Oct 18

LCS, Day Six

After rain in the Midwest caused Game Four between the Yankees and Tigers to be postponed and Game Three between the Giants and Cardinals to be delayed for three-plus hours, various propitiations to the weather gods have undoubtedly been made by MLB. They’ll try again today.

The first game is Game Four in Detroit, with the Yankees trying to fend off elimination and the Tigers trying to close them out. The pitchers remain Sabathia for the Big Apple’s team and Scherzer for the team from Motown. It’s scheduled for 4:00PM Eastern on TBS.

The second game is Game Four in St. Louis at 8:00PM Eastern. The Cardinals took a two-games-to-one lead by winning yesterday, and they’ll pitch Adam Wainwright. The Giants counter with two-time Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum, who’s been excellent coming out of the bullpen in the playoffs after a forgettable regular season.

Each team’s 3-4-5 hitters are noticeable by their absence: The Giants’ Pablo Sandoval, Buster Posey and Hunter Pence are 6-for-33 with one RBI. Not to be undercut, the Cardinals’ Matt Holliday, Allen Craig and Yadi Molina are 5-for-33 with no RBIs. Oh, and Carlos Beltran and his knee are day-to-day for the Cards; without him their lineup is even weaker.

Oct 17

LSC, Day Five

Update: The Yankees – Tigers game is postponed until tomorrow due to rain. The Giants – Cards game is delayed but is now scheduled to begin at 10:05PM Eastern, with the Cards at bat leading 3 – 1 in the bottom of the seventh, two out, men on second and third.

First up today: Giants v. Cardinals at Busch Stadium in St. Louis at 4:00PM Eastern on Fox. The Giants send out Matt Cain to do battle with Kyle Lohse. The series is tied at one game apiece.

Game two could be the end of the Yankees in the postseason. They’re down three games to none to the Tigers, and they’ll send out C.C. Sabathia to try to keep the Tigers and Max Scherzer at bay, hoping their hitters will start to, well, hit. The Yankees are hitting a collective .182 with five runs in three games. The game is at Comerica Park in Detroit at 8:00PM Eastern on TBS.

Oct 16

LCS, Day Four

The Tigers look to increase their 2 – 0 advantage over the Yankees tonight at Comerica Park in Detroit at 8:00PM Eastern. With Justin Verlander starting you have to like their chances. The Yankees send out Phil Hughes to try to stop the bleeding, but unless their hitters start to produce it may not matter who they put on the mound. From an AP story:

Robinson Cano, Alex Rodriguez, Curtis Granderson and Nick Swisher are a combined 12 for 107 — for a .112 batting average — in the playoffs.

Add catcher Russell Martin, and five regulars are below .200, hitting a combined 17 for 133 with 42 strikeouts — 25 more strikeouts than hits. They have a combined seven RBIs, four of those by Cano.

Dodgers fans can relate. That’s reminiscent of what the Dodgers did for about half of September.

Update: Hoping to jump-start the hitting, Yankees’ manager Girardi has benched A-Rod and Swisher for tonight’s game, replacing them with Brett Gardner in left field and Eric Chavez at third base. Gardner will lead off in place of the injured Jeter, Ichiro moves to right field and hits second, Chavez will hit seventh, and Eduardo Nunez will play short and hit ninth.

Oct 15

Dodger update, mid-postseason

I think I’m just going to keep this post open for additions for the next week or so as new news (if any) appears. You might want to bookmark it.

Chad Moriyama has an interesting tidbit about the potential signing of a Japanese pitcher named Shohei Otani out of high school, which he thinks if it happens is the first time a Japanese player signed with an MLB team without playing professionally in Japan first. (Yu Darvish is only 26, but he pitched for seven years in Japan before signing with the Rangers.)

Chad also has a video of the young man.

Update: Otani has now decided to make himself eligible for the MLB draft rather than the Japanese league draft. MSTI has some thoughts, as does Moriyama.

Update: In his ongoing grading session, Mark Saxon gives the bullpen an A-minus. He identifies keeping League, Jensen, and Belisario as the most critical (and possibly easiest) jobs for Colletti in the offseason. League, a free agent, indicated he’d like to stay in LA since it’s near his San Diego home, and the other two are pre-arbitration eligible and under contract for next year. Long relief could involve re-signing Jamie Wright; Matt Guerrier is under contract for next year despite pitching only 16 innings in 2012 and arriving on the disabled list earlier in the year. Shawn Tolleson could continue as a middle-innings guy as well.

