Monthly archives: October 2008
The Stove continues to burn
From the San Diego County Griddle office of Eric Stephen:
Blue Jays pick up the option on Rod Barajas.
Red Sox keep Tim Wakefield employed.
The Hot Stove is lit
While I pondered a World Series where a J.C. (Juan Carlos Romero) beat a J.P. (James Phillip Howell) twice and wondered why a J.A. (James Anthony Happ) wasn't given a shot, I decided to move on to next season.
I debate the efficacy of posting links to offseason moves since there are a lot of readers who just monitor websites seemingly 24/7 waiting to see which players on the Nationals are having their options declined. But for today....
Ken Macha is the new manager of the Brewers. Dale Sveum, we hardly knew ye.
Mike Jacobs has been dealt from Florida to Kansas City for Leo Nunez. The link above contains a link to "Find the perfect Royals gift." I would comment on that, but Royals fans have suffered enough.
So long and thanks to everybody for playing this year
Image via Flickr
Congratulations to the World Series Champions, the Philadelphia Phillies.
And so long to the AL Champion Tampa Bay Rays.
Game 5 World Series Open Thread: Last Gaspers vs Confident Guys, 5:37 pm PT (SUSPENDED), 5:37 pm PT
Scott Kazmir takes the mound tonight for Tampa Bay to keep the 2008 World Series going until Tuesday, but Cole Hamels starts for Philadelphia and there is a good chance that there will some Champagne spilled tonight in Pennsylvania. It might even slosh over to New Jersey.
The Phillies can make me zero for two in postseason predictions.
During Game 1 of the ALCS open thread, I predicted that the winner of that game would win the World Series. Perhaps that should count as a double error. (It's comment 90.)
Then over at Baseball Analysts, I said:
If you're going to be a failure, you might as well as be a spectacular one.
UPDATE - The resumption of Game 5 has now been pushed back to Wednesday. 188th pitch is tentatively scheduled for 5:37 pm PT in Philadelphia. If you're going to the game, bring a jacket. And gloves. And a hat.
If there is a Game 6, it will be played Thursday at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, around the same time all the other games have started (5:29-5:37 pm PT). There has been no date or time set for a potential Game 7 however.
Robbery or common sense?
With all the caterwauling that has accompanied Bud Selig's decision, all I can do is plug my ears and hope that the din dissipates. And yet, the only way there won't be any complaints is if the Phillies win the conclusion of tonight's Game 5.
People can quote the rule book day and night about this (especially since the game has taken that long), but I'm still convinced that Commissioner Bud Selig, despite all of his PR miscues, did the best job he could and made the correct decision once he was forced into it. You can make an argument that the game shouldn't have started or been called before five innings and I would see your point.
But if you think that under any circumstance that the Phillies should have been awarded a win for a rain-shortened game, I will object. I will strenuously object.
Baseball's rule book is not the Code of Hammurabi. It is not the Ten Commandments (although it used to have 10 sections, it's been recodified to have 11, although 11 is the index and God didn't give Moses an index. Something like "Kill, Thou Shalt Not - 5"). The baseball rule book has been molded and shaped as situations occur.
This is not unlike American common law. If the baseball rule book were enforced to its letter all the time, there would be violations noted all the time. People would argue and the games would take forever. If your state's penal code were enforced as rigidly as some want baseball's rule book to be, prisons would be overflowing with people. (Oh wait, they are. Pick a better example to illustrate my point on your own. You can do it.)
Game 5 of the World Series will go at least 9 innings. Why? Because it's fair. It's a radical concept.
Somewhat related to this: A Las Vegas sports book is paying off people who bet on the Phillies to win for Game 5.
This is why you shouldn't bet on baseball. The rules that Kornegay are referring are the sports books rules on betting baseball, not the rules of baseball.
Great moments in bad World Series weather, part two
The 1909 World Series between the Pirates and Tigers was another World Series beset by cold temperatures. The series was set up so the Pirates would host Games 1 and 2, then it moved to Detroit for Games 3 and 4, then to Pittsburgh for Game 5, and then back to Detroit for Games 6 and 7.
Game 4 of the 1909 Series was played in Detroit on October 12 and the gametime temperature was 34 degrees. The Tigers won the game 5-0 and the Pirates committed six errors. The Retrosheet box score also notes that this was the first World Series game to have four umpires. The "first base" and "third base" umpires actually served more like the left field and right field umpires of today as they weren't supposed to make calls on the bases. (The Retrosheet box score actually uses LF and RF as their designation.)
Alan Schwarz of the New York Times had an interesting piece about the poor weather in the 1911, 1960, and 1975 World Series.
Game 4 of the 1968 World Series was played in poor weather in Detroit (note to self: don't visit Detroit in October). There was rain off and on throughout the game and it was delayed for 74 minutes in the top of the third.
After the delay, with more rain falling, both teams were accused of either trying to speed up the game (the Cardinals) or delay it (the Tigers) in order to make the game official or unofficial.
News reports of the game had home plate umpire Bill Kinnamon stating that he told both Cardinals manager Red Schoendienst and Tigers manager Mayo Smith that no delaying or speed up tactics would be allowed.
There were two plays that were questionable. In the top of the fourth, with the Cardinals ahead 6-0, Detroit first baseman Norm Cash ambled over to pitcher Daryl Patterson to "discuss strategy." Cash admitted after the game that he was stalling. In the top of the fifth, Cardinals second baseman Julian Javier was picked off first to end the inning.
