Five weeks ago, I took a stab at who might win the Cy Young (left) and MVP (below) awards in each league. Yesterday, the top three finalists were announced in each category (somebody had a good idea). The field looks remarkably similar to the players I predicted would be in contention, except for the inclusion of Sonny Gray who emerged as a candidate for the AL Cy Young.
While my reasoning behind the selections I made remains constant, my selections now are a bit different, mainly because the Post Season is now over. In the same way I put stock in a player’s TEAM making the playoffs, I now think that player’s performance in the Post Season counts equally as much. So, let’s get to the picks….. Continue reading
Posted in Altercation, Arizona Diamondbacks, Baseball, Baseball Blog, Baseball Blogs, baseball playoffs, Baseball Reference, baseball stats, Bryce Harper, Bryce Harper, Clayton Kershaw, Cy Young Award, Dallas Keutchel, David Price, Houston Astros, Houston Astros, Jake Arrieta, josh Donaldson, Mike Trout, MLB, MLB Blogs, MLB Video, MVP, MVP AWARD, New York Yankees, Paul Goldschmidt, Player Of the Year, post season awards, Reflections On Baseball, Toronto blue jays, Washington Nationals, Zach Greineke, Zach Greinke
Tagged baseball, Baseball Blogs, Bryce Harper, Cy Young Award, David Price, HOUSTON ASTROS, MLB Network, MLB Video, MVP AWARD, New York Yankees, Paul Goldschmidt, post season awards, Reflections On Baseball, Toronto Blue Jays, Washington Nationals
Oops, the Toronto vs Kansas City series hasn’t even concluded yet. But, believe me it’s over. At home, there is no way the Royals lose two straight, even with David Price (who has not exactly been Mr. Reliable in playoffs no matter where he has pitched) starting tonight for the Blue Jays.
So let’s get on with it. And let’s start with the probability that this will be a very entertaining World Series. On the one hand, you have the Royals with last year’s experience to build on facing the Mets with maybe one or two exceptions I can’t think of playing on Center Stage in baseball’s Fall Classic. for the first time.
Last year, the Royals met Mr. Bumgartner and the Giants. No doubt, “Bum” tore the Royals up. This year, they’ll be facing not one – but four prominent starters the Mets throw out there – each with 97-100 mph fastballs along with a litany of polished and tantalizing breaking balls. Plus, the Mets have that guy Familia (did anyone know his name in April) who appeared out of nowhere and continues to dominate.
On the Royals side, you have the patient and clutch presence of guys like Eric Hosmer (left) and Alex Gordon (below) who “get it done”. Meanwhile, “something” appears to be wrong with Johnny Cueto and he and the Royals need to figure that out soon. But, to counterstrike their deference to the Mets in starting pitching, they have the knockout punch of a bullpen if the game is close.
And therein lies the key. The Mets were able to never let the Cubs even reach the door, much less enter it. The Royals however are a different brand right now. They do come back with a string of singles and doubles when they have fallen behind. Thus, the question is really how far the Mets starters can go into the game to prevent such an attack in the middle innings. In this regard, the whole question of innings pitched to date (and it’s getting way up there) raises its ugly head again for the Mets. How far do you let these young arms go?
In sum, we are not only going to be entertained by this Series, but we will be talking about it throughout the Hot Stove season. If I were a betting man, I’d stay away from this one. Meanwhile, we can just sit back and enjoy it as baseball fans.
Posted in 2015 Playoffs, Alex Gordon, Baseball, Baseball Blogs, Bullpens, David Price, David Wright, Eric Hosmer, Kansas City Royals, New York Mets, World Championships, World Series
Tagged 2015 Playoffs, Alex Gordon, baseball, Baseball Blogs, Bullpens, David Wright, Eric Hosmer, Fall Classic, Kansas City Royals, Lucas Duda, New York Mets, pitching, starting pitchers, World Series, World Series odds
What is the one thing that you never hear anyone saying about the Toronto Blue Jays? It’s not their awesome lineup…..we hear plenty about that. It’s also not their lack of star power……they have plenty of that too with Bautista, Price, Tulowitski, and Encarnation. It’s not any of that. What you never hear anyone say about the Blue Jays is that they are a closely knit team. And you never hear about it because they simply don’t have one (not yet anyway).
You might recall that the Jays played a rather dismal first half of the season. Far into July, they were as many as seven games behind the Yankees. The wind had yet to catch their sails and it didn’t look like they were capable of creating a small draft themselves. Then ownership stepped in with an open checkbook and the willingness to give the team a makeover at the expense of their farm system. In came Tulo and Price and off they went as the Yankees couldn’t seem to run fast enough to get out of their way.
