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Playoffs Newsbeat

Thursday, October 30, 2014


Thursday, October 16, 2014

St. Louis Cardinals at San Francisco Giants - October 16, 2014 | MLB.com Wrap

Congrats to the Giants and their fans!

Jim Furtado Posted: October 16, 2014 at 11:24 PM | 76 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, giants, playoffs

The Brain Drain … And how to fix the wild-card round | Bucco Blog

I have a fix for the Wild-Card. LEAVE IT ALONE! Want a guaranteed home game? Win your division! Don’t want your whole season ending because the other team’s one good starter kills your offense? Win your division!

HOW TO FIX THE WILD-CARD
I like many folks, like the second wild card. It’s made winning the division paramount, it has brought more teams – and fans – into being involved with September baseball, which is a good thing, and any one-game elimination events makes for good television.
But I think we can also agree there is an element to absurdity that comes with playing a one-game playoff after 162-game season, particularly if there is a large gap in the standings between the 1st and 2nd wild card.
Speaking of smart baseball executives, Theo Epstein, apparently proposed the idea of adding a day-night doubleheader to the wild card to make it a best-of-three series while only adding one day to the postesason.
The proposal was to play a day-night doubleheader at the home park of the No. 1 wild card and travel to the No. 2 wild card for a Game 3 if needed.
I’ve seen others suggest flipping it, where the wild-card round would begin with a day game at the No. 2 wild card’s home field and then travel to the No. 1 wild card for a day-night doubleheader the next day. I like this better as all teams in the postseason are guaranteed one home game. And this would be must-watch television, which would include a lot more game strategy in planning for a doubleheader.
There’s an absolute rule when it comes to playoffs: they always expand. So I would not be shocked to see the wild-card expand, and I would also not be surprised to see the Division Series become best-of-sevens. The college football playoff will likely soon be at least an eight-team playoff.
Again, I like the second wild card, as many do, but it needs an adjustment.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 16, 2014 at 03:38 PM | 54 comment(s)
  Beats: playoffs

Small missteps for Cards, 1 Giant leap from NL title | MLB.com

Buster Posey and the Giants already know how to win in October—even without all this help from the St. Louis Cardinals.

Strange as it might look sometimes, San Francisco finds a way to score just enough.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 16, 2014 at 06:16 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, giants, playoffs

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Fangraphs (Sullivan): Defense Needed The Royals

It’s Jeff Sullivan, with GIFs, talking about defense on Fangraphs. Read it.

The Royals feel like an exaggeration of what defense can do. In this way I can only speak for myself, but when, say, Miguel Cabrera goes on one of his tears, I see him at the plate and I feel like he could hit a dinger at a moment’s notice. I can sense the threat of a slugger, because I’m aware of the range of possible outcomes. The Royals have made me sense a defense. The feeling I get is that every ball in play is doomed. Hit a ball to the outfield and you might as well just walk back to the dugout, unless you hit it 420 feet. Not every ball in play is converted, naturally, but not every slugger plate appearance turns into a handful of bases. It just happens often enough to set the expectation. The expectation is that the Royals will make the out, if it’s in any way possible. [...]

I get how weird it might be to see something of a pro-Royals article on FanGraphs, given, you know. But for one thing, this isn’t specifically about the Royals. And for another, there’s no better current representation of something we all hold to be important. The Royals are like if UZR were a general manager, and while there have been great defensive teams before, the Royals are sensational and the Royals are one win away from the World Series with limited other strengths. Is defense really as important as WAR suggests? I mean, I don’t know with 100% certainty, but the Royals make a hell of an argument. Outs are in — and so are the Royals.


Royals sweep Orioles to earn shot at crown | MLB.com

Congratulations to the Royals and their fans!

Jim Furtado Posted: October 15, 2014 at 07:48 PM | 102 comment(s)
  Beats: orioles, playoffs, royals

NBC - Posnanski: Better Off Ned

Joe Posnanski ponders Ned Yost and, inter alia, the recent history of Royals managers:

The players, though, keep on winning for him. “We all know, Ned’s got our backs,” pitcher James Shields says. The Royals best overall player, Alex Gordon, talks at length about how big a role Yost played in his emergence after he was sent to the minors to learn how to play the outfield. “I know that his belief in me has been a big part of my story,” Gordon says. Ibanez, who was brought in more for his leadership than his bat, sees how Yost lets the players be themselves. “This is a fun team, a team with a lot of really fun personalities,” Ibanez says. “I give Ned a lot of credit for letting these young players breathe and enjoy playing the game.”

