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Jim Furtado
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Editor - Baseball Primer


Hideo Nomo, Kaz Sasaki, Dodgers, Mariners Newsbeat

Monday, October 12, 2015

Dodgers Pick Kershaw to Start on 3 Days’ Rest in Game 4 - The New York Times

“Do you have to explain that one? He’s pretty good,” manager Don Mattingly said about Kershaw. “No matter if we’re down 2-1 or up 2-1, we feel like he’s the right guy.”

Jim Furtado Posted: October 12, 2015 at 09:44 PM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers, mets, playoffs

Lee Smith: In Defense of the Chase Utley Slide

Lee Smith (no, the other one) weighs in:

Middle infielders learn this principle in youth baseball, long before they get to the professional ranks. If you turn your back on the incoming runner, you’re putting yourself at risk. This is one reason why it’s harder, and more dangerous, for the second baseman to turn the double play than it is for the shortstop. At second, you have to square yourself to receive the relay from short or third so you’re always giving some of your back to the runner, which means you have to be very aware of where he is out of the corner of your eye. It’s easier to turn two from short because you can fully see the runner all the way from first. Also, the shortstop has his own form of deterrence: the runner knows he is coming straight at one of the best arms on the field, cocked and loaded with a projectile that is about to thrown extremely hard at the very place from where the runner has just come and now stands as an obstacle. If the base runner values his face, he will get out of the way in any way possible.

That’s how infielders watch out for themselves. If on the other hand an infielder turn his back on a runner, he makes his entire body vulnerable to injury, even if the base runner has no intention of doing him harm. In this instance, even had Utley come straight into second with a relatively gentle slide, Tejada might have gotten badly hurt. The shortstop’s feet were planted right around second base, and that’s the second rule middle infielders learn about the double play—be very careful planting your feet, lest you make yourself susceptible to a very bad injury.
These aren’t the days of Ty Cobb, when some ballplayers were looking to hurt their colleagues. But they’re still professional athletes who are playing hard to beat each other. Moreover, in spite of rules rightly intended to protect the ballplayers, the size and speed of 21st-century athletes further increases the risks in the middle of the diamond. It can get dangerous in there, which is why middle infielders are taught to protect and defend themselves.

For instance, the reason middle infielders jump after throwing the relay on the double play isn’t to leapfrog over the incoming runner like an Olympic hurdler—though it’s cool when you can do it!—but to get even an inch off the ground so that if you get hit the worst injury you suffer is a bruise rather than a break. An additional upside to the jump is that the middle infielder can land all elbows and knees on the sliding base runner to remind him that the infielder is also capable of delivering bruises. And if the base runner is a real jerk who has a habit of looking to actually injure infielders, you might give him a taste of his own medicine and come down leading with spikes.

As a middle infielder himself, Utley knows all this. Indeed, when he was with the Phillies, Utley was one of the game’s premier second baseman. He always played hard, but I doubt very strongly that he’s looking to hurt opponents, especially other middle infielders. In fact, unlike American League pitchers who can throw at hitters with impunity knowing that no one can throw at their heads in return, Utley understands that his opponents know just where to find him—right there in the middle of the infield and as vulnerable as anyone on the double play pivot. And even when he’s not in the field but is coming off the bench to hit, shortstops and second baseman can still tame him and make him hit the deck fast. There’s nothing that discourages a base runner from coming into second hard like seeing a big-league middle infielder drop down under and throw the relay to first from a submarine angle.

JE (Jason) Posted: October 12, 2015 at 09:21 AM | 23 comment(s)
  Beats: chase utley, dodgers, mets, neighborhood play, suspension

Harper: In NLDS Game 3, Mets’ Harvey can right this wrong - NY Daily News

As if Matt Harvey needed more pressure.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 12, 2015 at 07:59 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers, matt harvey, mets

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Why MLB needs to suspend Dodgers’ Chase Utley for over-the-top takeout -

Serve up justice? How overwrought and unhinged can a columnist get?

