October 19, 2017

Alex Rodriguez Tries Putting Yankees Jacket On David Ortiz

Alex Rodriguez comes up behind David Ortiz and tries putting a Yankees jacket around his shoulders. When Flo turns and gets a look at the item of clothing, he jumps up and acts like he's seen a huge poisonous spider!

October 18, 2017

The Cubs Are Down 0-3, So You Know What That Means ...

SB Nation Grant Brisbee talks about the Cubs, who lost to the Dodgers last night and are now down 0-3 in the National League Championship Series.
The 2017 Cubs are in the middle of being humiliated. This is the second time in the last three years that they've been down, 0-3, in a best-of-seven series. In 2015, they scored five runs in three games against the Mets.

They've scored four runs in the first three games of this series. ...

The Cubs aren't going to win this series. You could see it on the players' faces as they popped up or grounded out or whiffed or fell into a cleverly disguised pit with spikes. You could see it in the exasperated faces of the fans who kind of knew they'd pawned a whole lot of future hopes and dreams last year to get just the one championship. It was the payroll advance of postseasons, and that’s fine. Everyone is incredibly fine with that.
But so here's the list ... and I love that it gets posted on October 18.

Thirteen years ago, on this very calendar date, the Red Sox won two ALCS games against the Yankees (both in extra innings!!), making at least one diehard fan start believing that an unprecedented comeback was actually possible.

League Championship Series
1988 - Oakland Athletics over Boston Red Sox (4-0)
1990 - Oakland Athletics over Boston Red Sox (4-0)
1995 - Atlanta over Cincinnati Reds (4-0)
1998 - San Diego Padres over Atlanta (4-2)
1999 - Atlanta over New York Mets (4-2)
2004 - Boston Red Sox (down 0-3) over New York Yankees (4-3)
2006 - Detroit Tigers over Oakland Athletics (4-0)
2007 - Colorado Rockies over Arizona Diamondbacks (4-0)
2012 - Detroit Tigers over New York Yankees (4-0)
2014 - Kansas City Royals over Baltimore Orioles (4-0)
2015 - New York Mets over Chicago Cubs (4-0)
2016 - Cleveland over Toronto Blue Jays (4-1)
World Series
1910 - Philadelphia Athletics over Chicago Cubs (4-1)
1914 - Boston over Philadelphia Athletics (4-0)
1927 - New York Yankees over Pittsburgh Pirates (4-0)
1928 - New York Yankees over St. Louis Cardinals (4-0)
1932 - New York Yankees over Chicago Cubs (4-0)
1937 - New York Yankees over New York Giants (4-1)
1938 - New York Yankees over Chicago Cubs (4-0)
1939 - New York Yankees over Cincinnati Reds (4-0)
1950 - New York Yankees over Philadelphia Phillies (4-0)
1954 - New York Giants over Cleveland (4-0)
1963 - Los Angeles Dodgers over New York Yankees (4-0)
1966 - Baltimore Orioles over Los Angeles Dodgers (4-0)
1976 - Cincinnati Reds over New York Yankees (4-0)
1989 - Oakland Athletics over San Francisco Giants (4-0)
1990 - Cincinnati Reds over Oakland Athletics (4-0)
1998 - New York Yankees over San Diego Padres (4-0)
1999 - New York Yankees over Atlanta (4-0)
2004 - Boston Red Sox over St. Louis Cardinals (4-0)
2005 - Chicago White Sox over Houston Astros (4-0)
2007 - Boston Red Sox over Colorado Rockies (4-0)
2012 - San Francisco Giants over Detroit Tigers (4-0)

October 17, 2017

It's Surgery Day

Eduardo Rodriguez and Hanley Ramirez both had surgery today.

Rodriguez underwent "right knee patellofemoral ligament reconstruction" today, according to Tim Britton of the Providence Journal. Rodriguez is not expected to return to pitching for six months - which would be mid-April 2018. So we will likely not see him on a major league mound until after the All-Star Break.

Ramirez tweeted that he "went in for left shoulder surgery today".