Update: Roberto at Vin Scully is my Homeboy has collected half-a-dozen Dodger stories, including one I’d not heard and didn’t want to hear: that somebody suggested the Dodgers solve their third-base problem by taking Alex Rodriguez off the Yankees’ hands. Shudder. If any idea should die a-borning, please let it be that one!

Update: Over at ESPN LA Mark Saxon asks whether the Dodgers should consider moving Matt Kemp to a corner outfield spot in order to save his body from itself.

You simply don’t see many center fielders who are 6-foot-4 and 230 pounds. When a body that big collides with a less-than-forgiving wall or flops awkwardly on the ground, the physics aren’t forgiving.

Saxon points out that, sabermetrically, Kemp has been a below-average centerfielder defensively since 2009 and implies that the team’s fielding wouldn’t be hurt if he did move. Of course, then you have to find another centerfielder, and Crawford’s arm may not be recovered enough in 2013 for him to play there. So Saxon suggests this should be something the Dodgers should think about for 2014. What do you think?

Update: Having fired Dave Hansen as hitting coach, who should take his place? Saxon at ESPN LA has some thoughts.

Update: Vin Scully is my Homeboy‘s Roberto Baly has the text of a press release from the Dodgers announcing the hiring of longtime baseball executive Gerry Hunsicker as Senior Advisor, Baseball Operations.

Hunsicker will assist Colletti and President and CEO Stan Kasten with the Dodgers’ big league club while also lending his expertise to international scouting and development, pro scouting and minor league development.

Oct 14

LCS, Day Two

Tiger at Yankees. Anibal Sanchez for the Tigers and old friend Hiroki Kuroda for the Yankees. I’m happy for Kuroda getting a chance to pitch in the LCS, but I hope he leaves with the game tied and the Yankees blow it after he’s out.

Oh, in case you haven’t heard, the Yankees have some guy named Jeter playing shortstop. He broke his ankle in the twelfth inning of last night’s game and he’s out for the year.

Cardinals at Giants. Madison Bumgarner for the Giants and Lance Lynn for the Cardinals. The teams split their six games during the regular season.

Update: David Pinto at Baseball Musings has excellent previews of these two series. Here’s the one for the Cardinals – Giants, and here’s the one for the Tigers – Yankees.

Oct 13

LCS, Day One

Only one game today, Tigers v. Yankees at Yankee Stadium at 8:00PM Eastern. It’s Doug Fister for the Tigers and Andy Pettitte for the Yankees. Pettitte’s next win in the postseason will be his 20th, which is astonishing, but is also symbolic of the inflation in the number of postseason games since 1995 when the Division Series was added as a result of splitting the leagues into three divisions each. The leader before the new playoff series were adopted was Whitey Ford with 10 wins (the League Championship Series started in 1969).

The Tigers have Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera; the Yankees have the Rodriguez soap opera plus Jeter and Granderson and Swisher and Texeira and Cano.

Oct 13

Dodger’s grades, cont.

In an ongoing series, Mark Saxon grades the Dodgers’ outfield this past season and looks ahead to what it might be next season, with a healthy Kemp, a recovered Crawford and a steady Ethier.

After that he does the same thing for the pitching rotation. Beyond Kershaw, forecasting who makes it up is the interesting question there, since we don’t yet know whether Billingsley will have Tommy John surgery. The latest news about that is from October 3, when Trainer Sue Falsone said “Billingsley can avoid Tommy John surgery if he stays pain-free, but ‘if he hits any road bumps he’s probably going to have to have surgery.'” A week ago he was playing catch two of every three days and reporting no pain, but that could change.

Then there’s Lilly. We won’t know till spring training whether his shoulder has fully recovered. Harang and Capuano are under contract, as is Beckett. Blanton is a free agent and will likely test the waters, but he didn’t perform all that well as a Dodger anyway.

A press release from ESPN LA says that Dave Hansen is out as hitting coach; he’s been offered another position within the organization. “Pitching coach Rick Honeycutt, third-base coach Tim Wallach, first-base coach Davey Lopes, bench coach Trey Hillman and bullpen coach Ken Howell will return in 2013.”