And this is Moore’s point too: All the strategic things Ned Yost does that may drive people crazy are a miniscule part of a very big job.

“Let me tell you how I look at strategy,” Moore says. “To me, every single one of those 25 players on the roster should be able to do whatever job Ned asks of them. If they can’t do the job, it’s my fault – those are the players I gave him. Those are the players that we, as an organization, targeted and acquired and developed. If they’re not good enough to get outs in the sixth inning or get a key two-out hit, that’s our fault.


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Baltimore Orioles at Kansas City Royals - October 14, 2014 | MLB.com Box

The Orioles are in deep doo-doo.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 14, 2014 at 11:08 PM | 94 comment(s)
  Beats: orioles, playoffs, royals

Pressure-packed 10th leads Giants to walk-off win | MLB.com

Can it get much weirder?

Jim Furtado Posted: October 14, 2014 at 08:49 PM | 54 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, giants, playoffs

Postseason spotlight shines bright on bullpen arms | MLB.com

“Quisenberry led Major League relievers that season with 129 innings, his fewest innings in a four-year stretch.

Quisenberry led Major League relievers that season with 129 innings, his fewest innings in a four-year stretch.
“You have to protect those guys like Quiz from the grind they face,” Howser said. “They wear down, too.”
Much is made about starting pitchers and what the impact of the extra demands of a postseason can have on them. Relievers, however, face the same type of strain. They may not pitch as many innings as a starter, but they pitch more often, and for closers, they pitch constantly in high-stress situations.
And when a closer stubs his toe, it’s a headline.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 14, 2014 at 08:46 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: bullpen, playoffs

Monday, October 13, 2014

Nine Managerial Decisions That Helped Decide Game 2 Of The NLCS | FiveThirtyEight

Jonah Keri breaks down a bunch of game situations by the numbers.

SITUATION: Top of the sixth, runner on second, two outs, Hunter Pence up, Cardinals lead 2-1. Who should pitch?

DECISION: Matheny leaves Lynn in to pitch to Pence.

THE MATH SAYS: This was also a judgment call. You’ve got those numbers in Lynn’s favor as a pitcher who often fares better as he gets deeper into games. The only reason the Giants had a runner on second is because, after Lynn fanned the first two batters of the inning, Pablo Sandoval hit a dying quail that landed just fair and bounced into the seats down the left-field line for a ground-rule double. Meanwhile, the Giants had a righty-on-righty matchup with Pence at the plate, and no pitch-count issues or obvious signs of fatigue for Lynn. You can argue that Matheny erred by not trying to step on the Giants’ necks in the fourth by pinch-hitting for his pitcher. But by this point, leaving Lynn in was a defensible move.

RESULT: Pence lines a single to center, scoring the tying run.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 13, 2014 at 02:35 PM | 33 comment(s)
  Beats: playoffs, sabermetrics

Bernie: Cards rally around Molina : Sports

The three homers merely were opening acts. In terms of delivering a heart-pumping moment, Wong struck the most timely and powerful blow of them all.

Wong’s memorable, instant-classic swing shattered a 4-4 tie and gave the Cards a 5-4 victory that cleared the debris of a Trevor Rosenthal blown save, set off a red-draped celebration and ended an evening of swerving, unnerving, dramatic turns.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 13, 2014 at 07:46 AM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, giants, kolten wong, playoffs

Sunday, October 12, 2014

What a strange trip it’s been for the Royals and their fans | The Kansas City Star

The Royals are definitely on a roll. How long will it last?

Jim Furtado Posted: October 12, 2014 at 09:32 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: playoffs, royals

How a Disgruntled Ace Gave the Royals a Full House - NYTimes.com

Moore and Melvin liked dealing with each other. Each had a scouting background and tended to trust traditional scouting methods more than advanced analytics.

“I have nothing against numbers, but everybody has the same numbers,” Melvin said. “When you’re talking about scouting and player development, that’s risk-taking. If Escobar’s hitting .170, that’s probably not a good deal for them. Same with Cain. But they did a nice job in the last years of their development.”

