Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine
One team last won a championship 68 years ago. That's right - even longer than the Leafs.

But that's nothing. The other team last won it all 108 years ago. In the same year that Henry Ford unleashed the Model T on the world.

I actually wrote something about those great Cubs teams of the early 20th century. It was one of the most dominant teams in the history of the game. They're most remembered for their defense - Tinker-to Evers-to-Chance - and all that. It's extremely hard to see what made their defense so special at this vast historical remove. One can take it on faith that they were really good: everyone who actually saw them play says so, they certainly didn't give up many runs, and I think it's extremely likely that there was a much larger gap between a good defensive team and an ordinary defensive team than you would find today (or even thirty years ago, never mind a hundred.)

The 1908 Cubs survived one of the most famous pennant races of all time, immortalized in The Glory of Their Times. This was the year of Merkle's Boner. Though they're remembered (well, there's no on alive today who actually remembers) for their defense and their pitching (Mordecai Brown went 29-9, 1.47 and Big Ed Reulbach was 24-7, 2.03) they were also the highest scoring team in the National League, averaging a lusty 3.9 runs per game. As a team, they hit .249/.311/.321 - not quite what Ezequiel Carrera managed this past season. Johnny Evers, the great second baseman, led the way. He hit  300/.402/.375 - he hit no HRs.

Yeah, game done changed.

The 1948 Clevelands also won a memorable pennant race. The season ended with Cleveland and Boston tied at 96-58, two games ahead of the third place Yankees. The Clevelands won a single game playoff when Joe McCarthy surprised the world by starting veteran Denny Galehouse instead of his rookie LH star, Mel Parnell. Cleveland's Lou Boudreau went with his rookie LH, Gene Bearden, and in the fifth inning Ken Keltner broke up a 1-1 with a 3 run HR off Galehouse. Parnell spent the rest of his life complaining about being passed over in the big game.

Cleveland was managed by their star shortsop, Lou Boudreau, and without checking I believe that's the last time a player-manager led his team to the post-season. The smartest thing Boudreau did was write his own name into the lineup. He was the AL MVP that year, hitting .355/.453/.534 with 18 HRs and 106 RBIs. The other big bats in the lineup stood beside him in the infield - second baseman Joe Gordon and third baseman Ken Keltner. In centre field, playing his first full season in the majors was Larry Doby, the first African-American to play in the AL - he'd never played the outfield before, but the Clevelands had old Tris Speaker around to teach him the finer points. Which is kind of like being taught calculus by Isaac Newton.

They had essentially a three man rotation - Bob Feller, Bob Lemon, and Gene Bearden. Feller, the long-time ace, was beginning to show signs of wear - two years after fanning 348 batters (in 371 IP - yes, three hundred seventy-one), his Ks were down to 164  in 280.1 IP. It was still enough to lead the league - batters did not strike out nearly as often even in 1948 (never mind 1908). Feller managed to go 19-15, 3.56. Lemon, who many older folk may remember for his long managerial career, was the Dave Stieb of his time - a converted position player who relied on his slider. Lemon was a far, far better hitter than Stieb - he actually got into 155 major league games as a pinch-hitter or outfielder. He won 20 games for the 1948 Clevelands. Bearden, a rookie LH was actually the best of the three that year, going 20-7 and leading the league with a 2.43 ERA.

So... someone's got to win, right?
The World Series | 173 comments | Create New Account
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Mike Green - Tuesday, October 25 2016 @ 05:04 PM EDT (#334720) #
So... someone's got to win, right?

Is "wildcat labour disruption" one of the ten plagues?  It sure would fit the temper of the times if this World Series were to be cancelled for some stupid reason. 

For what it's worth, my notional money is on the underdog.  I don't think that the difference in the quality of the leagues has been fully appreciated. 
Dewey - Tuesday, October 25 2016 @ 05:20 PM EDT (#334721) #
In the beginning were the Cubs.  I was 10 years old.  The elevated train from Evanston was a bit late so I arrived in the bottom of the first inning.  As I walked up the steps into Wrigley Field, into the sunshine and green, green grass, Eddie Waitkus was hitting a triple into the right-field corner and the fans were roaring.  Absolutely magical.  (Eddie Waitkus was the guy, by the way, that Kim Basinger shot in the film version of Malamud’s “The Natural”.  You might need to know that some day.)  I’m happy for Cubs fans.  They’ve waited a long time, and have endured enough disappointment.  Best of luck to them.  (I’m glad, actually, that it’s not the Jays playing the Cubs:  just too much conflict there.)

Some Windy City lore from 1945.

Cubs went 98-56 [.636 in 154 games] in 1945, interrupting a string of Cardinal pennants.  (This year’s team went 103-58 [.640 in 161 games]).
It was the Cubs 16th pennant, a N.L. record at the time!
Hank Borowy came over to the Cubs from the Yankees in a $100,000 mid-season ‘waiver deal’ (a very large sum) and went 11-2 for them  (21-7 overall in both leagues)
Claude Passeau’s one-hit shutout in Game 3 was ‘the finest WS pitching performance of all time’ until until Don Larsen’s perfect game in 1956.  Passeau was 17-9 for the season.
Hank Wise went 22-10
Bill (Swish) Nicholson led the NL in homers with 23
Phil Cavarretta  led NL with a .355 BA
Andy Pafko, Harry (Peanuts) Lowrey, and Stan Hack were fan favourites as well

Famous Tigers in the 1945 Series:  Greenberg, Trucks, Trout, Newhouser

An Oscar Mayer Red Hot was 15 cents [$2.00 in today’s money]
Beer (Pabst Blue Ribbon) 25 cents a bottle[$3.32 today]; draft was 10 cents [$1.33 today]
scorecards 10 cents; Sporting News, 15 cents
Box seats $1.80  [c $24 in 2016]
Grandstand 1.25  [c $16.50 today]
Bleachers 60 cents  [$8.00 today]
all games broadcast by WIND (560 on your dial, Bert Wilson at the microphone)
Chuck - Tuesday, October 25 2016 @ 05:36 PM EDT (#334723) #
Appreciate the lore, Dewey. Magpie may not want the last predictable and reliable thing in his universe to be taken from him, but many of us are nonetheless pulling for the Cubs. And maybe then that poor bastard Steve Bartman will finally be allowed to come out of hiding.
MrPurple - Tuesday, October 25 2016 @ 07:33 PM EDT (#334729) #
Considering the teams involved, the likelihood of the apocalypse occurring in the next few days has raised significantly.
jerjapan - Tuesday, October 25 2016 @ 07:56 PM EDT (#334730) #
Ah, sweet windy lore.

Gotta pull for the Cubs in this one - that is one long drought they have endured.  Not to mention that they are a super fun team to watch with all those emerging superstar kids.  And that FO!  Joe Maddon!  Ben Zobrist! 

Plus, they did not knock us out of the playoffs...

Magpie - Tuesday, October 25 2016 @ 08:00 PM EDT (#334731) #
Kind of a fun quiz at Slate. Watch the batter's swing, guess whether or not it's a home run.
Magpie - Tuesday, October 25 2016 @ 08:02 PM EDT (#334732) #
the last predictable and reliable thing in his universe

Oh, I'll always have the Leafs.

Won't I?
Mike Green - Tuesday, October 25 2016 @ 08:43 PM EDT (#334734) #
Took the Slate quiz. The swing is only one clue and often not the most important one.
Magpie - Tuesday, October 25 2016 @ 08:59 PM EDT (#334736) #
Jon Lester was 3-0, 0.43 in three WS starts before that first inning.
jerjapan - Tuesday, October 25 2016 @ 09:01 PM EDT (#334737) #
This is remarkable.  I mean, I knew it was big, but this ...

The Clevelands really have done a great job putting together this team, although I still them as overachievers. 

Magpie - Tuesday, October 25 2016 @ 09:01 PM EDT (#334738) #
I think three times on that Slate quiz, I thought - yep, home run - and it would have been a home run save for the heroic intervention of an outfielder. Not fair!
Parker - Tuesday, October 25 2016 @ 09:36 PM EDT (#334739) #
Oh, I'll always have the Leafs.

The Leafs are a terrible, awful, disgraceful organization. If they weren't so incomprehensibly profitable they would've moved to like, what, San Antonio? New Orleans? Austin? Some other utter failure of a hockey market that makes the Coyotes look successful?