Jim Furtado Posted: October 11, 2015 at 02:57 PM | 383 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers, mets

Chase Utley slide joins most controversial plays in Dodger playoff history « Dodger Insider

Jon Weisman makes some good points.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 11, 2015 at 02:07 PM | 27 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers, mets, playoffs

Plaschke: Chase Utley’s slide was late, high and arguably dirty

The slide was late. The slide was high. The slide was questionably legal and arguably dirty.

Even if you were watching it through blue-colored glasses, you had to admit that the slide was recklessly dangerous, so much that it broke another man’s leg.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Jacob deGrom dazzles as Mets beat Dodgers in NLDS Game 1 | Newsday

A great pitching duel in LA. If only it was a little earlier…

Jim Furtado Posted: October 10, 2015 at 08:59 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: clayton kershaw, dodgers, jacob degrom, mets

Friday, October 09, 2015

Vin Scully Not Calling Postseason Games

Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully won’t be calling any games in the baseball playoffs after undergoing a medical procedure.

There’s not much more to the article, except a few related tweets that might have scrolled off by the time you read it. This news makes me sad.

Bote Man Posted: October 09, 2015 at 01:26 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers, health, tv, vin scully

Mariners reportedly dismiss Lloyd McClendon |

The purge in Seattle continues.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 09, 2015 at 12:04 PM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: lloyd mcclendon, managers, mariners

Lloyd McClendon will not return as Mariners’ manager

Lloyd McClendon won’t return as manager for the 2016 season, according to sources.

McClendon moves on after compiling records of 87-75 in 2014 and 76-86 in 2015. His first season as manager produced the Mariners’ first winning season since 2009. But this season’s team began with lofty playoff expectations and the Mariners never met them, struggling to play with any consistency. When general manager Jack Zduriencik, the man who hired him, was fired Aug. 28, McClendon’s future became tenuous.

McClendon is under contract for 2016, but Dipoto was given the autonomy by team president Kevin Mather and CEO Howard Lincoln to determine whether to keep McClendon or move on with a his own manager to begin his regime.

There are currently no African-American managers in baseball.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 09, 2015 at 11:56 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: lloyd mcclendon, managerial firings, mariners

Dodgers the Focus for Kershaw, Not Personal Redemption - The New York Times

Kershaw, the National League’s most valuable player in 2014, felt he did not lack for extra motivation after the Dodgers’ early exit from the playoffs in 2013 and again last year.

“I think I’ll have enough,” said the five-time All-Star. “I don’t need to be fueled by too much. I definitely remember, but it’s a new team, new season, and hopefully for me a new outcome.”

Jim Furtado Posted: October 09, 2015 at 06:36 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: clayton kershaw, dodgers, mets, playoffs

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Cubs Edge toward Destiny as WS Fave Jays Open ALDS

Rational Pastime’s playoff simulator now projects the Cubs as 34% favorites to represent the Senior Circuit in the Fall Classic, and 5:1 to win it all… Among today’s American League contenders, the Toronto Blue Jays remain big favorites at 2:1…

Summary of projections:

TOR 3:1
CHC 5:1
HOU 5:1
LAD 8:1
KCR 11:1
NYM 12:1
STL 13:1
TEX 16:1

J-Doug Posted: October 08, 2015 at 01:41 PM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: alds, astros, blue jays, cardinals, cubs, dodgers, mets, nlds, playoffs, projections, rangers, royals, world series

How the Mets plan to attack Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke | New York Post

So, there is no plan.

Long, who was a regular visitor to the postseason as the Yankees’ hitting coach, said this kind of competition is business as usual in October.
“It’s the playoffs and in the playoffs you expect to face the best pitchers in baseball,” Long said. “The [Justin] Verlanders, [Anibal] Sanchezes, [Max] Scherzers, I remember facing a very good, talented pitcher every time.”

Jim Furtado Posted: October 08, 2015 at 06:23 AM | 31 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers, mets, playoffs

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Bill Plaschke: It might be World Series or bust for Don Mattingly - LA Times

Is this a repeat from last season?