The Red Sox press release mentioned "left shoulder arthoscopy and debridement" with respect to Ramirez. Webmd.com (via WEEI) states that shoulder debridement "involves removing loose fragments of tendon, thickened bursa, and other debris from around the shoulder joint. By clearing damaged tissue from the region of the shoulder joint, it helps the doctor to see the extent of the injury and determine whether you need more surgery."

Also: Robby Scott had left elbow surgery last Wednesday and is expected to be ready for the start of spring training.

October 16, 2017

One Report Says 99.9% Chance Alex Cora Will Manage Red Sox

Ty Anderson of WEEI shares a report from Puerto Rico's El Nuevo Diaort that Alex Cora is a virtual lock to be the next manager of the Red Sox.

An unnamed source told the paper:
There is a 99.9 percent chance of [Cora] being named Red Sox leader. They want him for the job. That post is for him. Alex is very beloved there. And he would love to run Boston. They want to make the fast decision.
Dave Dombrowski interviewed Brad Ausmus today. ... The Mets are reportedly interviewing Cora tomorrow.

And from the Department of No Shit, Sherlock: "Boston's Clear '18 Goal Is Longer October Run"

If The Red Sox Hire Ron Gardenhire ...

... I might have to stop watching games. For the sake of my sanity.

Hey! I have an idea! Why don't they see what Grady Little's been doing lately?

October 15, 2017

Manager Search: Red Sox Will Interview Alex Cora Today

The Red Sox begin their interview sessions for potential managers today when they meet with Alex Cora in New York.

Cora, who played for the Red Sox from 2005-08 and was known around these parts as "Einstein", is currently the bench coach for the Astros. ESPN reports that while Cora has no experience managing in the majors, he
has experience as both a manager and a general manager of a winter-ball team in Puerto Rico. He has a reputation as a strong communicator and a mentor for young players, and ... the former infielder is familiar with the heightened demands and expectations that exist in sports-crazed Boston.
Dave Dombrowski, the Red Sox's president of baseball operations:
We have a young core of players that are outstanding young talents. I think they have a chance to be championship-type players. They're still in their growth stage. It's a great foundation for a baseball club. ... [I]t's going to be very important for whomever it is to be able to relate to those youngsters and ... help them get better as players.
Peter Gammons tweeted on Saturday that Dombrowski "spoke at length with [Astros manager] A.J. Hinch Thursday and got a strong recommendation on Alex Cora".

There are reports that the Red Sox are also interested in talking with Brad Ausmus and Ron Gardenhire. (As long as the team is not actually interested in hiring Gardenhire, I guess it's okay if they talk to him.)

Schadenfreude 217 (A Continuing Series)

George A. King III, Post (early edition):
The Dead Bats Society has cast a deadly spell on the Yankees' lumber. And if the Yankees don't find a way to break it, their first taste of the ALCS in five years won't last long.

After wasting a solid start by Masahiro Tanaka on Friday night, the bats didn't offer much support to Luis Severino, Tommy Kahnle and David Robertson during a 2-1 loss to the Astros in Game 2 of the ALCS on Saturday ...

Houston is the 29th team in LCS history to take a 2-0 lead since the seven-game format was introduced in 1985. Just three teams who won the first two games didn't make it to the World Series. The last team to lose the first two and get to the World Series was the 2004 Red Sox, who dropped the first three to the Yankees and rallied for four straight victories.

Justin Verlander thrilled the sold-out crowd with nine brilliant innings in which he allowed a run, five hits and struck out a season-high 13. Verlander's 124 pitches were the most he has thrown this year.

Aroldis Chapman gave up a one-out single to Jose Altuve in the ninth and he scored from first on Carlos Correa's double to right-center that Aaron Judge fielded and threw to shortstop Didi Gregorius. His throw home arrived ahead of Altuve, but catcher Gary Sanchez didn't handle it on the bounce and the Yankees were losers.
George A. King III, Post:
In the end, Didi Gregorius' throw home short-hopped Gary Sanchez as Jose Altuve scored from first in the ninth inning to lift the Astros to victory.

Yet, before the hosts copped a 2-1 win ... the Yankees did a lot to put themselves in position to go down, 0-2, in the best-of-seven affair.