They're so bad, they somehow figured out how to make the Craig MacTavish Oilers actually look like they know what they're doing.
uglyone - Wednesday, October 26 2016 @ 12:14 AM EDT (#334741) #
The NL ain't good.
AWeb - Wednesday, October 26 2016 @ 06:37 AM EDT (#334742) #
The Jays have never lost a playoff series to anyone except the eventual champion. Sorry Cubs...
BlueJayWay - Wednesday, October 26 2016 @ 07:53 AM EDT (#334743) #
It's been a long time since the NL has been on a par with the AL.
Magpie - Wednesday, October 26 2016 @ 08:21 AM EDT (#334744) #
None of which has stopped the NL team from winning 4 of the last 6 World Series. Go back to the start of the century and it's still 8-8.

Short series, anything can happen, etc. etc.
jerjapan - Wednesday, October 26 2016 @ 08:23 AM EDT (#334745) #
Kluber man, who saw this guy coming?  Quietest ace in the game, but he was a beast last night.

Congrats to Dexter Fowler, the first African American to play a WS for the Cubs.  According to Griff, Jackie Robinson had just signed a deal with Branch Rickey and was in AAA the last time the Cubs were in the Series.  Remarkable.

Admin - Wednesday, October 26 2016 @ 08:41 AM EDT (#334746) #
The Jays are the only team to pick up a win against Cleveland this off-season.
eudaimon - Wednesday, October 26 2016 @ 08:51 AM EDT (#334747) #
For all the love of Francona it's fair to wonder if he's using Miller too much. He threw 46 pitches tonight, looked shaky doing so, and has pitched 13.2 innings this postseason in 7 of 9 potential games.

I also came across this snippet on Rotoworld: "The last reliever to throw 46-plus pitches in a World Series game and then make an appearance the next day was Keith Foulke in 2004 with the Red Sox. Foulke's manager that year? Terry Francona".

Foulke was great in 2004 but was mostly useless after that. He turned 32 around when the World Series was being played. Miller is just a bit younger, at 31 and 5 months.

Cleveland has plenty of decent bullpen arms, and it seems like overkill that he would need to go to Miller for two, particularly when he was not particularly sharp.

Mike Green - Wednesday, October 26 2016 @ 09:38 AM EDT (#334748) #
I agree with this, eudaimon.  I think Miller has been overused, and the ethics of it are dubious.  In the context of last night's game, there was no need to bring Miller back for a second inning.  There was, in fact, a positive benefit to giving Shaw an inning of work because of the days off between series.
Dave Till - Wednesday, October 26 2016 @ 09:50 AM EDT (#334750) #

I think Miller has been overused, and the ethics of it are dubious.

I can't really blame Francona for keeping on doing what has worked for him so far. On paper, both the Red Sox and the Jays were better than Cleveland (if Baseball Reference's Simple Rating System is to be believed), but nobody has been able to hit Miller. It worked twice; why not try it a third time?

I don't think Francona's use of Miller is an ethical problem. The goal is to win the World Series, and maxing out Miller's arm might be the only way to get there. Even if he can't pitch again after 2016, he's going to earn $18 million more, and it's not like too much pitching will turn him into a cripple in his old age.

Mike Green - Wednesday, October 26 2016 @ 10:23 AM EDT (#334751) #
it's not like too much pitching will turn him into a cripple in his old age

A really nasty shoulder injury to your dominant arm when you are in your early 30s can have very significant effects on a person's enjoyment of life.  Maybe Miller is OK with all that.  I don't know.

Anyways, there is a point where ethics and practicality converge.  We may be nearing that point.  Miller was very good but  human yesterday and might be less than that for the remainder of the series.  We shall see.  I'll venture a guess that Francona keeps him out of tonight's game- even if the score is closer than a 3 run lead.
Dave Till - Wednesday, October 26 2016 @ 10:30 AM EDT (#334752) #

A really nasty shoulder injury to your dominant arm when you are in your early 30s can have very significant effects on a person's enjoyment of life.

I was assuming that it is not possible to suffer an arm injury so severe that even basic normal functioning becomes impossible after surgery and recovery. I could be wrong about this, of course.

Ethical questions of this sort are far, far worse in football, and extremely more prevalent in hockey, now that the long-term effects of concussions are becoming known.

jsut - Wednesday, October 26 2016 @ 10:34 AM EDT (#334753) #
I'd be shocked to see Miller again tomorrow. I wouldn't be shocked to see most of the rest of the bullpen though. Clevelands great challenge is going to be winning games Kluber isn't on the mound for, so tonight should be interesting. I wonder if Bauer's finger has actually healed enough for him to pitch or not. I guess we'll find out.
uglyone - Wednesday, October 26 2016 @ 10:43 AM EDT (#334754) #
I expect to see Miller in again if the game is at all close.

A 2-0 series lead before heading on the road is absolutely massive.

Worrying about giving players days off with at most 6 games left in the season strikes me as....wrong.
jerjapan - Wednesday, October 26 2016 @ 12:48 PM EDT (#334760) #
I expect to see Miller in a close game as well. It's an ethical issue only if they are being intentional deceitful with the player or if they believe he's at serious risk but are running him out their anyway.

Miller's signed for 2 more years and carried a high price for Cleveland. They don't want to ruin the guy's arm for practical reasons as well as ethical ones.
pooks137 - Wednesday, October 26 2016 @ 12:59 PM EDT (#334761) #

A really nasty shoulder injury to your dominant arm when you are in your early 30s can have very significant effects on a person's enjoyment of life.

I was assuming that it is not possible to suffer an arm injury so severe that even basic normal functioning becomes impossible after surgery and recovery. I could be wrong about this, of course.

Ethical questions of this sort are far, far worse in football, and extremely more prevalent in hockey, now that the long-term effects of concussions are becoming known.

As a physician, I can certainly comment that even relatively minor shoulder conditions can become chronic and lead to lots of debility and loss of quality of life

I see lots of patients (though usually older, less fit and with poorer overall health) with rotator cuff issues, frozen shoulder, shoulder impingement and thoracic outlet syndromes - all conditions that are common in throwing athletes. I certainly don't see much elbow pathology in the general population, so elbow problems are probably more limited to throwing athletes

These conditions don't tend to heal well, tend to go on for months and years, cause pain at rest and problems sleeping and limit function above shoulder level leading to loss of ability to even do basic everyday tasks like putting on clothing, washing your hair, eating with a utensil, etc.

I see a lot of suffering with shoulder conditions that seem out of proportion to anatomical findings and patients in general do poorly long-term. Although in young throwing athletes, doctors and surgeons tend to be more aggressive with rehab and surgery and patients will just tend to heal better due to age and wellness, so professional athletes may have less long-term sequelae.

ISLAND BOY - Wednesday, October 26 2016 @ 01:26 PM EDT (#334765) #
Obviously Francona doesn't agree with Buck Showalter's save-my-best-pitcher-until-it's-too-late school of thought.
Chuck - Wednesday, October 26 2016 @ 02:16 PM EDT (#334770) #

Thanks doc, both for the explanation and the word of the day. Now have to figure out how to drop this into casual conversation.

Chuck - Wednesday, October 26 2016 @ 02:22 PM EDT (#334771) #
Miller's signed for 2 more years and carried a high price for Cleveland.

And this, at least, argues against a "rented mule" strategy being in effect. Francona may well be behaving recklessly with Miller, but is that the same as being unethical? Though this may come down to semantics, such an adjective does seem overly harsh.

Dave Till - Wednesday, October 26 2016 @ 02:58 PM EDT (#334772) #
Thanks to pooks137 for the medical perspective. I have learned something today.

This leads me to wonder: at what point is a pitcher putting himself at long-term risk for the sorts of problems that pooks137 describes here? It could be argued, I suppose, that attempting to throw a baseball at 90+ mph even once is an inherently risky act, let alone throwing it dozens of times and especially on consecutive days.
jerjapan - Wednesday, October 26 2016 @ 05:06 PM EDT (#334775) #
young athletes are certainly increasingly aware of long-term health risks - as a former coach and teacher at a school with an elite athlete program, the number of kids aware of concussions in particular is a real positive.

it's all risk-reward for many. the number of talented mixed martial artists leaving the sport during their athletic primes is proof that if the rewards aren't sufficient, many feel it's not worth the risk. (It isn't, IMO)

But the reward of an MLB FA contract is life-alteringly huge.
pooks137 - Wednesday, October 26 2016 @ 06:08 PM EDT (#334777) #


Thanks doc, both for the explanation and the word of the day. Now have to figure out how to drop this into casual conversation.

Thanks Chuck.

I have to admit that I did look up the definition after your comment. I see its use commonly in medical literature, but can't say I come across it in real life.

