MLBRT 9/24: MLB… is it still the same game?

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MLB… not your granddad’s game anymore?

See what the crew thinks about that and lots more baseball stuff all MLBRT…

1) Scuttlebutt has it that MLB is thinking about making the Wild Card play-in game a three game series…

Do you think a three game series is a good idea or should it stay just a one game play-in game? Why?  

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Archie: I have been adamant from the onset that it should be at least a 3 game series minimum. Your team plays hard all year, (Cubs this year) and the only playoff game they face is one game away from your fans. That is BS.

At least a 3 game series Home-Away-Home would give each team’s fan base a chance to see them in postseason. Plus, you take a team that has a really dominate pitcher, in the one game playoff the better team overall might not be the one that advances IF that pitcher shuts them down for that one game.

I would PREFER they make it a five game series with same format as the Divisional rounds but I think that is asking too much. wild card1

Dan: I think that the MLB should keep the Wild Card play-in game a 1-game series.

If, you move it to a 3-game series, you have to extend the playoffs or shorten the regular season, otherwise, you’re looking at the MLB season going into November. For a lot of people saying the season is already too long, playing into November causes a lot of problems.

Now, only December and January are the off-season, and, you have north teams already facing snow and 30 or lower degree temperatures.

October is long enough for the season. Keep it at a 1-game play-in.

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Earl: I like the idea to be honest. I feel like one game is a bit of a robbery after playing 162 games just to get to that point. At least a 3 game series makes it feel like more of a real accomplishment to land one of the two wildcard spots.

me

 

Joe: I don’t like it because the the other teams need to sit around waiting for the 3 games to be played.

And, it’s not just the 3 games… its the time to take to play the 3 games. I assume the games won’t all be played 3 days in a row.

What happens if there is a rainout? Then, 4 or 5 days to play the 3 games could become now 6 days or 7 days? The possibility of the other teams not playing for up to a week could exist?

MLB thinking no more win or go home... one & done.
MLB thinking no more win or go home… one & done.

Nah… sounds pretty damn stupid to me.

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Steve: Oh sweet Jesus, no.

There is no way they can go to a three game playoff for the one game playoff. There would be just too much time in between games for teams that are waiting for the Wild Card game or series to be played. Sure, some teams love the rest, but, for the most part being away from the game for a week or so makes guys tight, and, offensively they would struggle.

While, I personally would not mind seeing it in a different format instead of the one and done, you just can’t do it.

I have heard that the MLB is also thinking of expanding the playoffs again and add a third team to the mix and do seedings. There is always talk about one thing or another, but this is working the way it is now. I was not for the one game playoff to begin with and liked the one wild card team. I am starting get on board with the presnt way, so, don’t change it now.

2) Which player has most impressed/surprise you this year?  

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Bryce Harper
Bryce Harper

 

Archie: Hate to admit it but for me it is Bryce Harper. This guy is finally living up to the hype he received from the start.

Currently batting .343 with 41 dingers and a 1.143 OPS; pretty darn good.

Dan: One player who really has surprised me this season was Josh Donaldson out of Toronto.

Josh Donaldson
Josh Donaldson

He has 39 home runs, 120 RBI, sitting with a .302 batting average and an on-base percentage of .367. His slugging is the highest of any other year, he never hit 100 RBI or 30 HR in a season before (last year hit 29). He already is at his total hits for 2013 in 13 less games by 6 less plate appearances.

He’s having an amazing season and really driving Toronto’s offense, of course with help around him though. 

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Earl: Honestly?

Alex Rodriguez
Alex Rodriguez

Alex Rodriguez is surprising me to no end. Probably because I didn’t think he’d actually be playing right now.

The fact that he has been a consistent player on a playoff bound Yankees squad is not only surprising but shocking.

me

David Ortiz
David Ortiz

 

Joe: There have been quite a few to be honest… Josh Donaldson, Dallas Keuchel, Jake Arietta, Alex Rodriguez, almost any of the Mets’ young starters and my choice out of them all… David Ortiz…

Frankly, I thought he should have retired about  three years ago, and, yet here is today, at age 39 about ready to have a shot at a 40 HR; 100-plus RBI season as he presently stands at 35 HR and 99 RBI.

Dallas Kuechel
Dallas Kuechel

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Steve:  I guess if I am forced to pick someone it would be Dallas Keuchel, only because before this season I really had no idea who this guy was.

So, while I think all the Astros are ahead of schedule, Keuchel is the one that stands out as the leader of this team. Before this season he was a virtual unknown in baseball, just another pitcher in the game. Now he is likely the front runner to win the AL Cy Young Award, and maybe leading the Astros to their first post season since the Biggio, Bagwell days.

3)  Which player has been the Most Outstanding Player… not necessarily the MVP…. this 2015 season?  

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Archie: See answer to #2.

While his team probably lost him the MVP this year Bryce has pretty much put the Nats on his back and got them what they to this point thus far.

Paul Goldschmidt began the season on fire but has cooled off in the desert here late in the season.