One game after Dallas Keuchel handcuffed the Yankees in Game 1, Justin Verlander dominated them Saturday when he hurled a complete-game in which he allowed five hits. Verlander's 13 strikeouts were a postseason best for the right-hander who threw a season-high 124 pitches. ...

That brought things to Aroldis Chapman and the ninth inning, when the Yankees went into a ditch that finally might be too deep to escape. ...

Gregorius' throw home was ahead of Altuve, but it bounced very close to Sanchez's glove and the catcher never controlled the ball to make a tag. ...

When a team gives up four runs in 18 postseason innings and loses twice, the onus falls on the hitters, some whom are in funks so deep it's hard to see an exit.

The two main culprits are Judge and Sanchez. The rookie who set a major-league record with 52 homers has two hits in 27 at-bats (.074) since the start of the ALDS and has whiffed 19 times. In addition to being in a 4-for-30 (.133) slide since Game 1 of the ALDS, Sanchez has struck out 15 times.
Andrew Marchand, ESPN:
On the decisive play of Game 2 of the American League Championship Series, New York Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius let go of his relay throw like a quarterback under pressure, and he thought it would end in a completion. Gregorius believed catcher Gary Sanchez would make the catch at the plate for the out and the Yankees would prevent the winning run. ...

Gregorius, just behind second base, received the ball just as Correa did a popup slide at the bag. Although Yankees manager Joe Girardi asked the umpires about it right after the play concluded, Girardi even admitted there was no interference. It was a legal slide, though it affected Gregorius as an incoming rusher might. ...

[The] throw was not perfect -- it reached Sanchez on a short hop -- but it was good enough. Even with Altuve's speed, there was plenty of time for Sanchez to make the play. ...

When the ball arrived, slightly to the left of home plate, Altuve was a good 4 feet from home. Sanchez just needed to catch the ball, but he fumbled it.
Joel Sherman, Post:
Lights, cameras, October. ...

The bad at-bats and the strikeouts are mounting and the opportunities to do something about it might be dwindling. ...

[Aaron] Judge and [Gary] Sanchez were far from the only offensive culprits as Justin Verlander masterfully overwhelmed the lineup, getting ahead of 20 of the 32 batters he faced either 0-2 or 1-2 in what has become a rare postseason complete game. ...

The Yankees are batting just .200 as a team in the postseason ...

Joe Girardi said he is not going to change the lineup "because if you just start moving people around trying to play a hot hand, it doesn't necessarily work" ...

[Judge] continues to be baffled in particular by breaking balls away. ...

[Sanchez] has been particularly susceptible to breaking balls in the dirt and now seems to be thinking too much and getting caught between pitching speeds. He has had six straight games with multiple strikeouts.
Mike Mazzeo, Daily News:
Since the AL wild-card game, [Aaron] Judge is 2-for-27 with two RBIs, five walks and 19 strikeouts, while [Gary] Sanchez is 0-for-11 with a walk and eight strikeouts over his last three games. ...

Overall, Judge and Sanchez have combined to go 10-for-65 in the playoffs (.154) with five extra-base hits, seven RBIs and 34 strikeouts.

Sanchez: "Right now I'm not getting the results I want." ...

The question with Judge going forward as he continues to grow and evolve following a phenomenal rookie campaign: Can he hit good pitching consistently, or is he just a mistake hitter? ...

As for Sanchez, he looks completely out of whack, much more-so than Judge ...
John Harper, Daily News:
The Yankees were hoping the game would come down to a battle of the bullpens, believing that is their one significant edge over the Astros in this ALCS. ...

And though the Yankee bullpen was outstanding in emergency service ... Aroldis Chapman lost it in the ninth inning on a daring baserunning play by — who else? — Jose Altuve.

Altuve, who singled in the ninth for his 13th hit in this post-season, ran through the third base coach's stop sign on Carlos Correa's double to right-center. ...

Joe Girardi argued that Correa interfered with Gregorius' throw, and indeed replay showed there was contact with their lower bodies, but the umpires said the game was over.
Mike Vaccaro, Post:
Carlos Correa's ball found the gap, Didi Gregorius' throw was off-line — did Correa interfere with him on the play? No one protested, so apparently not — and Jose Altuve slid across with the game-winning run ...

