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Jim Furtado
Founder & Publisher
Editor - Baseball Primer


Playoffs Newsbeat

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Royals or Mets? Flip a Coin. No, Really: Go Ahead and Flip a Coin.

So, my numbers say the Mets and Royals are really, really evenly matched. Of course, those same numbers shat the bed in the LCS, so take them with your preferred quantity of sodium chloride.

J-Doug Posted: October 27, 2015 at 01:41 PM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: mets, playoffs, projections, royals, world series

Monday, October 26, 2015

OTP - 2015 October 26: Two of America’s pastimes, baseball and presidential campaigns, run parallel

Throughout the long and glorious history of America’s national pastime, an undeniable relationship seems to have formed between baseball and American political culture. From the president throwing the first pitch on opening day to presidential mascots competing in races at Washington National’s games, the political and sporting traditions of our nation seem to come together in baseball.

The very origins of the sport are integrally connected to American politics. Although variations of baseball were played as early as the 1820s, the sport spread nationally when Union soldiers brought their version of the game across the country during the Civil War.

Given this unique, if not peculiar relationship, it is perhaps not surprising that this year’s crop of playoff teams are strangely similar to many of the 2016 presidential candidates. Indeed, many of the storylines surrounding the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates vying for their respective party’s nomination echo the rise and fall of baseball’s elite teams.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Core Royals players overcame challenges, carried their team and swept away doubts | The Kansas City Star

The Royals’ 25-man postseason roster has 12 changes on it from last season, and without the makeover they probably wouldn’t have won their second straight American League Championship Series on Friday night at Kauffman Stadium.

That was particularly true with the additions of Kendrys Morales, Chris Young, Ryan Madson, the postseason version of Alex Rios and Ben Zobrist, whose first-inning home run stirred Kauffman Stadium to a life it never lost in the Royals’ 4-3 victory over Toronto in the decisive and nerve-wracking Game 6.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 24, 2015 at 08:16 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: playoffs, royals, world series

Friday, October 23, 2015

Toronto’s continued misuse of David Price puts the ace in a difficult ALCS position - Yahoo Sports

I didn’t agree with his use in that game either. Although it’s true that they needed to win that game, it’s also true they need to win all the other games as well. So, using your best starter in relief with a six run lead isn’t the best use of your ace. The best thing Price can do for Gibbons is a dominant performance today.

Instead, the continued misuse of Price stood front and center as the series shifted back to Kansas City. There was Price, again, in a repeat of the division series, when Blue Jays manager John Gibbons inexplicably used him in relief during a game Toronto led by six runs. Price never got into Game 5 on Wednesday, spared by Kansas City’s inability to create a scenario that would have goaded Gibbons into deploying him again. It got close enough that Price started getting loose in the bullpen, even as Toronto led 5-0, as setup man Aaron Sanchez and closer Roberto Osuna loomed with fresh arms, as using Price would’ve meant going to Marcus Stroman in Game 6 on short rest and using someone else – Price? R.A. Dickey? Cliff Pennington? – in Game 7 on even shorter rest.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 23, 2015 at 07:05 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: blue jays, david price, playoffs, royals

Thursday, October 22, 2015


To make this list as Murphy-esque as possible, this is what we’re looking at:

1. Players who had a sub-2.0 Wins Above Replacement mark in-season (per Baseball Reference), as Murphy (1.4) did.
2. Pre-World Series postseason numbers. This is all about getting to that round, not what happened within it (sorry, Gene Tenace).
3. A somewhat sustained run of impact—not a single, signature moment (such as the Francisco Cabrera hit or the Dave Roberts steal).

Jim Furtado Posted: October 22, 2015 at 03:31 PM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: daniel murphy, mets, playoffs

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Stroman and Price to be members of the Gibbons all-hands brigade in Game 5 -

The sad side of the playoffs. Somebody has to lose.

I’ve been a defender of Gibbons, particularly his bullpen use, and will continue to be – especially since I realized going into the postseason that the one pitcher whose absence would completely change the way Gibbons manages a game was Brett Cecil, who hasn’t been available since Game 2 of the AL Division Series.

But, yeah, he lost me there a bit when with the score 5-2 he replaced Hendriks with Hawkins, who hasn’t looked healthy or reliable. True, the Royals were into their usually impermeable bullpen but, man … with Edinson Volquez due to pitch Game 5 and the Blue Jays quick-strike offence a threat at home … I don’t know: I might have gone with the more dependable Lowe instead of Hawkins, or kept Lowe for Game 5 instead of bringing him in for Ryan Tepera.

Turns out Gibbons effectively wanted to stay away from Lowe.

