MLBRT 10/8: Playoffs & Max’s no-hitters…

 

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Some playoffs talk…

Max Scherzer’s no-hitters and their place in MLB history…

And what’s up with the Angels…  time for some change?

The crew disusses it all… right here and now…

1) Mets vs Dodgers… who wins the NLDS series and moves on and why?LA vs NY

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Archie: Neither team had momentum to conclude the regular season, finishing 5-5 each for their last ten games.

The Dodgers have the better offensive team and gets to host first. They have almost identical stats from their pitching staffs top to bottom. So, I give the slightest of edge to the
Dodgers.

Dan: I have the Dodgers winning the series.

I really like their team a lot, they’re my prediction to make it to the NLCS. Zack Greinke & Clayton Kershaw are 2 of the top pitchers in the game with Greinke looking at a Cy Young Award and Kershaw had over 300 strikeouts this season.

So, I got the Los Angeles Dodgers winning.

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Mets set Playoffs rotation..Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard & Matt Harvey
Mets set Playoffs rotation..Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard & Matt Harvey

Earl: I like the Mets here.

I know the Dodgers have Kershaw and Grienke and they will both go twice in the NLDS, bu,t I think the pressure is all on the Dodgers. They will have home field advantage, but, they will also have pressure on themselves to correct their past postseason failures.

The Mets got 4 strong arms in Harvey, de Grom, Syndergaard, and Matz to put out there and I think their looser attiudes will carry them through to the NLCS.

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Joe: Its hard to pick against the Dodgers with their one-two punch of Greinke and Kershaw but I’m beginning to belive the Mets young pitching just might pull off an upset in the NLDS.

So, pencil in Greinke for a win but after that…

Kershaw might be an ace during the season but in the playoffs he isn’t quite as good (5.12 ERA overall/3.90 in NLDS) and I believe that trend will continue through this year’s playoff, also. After Greinke and Kershaw I am not overly impressed with the LA staff and I think the Mets can  score against them while their youngsters keep the Dodgers bats quiet.

Can Kershaw overcome playoff doldrums?
Can Kershaw overcome playoff doldrums?

And, the Mets play better on the road than they do at home so losing the homefield advantage by going into a season ending tailspin might actually help them rather than hurt them… Mets win it in four.

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Steve: I really want to say the Dodgers take this, I really do. Kershaw and Greinke are two of the best pitchers in baseball, and they have a pretty good lineup to back them up. However, I am taking the Mets in 5 games. I just simply do not trust Kershaw in the post season. The Mets will get one outing by Harvey, and with the rest of the young pitchers, along with a solid bullpen, and a pretty good lineup. I think the Mets prevail here.  

2) Rangers vs Blue Jays… who wins the ALDS series and why?rangers vs jays

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Archie: The Rangers pitching is not very good. The Blue Jays finished top four of the AL. The Blue Jays offense is much better than the Rangers in average and power.

I don’t see a scenario where the Rangers beat the Blue Jays in a series.

Dan: Blue Jays win this series. They’re dominant. Since the All-Star break, their pitching staff has been unbelievable, they’ve outscored their opponents the most by any team since the team moved up from 16 teams in the league with a +127 run differential. They’re so far ahead of other teams it’s ridiculous.

There’s RA Dickey, David Price, Marco Estrada just to name 3 top pitchers they have. They also have Stroman who since he’s come back from being injured has been on fire. Then let’s not begin with their offense.

They win. Easily.

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Earl: Blue Jays all day.

Blue Jays.. "just win, baby!"
Blue Jays.. “just win, baby!”

I know Toronto did not close out the season on a strong note, and, blew the chance to have home field advantage over the Royals, if, both teams make it to the ALCS, but, I think the Blue Jays will catch their second wind and the energy they had in their strong second half of the season that saw them come back from 7 games down on the Yankees to win the division.

Look for David Price, Josh Donaldson, and company to have a strong ALDS.

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Joe: Rangers looked real damn good overtaking the Astros in their division…

… but The Jays ain’t the Stros and Josh Donaldson, David Price and Company will just be too much for the Texas Rangers to overcome.

Rangers destined to celebrate ALDS win?
Rangers destined to celebrate ALDS win?

