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Thread: October in America

  1. #61
    Welp that's been an exciting weekend so far. I think the biggest surprise to me is not the Rangers' rather awful showing but rather the Red Sox having two hard luck losses. I really thought they had a substantial advantage over Cleveland, but I guess that's baseball for you! Wasn't too surprised to see Toronto thrashing the Rangers - the Rangers have an undeservedly high seeding due to an easy division and excellent luck in the regular season.

    In the NL, I was a bit surprised to see the Giants make it past the WC game but MadBum put up a truly amazing game. I absolutely loved the pitching duel last night between Cueto and Lester, but the Giants were clearly outclassed in the end - Lester's pitchcount was inhumanly low for 8 innings. Going into this game I was a bit surprised about offensive production given Game 1, but Game 2 is looking solid; I think it would have been even better if Hendricks didn't have to be pulled early. I enjoyed seeing Travis Wood hit a homer, too. He's already played left field this season, so why can't he also be a slugger?

    In the Nats-Dodgers, I am still thinking the Dodgers are the favorites, but we'll have to see. With the rain delay and the Cubs likely taking a 2-0 lead to SF, I think the Cubs might have a decent break before the NLCS, with all of its advantages and pitfalls.
    "When I meet God, I am going to ask him two questions: Why relativity? And why turbulence? I really believe he will have an answer for the first." - Werner Heisenberg (maybe)

  2. #62
    I LOVE THIS GAME.
    "When I meet God, I am going to ask him two questions: Why relativity? And why turbulence? I really believe he will have an answer for the first." - Werner Heisenberg (maybe)

  3. #63
    Whew. Quite the week, full of extra-innings drama and overall awesomeness. On the AL side, after the two divisional sweeps I was excited to see what the Blue Jays and Indians would show. I'm somewhat surprised - I was favoring the Blue Jays slightly because they have a potent offense and Cleveland has some very serious pitching woes, particularly with starting pitching. The Blue Jays don't have great pitching (especially their bullpen), but I thought the difference in offensive power would begin to tell in this kind of matchup. So far these have instead been very low scoring games with Cleveland edging out Toronto in both cases. Looking forward to seeing how the games go in Toronto this week.

    On the NL side, the Cubs had a couple of pretty exciting games to close out the divisional series, including a four run (!) come-from-behind 9th inning to win Game 4. Javier Baez gets credit for some great hitting in the series, as do Cubs pitchers. I'm happy they got an extra couple of days of rest before starting the NLCS; I think that will really help them in e.g. not having to face Kershaw more than once (maybe) and having their lineup in good order. The Dodgers-Nationals divisional series was pretty epic, including the Game 5 heroics, and I really liked the move to us Kershaw as a closer (even if it may affect NLCS availability as noted above).

    I loved watching NLCS Game 1 tonight - some early small-ball baseball to get a few runs and drive up the pitch count, then an awesome 8 inning that first sees the Dodgers tie it up followed by a grand slam (from Montero!!) to blow the game wide open in the bottom of the inning. I think there will be two management decisions that will be questioned: first, Madden choosing to pinch-hit Soler for Lester's spot in the bottom of the 6th (Lester's pitch count was decent and he was doing a serviceable job all day; Soler grounded out and led to an early start to the bullpen) - I think if Lester had been able to keep a lid on the Dodgers in the 7th, they might have had better luck in the 8th, rather than having to burn three pitchers on the 7th. Secondly, and more consequentially, the Dodger's choice to let Montero bat without swapping out a left pitcher. Most people seem to think that Madden put up Montero as a pinch hitter in the hopes of them swapping pitchers, after which he could counter with Contreras for a better matchup - instead they left the pitcher in and pitched to Montero with the bases loaded. The rest is history!

    I'm going to be in Wrigleyville visiting family tomorrow; can't wait to walk around during Game 2 and soak it all in.

    In their honor, I present you what ESPN magazine has described as an 'empirically awful song'.

    "When I meet God, I am going to ask him two questions: Why relativity? And why turbulence? I really believe he will have an answer for the first." - Werner Heisenberg (maybe)

  4. #64
    All Worship Ragnarök Loki's Avatar
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    Hope is the denial of reality

  5. #65
    As you can all probably guess, I have been pretty damned excited since the Cubbies made it to the World Series - especially on such a commanding performance by Hendricks (facing the minimum!). I continue to have my concerns about the Cubs' offense occasionally going cold, but when they're hitting, they hit, and their walk and RISP numbers aren't bad. Pitching has been in general pretty good, though Rondon is a bit concerning and Arrieta's control is not always as great as I'd like.

