Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine
Is this not the matchup some of us anticipated, and some of us dreamed of, when the post-season began? On the one hand, a powerhouse that comfortably cruised to the the best record in the league, facing off with a squad whose season didn't take off until they replaced their manager halfway through?

Hang on... Astros-Phillies? We had something else in mind...

Well, well. Post-season baseball. It occurred to me last night while I was watching just why everyone who has ever played the game, and so many people who watch them for a living, have always placed such a premium on RBIs. We all know better, in some sense. We all know that the ability to get on base and score a run is ultimately more significant than the act of driving that run across the plate. And yet... when you're watching the game, what is it you remember? Is it the leadoff single? No, it's the hit that scores the run. Over the course of a game, lots of people manage to get on base. And most of them are just left there, because not nearly as many people manage to get that baserunner across home plate to score a run. No wonder RBIs seem so important. Runs are what we're keeping track of, after all. I can see Bregman's game winning single in my head right now. I had to check the box score to remind myself who crossed the plate with the run. We may know better, but we still can't help ourselves.

Since 1969, when it became necessary to win more than one series in order to secure the year's championship, only one team has passed through the post-season undefeated. That was the mighty Big Red Machine, the 1976 Cincinnati Reds, who went 7-0 as they crushed first the Phillies in the NLCS and then the Yankees in the World Series. Only two of the games were even close, although one of those close games did turn out to be somewhat significant. In Game 2 of the Series, the score was tied at 3-3 in the bottom of the ninth. Catfish Hunter retired the first two hitters, but Fred ("Chicken") Stanley threw away Griffey's grounder for what would have been the third out. After an intentional pass to Morgan, Perez singled in the winning run. Stanley was always one of Billy Martin's favourites, but no matter - George Steinbrenner insisted that Gabe Paul find a new shortstop before the next season began. And when the Boss insisted, he insisted. And so two days before the next season began, Paul traded Oscar Gamble and Lamarr Hoyt to the White Sox. For Bucky Dent.

Since 1995, three series wins have been required of any year's champion - that's a minimum of 11 wins (two teams, the 2014 Giants and the 2019 Nationals had to first win a Wild Card game, so they had to win 12 games in their championship years. This  year's NL representative, having had to play a Wild Card series, will need 13 wins if they hope to wield the big trophy.)

No one has gone 11-0 in a post-season run. Two teams came very close indeed. The 1999 Yankees swept Texas in the ALDS to start their post-season, which ended with a sweep of the Mets in the World Series. But in Game 3 of the LCS, Roger Clemens hooked up with Pedro Martinez. It was no contest (Boston 13, New York 1) but that was the only blemish on their post-season run.

And the 2005 White Sox had a similar post-season - they started off by sweeping the defending champs Boston in the LDS. They dropped a tight opener to Anaheim in the ALCS, but won the next four games to advance to the World Series, where they swept Houston. The eight consecutive post-season wins has never been surpassed. It's been been matched by the 2014 Royals and the 2019 Nationals, who both distributed their eight game streak over three separate series. (The Yankees won 12 consecutive post-season games by sweeping the World Series in 1927, 1928, and 1932 but that's not really the accomplishment of the same team.) The 2005 White Sox are the only team ever to finish their season with an eight game winning streak.

Houston is the obvious favourite, but there's some drama anyway. There are persistent reports that owner Jim Crane is unhappy with GM James Click and is somewhat itchy to meddle. A championship might make meddling a little difficult, but billionaires generally do whatever the hell they like. Click and Dusty Baker have restored some honour and integrity to a franchise that was under a very smelly cloud, and they'll be able to write their own ticket this winter. If they need to.

Way back in the day, I noticed that the Houston Astros had an uncanny knack for playing .500 ball, or very close to it. They'd just posted an 82-80 season - there had been only 22 such seasons in the history of the game, and the Astros had four of them. There had been just 26 seasons where a team had gone 81-81, and the Astros had four of them as well. But over the last fifteen years, they've been very much Feast of Famine- three 100 loss seasons, four 100 win seasons. But after 61 seasons of major league ball in Houston, no team is closer to .500 overall than the Astros (4831-4820), with just 11 wins over the break-even mark. The teams closest to .500 after Houston? That would be the Blue Jays (29 games under), the Pirates (40 games over), and the Angels (42 games under.)

The NLCS featured a matchup between the two most unsuccessful teams in the league's long, long history. The Padres have only been around since 1969, but they're already 616 games below .500, which is remarkable. The only franchises who can top (bottom?) that are ones that are practically famous for being losers - the Minnesota Twins (710 games under) spent their first half-century as the Washington Senators ("First in war, first in peace, last in the American League.") The Baltimore Orioles (1,024 games under) spent their first half century as the St. Louis Browns, a franchise best remembered for playing a guy with one arm in the outfield and sending a midget up to bat.

But there have been no losers in the game's long history quite like the Philadelphia Phillies. It was 100 years ago when karma came for them. Five years earlier, they had cynically traded their best player (Pete Alexander) for a big sack of cash because they figured Alexander would return from World War I in bad shape. Which he did, but still... what a crappy thing to do. They had been a very good team at the beginning of the century, but they were in store for punishment. The franchise has had a losing record since 15 May 1922. They have lost more than 90 games forty times, a record of futility surpassed only by the Browns-Orioles (41). They are the only franchise ever to post ten consecutive 90 loss seasons (1936-1945.) They have lost 1,165 more games than they have won, and neither you, nor your children, nor your children's children are likely to see them make it back to .500/ Although tf they go undefeated for the next seven seasons, they'll just need to get off to a 31-0 start in 2031...

You want to know about the Yankees don't you? The team that has won 2,602 more games than they've lost. If they don't win another game until 2038 - not a one - the franchise will still have a winning record. If they lose 90 games every year for the next century and beyond - they will still have a winning record. In the year 2525, if man is still alive, I promise that the Yankees will have a winning record.

This is why everyone hates them.

Anyway... Astros-Phillies. These teams have never met in the World Series. But they did meet in the post-season once before, back in the 1980 NLCS and people let me tell you - it was an absolute classic. The Phillies won the opener 3-1 behind Steve Carlton, on the strength of Greg Luzinski's two-run HR off Ken Forsch. The Astros brought the tying run to the plate in the ninth, but Tug McGraw, father of Tim, closed it out. This was by far the least interesting and exciting game of the series.

