Oct 21

World Series Day One, 2014

Giants at Royals, 2:00PM HST/5:00PM PT, TV: Fox

The Giants ask Madison Bumgarner to start the Series and do what he did in the Wild Card game and in Game One of the NLCS: give them a strong and long performance and get them off on the right foot in the Series. The Royals send James Shields to the mound. He also started the Wild Card game, although he didn’t do well in it (5 innings, 5 hits, 4 earned runs, ERA of 7.20). He then started Game Three of the ALDS and won it to send the Royals to the ALCS, where he pitched Game One against the Orioles. He didn’t do well in that game either, (5 innings, 10 hits, 4 earned runs, ERA of 7.20 again).

Have the two teams faced each other recently? Yes. In August the Giants went to Kauffman Stadium, where they were swept by the Royals, who were in the midst of a stretch where they won 14 of 16 games. San Francisco was outscored, 16-6, with Bumgarner taking one of those losses in a complete-game effort.

Fun fact: in all the postseason games so far, 14 have been decided by one run.

Not so fun fact: once again we get Joe Buck doing play-by-play. This time his partners are Harold Reynolds and Tom Verducci, with Ken Rosenthal near the Royals’ dugout and Erin Andrews outside the Giants’.

If you’re in your car, ESPN Radio will have the games, with play-by-play announcer Dan Shulman and analyst Aaron Boone. The pregame and postgame show consists of host Jon Sciambi, analyst Chris Singleton, ESPN MLB Insider Peter Pascarelli and in-studio host Marc Kestecher.

Oct 17

Words from the new boss

From today’s press conference featuring new President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman:

“It’s going to be a good life lesson for me, because I’m not patient.”

That was in response to a rather insular question about his introduction to LA traffic, but it could be (the fans hope) a philosophy he’ll take toward addressing the team’s needs in getting them back to the World Series sooner rather than later.

Jon covered the show, and if you click the link above you’ll find more nuggets of wisdom from the new man.

I’ll leave this post at the top for a while, at least until the Series starts on Tuesday.

Oct 15

ALCS & NLCS Day Four, 2014

Orioles at Royals, 10:00AM HST/1:00PM PT, TV: TBS

Startlingly, the Royals are up three games to none in the ALCS. Today they send out lefty Jason Vargas to try to win the series. He last pitched in Game One of the ALDS against the Angels, giving up two home runs over six innings. He’s 2-3 with a 1.94 ERA in eight career starts vs. the Orioles. Vargas will face a very well-rested Miguel Gonzalez, who hasn’t pitched since September 28.

Cardinals at Giants, 2:00PM HST/5:00PM PT, TV: FS1

The Giants took a 2-1 lead in the series on a Randy Choate throwing error in the 10th inning of Tuesday’s game. They’ll put Ryan Vogelsong on the hill Wednesday night against Shelby Miller of the Cards. Vogelsong went 5 2/3 innings against the Nationals in his NLDS appearance October 7, giving up two hits and one run. Miller gave up five hits and two runs in 5 2/3 innings the same day in his NLDS outing against the Dodgers.

Oct 14

Dodgers name Friedman President, Colletti kicked upstairs

Today the Dodgers named Andrew Friedman, formerly of the Tampa Bay Rays, as President of Baseball Operations. Ned Colletti will remain with the team as senior advisor to Stan Kasten. This probably means that Friedman will name a new GM of his own choosing.

Under Friedman, the Rays posted the franchise’s first winning season and won the American League pennant in 2008, when he was named Sporting News’ Executive of the Year. After finishing below .500 in each of its first 10 years of existence, the Rays finished above the .500 mark in six consecutive seasons under Friedman from 2008-13.

Not bad for a guy in his thirties. He’s only 37 now.

Oct 14

NLCS & ALCS Day Three, 2014

Cardinals at Giants, 10:00AM HST/1:00PM PT, TV: FS1

Lackey for the Cards, Hudson for the Giants. The biggest lineup change is A.J. Pierzynski catching for the Redbirds in place of Yadier Molina, out with an oblique strain. It’s hard to believe, but this is Tim Hudson’s first start in an LCS game. His previous postseason appearances were in Division Series contests, and he has always been on the LDS-losing team until this year. Lackey has a well-deserved reputation for pitching well in big games.

Orioles at Royals, 2:00PM HST/5:00PM PT, TV: TBS

The managers stayed with the announced Game Three starters, Orioles left-hander Wei-Yin Chen and Royals right-hander Jeremy Guthrie, no matter the rainout yesterday.

