Welcome to the MLB Roundtable!
1. Which team is set the best for post season pitching?
ARCHIE: In post season play, more often than not the games are won in the late innings. With that thought, I would say the Braves have the best chance of winning late. This is a stat they have consistently lived up to all year long by outscoring their opponents by a very wide margin from the 7th inning on. I will say the Braves for the NL.
In the AL no team stands out as dominate to me in all areas. Each has their own aces but then either the pen or the closers are lacking. But having to pick just one for pitching I would probably give the edge to the Texas Rangers.
Between those two teams, I will have to say the Braves have the edge.
STEPHAN: The Los Angeles Dodgers. I think Kershaw, and Greinke are the best 1-2 punch and are pitching lights out right now. The Dodgers with these two alone are going to be tough to beat in a 5 or 7 game series. I say this after watching Greinke pitch against the Cubs a few nights ago, and as a former pitcher myself, my mouth was dropping with his pin point accuracy and movement on his breaking ball. Kershaw is having another CY Young caliber season, and he is tough to beat on any night.
JOSEPH: Tossup between the Braves and the Dodgers. And, I gotta go with the Dodgers though because they got Kershaw and they seem to be a tad more consistent then the Braves.
But, when you put their numbers side by side the Braves look to have the edge. Sometimes you just have to go with your gut. My big old gut says Dodgers.
2. Which team has the best lineup for offense going into the post season?
ARCHIE: The St Louis Cardinals have .300 hitters all up and down their lineup. They may not have a bunch of home runs accounted for this season but they will double you to death. But the Tigers on the other hand put up huge run numbers as well and have led all of baseball with 160 homeruns to this point. As long as Miggy is in the lineup, they are a deep threat club that can go a long way in post season play. I will give the edge to the Tigers for having the best lineup going into post season play.
STEPHAN: Not to shy away from the American League, I will stick with the National League and say the St Louis Cardinals. The Cardinals play fundamental baseball better than any other team. They have three of the top hitters in the game right now in Alan Craig, Matt Carpenter, and Yadier Molina. They are not going to hit the cover off the ball, but as far as fundamental baseball goes, they are the team to watch.
JOSEPH: I gotta go with the Dodgers. It seems as if they are just hitting on all cylinders lately and just refuse to lose. Amazing what some healthy players can do for a manger when he makes out the lineup
card. I know there are about ten teams with better offensive numbers but I just think right now the Dodgers are healthy and clicking.
3. What do you think of Don Mattingly and his handling of Yasiel Puig?
ARCHIE: The media made a big deal about Don pulling Puig from the game and sitting him down. And then they made an even bigger deal about how Don used the excuse about how he felt Puig’s replacement gave them a “better chance of winning the game” at that time. IMO, it was just another way of being politically correct and everyone, including Don, is afraid to actually say what the issue is. Puig has a punkish attitude and needs to be disciplined for more than a half game.
STEPHAN: I am going to trust Mattingly in anything that he does. He is a sound baseball mind, and understands the issues that Puig is having. Puig is a superstar in the making, but lacks the fundamental skills to have a long MLB career. He showed that against the Cubs when he got benched for not sliding into second base to break up a double play. Mattingly needs to discipline this kid and show him a little tough love. If he doesn’t resolve the problem now, there may be no going back. He is doing exactly what needs to be done.
JOSEPH: All in all it’s so-so. If a manager is going to discipline a player for what her sees as not playing the game correctly then make it have an impact and sit his butt down for a couple of games at least and
not just an isolated game or for a few innings and then let him play in the next game. Personally, considering what Puig seems to be to the team both offensively and defensively, I wonder if Mattingly disciplines him at all if the pennant race was a tight one instead of having a double digit lead in their division.
4. If you could step into any manager’s shoes in all of MLB right now, whose shoes would you choose?
ARCHIE: I would love to be in Fredi Gonzalez’s shoes right now. That young Braves team has a winning mindset that they play every game like they can’t lose. And hardly anyone on the team is expected to be of the superstar status other than Kimbrel; and he is lights out. To handle and mentor a bunch of young guys with this potential has got to be exciting for Fredi.
STEPHAN: Fredi Gonzales of the Braves. Why? He is currently leading the Braves to one of the best records in baseball and has the most comfortable lead in the division. The Braves have all but wrapped up the division title, and Gonzales can now start looking ahead to post season to get his lineup, and pitching rotation ready to go for the playoffs. Not only that, but let’s look at the success that Fredi Gonzales has had so far. He took over for future Hall of Famer Bobby Cox and the rich history he had with the Braves, thus far he has made the playoffs in each of his two seasons, and has guided the Braves back to prominence in the division. Could this be the start of another huge run for the Braves? Time will only tell, but it is looking good.
JOSEPH: For me this is a no-brainer and there is only one answer: The Yankees. I have followed this team since the late 1950’s and have seen the good, the bad and the ugly. Just to go into the clubhouse dugout and put on the pinstripes and then make out that first lineup card would be a moment that would be tantamount to being in heaven for me. The only bigger rush would be walking out to present the lineup card to the umpires. I would probably screw it all up from there but hell I would have had my moment in Yankee Stadium.
And if the question is meant which team heading into the homestretch for a playoff spot would I want to manage? It’s still the Yankees. If they can just stay healthy I think the can put up some offense and the
pitchers will pitch just well enough to win enough games to get, at least, the second wild card. Once in the playoffs, it’s a crapshoot and in my opinion the team that gets on a run can win it all and that could
very well be the Yankees. I would love to be calling the shots for Mo’s last game in the seventh game of the World Series. Hey, it could happen. So, I’ll go out on a limb: Yankees in seven versus the Dodgers.
5. Do you think Davey Johnson will be at the helm for the Nationals next season?
ARCHIE: No I do not. There are several candidates already posturing for a Manager’s slot next year, including Cal Ripken JR. With that said, Davey will have to bite the bullet and take the fall for their underachieving this season.
STEPHAN: I don’t think Davey Johnson will be back, but not because he will be let go. Johnson does not seem to stay in one spot very long, and I believe that he is going to step down at the end of this season. I’m sure it is coincidence (or maybe not) that Johnson always seems to take over a team and they have a solid season, make the playoffs, and Johnson is deemed a hero for that franchise..i.e. Baltimore Orioles. What happens the next year when they have a sub-par season? Johnson takes the high road and steps down. I see him doing the same thing after this season.
JOSEPH: Nope. I think someone has to take the fall for the team not performing up to expectations and Johnson’s the one.
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