In the second game, the Phillies took a 2-1 lead against Nolan Ryan, but the Astros tied it in the seventh on a Puhl double and went ahead in the eighth when Jose Cruz singled home Old Joe Morgan, the prodigal Astro. (Little Joe was so old that he'd actually started his career as a Houston Colt 45, before there were Astros.) But the Phillies promptly tied it back up in the bottom half of the inning. The game went to extras and the Astros broke it open with four runs in the tenth, the big blow being a two run triple by Dave Bergman. The Phillies threatened anyway in their half, scoring once and bringing the tying run to the plate in the person of Mike Schmidt, the greatest third baseman who has ever lived and someone who, at that moment, was probably the best baseball player in the whole wide world. Joaquin Andujar, the fourth Houston reliever, retired him on a fly to RF to end the game.

After the two games in Philadelphia, the five game series would shift to the Astrodome for the remaining games. For those of you too young to remember - the Astrodome was a stadium that was endlessly described as "futuristic" back in its day. It was also a stadium that restored the baseball of the Days of Yore. The fences were in another area code, and the ball didn't carry anyway. It was simply impossible to hit a home run there. The Astros hit just 26 HRs in their home park in 1980, and their opponents hit only 22. And so you actually had to play 1910-style baseball there - bunt and run and steal and hit lots of singles. You had no alternative.

Larry Christenson of the Phillies and Houston's Joe Niekro provided an Astrdome classic, exchanging zeroes until someone got tired. Noles relieved Christenson in the seventh. McGraw relieved Noles in the eighth. Niekro just threw some more knuckleballs, ten scoreless innings of them. There were threats along the way - the Phillies put runners on second and third with one out in the third, but Enos Cabell threw Rose out at home on Schmidt's grounder and Luzinski flied out. The Astros put two men on in the sixth, but Cedeno hit into a double play. Finally, in the bottom of the eleventh, old Joe Morgan led off with a triple off Tug McGraw (working his fourth inning of relief.)  Landestoy pinch ran. Dallas Green issued an intentional walk to Jose Cruz, for the third time in the game, and another to Art Howe to load the bases. But to no avail, as Denny Walling hit the game winning sac fly to put the Astros up two games to one.

The Astros would have to beat the great Steve Carlton to get to the World Series, and through the first seven innings of Game Four they were doing just that, having scored once when Howe's sac fly cashed in Cabell, and again when Landestoy singled home Pujols (Luis, that is.) Vern Ruhle had begun the year as a swingman and only moved permanently into the rotation when the great J.R. Richard suffered his career-ending stroke in July. Ruhle was working on a five hit shutout when it all went sideways in the eighth. Greg Gross led off with a pinch hit single, followed by another single from rookie LF Lonnie Smith. Rose singled in one run, and Houston relief ace Dave Smith replaced Ruhle. Schmidt greeted him with an RBI single, and the Phillies went ahead on Trillo's sac fly. But Houston fought back in the bottom of the ninth. Landestoy walked, was bunted to second, and scored the tying run on Puhl's single. And off to extra innings they went, yet again. The Phillies ended this one quickly enough in the top of the tenth, as Luzinski and Trillo delivered RBI doubles off Joe Sambito, and McGraw retired the Astros in order in the bottom of the inning.

So one more game was needed. The Phillies would start a 22 year old rookie named Marty Bystrom, who had made his MLB debut barely a month earlier. But he'd gone 5-0, 1.50 in those five September starts. And Houston had the Express. Nolan Ryan was in his first season with the Astros. They had made him the game's very first million dollar player with his four year $4.5 million dollar deal. It was a different time, kids. The Astros broke on top in the bottom of the first as Cruz doubled home Puhl, but the Phillies quickly tied it back up as Trillo singled, moved up on a walk, and scored when Boone singled. Houston got the lead back in the sixth. Walling reached second when Greg Luzinski - as bad an outfielder as has ever walked the earth- misplayed his fly ball. He scored on Alan Ashby's single. And then the Astros exploded for a big inning (in the Astrodome, a three run inning was an explosion.) Larry Christenson was now pitching for the Phillies, and Puhl led off with a single. The Astros, naturally, bunted him to second. Morgan grounded out and yet again Dallas Green issued an intentional walk to Jose Cruz. And it all blew up. Walling's single scored Puhl, a wild pitch cored Cruz, and Art Howe's triple scored Walling. The Astros had a 5-2 lead, Nolan Ryan on the mound, six more outs to go. What could go wrong?

Plenty. Larry Bowa led off with a single. Boone followed with one of his own, and Greg Gross dropped down a bunt single to load the bases. That brought up Pete Rose, and Ryan walked him on a 3-2 curveball to force in a run. ("What did you say to him out there, Pete?"  "I said, if he was so proud of his f***ing curveball, he should throw me one.") The LH Sambito replaced Ryan. Keith Moreland pinch hit for McBride, and grounded to second for the first out of the inning as another run scored. Aviles ran for Moreland, Landestoy replacd Morgan at second base, and Forsch relieved Sambito on the mound. Forsch struck out Mike Schmidt. Del Unser pinch hit for the pitcher Reed, and delivered a game tying single. That brought Manny Trillo to the plate and his two run triple put the Phillies up 7-5. Tug McGraw took over on the mound for the Phillies.

Tug McGraw was a screwball artist, and like many others of that tribe, he had a reverse platoon split over his career. And so it was Houston's LH batters who began the trouble in the bottom of the eighth.  Craig Reynolds led off with a single. McGraw struck out Gary Woods, but Terry Puhl came up with another single. McGraw struck out Enos Cabell, but Landestoy singled to make it 7-6 and bring Jose Cruz to the plate.with runners on first and second. No intentional walk this time, so Cruz singled to tie the game. Not much happened in the ninth, so yet again the game went to extra innings. In the top of the tenth, Unser doubled with one out, and scored the final; run of the game on Garry Maddox's two out double. Dick Ruthven set down the Astros in order in the bottom of the inning, and the Phillies went on to meet - and beat - the Royals for the first World Series championship  in franchise history.

