Amazing comeback by the Angels…
Starters not going deep in games…
And, what about them Twins, Angels and D’backs?
This week’s questions…
1) Six innings-and-out today is slowly being accepted, if not the equivalent of a complete game effort, at least the equivalent of a quality start. Teams are relying more and more on their bullpens to close out games from the 6th inning and on into the end of games, which is hopefully the 9th.
Bill Madden of the NYDN recently wrote, “The ‘six-inning starters, two separate games’ new baseball was in… display last October… when, for the first time ever, not a single starting pitcher pitched into the seventh inning.”
Madden’s article was titled… “As MLB teams shift focus on bullpens, will teams shell out big money for six-inning starters?”
In your opinion, as starters go 6, and as few as 5, innings and teams begin to rely on their bullpens more and more, will they begin to pay less and less for starters and slowly begin to shunt some of that money over to bullpen pitchers instead?
Archie: I’m not sure anymore what the mindset of MLB Owners and Managers are. I see way too often a starter have 6 scoreless innings come out only to see the bullpen give up several runs in the next couple of innings and destroy what should have been a good game for the starter. In the end, he gets absolutely nothing for his efforts and the team goes down in flames.
IMO starting pitching is already watered down to the point that there is not enough good starting pitching to go around, let alone teams beginning to double up on starters to have a “6th inning on” starter rotation. I think the fear of getting fired due to “second guessing” Managers decisions on pitching changes seem to dominate the league more and more each year. Pitcher’s seem to be more and more coddled each year by having pitch counts pre-determined prior to any start or an actual amount of innings designated prior to even the season starting.
I’m pretty sure Cy Young is turning over in his grave watching all of this.
Dan: I think teams will start to pay less for overall starters. Starters who only can pitch five-six innings and are done. They’ll pay less for end of the rotation starters and will pay more for those top-of-the-line starters who can pitch seven-eight innings almost every outing.
I think you’ll begin to see a larger emergence of relievers who are able to pitch two-three innings an outing and relievers who can pitch a lot more. Top of the line relievers will start to see a pay increase and a much bigger need for them.
Earl: I don’t necessarily see starting pitchers receiving less money because you still need dominant starting pitching but I do think you will see bullpen pitchers being paid more, and I definitely think you are going to see dominant setup men and closers being paid a premium. Deals like the Yankees gave to Aroldis Chapman might become the norm instead of the exception.
Steve: Great question, and a great point. I honestly until now never really even thought about that. While I think that is a great idea to start paying your bullpen because they are taking on the brunt of the work, and the starters are not getting out of the 6th inning, 7th inning at best, the bullpen is what many sports writers are talking about when it comes to winning and losing games. So sure they deserve more money, but let’s be honest, it will not happen. Teams are still going to pay their starters because they are the names people know.
2) On Monday morning the Twins had the best record in the AL and the Angels were at 5-3 standing atop the AL West… both teams were not predicted to be serious contenders in 2017. Is this just an early season anomaly and things will eventually even out or can either team, or both, continue their early success on through the season?
Archie: I think this is just a classic case of an early season anomaly for both. They may be able to extend and give a good showing for a while but I don’t expect either to stay in contention past July.
Dan: I think both the Twins’ success and the Angels’ success are just early season jumps that nobody, including both teams’ fan bases should read into very much. In a month or so, you’ll see them falling back into place to where they’ll likely finish this season.
I do think the Angels will improve compared to last season, but still won’t be in the AL West title hunt. The Twins are on the up-and-up, but they’re still not getting out of the cellar in the AL Central quite yet.
Earl: As of right now I have to say an anomaly. Especially the Angels since they just played the woeful Seattle Mariners. Its far too soon to tell if the Angels and Twins can keep it up, so I have to say it’s an anomaly and not worry about the standings until at least the middle of May.
Steve: The Twins are overachieving right now, and will not keep up this pace, but they do have one of the best outfields in baseball starting in centerfield with Byron Buxton…WOW that is all I can say about that, but the Twins are not that good, and a sweep over another team that is not projected to contend, the Royals, I am not convinced that the Twinkies can keep this up all season, and they wont. The Angels have a decent shot because on paper they have a solid team behind Trout, Pujols, and Calhoun. I think if they can get their pitching consistent, they can compete in the AL West.
3) Speaking of surprise starts… Arizona just swept Cleveland in a 3-game weekend series and are now 6-1 and atop the NL West. Are they for real or is this just a tease?
Archie: I did expect Arizona to give a good showing this season but I am still not convinced they can out-duel the Dodgers for the Western title. I do however expect them to make one of the playoff berths.
Do I think they’re a for real team that can compete for a playoff spot? No, I don’t.
I like their pitching and their offense has some quality players, but I just don’t see their team being able to overcome the Giants or the Dodgers in the West. Nor, do I see them overcoming the Nationals, Mets, Cubs or Cardinals for one of the playoff spots.
Earl: I just said that I wouldn’t care about the standings until the middle of May but I think the Diamondbacks are for real. They were a good team that underperformed last year and it appears that all of their big contributors are healthy. So, yeah I think Arizona has a real shot at the NL West.
Steve: They are for real, they underachieved last season, but I think Greinke will be back to form, and their offense is obviously coming true to form. So yes, the Diamondbacks will be in the NL West race this season with the Dodgers, Rockies, and I thought the Giants, but we will have to wait and see about that.
4) On Sunday the Angels were trailing the Mariner by 7 runs in the bottom of the 9th. They won the game with the bases loaded and a long against the wall walk-off single.
In your opinion, is this a primary reason why baseball is a great game… no clock and a team is never actually “out of it” until the last out is in the books?
Like Yogi said, “it ain’t over till it’s over.”
Part of what makes it great is that there’s no time limit and that the game isn’t over until the final out is recorded. Exciting games like the Angels-Mariners’ game is what makes baseball so special and unique. You can never give up or take it easy. You can’t take out all of your starters just for rest periods and put in your bench, because you might come across a moment where you need the bench. Or, you might run into a situation like this game. You never know.
Earl: I think baseball is a great sport because anything is indeed possible. The odds were that the Mariners were going to wrap it up but bad pitching, timely hitting, and a never say die attitude saw the Angels pull it out. That’s the kind of finish you get in baseball and why it’s still such a great game.
Steve: Well personally it pissed me off because I had Edwin Diaz starting on my fantasy team and he blew a save and lost which literally cost me a win, but I digress, it just shows you that no lead is safe and you cannot count any team out until that final out. It was a great early season moment for the Angels and could possibly ride that high for awhile. This is a decent team, the Angels, and if they can get it together, they could be a contender in the West.
5) One week is in the books… what’s your appraisal of the season so far?
Archie: About like I expected.
Ergo, I have NOT watched a single frigging game. I’m still so disappointed in my team; I refuse to pay to watch such trash.
Dan: That this will be another fantastic season of baseball that will be full of surprises and fun games. There’s already been a week full of exciting action and surprises.
You saw Cleveland get swept by Arizona like we discussed in question three. You saw the Angels come back and win against Seattle like we discussed in question four. Anthony Rizzo, who’s been ice cold to begin the season, brought magic back to Wrigley in the Cubs’ home-opener against the Los Angeles Dodgers walk-off style with a single.
What a season we’re in store for!
Get back to me in May and I’ll give you an answer.
Steve: Well, nothing to get too crazy about, sure you have some teams like the Twins, Rays, and Angels coming out of the gate hot, while teams like Cleveland, Boston, and San Francisco have started out slow, this is just the early season woes and things will start to take shape in about a month or so.
Cubs raise World Series championship flag on emotional night at Wrigley
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