Mattingly has led the Dodgers to three consecutive NL West championships, but the guess here is that if he can’t lead this team to a World Series his locker will be empty by Halloween.

Somebody is going to have to take the fall if baseball’s richest team still can’t find the Fall Classic after 27 years of classic falls, and Mattingly is the one wearing the target.

Management demoted Ned Colletti, traded Matt Kemp, let Hanley Ramirez walk. The Dodgers have rid themselves of every perceived problem from the previous two seasons, and now, if they fail again to survive two rounds of the tournament, it would figure to be Mattingly’s turn.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 07, 2015 at 12:31 PM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers, don mattingly, managers

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Toronto Blue Jays Big Favorites as 2015 MLB Postseason Begins

It begins again: Rational Pastime projections for the 2015 postseason. Tonight, the RP model has the Houston Astros as slight favorites over the New York Yankees. Were these teams evenly matched, the Yanks would be favored 54-46, thanks to home field advantage. However, my RP Score system believes that the Astros are a better team.

As for the rest of the playoffs, the model—which relies on the Log 5 equation and Matt Swarz’s numbers for home field advantage—picks the Toronto Blue Jays to win it all as nearly 2:1 favorites.

J-Doug Posted: October 06, 2015 at 04:19 PM | 32 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, blue jays, cardinals, cubs, dodgers, mets, pirates, playoffs, projections, rangers, royals, yankees

Friday, October 02, 2015

Dodgers-Giants game interrupted by Full House sequel taping

The Dodgers were playing their final road game of the regular season on Thursday against the Giants when both teams got to be a part of one of San Francisco’s greatest cultural cpntributions, Full House.

The game featured a slightly extended seventh inning stretch which had actress Jodie Sweetin, known to viewers as Stephanie Tanner, singing “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” for the upcoming reboot of the show, titled Fuller House, leaving Los Angeles starter Brett Anderson very confused, according to the Los Angeles Times.

“I didn’t know what the hell that was,” Anderson said. “That was terrible. I didn’t know if that was serious or what was happening.

“I thought it was just her being awful at signing. I had to collect myself there for a second.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 02, 2015 at 12:52 PM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers, full house, giants, have mercy, how rude

Thursday, October 01, 2015

More comments from new Mariners’ general manager Jerry Dipoto on team needs, free agency vs. trades, tailoring a team to Safeco Field | The Seattle Times

Some good stuff here.

On playing in the same division as his former team, the Angels?

“I’m obviously very competitive. I care a lot about the players in that clubhouse, a lot of the people that make up that team. I spent four years of blood, sweat and tears helping to put it together. Now, like they will with me on this side, I’d like to go beat them. That makes them one of 28 others I’d like to go beat.”

I learned this from Kirk Gibson, who I worked with in Arizona. We were going in to play the Mets. The Mets were my childhood team, we were flying in, and it was my first time as a GM. I said to Gibby, this one would be special. I would very much look forward to beating these guys. He said, ‘Oh, it would be special, and just so you know, I want to beat them all.’  That’s my answer to that question. As much as I care about the people with the Angels, I would like to beat them. As I’m sure they’d like to beat me.”

Jim Furtado Posted: October 01, 2015 at 06:44 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: general managers, jerry dipoto, mariners

Dodgers put focus on rotation for playoff series with Mets - LA Times

Kershaw and Grienke and pray for rain.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 01, 2015 at 06:42 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers

Monday, September 28, 2015

Jerry Dipoto named Mariners general manager |

An upgrade in Seattle.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 28, 2015 at 05:33 PM | 31 comment(s)
  Beats: general managers, jerry dipoto, mariners

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Mariners notebook: Felix Hernandez expects to make his next start on schedule | The News Tribune

The final word on whether Mariners ace Felix Hernandez will make his next start on schedule will hinge on how his elbow feels after playing catch on Wednesday.

But Hernandez still harbors no doubt he’ll stay on schedule. He had no problems Tuesday in playing catch and foresees nothing preventing him from starting Friday against the Angels in Anaheim.

“It ain’t happening,” he said dismissively.

Hernandez exited Sunday’s 9-2 victory at Texas as a precaution in the sixth inning because of stiffness in his elbow. He said afterward that it’s “not a big deal,” and that he would “be throwing my next start.”

Still, this is King Felix, so manager Lloyd McClendon remains cautious.

“As we speak, yes, he is (scheduled to pitch Friday),” McClendon said. “He’ll do his normal routine. He will throw. If he’s ready to go, he’ll go. If he’s not, then he won’t go.”

If healthy, Hernandez projects to get two more starts as he pursues several personal milestones: Friday at Anaheim and Sept. 30 vs. Houston at Safeco Field.

At 18-7, the right-hander needs one victory to match his previous career high, set in 2009, and two to become the Mariners’ first 20-game winner since Jamie Moyer won 21 in 2003.

Hernandez also needs 4 1/3 more innings for his seventh consecutive 200-inning season and 15 strikeouts to reach 200 for a sixth consecutive season.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 23, 2015 at 09:58 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: felix hernandez, mariners

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Meet the Dodger who learned to have fun and provide serious value

“I think what you see is what you get,” Scott Van Slyke said of Turner. “He doesn’t have the stereotypical red-head, gets-angry, short-tempered thing. Because of that, he makes people around him better. He’ll sit with Joc and talk situational hitting. He’ll lighten the bench. You know there’s gonna be days you hate your job and you’re on the bench and you’re not hitting. That’s when you gotta find a way to enjoy it.”

Attitude over aptitude, that sort of thing. And then, maybe, and here’s where that whole bat-barrel-on-baseball knack enters in, the aptitude follows, and perhaps why there’s an argument for Turner following only Zack Greinke, Clayton Kershaw and Gonzalez among most valuable Dodgers. Yeah, he has found his home, under a red beard that’s a cross between Tormund Giantsbane, leader of the Free Folk, and Prince Harry, big in the House of Windsor.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 19, 2015 at 07:30 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers, justin turner

Friday, September 18, 2015

Starter Mat Latos, acquired July 30, designated for assignment by Dodgers

Money to burn….

Pitcher Mat Latos will not finish the season with the Los Angeles Dodgers after the team designated him for assignment on Thursday.

Latos, a right-hander who arrived from the Miami Marlins as part of a 13-player trade on July 30, has struggled in almost all of his appearances since the trade. He finishes his time with the Dodgers with an 0-3 record, 6.66 ERA and 31 hits allowed in 24⅓ innings.

Latos is set for free agency this offseason after signing a one-year deal with the Marlins worth $9.5 million. The Dodgers assumed the remainder of Latos’ salary when they acquired him.

Latos’ final appearance as a Dodger came in Tuesday’s 16-inning loss to the Colorado Rockies. He entered as a reliever in the 16th inning and allowed the winning home run.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 18, 2015 at 11:00 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers, mat latos

Rival major league scouts sound off on the state of Seattle’s Mariners | The News Tribune

Not very complimentary.

Is there a viable in-house partner for catcher Mike Zunino?

“Is that a serious question?” one scout asked. “If they had a truly legit guy anywhere in the system, they’d have sent Zunino to the minors in May.”

From another: “They had that guy in (Welington) Castillo, and they traded him (to Arizona). Now, I’m a (Mark) Trumbo guy. I’d rather have Trumbo (than Castillo) unless I really needed a catcher. They really need a catcher.”

From a third: “They really did that kid (Zunino) a disservice by rushing him to the majors. I understand why they did it. They didn’t have anyone else. Still don’t. For their sake, you hope they didn’t wreck him.”

Read more here:

Jim Furtado Posted: September 18, 2015 at 09:45 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: mariners

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Biggest offseason questions |

Dan O’Dowd asks some tough questions.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 17, 2015 at 02:05 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, dodgers, free agency, giants, mariners, mets, orioles, white sox

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