It was one of the greatest, most thrilling post-season series ever played. It's some act to follow.


SO here's my little graph of the share of innings thrown by Dusty Baker's starting pitchers compared to that of the other staffs in his league.

The World Series | 73 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Mike Green - Monday, October 24 2022 @ 07:49 AM EDT (#423989) #
Thanks, Magpie. Excellent recounting of the 1980 Astro-Phillies series. I am wondering whether Adam Dunn was a serious contender for worst defensive outfielder ever status. Luzinski was pretty bad- very slow first step, very slow second step, and so on.
bpoz - Monday, October 24 2022 @ 09:01 AM EDT (#423992) #
Thanks Magpie. Is Luzinski the guy they called the bull?
Mike Green - Monday, October 24 2022 @ 10:47 AM EDT (#423993) #
Yes, his nickname was The Bull.  He had very big thigh muscles.  When my youngest child was an infant in 1989, his pediatrician (a cool guy who would sing "Wild Thing" when he heard a meltdown in the waiting room) called him Thunder Thighs.  I thought of Luzinski. 

Fitting that, like Boog Powell, Luzinski runs a ballpark BBQ. 
hypobole - Monday, October 24 2022 @ 12:07 PM EDT (#423994) #
Grudging admiration for the Astros. They've almost completely turned over the roster since their tainted 2017 WS, but this team seems even better than that one. And that's with losing 2 of their 3 best players, Correa and Springer, to free agency from that team and not making any splashy FA signings in the interim.

Their player development and talent acquisition may be second to none.
Magpie - Monday, October 24 2022 @ 12:20 PM EDT (#423995) #
Bill James thoroughly enjoys himself describing Luzinski the outfielder in the Historical Abstract:

"Luzinski was a tremendous hitter, but in addition to being a big slow guy, he had no arm at all. He couldn't throw the ball across a room.... He had dreadful hands, and he had no confidence in his ability to make a play, so he played everything timidly except the wall, which he seemed to be in denial about. He was always fighting to avoid the sun.... If the ball was hit deep he had no idea whether it was going to hit the wall and come back or not, so he would chase fly balls to the wall, only to see them rocket past him on their way back to the infield. Everything hit out there was a surprise to him; nothing was ever easy. It was like having Herman Munster playing left field."

Despite all that, he ranked as the 35th greatest left fielder ever. The man could definitely hit.
mathesond - Monday, October 24 2022 @ 12:49 PM EDT (#423997) #
I remember reading the Darryl Brock novel "If I Never Get Back" back in the early '90s. It was about a guy who travels back to 1869 and travels with the Cincinnati Red Stockings, the first pro ball team. I expect the author did some research, as the characters were much more interested in scoring runs than in driving them in.
Magpie - Monday, October 24 2022 @ 12:58 PM EDT (#423998) #
the characters were much more interested in scoring runs than in driving them in.

Times have certainly changed. I found I had to make a conscious effort when I was describing the 1980 series to mention the guy who scored the run, to say "Puhl scored on the Cruz single" instead of just "Cruz singled in a run."

Therefore: Alex Bregman hit the game winning single. And Jeremy Pena scored the game winning run. Baby steps...
Mike Green - Monday, October 24 2022 @ 01:43 PM EDT (#423999) #
Concur with hypobole's grudging admiration for the Astros. More to work with than the Rays and somewhat better results.
hypobole - Monday, October 24 2022 @ 02:41 PM EDT (#424001) #
Found this WS quiz for Magpie et al.

"The 1948 Cleveland team was the last to win the World Series. They had three pitchers who are now in the Hall of Fame. Bob Feller and Bob Lemon are two. Who is the third?"
Mike Green - Monday, October 24 2022 @ 02:53 PM EDT (#424003) #
Early Wynn?
Mike Green - Monday, October 24 2022 @ 02:55 PM EDT (#424004) #
Wynn joined Cleveland in 1949.  Wrong. 
lexomatic - Monday, October 24 2022 @ 03:05 PM EDT (#424005) #
Was Paige 50s?
Mike Green - Monday, October 24 2022 @ 03:37 PM EDT (#424006) #
Congrats, lexomatic. Paige did join Cleveland in 1948.
Magpie - Monday, October 24 2022 @ 05:37 PM EDT (#424007) #
I knew that! (I was napping, as we old people do sometimes.)
Magpie - Monday, October 24 2022 @ 05:38 PM EDT (#424008) #
Off the top of my head, I'm betting that 1948 Cleveland team was the last champ with a player-manager.
John Northey - Monday, October 24 2022 @ 06:33 PM EDT (#424009) #
Huh, Paige was a fairly young one that year - 'just' 41. 165 ERA+ over 7 starts and 14 relief appearances. He got into 1 game in the WS, going 2/3 of an inning, getting both out but also balked. Gave up a sac fly to the first batter (Warren Span), balked the runner to 2B, then a ground out to end it. 4 runs had already scored before Paige came in with 2 on and 1 out. Tie game when the inning started, that inning ended the game pretty much (2 more to go but the game was over at 11-5 with no more runs scoring). Boston had to win to extend the series, but Cleveland won it the next day 4-3. His worst ERA+ in the regular majors was 93 at age 44, in the Negro Leagues it was a 113 at age 38. It does seem odd that no one gave him a shot as a full time starter given his history and what he showed when given a shot in the 'white majors' although he was a very good closer for the era (10 and 11 saves at ages 45/46 - on the all star team both years but only pitched in '53 as seen at the end of this video)
Mike Green - Monday, October 24 2022 @ 07:59 PM EDT (#424010) #
I think that's right, Magpie. Before Boudreau, there was Southhworth, no? I don’t think there’s been anyone after Boudreau.
Magpie - Monday, October 24 2022 @ 08:19 PM EDT (#424011) #
I made a list! Player-managers who won a championship! (Southworth had retired as a player when he managed the Cardinals to their titles in the 1940s.)