I think the Rangers could get swept but somehow I think they will eke out a win… Jays in four.

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Steve: Easy choice would be the Jays. However. this is not going to be an easy series as the Rangers can match them run for run with their offense.

This series goes 5, and I am going to take the upset and say the Rangers win behind Hamels 2 wins in the series.

3) Jake Arrieta has allowed four earned runs in the past 61 days, and, last Sunday (9/27) he retired the first 18 Pirates batters he faced and pitched 7 scoreless innings in a Cubs’ 4-0 win… The Cubs and the Pirates will face off in the one game NL Wild Card. If, Arrieta pitches in that wild card game should the Pirates be afraid… very afraid?

Yankees one & done...
Yankees one & done…

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Archie: Yes, and, it is for that very reason I DON’T LIKE the one game bullshit playoff scenario.

Just like last night, Keuchel stymied the Yankeesand pushed his Astros into the Divisional Series. To me that does not come close to making the Astros a better team than the Yankees it just means they have 1 dominating pitcher.

What can the team do after he is done for his rotation? The Astros basically limped into the playoff picture after having  a pretty good margin early on. Their second best starter Colin McHugh started off the season on fire but had some rough outings late, even tho his team won the games.

Dan: Yes, for 2 reasons.

The first is that Arrieta is having an incredible season that has made him be part of the NL Cy Young Award conversation.

Jake Arrieta
Jake Arrieta

The other reason why Pittsburgh should be afraid is that they have a losing record versus every team in the NL Central this season plus they’re facing against  one of the best pitchers in the MLB this season.

In all reality, they should be afraid. But, I really want to say no, they shouldn’t, because, no team should ever be afraid coming into a game, but, should always have confidence that they can win and that they will win. 

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Earl: I might eat these words come Thursday morning, but, I have no faith in the Pirates.

I more than expect Arrieta to mow down that lineup and for the Cubs and Cardinals to kick off the NLDS on Friday. Arrieta, as you noted in the question, has had some momentum against the Pirates and I think they should be afraid in their one off game on Wednesday night.

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Joe: Yep, if I were the Pirates I would be afraid… very afraid.

Finals score will probably be something like Cubs 2 and the Pirates 1

Cubs' Jake Arrieta (L) & Pirates' Gerrit Cole
Cubs’ Jake Arrieta (L) & Pirates’ Gerrit Cole

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Steve: Uh, yes. 

The Pirates have not scored on Jake Arrieta in the past two starts. They were nearly no hit against Arrieta in his last start. He is pitching better than any pitcher in baseball, and has had arguably one of the best second halves of all time. This is going to be a low scoring game, and I will take the Cubs to win this game 2-1.

Now, if, I look back to yesterday… was I right?

(Editor’s note: Arrieta: Complete game 4-hit shutout, 11 strikeouts no walks…Cubs 4 – Pirates 0.)

4) On Saturday (10/3) Max Scherzer became the sixth pitcher in major league history to throw two no-hitters in a season when he beat the NY Mets 2-0. He previously had no-hit the Pittsburgh Pirates on June 20th.
But for one play that was ruled an error, he was one batter away from pitching a perfect game… also he tied the record for most strikeouts (17) in a no-hitter. Some news-people are calling his second no-hitter of the season one of the most… if not the most… dominant no-hitter ever pitched… Your thoughts on his feat?

Max Scherzer Ks 17 in his 2nd no-hitter of season October 2
Max Scherzer Ks 17 in his 2nd no-hitter of season October 2

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Archie: Did not get to see the game. I have not heard the references to it being the best no hitter ever. I guess, when you throw in the fact that the 17 K’s summed up how dominate he was that game I can see where he would debated on the greatest no-hitter ever.

Dan: I think that it’s definitely in that discussion.

He’s thrown two this season; he should’ve had a perfect game despite that error, and, he threw 17 strikeouts which shows he had stupid good command, wasn’t making any mistakes and was in full control of the game.

Congrats to him on another no-hitter. 

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Earl: Great accomplishment in a lost season for both Max and the Nationals.

Most dominant no-hitter of all time? I wouldn’t go that far. I’ll give the man his kudos and just leave it there.

