This week’s questions…
1) On September 1st, the minor league regular season ended and at the same time MLB teams could expand their rosters and call up MiLB players to expand their rosters anywhere from the normal 25 man-roster up to 40 players on their roster.
In recent years, this has caused some controversy because of various “problems” the expanded rosters have caused. For example, because of the extra players, late game substitutions occur more often, especially with relief pitchers… case in point: On Labor Day, the Angels used an AL record 12 pitchers to beat the Oakland Athletics 11-9 in a 4-hour 48-minute, 11-inning game. Some have said this can turn games into long drawn out boring affairs that encourage fans to seek out alternatives that have more action such as NCAA or NFL football.
Another argument heard is that games can be important to who makes the playoffs and who doesn’t and the expanded rosters can interfere with either pennant races or the wild card races…. for example: A team out of the playoff picture may expand their roster to “try out” some minor-league players in real MLB games, thereby not putting their best or their most competitive team on the field.
Marlins reliever Brad Ziegler (MLBPA executive committee member) says, “I agree with the sentiment that it completely changes the game in September when the games matter most… and I don’t like it.”
Without going into the entire litany of the pros and cons… are you for or against expanded rosters in September? Why or why not?
Archie: Those teams, like the Braves, that KNOW they have nothing left to play for SHOULD treat their fans to looking toward the future. And they do that by showcasing some of the young talent in the farm system. IF those teams looking to make the Playoffs are good enough , then they will make it. The call ups will NOT change that. It is a total BS play.
Why does MLB change how it conducts its business and how it it allows teams to play game… because you best believe teams that call up players are changing the way the game is played and how they develop and employ their strategies during games being played and for games to be played… while the regular season is still being played. Name me one other Major league sport, especially out of the big four that does that. Think there is a reason why they don’t? Because maybe they feel the rules of the game, which include roster limits, were put in place for a reason?
The time for practicing and seeing what your minor leaguers can do is for spring training. If a teams wants to see what a minor leaguer can do during the regular season in real MLB games then place him on the 25-man roster. Personally, I would rather see the regular season rosters expanded to 27 players all season long rather than see September call-ups.
Steve: I have no problem with it. It gives teams a chance to showcase some talent, and make some off season deals to use as potential trade bait, and they get to see what some of these kids can do on the major league level. It gives them opportunity, and I think that is important, not only for the players, but for the teams to see what they have in their farm system.
2) The Cleveland Indians consecutive game win streak was stopped at 22 games. The streak will go down as the second-longest in MLB history… with only the 1916 New York Giants’ 26-game win streak ahead of the Indians.
In your opinion, where does the streak rank in all of the sports world?
Archie: Apples to Oranges. I don’t like comparing Baseball vs Football vs Basketball records because they come in different time frames. The 22 in a row by the Indians were within a calendar month (close to it) whereas the Dolphins 16-0 season was over the course of the season. Some could say that it is a lot easier to plan for and execute for a win when you have a week to plan for it, whereas in Baseball you are right back out there the next day trying to repeat a win. So this streak as remarkable as it was comes in at #2 in MLB. That’s the only place it ranks.
Joe: Its hard comparing records between the other sports simply because they of their differences which includes how they schedule games. For instance in football its hard enough for a team to win sometimes even 10 games in a row, and, in fact, if a team wins 16 straight they would be undefeated for one of their regular seasons. A rarity at best when it comes to the NFL schedule.
Still, if I had to rank what I consider the best the winning streaks, I would rank the best as follows… The 1972 Miami Dolphins’ undefeated season is the best… 14-0 in the regular season and then 3-0 in the playoffs and a Super Bowl trophy.
The LA Lakers winning 33 games in a row in 1971. And, yes, they also won their sport’s championship that year.
Cleveland’s 22 games in a row… it is to be seen if they win the World Series. .
The 1992 -19963 Pittsburgh Penguins’ 17-games in a row is a distant 4th in my mind and maybe not even the 4th best ever. And no, they did no win the Stanley Cup that year.
Steve: It should be the record if you ask me. The Giants tied one game during that streak, so they did not win 26 consecutive games. They went unbeaten in 27 games, but they did not win 26 consecutive games. So, the Indians, in my opinion holds the record, and it is the best all time considering today’s game.
Teams just don’t win 20 plus games in a row. It’s rare when you win 10 in a row, so 22? By far the best due to the level of competition there is in this era of baseball.
3) As of Monday morning, the Yankees have a 4-game lead over the Twins for the first AL wild-card spot. At the same time, they trail the Red Sox by 3 game in the AL East. On Sunday, it was announced that Manger Joe Girardi rearranged his pitching rotation so that their best pitcher Luis Severino will only start one more time during the regular season. Which means, if the Yankees are in the Wild Card on October 3rd Severino would be their starter.
Effectively, it appears as if the Yankees are preparing for life in the Wild Card scenario instead of catching the Red Sox for 1st place in the AL East.
Do you agree or disagree with the Yankees’ apparent strategy? Why?
Why would you NOT plan for the most apparent scenario?
I understand the logic, I just have a problem agreeing with it.
If, they play to keep the top spot in the wild-card game, then you never know what can happen. They keep winning, and the Red Sox slip a little, we may be in for a fun time in the last week of the season.
4) The Twins won on Sunday while the Angels, Mariners and Royals all lost. That means the Angels are now 2 games behind the Twins for the 2nd Wild Card and everyone else is at least 4 ½ games back. With all teams having 12 or 13 games left in the season it is realistic to say that the 2nd Wild card is the Twins to lose, with the Angels ready to pounce if they falter and everyone else is dependent upon a miracle.
Who gets the 2nd Wild Card… assuming the Yankees don’t blow their present 4-game lead over the Twins… the Twins or the Angels? Why?
Archie: My personal preference would be the Angels, but they have a pretty stiff schedule remaining. They have the Indians, Astros and Mariners all left. The saving grace here is that the Twinkies have the Yankees, two sets with the Tigers and the Indians. So neither club has a real advantage with remaining schedule. It all comes down to which club can finish the strongest and lately that has been Minnesota. Looking at all the factors, the smart money would be betting on the Twins, but I still had rather see the Angels make it.
Twins: at Detroit (4), Cleveland (3), Detroit (3)
Angels: at Houston (3), at White Sox (4), Seattle (3)
Those seven games versus the Tigers will be the difference. Twins win the second wild card.
And, the Angels cannot seem to capitalize on the times where the Twins go on a losing streak.
5) The Red Sox recently activated David Price off the DL and promptly inserted him into their bullpen. This appears as if they are preparing to use Price as a reliever during the playoffs.
Is this a good or bad move by the Red Sox? Why?
Archie: Actually, I feel that IF he is healthy enough to return then he should be back in the starting rotation. However, I understand the decision seeing that the other starters have all had decent outings their last few games closing out the season. After Sale and Pomeranz, the other starters may have elevated ERAs. But again, the last two starts for Porcello and Rodriguez have both been quality starts and should not be overlooked. This is definitely one of those decisions that managers get scrutinized over if it does not work out.
Besides this is something Price has done before… most notably as a rookie in the 2008 postseason, when the Rays won the AL pennant and he got a seven-out save in Game 7 of that year’s ALCS against… the Boston Red Sox
It gives Price a chance to pitch after his injury to try to get back to where he needs to be, and hopefully be ready for the post season for Boston. I like this move a lot.
Sale struck out 13 to become the first AL pitcher in 18 years to reach the 300-strikeout mark, as the Red Sox beat the Orioles 9-0 on Wednesday night.
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