Lou Boudreau, Cleveland 1948
Mickey Cochrane, Detroit 1935
Frank Frisch, St.Louis 1934
Bill Terry, New York Giants 1933
Rogers Hornsby, St.Louis 1926

Bucky Harris, Washington 1924
Tris Speaker, Cleveland 1920
Bill Carrigan, Boston 1915, 1916
Jake Stahl, Boston 1912
Fred Clarke, Pittsburgh 1909

Frank Chance, Chicago Cubs 1907, 1908
Jimmy Collins, Boston 1903

Dewey - Monday, October 24 2022 @ 08:39 PM EDT (#424012) #
Ah, Lou Boudreau! The first Louisville Slugger I ever bought was a Lou Boudreau model. (Oil Tempered!) 35 oz. A lovely caramel colour. Just been swinging it, in fact, and the furniture survived. I also had a Vern Stephens model (since traded) and a 34 oz. Enos Slaughter model (Powerized!). Nice bat.

Bats now are lighter, whippier, breakier, and made of other woods than ash. (There was a story in the NY Times recently about the ash-borer killing off the supply of ash wood for bats.) Lots of maple about now -- harder than ash, and lighter. I only tried a hickory bat once. Heavy monster.
Magpie - Monday, October 24 2022 @ 08:49 PM EDT (#424013) #
There certainly haven't been many player-managers since Boudreau - I can only find five - and almost all of them pretty much stopped writing their own name into the lineup once they started managing.

Marty Marion with the Browns played in 40 of the first 51 games bfore being named the manager- he played just 27 more times the rest of the season, and only 3 games the following year.

Harry the Hat Walker had been playing in the minors for the previous four years when he got his first managing job with the Cardinals in mid 1955. Walker put himself into a few games as a pinch-hitter, his first MLB appearances since 1951.

Frank Robinson was still an active player when he took the Cleveland post in 1975. He put himself into 49 games, mostly as the DH, and he'd have been better off had he done so more often (OPS+ of 153 at age 39.)

Joe Torre was still an active player when he got the Mets post in 1977, but he only played in another 7 games before calling it quits.

But then there was Pete Rose. He took on the Cincinnati job in August 1984 and for most of the next two seasons his first baseman was ... Pete Rose. He was 44 years old. He played 119 games and came to the plate 501 times in 1985 (OPS+ of 99); he played 72 games and batted 272 times in 1986 (OPS+ of 61).

The Reds finished second both years.
Chuck - Monday, October 24 2022 @ 09:10 PM EDT (#424014) #
I only tried a hickory bat once.

Did you inhale?

Dewey - Monday, October 24 2022 @ 09:37 PM EDT (#424015) #
Nah, I wasn't a user. I did exhale after I swung, though, and there might have been some spluttering.
John Northey - Monday, October 24 2022 @ 10:05 PM EDT (#424016) #
To be fair to Rose - his teams were 5 1/2 and 10 games out in '85 and '86 after being 22 out in '84. In '85 he was listed as 0.6 bWAR, not useless but it would've taken a near MVP performance from someone else to gain the 5 1/2 games (6 WAR - like Vlad in '21) needed. In '86 he was -0.9 bWAR, so it would've taken a 9 WAR performance, a rarity - no Jay hitter has ever done that (8.3 is the best by Bautista in 2011), just 4 times it has happened for the Reds, all 4 by the same guy Joe Morgan (yes, he was that great). So in the end Rose hurt his team, but not enough to make the difference either year depending on how his bets affected the results of course.
Mike Green - Tuesday, October 25 2022 @ 05:50 AM EDT (#424017) #
Inhaling cork is never good. Remove from wine bottles or baseball bats before breathing in.
bpoz - Tuesday, October 25 2022 @ 09:35 AM EDT (#424018) #
1st WS game is not until Friday, so lots of off time.

I suspect that the Jays minor leaguers are making good use of the Dunedin facilities at the moment.

The 2022 draft class of university picks replaced most of the young players in the FSL team. JC Masson earned a promotion to Dunedin and then was demoted back to the FCL. Masson is 1 year younger than Dasan Brown and seems to be about 1 year behind in development.
Magpie - Tuesday, October 25 2022 @ 09:40 AM EDT (#424019) #
I mentioned the other day (I think) that Baker's Astros led the major leagues in innings pitched by starters. If I didn't... well, they did. Baker's been a manager for thirty years and I was curious as to whether he's always been this way. One of the things he's best remembered for is how hard he worked his young Cubs starters in 2003. But I would note that the single most traumatic moment of Baker's managerial career surely came when he took his starter (Russ Ortiz) out of a game with a 5-0 lead, and just seven outs away from a World Series title. Felix Rodriguez gave up a three run homer to Spiezio, Tim Worrell gave up a solo homer to Erstad, and closer Robb Nen gave up a two-run double to Glaus. And the Angels lived to fight, and win, another day.

So here's a handy little Data Table comparing what percentage of innings Baker's starters have thrown versus that of the other teams in his league. And because if you don't use these skills you lose them, I have even contrived an Excel graph with the sme information, which I've added to the main body of this post above.

         Baker    League
1993     .673     .684
1994     .683     .678
1995     .662     .665
1996     .681     .669
1997     .637     .679
1998     .653     .682
1999     .666     .671
2000     .702     .675
2001     .674     .665
2002     .699     .654

2003     .707     .655
2004     .687     .649
2005     .690     .675
2006     .609     .654

2008     .636     .645
2009     .660     .652
2010     .664     .664
2011     .660     .669
2012     .701     .660
2013     .681     .655

2016     .658     .624
2017     .673     .617

2020     .597     .541
2021     .610     .568
2022     .657     .580
You can see how the league as a whole has steadily reduced how much it expects from starters - Baker's league leading share this year is less than what everyone was doing when he began managing. Baker's teams have generally been pretty good, and good teams usually have better starting pitchers - when Baker didn't have quality starters (at the end of his Cubs days), his starters were working less than those from other teams. Like any good manager, he responds to the talent he has. He's not someone who imposes his theory of how a game should be managed upon his club (hello, Mr La Russa!) But like everyone who manages for a long time, he doesn't change as quickly as the game. Sparky Anderson was the famous example - when he was a new manager he went to the bullpen so often they called him "Captain Hook." Twenty years later, although he was actually using more relievers than he had when he started out, standing operating practice had changed so much that Captain Hook was now the manager who stayed the longest with his starters. I think you may see some of the same thing with Baker.
Leaside Cowboy - Tuesday, October 25 2022 @ 09:42 AM EDT (#424020) #
President Theodore Roosevelt spoke softly and carried a big stick. Babe Ruth lived large and swung a 50 ounce bat.