To be fair, often a team with a bunch of All Stars with $20 million + in yearly salaries finds it a challenge to blend together as a team. It’s also true that they haven’t been playing together as a unit for very long either.
Still, the Cubs, Royals, and Mets are clearly solidified as teams who work together to achieve a common goal. For the Royals, this is their second year with the same group of guys. In the crunch of the playoffs, good teams play with a bounce in their step. They scrounge for runs. They move runners over. They throw strikes. Toronto had none of this last night. It looks like it’s home run or bust.
I’m not saying that the Blue Jays can’t or won’t take it all the way. They could easily hit ten home runs over the next two games. But one thing you will not see is their team playing small ball – sometimes called Playoff Baseball. The players will always say it’s just another game we’re playing. But, it’s a different style of play that wins games at this point in the year. Good “teams” know that.
Posted in 2015 Playoffs, Baseball, Baseball Blogs, Chicago cubs, David Price, Home Runs, Jose Bautista, Kansas City Royals, New York Mets, Small Ball, Team building, Team work, Toronto blue jays, Troy Tulowitski, World Championships, World Series
Tagged 2015 Playoffs, baseball, Baseball Blogs, Chicago Cubs, David Price, Home Run, Jose Bautista, Kansas City Royals, New York Mets, New York Yankees, Small Ball, team building, Toronto Blue Jays, troy tulowiski, World Championships, World Series
This is the second in a series dedicated to Jimmy Cannon, the late but not forgotten journalist who wrote a weekly column read by his many followers.
****If I were Chase Utley’s agent, I would advise him to drop his appeal. He didn’t play last night and it is unlikely that Mattingly would thrust him into the fray tonight. That makes two games “served”. MLB would probably buy that. Meanwhile, he can conjure up a statement that says something like, “Maybe, I was a little too aggressive on that play” – and we move on til the Winter when the Baseball Gods meet to refine the rules.
****David Price coming into a game in the fifth inning with a five run lead tells me that either the Blue Jays have no confidence in their bullpen or maybe they were just desperate to get Price a playoff win, cheap as it was.
****There is no reason why games need to be scheduled one at a time. Fans should be able to pick the game of their choosing, much like we see with the NFL. Oops, I forgot – what’s wrong with me? That would negate the $$$ grab by MLB and their sponsors.
****Joe Madden is a perfect fit for the city of Chicago and the Cubs.
****Okay, how many of you will be watching the Democratic Debate on CNN tonight? Raise your hands please, I can’t see them.
****I tend to like watching playoff baseball, especially because the crowds are frenzied and very loud – and this trends to drown out the voices of the announcers.
****But on the other hand, I would buy my own satellite if I could listen to Vin Scully’s call of a ballgame every night.
****Either the strike zone graphics we see now are off or these umpires are doing a pretty darn good job of calling balls and strikes these days.
****Could the resume of Joe Torre as both a successful player and manager support the position he has now with MLB any better? Sometimes, they do get things right.
****Is there any doubt now (despite what Terry Collins said that he was “saving him” for the crucial third game last night) that Jacob DeGrom is the Ace of the Met’s staff – and not Matt The Brat.
Posted in 2015 Playoffs, Announcers, Baseball, Baseball Blog, baseball owners, Chase Utley take out slide, David Price, Jacob deGrom, Jimmy Cannon, Joe Torre, Matt Harvey, MLB, New York Mets, Toronto blue jays, TV Money, Vin Scully
Tagged 2015 Playoffs, Announcers, baseball, Baseball Blogs, Chase Utley, Chicago Cubs, David Price, Don Mattingly, Jimmy Cannon, Joe Madden, Joe Torre, MLB, New York Mets, Terry Collins, TV Money, Umpire strike zone, Vin Scully
New York Yankees manager Joe Girard’s press conference yesterday included a look forward to 2016 as well as a glance backward at ” what happened”. Most telling were his largely defensive comments explaining how he tried to give his aging lineup enough rest so they could limp to the finish line. Left unsaid, probably because he’s a true professional, is the question he must have been asking himself all season……..”Why do I even have to deal with this?”
The New York Yankees are old. Even Brett Gardner (left) who is considered “young” by team standards will be 33 next August. Along with Jacob Ellsbury, (below) he appeared to lose his legs down the stretch and both weighed heavily in the Yankee’s decline and inability to catch the Blue Jays. More telling, Ellsbury was sat by Girardi against Houston in favor of Chris Young. He may regret that decision now but it is indicative of the decisions Girardi had to cope with all year.