The Cardinals won the game 10-1 to take a 3-1 lead in the series. And the Cardinals then lost three straight to Detroit.
The new Rays fight song
With the bad weather in Philadelphia forcing Tampa Bay to scramble for a new hotel, the Rays were forced to bunk in Wilmington, Delaware.
So let's all sing:
Great moments in bad World Series weather
The World Series had its share of bad weather before tonight.
In the 1908 World Series between the Cubs and Tigers, temperatures for most games were in the 30s and 40s. The attendance for Game 5 (which was the finale) at Detroit's Bennett Park was a whopping 6,210.
In 1911, the World Series alternated games between the Polo Grounds in New York for the Giants and Shibe Park for the Athletics. Game 3 was on October 17 in New York. Game 4 was on October 24 in Philadelphia. And in 1911, the NL season lasted one week longer than the AL season to boot.
And then there was Game 7 of the 1925 World Series. The defending champion Washington Senators had taken a 3-1 lead in the series, but couldn't close the deal against the Pirates at Griffith Stadium in Game 5 and then lost Game 6 at Forbes Field.
Game 7 was scheduled for October 14, 1925, but heavy rains postponed the game one day. And over 46,000 showed up at Forbes Field on October 15 to watch Game 7. And Commissioner Kenesaw Landis was determined that Game 7 was going to be played. However, it was still raining. And a bit foggy. And the field was muddy. And it was cold. And it was dark.
The Senators scored four times in the top of the first to knock out Pirates starter Vic Aldridge after just 1/3 of an inning. And the Senators had Walter Johnson pitching.
But the Big Train didn't have it. Pitching with a bad leg and in bad weather, Johnson gave up 15 hits and shortstop Roger Peckinpaugh made two key errors behind him.
Nursing a 7-6 lead in the 8th, Johnson retired the first two Pirates before surrendering a double to catcher Earl Smith and Emil Yde pinch ran. Pinch hitter Carson Bigbee then doubled to left to score Yde with the tying run. Eddie Moore walked and Max Carey reached on a Peckingpaugh error that loaded the bases. Kiki Cuyler then stroked an automatic double to right field to score two runs and give the Pirates a 9-7 lead that Red Oldham made stand up in the 9th.
In the New York Times account of the game (by James R. Harrison):
The suspension that never was from 1998 and Bud speaks
Back on October 2, 1998, the New York Yankees took a 2-0 lead into Game 3 of the ALDS at Arlington against the Rangers.
The Yankees led 4-0 after 8 innings when heavy rains and a tornado warning hit the area. The game was delayed for 3 hours and 16 minutes, but eventually the rain subsided and the Yankees were able to close out the game.
But would the game have ended after 8 innings if the rain hadn't stopped? News accounts from the day seem to indicate it would have been suspended anyway.
From Larry Whiteside of the Boston Globe:
Jamie Aron, Austin American-Statesman
Baseball has also had a rule that any game that is halted by rain won't resume after 12:45 am, which could still be in effect. Essentially, Selig could have ordered the game stopped by rain and then at some late hour, ordered the game "restarted" with no intention of restarting and then the game would have been suspended.
Investing with Brad Lidge
As long as your money is in a save situation this year, I'd follow Brad Lidge's advice:
Later on in the story:
Perhaps something along the lines of: “Those of us who have looked to the quality of our three and four hitters to produce runs, myself especially, are in a state of shock and disbelief,” he told the committee.
Game 4 World Series Open Thread: Floridians versus Pennsylvanians, 5:35 pm PT
Game 4 beckons with presumably better weather. I'll be watching this game at my brother's place, so I will just be with people in spirit.
Andy Sonnanstine will pitch for Tampa Bay and Joe Blanton for Philadelphia. While neither pitcher is his team's ace, both have pitched pretty well in the postseason. Sonnanstine has won both his starts and has given up five earned runs in 13 innings. Blanton has a win and a no-decision and has given up four earned runs in 11 innings.
Commenter das411 has some photos from his first ever trip to see a World Series game in person.
(Insert Joe Posnanski-esque asterisk) Not having anything to do with the World Series, I went to the Breeders' Cup races at Santa Anita on Saturday. One of the sponsors of the races is the Bessemer Trust.
When I checked their website, one of the parts it read:
Ironically, the more wealth one accumulates, the more complicated life can become. Thoughtful planning can help ensure your wealth is a source of satisfaction and opportunity — for you and your family.
I regret being a member of the middle class. I have just enough complications in life to make life difficult. If only I could be in abject poverty. That sounds sweet!
At least Bud Selig didn't have to do this...
My brother passes along this press release from the NHL:
This never would have happened if all NHL games were played at neutral sites.
Game 3 World Series Open Chat, Tampa Bay at Philadelphia, 5:35 pm PT, or so
With rain in the forecast for much of the day and night in Philadelphia, this game could be delayed or possibly be starting and stopping. Eventually, it should be ALCS MVP Matt Garza facing NLCS LVP (Phillies division) Jamie Moyer.
Of course, if we followed the incredibly idiotic Bill Plaschke plan to "save" the World Series, we'd be enjoying this game live from Chase Field in Phoenix. Some people were displeased with this idea, which transcends idiotic.
Let's say you're a fan of a team that has waited 15 years to make the World Series and you live in a large city in Pennsylvania. And now your team is in the World Series, but do you get to go see your favorite team in your hometown? No, you have to make a trip to Phoenix. Why?