Upon a causal glance: the likes of the Bambino and the Yankee Clipper used to swing those heavy, longer bats; Roberto Clemente and Reggie Jackson used bigger bats than most.

Tony Gwynn's book The Art of Hitting (1998) describes his first experience with a fungo bat. Mister Padre swung a 30 ounce bat.

* * *

I hope Dunedin was not devastated by Hurricane Ian.

85bluejay - Tuesday, October 25 2022 @ 11:00 AM EDT (#424021) #
Back-to-back WS appearance for the Astros despite letting Springer & Correa walk because of an excellent development system especially in the pitching department - I hope the Jays are paying attention with Vladdy & Bo expected to want huge contracts taking them into their late 30's - a recipe for disaster IMO - The Phillies who have done a poor job of acquiring and developing young talent have had to buy their way into the WS and are unlikely to have a long window of contention.
bpoz - Tuesday, October 25 2022 @ 12:35 PM EDT (#424022) #
Agreed that Houston is admirable. Signing 20/21 year old Int'l pitchers certainly worked for them. So do anything that you think of.

We drafted the not so old 16 year old Cs and that worked.

We need to look at Cleveland also. They were in the 2016 WS I think and then retooled due to payroll and 2022 was a great year for them.
Gerry - Wednesday, October 26 2022 @ 07:31 AM EDT (#424023) #
Baker has had a terrific managerial career. I don't think he gets the respect he deserves.

There could be many reasons for his ability to get innings out of starters, but he must be able to give them the confidence to persevere through challenging situations.
Glevin - Wednesday, October 26 2022 @ 09:58 AM EDT (#424024) #
Seen a few "Dombrowski is a genius" articles which I find baffling. He does pretty well on teams with massive payrolls and then he empties the farm system to win. It has worked but I think its the kind of thing a ton of GMs could do if given the opportunity.
Magpie - Wednesday, October 26 2022 @ 11:37 AM EDT (#424027) #
Even now, Baker is only getting a lot of innings out of his starters compared to the other managers at this particular moment. This year's 65.7% is middle of the pack for the game as a whole over his career - in 13 of his 25 seasons, the league average has been higher than that. Baker himself has been higher than that in most of his seasons as a manager.

I forgot to include this in the first table, but I also checked how many relief pitchers per game Baker was using compared to everyone else. I think this is a nice demonstration of how Baker has changed over the years, but how the rest of the game has changed even more. For the first twenty years of his career, Baker almost always used more relievers per game than the average manager. But he's used less than average every season since 2012, although he's still well above where he was when he started. This is exactly how it went with Sparky as well.

    Baker    League
1993    2.56    2.33
1994    2.50    2.39
1995    2.65    2.58
1996    2.62    2.51
1997    2.97    2.51
1998    2.67    2.42
1999    2.78    2.58
2000    2.37    2.58
2001    2.71    2.73
2002    2.91    2.77
2003    2.59    2.82
2004    2.84    2.89
2005    2.82    2.79
2006    3.35    2.95
2008    3.13    3.04
2009    2.95    3.06
2010    3.09    3.00
2011    3.09    3.00
2012    2.62    3.09
2013    2.85    3.03
2016    3.14    3.31
2017    3.01    3.28
2020    3.22    3.48
2021    3.16    3.34
2022    2.96    3.36

Baker's managerial seasons are wonderfully pristine. Every one of them is perfectly complete, from April to October. That's unusual for people who have managed as long as he has. (It's also true of Bochy, Francona, Leland, Scioscia.)  He's ninth all-time in wins as a manager, and if he comes back next year he'll go by Bucky Harris and Joe McCarthy himself. Maybe even Sparky.

Magpie - Wednesday, October 26 2022 @ 12:30 PM EDT (#424028) #
Baker, of course, is one of three men to manage more than 3,000 games without winning a World Series and I was looking at the careers of the other two - Gene Mauch and Buck Showalter - neither of whom ever even made it as far as the World Series. (For one thing, they kept signing up for challenges instead of decent baseball teams.) Mauch will always be famous for the Phillies collapse in 1964, and for being one pitch away with the 1986 Angels - but I am simply dumbfounded by his 1982 Angels team, which went up 2-0 against Milwaukee before losing three in a row.

This is the oldest baseball team I have ever seen. They're incredible. Centre fielder Fred Lynn was 30 years old and he was the baby of the lineup. Everyone had made his reputation somewhere else - Boone, Carew, Reggie, DeCinces, Grich, Baylor. Mauch's rotation did have 21 year old Mike Witt (8-6 in 26 starts) - all of the other starters were at least 35 years old, and when they needed reinforcements, who did they get? Luis Tiant, who was 41, and Tommy John, who was 39.

I can't believe they made it through the season.
Mike Green - Wednesday, October 26 2022 @ 01:28 PM EDT (#424029) #
Here's the boxscore for the winner-take-all 5th game of the 1982 Milwaukee-California series.  How many Mauch features can you find?
85bluejay - Wednesday, October 26 2022 @ 02:08 PM EDT (#424030) #
The news out of Houston seems to be that owner Crane, GM Click (strong analytics guy from the Rays) & Manager Baker (old school guy) don't have much chemistry and somebody is likely to be let go & that looks like GM Click - So some team will likely get a GM who has helped produce back-to-back WS teams, sadly it will not be the Jays.
Magpie - Wednesday, October 26 2022 @ 03:35 PM EDT (#424031) #
How many Mauch features can you find?

Well, every time his leadoff hitter got on, the next guy was going to bunt.

What really stands out about that game is Mauch's last pitching change. Mauch had only three good relief pitchers, and one of them - swingman Bruce Kison - was actually that day's starter. Luis Sanchez took over in the sixth with the Angels ahead 3-2 and he ran into trouble in the seventh. With one out, Moore and Gantner singled. Sanchez got Molitor on a foulout but he walked Yount to load the bases, and bring Cecil Cooper to the plate.

