October 10, 2015

David Ortiz & The Hall Of Fame

David Ortiz Is Definitely A Hall Of Famer
Chad Finn, Boston.com, September 16, 2015
I think he gets in with relative ease, perhaps not on the first ballot, but without much suspense or drama a year or two or three after he is first eligible. He has at least a year left of playing, maybe a couple more given that he has 28 homers in his last 79 games, then the obligatory five-year waiting period before he’s on the ballot. I’d suggest Papi should have what is likely to be the second-best speech of his life ready by, oh, 2024.

Looking Beyond 500, Punch A Ticket To Cooperstown For David Ortiz
Christina Kahrl, ESPN, September 15, 2015
I would bet on his ultimately making the Hall of Fame, not merely because of a magic round number like 500 home runs -- although that helps -- but because he was a key contributor in all three of Boston’s World Series wins, capped by his MVP performance in the 2013 victory against the Cardinals. ...

If I get the opportunity ... and have the space on my ballot, I will vote for Ortiz. After all, if the history of the game is what is at stake, how do you tell the story of the game over the past 15 years without Ortiz?
Ortiz Isn't A Bad Guy - Or A Hall Of Famer
Rob Neyer, Just A Bit Outside, March 31, 2015
His career numbers aren't really Hall of Fame-worthy, considering his nonexistent value as a defender and the shutouts of (so far) Edgar Martinez and Mark McGwire (among others).

Really, a good Hall of Fame case for Ortiz must give seriously heavy weight to his postseason performance. I have recommended using postseason performance as a sort of tiebreaker . . . but oddly, Ortiz hasn'€™t been tremendously important in postseason games, according to this metric anyway (which doesn'€™t include 2013, and Ortiz did hit a few big homers that October).
David Ortiz Not an Easy Choice for the Hall of Fame
Benjamin Hoffman, New York Times, August 19, 2015
Ortiz may be inducted someday. But to get him there, many of the unwritten rules of Hall of Fame voting will have to be ignored.

As it stands, he has three major strikes against him, each of which has been enough for voters to exclude players in the past. ...

Ortiz is a special case because of how exciting his career has been and how much success his teams have had. There are numerous examples of players who overcame being short of the typical benchmarks because of their unique abilities or because their primes were so bright. Ortiz would easily fit in with players like Catfish Hunter, Sandy Koufax, Kirby Puckett and Phil Rizzuto.

But to get to the Hall of Fame, he will need voters who have seemed hesitant suddenly to accept that a full-time designated hitter with less-than-stellar career totals and a positive drug test should be elected. (my emphasis)
For the record, the drug test the supposed Paper of Record confidently describes as "positive" was actually labelled as "inconclusive" by both the Players Association and MLB. A 2009 Yahoo article noted that no one "[can] say with any certainty that he even tested positive."

The Daily News reported that "Ortiz could be one of the eight players who are believed to have tested positive for a spiked dietary supplement in 2003, rather than for hard-core injectable steroids".

Is David Ortiz A Hall of Famer?
Marc Normandin, Over The Monster, September 14, 2015
(That, by the way, is the entire article!)

October 9, 2015

Postseason Quadrupleheader Today

12:30 PM - Rangers at Blue Jays
 3:30 PM - Astros at Royals
 6:30 PM - Cubs at Cardinals
 9:30 PM - Mets at Dodgers
Note: Lester/Lackey in the Cubs/Cards game!


MLB Not Enforcing New Pace-Of-Play Rules During Playoffs
Joe Rodgers, The Sporting News
Major League Baseball's attempt to speed up the pace of play shaved, on average, six minutes off the length of regular-season games. But don't expect the time of games to drop well into the playoffs.

MLB has elected not to warn players for any pace-of-play violations for the postseason due to the importance of the games.

Even as commercial breaks in the postseason have increased, certain pitchers in the wild-card games still weren't ready to pitch within the recommended time frame. ...

"That is a critical time in a do-or-die playoff game that is very different than a routine regular-season game," said Chris Marinak, an MLB senior vice president via the New York Times. "If it takes a few extra seconds to make sure a player is ready in a critical situation, I think our fans can live with that."
MLB umpires will also not enforce the rule-book strike zone during the postseason. I wonder what other rules have they decided to suspend.

October 7, 2015

Schadenfreude 185 (A Continuing Series)

And at 11:15 PM, October 6 became YANKEE ELIMINATION DAY!

AL Wild Card Game
Astros  - 010 100 100 - 3  5  0
Yankees - 000 000 000 - 0  3  0

George A. King III, Post:
Swinging wet newspapers, the "Men Without Bats" were dominated for the third time this year by Astros lefty Dallas Keuchel on the way to 3-0 loss that ended their season in front of a sold-out and season-high Yankee Stadium crowd of 50,113 that was willing to get involved but never given a reason.