The teams completed the deal a few days later; Melvin worked on it for hours while visiting his parents in western Ontario. The Brewers also got Yuniesky Betancourt, a veteran shortstop, and included two pitchers in their package for Kansas City — Jeremy Jeffress, a hard-throwing reliever who had served a suspension for recreational drug use, and Jake Odorizzi, a former first-round pick who was still in low Class A.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 12, 2014 at 08:44 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: alcides escobar, lorenzo cain, playoffs, royals, zack greinke

Lo and behold: Cain a threat in all phases | MLB.com

Lorenzo Cain is this year’s playoff darling.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 12, 2014 at 08:37 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: lorenzo cain, playoffs, royals

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Video: Statcast: Dyson caught stealing | MLB.com

This is nice stuff.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 11, 2014 at 10:38 AM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: jarrod dyson, playoffs

Royals win powerful ALCS opener - SweetSpot Blog - ESPN

Yes they did.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 11, 2014 at 09:10 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: orioles, playoffs, royals

Midnight magic: Alex Gordon’s blast powers the Royals to another thrilling extra-inning win | The Kansas City Star

The personification of this Royals team is a busted prospect who made himself into a star turning a fastball that catches too much of the plate into a trophy for the right-field seats.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 11, 2014 at 08:54 AM | 30 comment(s)
  Beats: alex gordon, orioles, playoffs, royals

Friday, October 10, 2014

Royals legends are relieved to see this team create 1985-like memories | The Kansas City Star

“I’m tired of talking about 1985, I really am,” he says. “I am sick and tired of it. You know? You can only look in the past for so long.”

George Brett is awesome.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 10, 2014 at 09:06 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: george brett, playoffs, royals

Buck Showalter and Ned Yost will be under intense scrutiny - ESPN

Major League Baseball’s division series action proved that big payrolls and star power can be overrated, while leaving plenty of managerial roadkill in its wake. Judging from the always measured and thoughtful public sentiment on Twitter, Brad Ausmus has no clue how to run a bullpen, Don Mattingly’s ability to make bad decisions knows no bounds, and Matt Williams isn’t equipped to run a convenience store, never mind a team with World Series aspirations.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 10, 2014 at 08:46 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: buck showalter, ned yost, playoffs

Puig’s Game 4 benching likely for more than just plate struggles | FOX Sports

Maybe Don Mattingly isn’t a big poopy head.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 10, 2014 at 06:30 AM | 107 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers, don mattingly, playoffs, yasiel puig

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Cards are back in NLCS | FOX Sports

Good luck to the Giants in the World Series!

Jim Furtado Posted: October 09, 2014 at 07:02 AM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, giants, playoffs

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

How the Cardinals became baseball’s best franchise | New York Post

I’d say we should wait until the end of this year’s postseason to make that determination.

No, the Dodgers don’t rank second behind St. Louis in the “Model franchise” standings, and neither do the Yankees. Maybe it’s the Giants, with their third NLCS appearance in five years, though they haven’t qualified for two straight postseasons since 2002-03. It certainly isn’t the Red Sox, who have registered two last-place finishes in the last three seasons.
You could make a case for the Tigers, who join the Cardinals as the only current clubs with four straight playoff appearances. Yet the Tigers just got swept by Baltimore in their ALDS, and they are weighed down by contracts of questionable length and value. They don’t look particularly well-positioned for the future.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 08, 2014 at 08:22 AM | 82 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, giants, playoffs, tigers

Matt Williams and the Great Bullpen Screw-Up | FOX Sports

Ouch.

As an outsider, we can’t know about the internal dynamics of the clubhouse and how well Williams might or might not have handled the aspects of his job that we never see. But part of his job is also to make decisions during the games that give his team the best chance to win, and in the biggest game of his managerial career, he made a series of poor decisions that directly led to the run that eliminated his team from the postseason. The Nationals’ offense didn’t do Williams any favors in this series, and it’s tough to advance when your team just doesn’t hit. But on Tuesday night, they scored at least enough runs to earn the right to keep playing.

They didn’t get that chance, though, because Matt Williams was unwilling to use his best pitchers in a tie game. In many ways, baseball is getting a lot smarter. In this particular way, baseball has a long way to go.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 08, 2014 at 06:52 AM | 193 comment(s)
  Beats: giants, matt williams, nationals, playoffs, sabermetrics

Slumping Puig Benched by Dodgers for NLDS Game 4 - NYTimes.com

Puig benched. Statheads outraged!

Jim Furtado Posted: October 08, 2014 at 06:30 AM | 91 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers, playoffs, yasiel puig

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