I've come across articles in the past from columnists about moving the World Series to a neutral site. And they all came across as pieces written by guys who taken too many plane trips and had sat out in the cold more than they liked. Jim Murray wanted a neutral site World Series. I was told by my brother that Mel Durslag always wanted one. One notable article was by longtime AP writer Will Grimsley who, stuck in the cold and rain for two days during one World Series, wondered why the Series couldn't be moved to the Astrodome.
Grimsley's article was written the day before Game 6 of the 1975 World Series.
And yet baseball keeps playing the World Series in the league champion's home parks. Why? Maybe it's because baseball fans like it that way. And possibly because even Bud Selig isn't as stupid as Bill Plaschke.
Tying one on in Tokyo - UPDATE
The Yomiuri Giants and Chunichi Dragons played a 5-5, 12-inning tie in Game 3 of the Central League Climax Series. The game won't be replayed and the Giants received a one-game head start, so they lead the series 2-1 and there are just three games left to play.
The Dragons must win the remaining three games (all of them at Tokyo) to advance. If the Dragons and Giants split 3-3, the Giants would advance to the Japan Series against the Pacific League champion Seibu.
UPDATE The Giants won the Central League Climax Series with a 6-2 win over Chunichi Saturday night in Tokyo. It will go in the books as a 3-1-1 series win. The Japan Series won't begin though until November 1.
From the tail end of the AP story of Game 2 of the World Series:
As it turned out the Dodgers streak without getting a hit with a runner in scoring position in the World Series lasted quite a while.
In the fourth inning of Game 7 of the 1965 World Series, Wes Parker singled home Ron Fairly with the second and final run of the game. The Dodgers won the game 2-0, but still had several more scoring chances and failed to get a hit in seven at bats with runners in scoring position.
Then came the 1966 World Series, when the Dodgers set the bar for offensive ineptitude by failing to get any hits at all in the Orioles sweep. The Dodgers scored two runs in Game 1, one on a solo home run by Jim Lefebvre and the other on a bases loaded walk by Jim Gilliam.
The Dodgers wouldn't return to the World Series until 1974. In Game 1, the Dodgers lost to Oakland, 3-2. Despite picking up 11 hits, the Dodgers were a combined 0 for 9 with RISP. The Dodgers first run scored on an error and the second came on a solo home run by Jim Wynn.
L.A.'s streak had now reached 0 for 38 with RISP in World Series play for Game 2. In the second inning, the Dodgers had runners on first and third with one out for Steve Yeager. And behold! A single to center to score a run.
In last year's World Series, the Red Sox were
Game 2 World Series Open Thread: The Philadelphia Story vs. Metropolitan Area Without Film Named For It, 5:29 pm PT
Last night, Chris Coste served as the DH for the Phillies and went 0 for 4 and became part of a long string of mostly inept National Leaguers in the DH spot in the World Series.
Although the DH was adopted in 1973, it was not used in the World Series until 1976. Cincinnati used Dan Driessen as the DH in all four games and Driessen did a good job, going 5 for 14, including a home run off of Dock Ellis of the Yankees in Game 3. (Warning: potentially long and boring discussion that inolves Tom Goodwin after the jump.)
When the All-Star Game is like the World Series
Game 1 of the World Series (it was played tonight, despite what people led you to believe) matched up teams that had the winning the winning and losing pitchers from the same season's All-Star Game (you know, the one that counts, it was 4-3 AL in 15 innings.)
Scott Kazmir, as you might remember, received the win the All-Star game for the American League (they had the white uniforms) and Brad Lidge was the losing pitcher for the National League (they had the gray uniforms, except the teams that wore solid colors. And I hate them).
This situation has happened before, but not all that often.
World Series Game 1 Chat: NL guys vs AL guys, 5:35 pm PT
From scenic Tropicana Field:
It's the AL Champion Tampa Bay Rays:
And the NL Champion Philadelphia Phillies:
The Phillies don't seem to have a song as "catchy" as "Feel the Heat, Rays." So that's one thing in favor for them.
In 1950, the Phillies used this song.
Great moments in Phillies-Rays history
The Rays and Phillies have played each other in interleague play 15 times since 1998, with Tampa Bay winning 10 of the meetings. The Phillies won a series from the Rays just once, back in 1999.
The very first meeting between the two teams was in the
A handful of participants from that game were still active in 2008: Tampa Bay starting pitcher Jason Johnson along with second baseman Miguel Cairo, and two members of the Phillies, right fielder Bobby Abreu and third baseman Scott Rolen. The Phillies were managed by Terry Francona, who was apparently not smart at this time.
The Phillies biggest win in the series came on July 19, 1999 with a 16-3 win over Tampa Bay at Tropicana Field.
Tampa Bay's biggest win came on June 16, 2006 in a 10-4 win by the Devil Rays, highlighted by two homers by Julio Lugo against Philadelphia starter Cole Hamels at Citizens Bank Park. It was Hamels' fifth start in the majors.
The men in blue for the World Series
Tim Welke was named crew chief for the World Series and he will be joined by Tim Tschida, Jeff Kellogg, Tom Hallion, Kerwin Danley, and Fieldin Culbreth.
Fun with geography
As someone who enjoys nitpicking, and perhaps obsessively so (I'm in group therapy for it, but we can't decide what order we should sit in or who gets to speak first), I must point out the error in geography in MLB.com's "Los Angeles Traces" story.