It seems to sum up well the concept of bad outcomes that stay bad

Chuck - Wednesday, October 26 2016 @ 07:17 PM EDT (#334779) #
Rizzo chokes up with 2 strikes. Love it. Oldtimers around here will remember when that was a thing.
Mike Green - Wednesday, October 26 2016 @ 08:09 PM EDT (#334780) #
"Sequelae of an injury" is used regularly in the medico-legal context.  The singular is "sequela" but if you say or write "sequelas", you will get a look.  It's not like antenna- it sounds slightly precious now to use antennae. 

I thought that it might be dubious ethically to bring on Miller again tonight because of the unique relationship between a sports coach/manager and player.  A degree of trust is necessary.  A pitcher doesn't take himself out of a game if he feels that he is out of gas and in danger of hurting himself.  It never happens.  The pitcher counts on his manager to make those judgments. If a manager is reckless about his player's health, it raises an ethical issue for me because of the position of trust that the manager is in.  Obviously, it is clearest when the player is young (like the college pitcher who is left out for 160 pitches), but even for a mature player like Miller, there is (in my view) still an onus on the manager to give a very high priority to the health of his players.  It has nothing to do with money, but the wishes of a mature player are relevant to the discussion. 

Mike Green - Wednesday, October 26 2016 @ 08:18 PM EDT (#334781) #
It looks like the Cubs are intent on giving Francona an easy out on the Miller question.  Awfully kind of them.
SK in NJ - Wednesday, October 26 2016 @ 08:27 PM EDT (#334782) #
Given that we are talking about the Indians, it wouldn't surprise me if they run Miller to the ground and then trade him in the off-season for a big haul.
scottt - Wednesday, October 26 2016 @ 10:00 PM EDT (#334784) #
In French, sequelles is a very common word.
snider - Wednesday, October 26 2016 @ 10:01 PM EDT (#334785) #
Is there a broadcasters strike? How is Buck doing the world series?
scottt - Wednesday, October 26 2016 @ 10:04 PM EDT (#334786) #
The Cubs are not trying to pull everything and Bauer looked quite hittable and unable to put away hitter after 2 strikes.
Chuck - Wednesday, October 26 2016 @ 10:10 PM EDT (#334787) #
How is Buck doing the world series?

The Buck stops nowhere. Joe on Fox and Martinez on the MLB feed. Pick your poison.

Chuck - Wednesday, October 26 2016 @ 10:12 PM EDT (#334788) #
Is Jason Heyward the most expensive defensive replacement in MLB history?
krose - Wednesday, October 26 2016 @ 10:55 PM EDT (#334789) #
Will this be the longest regulation game of the season?
StephenT - Wednesday, October 26 2016 @ 11:49 PM EDT (#334790) #
It looks like Buck Martinez has been filling in for Mark DeRosa on MLB International (don't know why).  The listings at still say "MLB International announcers: Matt Vasgersian, Mark DeRosa" for all 7 World Series games.

Myself, I've just been listening to Dan Shulman and Aaron Boone on the radio, who have done a great job.

(I was listening to a NLCS pre-game show on the radio last week and they were interviewing longtime Dodgers fan Larry King and they were talking about great announcers like Vin Scully and Red Barber (King actually had heard Barber), and unprompted King mentioned that ESPN now had a special one in Dan Shulman.)
scottt - Thursday, October 27 2016 @ 07:42 AM EDT (#334793) #
Hendriks > Tomlin.

Then we have Klubber on short rest against Lackey and Bauer on short rest against Lester.

The Cleveland bullpen should get a lot of work in Chicago.
mathesond - Thursday, October 27 2016 @ 07:46 AM EDT (#334794) #
When Rogers negotiated with MLB to broadcast the international feed of the WS, they insisted that Buck be part of the announcing team.
Mike Green - Thursday, October 27 2016 @ 09:47 AM EDT (#334798) #
Hendriks > Tomlin.

Then we have Klubber on short rest against Lackey

Cubs 1, Indians 1 in the misspellings dept.  Hendricks pitches for the Cubs; Kluber for the Indians (Klubber is his gonzo clean-up hitter id). 

The Cub starting pitching is nowhere near as good as the ERA would suggest.  Throwing in a weak division with a fabulous defence behind them led to BABIPs between .240 and .256.  I wonder if Heyward will be back in the lineup when the series returns to Chicago; if so, the Cubs will definitely have the run-prevention advantage for 2 of the 3 games in Chicago. 
Parker - Thursday, October 27 2016 @ 10:04 AM EDT (#334800) #
When Rogers negotiated with MLB to broadcast the international feed of the WS, they insisted that Buck be part of the announcing team.

Ah, thanks. I was wondering about that.

All I can say in Buck's defence is that he's not the worst commentator in professional sports.
Mike Green - Thursday, October 27 2016 @ 11:46 AM EDT (#334807) #
Off-day trivia question about David Ortiz.

There have been two pitchers who have dominated him in their careers, walking him only once and striking him out 10 or more times.  Who? Hint: I thought that Mariano Rivera would be one of them, but Ortiz actually hit Rivera well over his career.
Mike Green - Thursday, October 27 2016 @ 12:42 PM EDT (#334810) #
No guesses?  OK, one more hint.  Both are left-handed relievers.
Admin - Thursday, October 27 2016 @ 12:48 PM EDT (#334811) #
Cubs would be favoured in game 3, Hendricks over Tomlin.

Cleveland would be favoured in game 4, Kluber, even on short rest, over Lackey.

With Lester facing Bauer the Cubs would be game 5 favourites.

Arrieta over Tomlin favours the Cubs in game 6 before a pick em in game 7.

Cleveland need to win at least one non Kluber start to win the series.
Eephus - Thursday, October 27 2016 @ 01:18 PM EDT (#334813) #
I'm gonna go with Brett Cecil and someone like Boone Logan. With Cecil I'm guessing he either dominated Ortiz or got crushed on many occasions.
James W - Thursday, October 27 2016 @ 01:45 PM EDT (#334814) #
If we're going with random LOOGYs, I'll cast a vote for Mike Stanton (while wondering if he pitched long enough to strike Ortiz out 10 times). Eddie Guardado wasn't really a one-out guy, but he's worth a guess too.

My curiosity will make me look it up, but I won't spoil anything.
James W - Thursday, October 27 2016 @ 01:52 PM EDT (#334815) #
Mike, there is actually a third pitcher who had 11 strikeouts and 1 walk, but Ortiz did hit 286/302/548, so perhaps he was not included as this pitcher did not exactly dominate Ortiz. (I know he's the one not on your list as he's neither left-handed nor a reliever.)
Mike Green - Thursday, October 27 2016 @ 02:34 PM EDT (#334816) #
None of the above.  Thanks, James W. 

One more hint.  I would have guessed Zach Britton, and I would have been wrong but at least in the ballpark.

mathesond - Thursday, October 27 2016 @ 02:47 PM EDT (#334818) #
Lefty reliever? Andrew Miller, perhaps?
Oceanbound - Thursday, October 27 2016 @ 03:34 PM EDT (#334819) #
Thomas - Thursday, October 27 2016 @ 04:12 PM EDT (#334820) #
If Britton was in the ballpark, how about Arthur Rhodes?
Mike Green - Thursday, October 27 2016 @ 04:50 PM EDT (#334822) #
Not Andrew Miller (who did very well against Ortiz in 10 PAs- 1 walk and 4 Ks and a nasty slash line) nor Arthur Rhodes.   I was typing Arthur Miller and Andrew Rhodes but stopped  myself. 
Mike Green - Thursday, October 27 2016 @ 04:53 PM EDT (#334823) #
OK.  One more hint.  One of the pitchers is active and the other is long retired.  The retired pitcher played for the Indians for 4 years. 
StephenT - Thursday, October 27 2016 @ 06:58 PM EDT (#334824) #
Thanks mathesond.  I see now that Sportsnet president Scott Moore has claimed responsibility for Buck Martinez being on the MLB International broadcast as per .
Dave Till - Thursday, October 27 2016 @ 08:28 PM EDT (#334826) #
I didn't know the answer to Mike's trivia question, so I wanted to try to look it up. Is there a site that has lifetime pitcher versus hitter data?

Which reminds me of my favourite trivia question: name the World Series achievement that Sandy Koufax and Rance Mulliniks have in common. The answer is that both men were once on a World Series roster without getting into a game: Koufax with Brooklyn (in either 1955 or 56), and Mulliniks with the Royals in 1980.
Mike Green - Thursday, October 27 2016 @ 08:43 PM EDT (#334827) #
BBRef does, Dave.