Mauch's very best reliever that year was LH Andy Hassler. Cooper had begin his career as a platoon player and in 1982 he'd hit .331 against RHP and .282 against LHP. Did Hassler come into the game?

He did not, and Cooper hit a two-run single and those were the last runs anyone scored that day. The Angels got the leadoff man on in the ninth, bunted him to second (natch!) but couldn't get him home.

Was Hassler not warm? If not, why not? He came in after the Cooper hit and fanned Ted Simmons to end the inning.
Mike Green - Wednesday, October 26 2022 @ 04:11 PM EDT (#424032) #
Right.  The Angels were short on innings from their starters and their bullpen was shallow.  They ended up giving Kison, a reliever, 5 innings, but they didn't have enough backup.  A little bit of a compressed version of 1964 there.  But Hassler should have been ready for Cooper. 

In the 9th, down a run and the leadoff man on base, they left Boone in the game to bunt. 
John Northey - Wednesday, October 26 2022 @ 06:18 PM EDT (#424033) #
If Houston fires their GM that will be one of the dumbest moves in recent baseball history imo. If I owned a bad team I'd be chasing him the second he is able to be chased. Owners of the Pirates, Reds, Tigers, Royals, Rangers, Rockies should all be drooling right now over that idea.

As to the Jays, right now they have a decent GM and yeah, Click appears better, but odds are other teams are more desperate and would offer more power than the Jays would be willing to.

In other news - rumors are starting up about an Ohtani trade. IMO for the Jays to do one they'd need to do a Kirk trade first or as part of it, as Kirk needs significant DH time to maximize his value. The more I think about it the more a trade of Kirk makes a lot of sense - Jansen is a good #1 and Moreno is ready for prime time so the 2 of them would easily cover catcher. DH would then be just Springer & Vlad with others taking days off unless a deal for Ohtani happened. The Angels used 7 catchers last year and not one had an OPS+ of 100+. Only 1 was a prospect - the appropriately named Logan O'Hoppe who spent most of last year in AA and in the minors has a career line of 277/370/488 and is entering his age 23 season. Kirk has 2+ years of service so 4 years of control left. He would be a very valuable trading chip and the Angels would require a very valuable player in exchange for Ohtani. Of course, that would also jump the payroll to dangerous levels (around $200 mil) and make it harder to sign all of him, Vlad, and Bo. I really don't see it happening, but I can see Kirk being traded as his value has to be at a peak right now and with his limits (DH or catcher) vs the other guys (Moreno can cover LF/RF/3B/2B, Jansen hasn't done anything but catch or DH (minors or majors but I'd think he could cover 3B or 1B in a pinch).
bpoz - Thursday, October 27 2022 @ 10:56 AM EDT (#424034) #
I can accurately say that my 2022 playoff AL teams was fairly accurate based on 2021 results. Toronto was the 6th best in 2021.

The big movement down were TB, CWS and Boston. CWS and Boston actually reveal that I was not so accurate. Going up big was Cleveland.

I am with Shapiro "just get in".
Petey Baseball - Thursday, October 27 2022 @ 12:08 PM EDT (#424035) #
So my break only lasted a few weeks, but I will post some thoughts and ACTUALLY take the winter off.

In August '21 when frustration about Montoyo's managerial chops was really starting to simmer, I mentioned I thought Bruce Bochy would be an excellent choice to try and lure out of retirement. With the Jays talent, and window of contention opening it would be an easier sell to a successful old manager who had already retired. I was basically laughed out of the joint. My last post after the debacle against Seattle I neglected to mention that I thought possibly a better option than JS at this point (and pretty unassailable clubhouse wise given Bochy's track record, seeing how JS is very popular amongst the Jays players) was Bruce Bochy.

Well it turns out it didn't take a whole lot to get him to come back (there were always strong rumors he wasn't done). So I was a little disappointed a 94 loss Rangers team ended up being where he landed. It's great watching Dusty Baker in Houston as the old guy bucking the baseball trends, and utilizing a great roster effectively. Would have been fun to see the same in Toronto.

What hasn't been talked about too much on the roster construction and payroll side is how the Rogers Centre renovation's will effect ownerships willingness to open the vault even more. They're basically opening an entire new stadium (albeit it's being done over two seasons) and the sell to ownership has to be to erase the awful taste '21 left. They had to fire an ineffective manager in-season, and despite the new hire doing a good job, they had an generationally awful collapse in the post-season that won't be easy to forget. Time to change the channel, and I don't think running the same team back is going to sell many tickets, and more importantly, it's not good enough on the field. Shelling out for some genuine, move-the-needle type star power seems like it would generate buzz for the "new" stadium and help the fan base flush 2021 down the john.

But that's not really Rogers M.O. We all remember the A.A. payroll parameters days, and while they've managed to make impactful signings happen in the Shapiro/Atkins era, it's doubtful Rogers starts spending Yankees-Dodgers type money all of a sudden. Then again, it goes back to how much the changes to the ballpark are going to be sold. Does an Ohtani trade, and backing the money truck up to sign Jacob DeGrom create another level of super buzz around this team that already has it in spades? Let's hope Shapiro and Ed Rogers see it that way.
ISLAND BOY - Thursday, October 27 2022 @ 12:13 PM EDT (#424036) #
Before the start of the season, the Phillies were predicted in more than one article to be historically bad defensively and that they would win mostly high-scoring games. However, they committed only 69 errors all season and had a decent .988 fielding percentage ( compared to the Jays, 82 errors and .986 fielding). So it appears they did a decent job with the balls they could get to, but I wonder what range their fielders had?
bpoz - Thursday, October 27 2022 @ 12:51 PM EDT (#424037) #
Good game in the AFL for Samad Taylor.
hypobole - Thursday, October 27 2022 @ 05:03 PM EDT (#424038) #
Lots of fans believe they know better than their team in how to handle injuries. Constant calls for DL stints to have Springers elbow heal.

