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It's nice to finally be invited to the dance.

It's one of my favourite times of the year. Like March Madness but with baseball, and like a hundred fewer teams. Lets take a look at what we might be in for...

AL Wildcard Game -- Yankees versus Astros

New York Yankees

Ugh. Don't let some tell you otherwise, they're a good team. A lot better than you want to believe. That bullpen terrifies the heck out of me in a short series with multiple off-days, Dioner Navarro heroics or no. And they hit lots of home runs, which again in a tight ballgame: trouble. But they gotta win one game or it's all over, and I'd be worried about the 1962 Mets in a one game take all (though mostly for the risk of obscene embarrassment).

Eeph Factor (like an X-Factor, but cooler. Tell your friends): Carlos Beltran. Look up his career playoff numbers, then look them up again. Okay,.. one more time. Yarp. We're at the point where you could make a HoF case for Beltran and I think those playoff numbers have to be considered. It's why David Ortiz probably makes it even if he finished around 460 home runs instead of 500ish.   

Houston Astros

What a weird team. They hit tons of home runs, but strike out a bazillion times. Which I guess isn't that weird. They were awful for years and years and now have perhaps the most exciting young shortstop to come along in decades. Again, probably not that weird. I dunno, there's just something weird about the makeup of this squad. Let's call it the Rasmus Effect, since this team seems full of similar hitters. Also, I still like Colby Rasmus.

Anyway, Houston has had excellent pitching all season, by both bullpen (which should serve them well in a one-off versus New York) and starters. Their starting pitching is deep enough that it's difficult to decide who you'd want to go after Keuchel. Scott Kazmir is the big trade deadline addition, Lance McCullers Jr. is the hotshot arm with strikeouts galore, Mike Fiers has been very good and threw a no hitter, and that would be a pretty solid 2-3-4. Oh, and they have a 19 game winner lying around in Colin McHugh. There's a lot of youth (position players especially) which could be a concern against the Yankees (they're very good at creating concerns), but having a lefty arm like Keuchel go up against a lefty heavy lineup (Ellsbury, McCann, Gregorious, Bird) probably gives the Astros their best chance. We'll see.

Eeph Factor: That stupid hill in centerfield. I just imagine somebody like Lorenzo Cain about to make a game saving Willie Mays-esque catch when that sudden incline ruins his route, giving Evan Gattis an inside-the-park home run or something. It'd be Gattis and you know it.

Kansas City Royals

The Royals are guaranteed a free pass to the LDS, unlike last year when they had to rely on multiple miracles to win the wildcard game over Oakland. This is a good team, but there are some concerns. First is the starting rotation. Their two best starters all season have been Edison Volquez and Chris Young (the pitcher, not the lefty mashing Yankee outfielder), which makes you feel like we're in the 2009 NL West or something. Volquez has had some issues in the postseason: in the 2010 NLDS he started Game One for the Reds and Philadelphia knocked him out of the game in the second inning. (Not that it mattered, since the Phillies hurler that night was a pitching cyborg incapable of allowing base hits of any kind. There's a good trivia question FYI). Edison got a second chance last year with the Pirates to start the wildcard game, and while this time he was at least able to get through five (allowing five) he had the misfortune of matching up against one Madison Kyle Bumgarner, who like that Phillies cyborg was destined for some bigger history. Volquez is likely playing a big role in anything the Royals are trying to do in October, and it'll be interesting to see if he was just one of "wrong place, wrong time" guys, or if it's something more problematic.

Young has likewise had a strange career: he came up with the Texas Rangers in 2004 and pitched there for two seasons until he was a part of the heist (I mean trade!) that gave the San Diego Padres Adrian Gonzalez and Young for Adam Eaton (the pitcher, not the scrappy White Sox outfielder). Young was excellent as a Padre for a few seasons, particularly at preventing hits despite a below average fastball speed, until shoulder problems crashed his career into a wall. He bounced around, getting opportunities with the Mets and Nationals until finally sticking with Seattle in 2014 and staying healthy enough to make 29 good starts for the Mariners. The Royals picked him up for under a million and he's been switched between the rotation and bullpen much of the season, despite his 17 starts with a justifiable 3.30 ERA. His face while throwing a pitch is my Eeph Factor for the entire playoffs: he looks like an enraged turtle politely holding his tongue. Seriously look it up, it gives Dickey Face a run for it's money.

Yordano Ventura and Johnny Cueto are also surely penciled in for postseason starts, so we're likely to see some shenanigans or some... shimmying... from that. Meanwhile the KC bullpen, a Kevin Pillar of strength a year ago, is suddenly questionable. Greg Holland had been human all season, thanks to a serious drop in fastball velocity, before succumbing to the dreaded visit to Dr. James Andrews. Wade Davis (A.K.A the Best Reliever in Baseball) has filled in excellently as the Royals 9th inning stopper, but that same invincibility of depth we saw during their run last October isn't quite the same. Kelvin Herrera is still pretty good and Ryan Madson has emerged from Frankenstein's garage sale, but the possibility of scoring a run off these relief guys seems possible this time. At least, before the ninth inning. 

This is still a really good team. Their bats are superb at making contact, which I wrote about earlier in a Game of the Month article (remember those?) and are diverse enough lefty-righty to make a Matchup Manager have headaches all through the winter. If the Royals go up against Joe Girardi, these games might never end. Just imagine an extra inning playoff game between the Royals and Yankees. You'll be pleading for the cold kiss of death!

Texas Rangers

It's been quite a ride for these Rangers. Some people (me!) predicted that everything would have to go right for this squad to compete in 2015, and by early May it looked like the exact opposite was happening. They were 8-16 through 24 games, Adrian Beltre had an OPS of .599, the expensive Shin Soo Choo was batting .141, and Pain Ann Misery was spotted setting up camp outside the Arlington ballpark. Then in late May, they quickly turned it around. They won seven in a row and twenty-one of twenty-eight, sitting at 37-31 and just two and a half back of first place Houston. Almost immediately, their fortunes twisted back the other way. The Rangers suffered a six game losing streak and another fiver within three weeks of each other, limping into the all-star break three games under .500. On July 28th after losing 21-5 to the Yankees, Texas was 47-52, eight games behind the pace in the NL West. In other words, a perfect time to trade young players for an expensive pitching ace, am I right? Cole Hamels was brought aboard and the pendulum of the 2015 Texas Rangers once again swung back. They're 41-22 since the trade and steadily overtook the plateauing Astros to snatch away the AL West crown.

One glance at the Texas rotation and it's hard not to raise an eyebrow. Hamels has been very good (7-1, 3.66 in 11 starts) and Colby Lewis is back from the dead (um, again) but the rest of the staff is full of hittable (+9.0 H/9) non control artists (+3.0 BB/9) who mostly have ERAs under four somehow. Pendulums, I guess.

There's enough top heavy offensive power (Fielder, Choo, Beltre, Odor and Moreland), top rotation material (Hamels, Lewis), bullpen-ish-ness and modest depth to take them seriously as a postseason threat, especially in a short five game series. You'd think a team with left-handed starting pitching would be favorable against these guys, since most of their best bats are left-handed, but their L/R splits for the season are fairly even (.734 versus .738). The worthwhile split here is Home/Away, where the Rangers lose 90 points of OPS when they leave Arlington (.782 versus .692, or the difference between Justin Smoak and Dioner Navarro in 2015). They certainly don't look like the best team kicking about the American League, but October has made legends of squads less impressive than this.