When they exercised their vocal chords it was to boo Brett Gardner after he grounded out in the eighth inning. Gardner played center field over Jacoby Ellsbury because Joe Girardi wanted Chris Young's right-handed bat in the lineup against Keuchel, and Gardner whiffed three times against Keuchel. Ellsbury was booed when he ended the eighth on a pop-up as a pinch-hitter. ...

The Yankees' late-season slide in which they appeared to be under the influence of Quaaludes – they lost six of seven to end the year – continued and sent them home after nine nondescript postseason innings.

It was the Yankees' fifth straight postseason loss. The last time the Yankees won a postseason game was Game 5 of the 2012 ALDS ...

After holding the Yankees scoreless in 16 innings during the regular season, Keuchel was just as good despite pitching on three days' rest for the first time as a pro ...

In six shutout innings, the talented lefty allowed three singles, faced two batters with runners in scoring position and walked one.
Peter Botte, Daily News:
Cy Young hopeful Dallas Keuchel continued his dominance over the Yanks in three 2015 starts, as the bearded lefty stifled them over six shutout innings on three-days' rest and the Astros sent them home early with a one-and-done 3-0 victory in the AL wild-card game Tuesday night at the Stadium.

Masahiro Tanaka coughed up solo home runs to Colby Rasmus and ex-Met Carlos Gomez in his five innings, but neither the Japanese righty nor the Yankees' meek lineup were any match for Keuchel (87 pitches) and three relievers. The All-Star lefty also had tossed 16 scoreless innings in two starts against the Bombers during the regular season. ...

In the organization's first playoff game since 2012, however, the Yanks' batters looked off-balance all night and often expressed displeasure with home-plate umpire Eric Cooper's strike zone. ...

[Alex Rodriguez] came to the plate with two runners on and two outs following singles by Gregorius and Carlos Beltran in the sixth. But he lifted Keuchel's first pitch to shallow center to extend his postseason hitless string with runners in scoring position to 19 consecutive at-bats.
Dan Martin, Post:
The Yankee Stadium crowd waited all night to get excited, but Dallas Keuchel hardly took his foot off the Yankees' offense throat.

Finally, with two outs in the sixth, the Yankees got their first — and only — rally of the night with runners on first and second and two out and Alex Rodriguez coming to the plate.

"I thought that was going to be the moment for us that was going to turn it around, but it [wasn't]," manager Joe Girardi said after the Yankees went meekly in Tuesday's wild-card game 3-0 to the Astros in The Bronx.

After a leadoff single by Didi Gregorius, a strikeout by Brett Gardner, Chris Young hit into a force out to bring up Carlos Beltran, who singled to center.

But Rodriguez swung at Keuchel's first pitch and flied harmlessly to center.
Kevin Kernan, Post:
At least Joe Girardi doesn't have to change his number next year.

Not like he changed his lineup Tuesday night by benching $153 million man Jacoby Ellsbury in favor of Chris Young and putting the struggling Brett Gardner in the leadoff spot in a desperate attempt to find offense, any offense for the moribund Yankees.

Ellsbury has had his troubles, too. Nothing worked. This night was nothing to go wild about.

The Yankees are done. They were put out of their misery by the Astros at Yankee Stadium with another hitless-wonder performance, shut out 3-0 by Dallas Keuchel & Co.

After two years of finishing out of the playoffs, the Yankees could not muster a postseason victory.
Girardi could not push the right buttons to get the Yankees' offense going.

New York now belongs to the Mets the rest of the postseason.
Anthony McCarron, Daily News:
This was surely not what they all envisioned, back at the giddy press conferences or over filet mignon at the recruiting dinners, where they doubtless dreamed of long October runs and postseason glory.

Both Jacoby Ellsbury and Masahiro Tanaka signed big-bucks contracts in the winter before the 2014 season, but both were not nearly the factors they hoped to be in their first Yankee taste of the postseason, Tuesday's 3-0 wild card loss to Houston.

Ellsbury did not start and only popped up as a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning. Tanaka was the Yanks' choice to start the game, but only threw five innings and 83 pitches ..

It was a rough night for two men who are supposed to be among the cornerstones of these Yankee years. And players who are making a combined $308 million should never be this kind of October afterthought ...
Joel Sherman, Post:
Pick your word: Feeble. Meek. Lifeless.