But to me, it makes most sense to see how the team is handling the injury and if making an assumption make it from that information. The handling suggested it may have been a bone spur issue and sure enough he had surgery to remove a bone spur in his right elbow. Should be healed for spring training.
Chuck - Thursday, October 27 2022 @ 06:13 PM EDT (#424041) #
but I wonder what range their fielders had

BBRef has a defensive efficiency stat which is the rate that balls in play are converted to outs. This captures non-outs that are both due to errors and to hits, and is thus more comprehensive than the old fashioned fielding percentage which considers only errors.

The Phillies ranked 24th in MLB.

hypobole - Thursday, October 27 2022 @ 06:58 PM EDT (#424042) #
Statcast has 123 OF's listed. 6 had -10 outs above average. Both Phillies corner OF's were in that abysmal group.
-10 Castellanos
-10 Winker
-11 Pederson
-13 Schwarber
-15 Soto
-16 Vaughn

Fun fact. The best Phillies OF by DRS was Bradley Zimmer.
Magpie - Friday, October 28 2022 @ 07:17 PM EDT (#424055) #
The Phillies certainly didn't anticipate having to play both Schwarber and Castellanos in the outfield very day - one of them could surely DH - but Harper turned out to have a tear in the UCL in his throwing arm and couldn't play in the field.
StephenT - Saturday, October 29 2022 @ 01:13 AM EDT (#424057) #
Enjoyed listening to Shulman's radio call of the World Series Game 1 tonight.
Disappointed to read on his Twitter today that it's his last time doing that ("Fired up for my 12th (and final) #WorldSeries").
(People are saying it's because he wants to be available to do Blue Jays playoff TV.  Boo.  I expect to listen to non-Jays playoff radio much more often.)  

Noticed there were different TV announcers on Fox than on Sportsnet (as usual for the WS).

Heard the U.S. anthem.  There was one bit where the words were different than I thought.  Read later there was more than one spot where that happened.

Good game.  Read the Phillies are the first 3rd-place team in the WS.

After hearing commentary that the Astros catcher is the secret to their pitching staff's success,
they pinch-hit for him with the game tied in the bottom-9th, none on, 1 out,
and with the replacement catcher in the 10th the home run was allowed.

Rare to see a hit-batter not sent to first, but it did look to me that the Astros batter stuck his padded elbow into the breaking pitch on purpose.
Big call by the ump in the bottom-10th.
That Astros batter ended up grounding out with 2 on to end the game.
Gerry - Saturday, October 29 2022 @ 07:51 AM EDT (#424058) #
Alec Bohm and Nick Castellanos were both rated the worst fielders at their positions in 2022. They both made big defensive plays in the game.
scottt - Saturday, October 29 2022 @ 01:29 PM EDT (#424060) #
The Astros batter was ex-Blue Jays Aledmys Diaz.

They had Alvarez in left field and Mancini at DH.
They pinch hit Diaz in the 10th.

The backup catcher for Houston is Christian Vazquez.
A pretty decent catcher, I think.
The glaring thing for me is how the Mets passed on J.T. Realmuto to give 40M to James McCann.
-0.2 WAR last year and -0.1 WAR this year and 2 years to go for 24M.
That was so the Mets could have money left to chase Springer because all their outfielders were left bats.
Would have been so easy to sign Realmuto and swap an outfielder with another team.
Imagine this Mets team that just won 101 games with Realmuto.

Gerry - Saturday, October 29 2022 @ 09:50 PM EDT (#424062) #
5-0 again. Phillies have 'em just where they want 'em.
ISLAND BOY - Sunday, October 30 2022 @ 01:29 PM EDT (#424064) #
Umpire Pat Hoburg had a perfect game in the Astros 5-2 win. He had 100% correct calls on all balls and strikes thrown.
Mike Green - Sunday, October 30 2022 @ 03:09 PM EDT (#424065) #
How often does an umpire perfect game occur? For a ballpark estimate, if an umpire gets 95% of calls right and there are 200 calls in a game, the chance of a perfect game is .000035. Of course, it's just an estimate as not all calls have the same degree of difficulty.

Anyways, congratulations Mr. Hoburg. That's no small accomplishment.
Chuck - Sunday, October 30 2022 @ 04:40 PM EDT (#424066) #
I believe, but am not entirely sure, that the umpires scorecards allow a margin of error (one ball width?) and do not reflect the strike zone square we see on TV. Still, 100% even with that margin of error is impressive. Nevertheless, bring on the machines!
Mike Green - Sunday, October 30 2022 @ 05:09 PM EDT (#424067) #
Mr. Hoburg might be a good choice to be part of a team to review the machine's work. You could even have him call games with the machine and review discrepancies to improve the technology.
Leaside Cowboy - Monday, October 31 2022 @ 06:57 PM EDT (#424071) #
Prophecy: Robot umpires will become self-aware.

Black cats and goblins and broomsticks and ghosts,
Covens of witches with all of their hosts,
You may think they scare me, You're probably right,
Black cats and goblins, On Hallowe'en Night, Trick or treat!

Game 3.  Beware.

Mike Green - Wednesday, November 02 2022 @ 03:58 PM EDT (#424077) #
There's an article in today's BP- "Why aren't there any African-American players in this year's series?" which points out that this is the first Series since 1950 without any African-American players.  There are fewer African-American players in major-league baseball (and in minor league baseball), and generally in baseball.  And I haven't read the article for the author's view of the reasons for that.  It is certainly the case that many more young African-American athletes will choose basketball or football over baseball than in previous decades.  Or track and field even, I suppose. 
scottt - Wednesday, November 02 2022 @ 06:12 PM EDT (#424078) #
Back when my son was 10 or 11, we went to a fairly large tournament in Syracuse.
The only black kids I saw in uniforms were the ones in our Ottawa team.
The population in Syracuse is about 30% African-American.

The other thing is that there aren't many black players in college and teams seem to draft fewer high school players these days. Irv Carter was signed out of Calvary Christian High School. Dasan Brown was also signed before college. Any Blue Jays prospects, I'm missing?

bpoz - Wednesday, November 02 2022 @ 06:43 PM EDT (#424079) #
As I get older. Both "black" and " African Americans" is accepted I understand.

Da Box is a classy site. I don't want to accidently say anything that is objectionable.