The answers are Brian Matusz and Ricardo Rincon.
John Northey - Thursday, October 27 2016 @ 09:11 PM EDT (#334828) #
Mulliniks also was on the Jays roster for the 1992 WS iirc. Just 23 players were used in that WS by the Jays so two guys didn't get into a game. Mulliniks and I'm not sure who else.
ISLAND BOY - Friday, October 28 2016 @ 06:14 AM EDT (#334832) #
Turner Ward.
James W - Friday, October 28 2016 @ 09:36 AM EDT (#334835) #
Tim Hudson was the other pitcher, with 11 strikeouts and only 1 walk against Ortiz.
Mike Green - Friday, October 28 2016 @ 10:08 AM EDT (#334836) #
The lefties who Ortiz really wore out were Jamie Moyer (especially), Andy Pettitte and Mark Buehrle.  Cliff Lee and Randy Johnson (surprise!) did well against him.
John Northey - Friday, October 28 2016 @ 11:57 AM EDT (#334837) #
Thanks Island Boy - no idea where to find who was on the roster other than old newspapers (I have them in a storage locker with 1985's clinching, 1989's, 1992, 1993 and the 1991 trade).

1993's WS team also used just 23 players but I have no memory of who missed out. Willie Canate, Mark Eichhorn, Pat Hentgen, Randy Knorr, and Todd Stottlemyre each got into just 1 game apiece. (Hentgen was to start game 7 if needed). Alfredo Griffin got into 3 games but never hit (he was on deck after Carter if that home run didn't happen). 10 pitchers used, 13 hitters. Given the era I'd suspect the 2 missing are hitters. Canadian Rob Butler got 2 PA's (1 hit and scored). I'm guessing Turner Ward and Darnell Coles as both played a fair amount in the regular season but were not used in the WS.
Dave Till - Friday, October 28 2016 @ 12:08 PM EDT (#334838) #

BBRef does, Dave.

I kind of assumed that they did, but I can't figure out how to get that info to come up. How did you get it? (It's probably something obvious that I am missing.)

Mike Green - Friday, October 28 2016 @ 12:18 PM EDT (#334840) #
On the main player page (say for Ortiz), there is a tab under Standard Batting "vs. pitcher".  It's the second one from the right. 
Magpie - Friday, October 28 2016 @ 02:44 PM EDT (#334850) #
The lefties who Ortiz really wore out were Jamie Moyer (especially), Andy Pettitte and Mark Buehrle.

I remember quite vividly that Carlos Delgado also wore out Moyer (.390/.468/.780). Carlos hit 8 HRs in 82 ABs against him, more than against any other pitcher. Which led, logically enough, to two questions.

First, how did Carlos do against Pettite and Buehrle? Just fine against Pettite (.318/.403/.591) with 5 HRs in 66 ABs. But he couldn't figure out Buehrle (3-17 with a BB and a 2B). While Buehrle's fastball was almost as unimpressive as Moyer's, I didn't think they were really that similar. Buehrle pitched to spots, and Moyer changed speeds on his lack of speed. The Ancient Mariner seemed more like late period Tom Glavine to me, and Glavine couldn't get Carlos out either. He was happy just to keep him in the yard (.526/.640/.579).

Second, who the hell did Jamie Moyer manage to get out? Lots of infielders, for the most part. Guys like Randy Velarde and Joe Randa. Chris Gomez and Mike Bordick. Not great hitters to start with, but Moyer turned them into you and me. Some of the better hitters who did have trouble with Moyer were David Justice, Jim Thome, and (especially) Tim Salmon. And Luis Gonzalez hit .000/.000/.000 in 16 PAs.

Back when they used to post pitcher velocities on the Dome scoreboard, Moyer was reponsible for one of my favourite in-person moments at the ball park. That wonderful day when the board read: FASTBALL 79 MPH. The guy didn't even throw a knuckleball.
SK in NJ - Friday, October 28 2016 @ 03:13 PM EDT (#334853) #
Apparently if anyone wants to go to one of the next three games in Chicago, it will only cost you the equivalent of your next three or four mortgage payments combined. Seems like a good deal.
Magpie - Friday, October 28 2016 @ 03:25 PM EDT (#334854) #
So I'm doing a fairly routine Google search and I stumble across this:

Rogers offers new 're-sign Encarnacion and Bautista' bundle.

That can't be real, can it?

It can't. But I went to the website, and was duly entertained!
Mike Green - Friday, October 28 2016 @ 04:15 PM EDT (#334855) #
Salmon is the weird one on that list of hitters who had trouble with Moyer, Magpie.  He's a very good hitter, and he has the platoon advantage.  He had typical W/K numbers and had some pop, but put up a terrible batting average against Moyer.  It might have been a fluke, or he might have had a tendency to pop up slow pitches. It's weird because overall Salmon hit a lot of line drives and posted a fine career BABIP.  So, I checked (using BBRef's Play Index) Salmon's PAs against Moyer.  Of his 69 balls in play there were 8 pop-ups to infielders and 14 line drives (9 of which fell).  His line-drive rate against Moyer was indeed a little lower than usual for him and the pop-up rate was much higher.  It looks like he was a little unlucky too.

I checked Salmon's records against other pitchers.  He did struggle mightily against Barry Zito (perhaps he just couldn't hit the hook even though it was coming into him) and Mark Mulder.  He more than held his own against the best RH power pitchers of his time- Roger Clemens and Pedro Martinez.  The lefties he hit will were Pettite, Arthur Rhodes, Eddie Guardado and (especially) Darren Oliver.  He didn't hit Randy Johnson though. 

Salmon's line against Pedro Martinez is interesting.  He came to the plate 27 times, struck out 14 times, walked 4, hit 1 homer and 1 double, and had 5 singles.  Can we guess that he had a tendency to swing and miss at Pedro's change, but was less likely to pop up than he was against Moyer?  I checked Play Index for that too.  Salmon did not pop-up at all against Pedro.  He hit 3 line drives, all fell.  He hit 3 ground balls, one went for a double, one a single and one an out.  He hit 3 fly balls, one left the yard, one went for a double and one was an out.  Let's say he hit the ball hard and that just maybe he got lucky.

bpoz - Friday, October 28 2016 @ 07:15 PM EDT (#334862) #
Thanks Magpie. I enjoy reading about stuff that I remember and enjoyed living through.
Magpie - Friday, October 28 2016 @ 08:52 PM EDT (#334867) #
He didn't hit Randy Johnson though.

Yeah, but who did?

Oh, I had to find out. Albert Pujols, Chipper Jones, and Ty Wigginton (!). Larry Walker would be your token LH batter.
Magpie - Friday, October 28 2016 @ 08:56 PM EDT (#334868) #
Rickey Henderson went 7-59 (.119) against the Unit with 30 Ks. He did draw 26 walks.
Mike Green - Friday, October 28 2016 @ 09:52 PM EDT (#334869) #
Albert Pujols would make sense. Easily the best RH hitter of his time.

Larry Walker held his own against Unit? Amazing. That's a Hall of Fame credential!
scottt - Friday, October 28 2016 @ 10:38 PM EDT (#334870) #
Another small ball game.
Gerry - Friday, October 28 2016 @ 10:44 PM EDT (#334871) #
You could see Buck Martinez in the background filming Bill Murray during that seventh inning stretch. Even the broadcasters are fans.
uglyone - Saturday, October 29 2016 @ 10:41 AM EDT (#334873) #
if cleve can shut down boston toronto cubs in the same postseason, they earned everything they get.
Mike Green - Saturday, October 29 2016 @ 11:07 AM EDT (#334874) #
The size of the Game 2 loss did Cleveland a favour.  Miller got 2 needed days off, and can easily go one of the next two games in Chicago.

In my view, the Cubs' achievements this season have been overstated.  Their offence in the context of the weaker league is good, but not special (and a far cry from the Red Sox offence).  Their pitching is good, but not great.  They are however a superior defensive club.  These two clubs are evenly matched, with Cleveland benefiting more from the short series and off-days (which permits more energetic use of the bullpen) and home-field advantage.

The Globe crossword today had a clue "hit by Santana"; my first reaction was "homer".  The answer was not Evil Ways, but Black Magic Woman. 

Mike Green - Saturday, October 29 2016 @ 04:25 PM EDT (#334878) #
Not surprising news about Jose Fernandez, but still sad. The stories about his impending fatherhood take on a different cast. 
scottt - Saturday, October 29 2016 @ 04:59 PM EDT (#334879) #
Even more sad, but it's a story worth sharing, thanks to access to information.
uglyone - Saturday, October 29 2016 @ 05:47 PM EDT (#334880) #
I mean it's sad, sure....but people die randomly every day.