Oct 13

ALCS Day Three, 2014

Update: It’s officially postponed till tomorrow at the same time. Game Four will be on Wednesday at 4:00PM ET and Game Five, if necessary, will be on Thursday at 4:00PM ET.

Orioles at Royals, 2:00PM HST/5:00PM PT, TV: TBS

Rain is threatening to postpone the game. The Kansas City Star says

According to the National Weather Service, there’s a 100 percent chance of rain in the Kansas City area Monday afternoon, with winds gusting to 26 mph and rainfall amounts reaching 1 inch. After the 7:07 p.m. scheduled first pitch, a 90 percent chance of rain is forecast with continued gusts and up to a half-inch of precipitation possible.

If there is a game tonight, the Royals will take a 2-0 lead and the chance to win the series at home into it. The Orioles are up against a wall, needing to win four of the next five.

Tonight’s pitchers: the right-handed Jeremy Guthrie for the Royals and the lefty Wei-Yin Chen for the Os. Chen is 1-0 with a 2.84 ERA in two career starts at Kauffman Stadium. Guthrie played for Baltimore from 2007-2011, so he knows some of the Orioles’ players quite well.

Oct 12

NLCS Day Two, 2014

I know, I know, nobody cares. Well, in the interest of full documentation, I’m putting up a post about these games anyway.

Giants at Cardinals, 2:00PM HST/5:00PM PT, TV: Fox

Jake Peavy for the Giants, Lance Lynn for the Cardinals. The Cardinals need to win to even the series at a game apiece. Peavy is 6-4 with a 2.17 ERA in 12 starts with the Giants this year after going 1-9 with a 4.72 ERA with the Red Sox. Lynn was 15-10 for the second year in a row while shaving his ERA from 3.97 to 2.74.

Here. This may brighten your day.


Oct 11

ALCS Day Two, NLCS Day One, 2014

Royals at Orioles, 10:00AM HST/1:00PM PT, TV: TBS

In Game One the Royals reversed conventional wisdom and hit three home runs while stealing no bases. The Orioles did the opposite, stealing two bases and hitting no home runs. The two teams go at each other again Saturday afternoon with the Royals leading the series 1-0. Pitching for the Royals will be Yordano Ventura, who went seven innings against the Angels in the Division Series on Friday, surrendering five hits and one run while striking out six. Ventura’s career record against the Os is 0-1 with 17 strikeouts and a 1.26 ERA. His opponent will be Bud Norris, who pitched 6 1/3 innings of shutout ball against the Tigers in the final game of the ALDS, giving up two hits and striking out six. He was a hard-luck loser against the Royals in May, giving up one run in 7 1/3 innings.

Giants at Cardinals, 2:00PM HST/5:00PM PT, TV: Fox

Madison Bumgarner and Adam Wainwright are the two horses of their respective staffs. The Giants did well against Wainwright this season, roughing him up twice, including May 30 at home when they got to him for seven earned runs on eight hits in 4 1/3 innings. Bumgarner split two decisions against the Cardinals this year.

The teams are pretty even. Look at these numbers:

The similarities in the Giants and Cards are reflected in regular-season pitching numbers that are close to identical. Both teams finished with 3.50 team ERAs and eight complete games. The Cards, with 1,221 strikeouts, racked up 10 more than the Giants’ staff. Hitters batted .242 against the Cards, .241 against the Giants.
Oct 10

ALCS Day One, 2014

Royals at Orioles, 2:00PM HST/5:00PM PT, TV: TBS

We have all read this a lot: “Baltimore hasn’t reached the Fall Classic since 1983; Kansas City last made it to the playoffs in 1985.” (Trivia: who did Baltimore play in 1983? Who did the Royals play? What were the results?)

That 1983 Series was broadcast on ABC. The announcers? Al Michaels, Howard Cosell and Earl Weaver, who had retired as manager of the Os after the 1982 season.

In 1985 ABC had the Series again, but Cosell was removed from the broadcast team because his recent book had criticized everybody he’d ever worked with. In his place was Tim McCarver, making his first World Series broadcasting appearance.

To today’s game, then. The Orioles start Chris Tillman, who was 13-6 with a 3.34 ERA during the regular season and 1-0 with a 3.60 ERA in the ALDS against the Tigers. He went five innings in that game, giving up 2 runs on 4 hits and striking out 6. The Royals go with James Shields, 14-8 with a 3.21 ERA in the regular season and 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA in the ALDS against the Angels. He went six innings, giving up 2 runs on 6 hits and striking out 6. Both teams have excellent bullpens and their managers are unafraid to use them.

The conventional narrative for this series seems to be “Royals run, Orioles bash.” We’ll see.