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Joe:  Scherzer is one of only six pitchers to ever throw two no-hit games in one season… for that he is in rarefied air and deserves every kudo he gets.

So… the question is… is it one of the best no-hitters ever?

Hard to say since out of all the no-hitters ever thrown, including 21 perfect games, I have personal knowledge of… what?… maybe half that have happened since I started seriously following baseball in the early 1960’s?

Max Scherzer tosses no-hit game vs-Pirates June-20th
Max Scherzer tosses no-hit game vs-Pirates June-20th

So, what about all of the other no-hitters that I have only someone else’s recollection in some newspaper archives or the Hall of Fame’s archives or some web site such as baseball-refrence.com… how do I judge all of these against Scherzer’s most recent no-hitter?

I can’t.

I’ll say this… out of the ones I have seen… I think Scherzer’s first no-hitter… a pitch away from being a perfecto before an “errant” throw hit the last batter… was maybe the best  I have ever witnessed and I’ll leave it at that.

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Steve: Simply Incredible. His second no-hitter was in my opinion the best no-hitter that I have ever seen. 17 strikeouts, and if it wasnt for an error, he would have had a perfect game.

I will say that Roy Halladay’s perfect game in the NLDS in 2010 was right up there with the best, but Scherzer’s second no-no, was the best.

5) The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim won the World Series in 2002… they then made the playoffs 5 out the next 7 seasons… since 2009 they have made the playoffs only once ( 2014) and finished no better than 2nd in their non-playoff years only once… Mike Scioscia has been the Angels’ manager since 2000… is it time for the Angels to make a managerial change?

(Editor’s note… after the questions for this MLBRT were sent to the panel it was later announced that Scioscia would be retained as the Angels’ manager for the 2016 season.)

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Archie: I personally would start at upper management if I wanted to make changes. The one thing about Scioscia is that he KNOWS baseball. He is a good baseball man and the players seem to like him.

Angels & Mgr Mike Scioscia miss playoffs again...
Angels & Mgr Mike Scioscia miss playoffs again…

It is often too easy to lay the absence of success at the doorstep of the manager but let’s get real, some of the trades have not worked out for them. While Phat Albert hit 40 dingers this season he only batted .244 and his OPS+ was the worst of his career at 118. As a team they finished dead last in the AL in Team Batting Average. After being among the top 3 of the league for the past several years, this seems to be the reason they failed to reach post-season this
year.

Dan: I think the Angels need a new manager.

The past several seasons the Angels have thrown their offense away with poor performances. They have Pujols and Trout. They had Hamilton. They need to start doing something and make the playoffs. If, they don’t get a new manager this off-season, next season has to be the last for Scioscia. He’s run his course.

His World Series title, and the team’s 5-of-7 playoff appearances right after that World Series run, has run it’s course. That WS was 13 years ago. He’s showing lately that he can’t get it done as manager. Time to move on and go a different direction.

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Earl: Yeah. I have a saying: sometimes you get tired of hearing the same voice all the time.

Angels WS win was 13 years ago...
Angels WS win was 13 years ago…

The Angels had a strong second half, and, they have a good team, but, sometimes players tune out their coaches/managers and when that happens it’s time for a change. Scioscia has been there for 15 years and has had some successes, but, it might be good for them both, the organization and for Mike, if, he gets a change of scenery.

With that said, however, wouldn’t it be interesting if the Dodgers fired Mattingly and Scioscia is out there? Would the Angels really be that psyched to see their long term manager bounce across town and take over the Dodgers?

I’d let Mike go but I’d wait awhile before they do it. Just to ensure my scenario doesn’t play out.

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Joe: Sometimes a change in the dugout is good…

If, I were the owner of the Angels I would seriously contemplate changing managers.

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Steve: Man, I hope not. I am a fan of Scioscia. I have known him for years as his niece was good friends with my sister. I have known him since he was catching for the Dodgers in the late 80’s.

But, sadly, it may very well be time for the Angels to make a change. I don’t think it is anything he has done. But, the team simply is not producing well.

I would really like to see him reunite with his old Dodgers team assuming Mattingly gets the boot if the Dodgers don’t win it all this year. That would be a good fit. 

Extra Innings…

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