December 27, 2015

RIP Hendu

Dave Henderson - Red Sox hero of the 1986 ALCS and World Series - died today, one month after receiving a kidney transplant. He was 57 years old.

Before there was David Ortiz, there was Dave Henderson.

Before Big Papi thrilled Red Sox fans with his October heroics, the man they called Hendu brought Boston back from the dead in Game 5 of the 1986 ALCS. Before Ortiz turned clutch, late-inning and game-winning hits into an art form for the Red Sox, Henderson made a spectacular bid to become the man who would lead Boston to the Promised Land of a World Series championship.

With the California Angels one strike away from winning the 1986 AL pennant, Henderson – a backup outfielder obtained from the Seattle Mariners in mid-August of that season – crushed a two-run homer that gave the Red Sox a 6-5 lead. (And despite World Series championships in 2004, 2007, and 2013, Henderson's blast will remain one of the most memorable moments in franchise history.) Then, after the Angels tied the game in their half of the ninth, Henderson knocked in the game-winning run with a sacrifice fly in the eleventh. Boston's 7-6 victory sent the ALCS back to Fenway Park, where the Red Sox easily won Games 6 and 7.
Henderson: "The pitch I fouled off was a fastball I should have hit. I had to step out of the batter's box and gather myself, think about what I had to do. With two strikes I had to protect the plate. I really just wanted to reach down and make sure I at least put the ball in play."

Boston first baseman Dave Stapleton: "I looked across the field and I could see everyone in the Angels dugout getting ready to celebrate. Gene Mauch. Everyone. They had those nice little smiles that you get before you start hugging everyone."

Angels pitcher Donnie Moore: "I'd been throwing him fastballs, and he was fouling them off, fouling them off. Then I threw him an offspeed pitch and I shouldn't have thrown it. I should have stayed with the hard stuff. The kind of bat speed he has is offspeed. That pitch was right in his swing."

Henderson: "I knew when I hit it, it was gone."
And it was Henderson who whacked a solo home run in the top of the tenth inning in Game 6 of the World Series against the New York Mets - a drive that snapped a 3-3 tie would have forever made him a Red Sox God had his teammates (and his manager) be able to hold a two-run advantage in the home half of that inning.

David Lee Henderson played for five teams over 14 seasons.

December 22, 2015

Schoenfield: An Early Look At The 2016 AL East

ESPN's David Schoenfield takes an early look at the American League East - and how the five teams might finish in 2016:
This one's easy: The Red Sox rotation had a 4.39 ERA, better only than the Orioles and Detroit Tigers in the AL. So welcome to Boston, David Price.

It's not that simple. Price alone doesn't turn the Red Sox into a playoff team. They'll still need improvement from other guys in the rotation, most notably Rick Porcello, who posted a 4.92 ERA and allowed 25 home runs in 172 innings. The bullpen was just as bad as the rotation, posting a 4.24 ERA, also 13th in the AL. So new president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski traded for closer Craig Kimbrel and setup guy Carson Smith, who had a dominant rookie season for the Mariners. With Kimbrel, Smith and Koji Uehara, the Red Sox could duplicate the late-inning dominance of teams like the Kansas City Royals and Yankees.

(This impact could be overstated, however. The Red Sox's winning percentage when leading after seven and eight innings was actually right at the MLB average. But improved bullpen depth could help facilitate more late-game comebacks.)

On the other side of the ball, the Red Sox saw Mookie Betts emerge as a star. He'll be even better in 2016. After a slow start, rookie catcher Blake Swihart showed promise in the second half, hitting .303/.353/.452. Second-year shortstop Xander Bogaerts hit .320 and is capable of adding some power and OBP to his game. That trio is the new core of the Boston offense. That leaves the veterans: Does David Ortiz have one big season left in him? Will Pablo Sandoval rebound from his minus-0.9-WAR season? Will Hanley Ramirez play first base better than he "played" left field? Is Rusney Castillo actually any good?

The FanGraphs projection system likes the Red Sox as the AL East favorite right now. Of course, the projection systems loved the Red Sox a year ago as well. But with one of the best starters in the game now heading the rotation, a dominant closer and a talented group of youngsters, the Red Sox look like the surest bet to improve in 2016. And maybe the division favorite.
Projection from FanGraphs:
Red Sox       92-70
Yankees       89-73
Blue Jays     87-75
Rays          84-78
Orioles       78-84

Fox Broadcast Booth: Reynolds And Verducci Out, Smoltz In

That's what you get for insulting Canada!

Andy Martino, Daily News:
After two years, Tom Verducci and Harold Reynolds are out of the Fox broadcast booth, and John Smoltz will be the network's lead game analyst, two people familiar with the plans told the Daily News. Smoltz and play-by-play man Joe Buck will be the new World Series team.

A Fox Sports spokesperson confirmed the change. An official announcement is expected later on Tuesday. ...

The three-man booth drew mixed reviews, and now Fox is making a change.
"Mixed reviews" is putting it kindly, because Reynolds was beyond horrible.

This is amazingly great news, although we will still have to put up with Joe Buck.

My favourite Reynolds meme:

December 21, 2015

Red Sox Will Retire Wade Boggs's #26

The Red Sox will retire Wade Boggs's #26 in a pre-game ceremony on May 26. It will be the 10th number retired by the team.

Boggs played 11 seasons with Boston (1982-92) and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2005. His .338 batting average with the Red Sox is second in team history (trailing only Ted Williams's .344). Boggs played more games at third base than any player in Red Sox history. He led the American League in Times On Base for eight consecutive seasons (1983-90).

(Brock Holt will switch to #12.)

December 18, 2015

Baseball America: Top 10 Red Sox Prospects

Alex Speier of the Boston Globe has ranked Boston's Top 10 prospects for Baseball America:
1. Yoan Moncada, 2B
2. Rafael Devers, 3B
3. Andrew Benintendi, CF
4. Anderson Espinoza, RHP
5. Michael Kopech, RHP
6. Brian Johnson, LHP
7. Sam Travis, 1B
8. Deven Marrero, SS
9. Luis Alexander Basabe, CF
10. Michael Chavis 3B

December 11, 2015

Mookie Betts, Bowler

The Red Sox's young outfielder - and budding MLB superstar - is competing in the Professional Bowlers Association World Series of Bowling VII in Reno, Nevada.

When Betts was in high school, he thought he might have a future as a pro bowler.

He rolled a 224 in his first game as a professional last Tuesday. (Betts has rolled four perfect games in his life, including one recently as he prepared for the tournament.)

Betts: "I watch bowling pretty much every Sunday."

Betts's mother won her state championship when she was eight years old, and Mookie started bowling when he was four.

