ALCS Game 3 Recap

Last night as we saw, Verlander and the Tigeres defeated the Yankees 2-1 to take a 3-0 series lead in the ALCS.  So, with this you’re asking how alive are the Yankees world series aspirations? They are less alive than a Dodo bird.  Verlander definitely didn’t have the best movement on his pitches last night, but he still was able to hold the Yankees to three hits over eight and a third.  Also, the Nunez homerun in the ninth was his first earned run allowed in his last 23 innings.

For some reason, with runners on first and second in the ninth, Joe Girardi had Ibanez bat against Phil Coke.  To give you an idea of how bad it is to have Ibanez bat against a lefty, just about any abled person in the stands would have hit Coke better. (and they’re Tigers fans, they’d try to strike out!)  If only Girardi had a switch hitter on his bench to pinch-hit for Ibanez….

Anyway, tonight the Yankees will hope to salvage and have the fanbase pretend they can bring the series home.  But honestly, Yankee fans are probably already dialed in to the Giants (or Jets) football seasons.  Sabathia will pitch the Yankees into this game, and continue pitching until his arm falls off, but considering he’s probably their best hitter right now and he won’t bat is probably not helping the Yankees’ situation.

How can Girardi win? First, have CC bat.  He’s a career .238 hitter sure, but all you need is Scherzer confused enough on one pitch, throw a fastball, and have CC crush a homerun. Second, start Swisher and A-Rod, and remove them when Scherzer is taken out.  The Yankees have shown they can’t manufacture runs, and Scherzer has a high HR%, so take your chances that you’ll hit a homerun and have CC do the rest.

Triple Crowns and MVPs

by Michael Scully

As we all know last night Miguel Cabrera right after Granderson was pulled from the Yankee game, the first player to do so since Carl Yazstremski in 1967. So with this achievement he’s made the AL MVP water even murkier than before.

The Consensus is pretty much clear on whom the AL MVP is; if you’re a new aged stats nerd, then Trout is your clear winner. However, if you’re an oldie, then you’re probably leaning towards Cabrera. The debate is moot at this point as the sides are more divided than political parties in America are. What really saddens us here is that this debate may linger through the postseason and that’s the last thing we’d want to happen. Therefore, we’ve decided to write a reconciliation piece now, which will run when the announcement of AL MVP occurs. We will explain to the stats guys why Cabrera won, and to the oldies why Trout won.
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A Man among Men (Part 2)

by Michael Scully

Last week, we detailed Chris Carpenter’s return to the majors only three months after having his rib removed. We predicted a line of: 5IP 1ER 5H 1BB 4K. What he pitched was an eerily close 5IP 2ER 5H 1BB 2K performance. He was limited to 77 pitches to insure he doesn’t reinjure himself after working hard to come back to the team this season for the playoffs.

Tonight, Carpenter gets the nod again looking to regain his form from last year and be ready for the playoffs. The last time he pitched against the Astros was game 162 last year, where he delivered a dominating two hit shutout performance while striking out eleven. We don’t expect him to do this again as he should be limited to around 85-90 pitches, and it appears as if he hasn’t gotten full command of his sinker yet. Regardless expect a line of 5 2/3 IP 4H 1ER 1BB 3K against the helpless Astros.
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Hold Your Horses (well Halos)

by Michael Scully

Over the past couple of days, I’ve been reading in the SABR community how Mike Trout is the hands down MVP for the AL this year. Their argument essentially comes down to this: Mike Trout’s WAR is far greater than that of Miguel Cabrera’s; therefore, Trout should win the MVP. And of course, their second argument is along the lines of “Nah, nah, nah, I’m not listening.”

We will paint a picture of how and why Miguel Cabrera is not necessarily a wrong choice for the MVP. Our arguments will be based on the following; when a win isn’t a win, is WAR context based or neutral based, and of course should the rarity of the Triple Crown have any impact?

To start, what is WAR? WAR is the acronym for Wins Above Replacement which is used to describe how well a player plays above a replacement [read AAA] player who is called up, to conveniently enough, replace him. The replacement player is assumed to be an abstract constant dependent on the year such that a 2 WAR player is league average, 5 WAR is All-Star, 8 WAR is MVP, and 10+ WAR is essentially your future HOFer. With 10 games left, Trout sits at 9.5 fWAR (Fangraphs WAR) and 10.4 rWAR (bref WAR) while Cabrera sits at 6.9 fWAR and 6.4 rWAR respectively.
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Agony of the Pirates

As some of you may know, yesterday was national talk like a Pirate day. RJ just happens to be a Pirates fan and every year he tells me how they’re going to beat the Cardinals and every September they’re irrelevant. Here are his thoughts on this turmoil.

My prediction this year was the same prediction I make every year. “The Pittsburgh Pirates will win the National League pennant.” So far I have been wrong every year but when it does finally happen, I will look like a genius. Right now I am just praying to see eight more wins.
Eight wins. That’s all my beloved Pittsburgh Pirates need to avoid a 20th consecutive losing season. Ever since Sid Bream slid across home plate in the 1992 NLCS, the Bucco faithful have not seen their team win 82 games. 1992!

In 1992 gas cost $1.05 per gallon, Bill Clinton was getting settled into the White House and people were pumped to watch new movies like Aladdin on VHS (Aladdin seen here). I personally can not remember the last time the Pirates were considered “winners.” Last year the black and gold boys of summer got off to a hot start, only to collapse after the all-star break to secure losing season number 19. This year the Pirates got themselves to 16 games over .500. They couldn’t possibly collapse again this year, right? Actually they could. The Bucs currently sit at 74-74 after the worst slide since Kelly Shoppach (the horrible slide).

It’s 2012, gas is pushing $4 a gallon, and the lack of new movie ideas has forced theaters to play old flicks in 3D, but the Pirates are still losing. So if you need something to cheer for other than your favorite competitive ball team, cheer for the Pirates to get just eight more wins.

A Man among men

Ladies and gentlemen, Chris Carpenter will make his season debut on Friday. This is just three short months after having surgery on July 3rd to relieve stress in his upper body caused by thoracic outlet syndrome.

The procedure he undertook involved removing one of his ribs so that his upper body can move more freely. The recovery time of such an injury is normally six months. Carpenter has willed himself to be durable before, most notably last season when he pitched game seven of the world series on three days rest. As with all other Cardinals post season runs, they will go as far as Carpenter can take them. Hopefully, his return sparks a similar resilience the team possessed last September and October.

We expect Carpenter will be limited to five innings despite his wishes. Over all the line should read: 5IP 6H 1ER 1BB 4K

Fun Fact: Chris Carpenter is from the same hometown as blogger Sean Twomey.

Looking back

by Michael Scully

So as the baseball season winds down I’d like to take a look back at some of my predictions:

1- The New York Yankees finish at best 3rd
This was based on the Yankees being and old team and injuries occurring with the fact that both the Jays and Orioles were improving my initial view was: Rays, Red Sox, Orioles, Yankees, Jays. Unfortunately for my prediction, the Red Sox were unable to unite under Bobby V. However, the Rays are not yet eliminated from making this prediction true.

2- The Phillies finish at best 3rd
Again, old team waiting for injuries and for most of the season were in the cellar of the NLEast. My initial thinking was Braves, Nats, Marlins, Phils, Mets. With the Nationals and Braves 11+ games up, I’ll consider this a win.

3- Angels do not make the playoffs
This was chalked up more as a Cardinals fan being bitter, but I felt the team was missing something. Looking at the team now, they’re missing a spark. A David Eckstein if you will, to rally around. The Dodgers seem to have the same problem, but they have Josh Beckett, so by season end they might prefer some brews on the links.