The emphasis is mine. Newhall is actually located in the equally sprawling Santa Clarita Valley, which is really more of a series of canyons than a big valley.
Seibu Lions win or tie away from Japan Series berth
Kaz Ishii of Seibu struck out 13 Nippon Ham batters as the Lions moved closer to a Japan Series berth with a 9-4 win in Game 4 of their Pacific League "Climax Series." The Lions lead the series 3-2 because of a one-game advantage they received going into the series.
Seibu can win the series with a win Wednesday at home (all games in the series are home games for Seibu) or with a tie (games tied after 12 innings are halted even in the postseason and not replayed.)
The Lions who have been a success on the field for most of their history, are still not much of one at the box office as a little over 18,000 attended the game.
Dragons move on to second round in CL playoffs; PL playoffs even in second round
The defending Japan Series champion Chunichi Dragons won their best of three first stage Central League Climax Series against the Hanshin Tigers with a 2-0 win in the Game 3. Tyrone Woods homered in the ninth for the only runs. Hanshin will place first place Yomiuri in a best of six series for the Central League with Yomiuri receiving a one-game handicap.
In the Pacific League, first place Seibu won game one of its second stage series against Nippon Ham, but the Fighters have won the next two to even the series at 3-3. The teams were off Monday and the series resumes Tuesday at the Seibu Dome.
You can read about the games at Deanna Rubin's Marinerds.
Going to the pen over and over and over and over and over in the ALCS
Tampa Bay's win over Boston in Game 7 of the ALCS was highlighted by Tampa Bay using five pitchers to get three outs in the seventh inning: Matt Garza (one batter reaching on an error), Dan Wheeler (hit and an out), J.P. Howell (an out), Chad Bradford (a walk), and David Price (a strikeout).
That was the fourth game in an LCS (all of them AL) where a team used five pitchers in an inning.
Game 3, 1976 ALCS, Kansas City at New York - Andy Hassler starts the inning nursing a 2-1 lead for the Royals and gives up a walk and a double. In comes righthander Marty Pattin and Billy Martin counters with Carlos May. So Royals manager orders Pattin to intentionally walk May. Tom Hall comes in and gives up an RBI groundout to Chris Chambliss and an RBI single to Thurman Munson and the Yankees take a 3-2 lead. Steve Mingori relieves and faces Elliot Maddox and Maddox doubles in Chambliss. Mark Littell finishes the inning by striking out Willie Randolph, walking Fred Stanley, and finally retiring Mickey Rivers on a popout.
Game 5, 1999 ALCS, New York at Boston - The Yankees lead 4-0. Orlando Hernandez gives up a home run to Jason Varitek to start the inning. Nomar Garciaparra follows with a double. Joe Torre brings in Mike Stanton to face Troy O'Leary, who walks. Out goes Stanton and in comes Jeff Nelso, who gets Mike Stanley to line out to center. Now it's Allen Watsons turn and he walks pinch hitter Butch Huskey to load the bases. Torre now turns to Ramiro Mendoza who strikes out pinch hitter Scott Hatteberg and gets Trot Nixon to foul out.
Game 5, 2002 ALCS, Minnesota at Anaheim - The Angels lead the Twins 2-0 and face reliever Johan Santana. After retiring David Eckstein, Darin Erstad singles. Santana follows with an error on a pickoff to send Erstad to second with Alex Ochoa at bat. LaTroy Hawkins comes in and gets Ochoa to ground out and sends Erstad to third. Lefty J.C. Romero comes in and gives up an RBI single to Garret Anderson and leaves in favor of Mike Jackson, who gives up a single, double, intentional walk, and a triple and the Angels lead 7-0. Bob Wells comes in to get the final out, Adam Kennedy.
Playoff series droughts (UPDATED)
Last time a franchise won a playoff series:
Still waiting: Rangers
Steve Harvey Show or Game 7 of ALCS Chat: Boston vs Tampa Bay, 5:07 pm PT
Game 6 Open Thread: Boston vs. Tampa Bay, 5:07 pm PT
Once more? With feeling? We shall see. James Shields starts on the mound for the Rays and the remnants of Josh Beckett starts for the Sox. Or will that be the case?
Here's the history of teams in the postseason facing a 3-2 deficit on the road in a 7-game series (1906, 1918, and 1923 weren't included because they weren't played in a 2-3-2 format. 1944 was played in a 2-3-2 format, but all the games were in the same park.):
Sveum thanked and excused for his service by the Brewers
The Milwaukee Brewers gave GM Doug Melvin a contract extension through 2012, and Melvin used the opportunity to tell interim manager Dale Sveum that he's not under consideration for the job permanently. And hitting coach Jim Skaalen was fired too.
Sveum took the news well according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
"My heart was ripped out of my chest," said Sveum. "I was shocked.
Candidates to replace Sveum include Buck Showalter, Bob Brenly, Jim Tracy, Ken Macha, Grady Little, and Davey Johnson.
October 12, 1929
ATHLETICS 7TH: Simmons homered; Foxx singled to right; Miller
ALCS Game 5 Open Thread: Batoidea vs Boston, 5:07 pm PT
Tampa Bay needs to "scrape" out another win today like its last two wins at Fenway Park (9-1 an 13-4) to move on to its first ever World Series. If the Red Sox win, it's back to Tropicana Field on Saturday night.
But if Tampa Day does win today, there won't be another baseball game until the World Series starts on Wednesday. Cole Hamels says hello.