Spring 2016: The Selling Of The Babe & My Father, The Pornographer

Two books I am looking forward to reading next spring:

The Selling of the Babe: The Deal That Changed Baseball and Created a Legend
By Glenn Stout
(Published by Thomas Dunne, March 8, 2016)

The complete story surrounding the most famous and significant player transaction in professional sports.

The sale of Babe Ruth by the Boston Red Sox to the New York Yankees in 1919 is one of the pivotal moments in baseball history, changing the fortunes of two of baseball's most storied franchises, changing the game forever and helping to create the legend of the greatest player the game has ever known.

More than a simple transaction, the sale resulted in a deal that created the Yankee dynasty, turned Boston into an also-ran, sold the American people on the modern home run era after the Black Sox scandal and led the public to fall in love with Ruth. Award-winning baseball historian Glenn Stout reveals brand-new information about Babe and the unique political situation surrounding his sale, including:

- The political battle among baseball's elite that inspired the sale.

- How Prohibition and the lifting of Blue Laws in New York affected Yankees owner and beer baron Jacob Ruppert.

- Reveals how a shortage of quality wool due to World War One led to changes in the way baseballs were made that resulted in the inadvertent creation of the "lively" ball.

- Uncovers Ruth's disruptive influence on the Red Sox in 1918 and 1919, and uses sabermetrics to showing his negative impact on the team as he transitioned from pitcher to outfielder.

The Selling of Babe is the first book to focus on the ramifications of the sale and captures the central moment of Ruth's evolution from player to icon, and will appeal to fans of The Kid and Pinstripe Empire. Babe's sale to New York and the subsequent selling of Ruth to America led baseball from the Deadball Era and sparked a new era in the game, one revolved around the long ball and one man, The Babe.

My Father, the Pornographer (A Memoir)
By Chris Offutt
(Published by Simon & Schuster, February 9, 2016)

After inheriting 400 novels of pornography written by his father in the 1970s and '80s, critically acclaimed author Chris Offutt sets out to make sense of a complicated father-son relationship in this carefully observed, beautifully written memoir.

"Clearing Dad's office felt like prospecting within his brain. As I sorted, like an archaeologist, backward through time, I saw a remarkable mind at work, a life lived on its own terms."

When Andrew Offutt died, his son, Chris, inherited a desk, a rifle, and 1800 pounds of porn. Andrew had been considered the "king of twentieth century smut," a career that began as a strategy to pay for his son's orthodontic needs and soon took on a life of its own, peaking during the '70s when the commercial popularity of the erotic novel was at its height.

With his dutiful wife serving as typist, Andrew wrote from their home in the Kentucky hills, locked away in an office no one dared intrude upon. In this fashion he wrote 400 novels, ranging from pirate porn and ghost porn, to historical porn and time travel porn, to secret agent porn and zombie porn. The more he wrote, the more intense his ambition became, and the more difficult it was for his children to penetrate his world.

Over one long summer in his hometown, helping his mother move out of the house, Chris began to examine his deceased father's possessions and realized he finally had an opportunity to come to grips with the mercurial man he always feared but never understood. Offutt takes us on the journey with him, showing us how only in his father's absence could he truly make sense of the man and his legacy. This riveting, evocatively told memoir of a deeply complex father-son relationship proves again why the New York Times Book Review said, "Offutt's obvious kin are Richard Ford, Tobias Wolff, and Ernest Hemingway."
Earlier this year, the New York Times ran a fascinating feature on Offutt and his father's books.

December 7, 2015

Red Sox Trade Miley/Aro to Mariners for Carson Smith/Roenis Elias

The Red Sox have traded Wade Miley and Jonathan Aro to the Mariners for right-handed reliever Carson Smith and lefty starter Roenis Elias.

David Schoenfield, ESPN:
After earlier acquiring Craig Kimbrel from the Padres, they've now added Smith, a right-hander who dominated in his first season in the majors, with a 2.31 ERA, 92 strikeouts in 70 innings and just two home runs. With a low arm slot and his fastball/slider combo, Smith gets a lot of movement and sink on his pitches and crushed right-handers, who hit just .169/.248/.254 against him; lefties weren't much better with a .227/.315/.273 line. He's not a big name, but he's very good.

Elias has started the past two seasons for the Mariners, but command issues mean he'll probably never develop into anything more than back-of-the-rotation starter. But his fastball/curveball/changeup repertoire means he could profile well in the bullpen, especially if his 91-92 mph fastball plays up in relief.

December 4, 2015

David Price Will Wear #24

Red Sox pitcher David Price will wear #24.

During Friday's introductory press conference, when asked about his 0-8 postseason record as a starting pitcher, Price replied: "I was just saving all my postseason wins for the Red Sox. I know good things are going to happen to me in October. ... That time is coming for me, and hopefully, it's in 2016."

ESPN asks (and answers) the question: What makes Price so good?
He threw 67 percent first-pitch strikes last season, which ranked 11th among pitchers who qualified for the ERA title. He ranked third in that stat in each of the previous two seasons. ...

Price's changeup has evolved into one of the best pitches in the game. ... Opponents have hit .218 against the pitch since the trade to the Tigers, chasing it (swinging when it was out of the strike zone) 46 percent of the time (compared to 35 percent with the Rays). ...

He went to a three-ball count against only 14 percent of the hitters he faced, about five percentage points below the major-league average. Price is one of five pitchers who had a walks per 9 innings rate of less than 2.0 while qualifying for the ERA title in each of the last three seasons.

He averaged nearly seven innings per start last season. Over the last three seasons he trails only Clayton Kershaw in average innings pitched per start. In 2015, Price held opposing hitters to a .205/.240/.285 slashline when facing a hitter for the third time in a game. Their OPS was 240 points lower against him than the average pitcher facing a lineup for the third time last season.
David Ortiz talked a little bit more about why he is retiring at the end of 2016. ... Now that they are teammates, Ortiz has called off the "war" he said he had with Price.

December 1, 2015

Red Sox Sign David Price To Highest Contract Ever Given To A Pitcher

The Red Sox have signed free agent David Price to head their 2016 rotation. Reports state that the team and Price, who turned 30 last August, have agreed on a seven-year, $217 million contract. Annual salaries: 30, 30, 30, 31, 32, 32. 32.

Ian Browne of reports that the deal for the left-hander "is the largest contract ever awarded to a pitcher, narrowly edging out the $215 million extension Clayton Kershaw signed with the Dodgers and the $210 million pact Max Scherzer signed with the Nationals."

It appears that there is a three-year opt-out, so some SoSHers are calling this "a 3 year, $93 million deal with a player option for a 4 year, $124 million extension".