Can't really be sad about all of them.
John Northey - Saturday, October 29 2016 @ 07:32 PM EDT (#334881) #
No question in the playoffs a hot bullpen pitcher or two can make a massive difference - see the many Yankee WS wins with Rivera doing multiple innings - 36 1/3 IP in WS over 24 games or 1 1/2 innings per game with an ERA below 1 (slightly lower ERA in LCS and even lower in the ALDS at 0.32 in 56 IP over 39 games).

The Jays are lucky to have Osuna but we need another guy who can be counted on heavily in the playoffs - in 2015 Cecil would've made the difference I think (Cecil probably would've been used in the 7th in game two and stopped from having 5 runs scored against, saving Sanchez for the 8th, figuring that the manager might have felt safer doing that than he did with just 2 relievers he could count on). Game 6 might also have turned out differently as with Cecil/Sanchez/Osuna it might have worked better. Maybe not.
scottt - Saturday, October 29 2016 @ 08:35 PM EDT (#334885) #
Right, but he climbed higher than most of them, just to fall further. He'll be remembered.
scottt - Saturday, October 29 2016 @ 09:10 PM EDT (#334886) #
Lackey has had better games.
Gerry - Saturday, October 29 2016 @ 10:30 PM EDT (#334887) #
Cleveland just grind their way through everyone.
dan gordon - Sunday, October 30 2016 @ 03:49 AM EDT (#334889) #
The Cleveland pitching has been tremendous this post season. First round, in 3 games against the team that scored more runs than any team in baseball, they allowed only 7 runs in 3 games. Second round against the Jays, who were the 9th highest scoring team in baseball, they gave up only 8 runs in 5 games, and now in the World Series, against the 3rd highest scoring team in baseball, they've given up only 7 runs in 4 games. All of this without Carrasco. Puts some perspective on the Jays' lack of offense in the ALCS. Nobody's doing much of anything against this Cleveland pitching staff. That's fewer than 2 runs a game against 3 top 10 offenses.
scottt - Sunday, October 30 2016 @ 09:09 AM EDT (#334891) #
Maybe, but every time I look, I see pitchers taking advantage of a generous strike zone.

I'm truly more impressed with the Cleveland defense.

greenfrog - Sunday, October 30 2016 @ 09:34 AM EDT (#334894) #
Remember when "Cleveland North" was an epithet for the Jays front office? Now it's a badge of honour.
jerjapan - Sunday, October 30 2016 @ 01:36 PM EDT (#334897) #
The "Cleveland North' thing is a bit more complex than - Cleveland win!  FO good!  Just as the issue was always bigger than the oversimplifications leveled by the other side of the debate.

Cleveland is remarkable this year, don't get me wrong - and hats off to Mike Green who repeatedly posted that the Cubs were overrated and the Clevelands underrated - what they are doing on a minuscule budget and with serious injures is remarkable.  But until this year, they've been a mediocre franchise for most of the 21st century. 

Still, I'm gonna stop posting about how awesome the Cubs are.  I just want some retribution for that darn mascot! 

How much of this Cleveland run is attributable to Francona?  He's been great IMO.

vw_fan17 - Sunday, October 30 2016 @ 01:37 PM EDT (#334898) #
Hopefully Cleveland wins the next one. Can't wait for the off-season to start..
jerjapan - Sunday, October 30 2016 @ 03:44 PM EDT (#334900) #
Where does the Miller trade stand in the history of quality trade deadline moves?   It seems like this postseason run comes down mostly to the big three stars in him, Kluber and Lindor. 

How much of a difference would Miller have made to our chances?

I thought the Clevelands failure to land Lucroy was a serious miss, but Perez has been impressive.   If Gomes can bounce back, catcher could be a real strength for Cleveland going forward - heck, with around $90 million committed to the team next year - assuming options are picked up and arb guys tendered - and Salazar, Carasco and Brantley are back contributing - this team should be good for a while.  with graduations and traded prospects, the farm is average-at-best, but they also have some older prospects who could fill out the roster coming off strong years in AAA. 

scottt - Sunday, October 30 2016 @ 05:00 PM EDT (#334901) #
First of all, the Blue Jays pen has been better than Cleveland's in the post-season.
Also, Gibbons kept Stroman for a 3rd time through the lineup just because his pitch count was low.
Having a clone of Miller in the Blue Jays pen would have changed nothing.

Now, if Travis had been healthy, the Jays might have scored some runs as Donaldson was hitting well but they just pitched around Encarnation.

jerjapan - Sunday, October 30 2016 @ 05:10 PM EDT (#334902) #
Probably right Scott - I just looked at their stats again and the pen only gave up 2 runs - both by Liriano.  The issue was obviously offense and Travis certainly would have helped.  Miller would have allowed Gibby to go to the pen earlier but it's hard to pull a Sanchez or a Stroman, and Happ and Estrada pitched well.
Magpie - Sunday, October 30 2016 @ 06:35 PM EDT (#334905) #
I see pitchers taking advantage of a generous strike zone.

I think a lot of that is Roberto Perez. The guy makes everything look like a strike. He's doing a tremendous job.
eudaimon - Sunday, October 30 2016 @ 07:11 PM EDT (#334906) #
Miller would have helped us, if only because then he wouldn't have been helping Cleveland. The offense might have scored more runs against Cleveland if someone else had been pitching in those crucial innings.

Still, we lost was because of our offense. However, Cleveland's pitching has been damn good. They've shut down every team they've faced now. And our offense looked fine against Texas.

If they win, Francona deserves a bit of credit for innovation bullpen use. But the actual players deserve most of it. I'm still rooting for the Cubs though. I like the team and their name, which is cute and charming - the polar opposite of Cleveland's name.

scottt - Sunday, October 30 2016 @ 07:18 PM EDT (#334907) #
He also hit 2 home runs in a world series game. He has 3 in the regular season.

I don't know. It just seems unfair.
Martin is supposed to be a good framer, but the Jays throw mostly fastballs.
I don't remember the umps being fooled by a catcher bringing back sliders that miss by a foot like that.

Mike Green - Sunday, October 30 2016 @ 08:46 PM EDT (#334908) #
I thought that the umpires have given to and taken from pitchers on both clubs about equally.

Here's a question. If you could choose one if Francisco Lindor or Kris Bryant as a lifetime player for a real baseball team without any consideration of salaries, arbitration/free agency eligibility and so on, who would you pick?
SK in NJ - Monday, October 31 2016 @ 07:54 AM EDT (#334910) #
I don't think there is any chance Gibbons (or most managers in the league) would have used Miller the way Francona has. Maybe for more than 3 outs, but bringing him into the game in the 5th? Gibbons just seems like more of a creature of habit as far as pen usage, and he likes to allow his starters to go a bit deeper (~100 pitches). Nothing really changed in the post season. I think we can chalk this up to "right place, right time, right manager" as far as the impact Miller has had. I doubt too many managers would have used him the way Francona has.

As far as Cleveland, they've been a dangerous team since 2013. They've always had the talent but never got it to gel until this season, and remarkably they've done it without Carrasco and Salazar on the pitching side, and Brantley on offense. A mix of great defense, good pitching, good managing, and getting hot at the right time. The latter is pretty important in October. Looked like the Jays were getting hot at the right time when they swept the Rangers but they ran into the hotter team.
jerjapan - Monday, October 31 2016 @ 08:18 AM EDT (#334911) #
I think you are right about 'right place, right time, right manager' SK, but I also expect to see a whole lot more of the 'relief ace' usage going forward - look at all the teams that tried to lengthen their pen following KC's run. 

Lindor or Bryant?  Man, tough call.  Lindor has the age but Bryant is the clear WAR leader thus far .... I'd go with Lindor as a fan - a dynamic player that can do everything?  wait, that sounds like Bryant.  Lindor, because he's just such a joy to watch. 

I'm sure the more statistically inclined will have some interesting choices.  Happy to get a game 6!

Mike Green - Monday, October 31 2016 @ 08:41 AM EDT (#334913) #
Lindor, for me.  I'd forgotten (how could I?) that Bryant is 2 years older. 

Lindor's age BBRef comp list includes Boudreau and Jeter, and he's pretty clearly ahead of both at this stage in his career.  Heck, Honus Wagner wasn't in major league ball until age 23, and his first 2 seasons were fairly comparable to Lindor's first two.  I could easily see Lindor as a perennial batting champ.  I love the way he handles the off-speed stuff.
James W - Monday, October 31 2016 @ 09:30 AM EDT (#334914) #
I think a lot of that is Roberto Perez. The guy makes everything look like a strike. He's doing a tremendous job.