Even more baffling was Girardi’s insistence that the Yankees are good to go for next year. Again, he is not the type to put any of his players in harm’s way. But he could have deferred the question to Brian Cashman who will be weighing in soon and it is likely that he will have a entirely different take on next year’s roster. More importantly, ownership is likely to take notice of the continuing decline of TV ratings on YES. Even fans like myself found my way to SNY and the youthful and energetic Mets more often than not. We’ve seen this cast before and watching Alex Rodriguez go 1-4 with three strikeouts and a home run is getting downright boring. And I sense that a good portion of the fan base agrees.
Some tough decisions need to be made quickly. CC Sabathia is one of them. As difficult as it would be (in light of his personal problems now), he needs to be cut loose and his salary eaten. Same with Teixeria who is a injury waiting to happen all year, every year. The kids the Yankees have need to be in the forefront of the lineup and in full view of the fans and media. Greg Bird, Luis Severino, Michael (above) Pineda (if he can stay healthy and grow up – pine tar?) and Rob Refsnyder are budding stars. Don’t let them wait for a spot to clear in the lineup when a aging “regular” goes down with injury. And for God sakes, do not sign David Price or any other veteran over the age of 26.
In truth, the Yankees are no longer fun to watch. That needs to change………and while I’m thinking about it…….maybe a change at the helm needs to be made too. $$$ is always the big factor though and a year of Girardi’s contract would need to be eaten. We know what George would have done regardless of the cost. His son Hal moves to center stage now………it’s been six long years since the Yankees posted a Championship in 2009. The Boss would never have stood for that…..no way….no how.
Posted in 2015 Playoffs, Alex Rodriguez, Baseball, Baseball Blogs, baseball owners, baseball's young talent, Brian Cashman, business of baseball, c.c sabathia, David Price, down the stretch, farm system, George Steinbrenner, Greg Bird, Hal Steinbrenner, homegrown talent, joe girardi, Mark texieria, New York Mets, New York Yankees, press conference, Rob Refsnyder, Season Epitaph, The Boss, Toronto blue jays
Tagged 2015 Playoffs, 2016 Season, aging team, Alex Rodriguez, baseball, Baseball Blogs, Brett Gardner, CC Sabathia, George Steinbrenner, Greg Bird, Hal Steinbrenner, injuries, Joe girardi, mark Teixeria, Michael Pineda, New York Mets, New York Yankees, press conference, Rob Refsnyder, season epitaph
It’s always fun at this time of the year to predict what the baseball writers will do when they select their choices for the Cy Young and MVP awards at the conclusion of the World Series. This year, there is competition in at least three of the four award categories and as in the past, arguments will prevail throughout the Hot Stove season regardless of who is chosen. Today, we’ll take a look at the Cy Young and you can join the fun taking exception to my picks (comments).
We have a three way battle between Clayton Kershaw, Jake Arietta (left), and Zach Greinke in the National League. Both Kershaw and Arietta had scorching second halves and in the case of Arietta, an argument could be made that the Cubs would be packing their bags and heading home tonight if not for his presence. Zach Greinke on the other hand has been a consistent presence for the Dodgers over the course of the entire season. He lost just three games and finished with the lowest ERA in the Majors in twenty years (Greg Maddox). It’s often said that the games played in April count the same as the ones played during crunch time in September. For that reason alone, Greinke gets my vote hands down.
In the American League, the choices would seem to be between Dallas Keutchel of the Houston Astros and David Price (left) who was rescued from the declining Tigers mid season by the Blue Jays. David Price has been and will continue to be a winner no matter where he pitches. He’s a workhorse who piles up innings like the pitchers of yesteryear did and is not prone to injuries that put him out of service for any length of time. Keutchel, (right)
￼on the other hand, has had a phenomenal year and the same could be said for him as with Jake Arietta – where would the Astros be without him? But to me, the award should be given to an established hurler and Keutchel reminds me too much of Corey Kluber who won the award last season (I know, you say Corey who?) and disappeared off the radar this year. David Price is a pitcher’s pitcher who dominates and is always two pitches ahead of the hitters he faces game in and game out – he gets my vote in a very tight battle for the Cy Young in the American League.
Posted in 2015, American League, Baseball, Baseball Blogs, Best Pitchers, Clayton Kershaw, Cy Young Award, Dallas Keutchel, David Price, Houston Astros, Los Angeles Dodgers, National League, Toronto blue jays, Zach Greinke
Tagged 2015, American League, Baseball Blogs, baseball season, Best Pitchers, Clayton Kershaw, Cy Young Award, Dallas Keutchel, David Price, HOUSTON ASTROS, los Angeles Dodgers, National League, Toronto Blue Jays, Zach Greinke