Price thought he was going to sign with the Cardinals today, but he ended up picking Boston. St. Louis' bid ended up being roughly $30 million less than the Red Sox's increased offer.

Price led the American League with a 2.45 ERA last season while pitching for the Tigers and Blue Jays. He finished fifth in fewest walks/hits allowed per inning. Price finished 2nd in Cy Young voting and 9th in MVP voting.

President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski made it quite clear he would be targeting a bullpen arm, a fourth outfielder, and an rotation ace during the off-season. ... And what do we have? Craig Kimbrel, Chris Young, and Price. ... I love it when a plan comes together.

Keith Law, ESPN:
The Red Sox had one overarching need this winter, and it wasn't a closer – it was a legitimate top-of-the-rotation, difference-making starter, preferably one with some history of durability. There were two such pitchers available, and the Red Sox landed the one who doesn't require them to give up their first-round draft pick.

David Price is an ace, regardless of what you may have heard about his performances in October; his regular-season body of work tells an accurate story. He's a five-win starter who has reached 200 innings in five of six full seasons as a big leaguer, who hasn't posted an ERA above 3.50 in any of those seasons, and who may very well have been the best starter in the American League in 2015. The Red Sox get him at the peak of his career, with no immediate warning signs that he's going to slide any time soon.
Bob Montgomery's Helmet Hat, SoSH:
So we got arguably one of the top 3 starters in baseball and one of the top 3 closers in baseball without parting with Bogaerts, Betts, Swihart, Edro, Moncada, Benintendi, Devers, or Espinosa. I absolutely love this, crazy money notwithstanding.

November 27, 2015

Barry Bonds in 2004: 376 Times On Base In 373 AB!


November 18, 2015

Ortiz Makes It Official: "Time Is Up, So Let's Enjoy Next Season"

David Ortiz makes it official: he will retire after 2016.
Life is based on different chapters, and I think I'm ready to experience the next one in my life.

I pick this day to announce that next season I'm going to be done with my career playing baseball. I would like people to remember me as a guy that was just part of the family, a guy that was trying to do the best, not only on the field, but with everyone around him. Baseball is not just based on putting up numbers. This is our second family. Whoever is around you on a daily basis is like a second family, and I always had good thoughts for everyone around me. ...

I'm really proud of what I had accomplished through the years. I'm very thankful for having fans like guys who have supported me through my career. I wish I could play another 40 years, so I have you guys behind me, but it doesn't work that way.

After next year, time is up, so let's enjoy next season.
Amen. ... And Happy Birthday, Big Papi!

November 17, 2015

Fox Sports: 2016 Will be David Ortiz's Final Season

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reports that David Ortiz will announce tomorrow - his 40th birthday - that 2016 will be his final season.

November 13, 2015

Red Sox Trade For Craig Kimbrel

Ian Browne,
The Red Sox acquired a flame-throwing, four-time All-Star closer in Craig Kimbrel on Friday night, sending four prospects to the San Diego Padres.

Dave Dombrowski's first major acquisition since being hired by the Red Sox as president of baseball operations in August was a doozy, one that paves the way for a bullpen that could dominate in the late innings.

Koji Uehara, the club's closer the last three seasons, will move to the eighth inning. Junichi Tazawa, one of the top setup men in the game the last couple of years, will be responsible for the seventh.

And Kimbrel, smack in the middle of his prime at 27 years old, will be there to finish. The Red Sox have Kimbrel under their contractual control for the next three seasons. ...

To acquire Kimbrel, Dombrowski parted with outfielder Manuel Margot, shortstop Javier Guerra, infielder Carlos Asuaje and lefty Logan Allen.
WEEI's Ryan Hannable looks at what the Red Sox gave up for Kimbrel.

Xander Bogaerts Wins Silver Slugger

Xander Bogaerts won the 2015 Silver Slugger as the American League's best-hitting shortstop. Award winners are voted on by the league's managers and coaches.

Bogaerts led all AL shortstops in batting average (.320), hits (196), doubles (35), runs scored (84), RBI (81), total bases (258). and OBP (.355).

Bogaerts finished second among all MLB shortstops in FanGraphs' wins above replacement metric at 4.3. Brandon Crawford of the Giants finished first at 4.7.

Bogaerts is the third Red Sox shortstop to win a Silver Slugger, joining John Valentin (1995) and Nomar Garciaparra (1997). Bogaerts (who turned 23 on October 1) is the youngest Red Sox player to win a Silver Slugger at any position.

November 11, 2015

Red Sox Hire Gordon Edes As Team Historian

The Red Sox have hired sportswriter Gordon Edes to work as a team historian. Edes will also work as strategic communications advisor for the Fenway Sports Group.

Over the course of nearly four decades, Edes worked for numerous newspapers and media outlets, including the Boston Globe, ESPN, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, National Sports Daily, the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, and

Edes had been covering the Red Sox for the past 18 years.

November 10, 2015

Bautista: Bat Flip Haters Are Ignorant Dinosaurs

Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista has written an article for The Players Tribune on his now-iconic ALDS bat flip against the Rangers and the negative comments it provoked:
Were these same opinions expressed when Carlton Fisk "waved" his home run fair in '75? Or when Joe Carter jumped around the bases in '93? When I was growing up and I watched iconic moments like those, I was so caught up in the emotion that I got chills. I wasn't thinking about the implications. I was fully immersed in the moment and enjoying it. I loved Cal Ripken Jr. for his poise and control. But I also admired Reggie Jackson for showing his passion and flair.

Those moments are spontaneous. They're human. And they're a whole lot of fun.

But nowadays, when a player flips his bat, especially a guy who wears his emotions on his sleeve, a small section of people always seem to turn it into a debate about the integrity of the game. ...

[F]or whatever reason, there's a small section of old-school, my-way-or-the-highway type of people who never want the game to evolve. They're the dinosaurs who believe that everybody should play the same and act the same. They usually claim that it is out of "respect."

In my opinion, true respect is about embracing the differences in people's cultures. ...

I flipped my bat. I'm human. The emotion got to me. It's in my DNA. If you think that makes me a jerk, that's fine. But let's call it what it is. Let's not have these loaded conversations about "character" and the integrity of the game every time certain players show emotion in a big moment. That kind of thinking is not just old school. It's just ignorant.

November 7, 2015

Good-Bye To Alexi Ogando and Jean Machi

Alexi Ogando and Jean Machi have decided to become free agents after both relievers went unclaimed on waivers.

Allen Craig also went unclaimed, but accepted a demotion to Pawtucket.

Sandy Leon signed a one-year deal and will begin next season in AAA.

November 6, 2015

Babe Ruth, Most HR With 1,000+ IP

November 5, 2015

Re-Name Yawkey Way?

