ALDS Games Three, 2015

Early game: Royals at Astros, 1:00PM PT, TV: MLBN

The Royals send Edinson Volquez (13-9, 3.55 ERA) out to face the Astros’ Dallas Keuchel (20-8, 2.48 ERA). Keuchel is the American League’s only 20-game winner and went six scoreless innings in the Wild Card game against the Yankees. Volquez has been a serviceable pitcher his entire 11-year career, winning 13 for the second year in a row. MLB has some more game notes.

Late game: Blue Jays at Rangers, 5:00PM PT, TV: FS1

The Blue Jays are down 0-2 in this series and have to win today. To that end they send Marco Estrada (who?) out to save their season. He was 13-8 with a 3.13 ERA on the year. The Rangers counter with lefty Martin Perez (3-6, 4.46 ERA). He would seem to be an odd choice, since right-handed batters hit .304 against him this season and the Jays have a lot of them. He finished strongly, though, giving up only one earned run over 13 innings in his last two starts. Game notes.

  • WBBsAs

    Vólquez passes the “old friend” test. Meanwhile, there’s a nice short appreciation of Vin in the NYT Sunday magazine: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/11/magazine/letter-of-recommendation-vin-scully.html

    • Bob_in_Vegas

      Thanks for the link.
      As usual with pieces on Vin — especially lately –, I read the comments. This one especially resonated with me:

      “While most announcers serve as a conduit to the team they support, Vin IS the team we support. Quite simply, there is no more important Dodger than Vin. I loathe the day I won’t hear him over the radio while sitting in traffic without a care in the world enjoying Vin’s poetry.
      His ability to resonate with generations of fans without changing his style one bit is extraordinary. There will never be another Vin.”

  • WBBsAs

    It’s amusing that Houston’s starting pitcher is named “Dallas.” It’s less amusing who threw out the first ball at Enron Field.

    • I don’t mind the old man. His sons, however…

      • WBBsAs

        It’s all relative, so to speak.

  • Audit
    • WBBsAs

      I thought it was a hard slide, and a late slide, but not necessarily a dirty play. I’ve done a take-out slide in a slow-pitch game, but nothing like what Utley did.

      I was surprised that it was scored a fielder’s choice, as Murphy made a poor flip to Tejada, who then missed the bag – either one could have drawn an error on the play, or else Kendrick should have been credited with a hit.

    • I don’t give much credence to Pedro. I looked it up. He hit 141 guys in his career, and I’m pretty sure a bunch of those were intentional. Whining about a hard slide? Pfft.

      • WBBsAs

        I recall an extra-inning game at Candlestick when the Gnats had the potential winning run at third with one out, and Gnatt Williams at bat. Pedro knocked him flat with one pitch, and then K’d him on a slider away. The Dodgers won the game the next inning.

    • WBBsAs

      Candid comment of the day from Brisbee: “I tend to attract whiny Gnatfans…”

  • WBBsAs

    Utley presumably suspended, but we’ll see… https://twitter.com/MLB_PR/status/653378536347201536

    • RBI

      Wow. This is a surprise. But I guess the headlines meant heads would roll otherwise. I am not crazy about Utley, but this smacks a little of needing a scapegoat.

      • RBI

        I was at the park, and it didn’t look on purpose at all, as in especially egregious or with intended malice. Just a weird play all around, and a strange confluence of events.

        • Bob_Hendley

          Horrible that Tejada broke his leg. but play was within the accepted parameters. We have certainly seen worse. Utley is paying for Ruben trying to make a spectacular play and not getting out of harm’s way.

          • Had Tejada kept facing first base he might have realized where Utley was, but he turned his back and pivoted on the leg that got broken.

          • Bob_Hendley

            Utley was where 90% of runners would have been and Tejada pivoted into his path with his knee connecting with Chase’s head.

    • Bob_Hendley

      Can he be replaced on the playoff roster? The only rules I see pertain to injured players. IIRC, during the season suspended players can be replaced.

      • WBBsAs

        You cannot replace a suspended player, but Utley has appealed.

    • Bob_Hendley

      Why would you need to discuss changing the rules, when you cite an existing rule as the basis for the decision?

  • As surmised, Utley suspended for Games Three and Four (not so coincidentally, the games scheduled to be played in New York).

    “After thoroughly reviewing the play from all conceivable angles, I have
    concluded that Mr. Utley’s action warrants discipline,” Torre said in a
    statement.