Eeph Factor: It's gonna be someone nobody expects, and everyone on this site will hate him forever no matter what happens in the series. It's what playoff baseball is all about. My pick is Rough Ned.

Toronto Blue Jays

Part of me worries that we've built them up just a bit too much. That in our minds they're invincible, like the flashing star from Super Mario, when they're probably more like the Sledgehammer Suit. Not completely indestructible, but for gawds sake they can throw sledgehammers! They duck and fireballs don't hurt them! There's only like five or six of them in the entire game, and that what makes it (and this team) so special. Enjoy it while you have it, and hopefully with some luck we can get really far with the suit on. 

Eeph Factor: Not even gonna touch this one.

National League Wildcard -- Cubs versus Pirates

Pittsburgh Pirates

In what has seemed a forgone conclusion since like, June, these two NL Central rivals will duke it out in the one game playoff for the National League wildcard. The Pirates are enjoying their third straight trip to the MLB postseason (all as a wildcard team) since suffering through twenty consecutive seasons without a sniff of the playoffs. As usual, Pittsburgh has been powered by excellent starting pitching: Gerrit Cole has firmly established himself as a top pitcher in the National League at only 25 years of age, while a supporting cast of former American League hurlers like A.J. Burnett, Francisco Liriano and J.A. Happ (!!!) have also been extremely effective. Their real strength however, especially in a tight playoff game, is a strong bullpen. Mark Melancon, lefties Tony Watson and Antonio Bastardo, former closer Joakim Soria and the fabulously named Arquimedes Caminero have all been varying shades of excellent. Heck, the Pirates somehow even transformed Joe Blanton (5-0, 1.57 in 21 appearances) into a bullpen weapon. Joe Blanton!

The Buccos are an interesting offensive team as well. Fourth the NL in runs scored (the most of any NL playoff team), just tenth in home runs but second in doubles. Their attack is led by the fearsome Andrew McCutchen, having another star caliber season despite the loss of his locks. But seriously, he's really really good. Starling Marte has done well as McCutchen's first mate, and old shipmate Aramis Ramirez has come back aboard to help fill the void of losing Jung-Ho Kang, who sadly was declared overboard for the season a few weeks ago. Francisco Cervelli has also filled in for Russell Martin quite admirably, providing his trademark blend of contact hitting, solid defensive work and frustratingly tough at-bats. I'm glad he's out of the AL.

Eeph Factor: As mentioned earlier, this is the third straight year the Pirates' season has come down to the wildcard game. They crushed the Reds in 2013 (grrrr) but were themselves crushed in 2014 by the Giants. They have experience going down this path before, however significant that is in a one game winner-take-all.

Chicago Cubs

Coming into 2015 the northsiders were an intriguing young team though not considered a title contender, despite the prediction of a certain Michael J. Fox movie (where's my hoverboard, damn it!). Well the plan seems to have skipped a few years, as now the Cubs are back in the postseason with what would've been the best record in the American League. Unfortunately for them, they play in the 2015 NL Central, where 97 wins was only good enough for third place, meaning they now have to play a one game elimination on the road in Pittsburgh. Sounds like a very Cubs thing.  

However, they do have an ace up their sleeve. Um, literally. Jake Arrieta has been simply brilliant since coming over from the Orioles (36-13, 2.26 as a Cub) and his numbers this season have been just absurd. He's 22-6 with an ERA of 1.77, he leads the NL in fewest hits allowed and fewest home runs allowed per 9 innings (5.9 and 0.4 respectively) and has been worth 8.6 wins over a replacement level pitcher. It gets more absurd. In the second half, Arrieta is 12-1 with an ERA of 0.75 (!!!) in 107.1 innings. He has as many victories (12) as runs allowed over that span, which is... interesting. Any success Chicago has in the playoffs is going to be largely dependent on how he performs, and he'll get his first audition in that wildcard game against the Pirates Wednesday night.

Chicago does employ some very interesting players aside from Arrieta. Their offense is embarrassingly rich in young position players: third baseman Kris Bryant (OPS .858 with 26 dingers, only 23 years old), outfielder/catcher Kyle Schwarber (16 bombs in 272 plate appearances, 22), shortstop Addison Russell (13 bombs, 2.6 dWAR, 22), and of course the big bopper first baseman Anthony Rizzo (31-101 HR/RBI, 899 OPS, 26). Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler (23) also figures to get significant at-bats, as perhaps does infielder Javier Baez (22). Baez spent most of 2015 in the minors and missed time with injury, only emerging with the big club when the rosters expanded in September. He has played well enough not only to earn consideration on the postseason roster, but even to maybe steal starting ABs from veteran-ish player Starlin Castro, who has already lost the shortstop role to Russell.

Eeph Factor: one issue the Cubs might have in the playoffs is an inability to make contact: they led the NL with 1518 batter strikeouts, which was 174 ahead of the next team (Washington).

Los Angeles Dodgers

The blue summer boys of Los Angeles find themselves in the playoffs yet again thanks to a third straight division title, which amazingly is the first time they've ever done that. Some complimentary pieces have changed (hello, Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Howie Kendrick and Yasmani Grandal) but the core of the Dodgers is mainly the same. Clayton Kershaw continues to imitate some kind of pitching deity, Adrian Gonzalez continues to do Adrian Gonzalez things, Yasiel Puig continues to frustrate everybody, Carl Crawford continues to get old, and Zack Greinke continues trying to impersonate Clayton Kershaw (and quite well this year!)

These Dodgers arguably have the best 1-2 punch (Kershaw-Greinke) the MLB postseason has seen in some time, and presumed #3 starter Brett Anderson has burst off the operating table to have a nice season of his own (10-9, 3.69 in 180.1). And as usual, there looks to be enough offensive punch to compliment the top quality starting pitching. And, as usual, the bullpen looks... undefined. Kenley Jansen is pretty unhittable, but beyond that there is some unproven unproven-ness that could prove problematic. Maybe if they avoid the Cardinals for a change, they'll be fine. Big if.

Eeph Factor: Corey Seager. Jimmy Rollins is the Established Veteran Former All-Star Intangibles Guy(TM), but Seager is likely the far better player in every measurable way. It won't be an easy decision for Dodgers skipper Don Mattingly to go with the talented youngster over the vet, and I kinda don't expect it to happen.

New York Mets

I'm just gonna get one thought out of the way: the Mets picked the perfect year to return to the playoffs. If this had happened a season ago, when the Blue Jays were frustrating everybody with a foot-in-the-door campaign, just imagine the insanity. It'd be like a football in the groin played over and over again, except Hans Moleman had nothing to do with it and there's no comedic sound effect. But... that didn't happen, so give that man the ten thousand dollars.

I want the Mets to win the National League. Here's why. First is the crazy possibility of a Mets-Blue Jays World Series (not... likely? But it's a genuine possibility!) and Syndergaard and Dickey somehow facing off (even... less likely? IT COULD STILL HAPPEN!!!!!1). Second, that pitching staff. Kershaw and Greinke are fun in their "scoring is hopeless" kind of way, but the Mets have a crazy young staff and they all have electric stuff. None of them really quite know how to pitch yet (except maybe Harvey) so they're up there trying to overpower everybody, and their stuff is so good it usually works. Also, don't you want to see Bartolo Colon start at least one more playoff game? Dang right.