WEEI columnist John Tomase suggests re-naming Yawkey Way, because honouring Tom Yawkey, who owned the Red Sox for 44 years until his death in 1976, is a quiet assent to his virulent racism.
Honoring Tom Yawkey is every bit as offensive as the nickname of Washington's football team.
By celebrating this stain on the franchise's history, Tomase says the current ownership group is "either ignorant of his disgraceful past or indifferent to it". (And we know they are not ignorant of team history.)

By the time Yawkey relented and allowed a man with dark skin to wear a Red Sox uniform, it was July 1959. Every other major league team had integrated - though most only to a small degree - and Jackie Robinson had been retired from his Hall of Fame career for nearly three seasons. Robinson called Yawkey "one of the most bigoted guys in baseball".

November 4, 2015

Royals Were Kings Of The Postseason Comeback

Jayson Stark, ESPN:
The Royals won 11 games in this postseason. In seven of them, they trailed by at least two runs at some point, then roared back to win. No team had ever done that. ...

And in six of those 11 wins, the Royals were losing heading into the sixth inning. No team had ever won six games that way in a single postseason, either. ...

And just in this World Series, the Royals not only trailed in all five games but won three games in which they trailed in the eighth inning or later. No team had ever done that before in any of the first 110 World Series in history.
Doug Kern, ESPN:
Raul A. Mondesi, 20, fresh from the Royals' Double-A team, pinch hit in Game 3 ... Mondesi is the first player to make his major league debut in the modern World Series; his only rival is James "Bug" Holliday, then an 18-year-old minor-leaguer, who went 0-for-4 in the exhibition "World's Series" between the NL's Chicago White Stockings (now the Cubs) and the St. Louis Browns, then of the American Association, in 1885. ...

Kyle Hendricks and [Jason] Hammel: First starting pitchers to bat eighth in a postseason game. Babe Ruth did bat sixth (and had a two-run triple) in Game 4 of the 1918 World Series. ...

Eric Hosmer: First player with the game-winning RBI in Games 1 and 2 of same World Series since Mark Bellhorn for the 2004 Red Sox.

November 3, 2015

Only 99 Days Until "Truck Day"!

The Red Sox announced today that 2016 Truck Day will be on Wednesday, February 10.

Pitchers and catchers will report to camp in Fort Myers, Florida, on February 18, with position players due on February 24.

The Red Sox also exercised its $13 million club option on Clay Buchholz, who started 18 games (3.26 ERA) before injuries took him out of the rotation.

November 2, 2015

Royals Win 2015 World Series In Five Games

Fun facts on the just-completed World Series, most of them from Elias:
Kansas City's five runs in the 12th broke the World Series record for runs in one inning in extra innings. The previous mark was four by the Mets in the 12th inning of Game 2 against the A's in 1973.

Christian Colon was the first player to drive in the Series-clinching run on the first World Series plate appearance of his career.

Kansas City hit only two home runs in the 2015 World Series - solo shots by Alcides Escobar and Alex Gordon, both in Game 1. The Royals were the first team to win a World Series with only two runs scored on homers since the 1950 Yankees.

The Royals came from behind in each of their four World Series wins. That in itself is not rare. Five other teams did it in a best-of-seven format: the Pirates in 1925, Reds in 1975, Dodgers in 1981, Marlins in 1997, and Angels in 2002. But Kansas City was the first team to win three games in the same World Series in which it trailed in the eighth inning or later.

The Royals outscored the Mets 15-1 in the seventh through the 14th innings in the series.

It was the first World Series to have 2 games go to extra innings since 2001, Yankees vs Diamondbacks.

Royals reliever Franklin Morales allowed four runs in Game 3. While pitching for the Rockies, Morales was charged with seven runs in two-thirds of an inning against the Red Sox in the 2007 Series opener, which matches the most runs allowed by any pitcher in one inning of a World Series game. Morales is the only pitcher in World Series history to have two outings in which he allowed at least four runs while recording fewer than three outs. In three World Series appearances, Morales has been charged with 11 runs in 3 1/3 innings for a 29.70 ERA, the highest for any pitcher who has thrown three or more career innings in the Fall Classic.
And ... Opening Day 2016: Mets at Royals!

October 31, 2015

Stuff To Read

Al Yellon, Bleed Cubbie Blue: "TBS' Baseball Coverage Is Awful. Here's Why."

Anna McDonald, Just A Bit Outside: "Complete Story Of Controversial, Emotional, Downright Crazy 1985 World Series"

Rany Jazayerli, Grantland: "The 15 Biggest Plays In Baseball History"
Note: There is no way you will correctly guess the top play.
David Schoenfield, ESPN: "Are You Ready For Robot Umpires In The World Series?"
Yes. Yes, I am.
Max Rieper, Royals Review: "No, Noah Syndergaard Did Not 'Announce His Presence With Authority'"
As Rieper writes: "Together, we can end false sports narratives in our lifetime."

October 27, 2015

2015 World Series Contest Entries

Entries for the 2015 World Series contest:
           Mets or Royals     Combined Runs
Ben A      Royals in 5             40
Bernard S  Royals in 6             21
Angus2     Royals in 6             39
Dan C      Royals in 6             43
Tony S     Royals in 6             43
Bob S      Royals in 6             43
Jeffrey A  Royals in 6             45
Ralph N    Royals in 6             49
Tim R      Royals in 6             49
laura k    Royals in 6             67
Ralph N    Royals in 7             34 
allan      Royals in 7             55
Rick M     Mets in 5               13
Brett H    Mets in 5               33
Carlos C   Mets in 6               32
Benjamin B Mets in 6               33
Susan D    Mets in 6               34
Brendan R  Mets in 6               35
John Q     Mets in 6               41
John N     Mets in 6               42
Jere S     Mets in 6               42
Jude K     Mets in 6               42
Jeff M     Mets in 6               45
Microtal   Mets in 7               77

October 25, 2015

Happy 44th Birthday, Pedro Martinez!

(Photo from Boston Globe)

Everyone Loves A Contest #19: 2015 World Series

Prize: Peter Golenbock's Red Sox Nation: The Rich And Colorful History Of The Boston Red Sox.

Predict: The winner of the 2015 World Series and number of games played (e.g., Royals in 7).

Tiebreaker: Total runs scored in the series - by both teams (e.g., 55).

Deadline: Entries must be emailed to me before the first pitch of Game 1 on Tuesday.

October 23, 2015

Fox Posts World Series Match-Up In 7th Inning Of ALCS Game 6

With two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning of ALCS Game 6, Alex Rios singled home Mike Moustakas, giving the Royals a 3-1 lead over the Blue Jays. So Fox - in its infinite wisdom - put this on the screen:

Jose Bautista took exception, and bashed a game-tying, two-run home run in the top of the eighth.