In the AL Nelson Cruz has been probably the best offensive threat this season but none of the top five will earn the MVP in that league as well.

Zack Greinke
Zack Greinke

Dan: I have 2 Most Outstanding Player of the Year Awards both out of the NL.

My pitching choice is Zack Greinke who is having an amazing season. Has a 1.65 ERA, a 0.85 WHIP and is absolutely dominating. Everybody knows of Clayton Kershaw as the top pitcher in all of baseball with comparisons to Sandy Koufax, but, Greinke is doing some amazing things in Los Angeles. He has a 8.5 WAR, 18-3 record and 185 strikeouts on the year. Just simply outstanding.

My hitting choice is Bryce Harper who is in the top 5 in batting average, home runs and RBIs with .340, 41 and 95 respectively. He has 114 walks with 121 strikeouts. He’s sitting at a WAR of 9.9, an OPS of 1.138, OBP of .467 with 76 extra-base hits out of 163 total hits. He’s done all of this in 480 at-bats with only Miguel Cabrera with less at-bats.

My top choice is Harper because his year is off the charts, but it’s hard to pass up mention of Zack Greinke either.

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Earl: Mike Trout is having another statistically sound season and he has done it on an Angels team that isn’t in the playoff hunt. He won’t win the MVP because of that, but he’s a MOP in my book.

me

 

Joe: I’m the guy who comes up with these damn questions most of the time and ya know what? I don’t have a frigging answer for this question!

So after some due deliberation… I will go with two pitchers as my MOPs… Dallas Keuchel and Jake Arrieta…

Why? Because each pitcher is having a Cy Young caliber season and, arguably, will lead their respective teams, Houston Astros and the Chicago Cubs, into the post season after years of their team not having been there.

Jake Arrieta
Jake Arrieta

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Steve: Jake Arrieta. Sure, I may be the only one that would pick a pitcher here, but, it’s absolutely true.

Arrieta is going to be a 20 game winner this season, but, the 16 straight quality starts is a stat that really stands out here, and, would really have me giving a vote to Arrieta for Cy Young Award. He has led this young Cubs team to probably their best year in recent memory. With this rotation, the Cubs could do some serious damage in the post season.

4) Bottom of the 9th… 7th game of the World Series…who do you mot want to see with a bat in his hand? In other words who, in your opinion, is the most clutch hitter in today’s game?

 Archie1-300x277

Archie: Kansas City’s Kendrys Morales.

Kendrys Morales
Kendrys Morales

With two on and two out , Kendrys has 50 RBI’s this season. There are guys that don’t have 50 RBIs in a season let alone in that situation. He also owns a .369 BA and 1.139 OPS in those situations.

Pretty Darn good if you ask me. Especially on a winning ball club.
Dan: Who I want is Bryce Harper. He’s having an amazing season and is showing you that he can do whatever he wants with the bat. More likely than not he’s going to get a hit. Out of those hits, he’s likely to get a extra base hit or a HR. He might just draw a walk and teams are scared to throw to him.

My other choice is Miguel Cabrera who can also do whatever he wants with the bat. But he’s starting to hit the end of his career and I’d rather have a fresh face as my personal preference, but you can’t go wrong with either player.

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Earl: Yoenis Cespedes? Josh Donaldson?

OK. Now that I got my fandom out of the way, I’d probably go with someone like Big Papi Ortiz. I’d definitely want a veteran who’s been in some clutch situations having the bat in his hands late in a game.

me

 

Joe: Hmmmm… so many choices and so many questions why I would pick any one player over another… Bryce Harper, Josh Donaldson, Mike Trout… the usual suspects…

So, I asked the question of the internet… checked Baseball.Reference.com…  “Who is the most clutch hitter?” And the name that comes up in the number spot with 2 out in the ninth with men on? Kendrys Morales…

In fact…Morales with a man on 3rd with 2 outs hits .447… man on 3rd less than 2 outs and he hits .440. He gets teh run in.

In any 2 out, RISP situation.. he hits .313 and has 44 RBIs.

Tie game? .314.

Simply put, I want the bat in this man’s hands in the bottom of the 9th with a chance to win the game… even if its the 7th game of the World Series.

Mike Trout
Mike Trout

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Steve: Mike Trout. He has proved that he can perform under the clutch, and under the big spotlight. While he has massively struggled during the second half of the season this year, and probably played his way out of the MVP race, handing it to Josh Donaldson. Trout is the guy I want with the bat in his hands when it comes time to play clutch.

Now, give me a couple years, and I may change my mind to Kris Bryant because of what he has done in the clutch this season. So far two walk off Home Runs in his short career.

5) In your opinion has the game of baseball so irrevocably changed as regards pitching that 20 win seasons will eventually become rare and we may never see another 300 strikeout season?

Archie1-300x277

 

Archie: Yes, I think it has.

Too many managers now work for owners and ball clubs that place way too much emphasis on innings pitched per starters as well as the “Specialist” in reserve in all the bullpens. Pitchers are not allowed to work those innings late in close games like they did 30 years ago.

