Or is he back already
ASTROS 1, PESKY RODENT ANGELS 0
Brandon Phillips led off the ballgame with a sharp line-drive double off Justin Verlander's 95-MPH center cut, 1-1 fastball. From there to the closer in the 9th, Verlander deliciously NO-HIT the Angels. How sweet it is, and the Astros' rotation against us this weekend is now Charlie Morton, Dallas Keuchel, TBA.
Lance McCullers was just scratched from a start with arm "fatigue" and if that hinders him in the playoffs, what a blow to Houston.
BALMER 2, JAYS 3
Our second-fave team in September is pretty much Toronto, from the looks of our rivals' schedule. Joe Biagaini threw a near Mega Quality Start (8 IP, 2 ER) off of two strikeouts. The O's wasted a Paxtonesque start by Dylan Bundy, 6 IP 5 H 1 R 1 BB 8 K. Don't you love it when your starter weed-wacks the enemy for two hours and your ballclub loses the game?
Kendrys Morales and Justin Smoak had big hits. Smoak's batting a round .280 (not "around" .280 a nice round .280) with an OBP of a round .360 and a SLG of a nice edgy .553. He's got 63 walks and 37 homers, the way it looked like on that Baseball Prospectus cover with his minor league jersey on.
Other teams of interest won, except Texas, we heard. Minnesota "wasted" fifteen runs, in the sense that they won 16-0. Leaving:
- Minny +6
- LAA +2
- Tex =
- KC =
- Sea -1
- TB -2
- Balmer -3
WOULDA BEEN A GREAT PENNANT RACE
It used to be that there was one division, called "The American League," and pennant chases consisted of the best team in the league against the second-best team in the league. Let's say they were doin' that this year?
AUGUST 1st --- > HOU 69-37, CLE 57-48 leaving the Indians -11.5 games back in the standings.
SEPTEMBER 13th --- > CLE 89-56, HOU 87-57, leaving the Indians +1.5 up in the standings.
Even on August 23rd the Tribe would have been -7.5 games back, making up 9 games in 20 days*.
UND TAKE ZIS MIT YOU
At BJOL there is a discussion on the "streakiest" teams of all time. On August 19th, the Dodgers were 87-34 and up +20.0 games, which reminds you of the old joke that Ralph Houk liked to be up 10 games on the 4th of July "and then slowly pull away." Anyway, an 87-34 team is on a 116.5 win pace. The strike-shortened 1994 Indians were 100 and 44 and that always hit me as the most "awe-inspiring" team I'd seen since Rose, Morgan and Bench.
Such a team, an 87-34 team, just posted the longest losing streak in Los Angeles Dodgers history at -11 games. Imagine some other one of the 108+ win teams, like the 1998 Yankees, ripping off a losing streak like that.
James was asked about it and he said, "I don't know what's going on." Which, we will point out gently, if there's no such thing as "hot and cold" in baseball (or almost no such thing) then we would of course know what was going on: absolutely nothing is going on. It's just luck. Or injury, at worst, which, are the Dodgers injured?
The takeaway for the Mariner fan: when they calculate those Playoff Odds Percentages they assume there's never anythin' goin' on. Me? I disagree.
Winning 12 of the 17 seems steep, but that's probably what we'll need.*
Here's the good news. The Mariners have sent sub-0 WAR SPs to the mound 60 times so far this year. They are a .400 baseball team in those games (and only because they are 12-8 in games where their starter gets a no-decision). In the other 85 games they've played they are a .564 team.
They currently do not project to start a sub-0 WAR SP for the rest of the season. .564 x 17 games equals 9.6 wins. We only need to get a couple of bounces to go our way to get 12 wins.
*The Win! Twins! could go no better than 9-9 over their remaining schedule for 84 to be enough.
The Mariners have a big win streak in them, assuming Ariel Miranda doesn't start again. I hope they can unleash it. I hope that if they do get some momentum, they don't crush themselves as soon as they reach +3. The hunt is still on.
Twinkies have Toronto, NY, Detroit, Cleveland, Detroit to finish the season.
The Yankees will be motivated to keep the home field advantage in the WC game. Cleveland will be motivated to keep the home field advantage throughout the AL playoffs.
Detroit and Toronto motivated? Not so much.
I sent in the question about the Dodgers to James. The quotes from Kershaw after they beat the Giants on Tuesday were revealing. Here's one of them: "Every time the losses keep mounting and mounting, it becomes that much harder to win a game."
I would have expected him to be right around where Haniger is at +3. Is he percieved as a bad fielder? Surely not down there with Melky Cabrera.
He has that Jeter-style approach where he leaps for everything so he looks great... but a better fielder would have easily gotten to it without laying out. He's a dirt-dog, but grit doesn't make you a great fielder despite what Bloomquist fans would tell you. As Gamel's BABIP has come down (it's still .350 and thus not representative, but it's not .420 anymore) his offense is regressing to Center-Field-level. Unfortunately I just don't think his glove isn't there - and that's always been my concern with him.
It's funny because he's much more enjoyable to watch on a daily basis than I expected. Even with his launch-level change and early success though I worry about how to deploy him. Eric Filia in the minors is the same way, but at least he takes walks. Haniger is a good everything, and exactly what I dreamed he would be watching him in Arizona. Gamel has had a good year and yet I'm still hesitant to buy in for the exact same reasons I was a year ago.
Maybe that's just internal bias at work. ;)
"Seattle is also open-minded to the pitcher/designated hitter role Ohtani is said to covet, according to 1 source."
Video link for Morosi: https://www.mlb.com/video/morosi-on-latest-ohtani-news/c-1831935283
I can't imagine why any team wouldn't give Otani that opportunity. Even if simply to get him in the fold.