NY Times Presents Mets Sweep of Cubs In 1908-Style Prose

D. Francis Barry, New York Times:
The New York Metropolitans claimed decisive possession of the National League base-ball pennant on enemy turf here at Wrigley Field on Wednesday night, sweeping the Sisyphean Chicago Cubs in four games to earn their ducats to next week's World Series championship.

The Metropolitans — also known as the "Mets" — sent six safely across the plate before the third inning, mostly as a result of the derring-do of their Bunyanesque first-sacker, Lucas Duda. The mighty Californian smote a home run and a double to tally five of those six runs before the Cubs seemed to comprehend that a game concerning their possible erasure from the 2015 field was well underway.

The ignominious rout of the valiant but overmatched hometown squad turned the deafening cheers of the Chicago multitudes into plaintive keens, for now their agonizing wait for another championship — the last in 1908, during the presidency of the rough-riding Theodore Roosevelt — must continue. ...
The Times gets major points off for not using the then-common "World's Series".

October 22, 2015

Toronto And Kansas City Libraries Send ALCS Messages Via Book Spines

CTV News:
The Toronto Public Library posted a photo on Twitter of a message created using the spines of books celebrating the Blue Jays' victory over the Kansas City Royals in Game 5 of the American League Division Series.

The book spines read, "The Comeback," "Blue Jays," "Blowout," "The Rivals," and "Come Together."

The Kansas City Library commented on the post by saying "Touché," presumably bringing an end to two days of good-natured smack-talk between the two cities' libraries.

The Kansas City and Toronto libraries started sending each other book spine messages after the Blue Jays fell to the Royals in Game 4.

Other Ontario libraries, including one in Pickering, are getting into the act:

October 21, 2015

Royals and Mets Could Win Pennants Today

Both the American and National League pennants could be won today.

The Royals lead the Blue Jays 3-1 going into Game 5 this afternoon (4 PM) in Toronto. Edinson Volquez - who allowed only two hits in six scoreless innings in Game 1 - takes the ball for Kansas City, with Marco Estrada on the hill for the Jays.
G1: Royals 5, Blue Jays 0
G2: Royals 6, Blue Jays 3
G3: Blue Jays 11, Royals 8
G4: Royals 14, Blue Jays 2
The Mets have won the first three games of the NLCS and are looking to sweep the Cubs aside in Game 4 (8 PM). New York will go with Stephen Matz, while the Cubs counter with Jason Hammel.
G1: Mets 4, Cubs 2
G2: Mets 4, Cubs 1
G3: Mets 5, Cubs 2
40 Years Ago Today: Carlton Fisk's 12th-inning home run gave the Red Sox a 7-6 win in World Series Game 6 over the Cincinnati Reds. (Fisk's homer actually came on October 22 as the game was played 34 minutes beyond midnight.) As the Fenway park crowd continued to celebrate, the Globe's Peter Gammons typed out what remains my favourite opening sentence to a game story:
And all of a sudden the ball was there, like the Mystic River Bridge, suspended out in the black of the morning.

When it finally crashed off the mesh attached to the left field foul pole, one step after another the reaction unfurled: from Carlton Fisk's convulsive leap to John Kiley's booming of the "Hallelujah Chorus" to the wearing off of the numbness to the outcry that echoed across the cold New England morning.

At 12:34 a.m., in the 12th inning, Fisk's histrionic home run brought a 7-6 end to a game that will be the pride of historians in the year 2525, a game won and lost what seemed like a dozen times, and a game that brings back summertime one more day. For the seventh game of the World Series.
Jason Varitek has reportedly interviewed for the job of Mariners' manager.

October 18, 2015

Fun Shane Victorino Postseason Facts

October 16, 2015

Joe Posnanski and Michael Schur, On ALDS Game 5

Joe Posnanski:
Russell Martin ... it just seems so strange to me that in a game as ancient as baseball, players can still do things that stun you. I mean, shouldn't we have seen it all by now? ... [I]n freaking baseball, a 19th century game Civil War soldiers would teach to townspeople between bloody battles, Russell Martin in 2015 does something that left me feeling a word I've never once used before because it never quite fit: gobsmacked. Yeah, I was gobsmacked. Martin catches the ball, briefly checks the runner at third. Meanwhile Shin-Soo Choo is standing in the box because that's baseball custom now, and he's holding out his bat because that's what he does for some reason.

Martin then casually throws the ball back to the pitcher ... only it HITS THE BAT of Shin-Soo Choo and rolls away. Rougned Odor races home. Gobsmacked.

Because: NOBODY HAS EVER SEEN THIS BEFORE. One-hundred-fifty years of baseball, we've seen throws kill birds, we've seen relievers brought to the plate in little cars shaped like baseball caps, we've seen a pitcher throw a no-hitter on LSD, we've seen a 3-foot-7 person draw a walk, we've seen closers choke stars, but WE'VE NEVER SEEN THIS BEFORE. And if someone is now emailing in to list off the times it's happened before, I would advise: I HAVE MORE CAPITAL LETTERS THAN YOU DO.
Michael Schur:
I understand there are traditionalists and purists and whatever-ists who think that flipping a bat after you hit a home run is bad form, or disrespectful, or something. I disagree. I think it's awesome, frankly, and if you can't enjoy Joey Bats, who had that crazy itinerant baseball life and then found a home in Toronto, and who is the soul and beating heart of this team — a team which hasn't been in the postseason in 22 years and which has brought sports life and sports relevance back to one of the world's great cities — and whose team went down 0-2 at home to a clearly inferior team and then stormed back on the road and gutted out two big wins and then went back to Toronto, fell behind early, scratched their way back to even, then went down by a run on one of the weirdest plays in postseason history, then loaded the bases on three errors and had a guy forced at home and then only scored one run and had a guy thrown out at second on a single to the outfield ... if you can't enjoy Joey Bats flipping his bat towards his own dugout in a badass and life-affirming and glorious and barbaric yawp of baseball excellence after hitting a home run in that situation, then I feel bad for you. ...

We're fine with outward displays in every other sport. Why do we ask baseball players to bury their emotions like students in a seminary?

Bryce Harper Turned 23 Today

1. 1871!