What will appeal to the old-school Gibsonian spirit that lurks inside so many contemporary baseball fans is that Verlander threw 124 pitches at a time when nobody throws 124 — certainly not in a playoff game.
[Note: Actually, Verlander is the 19th pitcher since 2009 to throw at least 120 pitches in a postseason game (and he's done it seven of those 19 times). Verlander's start on Saturday was the eleventh postseason game since 2011 in which the starter threw more than 120 pitches:
Justin Verlander   2011 ALCS Game 5   133 pitches
Justin Verlander   2012 ALCS Game 3   132 pitches
Roy Halladay       2011 NLDS Game 5   126 pitches
Justin Verlander   2017 ALCS Game 2   124 pitches
Dallas Keuchel     2015 ALDS Game 3   124 pitches
Clayton Kershaw    2013 NLDS Game 1   124 pitches
Johnny Cueto       2015 WS Game 2     122 pitches
Justin Verlander   2012 ALDS Game 5   122 pitches
Jacob deGrom       2015 NLDS Game 1   121 pitches
CC Sabathia        2012 ALDS Game 5   121 pitches
Justin Verlander   2012 ALDS Game 1   121 pitches
All of the above pitchers won their game, except for Halladay. He lost 1-0, allowing a triple and a double to the first two batters in the top of the first inning.]

Peter Botte, Daily News (early edition):
An early call on a Jeffrey Maier-like play -- ruled a home run for Carlos Correa -- went against the Yanks, and the Bombers suddenly find themselves in an 0-2 hole for the second straight playoff series this October following another 2-1 loss on Saturday to the Astros ...

Correa's fourth-inning home run to the opposite field was just out of 6-foot-7 right fielder Aaron Judge's reach and deflected off the glove of a young fan dressed in a rainbow Astros jersey seated in the front row beyond the wall. The fan later was identified as 12-year-old Carson Riley of Liberty Hill, Texas.
Dan Martin and George A. King III, Post:
Luis Severino lasted just four innings on Saturday, but unlike his other brief postseason start, this time it wasn't because of ineffectiveness.

Instead, Severino was the victim of bad luck, as he appeared to take a comebacker from Yuli Gurriel off his left wrist in the bottom of the fourth ...

"I told them I was good," Severino said. "They told me they saw something. I didn't agree with that. I wanted to pitch. ... Maybe I swung my arm. My arm feels 100 percent great. ... I was feeling great and wanted to give them six or seven innings."
Peter Botte, Daily News:
Severino had been cruising along, matching three early zeroes on the scoreboard with veteran stud Justin Verlander, when Carlos Correa launched a video-confirmed home run ...

Either way, Severino pressed on in an attempt to keep the deficit against Verlander at one run. But after throwing one errant changeup way off the plate to the next batter, Marwin Gonzalez, Severino made a circular stretching motion with his right arm, causing Girardi and a trainer to immediately sprint out of the dugout. ...

Severino clearly was still displeased a couple of hours later, after he'd failed to convince Girardi or the medical staff to allow his duel with Verlander to continue.

October 14, 2017

Schadenfreude 216 (A Continuing Series)

Bill Madden, "Yankees Are Not The Best Team Left In The Playoffs, But They Are The Most Lovable":
America is watching and finding them ... well ... kind of lovable, an adjective never before associated with the Yankees outside of the Bronx. ...

They may not have the most talent, but they play the game with a certain verve — in direct contrast to the Red Sox, who beat them for the division title in the regular season but never looked like they were finding any joy in their work. Once again, the Yankees will be the underdogs in the ALCS, but the Astros are going to find them a very different animal from the Red Sox.
John Harper, "After Emotional ALDS Comeback, Yankees Seem Destined To Beat Astros And Advance To World Series":
The signs were there all season, really. ...

At some point you couldn't help but think there was something special about this group, and indeed as they peaked in September scouts were telling me to beware these Yankees. ...

[I]t just feels like the Yankees are playing at such a high level right now, riding a wave of confidence and relishing their status as underdogs, that they'll find a way. ...

[T]hese postseason games often come down to the type of mental toughness that has defined the Fighting Gardners, if you will, throughout this season. ...