The Mets weren't a particularly strong offensive team for most of the season and as such I assumed this remained true. However, their lineup is full of guys either coming off injury, getting hot at the right time, or having a sneaky quiet good year. Category One is David Wright, who looked like his old self for the first week of the season, and then didn't play again until late August. Fortunately for the New Yorkers he hasn't skipped a note since returning, likewise with catcher Travis d'Arnaud. That Guy(TM) missed about two months from mid-April to mid-June, missed another month from late June into the end of July, and since then has been able to give the Mets an offensive spark just by staying in the lineup (none of the Mets backup catchers have been at all useful with the stick). Category Two features Lucas "The Dude" Duda, who went through a terrible slump for about two months between May 29th (OPS .947) to July 24th (.754). Duda came back to life in late July, hitting six home runs in a week and has since re-established himself as their big time slugger. They also got Yoenis Cespedes in late July, and he's been... uh...

Category Three is Curtis Granderson, who has been somewhat forgotten after back-to-back 40 HR seasons with the Yankees only four years ago. Granderson wasn't bad as a Met in 2014, though the .227 average, .388 slugging and minus defensive rating (-1.2 dWAR) certainly suggested his contract as an instant write-off. He bounced back significantly in 2015, though not quite with the thunderous attention his previous 40+ bomb seasons commanded. All his numbers jumped across the board, from HR (20 to 26), runs scored (73 to 98), OPS (.714 to .821) and defensive WAR (-1.2 to 0.5) while only getting 28 more plate appearances. An impressive bounceback for a 34 year old, to be sure.

Eeph Factor:
Young arms to be sure. It's their first taste, and they'll be going up against two of the very best in Kershaw and Greinke. Should be fun.

St. Louis Cardinals

Ugh geez, these guys again. If I give you the 3.50 will you go away?

They were best team in baseball by W-L record this season, the first team since the 2011 Phillies to win 100 games or more, and the first team to finish a season with an ERA under 3 since the 1989 Dodgers. None of that really means anything, but it's kind of interesting and plus it took a while to look up.

The Cardinals are surely among the favourites to win the Whole Darned Thing(TM) but there are some concerns. Yadier Molina has a severe finger injury and is going to try to play through it, because catchers hardly use their fingers at all right? (Yikes). Emerging starter Carlos Martinez (14-7, 3.01 in 179.2) hurt his shoulder and is done for the postseason, outfielder Stephen Piscotty has a concussion and it isn't clear when/if he'll return, and slugger Matt Holiday has been jumping on the bed of the DL all year and has only 4 home runs in 277 appearances (though he still has 16 doubles and a .804 OPS, so... ???). Depending on your love affair of Jason Heyward types, The Cards really have one elite hitter (Matt Carpenter, who I love and is awesome. He bats like a corkscrew.) so the key to their success all year hasn't been scoring runs but preventing them. Even without Martinez, the Cardinals should be pretty good at that. Their rotation is stacked with a bunch of very effective arms, from the experienced (John Lackey), the young and talented (Michael Wacha), the crafty (Jaime Garcia), to the "Always way better than you think" (Lance Lynn). The bullpen doesn't blow you away with numbers, especially when you consider how shaky Trevor Rosenthal has looked lately, but they made some smart veteran additions (Jonathan Broxton and Steve Cishek) that will probably be useful. They've also got former Blue Jay Carlos Villanueva kicking around, and he's been terrific for St. Louis in multi-inning stints out of the pen.

Eeph Factor: Adam Wainwright. I know, I know. They lose Martinez but all of a sudden this guy is back. Apparently the plan is to use Waino as a reliever, just like in 2006. That worked pretty well for them.

Overall Prediction: Nobody ever gets this right, so I'm going as extreme as possible. The Cubs make it back to the World Series thanks to Jake Arrieta learning to pitch with his left hand between playoff starts, and thus winning Game Seven in relief against the Dodgers. Chicago comes within one out of finally ending the misery, but the vengeful ghost of Frank Chance possesses Anthony Rizzo, causing him to drop every throw from his infielders. The Cubs lose the title in the most heartbreaking way imaginable, but the vengeful ghost of Frank Chance then teaches Rizzo how to invent the hoverboard and he makes billions of dollars, thus giving us a happy ending.

I think I stayed up too late writing that last part.

2015 MLB Playoff Preview | 117 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Mike Green - Tuesday, October 06 2015 @ 11:19 AM EDT (#312568) #
Um.  Something is missing from the overall prediction, as perhaps it should be.  "Eeph" instead of "Oof" or "Umf" factor is a cool idea. 
Dave Till - Tuesday, October 06 2015 @ 12:00 PM EDT (#312571) #
If baseball were like wrestling, the Astros would have no hope in the AL wild card game, as the powers that be would ensure that the Yankees would win so that they could get better television ratings.

My picks:
- Yankees over Houston in the AL Wild Card
- Cubs over Pirates in the NL Wild Card (it is not the Cubs' destiny to lose in the Wild Card - it is the Cubs' destiny to lose later in the postseason)
- Jays over Texas in ALDS 1 (this may be wishful thinking)
- KC over Yankees in ALDS 2 in an exhausting five-game marathon (this is wishful thinking)
- Dodgers over Mets in NLDS 1 (Kershaw + Greinke is better than the Mets' here-it-is-hit-it approach to pitching)
- Cubs over Cardinals in NLDS 2 (this is wishful thinking because I find the Cardinals annoying - and the Cubs' destiny is to lose in the NLCS, not the NLDS)

I won't go further than this, as I already have made enough wild guesses.
Mike Green - Tuesday, October 06 2015 @ 12:09 PM EDT (#312573) #
My picks:
- Houston over NY in the AL Wild Card
- Cubs over Pirates in the NL Wild Card
- Jays over Texas in ALDS 1
- Houston over KC in ALDS 2
- Dodgers over Mets in NLDS 1
- Cardinals over Cubs in NLDS 2

My method is pretty simple: the better team wins each of the series.  In reality, being a better club and one better suited to the playoff format is worth only a small advantage.
uglyone - Tuesday, October 06 2015 @ 12:43 PM EDT (#312576) #
it's interesting that while the popular narrative says there aren't many legit elite teams anymore....i still look at the playoff teams and think "wow these guys are pretty stacked" for almost all of them.

the good news is that there's one team that doesn't look all that good on paper, and that's out first opponent the rangers.

Fangraphs has a nice tool which allows you to sort teams by Active Roster, which lets us look at team stats without the caveat that "this team is different since they added players X and Y".

Looking at total team fWAR, with war for pitchers being the average of ra9 and fipwar:

1.TOR 35.1 + 22.8 = 57.9
2.CHC 28.7 + 24.7 = 53.4
3.HOU 24.9 + 27.2 = 52.1
4.LAD 26.3 + 25.7 = 52.0
5.NYM 29.7 + 20.0 = 49.7
6.STL 22.9 + 25.1 = 48.0
7.PIT 22.5 + 23.5 = 46.0
8.KCR 25.4 + 19.4 = 44.8
9.NYY 20.6 + 19.1 = 39.7
10.TEX 22.1 + 16.3 = 38.4

looks to me like there's 4 standout teams - TOR and HOU in the AL, CHC and LAD in the NL.

of note is that TOR is underrated here due to Stroman's late return. STL might be too - if wainright can start for them at least.