This is how the Yankees sleep-walked into the offseason, sent off by home boos over the final few innings. They lost 3-0 to the Astros, compounding a miserable finish to the season that dimmed the joy of a first playoff berth in three years.

The nine innings also accentuated most worries about a team trying to squeeze the last vestiges of skill out of older players while rebuilding on the fly. ...

Ellsbury didn't even start this wild-card game as Joe Girardi opted instead for Brett Gardner, who whiffed in all three of his at-bats against Keuchel. Ellsbury has five years at nearly $111 million left on his contract, and the Yankees probably can only expect his fragility to rise and his athleticism to diminish, leaving what exactly? ...

In 21 of their final 61 games, the Yankees scored two or fewer runs. And they scored none in 22 innings against Keuchel in 2015. ...

The aura in the Stadium was like when Josh Beckett pitched on three days' rest in World Series Game 6 in 2003 – an anticipatory crowd was lulled into slow silence with the realization the Yankees were not going to hit their nemesis.

Or anybody. The Yanks never got a runner even to third base against Keuchel, Tony Sipp, Will Harris and Luke Gregerson.

Their season ended without much resistance ...

Daily News:
Some Yankees fans have embraced Alex Rodriguez — even after his season-long PED suspension — but this New Jersey grandmother wasn't one of them.

Helen Fowler, 85, of Cranford, N.J., died on Sept. 29, according to The Star-Ledger, and in her obituary was referred to as "... a lifelong Yankees fan, with the exception of Alex Rodriguez."

October 6, 2015

2015 Postseason Contest Entries

2015 Postseason Contest
allan       HOU    TOR    KCR    TOR    CHI    CHI    LAD    CHI    CUBS!
Lewis S     HOU    TOR    HOU    TOR    CHI    CHI    NYM    NYM    TOR
Jeff M      HOU    TOR    KCR    TOR    CHI    STL    NYM    NYM    TOR
Dan C       HOU    TOR    KCR    TOR    CHI    STL    NYM    STL    TOR
Jere S      HOU    TOR    KCR    KCR    CHI    CHI    LAD    CHI    KCR
Davide B    HOU    TOR    KCR    TOR    PIT    PIT    LAD    LAD    TOR
Antonio D   HOU    TOR    KCR    TOR    CHI    CHI    NYM    CHI    TOR
Charlie P   HOU    HOU    KCR    KCR    PIT    STL    LAD    LAD    KCR
Microtal    NYY    TOR    KCR    TOR    PIT    STL    LAD    LAD    TOR
Ben A       NYY    TOR    NYY    TOR    CHI    STL    LAD    STL    TOR
Brendan R   HOU    TOR    KCR    TOR    CHI    CHI    NYM    NYM    NYM
World Series Picks
Blue Jays   7
Royals      2
Cubs        1
Mets        1

October 5, 2015

Terry Francona, TV Critic

Hey, Tito, what do you think about NESN?

Everyone Loves A Contest #18: 2015 Postseason

When it came to predicting the Red Sox's 2015 won-loss record, JoS readers were, once again, an extremely optimistic bunch. The guesses ranged from 82-103 wins, but the Olde Towne Team finished at 78-84.

So the contest prize - a paperback copy of Peter Golenbock's Red Sox Nation: The Rich And Colorful History Of The Boston Red Sox - will be rolled over to a Postseason Contest.

This is probably too tough, but what the hell. Correctly predict the winner of every postseason series.

An example:
ALWC: Astros over Yankees
ALDS: Blue Jays over Astros
ALDS: Royals over Rangers
ALCS: Blue Jays over Royals
NLWC: Cubs over Pirates
NLDS: Cubs over Cardinals
NLDS: Dodgers over Mets
NLCS: Cubs over Dodgers
WS:   Cubs over Blue Jays
Contest entries must be emailed to me before the first pitch of the Astros-Yankees game (Tuesday, 8 PM).

October 4, 2015

Red Sox Players Salute Don Orsillo At End Of Game

Orsillo's statement:
My first Red Sox game at Fenway Park was June 24, 1978. I will never forget it. My friend Luis Tiant pitched in that game and he won. My friend Jerry Remy played in that game as well. I grew up up in Madison, N.H. Listening to the great Ken Coleman on Red Sox radio, and I was so fortunate to sit next to Ken for his last broadcast in 1989 as his intern, as well as sit next to my friend and teacher, Joe Castiglione. Twenty-six years later, I now broadcast my last Red Sox game, after 15 years as the voice of the Boston Red Sox and just shy of 2,000 total games.