Um.. so cheers??
Leaside Cowboy - Wednesday, November 02 2022 @ 08:37 PM EDT (#424080) #
Black athletes tend to pursue football or basketball because being drafted is a better opportunity. Even baseball bonus babies ride the bus - not quite as appealing. And the college system is a comparatively better stepping stone to those other sports. The name-image-likeness business and transfer portal has loosened things up quite a bit.
scottt - Wednesday, November 02 2022 @ 09:48 PM EDT (#424081) #
It goes deeper than this as most black children don't play baseball.
Shouldn't be a big surprise since it's always been segregated.

Gerry - Thursday, November 03 2022 @ 07:39 AM EDT (#424082) #
My kids went to tournaments in the US and played US teams in Canada. If they played a team from north of the Mason Dixon line, there often was one or two black players on the team. If the team was from the South it was all white.
bpoz - Thursday, November 03 2022 @ 08:27 AM EDT (#424083) #
No hitter for C Javier of Houston. Another Latin pitcher. We also have a lot of bulk Latin pitchers. Gieson Urbaez is one I am watching. Unfortunately no scouting report.

Austin Martin is doing very well in the AFL as is Zack Britton and T Morris. Barger on the other hand is struggling. So very hard to figure out the AFL.
Leaside Cowboy - Thursday, November 03 2022 @ 11:15 PM EDT (#424084) #
The World Series has forced the issue with a little bit of drama. I mute the television and listen to Dan Shulman on the radio.
Magpie - Thursday, November 03 2022 @ 11:18 PM EDT (#424085) #
Black athletes tend to pursue football or basketball because being drafted is a better opportunity.

I'm pretty sure there are a lot more college scholarships for football and basketball players as well.
bpoz - Friday, November 04 2022 @ 08:59 AM EDT (#424086) #
Phillies in the WS for 6 or 7 games. That is impressive for the NL's last WC team. So as we all know anything can happen in the playoffs.
John Northey - Friday, November 04 2022 @ 01:08 PM EDT (#424087) #
Yep, the Phillies are showing why the #1 job is to just make the playoffs. They haven't had home field advantage in any round, although in the NCLS they did get 3 at home vs the Padres having just 2, but if it went 7 the Padres would've had 4 at home.

Team OPS+ of 107, 5th in NL for runs scored. 103 ERA+, 9th in NL for ERA. So it wasn't amazing pitching or hitting that made this team great.

Rotation?: Zack Wheeler 144 ERA+, Aaron Nola 125, Ranger Suarez 111 - their big 3 weren't as good as the Jays (Manoah 174, Stripling 129, Gausman 116).
Pen?: No one had more than 12 saves, 11 different guys had saves (most 1 or 2 with 4 total having 5+ saves each). They do have the big K guys in Alverado (14.3 K/9), Bellatti (12.9), and Robertson (11.6). But all walked over 4 per 9 IP (yikes). By bullpen ERA they were 11th out of 15 in the NL, but 4th in K/9, 7th in saves, 3rd in save percentage (70%) so clearly their managers did a good job not putting the wrong guy in at the wrong time all year. Canadian manager Rob Thomson deserves a TON of credit, taking a team that wasw sub 500 and getting them within 2 wins of a title. I really don't see much that impresses me about this teams fundamental talent.
Mike Green - Friday, November 04 2022 @ 03:23 PM EDT (#424088) #
Aaron Gleeman tweeted out the 2022 revenue of Atlanta, through the mandatory reporting for Liberty Media.  Atlanta had $238M of baseball revenue in the 3rd quarter and will be over $500M for the year.  As Gleeman points out, MLB owners are making money hand over fist. 
bpoz - Friday, November 04 2022 @ 05:55 PM EDT (#424089) #
Kyle Gibson of the Phillies is a solid #5 maybe ok #4. He never gets injured. He probably always gets a job. Don't know what he throws but that reliability is probably his strength. 168IP with 5.05 Era this year.
bpoz - Friday, November 04 2022 @ 08:36 PM EDT (#424090) #
The regular season is a marathon so you need depth, luck that is good for you and bad for your competition. Like injuries. Unless you are LAD.

The playoffs is not a marathon so you need stars and non stars that get hot like Pat Borders did.

Jack Morris in 1991 wow!! M Bumgarner in the playoffs. Rickey Henderson against the Jays in the playoffs. Dasan Brown had an incredible 3 game playoffs for Vancouver but we lost all 3 games.
John Northey - Friday, November 04 2022 @ 10:01 PM EDT (#424091) #
Funny thing that most forget about 1991's World Series is that if Lonnie Smith hadn't been, well, himself he would've scored a run in the first 9 innings and Morris would've just been a guy who lost game 7 1-0 instead of the legend who had a 10 inning shutout.
scottt - Saturday, November 05 2022 @ 10:53 AM EDT (#424092) #
Liberty Media report is interesting.

They have something called "Braves Group" which shows 252M in sales but profits of only 8M for the quarter.
Is that what you call money hand over fist? Some players made more during that quarter.
They have an "adjusted OIBDA" of 38M. Operating Income Before Debt and Acquisition? 30M in interest?
Not sure what "corporate and others" refers to.

238M or baseball revenue and 14M of "development revenue". Not sure what that is.
Operating expenses of 184M. 27M on administrative expenses.
5M cost of Impairment, restructuring and acquistion.  Again I wonder what falls in there.
Insured salaries? Money paid to other teams? Bank fees?

Typically, the adjusted income are the real numbers, the operation income would subtract money wasted on things that were useless (like payment to fired executives and compensation of laid off workers). Those are not strictly recurring, but something always happen anyway.

So let say they made 38M for the quarter down from 55M from last year. Part of that is 4 fewer home games.
usually OIBDA would be worse numbers, not better, so it sounds like they spend that 30M and only have 8M left.
Leaside Cowboy - Saturday, November 05 2022 @ 08:57 PM EDT (#424095) #
Dusty Baker is the coolest man in baseball. My role model.
jerjapan - Sunday, November 06 2022 @ 08:59 AM EST (#424097) #
Word.  Game evolves around him, man evolves, wins his ring at age 73.

Houston, all is forgiven.  Time to dust off my 80s Astros belt buckle. 
The World Series | 73 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.