Yankees in seven.

Peter Botte, Daily News:
They have a problem. ...

Dallas Keuchel continued his career-long domination of the Bombers with seven scoreless innings to send the Yankees' to a 2-1 loss to the Astros in Game 1 of the AL Championship Series on Friday night ...

[Jose] Altuve heard chants of "MVP" all night from the home crowd ... [After an infield single behind second base with one out in the fourth,] He promptly stole second base and scored on a single to left by Carlos Correa, who sprinted home later in the inning on an RBI knock by Yuli Gurriel for a 2-0 Houston lead. ...

Closer Ken Giles recorded the final five outs for Houston, including a strikeout of Didi Gregorius with the tying runs on base to end the eighth.

Bird ripped a solo shot off the right-field foul pole against Giles in the ninth for his third home run of the postseason, but Giles struck out Jacoby Ellsbury to end the game.
Ken Davidoff, Post:
If the definition of insanity truly is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result, then what do we make of the Yankees' decision to play against Dallas Keuchel on Friday night?

They could have forfeited and saved themselves the trouble, right? ...

Keuchel threw seven shutout innings, allowing four hits and a walk while striking out 10 ...

The Yankees' best scoring opportunity against him wouldn't have occurred if not for a fifth-inning error by Houston's AL MVP candidate Jose Altuve, and even then, the Astros stifled it as left fielder Marwin Gonzalez fielded Aaron Judge's base hit and threw out Bird at home for the third out. The visitors made some noise in the eighth off the Astros' vulnerable bullpen, putting men on first and second with two outs, only to see Houston closer Ken Giles strike out ALDS hero Gregorius to put out the fire.

John Harper, Daily News:
Keuchel was tough again but far from his precision-pitching best. ...

In fact, there was a stretch in the fourth and fifth innings where six of eight Yankees hit the ball on the screws, and yet they came away with nothing, largely because Greg Bird got thrown out at the plate on Aaron Judge's single to end the fifth inning on the biggest play of the game.

It was 2-0 Astros at the time, and had Bird scored there, the complexion of the game might well have changed dramatically. ...

So the Bird play proved pivotal, and here's the thing: I'm still trying to figure out how he got thrown out at the plate when he had a running jump with two outs and a 3-2 count on Judge.

Bird is slow, obviously, but it looked like he didn't break quickly enough on Keuchel's delivery, and that wound up costing him. ...

It still took an accurate throw from left fielder Marwin Gonzalez, but even then Bird might have been safe if he'd made a good slide to the outside edge of the plate.

Instead he slid directly into Brian McCann's tag, even veering slightly toward the catcher, it seemed.
Mike Mazzeo, Daily News:
[Aaron] Judge actually did his part for the Bombers, matching his hit total from the entire ALDS on this night -- one. But Judge's single to left off a 3-2 hanging slider from Dallas Keuchel with two on and two outs in the fifth went for naught, as Greg Bird, who underwent ankle surgery in mid-July, was thrown out at home in an ugly display of baserunning. ...

The 25-year-old rookie Judge, who went 1-for-20 with a postseason-record 16 strikeouts in the ALDS, also was the victim of a massive strike zone in his second at-bat, as a low strike two call in his second at-bat ultimately resulted in another K. ...

Judge represented the tying run when he got up for the final time in the eighth, but he grounded out to third against Ken Giles. And Gary Sanchez and Gregorius went a combined 0-for-7 with five strikeouts ...
Joel Sherman, Post:
At this point Joe Girardi might want to see what Ronald Torreyes could do or if Alex Rodriguez would come off of the FOX set — heck, the Yankees were still paying him this season — or just what kind of shape Ron Blomberg is in.

For at this moment, the Yankees' DH stands for — take your pick — Dismal Hitting, Dreadful Hitting, Dreary Hitting. Whomever Girardi has Designated has been Decidedly Hideous.

The choice for ALCS Game 1 was Matt Holliday, who until Friday night had played as often this postseason as Babe Ruth. ...

Holliday joined the oh-fer parade, never getting the ball out of the infield ...

The Yankee DH spot is now 0-for-24.
And Bonus Shit, from the ALDS: