2015 MLB Playoffs

Mister Tee
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Re: 2015 MLB Playoffs

Postby Mister Tee » Mon Nov 02, 2015 5:49 pm

The Royals are a well-deserving champion -- two straight years in the Series attest to that -- but, as much as they did to win it, the Mets, and their manager, did their share to lose it.

Was Collins so spooked by Familia's surrendered homer in Game 1? He had a guy who was one of their primary weapons all season, but Collins hesitated fatally before using him in both Games 4 and 5, bringing him into situations where failure was considerably likelier than if he had started the inning.

I get letting Harvey start the 9th -- he'd been outstanding, ace-like all night. But he should have been on a clear batter-to-batter leash -- once the leadoff walk came along, Familia should have been on the mound. I know I cite the Mariano Rivera principle far too often here, but, come on: the Yankees had pitchers named Clemens, Cone, Mussina, Pettitte -- guys with exponentially stronger credentials than Matt Harvey -- and they never insisted it was some insult they be relieved in a close, crucial game. Of course, we don't know that Familia wouldn't have crumbled -- plenty of fine relievers have, in pressure situations -- but Collins let himself be taken out of what had worked for the team all season.

Hosmer's run to the plate will get a lot of attention because it was distinctive, and because it ties in with the media narrative of "those crazy-on-the-basepaths/no-power/KC speedsters", but 1) it relied for success on yet another poor performance by a Met infielder (Duda's throw was there in plenty of time, just nowhere near the plate); 2) it was a moderately logical move to make (the chances of Hosmer being safe vs. the next batter getting a rwo-out hit off Familia weren't dramatically different); and 3) it's the kind of risk you can take when you're up 3-1; if Hosmer was out on a close play in an elimination game, it'd be viewed as one of the bone-head-iest plays of all time.

I did think, in the end, KC deserved a championship more than this Mets team, so I'm only unhappy about the premature end of baseball for the winter. After last year's stirring 7-game contest, an over-too-soon five-game match is a bit deflating (KC fans will of course disagree).

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Re: 2015 MLB Playoffs

Postby danfrank » Mon Nov 02, 2015 1:11 am

Oh boy. The Mets should have won this game, for sure. Harvey had such an outstanding game through 8. It was really too bad for him that it all fell apart. Collins made a couple of mistakes that could have cost his team this game: 1) leaving Cespedes in to hit after taking that foul ball off his knee. It was clear he was pretty hurt there; 2) Leaving Harvey in after he let the lead-off guy on in the 9th. Did all the fan noise cheering for Harvey make Collins manage with his heart instead of his head? Poor Familia gets called in for the second game in a row in a non-conventional save situation, and gets his 3rd blown save in a series that went 5 games. What a nightmare for him.

Give credit to the Royals, though. They're a scrappy team that does well in taking advantage of mistakes, and seems to force them, as in that gutsy run home by Hosmer in the 9th.

Now I turn my full attention to Warriors basketball. I smell a repeat!

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Re: 2015 MLB Playoffs

Postby Mister Tee » Sun Nov 01, 2015 4:15 pm

If what happened to the Mets last night had happened to my team, I'd have had major trouble sleeping. A good friend/long-time Met fan sent me an email about 3AM, so apparently she felt the same.

First thing to ask is, why did Collins let Clippard stay in for the second walk? Given the enormity of the game, I'd have thought Familia would be in at the first sign of trouble. (Again, Mo wold have been there, without question)

If Daniel Murphy made a Faustian bargain to get to his unreal level in the Cubs series, Satan came for payback last night. The ball probably wasn't hit hard enough for a double-play, but, as ARod (backed up by several infielders on the panel) said last night, Murphy's priorities were 1) double-play, 2) at least one out, 3) failing that, fall on the ball so it doesn't leave the infield. That he failed to do any of these tied the game, and, whatever Familia did next (you can't assume it would have been the same) flowed from that.

I won't even dwell on the extraordinary stupidity of Cespedes letting himself get doubled off on such a soft fly.