2. Some people believe he is not the 2015 NL MVP.

October 15, 2015

ALCS/NLCS Schedules, And Postseason Contest Update

Game 1: Fri, October 16  Blue Jays at Royals, 7:30 PM
Game 2: Sat, October 17  Blue Jays at Royals, 3:30 PM
Game 3: Mon, October 19  Royals at Blue Jays, 7:00 PM
Game 4: Tue, October 20  Royals at Blue Jays
Game 5: Wed, October 21  Royals at Blue Jays
Game 6: Fri, October 23  Blue Jays at Royals
Game 7: Sat, October 24  Blue Jays at Royals
Game 1: Sat, October 17  Cubs at Mets, 7:30 PM
Game 2: Sun, October 18  Cubs at Mets, 7:30 PM
Game 3: Tue, October 20  Mets at Cubs
Game 4: Wed, October 21  Mets at Cubs
Game 5: Thu, October 22  Mets at Cubs
Game 6: Sat, October 24  Cubs at Mets
Game 7: Sun, October 25  Cubs at Mets
And the contest is now a two-man race.
Lewis S     HOU    TOR    HOU    TOR    CHI    CHI    NYM    NYM    TOR
Jeff M      HOU    TOR    KCR    TOR    CHI    STL    NYM    NYM    TOR
Dan C       HOU    TOR    KCR    TOR    CHI    STL    NYM    STL    TOR
Jere S      HOU    TOR    KCR    KCR    CHI    CHI    LAD    CHI    KCR
Davide B    HOU    TOR    KCR    TOR    PIT    PIT    LAD    LAD    TOR
Antonio D   HOU    TOR    KCR    TOR    CHI    CHI    NYM    CHI    TOR
Charlie P   HOU    HOU    KCR    KCR    PIT    STL    LAD    LAD    KCR
Microtal    NYY    TOR    KCR    TOR    PIT    STL    LAD    LAD    TOR
Ben A       NYY    TOR    NYY    TOR    CHI    STL    LAD    STL    TOR
Brendan R   HOU    TOR    KCR    TOR    CHI    CHI    NYM    NYM    NYM
allan       HOU    TOR    KCR    TOR    CHI    CHI    LAD    CHI    CUBS!

More Bautista Bat Flip Fun

Grant Bisbee, SB Nation: "The Blue Jays and Rangers were tied before the seventh inning started. It was a taut, well-played game. Then THE WORLD EXPLODED, and we're still trying to figure out what happened. A listing ... so far: ..."

Grant Bisbee, SB Nation: "Every Reason Why Blue Jays-Rangers Game 5 Was One Of The Best, Weirdest Games Ever"

Canadian Bat Flips Throughout History.

I cannot stop watching Bautista's bat flip.

However, Rangers relief pitcher Sam Dyson is most likely not looping that vine: "Jose needs to calm that down, just kind of respect the game a little more. He's a huge role model for the younger generation that's coming up playing this game, and I mean he's doing stuff that kids do in Wiffle ball games and backyard baseball. It shouldn't be done."

My advice to Mr. Dyson? If you don't want batters admiring their bombs, don't give them up! ... Anyway, earlier in the series, Dyson's teammate Derek Holland mimed wiping his ass with a Jays rally towel, so fuck the Rangers and their misplaced sense of decorum.

Meanwhile, pitchers make all kinds of gestures when they strike out a guy for the 3rd out (who is the idiot who mimes a bow and arrow?). When will Dyson lecture us about how those guys "respect the game"? (This kid's mind doesn't seem too damaged!)

I'd rather have more gestures like that, more taunting and trash talking, from both sides. The games would be even more entertaining.

ALCS Schedule
Game 1: Friday, October 16     at Kansas City   8:07 PM
Game 2: Saturday, October 17   at Kansas City   4:07 PM
Game 3: Monday, October 19     at Toronto       8:07 PM
Game 4: Tuesday, October 20    at Toronto       TBD
Game 5: Wednesday, October 21  at Toronto       TBD
Game 6: Friday, October 23     at Kansas City   TBD
Game 7: Saturday, October 24   at Kansas City   TBD
Also: jbox, Gaslamp Ball: "Padres leadership proudly showed off their newest acquisition of ex-Red Sox Broadcaster Don Orsillo today."

October 14, 2015

If You Thought Ortiz's Bat Flips Were Extreme ...


Dombrowski Addresses Some Offseason Concerns

President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski spoke yesterday about what he hopes to accomplish this winter in setting the roster for the 2016 Red Sox.

Re the starters:
I would say that in our situation, when you have [Clay] Buchholz back and feeling good and then if you go from there, our depth in starting pitching is pretty good. I don't think the back end of our rotation is going to be the difficult part. We have [Rick] Porcello, [Wade] Miley, [Joe] Kelly. We saw [Henry] Owens, he pitched well. [Eduardo] Rodriguez can take that step forward at any point. I don't think it's the depth as much as much as you're looking for that one guy that maybe can be your horse that you can get.
Re Koji Uehara:
I didn't see [Uehara] for myself, as you know. His track record has been that he can handle the closing situation very well. People have told me he can fit different roles but also feel comfortable that he can close games at this point in his career. Right now he's our closer ... [Junichi] Tazawa is much more comfortable pitching the eighth inning instead of the ninth inning -- as you know he mixed and matched -- and Robbie Ross did a good job for us. But to say we're going to put that on his back completely going into next year, I would hope we could find somebody else in that regard.
Re the bullpen:
Ideally, you want an arm out there that can be a power arm that can get a strikeout at a key time. And Koji is a different type of guy. Tazawa can get that done for you, but he's not going to get that done for you in the ninth inning on a consistent basis, so he's not going to be that guy for us. ... I would like to add a power arm at some point.
Re Hanley Ramirez at first base:
We're committed to trying, to making the effort, and I believe Hanley is committed to making the effort to play first base. I will say that one thing that's nice is we do have some protection in Travis Shaw if we're in a spot. ... Will it work? Time will tell.

October 13, 2015

The Cubs Have Never Clinched A Postseason Series At Wrigley Field

Cubs win 6-4.


The Chicago Cubs have never clinched a postseason at Wrigley Field.

That could change this afternoon, when the Cubs host the St. Louis Cardinals (and starter John Lackey) in Game 4 of the National League Championship Series. Chicago leads the series 2-1 after hitting a postseason-record six home runs in last night's 8-6 victory.

Marc Normandin, SB Nation:
"Wrigley Field opened its doors in 1914, with the Cubs first playing there in 1916 when it was still called Weeghman Park. ...

"The only series that existed in the MLB playoffs until 1969 was the World Series -- the Cubs haven't won a World Series since 1908, before ground had even broken on Wrigley, and haven't even been to a World Series since 1945. They lost the NLCS in 1984 and 1989, and lost in their first League Division Series in 1998. The 2003 season actually represented the only playoff series -- not just World Series -- that the Cubs haven't lost since 1908, but that victory against [Atlanta] took five games, with the clinching contest coming at Turner Field in Atlanta."
(Normandin is not sure that last Wednesday's victory over the Pirates in Pittsburgh in the wild card game counts as a "series", but it was clearly a postseason game.)