“He’s been so good, he’s been one of our go-to guys,” Gibbons said. “It was getting so ugly. You try to have a little pride, anyways. I hate to use position players … maybe we made a little history today, I don’t know. A big game like that and a position player pitches …

“But we were trying to stay away from him. He had a tough time.”

Jim Furtado Posted: October 21, 2015 at 09:18 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: blue jays, playoffs, royals

Klapisch: Mets’ magical ride almost complete - Sports -

Maddon knows he’s hoping for a miracle. If the Cubs can rough up Matz, they can turn the rotation over with Jon Lester in Game 5 and Jake Arrieta waiting in Game 6. Maddon says, “I like those odds” but he knows the Cubs will have to make history to get there.

How can they? They can’t even keep Murphy in the park. He slugged his fifth HR in the last five post-season games, too tough for any scouting report. Not even Murphy’s teammates are able to understand it.

“The guys in the dugout, they’re baseball guys, they’re like “who is this guy?” “ Collins said with a laugh.

Same question applies to the Mets, unstoppable, just nine innings away from the World Series. Who are these guys? Really, who?

Jim Furtado Posted: October 21, 2015 at 09:12 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, mets, playoffs

Role players boost Royals’ World Series hopes |

One of the best things about the playoffs is seeing secondary players take over center stage.

General manager Dayton Moore might not have grabbed offseason headlines, but he took care of business, finding the right pieces to fill the right holes, and then came up with Ben Zobrist ahead of the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. Zobrist is a switch-hitter who they acquired to provide depth, but he played himself into the role of Kansas City’s everyday second baseman and No. 2 hitter. Zobrist got the Royals on the board in Game 4 with a two-run blast in the top of the first.

“It all speaks to Dayton Moore and [assistant general manager] J.J. Picollo, how they shaped the team with the evaluations from the scouts and coaching staff,” said Game 4 starter Chris Young, one of those under-the-radar acquisitions. “They look for that intangible of character that doesn’t get a lot of attention anymore. They look at how guys fit together and complement each other.”

Jim Furtado Posted: October 21, 2015 at 08:53 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: blue jays, playoffs, royals

Cubs season comes down to Jason Hammel’s start | Chicago Sun-Times

As they say, it’s one game at a time.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 21, 2015 at 08:48 AM | 121 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, mets, playoffs

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Joe Maddon plays theme music from Rocky |

I wonder how many of his players have watched the movie?

Jim Furtado Posted: October 20, 2015 at 07:09 AM | 58 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, joe maddon, playoffs

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Who are the celebrity fans cheering for MLB teams left in playoffs? | Toronto Star

I know you are dying to find out which team Rachel MacAdam is rooting for.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 17, 2015 at 07:12 AM | 45 comment(s)
  Beats: blue jays, cubs, mets, playoffs, royals

Royals silence Blue Jays’ sluggers, but they need to do it again (and again and again) | The Kansas City Star

Edinson Volquez?

The wrong team is flexing, and that is not a metaphor. The Blue Jays’ clubhouse is quiet. The men in that room scored more runs and hit more homers than anyone else in baseball this year. But they are quiet. Across the hallway, in the Royals’ clubhouse, they are smiling. Joking. Flexing. We mean this literally.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 17, 2015 at 06:52 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: blue jays, playoffs, royals

Friday, October 16, 2015

Model Picks Cubs over Mets in NL as LCS Play Commences

I post this here knowing full well that my model is overestimating the talent gap between the Kansas City Royals and the Toronto Blue Jays (and I’m sure some would argue that there isn’t any). I stand behind my rank order, however, expecting the Jays to advance and the Cubs to beat the Mets, with an eventual Jays WS victory being the most likely outcome.

In comparison, the NLCS match-up between the Mets and the Chicago Cubs looks fairly even, with the Cubs enjoying a 58% chance to advance, most likely in five or six games. The Mets’ best chance, like the Royals, is to force a seventh game in Flushing.

Question for you all: If you had to assign a “true record” to each remaining team, what (approximately) would you go with, and why?

J-Doug Posted: October 16, 2015 at 02:17 PM | 55 comment(s)
  Beats: blue jays, cubs, mets, playoffs, projections, royals, world series

Mets defeat Dodgers in Game 5, advance to NLCS |

“For the entire ballclub, this is unbelievable,” Murphy said. “This is such a lot of hard work. From the top of the organization to the bottom, from what [general manager] Sandy [Alderson] was able to give us at the Trade Deadline to the way guys have played, everybody has gotten a piece of this at some point. That’s what makes it so special.”