I want to thank my friend and partner, Jerry Remy. For 15 years, we've been through so much together on the field and off the field and I thank you so much for being one of my very best friends. My director and my friend Michael Naracci, who I have worked with for 17 years dating back to the Pawtucket Red Sox, and I thank him so much for everything he has done. And our great crew at Fenway Park, who have been with me for the 15 years.

To my parents, who made my 10 years of minor league work possible. The Orsillos and Nolans, to all of you, from Chelsea to Melrose to Stoneham. My Cathy, my daughters Sidney and Madison, but mostly I want to thank the fans of Red Sox Nation.

I thank you for your incredible support and your loyalty. I heard all of you and never forget your words, as they touched me so very deeply. Thank you for letting me into your homes, into your families for the last 15 years. Last Sunday at Fenway will be my greatest memory of my life. I can tell you that right now. Your tribute to me I will never forget. Ever.

I've been asked many times over the last six weeks how I would like to be remembered. And to be remembered at all is enough for me. Thank you.

2015 Postseason Schedule

American League Wild Card
1006 - Astros at Yankees
National League Wild Card
1007 - Cubs at Pirates
American League Division Series
G1 1008 - Rangers @ Blue Jays
G2 1009 - Rangers @ Blue Jays
G3 1011 - Blue Jays @ Rangers
G4 1012 - Blue Jays @ Rangers
G5 1014 - Rangers @ Blue Jays
American League Division Series
G1 1008 - Wild Card @ Royals
G2 1009 - Wild Card @ Royals
G3 1011 - Royals @ Wild Card
G4 1012 - Royals @ Wild Card
G5 1014 - Wild Card @ Royals
National League Division Series
G1 1009 - Wild Card @ Cardinals
G2 1010 - Wild Card @ Cardinals
G3 1012 - Cardinals @ Wild Card
G4 1013 - Cardinals @ Wild Card
G5 1015 - Wild Card @ Cardinals
National League Division Series
G1 1009 - Mets at Dodgers
G2 1010 - Mets at Dodgers
G3 1012 - Dodgers at Mets
G4 1013 - Dodgers at Mets
G5 1015 - Mets at Dodgers
American League Championship Series
G1 1016 -
G2 1017 -
G3 1019 -
G4 1020 -
G5 1021 -
G6 1023 -
G7 1024 -
National League Championship Series
G1 1017 -
G2 1018 -
G3 1020 -
G4 1021 -
G5 1022 -
G6 1024 -
G7 1025 -
World Series
G1 1027 - NL @ AL
G2 1028 - NL @ AL
G3 1030 - AL @ NL
G4 1031 - AL @ NL
G5 1101 - AL @ NL
G6 1103 - NL @ AL
G7 1104 - NL @ AL

G162: Cleveland 3, Red Sox 1

Red Sox   - 100 000 000 - 1  7  1
Cleveland - 012 000 00x - 3 10  0
Boston finished the season with a 78-84 record (a huge disappointment, but a seven-game improvement over 2014!).

The Red Sox also ended up in fifth/last place for the third time in four seasons.

Rick Porcello / Danny Salazar
Betts, CF
Pedroia, 2B
Bogaerts, SS
Ortiz, DH
Shaw, 1B
Castillo, LF
Swihart, C
Marrero, 3B
Bradley, RF
And then we came to the end ...

While Xander Bogaerts's chances of getting to 200 hits is remote (he has 195), Gordon Edes notes that Bogaerts "still has a chance to become the youngest player to lead the league in a non-strike season since 22-year-old George Brett led the AL with 195 hits in 1975". (Houston's José Altuve leads the AL with 197 hits.)

John Farrell Will Return As Manager In 2016

Rob Bradford, WEEI:
The Red Sox announced Sunday that not only will John Farrell remain as manager (provided a clean bill of health after his recovery from Stage 1 Lymphoma), but Torey Lovullo will be by his side as bench coach for the 2016 season.

Lovullo has signed a new two-year extension with the team that encompasses the 2017-18 seasons, agreeing to bypass the opportunity to pursue any major league managerial openings during the upcoming offseason. Lovullo was signed through the '16 season.

Farrell signed a two-year coach extension this past offseason, taking him through the '17 season with a team option for '18.
Gordon Edes, ESPNBoston:
According to the statement, the 53-year-old Farrell has been given a "clean bill of health." He has been on medical leave since Aug. 14, and Lovullo guided the team to a 28-19 record as the interim manager.

President of baseball operations David Dombrowski said Sunday that he has been told by doctors that Farrell's full recovery will take an estimated three to six months. Having Lovullo on board protects the club in the event his health becomes an issue, as well as takes pressure off Farrell to rush his return before he is ready.
Edes also wrote a lengthy article on the deep friendship between Farrell and Lovullo.