Overall, since winning the 1908 World Series, the Cubs have lost the World Series in 1910, 1918, 1929, 1932, 1938, and 1945. They have lost the NLCS in 1984, 1989, and 2003. And they have lost the NLDS in 1998, 2007, and 2008. ... As Normandin noted, the Cubs won the 2003 NLDS.

October 11, 2015

Ortiz, Dombrowski Excited For 2016

Over their last 44 games - more than one-quarter of the season - the Red Sox went 26-18, a winning percentage of .591 that translates into a 96-win season.

David Ortiz, who will be coming back in 2016 for his 14th season in a Red Sox uniform, is excited about the future of the team:
You see guys like Bogaerts, who just turned 23, having a hell of a season. You see Mookie Betts, another young talented player, having the season he has put together. You see guys like Rodriguez pitching the way he pitched. You see Jackie Bradley Jr., the way he performed once he came back up. Porcello, the way he finished the season. It's something that gives you a lot of hope. Now we have the new [executive] and a new GM, who you can already see how [consumed] they are about the following season. It's something I'm very excited about.
President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski is also optimistic:
I think if we can be a in position where we make a couple of the right decisions this winter and a couple of acquisitions through trades or free agency, I think we have a chance to contend very quickly and I'm excited about that.
The Red Sox have asked Hanley Ramirez to drop 15-20 pounds before spring training. ... Gordon Edes hands out his awards for the 2015 Red Sox.

October 10, 2015

David Ortiz & The Hall Of Fame

David Ortiz Is Definitely A Hall Of Famer
Chad Finn,, September 16, 2015
I think he gets in with relative ease, perhaps not on the first ballot, but without much suspense or drama a year or two or three after he is first eligible. He has at least a year left of playing, maybe a couple more given that he has 28 homers in his last 79 games, then the obligatory five-year waiting period before he’s on the ballot. I’d suggest Papi should have what is likely to be the second-best speech of his life ready by, oh, 2024.

Looking Beyond 500, Punch A Ticket To Cooperstown For David Ortiz
Christina Kahrl, ESPN, September 15, 2015
I would bet on his ultimately making the Hall of Fame, not merely because of a magic round number like 500 home runs -- although that helps -- but because he was a key contributor in all three of Boston’s World Series wins, capped by his MVP performance in the 2013 victory against the Cardinals. ...

If I get the opportunity ... and have the space on my ballot, I will vote for Ortiz. After all, if the history of the game is what is at stake, how do you tell the story of the game over the past 15 years without Ortiz?
Ortiz Isn't A Bad Guy - Or A Hall Of Famer
Rob Neyer, Just A Bit Outside, March 31, 2015
His career numbers aren't really Hall of Fame-worthy, considering his nonexistent value as a defender and the shutouts of (so far) Edgar Martinez and Mark McGwire (among others).

Really, a good Hall of Fame case for Ortiz must give seriously heavy weight to his postseason performance. I have recommended using postseason performance as a sort of tiebreaker . . . but oddly, Ortiz hasn't been tremendously important in postseason games, according to this metric anyway (which doesn't include 2013, and Ortiz did hit a few big homers that October).
David Ortiz Not an Easy Choice for the Hall of Fame
Benjamin Hoffman, New York Times, August 19, 2015
Ortiz may be inducted someday. But to get him there, many of the unwritten rules of Hall of Fame voting will have to be ignored.

As it stands, he has three major strikes against him, each of which has been enough for voters to exclude players in the past. ...

Ortiz is a special case because of how exciting his career has been and how much success his teams have had. There are numerous examples of players who overcame being short of the typical benchmarks because of their unique abilities or because their primes were so bright. Ortiz would easily fit in with players like Catfish Hunter, Sandy Koufax, Kirby Puckett and Phil Rizzuto.

But to get to the Hall of Fame, he will need voters who have seemed hesitant suddenly to accept that a full-time designated hitter with less-than-stellar career totals and a positive drug test should be elected. (my emphasis)
For the record, the drug test the supposed Paper of Record confidently describes as "positive" was actually labelled as "inconclusive" by both the Players Association and MLB. A 2009 Yahoo article noted that no one "[can] say with any certainty that he even tested positive."

The Daily News reported that "Ortiz could be one of the eight players who are believed to have tested positive for a spiked dietary supplement in 2003, rather than for hard-core injectable steroids".

Is David Ortiz A Hall of Famer?
Marc Normandin, Over The Monster, September 14, 2015
(That, by the way, is the entire article!)

October 9, 2015

Postseason Quadrupleheader Today

12:30 PM - Rangers at Blue Jays
 3:30 PM - Astros at Royals
 6:30 PM - Cubs at Cardinals
 9:30 PM - Mets at Dodgers
Note: Lester/Lackey in the Cubs/Cards game!


MLB Not Enforcing New Pace-Of-Play Rules During Playoffs
Joe Rodgers, The Sporting News
Major League Baseball's attempt to speed up the pace of play shaved, on average, six minutes off the length of regular-season games. But don't expect the time of games to drop well into the playoffs.

MLB has elected not to warn players for any pace-of-play violations for the postseason due to the importance of the games.

Even as commercial breaks in the postseason have increased, certain pitchers in the wild-card games still weren't ready to pitch within the recommended time frame. ...

"That is a critical time in a do-or-die playoff game that is very different than a routine regular-season game," said Chris Marinak, an MLB senior vice president via the New York Times. "If it takes a few extra seconds to make sure a player is ready in a critical situation, I think our fans can live with that."
MLB umpires will also not enforce the rule-book strike zone during the postseason. I wonder what other rules have they decided to suspend.

October 6, 2015

Schadenfreude 185 (A Continuing Series)

And at 11:15 PM, October 6 became YANKEE ELIMINATION DAY!

AL Wild Card Game
Astros  - 010 100 100 - 3  5  0
Yankees - 000 000 000 - 0  3  0

George A. King III, Post:
Swinging wet newspapers, the "Men Without Bats" were dominated for the third time this year by Astros lefty Dallas Keuchel on the way to 3-0 loss that ended their season in front of a sold-out and season-high Yankee Stadium crowd of 50,113 that was willing to get involved but never given a reason.

When they exercised their vocal chords it was to boo Brett Gardner after he grounded out in the eighth inning. Gardner played center field over Jacoby Ellsbury because Joe Girardi wanted Chris Young's right-handed bat in the lineup against Keuchel, and Gardner whiffed three times against Keuchel. Ellsbury was booed when he ended the eighth on a pop-up as a pinch-hitter. ...

The Yankees' late-season slide in which they appeared to be under the influence of Quaaludes – they lost six of seven to end the year – continued and sent them home after nine nondescript postseason innings.