Jim Furtado Posted: October 16, 2015 at 06:41 AM | 149 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers, mets, playoffs

Japan Times: Time for NPB to rethink senseless playoff format

For those not familiar with Japanese baseball, the second and third place teams in each league play a series for the right to then play the regular season winner to decide the league representative in the Japan Series. But the regular season winner gets a) a one game advantage before the series starts, and b) gets to play all the games at home. Something tells me this wouldn’t go down well in the US…

Where else but Japanese baseball can a team lose Game 1 of a playoff series and show up at the ballpark the next day down 0-2?

That was the reality for the Chiba Lotte Marines Wednesday after their 10-inning, 3-2 loss to the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks in Game 1 of the Pacific League Climax Series final stage. It was almost the same for the Yomiuri Giants, but the Kyojin managed a 4-1 victory over the Tokyo Yakult Swallows in the Central League’s final-stage opener. Of course, instead of being up 1-0 the Giants went back to Jingu Stadium with the series tied 1-1.

This wacky math has been the norm in Japanese baseball since 2008, the first season both the CL and PL began giving pennant winners a one-game advantage in each league’s championship series. So far, the 2010 Marines and 2014 Hanshin Tigers are the only teams to dig out of the hole and advance to the Japan Series.


vortex of dissipation Posted: October 16, 2015 at 06:34 AM | 28 comment(s)
  Beats: japanese baseball, playoffs

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Ugly scene at Rogers Centre in Game 5 can’t happen again | FOX Sports

Get control of yourselves, you rowdy Canadians!

Jim Furtado Posted: October 15, 2015 at 06:04 AM | 146 comment(s)
  Beats: blue jays, playoffs, rangers

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Jays’ Marcus Stroman on Game 5: ‘I’m extremely confident’

“It’s got the makings of a really, really good story here if it plays out the way we want it to,” Gibbons said on Tuesday prior to the team’s off-day workout. “I don’t think it really surprises anybody that knows him, that’s been around him. He’s got a great arm, he’s got great stuff — whatever you want to call it.

“But there’s something different about him, too. He’s smart, he’s intelligent. He’s one of those guys that everybody gravitates to because he makes you feel good and he makes everybody play better. And I expect if anybody can rise to the occasion, it would be him.”

Jim Furtado Posted: October 14, 2015 at 06:23 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: blue jays, playoffs, rangers

Every eye in the Mets universe turns to Jacob deGrom | New York Post

Matt who?

“We’ve got our horse going,” Lucas Duda said of deGrom.

Travis d’Arnaud, who will catch deGrom Thursday, sounded extremely confident in the right-hander.

“It’s because of what he’s done since the day he’s been here,” d’Arnaud said of the 2014 Rookie of the Year. “He’s got the perfect personality for this moment. He’s a simple man who likes to keep things simple and just go out there and pitch. He’s been stellar for us all year.”

Jim Furtado Posted: October 14, 2015 at 06:19 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers, jacob degrom, mets, playoffs, zach greinke

Advancing in the postseason? Suddenly, that’s so Cub - Chicago Tribune

It’s a happy day in Chicago.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 14, 2015 at 06:07 AM | 86 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, playoffs

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Steven Matz prepared for NLDS Game 4 start |

I hope this doesn’t put too much stress on his grandfather’s heart.

Steven Matz might have been too young to fully appreciate what transpired when New York’s two Major League teams met in the 2000 World Series. But the Long Island native certainly has some fond memories of the 2006 postseason, when his beloved Mets fell one win shy of returning to the Fall Classic.

“I don’t really remember what I was thinking back then, but I do remember watching it and thought it was pretty awesome,” Matz said. “My dream was always to play in the Major Leagues, so it’s safe to say that I was definitely thinking about being in that spot.”

Jim Furtado Posted: October 13, 2015 at 03:48 PM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: mets, playoffs, steven matz

OMNICHATTER for LDS Day 6, 2015

4:30 PM: NLDS Game 4 (Cubs lead 2-1, advance to NLCS with win), Cardinals (Lackey) at Cubs (Hammel), TBS

8 PM: NLDS Game 4 (Mets lead 2-1, advance to NLCS with win), Dodgers (Kershaw) at Mets (Matz), TBS


Gamingboy Posted: October 13, 2015 at 06:21 AM | 874 comment(s)
  Beats: mlb, omnichatter, playoffs

Monday, October 12, 2015

Cubs hit six home runs, win Game 3 of NLDS |

It was beautiful.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 12, 2015 at 09:49 PM | 29 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, cubs, playoffs

Royals’ five-run inning beats Astros in Game 4 |

One crazy inning.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 12, 2015 at 09:45 PM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, playoffs, royals

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 | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers, mets, playoffs

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