It blows my mind that umpires are falling for his schtick. Moving your glove a foot and a half might work in Peewee ball, but you would think Major League umpires are better than that. At least until you watch them.
Mike Green - Monday, October 31 2016 @ 09:36 AM EDT (#334916) #
I find his framing over-the-top too.  What he does not do though is to take strikes and make them look like balls.  He gets the glove out there before the ball arrives and holds it, rather than swiping it out of the strike zone as the less impressive catchers will sometimes do. 

He does block pitches and pounce on the ball as well as anybody right now.  That's the part of his defensive game that really impresses.  He also throws well.

uglyone - Monday, October 31 2016 @ 09:59 AM EDT (#334917) #
Gibbons did it before Francona did it, using David Price in the very same way last playoffs.

He also has used Osuna and Sanchez for 2ip regularly in the playoffs.

Mike Green - Monday, October 31 2016 @ 10:09 AM EDT (#334918) #
Francona did leave Miller in to pitch a second inning (the 8th) with a 6 run lead.  It's the kind of thing that Gibbons does which drives me nuts.  Anyways, Francona's usage of Miller has indeed been different.  He had a problem because of the injuries to Carrasco and Salazar; his response was creative and he has been rewarded so far for his creativity.

Francona apparently does try to consult with players privately about roles prior to the games.  It may be that Francona told Miller prior to the game that he would pitch 2 innings with a lead (to make sure Kluber was not taxed too much and would be ready for Game 7 if necessary), and would have the day off for Game 5. 

Dave Till - Monday, October 31 2016 @ 11:15 AM EDT (#334920) #

On the main player page (say for Ortiz), there is a tab under Standard Batting "vs. pitcher". It's the second one from the right.

Aha, there it is! Thanks!

BlueJayWay - Monday, October 31 2016 @ 11:26 AM EDT (#334921) #
What he does not do though is to take strikes and make them look like balls.  He gets the glove out there before the ball arrives and holds it, rather than swiping it out of the strike zone as the less impressive catchers will sometimes do.

I've always thought that's the largest component of pitch framing. Just catching the ball 'quietly' and not pushing it out of the zone, the way Angel/Sandy Martinez did back in the day. Drove me nuts.
AWeb - Monday, October 31 2016 @ 01:55 PM EDT (#334923) #
I hate catcher framing as a skill - the closest equivalent in other sports I can think of is the ability to draw fouls in basketball or penalties in hockey by simply causing so much contact the ref has to call something (the worst possible players to watch, even if they are effective). I'm still not sure what happens to catchers in a world where they don't have to bother framing (due to robot strike zones) though.

Do you just stand upright with no one on base? Why bother crouching for those batters until two strikes if you don't need to display pitches for an ump? The ump certainly wouldn't hang out behind the plate anymore...foul tips can be mostly avoided by being directly behind the batter waiting for a call to make instead. The running game would suffer too, I would think, with catchers being able to cheat a lot more to be ready to throw. Would it make the position available to lefty-throwers in some way (excluded from catching now for...reasons, I guess.) that it isn't now?

Hoping the Cubs force game 7 and that they solve Cleveland's pitching and force a couple of slugfests. If the games are 4 hours long anyway, I vote for more offense. I think this postseason has been a pretty convincing argument for scouting and planning helping a pitching staff a lot more than a lineup. If you can't hit curves (like the Cubs this year, and apparently the Jays), there's not much you can do to learn how in a week, but you can certainly throw a lot more of them than usual, which Cleveland is apparently doing. 25 runs against in 13 games is crazy.
Parker - Monday, October 31 2016 @ 03:27 PM EDT (#334924) #
Personally I love "pitch framing" as a skill. There's not much left that the defence can do these days to influence a batter's chances at the plate, other than throwing unhittable strikes. Until MLB brings in the robo-umps who can't make mistakes on ball/strike calls, pitch-framing catchers are going to become more and more valuable as a commodity.
SK in NJ - Monday, October 31 2016 @ 03:48 PM EDT (#334925) #
The difference between Navarro and Martin in 2014 using pitch framing alone was over 30 runs. If anyone should appreciate framing, it's Jays fans. The Jays went from one of the worst in the game in 2014 to one of the best in 2015 (at the time). I think teams are already employing better framers now. It's no longer an undervalued stat.

A big reason why the Indians locked up Yan Gomes to a big contract after 2013 was because of defense/framing. He's regressed since then obviously, but the Indians as an organization clearly put an emphasis on it (Lucroy is also elite in that area), so not surprising that Perez is as good as he is.
Mike Green - Monday, October 31 2016 @ 04:06 PM EDT (#334926) #
Does any team employ someone with a background in game theory to help with pitch sequencing?  It wouldn't shock me.  PItch sequencing and aerodynamics (spin rates and so on) seem to me to be the growth areas now.  Pitching in 2016 is definitely science and art. 

On a partially unrelated note, does anybody else wish that Randy Johnson's nickname was "Death from Above"?

Magpie - Monday, October 31 2016 @ 04:09 PM EDT (#334927) #
Would it make the position available to lefty-throwers in some way (excluded from catching now for...reasons, I guess.)

I think the actual reason is that if you're left-handed and you throw well enough to be a catcher, they put you on the pitcher's mound.
Magpie - Monday, October 31 2016 @ 04:16 PM EDT (#334928) #
I've always thought that's the largest component of pitch framing. Just catching the ball 'quietly' and not pushing it out of the zone

That's exactly what Bob Boone said about pitch framing almost 40 years ago. He said the idea was to help the umpire see the pitch properly.

This is a skill that's been around forever, and we're only now beginning to get a grip on it. It was always one of those things that couldn't be measured, and there's always been a tendency in part of the world to think that things that can't be measured don't even exist.

Hey, progress. Now we know what Jose Molina brought to the game, and why it made him valuable. We still can't explain Jeff Mathis.
mathesond - Monday, October 31 2016 @ 04:47 PM EDT (#334929) #
Would it make the position available to lefty-throwers in some way (excluded from catching now for...reasons, I guess.)

I think the actual reason is that if you're left-handed and you throw well enough to be a catcher, they put you on the pitcher's mound.

I think it might have had something to do with the preponderance of right-handed batters way back in the day
Parker - Monday, October 31 2016 @ 05:00 PM EDT (#334931) #
For what it's worth, Martin was well-regarded as an above-average framer when the Jays signed him.
Mike Green - Tuesday, November 01 2016 @ 09:05 AM EDT (#334937) #
I was wondering how one would adapt Francona's pitcher usage to the regular season.  I came up with the following. 

The staff would break down like this:
1) four starters
2) three two inning guys- one high leverage, who face 9 batters max.
3) two late inning high leverage who face 6 batters max
4) long reliever
5) 1-2 late inning low to medium leverage relievers depending on taste

The concept would be this.  Your starters go 85 pitches max.  If you have an ace (or two), he can go 6 innings and face the top and middle of the order a third time in a close game. Your other starters only go through the lineup twice, and maybe face the first batter or two the third time up depending on the game situation.  Most of the third time through the order is taken by one of your three two inning guys- the choice will depend on prior workload and game situation.  There is some flexibility in how you handle the late inning work, depending on personnel.

In the discussion about pitch-framing, I too thought about Bob Boone.  I don't remember much talk about it prior to him.  I have no concept whether Bill Freehan or Tim McCarver (both of whom I saw) was a good pitcher framer, let alone Yogi Berra or Roy Campanella. 
uglyone - Tuesday, November 01 2016 @ 10:43 AM EDT (#334938) #
in re pitch framing - i'm not so sure these playoffs have been as much about pitch framing as they are about simply having more generous strike zones.

i'm sure it's been studied but i'd love to see if there is any consistent difference in regular season vs playoffs strikezone, factoring out pitcher quality.
Mike Green - Tuesday, November 01 2016 @ 11:00 AM EDT (#334939) #
I haven't found the strike zones more generous in the playoffs.  To my eye, they have been tighter at the top end of the zone than they were during parts of the regular season.  Personally, I find that is where there is the greatest variance- I'm never really sure whether a pitch at the top of the zone is likely to be called or not. 
uglyone - Tuesday, November 01 2016 @ 12:45 PM EDT (#334940) #
yeah you're probably right. wouldn't mind seeing the data still though.

and I agree the high strike bugs me no matter what time of year - it seems to by far have the weakest definition.
scottt - Tuesday, November 01 2016 @ 07:22 PM EDT (#334944) #
It's kinda subjective. The pitch tracker used in the playoffs seems at lot less accurate than the one from the regular season at any rate.
greenfrog - Tuesday, November 01 2016 @ 09:36 PM EDT (#334945) #
Someone suggested that the Cubs are an overrated team. Given that Chicago's success during the regular season and the fact that they're on the verge of forcing a game seven in the WS, this notion seems odd (to be charitable). I guess I'll have to go back and read the comments about this upthread.
scottt - Tuesday, November 01 2016 @ 09:53 PM EDT (#334946) #
Using starters on short rest often backfires.
Tomlin is their 5th starter. Even Bauer isn't that good.
The scouted well and executed, but a good team makes adjustments.