But i'm gonna go boring and nerdy with the predictions - best team WAR wins. Let's see if the stats pass muster.

ALDS1: HOU def KCR (4gms)
ALDS2: TOR def TEX (3gms)
ALCS: TOR def HOU (7gms)

NLDS1: CHC def STL (5gms)
NLDS2: LAD def NYM (5gms)
NLCS: CHC def LAD (7gms)

WS: TOR def CHC (7gms)
electric carrot - Tuesday, October 06 2015 @ 12:56 PM EDT (#312578) #
I know I am going to get slogged for this but I actually think the posters on this site are really underestimating how good our team is.  I know, I know, the playoffs are a crapshoot, the best team doesn't always win. But I really do believe that our Blue Jays are so exceptionally good that it changes the formula just a bit.  Consider that from the All Star break to the day that Stroman pitched his first game this team went 34-12, (.739.) And it wasn't like they didn't deserve those wins. They didn't just squeak by. They weren't just facing weak teams. It wasn't just for a few games. And it's not like they really slowed down either. This team ROMPED & WAILED over all comers like they were playing triple A teams for 2 months. And now they have Stroman, a pitcher who looks an awful lot like a #1. Bligh me! This is not a regular team. Of course they could lose, baseball we know is full of chance. But if there has ever been a team that's looked like it could wring out some of the luck of the game this is it. I don't see them losing too many games in the playoffs and I'd be pretty darn surprised to not see them go to the World Series. And I expect them to win there too.
Mike Green - Tuesday, October 06 2015 @ 01:01 PM EDT (#312579) #
I said that this team was going to lose two games in the playoffs total.  Was that too pessimistic, e.c.?  They do seem to be the consensus choice also. 
uglyone - Tuesday, October 06 2015 @ 01:06 PM EDT (#312580) #
you're right, carrot - i should change the CS and WS wins to 6gms.
electric carrot - Tuesday, October 06 2015 @ 01:13 PM EDT (#312581) #
you're right, carrot - i should change the CS and WS wins to 6gms.

Ha ha!  Well uglyone, you posted this as I was writing. And Mike losing just 2 games seems even more optimistic than me. I'm not responding directly to either of you -- just a cautious tone I detect in general.
electric carrot - Tuesday, October 06 2015 @ 01:15 PM EDT (#312582) #
Consider that from the All Star break to the day that Stroman pitched his first game this team went 34-12, (.739.)

Also, oops.  This record is not from the All Star break -- from the Tulo trade.
Cracka - Tuesday, October 06 2015 @ 01:16 PM EDT (#312583) #
ESPN surveyed 20 MLB executives and the Jays are overwhelmingly favoured to win it all. [link][/link]

18 of the 20 said that Jays were the favorite or most fears in the AL.

11 of the 14 picked the Jays to win it all (6 abstained from voting due to being employed by a team currently in the playoffs).
John Northey - Tuesday, October 06 2015 @ 01:39 PM EDT (#312584) #
It is fun to see the chart B=R has for the Jays showing margin of wins and losses day by day. From July 29th until the Jays clinched it is scary good looking.

Furthest behind was 8 games on July 28th. The Rays & Orioles were ahead and the Jays were just 6 ahead of the last place Red Sox. The biggest lead was on the final day, up by 6.

For games with a 5+ run spread the Jays were 37-12. Just 15-28 in one run games which sucked, but if they were better in those then the trades may not have happened as the Jays would've blown out the league early on.
whiterasta80 - Tuesday, October 06 2015 @ 02:05 PM EDT (#312585) #
Dave: In fact baseball is a little bit like wrestling.

SK in NJ - Tuesday, October 06 2015 @ 02:40 PM EDT (#312587) #
Wait 22 years to see a Jays playoff game = watch the first two games via Gameday at work, and the 3rd game on a Sunday night when I have to wake up at 5 the next morning.

The Jays have the probable league MVP, the winner or runner-up to the Cy Young Award, the best SS in the game, two elite power bats of the last five years, etc, and somehow get the "who cares no one's going to watch them anyway" time slots.

While MLB tries to figure out ways to improve the declining popularity of the game, they really need to look at themselves and their lack of marketing the game's stars as one of the reasons. If their mindset to get ratings is still "market size of U.S. teams", then the game will never grow beyond what it is now.

Cleveland games in the NBA get record ratings because of LeBron James. Market the superstars, and casual fans won't care about which teams are playing. The Jays have no business getting the 12:35 playoff game with the stars they have on their team.

/end of rant
John Northey - Tuesday, October 06 2015 @ 02:44 PM EDT (#312588) #
Nature of the beast. If you cheer on a team that US TV markets can't make a penny off of from local broadcasting then you get pushed into the worst times available. Of course, some would point out that until 1988 all Chicago Cub games were day games no matter what and many wish they still were (myself included). A few day games during the week won't hurt the fanbase. All LCS and WS games would be night games so no worries, Jays just need to win and you'll get all kinds of great night games to watch.
Lylemcr - Tuesday, October 06 2015 @ 02:46 PM EDT (#312589) #
I am concerned about Texas in a 5 game series. In playoffs, good pitching > good hitting, usually. Gallardo and Hamels is a great 1-2 punch. I like the Jays vs C. Lewis, but they need to beat the other 2 at least twice.

Does anyone have the Jays numbers against Texas' starting staff?
Richard S.S. - Tuesday, October 06 2015 @ 02:50 PM EDT (#312590) #
I think it's possible A.A. is making provisions for all the current and potential off days. October 5th: Blue Jays recall Matt Dominguez, A.J. Jimenez and Ben Rowan from Buffalo Bisons. I don't know of any more callups as yet, but they can get in real game-live hitting and fielding practise verses opposing teams with all the extra bodies. This should also increase possible fill-ins for severe injury loss.
GregH - Tuesday, October 06 2015 @ 03:00 PM EDT (#312592) #
I'm not sure baseball popularity is in fact declining, but I'm with you on your other comments SK. I was flabbergasted by the time slots given the Jays first two playoff games, even though I understand about TV revenues etc.
The scheduling has essentially made it impossible for fans in Canada who work in normal business hours to see the first home playoff games in 22 years without taking time off work.
Unlike the other MLB terams, with the exception of the Yankees, perhaps the Dodgers and possibly the Cardinals, the Jays are the only MLB team with a national, as opposed to regional, fanbase that crosses several time zones. Pity the fan in Vancouver, for whom the Friday game is at 9:45 am!
I'm lucky, I work from home and set my own hours. Most are not that fortunate.
Magpie - Tuesday, October 06 2015 @ 03:00 PM EDT (#312593) #
My pick is Rough Ned.

Thank you, thank you, thank you! His name had me baffled, but now he'll be Rough Ned to me forever. A classic baseball name!
Mike Green - Tuesday, October 06 2015 @ 03:07 PM EDT (#312595) #
It's true.  Handsome Ned's younger brother...
jerjapan - Tuesday, October 06 2015 @ 03:18 PM EDT (#312596) #
An obscure Toronto rockabilly reference?  Love it Mike.  And where have all the Rockabilly Girls gone?
rpriske - Tuesday, October 06 2015 @ 03:30 PM EDT (#312597) #
I saw that ESPN experts' picks article and there are more votes for Toronto winning the WS than any other individual team.

For me, I DO think the Jays are the best team in the AL. I am less convinced about the World Series itself, but hey, one step at a time.