It was the Yankees' fifth straight postseason loss. The last time the Yankees won a postseason game was Game 5 of the 2012 ALDS ...

After holding the Yankees scoreless in 16 innings during the regular season, Keuchel was just as good despite pitching on three days' rest for the first time as a pro ...

In six shutout innings, the talented lefty allowed three singles, faced two batters with runners in scoring position and walked one.
Peter Botte, Daily News:
Cy Young hopeful Dallas Keuchel continued his dominance over the Yanks in three 2015 starts, as the bearded lefty stifled them over six shutout innings on three-days' rest and the Astros sent them home early with a one-and-done 3-0 victory in the AL wild-card game Tuesday night at the Stadium.

Masahiro Tanaka coughed up solo home runs to Colby Rasmus and ex-Met Carlos Gomez in his five innings, but neither the Japanese righty nor the Yankees' meek lineup were any match for Keuchel (87 pitches) and three relievers. The All-Star lefty also had tossed 16 scoreless innings in two starts against the Bombers during the regular season. ...

In the organization's first playoff game since 2012, however, the Yanks' batters looked off-balance all night and often expressed displeasure with home-plate umpire Eric Cooper's strike zone. ...

[Alex Rodriguez] came to the plate with two runners on and two outs following singles by Gregorius and Carlos Beltran in the sixth. But he lifted Keuchel's first pitch to shallow center to extend his postseason hitless string with runners in scoring position to 19 consecutive at-bats.
Dan Martin, Post:
The Yankee Stadium crowd waited all night to get excited, but Dallas Keuchel hardly took his foot off the Yankees' offense throat.

Finally, with two outs in the sixth, the Yankees got their first — and only — rally of the night with runners on first and second and two out and Alex Rodriguez coming to the plate.

"I thought that was going to be the moment for us that was going to turn it around, but it [wasn't]," manager Joe Girardi said after the Yankees went meekly in Tuesday's wild-card game 3-0 to the Astros in The Bronx.

After a leadoff single by Didi Gregorius, a strikeout by Brett Gardner, Chris Young hit into a force out to bring up Carlos Beltran, who singled to center.

But Rodriguez swung at Keuchel's first pitch and flied harmlessly to center.
Kevin Kernan, Post:
At least Joe Girardi doesn't have to change his number next year.

Not like he changed his lineup Tuesday night by benching $153 million man Jacoby Ellsbury in favor of Chris Young and putting the struggling Brett Gardner in the leadoff spot in a desperate attempt to find offense, any offense for the moribund Yankees.

Ellsbury has had his troubles, too. Nothing worked. This night was nothing to go wild about.

The Yankees are done. They were put out of their misery by the Astros at Yankee Stadium with another hitless-wonder performance, shut out 3-0 by Dallas Keuchel & Co.

After two years of finishing out of the playoffs, the Yankees could not muster a postseason victory.
Girardi could not push the right buttons to get the Yankees' offense going.

New York now belongs to the Mets the rest of the postseason.
Anthony McCarron, Daily News:
This was surely not what they all envisioned, back at the giddy press conferences or over filet mignon at the recruiting dinners, where they doubtless dreamed of long October runs and postseason glory.

Both Jacoby Ellsbury and Masahiro Tanaka signed big-bucks contracts in the winter before the 2014 season, but both were not nearly the factors they hoped to be in their first Yankee taste of the postseason, Tuesday's 3-0 wild card loss to Houston.

Ellsbury did not start and only popped up as a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning. Tanaka was the Yanks' choice to start the game, but only threw five innings and 83 pitches ..

It was a rough night for two men who are supposed to be among the cornerstones of these Yankee years. And players who are making a combined $308 million should never be this kind of October afterthought ...
Joel Sherman, Post:
Pick your word: Feeble. Meek. Lifeless.

This is how the Yankees sleep-walked into the offseason, sent off by home boos over the final few innings. They lost 3-0 to the Astros, compounding a miserable finish to the season that dimmed the joy of a first playoff berth in three years.

The nine innings also accentuated most worries about a team trying to squeeze the last vestiges of skill out of older players while rebuilding on the fly. ...

Ellsbury didn't even start this wild-card game as Joe Girardi opted instead for Brett Gardner, who whiffed in all three of his at-bats against Keuchel. Ellsbury has five years at nearly $111 million left on his contract, and the Yankees probably can only expect his fragility to rise and his athleticism to diminish, leaving what exactly? ...

In 21 of their final 61 games, the Yankees scored two or fewer runs. And they scored none in 22 innings against Keuchel in 2015. ...

The aura in the Stadium was like when Josh Beckett pitched on three days' rest in World Series Game 6 in 2003 – an anticipatory crowd was lulled into slow silence with the realization the Yankees were not going to hit their nemesis.

Or anybody. The Yanks never got a runner even to third base against Keuchel, Tony Sipp, Will Harris and Luke Gregerson.

Their season ended without much resistance ...

Daily News:
Some Yankees fans have embraced Alex Rodriguez — even after his season-long PED suspension — but this New Jersey grandmother wasn't one of them.

Helen Fowler, 85, of Cranford, N.J., died on Sept. 29, according to The Star-Ledger, and in her obituary was referred to as "... a lifelong Yankees fan, with the exception of Alex Rodriguez."

2015 Postseason Contest Entries

2015 Postseason Contest
allan       HOU    TOR    KCR    TOR    CHI    CHI    LAD    CHI    CUBS!
Lewis S     HOU    TOR    HOU    TOR    CHI    CHI    NYM    NYM    TOR
Jeff M      HOU    TOR    KCR    TOR    CHI    STL    NYM    NYM    TOR
Dan C       HOU    TOR    KCR    TOR    CHI    STL    NYM    STL    TOR
Jere S      HOU    TOR    KCR    KCR    CHI    CHI    LAD    CHI    KCR
Davide B    HOU    TOR    KCR    TOR    PIT    PIT    LAD    LAD    TOR
Antonio D   HOU    TOR    KCR    TOR    CHI    CHI    NYM    CHI    TOR
Charlie P   HOU    HOU    KCR    KCR    PIT    STL    LAD    LAD    KCR
Microtal    NYY    TOR    KCR    TOR    PIT    STL    LAD    LAD    TOR
Ben A       NYY    TOR    NYY    TOR    CHI    STL    LAD    STL    TOR
Brendan R   HOU    TOR    KCR    TOR    CHI    CHI    NYM    NYM    NYM
World Series Picks
Blue Jays   7
Royals      2
Cubs        1
Mets        1

October 5, 2015

Terry Francona, TV Critic

Hey, Tito, what do you think about NESN?