Managers’ jobs are very fragile now with all the “second guessing” the fans and media alike glorify if and when a manager does NOT make a move in those situations. “Freddi, why did you elect to leave so-and-so in when you had Rocket ready to go?” I guess, this is the world of MLB today. Every team in MLB has that fire baller waiting in the pen to come in late and cleanup. Thirty years ago it was rare for every team to have that guy in the pen that could hurl 95+, today it is rare if a team DOES NOT have them.

For the twenty win season aspect this has ALWAYS been a team goal. However, let’s think on this as well; back in the day that it was common MOST teams only had a 4 man rotation. Today most teams share a 5 man rotation for the same number of games.  This averages about 8 to 10 starts less per pitcher for them to earn the twenty wins.Wilbur Sports Illustrated

In 2014 only three pitchers had 20 wins but none had more than 34 starts. In 1975 there were 7 pitchers with 20 wins. There were also 16 pitchers with 37 starts or more, led by Wilbur Wood of the White Sox with 43 starts. Catfish Hunter for the Yankees that year led the league with 328 innings pitched. Last season David Price led the league with 248 IP.

I guess, the point I am making is that the “Specialist” has done more to disrupt the comparability of today’s pitchers than anything else MLB has done over  the past 30 years or so. While arms have gotten stronger the need for the Starters to do anything besides give the team a “quality start” has drastically diminished. I for one have been beating up the offensive guys for a decade now, but, I had to relook and rethink my philosophy of the game as well.

Used to be a player that got an average of 4 AB’s per game would be able to make in game adustments because he would see the same pitcher for at least 3 of those 4 ABs. That number has dropped significantly as well in today’s game because by the time his 3rd AB comes around he has another fresh pitcher in the game to face. I have adjusted my philosophy to include this setting as reasoning for why the number of Strike Outs has risen so much over the last three decades.

Dan: I think that baseball has changed, but it’s changed in a different way. We might see a couple 20-game winners this season still with 2 players (Madison Bumgarner, Zack Greinke) at 18 wins and Jake Arrieta is at 19 wins. We might see Kershaw with 300 strikeouts and Chris Sale is behind him at 259. But, I think that 300 strikeout seasons will become rarer and rarer as will 20-win seasons. It’s just what’s happening to baseball.

Can Kershaw and Sale both get to 300 strikeouts?
Can Kershaw and Sale both get to 300 strikeouts?

Teams are spending so much money on pitchers that they want to protect them as much as possible and any little thing they watch. They might push a pitcher back a day or two to have him rest a minor injury that an every-day player will play through just to make sure their pitcher is healthy. They have pitch counts that are heavily monitored and it’s rare to see a pitcher go over 110 pitches in a game anymore. With more caution towards pitching, seeing 20-win seasons and 300-strikeout seasons are becoming rarer and rarer. But, I don’t think they’ll die out. At least not yet.

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Earl:  In this era of specialized pitchers, and fear over pitch limits, it’s looking like 20 win seasons and 300 strikeout pitchers are heading towards a thing of a past.

That’s unfortunate but that’s the way things are looking to go.

me

 

Joe: Yes… I believe we are heading that way.

What with innings limits, the talk of 6-man rotations, etc… I think certain pitching statistics will be but anomalies in the future.

Arrieta 1st pitcher in MLB to reach 20 win in 2015
Arrieta 1st pitcher in MLB to reach 20 win in 2015

Steve-01-288x300

 

Steve: I agree that the 20 win season is becoming a more rare feat to accomplish, but we will still see it by one or two each year. 20 wins? It’s gonna happen this year by at least one, maybe two or three with Arrietta, Greinke, and Keuchel.

As for 300 strikeouts? Yeah, we will see it again, there is going to be a phenom whether it be a current pitcher, or someone we have never heard of before that will come in and strike out a ton of people. Now this won’t happen every year, but we will see it again.

Extra Innings…

Now batting… Yogi Berra… A MLB icon… 18-time All-Star… 3-time MVP… 10 World Series rings as a player… 13-rings overall… 

What else can be said about Yogi? Probably, more than any book could hold…

Rest in Peace… Yogi… ya done damn good… Go join the fellas that went before ya and play the game on that diamond in heaven…

Perfect game in Game 5 of the World Series on Oct. 8, 1956
Perfect game in Game 5 of the World Series on Oct. 8, 1956

 

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yogi 5

yogi 3

 

 

 

 

 

Yogi Berra with his 10 World Series rings
Yogi Berra with his 10 World Series rings

yogi berra good bye

 

 

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  1. Along with his impressive playing career, Yogi Berra has been credited with creating the “Yogi-ism,” a statement that makes no literal sense but conveys clearly what he was thinking. As with any legend, many of the statements attributed to him were not made by him. “I didn’t say many of the things I said,” quoth the Yogi.

    Perhaps the final Yogi-ism is the one which follows. He may not have said it. Bit is reported that as he was on his deathbed, he was asked where he wanted to be buried. “I don’t know,” said Yogi. “Surprise me!!

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