Parker - Tuesday, November 01 2016 @ 09:56 PM EDT (#334947) #
The Cubs are the best team in baseball, and they're going to be for at least the next four years.
Chuck - Tuesday, November 01 2016 @ 09:56 PM EDT (#334948) #
It's looking like neither Chapman nor Miller will be needed tonight. What's the under/over on their combined use tomorrow night? 5 innings?
BlueJayWay - Tuesday, November 01 2016 @ 11:42 PM EDT (#334949) #
Game 7 for all the marbles.
Glevin - Wednesday, November 02 2016 @ 08:41 AM EDT (#334950) #
Ridiculous using Chapman for multiple innings. When you have a win probability of something like 99.5%, using an elite reliever moves that to what 99.6%? Maybe the Cubs won't need him tonight, but it would be absurd to not be able to use Chapman in a situation with much higher stakes because you overused him in this one.
James W - Wednesday, November 02 2016 @ 10:26 AM EDT (#334951) #
I don't think there is any question about Chapman's availability tonight. I wouldn't be shocked if he throws 2+ innings tonight.
uglyone - Wednesday, November 02 2016 @ 10:35 AM EDT (#334952) #
imo playing the percentages is smart over the longrun of a full regular season, but useless in the playoffs, especially in elimination games in the world series.
Mike Green - Wednesday, November 02 2016 @ 10:55 AM EDT (#334953) #
Availability isn't the issue.  Effectiveness is. 

Miller has had 3 days rest.  He can probably go 3-4 innings if necessary (which for him would probably be 40-50 pitches) and be effective.  Chapman threw 42 pitches in Game 5 and 20 pitches last night.  They can try to get 30 pitches out of him tonight, but if they do, they shouldn't be surprised if he's all over the place after 15-20 pitches.  He threw 11 strikes of his 20 pitches last night, and I'd guess that he would be under 50% after 20 pitches tonight.  It's not a winning formula. 

Both managers have done this at points (overusing a key reliever unnecessarily).  Miller and Chapman are both excellent pitchers, and it may be easy to forget that they are human beings with real limitations.  This series has reminded me to be a little more forgiving of Gibbons' flaws in this department. 

bpoz - Wednesday, November 02 2016 @ 10:57 AM EDT (#334954) #
I wonder if the Cub curse will rear it's ugly head tonight.

I also think that the Cubs have a huge window of contention. 2 years so far. Many more to go.
SK in NJ - Wednesday, November 02 2016 @ 11:00 AM EDT (#334955) #
Chapman will be available tonight. Maybe not for the 2+ innings I would have expected had he not pitched in Game 6, but certainly for an inning or so. Whether he will be as effective is the question. I disagreed with bringing him in a five run game, and certainly disagreed with keeping him in (especially to start the 9th when the lead grew to 7). I haven't watched enough Cubs games to get a read on their pen, but a five run lead with 2.1 innings to go is not really a high leverage spot, even in a do or die game.

Regardless, I think Francona probably likes his chances tonight. Kluber on the mound and a rested Miller available for 2-3 if need be, in addition to Allen.
bpoz - Wednesday, November 02 2016 @ 11:03 AM EDT (#334956) #
You are a good man Mike Green. Your comment about Gibbons.

When the WS ends, I will express some compliments about Gibbons. He did quite well IMO. He deserves his share of the praise for 2015 and 16.
Mike Green - Wednesday, November 02 2016 @ 11:15 AM EDT (#334957) #
I have been impressed with Rizzo on the Cub side.  His career line is good, but does not do justice to where he is at now.  He has learned how to handle the breaking ball and is a complete hitter.  His BBRef age comps lead off with Hrbek and Jason Thompson, but I think they are undersell him.  Further down in his list, you have Teixeira and Will Clark and that is, I think, about where he is. 
Richard S.S. - Wednesday, November 02 2016 @ 02:41 PM EDT (#334959) #
Chapman is possibly a Free Agent on November 8th. Think of this as a chance to cash in big. Alternately, the Cubs need to see if he's worth all that money.
Mike Green - Wednesday, November 02 2016 @ 03:24 PM EDT (#334960) #
Mike Petriello argues that the Cubs should start Lester for a couple of innings. He suggests that you could start Ross and bat him 9th, and pinch-hit for him with Contreras when his turn comes.  That only works if the Cubs don't have much going for the first two innings and so Ross' spot doesn't come up in the top of the second.  The plan would make more sense if the Cubs were the home team. 
jerjapan - Wednesday, November 02 2016 @ 05:41 PM EDT (#334961) #
Interesting read at Fangraphs on the 'legacy' of this postseason.  Tony Blengino argues for the high-leverage relief ace pretty effectively - the conclusion:

"the pure same-handed relief specialist, the pure lefty-lefty guy for the most part, should become a thing of the past — with the exception of the very best of that ilk. Teams should focus upon filling out the non-elite portion of their bullpen with pitchers with length who can be effective against opposite-handed hitters. Right now, teams are asking about 500 innings per year out of their relievers; there is no reason that their best guys can’t give them 90 innings, and their rank-and-file types can’t give them 75-80 innings of lower-leverage work. The appearance totals don’t change, but the innings totals do. The end result could potentially be the return of the 11-man pitching staff, coupled with the aesthetic benefit of fewer pitching changes and better game flow."

I'd love to see this in action with Osuna getting 90 IPs.  An 11 man pen would be wonderful and could work easily here with the proximity to Buffalo if a fresh 6th arm is needed.   Gibby doesn't strike me as a pioneer, but I could see him learning from this postseason, and the former starter Osuna could likely handle the innings - and this mitigates somewhat any sting remaining around his lost starter potential.

The full article:
scottt - Wednesday, November 02 2016 @ 07:30 PM EDT (#334962) #
Osuna will remain the closer  and will continue to accumulate saves.
Grilli can't do more than one inning and will continue to setup unless he goes the way of Cecil.
Gibbons will try to get as many innings off the starters as possible. Sanchez goes unlimited next year.
Estrada and Happ haven't been able to throw complete game.
For the most part it will depend on who performs well in the bullpen. Hopefully there is no  Cecil/Storens types next year.

scottt - Wednesday, November 02 2016 @ 07:41 PM EDT (#334963) #
Let's be honest here. Had the Jays hit a bit in the ALCS, we'd all be talking about how important it is to keep starters healthy and how many times Salazar and Carrasco threw more than 100 pitches.
Mike Green - Wednesday, November 02 2016 @ 08:01 PM EDT (#334964) #
There has been a fair bit of discussion about short-rest starts.  My sense about Francona's usage of Kluber is that it was unusually measured- that he has thrown fewer pitches than usual- whereas when things have gone wrong, the starter usually has thrown a lot of pitches in the previous start.  I am going through the list of bad starts here, and looking at those where the Game Score is below 50.  So far, it's a mixed bag.  Chris Carpenter had a bad outing in 2011 after throwing 106 pitches in the previous outing (a shutout).  Kevin Brown had a bad outing in 2004, after throwing 57 pitches (and being smacked around).  A. J. Burnett had a bad outing after throwing 108 pitches in the previous outing (with a 72 Game Score).  I'll have to check out more of the starts after the game.
Gerry - Wednesday, November 02 2016 @ 08:04 PM EDT (#334965) #
Tonight be happy. After tonight no major league baseball for four months.
JohnL - Wednesday, November 02 2016 @ 10:13 PM EDT (#334966) #
This game has me worried. Several days ago, when Trump was rock bottom, Nate Silver gave him a better chance of being elected than the Cubs winning the World Series.

AWeb - Wednesday, November 02 2016 @ 10:15 PM EDT (#334967) #
1910-2015 Cubs  (3 errors, 2 score of wild pitch?!, lost 3 of first four games) are engaged in some sort of existential battle with the 2016 Cubs (best team in baseball, won last 2, 3 HR so far) for control over the fate of this game. Cleveland just happens to be there, which is sort of a perfect summary of Cleveland 1948-2015 as well.
Gerry - Wednesday, November 02 2016 @ 10:42 PM EDT (#334968) #
Exciting game to finish the year with. Dave Stewarts words in 92 come to mind. To paraphrase, it might not be a well played game but its fun anyway.
Alex Obal - Wednesday, November 02 2016 @ 11:14 PM EDT (#334969) #

I believe in the Church of Baseball.