    • WBBsAs
      • Maybe. He may think better of it, or he may get persuaded to drop it.

        • WBBsAs

          Appeals almost always result in reduced penalties. In any event, Torre is on shaky ground here.

          • RBI

            They’re saying the appeal will be addressed before the game Monday.

          • If I were Utley I think I’d serve it just to remove myself as a lightning rod in NYC. But if the Dodgers can’t replace him with someone else they’d be a player short, and that has to weigh into the decision.

          • WBBsAs

            He has nothing to lose by appealing. I think Torre is pandering to New York.

    • Bob_Hendley

      I believe that his angle is not one captured by the cameras.

  • WBBsAs
    • Bob_Hendley

      Yes, it’s clear that Chase is unfairly being singled out to appease the mob.

  • WBBsAs
  • WBBsAs
  • WBBsAs

    Players’ union gets time to prepare its defense: https://twitter.com/BillShaikin/status/653579104705486848

  • Bumsrap

    REPORT: USC Head Coach Steve Sarkisian Coached Game Drunk, Other Disturbing Details
    By Tom Downey October 11, 2015

  • Bumsrap

    I haven’t grabbed some time to say anything about The Slide until now.

    Clearly Utley’s intention was to break up the double play. But as he is approaching second he has to anticipate where the short stop will be so he can slide towards him. The play developed slowly so he was able to get closer to the play before committing to a slide. There is no way anybody slides in a way that positions his face to be what get hit by the knees of the fielder, yet that is what happened. Therefore, I think the result of Utley’s slide was more freakish than planned.

    The fielder exposed himself and that could not be anticipated by Utley. The goal is to make the fielder either take more time to throw the ball or to throw it with less force giving the hitter more of a chance to be save at first.

    Even when players are not trying to disrupt a play they over slide the base and barely manage to keep some part of their body on the bag so as to not be tagged out after their momentum takes them off the base. Most players tend to slide with their lead foot above the base and don’t make contact with the base until their bent back foot reaches the base.

    I would make the slide rule such that no part of the sliders body goes past the back side of the base unless one hand or one foot is touching the front side of the base.

    • RBI

      Thanks, Bumsrap. This is the best description I have read by anybody anywhere re: The Slide. I was at the stadium, and it was a strange and yes, freakish, series of moves by all three players. The throw was awkward, the catch-and-spin was awkward, and the slide was awkward. And Utley took a hard hard knock to the head from Tejada’s knee.

    • Bob_Hendley

      Would seem to be difficult to apply such a rule in real time on the field. Would also eliminate the hook slide, which is used to avoid the tag in those instances where it might need to be applied to get the runner out.

  • Audit

    I don’t think the runner should have the right to break up the attempted double play by assaulting the fielder. That is clearly interference. He has the right to touch the base and that is the only right he has there. If, in the opinion of a majority of the umpires WHO SAW THE PLAY (some may be attending duties at their assigned position), the runner’s intent was to interfere with the fielder, he is out, he is out of the game, he gets an automatic next game suspension, And the umpire shall put right any damage he caused, such as calling the runner out at first also. I know WBB is going to endorse this idea…

    • Bob_Hendley

      Put it to a vote? What if only two see the play and see it differently? Or, all four see it but split 2-2?

      • Audit

        That wouldn’t be a majority then, would it? Personally, I don’t see that happening. If one calls it, the others will back him up…

        • Bob_Hendley

          Raised hands or secret ballot?

          • Audit

            Sense of humor or WBB copycat?

          • Bob_Hendley

            I prefer to think of myself as a houseman.

          • Audit

            Ahhhh, politician!

    • WBBsAs

      “Assaulting” is less than neutral language. Assault is what Juan Marichal did to Roseboro, with a deadly weapon, and he should have been arrested and charged.

      There is nothing wrong with a hard slide, and the attempt to punish a ballplayer (Utley in this case) after the issue has been decided on the field is beyond the pale. If they want to change the rule, that should be an issue to decide during the off-season, rather than something improvised under transitory hysteria.

      • Audit

        Didn’t claim it to be “neutral”. And I am obviously not talking about applying this to Utley, Mr Torre will handle that problem, I am suggesting a possible solution to future incidents. I’m sure any solution will be debated ad nauseum before agreement, if any. I hope they announce it at the same rules committee meeting when they approve the 30 man active roster and the DH for the National League.

        • WBBsAs

          None of these things should ever happen.

  • WBBsAs

    Not all Metfans are hysterical:

  • NPUT