    On the Indians' side, I appreciate Kluber and the bullpen, but I question if one elite ace and a fantastic bullpen are going to be enough. The Cubs managed to dismantle their pitching in Game 2, and I think pitching Kluber in 3 games is risky at this point (nor would it help if their starters can't hold the Cubs for the other 4 games). A somewhat similar problem to the Dodgers, but the Dodgers had just a good bullpen supplemented by two superb pitchers.

    Biggest stories so far IMO are the manager matchup (maybe the most sabermetric-y meeting to date?) and - definitely the biggest - Kyle Schwarber at DH. The man was hitting against minor league pitchers for a few days after being on the DL for six freaking months, and then he's slotted in as DH in the World Series and bats .500?!? Wow. I wonder what the season would have been like with him in the two spot on the order - Bryant's power was being wasted there, and moving him back to 3 and having Rizzo bat cleanup would have turned an already nightmare-inducing lineup into a steamroller.

    I think the umpire calling this series is also a fantastic argument in favor of computerized strike calling - Kluber got a lot of called third strikes off the plate in Game 1, and Arrieta got a few free passes in Game 2. The technology exists, it makes sense to use it.

    My call? Cubs in 6. I would love it if they won it in 5 so Wrigley Field could be the site of the win, but I think 6 is more likely. We'll see! The Indians are a tough club.

    And because I must:




    edit:
    Oh, and I think the hype over Otani doesn't mean anything until we seem him play in the US Majors. There have been a few fantastic players who have made the shift from Japan but they are rare - AAAA NPB ball is just so different. It's not just a relative skill level issue - pitching is different because of different balls, strike zones, etc. If he can truly live up to his current potential, though, that would be awesome. For now I'd say the best pitcher in baseball is Clayton Kershaw and the best non-pitcher is probably Mike Trout. It's hard to perform at their level consistently, but if Otani can, he's be a real catch for an MLB team, especially in the AL.
    Last edited by wiggin; 10-27-2016 at 07:09 PM.
    "When I meet God, I am going to ask him two questions: Why relativity? And why turbulence? I really believe he will have an answer for the first." - Werner Heisenberg (maybe)

  6. #66
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    I'm going to go out on a limb and say the Cubs won't win in 6.
    Hope is the denial of reality

  7. #67
    If I had special mental powers, you'd be ashes by now.

    Yeah, the Indians have impressed me - but more concerningly, the hot-and-cold offense of the Cubs has concerned me. I think it's likely the Indians will now win, though it looks like the Cubs will at least force a Game 6 (we'll see, though, using Chapman in the 7th makes me wonder what Madden will do when he gets to the 9th). I haven't really been loving these games - other than the pitching duel in Game 3 there hasn't been as much drama IMO as in some of the earlier playoff games. Oh, well!
    "When I meet God, I am going to ask him two questions: Why relativity? And why turbulence? I really believe he will have an answer for the first." - Werner Heisenberg (maybe)

  8. #68




    This Series has been all sorts of crazy - a few nail-biters and a few blowouts. But coming back from down 3-1 to force a Game 7, and in such a commanding fashion... I'm stoked.

    I'm a bit surprised that Madden stuck with Chapman to start the 9th given our likely bullpen needs in Game 7 and the 7-run lead, but I guess there was a logic there. It will be interesting if Chapman has enough fuel left for another multi-inning appearance or not. I'm hoping that Hendricks can manage 7 innings, but that seems like a stretch given how the rest of the series has gone. The Indians preserved their three big bullpen arms (since the game was pretty much lost by the 4th inning), and they have a short-rest Kluber starting, so they have the advantage in pitching, even against the likely NL Cy Young winner starting for Chicago. Should be interesting to see which Cubs show up - the unstoppable offensive force we saw tonight, or the 'strand all the baserunners, can't string together any hits' mess we've seen in some other games during the playoffs. If the former show up, I'm giving the Cubs a slight advantage, mostly because Kluber has got to be tired.

    Curious to see whether Madden will use any of his starters in the bullpen - Lester will be on 3 days of rest, and Lackey on 4. Might be better than some of the other bullpen options, but we'll have to see how deep Hendricks can pitch.

    The other wild card is the weather - is was quite warm in Cleveland tonight, which helped the long ball (along with a modest wind blowing out), and while it's again going to be warm tomorrow, it might rain in the evening. A postponed Game 7 will give Kluber more rest, but it will also give Lester and Chapman a chance to recover.

    I continue to be unimpressed with the umpires - Joe West was pretty awful tonight. I don't know if he has really favored one team or another (it's easy to get upset about the incorrect calls that hurt your team, harder to care about ones that hurt the opposition) - there were pitches that went both ways IMO. But there were a number of critical pitches that were simply mis-called, and some of them weren't even that close. I really think computerized pitch-calling can't get here soon enough. On other calls, though, I've been pretty impressed - most of the calls on e.g. tags and plays at first have been accurate even with very close plays, and those that have been successfully challenged by replays were clearly quite close. So, umps should be deciding calls on the field (backed by replays) but not balls and strikes. IMO.
    "When I meet God, I am going to ask him two questions: Why relativity? And why turbulence? I really believe he will have an answer for the first." - Werner Heisenberg (maybe)

  9. #69
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    Are the Yankees getting an honorable mention for supplying the best relievers to both finalists?

    Totally agreed on the need for an automated strike zone. The only opposition comes from Luddites. The main impact would be improve offense as batters would swing at fewer bad pitches after a strike 2.
    Hope is the denial of reality

  10. #70
    Quote Originally Posted by Loki View Post
    Are the Yankees getting an honorable mention for supplying the best relievers to both finalists?

    Totally agreed on the need for an automated strike zone. The only opposition comes from Luddites. The main impact would be improve offense as batters would swing at fewer bad pitches after a strike 2.
    I think it would also help pitchers - nowadays, pitchers have to 'feel out' where the strike zone is, and inconsistent strike zones are the bane of pitchers everywhere. That being said, fivethirtyeight agrees with you, since pitchers can use borderline pitches when they're up on the count, but batters just have to take whatever is coming at them - automated strike zone would eliminate this advantage.

    And too bad the Yankees couldn't actually be a decent team so they had to trade their best players for good prospects. Even renting Chapman for half a season in exchange for Gleyber Torres is worth it if it means they win the World Series.

    So far excited about the Fowler leadoff homer and the amount of contact Cubs batters are getting. A bit bummer that Schwarber went for the 2B when he isn't running so well, but there's a lot of game left!
    "When I meet God, I am going to ask him two questions: Why relativity? And why turbulence? I really believe he will have an answer for the first." - Werner Heisenberg (maybe)

  11. #71
    I'm feeling pretty good about this game.
    "When I meet God, I am going to ask him two questions: Why relativity? And why turbulence? I really believe he will have an answer for the first." - Werner Heisenberg (maybe)

  12. #72
    Should have left Hendricks in.
    "When I meet God, I am going to ask him two questions: Why relativity? And why turbulence? I really believe he will have an answer for the first." - Werner Heisenberg (maybe)

  13. #73
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    Will there be a Buckner moment?
    Hope is the denial of reality

  14. #74
    You jinxed it!!!!
    "When I meet God, I am going to ask him two questions: Why relativity? And why turbulence? I really believe he will have an answer for the first." - Werner Heisenberg (maybe)

  15. #75
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    And that's a yes.

    If they lose, the manager will never live down playing Chapman last game.
    Hope is the denial of reality

  16. #76
    I have some serious complaints about Maddon here.
    "When I meet God, I am going to ask him two questions: Why relativity? And why turbulence? I really believe he will have an answer for the first." - Werner Heisenberg (maybe)

  17. #77
    How about David Ross' final game of his career?

    I'm hopeful they will be able to manufacture something off of that walk. Because with this rain, I don't know how it can go to extras very far.
    "When I meet God, I am going to ask him two questions: Why relativity? And why turbulence? I really believe he will have an answer for the first." - Werner Heisenberg (maybe)

  18. #78
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    What would be the economic impact on Chicago of this game going to 18 innings?
    Hope is the denial of reality

  19. #79
    Quote Originally Posted by Loki View Post
    What would be the economic impact on Chicago of this game going to 18 innings?
    The economic impact of a Cubs victory in any number of innings would be spectacular - I assume the city will burn.
    "When I meet God, I am going to ask him two questions: Why relativity? And why turbulence? I really believe he will have an answer for the first." - Werner Heisenberg (maybe)

  20. #80
    I am literally sick to my stomach watching Chapman pitch this 9th inning.
    "When I meet God, I am going to ask him two questions: Why relativity? And why turbulence? I really believe he will have an answer for the first." - Werner Heisenberg (maybe)

  21. #81
    ...and now, a rain delay. Possibly most epic World Series Game 7 ever?
    "When I meet God, I am going to ask him two questions: Why relativity? And why turbulence? I really believe he will have an answer for the first." - Werner Heisenberg (maybe)

  22. #82
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    At what point do they cancel the whole thing and give the title to the Yankees?
    Hope is the denial of reality

  23. #83
    !!!!!!!!!
    "When I meet God, I am going to ask him two questions: Why relativity? And why turbulence? I really believe he will have an answer for the first." - Werner Heisenberg (maybe)

  24. #84
    All Worship Ragnarök Loki's Avatar
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    It's a good thing elections aren't tomorrow.
    Hope is the denial of reality

  25. #85
    I'm shocked they gave Chapman the win, but Zobrist totally deserved MVP. What a game.
    "When I meet God, I am going to ask him two questions: Why relativity? And why turbulence? I really believe he will have an answer for the first." - Werner Heisenberg (maybe)

  26. #86
    I'm pretty damned excited about spring training, of course, but I have a silly fascination with the World Baseball Classic. It's silly because the players are generally playing, at best, at AAA level (or maybe AAAA level) because most of the best players are staying at spring training. Obviously you'll have a few powerhouse countries even so (a small percentage of the Dominican or American players, for example, will still manage to make a pretty solid team), but most of the countries have scraped together minor league talent leavened with the occasional major league player they are convinced has, say, Dutch heritage (in 2013, Anthony Rizzo played for Italy). And most countries don't bother spending much effort on practice as a squad.

    Even so, it's still fun. Not in the Olympics 'rah rah my country rocks' kind of fun, but in more of a 'hey it's pretty cool that Italy and China have baseball teams'. The games are generally high scoring since there aren't many pitching aces, and you can get pretty wild lead changes. Just because I can (and because they are clearly the underdog) I've been rooting for Israel - no one expected them to qualify, and it looks like they might sweep the first round robin group (and, quite possibly, fail miserably in the second or third rounds). I had a friend who played for the Netanya Tigers in the Israel Baseball League's first year back in 2007; not even on a AA level, of course, but it was fun to see a bunch of ex-pat (or not so ex-pat) Americans and the like try to bring the sport to a country that barely knows it exists. When they get eliminated, I think I'll root for PR.

    Once that nonsense is over, it'll be time for opening day. Trying to get tix for the Red Sox-Cubs series in April but that's obviously a very high demand series. Should be interesting to see how the league shakes out after the offseason. I think the big question will be whether teams should have paid as much as they did for top shelf closing talent; that was the big story aside from a few sluggers who moved in free agency. Not that much starting pitching was available, but it's clear that we're in an era where bullpen management matters a whole hell of a lot, so teams are working on shoring up the depth of their bullpen so they could theoretically have relievers pitch for long stretches in the middle innings when starting talent fails to keep pace.

    On the Cubs, looking forward to seeing if Heyward's reworked swing starts getting results, if Addison Russell keeps up offensive numbers deserving of the 5 spot, and if the Cubs move the pitcher to the 8 spot to give Schwarber a chance to use his slugging in the leadoff position. It's going to be really gnarly trying to pitch to 6 or 7 straight hitters in that order. Should be interesting to see what Maddon does with the outfielders (platoon?) and if Bryant is used as much as a utility player or if they'll keep him more at 3rd. I'm still a bit concerned about the 5th spot in the pitching rotation, of course, and would like to see some more depth in their pitching as well as their farm system, which was largely cleared out for trades last year. They have some solid young players locked in at cheapish rates for a few more years, but it's never too early to start thinking about the future.
    "When I meet God, I am going to ask him two questions: Why relativity? And why turbulence? I really believe he will have an answer for the first." - Werner Heisenberg (maybe)

  27. #87
    I've got half a dozen MLB.TV Premium accounts (good for a full year starting today) if someone wants to trade a netflix profile spot for one.

    Wife would much rather watch netflix than baseball while stuck at home with the baby this summer.
    Last edited by Ominous Gamer; 04-04-2017 at 02:54 PM.
    "In a field where an overlooked bug could cost millions, you want people who will speak their minds, even if they’re sometimes obnoxious about it."

  28. #88
    Tonight's Cubs-Yanks game is crazy. They're on the eighteenth inning after a three run rally at the bottom of the 9th using small ball baseball. I desperately need to sleep but I just can't.
    "When I meet God, I am going to ask him two questions: Why relativity? And why turbulence? I really believe he will have an answer for the first." - Werner Heisenberg (maybe)

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