Daisuke Matsuzaka is entrusted with the job of keeping the Red Sox season alive. Matsuzaka bobbed and weaved and stumbled for seven of the most surprising shutout innings ever thrown in the postseason back in Game 1.
Scott Kazmir, who lasted just 4 1/3 innings in Game 2 and gave up five runs, including three home runs, is the starter for Tampa Bay.
Both pitchers throw lots and lots and lots of pitches. So I again suggest stocking up provisions to eat for this one. And if this game is like Game 2, I would suggest that our East Coast and Midwestern viewers double check supplies of coffee, tea, and amphetamines.
Cycling through the postseason
Wednesday night's 5-1 win by the Phillies over the Dodgers in the NLCS was the 1,223rd postseason in the majors since the AL and NL started playing the World Series in 1903. And in those games, there's been a perfect game and an unassisted triple play, yet no batter has hit for the cycle in the postseason. However, three players this year have come up one hit short of a cycle in this postseason.
Here are the close calls (and an explanation of the warning system is on the sidebar in really big print):
Yellow alerts (batter lacks a triple): As you might guess, this is the most common variety. It's happened 88 times in the postseason and twice already in this postseason (both by Red Sox players, J.D. Drew and Jason Bay).
Bay was the only one of the two with a chance to actually hit for the cycle as he had two more plate appearances against Tampa Bay in Game 2 of the NLCS after a sixth inning single. But Bay walked and struck out. Willie Stargell pulled off this feat twice in the 1979 World Series and Roy Campanella did the same in 1955.
The first World Series yellow alert was by Sam Crawford of Detroit in the 1909 World Series against the Pirates. Crawford was 3 for 4 against Babe Adams and finished off his day with a homer, but the Pirates won 8-4. Oh, and if you didn't know, Crawford is the all-time leader in triples with 309. (If I can phrase that in a more Jayson Stark-like way please tell me.)
Orange alerts (lacking a double): It's not often that someone gets the "needs a double" orange alert. It's happened just 11 times with Garret Anderson of the Angels being the last player to do it, in Game 3 of the 2005 Division Series against the Yankees. Anderson had a chance for a cycle, but in his last at bat of the game, he picked up a second single and settled for a 4 for 5 night. Scott Brosius also made an out in his last at bat in his attempt for a cycle in Game 1 of the 1999 World Series.
Paul Molitor had two orange alerts for the Blue Jays against the Phillies in the 1993 World Series. They were in Games 3 and 6. Molitor finished his career with 605 doubles, the 11th highest total in history.
Rickey Henderson had two at bats with a chance to hit a double for the cycle in Game 3 of the 1989 World Series, but made an out both times.
Elmer Smith had the first orange alert of this type in Game 5 of the 1920 World Series and he started out the day with a grand slam, then hit a triple, then a single, and then grounded out.
Orange alerts (lacking a homer): This is a little more common than its cousin and it happened as recently as Tuesday when Carl Crawford had a 5 for 5 night at Fenway Park, but couldn't get a home run. There have been 24 instances of this type of orange alert.
Milt Thompson and Devon White each had one in the epic 15-14 win by the Blue Jays over the Phillies in Game 4 of the 1993 World Series. Red Murray and Buck Herzog, both of the Giants, had orange alerts in Game 2 of the 1912 World Series, which ended in a 6-6 tie after 12 innings.
In Game 2 of the 1990 World Series, Billy Hatcher of the Reds went double, double, single, triple, and then was intentionally walked in his last plate appearance.
Vic Wertz had an orange alert in Game 1 of the 1954 World Series and in his 4 for 5 day, his only out came on Willie Mays' famous catch. Now if Mays hadn't caught the ball, it's doubtful that either Wertz could have circled the bases for an inside the park homer or if he would have batted in the 10th inning (when he doubled) as the Indians would have taken a lead in the 8th inning.
Red alerts (lacking single): Oh so close to a cycle. Two men have come up a single short of hitting a cycle in the postseason: Kazuo Matsui of the Rockies in Game 2 of the NLDS against the Phillies last year and Lou Brock of the Cardinals in Game 4 of the 1968 World Series.
Matsui had one chance to get the single to give him the first postseason cycle, but he grounded out against Antonio Alfonseca of the Phillies. Brock hit a double in his last at bat in the 8th inning, so he had no real shot at a cycle.
Maddon changes his mind for Game 5 starter
Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon, with his team just one win away from the World Series, has decided to start lefty Scott Kazmir in Game 5 of the ALCS at Fenway on Thursday instead of James Shields. This came from a report at Boston.com.
Maddon feels that he would be better served using the pitcher who would require more relievers to back him in up in the game before a day off rather than in Game 6 and then potentially have a tired bullpen for a Game 7.
ALCS Game 4 open thread: Pinellas County vs Suffolk County, 5:07 pm PT
Sadly, Josh and the Cardboard Gods are on the 15-day Uninspired List when it comes to game threads, so he ceded the duties to me.
I could start writing like Jack Kerouac, but that presupposes that I have read Jack Kerouac. Or I could channel Bon Scott. But I don't like heavy metal.
So, you're left with me. Remember that the Griddle is nominally nonpartisan.
And I just relate stories like this: As I left Dodger Stadium Monday (not as depressed as the teeming thousands because that's just me), a woman was talking to her companion (presumably husband) and said "There can't be a Tampa Bay-Philadelphia World Series! It will get bad ratings! It has to be the Dodgers versus the Red Sox!"
AUGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!! No. The World Series is played between the AL and NL pennant winners. Just roll with it. It's not about TV ratings. Unless you happen to work for Fox.
But most of us don't. So just watch the World Series. You might enjoy it.
Back to the business at hand.
The Rays took a 2-1 lead in the series Monday after the seemingly invincible Jon Lester got vinced by a couple of big home runs by B.J. Upton and Evan Longoria. If I had a dollar for every time a supposedly invincible pitcher lost a game in the postseason, I'd have about $40 now built up over my lifetime. I could buy two transcripts of "Nightline" and have about $10 left over depending upon what kind of shipping I wanted to use! Woo hoo! I'm rich!
Andy Sonnanstine tosses his four-N SURname against Tim Wakefield and his knuckleball of death.
Just who dies is for all of us to find out.
1. Akinori Iwamura, 2B
SP: Andy Sonnanstine
Red Sox lineup:
1. J.D. Drew, RF
SP: Tim Wakefield
Kevin Foster, 1969-2008
Foster pitched in the majors for seven seasons, most of them with the Cubs.
Would you adopt this playoff schedule?
As I've been detailing before, the Japanese pro leagues (NPB) have a much different playoff setup than those of us across the Really Big Pond.
Since there are just two six-team leagues, the practice for years was just to have the two regular season champs face off in a best of seven series for the big gonfalon. However, the less popular league, the Pacific League, opted to use a playoff system starting in 2004 and the Central League adopted a similar system last year.
The top three teams in each league make the playoffs. Team #2 and #3 play each other in a best of three with all the home games being played at the second place team's home park. The winner then faces the #1 team (who is officially the league champion regardless of the playoff results) in a six-game series where the #1 team needs just three wins while the #2 team must win four. The #1 team also gets to host all the games and they are played over a seven-day span.
The Seibu Lions will host the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters in the second stage of the Pacific League Climax Series starting on Friday. The first game will not be played at Seibu's home stadium, the Seibu Dome, but rather Omiya
In the Central League, the first stage of its Climax Series starts on Saturday with the second place Hanshin Tigers hosting the third place Chunichi Dragons. Those games will not be played at Hanshin's historic Koshien Stadium, which is undergoing renovations, but rather at the Kyocera Dome in Osaka.
The winner of that series would play the Yomiuri Giants starting on October 22 at the Tokyo Dome, which will host all six games.
The Japan Series, matching the winners of both Climax Series, will be start on November 1 at the home of the Central League champ and will be played in a 2-3-2 format.
Fighters move on in Pacific League playoffs; Lions up next
The defending Pacific League Champion Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters wrapped up a 2-0 series win in the first stage of the league's "Climax Series" with a 7-2 victory over the Orix Buffaloes at the Kyocera Dome in Osaka.
The second stage, which requires four wins, starts on Friday at the Seibu Dome in Tokorazawa. Seibu will only have to win three games though to win the series as the league champion gets a win spotted to them along with homefield advantage. The Fighters have to win four games.
The Central League does not start its playoffs until Saturday. Hanshin manager Akinobu Okada has offered to quit after his team blew a 13-game lead in the league to the Yomiuri Giants.
Fighters grab Game 1 of Pacific League playoffs
The defending Pacific League champion Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters won the first game of their best of three first round playoff series against the Orix Buffaloes with a 4-1 win at the Kyocera Dome in Osaka.
Fighters ace Yu Darvish struck out 14 in a 139-pitch complete game. Game 2 will also be in Osaka. The winner will face the Seibu Lions in a best of five series.
The Central League playoffs won't start until next week. Yomiuri won its second straight regular season title after finally reeling in the Hanshin Tigers (who once led by as many as 13 games this summer). The Tigers will face the defending Japan Series champion Chunichi Dragons in the first round.
ALCS Game 1 Open Thread: Sentimental Favorites vs Big Meanies, 5:37 pm PT
Despite Josh's eloquent plea earlier today, I believe my description is apt.
The AL East champion Rays will be taking on the defening World Series champs in the Boston Red Sox.
James Shields (14-8, 3.56 ERA in the regular season) faces Daisuke Matsuzaka (18-3, 2.90 ERA).
Shields got the win in Game 1 of the ALDS despite giving up a 3-run homer to DeWayne Wise of the White Sox. Matsuzaka got a no-decision in his only playoff start against the Angels, tossing 108 pitches in 5 innings against the slap happy Angels.
Stock up on supplies for this one. It should be a long night..
1. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
1. Akinori Iwamura, 2B
The tricky business of counting racial backgrounds of MLB players
Carl Bialik of the Wall Street Journal has an interesting post about how difficult it can be to count up the racial makeup of MLB players.
Bruce Dal Canton, 1942-2008
Dal Canton was the pitching coach for the Braves before Leo Mazzone and served as a minor league instructor for them through May of this year before ill health forced him to retire. He signed as a free agent with the Pirates in 1966 at age 24 at a tryout camp.
Say it ain't so Cory, say it ain't so
Pro baseball in Taiwan has had numerous problems with gamblers influencing the outcomes of games and even going as far to kidnap and threaten players before games.
Revenge is a dish best served 92 years old
Yesterday, I took a look back at the 1915 World Series and today, for your pregame NLCS reading, I thought I would take a look back at another potential World Series rematch. This would be the 1916 World Series between the Boston Red Sox and the Brooklyn Dodgers.
This was a World Series that is often overlooked. And after reading about it, I can see why. It was a five-game affair that was poorly played and left one prominent sportswriter saying that future World Series should be called off because the American League was just too good.
Prepare to scapegoat these men
ALCS umpires: Tim McClelland, Derryl Cousins, Brian Gorman, Brian O'Nora, Alfonso Marquez, Sam Holbrook
NLCS umpires: Mike Reilly, Mike Winters, Gary Cederstrom, Jerry Meals, Ted Barrett, and Mike Everitt.
From the Canadian Press.
Revenge is a dish best served 93 years cold
If the Boston Red Sox defeat the Tampa Bay Rays in the upcoming ALCS, there will be a rematch in the World Series, a rematch from the great beyond. The Red Sox won two consecutive five game World Series in 1915 and 1916 against the Phillies and Dodgers.
In this installment, I'll take a look back at the World Series of 1915.
George Kissell, 1920-2008
Longtime St. Louis Cardinals coach George Kissell passed away Tuesday in Tampa at age 88 of injuries suffered in an automobile accident.
Kissell was signed by the Cardinals in 1940 and according to his obituary in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, he attended 68 of the next 69 spring trainings for the Cardinals.
Among the managers tutored by Kissell are Tony La Russa, Joe Torre, and Sparky Anderson.
The Bush Administration Standings
The closest "races" were in the Western divisions. The Athletics managed to withstand a 100-win season by the Angels to hold on to the top spot and the Dodgers stormed past the Giants this season to claim the NL West title.
The Blue Jays missed finishing at .500 for the 8-year period by one game. The Blue Jays had a game against the Devil Rays cancelled in 2004. The Brewers finished 1/2 game better than the Reds because of a 2004 cancellation against the Pirates.
Colorado managed to make it to the World Series once during this time period despite finishing with more losses than any other team in the NL West.
Florida was the only team to win a World Series during the Bush 43 years despite having an overall losing record.
Tampa Bay's 97-win season this year brought their eight year winning percentage up to a whopping .419.
Also ran: Texas, Pittsburgh, and Kansas City
Let the grousing begin in the World Baseball Classic
Although the World Baseball Classic in 2006 was a surprising success, or surprisingly not a disaster, there were lots of disagreements and sniping among teams and national federations about which players would play and who would get paid or get to play.
It looks like Venezuela is the first country to start the complaining. Venezuelan stars Magglio Ordonez, Miguel Cabrera, and Johan Santana have voiced their displeasure with the return of Luis Sojo as the manager of the Venezuelan team and are threatening to boycott the WBC.
ALDS Game 4 Open Thread: Rays vs White Sox, 2:07 pm PT
Held over for at least one more day! It's the ALDS between Tampa Bay and Chicago. The Rays have a 2-1 lead, but still have one more game to play in "blackout" conditions at US Cellular Field.
The Rays will send out Andy Sonnanstine, the man with 4 Ns in his surname, against Gavin Floyd, the man with two first names. I've been trying to find someone with more than 4 Ns in his name, but it's hard to search such things. There was a Red Nonnenkamp. Bring out your Ns!
Cardboard Gods should return tonight with a far, far more interesting lead in to the game chat for the Red Sox-Angels game.
The greatest blow to Canadian pride since the Expos moved to DC
Canadians had gotten the Guinness Book of World Records to recognize Labatt Park in London, Ontario as the oldest continuously used baseball diamond in the world. Records show that baseball was played on the site since 1877.
Division Series Open Thread, Come One, Come All
Welcome to the Conglomerated Game Thread for the Division Series games today:
There are three games today and there could have been four if the Dodgers hadn't polished off the Cubs Saturday night. So today it's the Philatampangeles Phirangels against the Milcagoton Brew Sox.
Philadelphia Phillies at Milwaukee Brewers, Game 4, at 10:07 am PT. Joe Blanton facing Jeff Suppan.
Tampa Bay Rays at Chicago White Sox, Game 3, at 1:07 pm PT. Matt Garza against John Danks.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Boston Red Sox, Game 3, at 4:17 pm PT. Joe Saunders against Josh Beckett.
Since the games are likely to just bleed into the next one, I set up one thread. Also, I have to go in to work for part of the day. Basically, I have a Tampa Bay-Chicago shift. I still haven't seen one pitch of that series live. And if the Rays win, I will be shut out.
I've seen a handful of innings from the Philadelphia-Milwaukee series and all of the Boston-L.A. series.
Josh Wilker, your regular host for Red Sox playoff game threads, will be watching this one from a Red Sox bar in Chicago with his fellow displaced New Englanders. But Josh may be by at Cardboard Gods with some Kerouackian meditations.
If the White Sox win, they will play again tomorrow at 2:07 pm PT. If the Angels win, they will play in Boston at 5:37 pm PT. If the Brewers win today, they will play again Tuesday at 6:07 pm PT in Philadelphia. The NLCS starts on Thursday and the ALCS starts on Friday.
Cool weather and scattered showers are in the forecast for both Chicago and Boston.
NLDS Game 3 open thread: Philadelphia at Milwaukee, 3:37 pm PT
Coming to you from the Cream City, it's Game 3 of the NLDS between the Phillies and Brewers.
It's a long and storied rivalry.
OK, maybe it's not.
Neither team has had the best of luck in the postseason. The Phillies have won a grand total of four postseason series: 1980 NLCS, 1980 WS, 1983 NLCS, and 1993 NLCS. That's it. The Phillies also have losses in the 1915, 1950, 1976, 1977, and 1978 NLCS as well as NLDS losses in 1981 and 2007.
The Brewers have won one postseason series, the 1982 ALCS and lost in the 1981 ALDS and 1982 WS.
Jamie Moyer, who actually married into Digger Phelps' family because he has no discernible human soul, pitches for the Phillies, and Dave Bush, whom I believe has a soul, pitches for the Brewers.
However, it may take more than soul for the Brewers to push this to a Game 4. If there is one it will be Sunday at 10:07 am PT. Breakfast at Miller Park!
The Brewers did come back from an 0-2 deficit to win a 5-game series back in 1982 for their only postseason win. However, it is believed that neither Mark Brouhard nor Pete Ladd will be suiting up for the Brewers today.
Brotherly Love Types:
ALDS Game 2 Chat: White Sox vs Rays, 3:07 pm PT
Coming to you again from scenic Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, it's Game 2 of the AL Division Series between the White Sox and Rays. Today's goal for the White Sox: keep Evan Longoria from becoming the second coming of Mike Schmidt.
It's a battle of lefthanders today in Mark Buehrle, who works quickly, and Scott Kazmir, who doesn't.
Kazmir is 3-1 in five career starts against the White Sox with a 3.31 ERA. Buehrle is 6-2 with a 4.34 ERA lifetime against Tampa Bay.
What might have been, the teams that just missed the playoffs
Coming to a cable system near you on January 1, 2009
Live from Seacaucs, it will be the MLB Network, the first 24/7 baseball only channel. Richard Sandomir of the New York Times reports on the ambitious plans for a network that will be taking on ESPN in many ways.
Presumably, since there are a lot more baseball games than football games, there will be more programming than the NFL Network showing you the Draft Combine.
On-air personnel haven't been named, but Harold Reynolds and Al Lieter are expected to work as studio commentators.
And in other baseball media news, longtime (33 years) Pirates broadcaster Lanny Frattare is retiring. Frattare started with the Pirates in 1976 after Bob Prince and Nellie King were fired, but overcame that to become a beloved figure to most Pirates fans.
ALDS Open Thread, Chicago vs Tampa Bay, 11:37 am PT
Nothing screams postseason baseball more than seeing the blue,
Actually, I don't think you can bring in a klaxon to Tropicana Field and besides, I have already cornered the market on klaxons on the Gulf Coast of Florida. It's a cutthroat business. Follow along online here.
Is six better than four?
During the postseason (and that included Tuesday's tiebreaker game between the Twins and White Sox), Major League Baseball deploys six umpires for each game. This has been the practice since 1947. However, as John Branch of the New York Times asks umpires: does it really help?
NLDS Game 1: Milwaukee at Philadelphia Open Thread
Live from (Insert name of troubled financial institution) Park in Philadelphia, it's the first game of the postseason, Game 1 of the National League Division Series between the wild card Milwaukee Brewers and the Eastern Division champion Philadelphia Phillies.
Eddie Brinkman, 1941-2008
Eddie Brinkman, who defined "good field, no hit", passed away Tuesday at age 66, according to a Detroit Free Press story. The cause and location of his death was not reported.
Brinkman played for 15 seasons in the majors and batted .224 and slugged .300. He started his major league career with the expansion Washington Senators in 1961 and was traded to Detroit before the 1971 season along with Joe Coleman, Jim Hannan, and Aurelio Rodriguez for Denny McLain, Don Wert, Norm McRae, and Elliott Maddox.
Brinkman also played briefly for the Cardinals, Rangers, and Yankees.
Brinkman was an AL All-Star in 1973 and won a Gold Glove in 1972.
It is unclear if John Foster Dulles named his diplomatic strategy after Eddie Brinkman.
Josh Wilker wrote about Brinkman at Cardboard Gods back in 2006.
So my work is done here for a while
The calendar has turned over to October and over here at the Griddle, I can kick back a little. Teams will be eliminated now not by mathematical formulas, but rather by losing 3 or 4 games before their opponent does.
There are no countdowns, no magic numbers, no more walking into the light. It's just the playoffs. Eight teams that get to play games in October, two of whom could be gone by the end of Saturday.
September is a much different month. There is scoreboard watching. There is the dilemma of trying to figure out how to follow four games at once. Which teams do I want to win? Which teams do I want to lose? How will the third place team's record in one division affect the fourth place team in another?
Now I'll just be sitting back waiting to see what happens. Waiting to find out what obscure player will get his moment in the spotlight. Who will be the next Bobby Kielty or Anthony Reyes or Geoff Blum?
I'll actually get to go to a playoff game in person this year: Game 3 of the NLDS at Dodger Stadium on Saturday. However, I'm not exactly postseason deprived as I've attended three NL Division Series games (1981, 1995, and 1996), one NLCS game (1981), and three World Series games (1977, 1978, and 1981). Those were all at Dodger Stadium and for those not scoring at home, the Dodgers record in those games is 2-5.
And then no later than October 30, the baseball season will be over.
And so for a while, I will lower the heat on the Griddle. Although a pancake or two will show up from time to time before the Hot Stove League starts up again.
A place where a man can slow down to a walk and live his life full measure, but he has to keep his watch on Pacific Time.
About the Toaster
Baseball Toaster was unplugged on February 4, 2009.
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