One possibility is to have two wild-card teams in each league play each other (either one winner-take-all game or a best-of-three series) for the right to advance to the Division Series. I believe there has been talk of having the Division Series be expanded to a best-of-seven format.
Yesterday, Peter Gammons said that "one of the worst things that's happened" to the Red Sox this month is that Jacoby Ellsbury has hit four home runs. Not that Old Hickory is anti-home run, but he thought that Ellsbury had perhaps changed his game plan, opting to swing for taters rather than getting on base any way he can.
Paul at YFSF, while bearing in mind the small data samples, looked at what Ellsbury has done at the plate since the season began:
Ellsbury is actually being more selective than he ever has ... unquestionably seeing more balls and better hitter's counts ... not swinging at pitches out of the zone as much ... laying off the first pitch ... swinging more often at the strikes that he sees. Yet he's making contact less often.Paul says Ellsbury's swing could be a bit wonky at the moment, so he's fanning more often or hitting more fly balls.
It's easy to look at these latter numbers and say Ellsbury is hacking more often in hopes of getting the big home run. But that theory doesn't fit the more selective Ellsbury we see from the [previous data] ...
Or it could simply be pointing to a slump, where Ellsbury is correctly identifying the pitches to swing at, but he's just missing or getting unlucky on the ones he does hit (.162 BABIP says hello).
John Lackey is at it again. After Lackey beat the Yankees on April 8, he admitted that he "didn't pitch very well" -- 5 innings, 7 hits, 6 runs -- but he also said this:
I thought every ball they hit was down the line and for extra bases. If I keep those in the middle they're singles and no runs.Then, after his most recent start, Lackey was asked if he could have gone another inning or was his pitch count of 93 near his limit, he said, "I don't know. I just work here."
Two SoSH comments: "I've never seen a player take less responsibility for their performance." and "Does he try to be as unlikeable as possible?"