Mike Green - Tuesday, October 06 2015 @ 03:33 PM EDT (#312598) #
I always wondered what might happen if the Stray Cats met the Stray Birds.  It might not be pretty.

I did not know that Odor's nickname was Stink or Stinky.  Makes sense, I guess.  A bit nasty just like Ducky Wucky Medwick.

Mike Green - Tuesday, October 06 2015 @ 03:58 PM EDT (#312600) #
Marcus Stroman confirms on twitter that he'll be pitching Game 2 of the ALDS. 
jerjapan - Tuesday, October 06 2015 @ 04:07 PM EDT (#312601) #
Ah, off-day discussions.  Hadn't heard the Stray Birds before Mike but they sound pretty heartfelt an authentic, so thumbs up from me.  Wanda Jackson was just in Toronto ... a true legend if you get a chance to see her ...
SK in NJ - Tuesday, October 06 2015 @ 04:10 PM EDT (#312602) #
Stroman starting Game 2 according to Marcus himself.

Good decision. I wonder if they would be tempted to go with Price on short rest in Game 4 since Stroman could go Game 5 on regular rest? I guess it depends on where the Jays are sitting. If they are up 2-1, maybe they take a chance on Estrada. If they are down 2-1, then Price/Stroman to save their season would be the better alternative.
Dave Till - Tuesday, October 06 2015 @ 04:11 PM EDT (#312603) #
I think the Jays are the best team in the AL, but a 5-game series is so random.

Suppose that the Jays were enough better than Texas that they would win, on average, 60% of the games that the two teams played. This is probably high, given that the Jays were a .574 club and the Rangers were .543. The math says that the Jays would win a 5-game series about two-thirds of the time (it's about 68%).

So there's better than a one in three chance that the Jays will go home after the ALDS, even though they're almost certainly the best team.
Mike Green - Tuesday, October 06 2015 @ 04:14 PM EDT (#312604) #
They are.  There's a really cool collaboration with Ana Egge recently released that skirts the line between roots music and jazz if you like that kind of thing.

Anyways, we have playoffs coming up, subtlety is out and thunder is in.  Except when Estrada and Dickey are pitching...

Mike Green - Tuesday, October 06 2015 @ 04:21 PM EDT (#312605) #
I was wondering what the odds of a club running the table in the post-season were.  If the club's chances of winning any particular game is .5, the number is .0005.  If the club's chance of winning any particular game is .6, the number is .003.  One in three hundred roughly.  Hmm.
cruzin - Tuesday, October 06 2015 @ 04:43 PM EDT (#312606) #
"Stroman starting Game 2 according to Marcus himself"

This certainly gives them the most flexibility in case things go a bit sideways in the short ALDS.

Now on to game 3 starter, do they go with Dickey on the road with Estrada possibly in the bullpen, again if things don't go well? Or go with Estrada on the road with the potential of skipping Dickey altogether in the series, if they're behind?
John Northey - Tuesday, October 06 2015 @ 04:47 PM EDT (#312607) #
Jays have a big advantage with Stroman coming back in September. He had enough time to get to mid-season form but not enough time to get tired like most starters will be at this stage. So Stroman/Price as a killer 1/2 this playoff should work very nicely. Having Dickey being hot for the last few months won't hurt either. Estrada has been solid for awhile now too. A very solid 1-2-3-4 group should make things better. Mix in that offense and no wonder the Jays are the favorites by a mile.

Since August 1st Dickey has a 3.26 ERA and did 6+ in all but his final start (5 IP, 0 R), 3 times in 12 starts allowed 5 runs otherwise 3 or less in all starts. Just what the doctor ordered I'd say.

This should be a lot of fun, or an extremely frustrating week coming up.
Cracka - Tuesday, October 06 2015 @ 04:49 PM EDT (#312608) #
Anyone care about the umpires? The crew has been announced and the home plate umpires are:
Game 1: James Hoye
Game 2: Vic Carapazza
Game 3: Alfonso Marquez
Game 4: Marvin Hudson
Game 5: Dale Scott (crew chief)

Here are a couple of sites that allows you to compare umpire strikezone accuracy:

No major outliers or concerns about the crew that we've drawn.
uglyone - Tuesday, October 06 2015 @ 04:54 PM EDT (#312609) #
ya i quickly scanned the ump list and figured since i didn't recognize any of the names, they must be good at their job.
Hodgie - Tuesday, October 06 2015 @ 05:08 PM EDT (#312610) #
"I was wondering what the odds of a club running the table in the post-season were."

Well, the Jays already have two 11 game win streaks to their name this season; third time's a charm?

Mike Green - Tuesday, October 06 2015 @ 05:11 PM EDT (#312611) #
Interesting.  It looks like Lance Barksdale wins the prize for the most accurate strike zone. 
Magpie - Tuesday, October 06 2015 @ 05:28 PM EDT (#312612) #
So there's better than a one in three chance that the Jays will go home after the ALDS, even though they're almost certainly the best team.

Yup. Baseball is cruel. The Rangers have had a season very much like Toronto's. On the day of the Tulowitzki trade, which was obviously the day the Jays' season turned around, Texas was 47-52, in third place in the West and 8 games behind Houston. They went 41-22 from that point, which is almost as impressive as what the Jays did.
Mike Green - Tuesday, October 06 2015 @ 05:43 PM EDT (#312613) #
The Rangers outscored their opponents 381-338 in the second half of the season; the Blue Jays outscored their opponents 405-266.  And it wasn't that the Rangers had a better bullpen than the Jays in the second half; they didn't. 

You definitely can win a short series despite being significantly outscored.  You cannot worry about that possibility.

JB21 - Tuesday, October 06 2015 @ 06:29 PM EDT (#312614) #
The roster has been announced and it's bang on what we all thought.
ISLAND BOY - Tuesday, October 06 2015 @ 06:31 PM EDT (#312615) #
I think it's good strategy, or maybe just slam-dunk obvious, to use Stroman in the second game. Worst case scenario is Gallardo stymies the Jays bats in game 1 and Texas squeaks out a win, so a strong start by Stroman would be vital in game 2. Best case scenario is the Jays taking the first two games with Price and Stroman shutting down the Texas batters. In any case, I have a tear in my eye - an actual Blue Jays playoff thread !
China fan - Tuesday, October 06 2015 @ 06:36 PM EDT (#312616) #
"....Stroman starting Game 2 according to Marcus himself...."

I'm a little surprised, since I half-expected Dickey to start Game 2, with Stroman starting Game 3.  Dickey has been a much better pitcher at home than on the road this season, so I expected him to pitch Game 2.  And over the course of his career, his opponents have an OPS of .873 against him in Texas, compared to an OPS of .722 against him in Toronto.  But those career numbers, of course, are distorted by all the mediocre seasons before he began to perfect his knuckleball.  It's unclear if he would be worse in Texas now.  He didn't pitch in Texas this season, but he had a couple of games in Texas in 2013 and 2014 and seemed to pitch pretty well there, although of course it's a very small sample size.  The main argument for Stroman, I suppose, is that he's been better than Dickey in his limited sample of games in September (and last season) -- and that he could pitch Game 5 if he pitches in Game 2.   I've got no problem with the decision.
James W - Tuesday, October 06 2015 @ 06:36 PM EDT (#312617) #
Mike, it's funny that you mention Rougned's brother. My favourite Rangers fact: in their system is Rougned Odor, younger brother of second baseman Rougned Odor.
China fan - Tuesday, October 06 2015 @ 06:39 PM EDT (#312618) #
To update my last post:  Estrada is now scheduled to start Game 3, with Dickey starting Game 4.  It shows a lot of confidence in Estrada, who still hasn't silenced all the doubters.  (See: previous threads this year.)  But at some point even his critics have to accept that he's had an excellent season and there's no logical reason to assume that he would suddenly begin to perform a lot worse in the playoffs. 
China fan - Tuesday, October 06 2015 @ 06:45 PM EDT (#312619) #
As for the rest of the ALDS roster:  it is exactly as we expected.  Loup, rather than Buehrle or Tepera, for the Texas left-handed hitters.  Two extra outfielders -- Carrera and Pompey -- mainly for pinch-running duties.  No need for Kawasaki or Diaz, since Tulo is healthy.  No need for Thole, although his absence does potentially limit the use of Navarro as a pinch-hitter.  But the limited availability of Navarro is not a problem because of the presence of Colabello (or Smoak) on the bench, plus Carrera and Pompey (although I doubt that the latter two will do much pinch-hitting, if any).
uglyone - Tuesday, October 06 2015 @ 06:50 PM EDT (#312620) #
woulda been too cute by acres to not pitch stro in game 2 imo.

and you know the more i think about, the more i wonder why carrera is on this team. i think hague would be more useful.
China fan - Tuesday, October 06 2015 @ 06:52 PM EDT (#312621) #
If you're wondering who would be the replacement options in case of serious injury to one of the 25 players on the ALDS roster:  the Jays are keeping Hutchison, Schultz, Tepera and Hague in Florida to play in the instructional league and to stay sharp in case they are needed.  Kawasaki, Diaz and Thole might be the next in line, since they are in Toronto with the rest of the Jays.  All of these players, of course, would only see action if there's a significant injury to one of the 25 guys on the playoff roster -- or in the unlikely scenario of a change of strategy for the second round of the playoffs.
Mike Green - Tuesday, October 06 2015 @ 07:39 PM EDT (#312622) #
I like the playoff rotation and the roster. It takes a certain amount of guts to leave Buehler off the roster and to have Dickerson in the 4 slot. Bravo.
Alex Obal - Tuesday, October 06 2015 @ 07:40 PM EDT (#312623) #
Both of Gallardo's starts were DGANGs. I'm so scared.
China fan - Tuesday, October 06 2015 @ 07:57 PM EDT (#312624) #
"....It takes a certain amount of guts to leave Buehler off the roster and to have Dickerson in the 4 slot..."

Although the Jays did sign Chris Dickerson as a free agent in February, and he did indeed play 38 games for Buffalo this season, I'm pretty certain that he's not pitching for the Jays in the playoffs.  Unless there's a major collapse in the rotation.
greenfrog - Tuesday, October 06 2015 @ 07:59 PM EDT (#312625) #
Rougned and his brother have an uncle (a coach in the Cleveland organization) named Rouglas and two cousins named Rouglas.

Probably there was a lot of roughousing in the family growing up.
greenfrog - Tuesday, October 06 2015 @ 08:07 PM EDT (#312626) #
I think Houston is going to win this one.
Mike Green - Tuesday, October 06 2015 @ 08:09 PM EDT (#312627) #
Buehler? A so-called smartphone doesn't recognize Mark Buehrle. Useless...
Magpie - Tuesday, October 06 2015 @ 08:25 PM EDT (#312628) #
Keuchel looks sharp to start the game. He's never started on short rest before, but sinkerballers are often more effective when they're a little tired.
Magpie - Tuesday, October 06 2015 @ 08:27 PM EDT (#312629) #
Put the hex on him!
uglyone - Tuesday, October 06 2015 @ 08:32 PM EDT (#312630) #
our man colby.

most beautiful swing in the league.

when it works.
Chuck - Tuesday, October 06 2015 @ 08:40 PM EDT (#312631) #
Bueller. Buerhle. A couple of Chicago guys with days off. And it's even Oktoberfest time. That's a very smart phone.
scottt - Tuesday, October 06 2015 @ 08:44 PM EDT (#312632) #
I wonder if they would be tempted to go with Price on short rest in Game 4 since Stroman could go Game 5 on regular rest? I guess it depends on where the Jays are sitting. If they are up 2-1, maybe they take a chance on Estrada. If they are down 2-1, then Price/Stroman to save their season would be the better alternative.

That's true only if Price/Stroman do well but the Jays lose anyway. I prefer a well-rested 4 pitcher rotation.
Magpie - Tuesday, October 06 2015 @ 08:56 PM EDT (#312633) #
Greg Bird is going to be making us miserable for a long time. Damn Yankees.
jerjapan - Tuesday, October 06 2015 @ 08:59 PM EDT (#312634) #
Estrada gets game three? Wow, why not dickey? Agreed leaving buehrles off is gutsy, maybe he could be active for the 7 game series?
uglyone - Tuesday, October 06 2015 @ 09:02 PM EDT (#312635) #
Scott - if we're down after 3 imo we'd be crazy not to go with price in game 4.

and hey, keuchel looks pretty good right now on 3 days rest. bumgarner looked pretty good doing it once or twice last year too.
Chuck - Tuesday, October 06 2015 @ 09:15 PM EDT (#312636) #
If Chris Archer wants to hurry up and retire, he can have Tabler's job.
Chuck - Tuesday, October 06 2015 @ 09:18 PM EDT (#312637) #
Hey, McCann let Gomez cross the plate.
JB21 - Tuesday, October 06 2015 @ 09:22 PM EDT (#312638) #
I love watching Carlos Gomez play baseball.

Archer is solid, minus the ums. I'll take Jessica Mendoza over Tabby any day of the week. Kruk? Not so much.
Magpie - Tuesday, October 06 2015 @ 09:28 PM EDT (#312639) #
Agreed, Archer has been pretty good. He sounds a little nervous - he's really young and he can't have done much of this before- but he's had something to say.
uglyone - Tuesday, October 06 2015 @ 09:31 PM EDT (#312640) #
i really love this astros team. so much talent all over the field.
greenfrog - Tuesday, October 06 2015 @ 09:32 PM EDT (#312641) #
Solid game so far for the Astros, but the Yankees are doing a nice job of limiting the damage. Houston would be wise to tack on a couple of more runs.

Love the WC game atmosphere. I'm glad the Jays don't have to play a one-game playoff, though.
Magpie - Tuesday, October 06 2015 @ 09:54 PM EDT (#312642) #
Evan Gattis looks like Opie.

No, the one from Sons of Anarchy.
Chuck - Tuesday, October 06 2015 @ 09:56 PM EDT (#312643) #
Jamie Campbell looks like the other Opie.
uglyone - Tuesday, October 06 2015 @ 10:01 PM EDT (#312644) #
this is the inning.
uglyone - Tuesday, October 06 2015 @ 10:08 PM EDT (#312645) #
there was your chance at a legacy, Arod.
greenfrog - Tuesday, October 06 2015 @ 10:08 PM EDT (#312646) #
Looked as if A-Rod got a pitch to hit, but he couldn't do anything with it.
JohnL - Tuesday, October 06 2015 @ 10:17 PM EDT (#312647) #
Just what does Joe mean by "Imagine what it can do for YOU?"
greenfrog - Tuesday, October 06 2015 @ 10:24 PM EDT (#312648) #
That might well be the season for the offensively-challenged Yankees.
uglyone - Tuesday, October 06 2015 @ 10:27 PM EDT (#312649) #
that's what happens to your shutdown gamechanging bullpen when you ride them like mules every year.
scottt - Tuesday, October 06 2015 @ 11:01 PM EDT (#312650) #
If we're down because Price didn't pitch well, I don't see why we would want him back on short rest.

Price has been pretty average in playoffs so far, anyway.

Magpie - Tuesday, October 06 2015 @ 11:02 PM EDT (#312651) #
Yankees fans booing their team. In the post-season. Shameful.

If the laws of karma still apply, that would be rewarded with approximately 20 losing seasons. Some folks need to ponder the error of their ways. Entitled much?
Magpie - Wednesday, October 07 2015 @ 05:06 AM EDT (#312653) #
And then there were Nine.

Strange but true. Of the nine teams left, only one (St. Louis) has won a World Series more recently than the Blue Jays.
Jonny German - Wednesday, October 07 2015 @ 07:14 AM EDT (#312654) #
Fun fact: The Jays run differential (+221) is bigger than the other remaining AL playoff teams combined (+83 +18 +111 = +212).
Jonny German - Wednesday, October 07 2015 @ 08:57 AM EDT (#312659) #
Jamey Newberg has a very good series preview from the Texas perspective.
Mike Green - Wednesday, October 07 2015 @ 09:24 AM EDT (#312660) #
The Yankees were weak against LHP.  It's been a tough couple of months for them, with the Blue Jays acquiring Price and lining him up to face them over and over again and then facing Keuchel in the wild-card game. I understand Cashman's decision to stand pat at the deadline, but a low level transaction to acquire a RHB would probably have been a good idea.

I concur absolutely with Magpie's comments about the Yankee fans booing the club in a playoff game.  I'd add this- the club has some rookies, Bird, Severino, possibly Refsnyder, who might very well be key cogs in the next great Yankee club.  What are the fans telling them when they boo? 

Parker - Wednesday, October 07 2015 @ 09:25 AM EDT (#312661) #
For the record, I'm calling "Frankenstein's Garage Sale" as a band name.

Great preview, Eephus.
Mike Green - Wednesday, October 07 2015 @ 10:15 AM EDT (#312665) #
By the way, seeing as Eephus ventured into Hall Watch territory with his comments about Beltran and David Ortiz, I thought that I'd add in my two cents worth.  Beltran's post-season performance is much more impressive than Ortiz', as is his regular season performance.  The thing that Ortiz has going for him is "fame".  You would think that the PED involvement would have Ortiz far behind Beltran, but somehow I'm not sure. There are quite a few centerfielders right around the edges of the Hall of Fame.  Beltran, Jim Edmonds, Reggie Smith, Andre Dawson.  Beltran was probably the best of them once you take into account the post-season performance (although Edmonds is perfectly well qualified in his own right and did very well in the post-season also).

All that said, I think that Girardi made a mistake playing Beltran over Ellsbury last night.  Beltran has had more significant platoon splits than Ellsbury; playing Beltran over Ellsbury results in (at most) a slight offensive gain vs. a large defensive loss. 

Magpie - Wednesday, October 07 2015 @ 10:36 AM EDT (#312667) #
Prediction: Beltran gets tangled up in the web of Hall-worthy centre fielders, just as Fred McGriff has been tangled up in the first basemen.

And David Ortiz blazes a trail for the Hall of Fame DH. Which might actually be good news for Edgar Martinez.
uglyone - Wednesday, October 07 2015 @ 10:36 AM EDT (#312668) #
timing is ao important. beltran was so amazing then fell off so bad, while ort was nothing and nownhas been great for all recent memory.

as for Beltran playing last night - he has literally carried that team the past month or two while everyone other than Bird tanked. i wouldn't have sat him. no way.

but i would have sat gardner. both have sucked for tbe past couple of months but ellsbury has been a hero in october enough that i wouldn't have sat him.
Magpie - Wednesday, October 07 2015 @ 10:44 AM EDT (#312669) #
I don't believe in the Royals. There, I said it! But I still don't believe in a long-sequence offence in the post-season. Yes, they had a great run in 2014 and the whole baseball world has gone "Oooh" and murmured about the importance of making contact. But I continue to believe that in the post-season, you're better off having guys who can knock the ball over the wall rather than trying to string together multiple hits.

Geez, it sucks to be the Pirates. Win more games than 28 of the other 29 teams and you have to play a sudden death game against Jake Freaking Arrieta?
Magpie - Wednesday, October 07 2015 @ 10:47 AM EDT (#312670) #
Beltran was so amazing then fell off so bad

Not really. Sure he's not what he was in his prime, but his prime was almost fifteen years ago. Most guys Beltran's age have been retired for seven years. He's still a very, very good hitter.
Magpie - Wednesday, October 07 2015 @ 10:57 AM EDT (#312672) #
A final irony about Beltran. He's been one of the greatest post-season performers of his generation, but I'll bet one of the most vivid memories of his career is that called third strike for the final out of the 2006 NLCS. It just seems like a horrible, horrible way for a team's season to end.

Granted, that was one sick Wainwright curveball - there was no point in swinging at the damn thing. All he could do was hope it missed the zone. And Beltran and Carlos Delgado were the entire Mets offense in those seven games against the Cardinals (Beltran hit .286/.387/.667 with 3 HRs; Delgado hit .304/.448/.826 with 3 HRs. The rest of the team hit .212; they scored 27 runs, and Beltran and Delgado drove in and scored 13 of them.) But that was as close as Carlos ever did get to a World Series. Still makes me sad!
Mike Green - Wednesday, October 07 2015 @ 11:00 AM EDT (#312674) #
The Royals do have an advantage arising from Houston being the wild-card team.  Unless there are rainouts, Keuchel can pitch at the earliest in Game 3 of the series and would really only be able to pitch for an inning or two in Game 5.  There is a big dropoff between Keuchel and the rest of the staff.  A good long sequence offence can regularly score 4-5 runs against the rest of them.   I still think that the Astros will win (with McHugh going 5 innings max in Game 5). 
SK in NJ - Wednesday, October 07 2015 @ 12:56 PM EDT (#312684) #
I'm genuinely surprised Dickey is not starting Game 3. I thought his performance from June-September, and the 2nd half in particular, was better than Estrada's. We already discussed the "lucky vs. unlucky" aspect of Estrada's numbers, but I'm not sure I'm comfortable with him in a Game 3 scenario, especially if the series is tied. Dickey is the better pitcher, IMO.

Mike Green - Wednesday, October 07 2015 @ 03:39 PM EDT (#312690) #
There are two parts to the question- who is the better pitcher and (if it is Dickey) does catching the knuckler affect Martin's performance so that the team's ability to win is less with Dickey than with Estrada? I personally think that Estrada is the better pitcher and the second factor makes the team's decision clearly the right one. 
92-93 - Wednesday, October 07 2015 @ 04:08 PM EDT (#312691) #
Former MLB.TV subscribers should remember that Wainwright v. Beltran K well - there was a year (more than one?) where every single time a game went to commercial, you saw an MLB.TV ad featuring that at bat.

I agree with uglyone's point about Beltran carrying the Yankees the last few weeks, and combined with his past playoff performance it would've been a horrendous decision for Girardi to bench him.
Mike Green - Wednesday, October 07 2015 @ 04:17 PM EDT (#312692) #
Beltran hit .256/.313/.436 in September and October, less than he did over the season.  He was steaming hot in August- .353/.431/.635, but I don't think that is particularly relevant to the decision whether to start him or Ellsbury.  It comes down to career post-season performance for a 38 year old vs. performance against LHP over the last couple of years. 
jerjapan - Wednesday, October 07 2015 @ 05:02 PM EDT (#312693) #
Some weird lineups tonight.  Kris Bryant in LF, Schwarber in RF and Tommy LaStella at 3b batting fifth. 

The Pirates trump this weirdness with Alvarez on the bench and Sean freakin' Rodriguez at 1b. 


92-93 - Wednesday, October 07 2015 @ 05:23 PM EDT (#312694) #
With that outfield alignment Maddon is putting a ton of weight on Arrieta's K and GB numbers from this year, figuring he needs the offense vs. Cole. It should be a great game to watch.
Richard S.S. - Wednesday, October 07 2015 @ 10:25 PM EDT (#312696) #
For the Jays tomorrow, good luck and God Bless.
Magpie - Wednesday, October 07 2015 @ 10:42 PM EDT (#312698) #
From the immortal (we can only hope!) Roger Angell, who had a few words on last night's game:

[Keuchel] throws cutters and sliders to the outermost corners, and is otherwise notable for the clinging marmoset or shoeshine buffer attached to his lower chin.
Magpie - Wednesday, October 07 2015 @ 10:43 PM EDT (#312699) #
So last year the Pirates had to cope with Bumgarner in the Wild Card game, and this year they got Arrieta.

Sucks to be you.
greenfrog - Wednesday, October 07 2015 @ 10:54 PM EDT (#312700) #
Imagine playing a gruelling 162 games and then facing Arrieta in the WC game. Arrieta's line so far tonight:

8 4 0 0 0 11

Gah. Another reminder to luxuriate in the Jays' upcoming five-game series (and to enjoy every moment of their amazing season).
greenfrog - Wednesday, October 07 2015 @ 11:03 PM EDT (#312701) #
Make that:

9 4 0 0 0 11

Just another day at the office for Arrieta.
Cracka - Wednesday, October 07 2015 @ 11:19 PM EDT (#312702) #
The Pirates won 98 games -- 2nd most in all of baseball -- and get sent home after one game. I thought Maddon had the right idea with loading up on offense and making defensive subs after getting the lead... and on the other hand, the Pirates sat Alvarez. In the end it didn't matter; Arrieta is the best pitcher in baseball right now (4 ERs in last 13 starts) and I'm glad we don't have to face him (yet?)

StephenT - Wednesday, October 07 2015 @ 11:34 PM EDT (#312703) #
The TV and US Radio announcers for the first round are listed at

As I hoped, the Jays get the Costas game (Game 2).
James W - Thursday, October 08 2015 @ 08:35 AM EDT (#312706) #
Pedro Alvarez was in the game as soon as Rodriguez's spot in the order came up. As Mike Tyson once said, "Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth." Or, should that be Gatorade jug?
uglyone - Thursday, October 08 2015 @ 10:18 AM EDT (#312707) #
so let's argue.

cola v.smoak at 1b today....GO!
bpoz - Thursday, October 08 2015 @ 10:34 AM EDT (#312708) #
Go Jays go!!!
Mike Green - Thursday, October 08 2015 @ 11:06 AM EDT (#312709) #
It will be Smoak, with Colabello facing Hamels tomorrow.  With the early start tomorrow and the lefty throwing, Gibbons will have an easy time spreading around the work. 

In his career, Smoak has hit .279/.343/.458 against Texas, the team that drafted him.  There is a little extra something perhaps, in the same way that Encarnacion particularly enjoys hitting against Cincinnati.

christaylor - Thursday, October 08 2015 @ 11:06 AM EDT (#312710) #
I hope to see the line-up and think, "Thank you for Smoaking."
ComebyDeanChance - Thursday, October 08 2015 @ 11:18 AM EDT (#312711) #
I'm a little surprised, since I half-expected Dickey to start Game 2, with Stroman starting Game 3.

I think that call, Dickey starting game 2, would have been the right one. Particularly with the possibility of the roof being closed Friday.
Chuck - Thursday, October 08 2015 @ 11:23 AM EDT (#312712) #
As I hoped, the Jays get the Costas game (Game 2).

Mercifully, Rick Sutcliffe is doing the radio broadcasts. The mute/Sutcliffe decision typically does not end in his favour.

Still, we'll be getting a heapin' helpin' of Harold Reynolds, which ain't exactly the bees knees. I can't recall my impressions of Marv Albert's boy, who will be doing the play by play. I guess I'll be getting a reminder soon enough.

Kasi - Thursday, October 08 2015 @ 11:26 AM EDT (#312713) #
Yeah I think it's pretty clear the Jays aren't caring about home/road advantages here and are just saying lets put out the pitchers in order who give us the best chance to win. So they put Price, Stroman and Estrada in that order. They probably don't think any Dickey effect is really worth it with the off days and think Estrada is more likely to give them a quality start than Dickey. Stroman at 2 like CF said also gives them Stroman on regular rest in game 5 should they have to use Price on 3 days rest in game 4, which I can see happening if the Jays are down 2-1 entering that game.

Basically the game 2 starter is the only starter who can do two games on regular rest in the series, and it doesn't make sense to put your fourth best starter in that position.
Lylemcr - Thursday, October 08 2015 @ 11:32 AM EDT (#312714) #
It is so exciting to have a playoff game I care about again!

Go Jays go!
Jonny German - Thursday, October 08 2015 @ 11:46 AM EDT (#312715) #
Getting my prediction in:

Jays in 4.
Texas takes game 3.
Series MVP: Jose Bautista.
uglyone - Thursday, October 08 2015 @ 11:54 AM EDT (#312716) #
"Yeah I think it's pretty clear the Jays aren't caring about home/road advantages here"

as they shouldn't.

tbh i'm a little distressed hearing so much emphasis on something as meaningless as home/road splits. there may be an extreme park or two where you might take it into consideration but otherwise it doesn't mean a thing.
Mike Green - Thursday, October 08 2015 @ 11:55 AM EDT (#312717) #
Jays in 3. 
SK in NJ - Thursday, October 08 2015 @ 11:58 AM EDT (#312718) #
The Rangers have a few lefties in their rotation, so we will likely see a lot of Colabello in this series depending on how long the series goes. I expect Smoak to start today, though, and against righties in general. As he should.
Chuck - Thursday, October 08 2015 @ 12:03 PM EDT (#312719) #
Jays in 3.

Yeah, but which 3?

Magpie - Thursday, October 08 2015 @ 12:13 PM EDT (#312721) #
uglyone - Thursday, October 08 2015 @ 12:23 PM EDT (#312724) #
heh. perfect, Magpie. i'm stealing that.
ComebyDeanChance - Thursday, October 08 2015 @ 04:30 PM EDT (#312740) #
Jays in 3

I think some are underestimating the Texas Rangers.
Beyonder - Friday, October 09 2015 @ 12:16 PM EDT (#312805) #
Is any Bauxite in a position to go to the Cards game in St. Louis tonight? If so I have a single ticket that I can email you for free. Would just like to see it used. Email me through the site if you want it.
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