Glevin - Wednesday, November 02 2016 @ 11:15 PM EDT (#334970) #
This is why bringing in a chapman was so dumb in a five run game. . Leverage matters and overuse of pitchers matters.
scottt - Wednesday, November 02 2016 @ 11:20 PM EDT (#334971) #
It looks like Hendricks was pulled too early. Lester is more debatable.

Is it still happening? I can't see the sign.

So, what now? Arrieta later on?

sam - Wednesday, November 02 2016 @ 11:27 PM EDT (#334972) #
If you told me Yan Gomes would be catching in the ninth inning of the World Series I would've have told you you were mad.
sam - Wednesday, November 02 2016 @ 11:40 PM EDT (#334973) #
Alas, there is the reason why...
ComebyDeanChance - Wednesday, November 02 2016 @ 11:43 PM EDT (#334974) #
Joe Maddon is the Billy Beane of managers
Alex Obal - Wednesday, November 02 2016 @ 11:45 PM EDT (#334975) #
He may well be the best manager in baseball but it's not because of his tactics. It's in spite of them.
Mike Green - Wednesday, November 02 2016 @ 11:57 PM EDT (#334976) #
It's obvious what has to happen now.  Torrential rain that goes non-stop until Tuesday.
Chuck - Thursday, November 03 2016 @ 12:00 AM EDT (#334977) #
He may well be the best manager in baseball but it's not because of his tactics. It's in spite of them.

I'm with you on this. I like Maddon a great deal, but sometimes he's too cute by half.

BlueJayWay - Thursday, November 03 2016 @ 12:48 AM EDT (#334978) #
So, the offseason...
Alex Obal - Thursday, November 03 2016 @ 12:48 AM EDT (#334979) #
That game was something.
Magpie - Thursday, November 03 2016 @ 01:00 AM EDT (#334980) #
Not bad, Theo. Know anything about hockey?
John Northey - Thursday, November 03 2016 @ 02:26 AM EDT (#334981) #
No real baseball challenges left for Theo now. Wonder what he does next?
scottt - Thursday, November 03 2016 @ 05:41 AM EDT (#334982) #
Francona just ran out of pitching. Maddon just made everything harder on himself by trying to copy Tito.
It's so much easier to come in a game with no runners on base.

SK in NJ - Thursday, November 03 2016 @ 08:14 AM EDT (#334983) #
Epstein signed a five year extension in September. I guess his next challenge is to win as many titles as he can with the Cubs. Two with the Red Sox was a pretty big accomplishment, and now this. Looks like a HOF executive with many more years left in the tank if he wants it, given his age.

That was a fun game to watch. It will be talked about for a long time. Now let's start the off-season.
scottt - Thursday, November 03 2016 @ 08:35 AM EDT (#334984) #
To complete the analogy, the last thing the world needs is a US election that goes extra innings.
Parker - Thursday, November 03 2016 @ 08:39 AM EDT (#334985) #
What a great World Series.

Partly because I was rooting for the Cubs, but since I wasn't particularly invested in either team, it was nice to just watch two great teams go at it, even though (as many have pointed out) there were some really head-scratching decisions by the managers.

The Cubs seem to have everything in place to go on a dynasty run.
bpoz - Thursday, November 03 2016 @ 08:55 AM EDT (#334988) #
Absolutely great WS.

The Cubs are definitely a good team. Very good or even great. I can see them winning 100+ games in 2 or the next 5 seasons AND zero WS.

Mike Green - Thursday, November 03 2016 @ 09:44 AM EDT (#334989) #
That was a wild Game 7 with an Old Testament feel to it.  Thankfully no goats were sacrificed nor was any minor villain struck down by a bolt of lightning. The ending definitely had a 1992 feel to it, with Zobrist's double down the third base line being the key blow and a rally in the bottom of the inning to make it interesting.

For purists, it was a nightmare.  The fielding was bad, the pitching was bad, the umpiring was bad.  None of that matters much.  It was a wonderful living story.
Admin - Thursday, November 03 2016 @ 09:56 AM EDT (#334990) #
The run that won the world series reached base via an intentional walk.

Francona tried to win the series early, the longer it went on the more he ran out of pitching. In retrospect was it an error to start Kluber and Tomlin on short rest, Kluber twice? They both were gassed in games six and seven.
AWeb - Thursday, November 03 2016 @ 10:34 AM EDT (#334992) #
I don't think Francona did anything wrong with his pitching choices, they were just comically limited. And he did have Kluber, Miller, and Allen ready to go for game 7. The Cubs hitters managed to do exactly what I hoped the Jays would, wear down the incredibly thin pitching staff and get better when they saw everyone again.

Also, I don't know what the narrative was going into game 7 in terms of pitching staff management lessons learned, but I think we all just saw the very short time frame limit on riding a few ace relievers so hard. None of the top Cleveland guys were good last night. Chapman didn't have it either.

Vaguely related pet theory on how to make bullpens less dominant in the future - if MLB ever manages to speed up games by making pitchers throw pitches faster (the minors have a pitch clock, so it's coming eventually), offense will go up quite a bit. A 25-30 second break between maximum effort throws must be far easier to manage than if they limited it to 15-20. We've seen hitters get winded in the HR derby, and swinging at max effort certainly isn't easier that throwing. I wouldn't foresee a huge change overnight, but a few more injuries and a few more guys losing a MPH or two on their stuff would quickly make bullpens a little less stacked. Pitchers already have an "unfair" advantage in Tommy John surgery, which essentially allows pitchers to destroy their arms by throwing harder than their ligaments allow them to, and then usually come back to do it again.

Last night ended the Jays franchise streak of always losing to the eventual WS champion in the playoffs.
pubster - Thursday, November 03 2016 @ 10:40 AM EDT (#334993) #
"He may well be the best manager in baseball but it's not because of his tactics. It's in spite of them. "

Alex obviously knows more about baseball tactics than Maddon (who is maybe the best manager in the game) lol.
Mike Green - Thursday, November 03 2016 @ 11:10 AM EDT (#334994) #
The run that won the world series reached base via an intentional walk.

I don't look at it that way- better to look at it prospectively. Francona had a couple of decisions to make, with the go-ahead run on 2nd base and one out with Rizzo, Zobrist, Russell and Monteiro due up, Shaw on the mound and no left-handed pitchers in the bullpen.  It seems to me pretty clear that Rizzo is (at this point) the best hitter of the lot by a significant margin.  Walking him to set up the double play and to face Zobrist and Russell made a lot of sense to me.  It might very well have worked out swimmingly if Zobrist's ground ball was a few feet further to the right.  The intentional walk to Russell was a different story.  I'm not so keen on a walk to load the bases.  I'll grant that Russell is a better hitter than Monteiro, but I don't like the pressure that it puts on a pitcher because of the additional cost of a walk.  Still, that too might have worked out if Monteiro's ground ball had been at him. 

The Cubs hit 3 ground balls (hard, I'll grant)  that inning, and all 3 found holes.  If one of them didn't, the game might still be going on. 
Mike Green - Thursday, November 03 2016 @ 12:19 PM EDT (#334996) #
I was wondering about Jon Lester and the Hall of Fame.  So, I looked up his BBRef age comparables.  I was surprised to see Cole Hamels' name there, and to learn that he had pitched as effectively and 200 more innings.  They are the same age.  Hamels is certainly on a Hall of Fame track in terms of performance, but Lester definitely has more of a name, and that won't change after last night's game.
uglyone - Thursday, November 03 2016 @ 12:32 PM EDT (#334998) #
Cubs may have been saved by the rain, much like the royals in last year's ALCS.
85bluejay - Thursday, November 03 2016 @ 12:53 PM EDT (#335000) #
It's often said that the winners get to write history - Pete Carroll is a first rate coach who made a huge super bowl blunder and lost - he will never live that mistake down, it will be his epitaph. Joe Maddon is a first rate manager who I think make a huge mistake in the series (chapman in game 6) but won - that mistake will just be an interesting asterisk in his resume.
Dewey - Thursday, November 03 2016 @ 01:40 PM EDT (#335005) #
Just a great World Series between two well-matched, well-managed teams. 
I’m delighted the Cubs finally won, and deservedly.  They played good,
crisp baseball (not sure what the stat for that is), and did so with
youthful elan, spirit, flair.  One for the ages.  And the aged.  I
permit myself a heartfelt “Whoopie!”.
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