the running since he’s consistently good, but I didn’t hear too much about him being MVP. I thought the guys in the running were Goldschmidt (third), Arenado (fourth), and JD Martinez (not even top ten) – but he didn’t come over to Arizona until just about midseason, I think.

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