The inclination is to say the series is over, and probably it is -- 3-1 deficits are only overcome about 15% of the time, KC hosting 2 of 3 potential games is in their favor, and a devastating loss like last night's is hard to overcome. But I can cite one precedent for comeback: in the 1979 Series Game 4, Baltimore erupted for 6 runs in the 8th off Pittsburgh relief ace Kent Tekulve, erasing a 6-3 deficit and putting Pittsburgh in that same 3-1 hole. Baltimore also led early in Game 5, but the Pirates came back to win that one 7-1, and then won both games in Baltimore to become champions. So, it's not beyond possibility.

Most likely, though, Kansas City will win the prize the got so close to last year.

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Re: 2015 MLB Playoffs

Postby Mister Tee » Thu Oct 29, 2015 3:10 pm

ksrymy wrote:
Mister Tee wrote:Given how (mostly) Cueto has pitched lately, deGrom has to be the clear favorite tonight

And tonight's proven anything but.

Which is why, as the Yankee radio announcers keep tiresomely repeating, "You can't predict baseball".

Apropos: this is the third straight World Series in which the Mets started off 0-2. In both previous cases, they won Game 3, but, while in 1986 they also won Game 4, and then Games 6 and 7 to win the trophy, in 2000 they lost Games 4 and 5, and the Yankees became three-peaters.

Which of those models they come closest to will determine whether this is a memorable series or a flat finish to the season.

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Re: 2015 MLB Playoffs

Postby ksrymy » Wed Oct 28, 2015 9:29 pm

Mister Tee wrote:Given how (mostly) Cueto has pitched lately, deGrom has to be the clear favorite tonight

And tonight's proven anything but.
"Men get to be a mixture of the charming mannerisms of the women they have known." - F. Scott Fitzgerald

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Re: 2015 MLB Playoffs

Postby Mister Tee » Wed Oct 28, 2015 3:48 pm

I read years ago that most people's idea of a great game is one that's close, full of reversals, and won by the team for which you're rooting. By that standard, last night's opener wasn't great for Mets fans, but for Royals rooters and the unaligned, it was a terrific kick-off. From the opening inside-the-park-er to the seemingly fatal error at first, through the shocking game-tying home run, the missed opportunities in extras, and the final, surprisingly close sac fly, it was another memorable game in this post-season that's so far living up to our hopes.

Two small thoughts:

Mets fans might shiver at remembering they took a lead into the 9th in their last World Series appearance -- 2000 -- and had their top reliever surrender the tying run there, too. That time, it only took 12 innings for their opposition to win.

I thought the Royals needed last night's game WAY more than the Mets. Given how (mostly) Cueto has pitched lately, deGrom has to be the clear favorite tonight, and had the Royals gone to Queens down 0-2, the prospects for a lengthy series would have been slim.

And, in case anyone wonders, a lengthy series is what I'm rooting for.

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Re: 2015 MLB Playoffs

Postby ksrymy » Sun Oct 25, 2015 2:45 pm

Let's just all root for the Royals because that's what good people do.
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Re: 2015 MLB Playoffs

Postby Mister Tee » Sat Oct 24, 2015 1:47 pm

Most of the well-remembered Game 6's have taken place in the World Series and have involved the trailing team winning and sending it to Game 7 -- Red Sox/Reds '75 (the Fisk home run), Royals/Cards '85 (the Denkinger blown call), Mets/Red Sox '86 (the Buckner error), Twins/Braves '91 (the Puckett home run), Cards/Rangers '11 (the multiple comebacks). But once in a while the game can be outstanding even though it's in an earlier round, and leads to a clinch -- Mets/Houston '86 (the 16-inning phantasmagoria) comes to mind. Last night's game wasn't as baroque as that affair, but it at least deserves mention as one of the great clinching Game 6's.

For much of the way, it looked like the storyline was going to be David Price pitching well enough but trailing because of two solo home runs and his teammates' inability to score. When KC upped its lead to 3-1 with only two innings to go, it looked like a quiet end to the Blue Jays season. But, while the team's season did indeed end, it was far from quiet rather, it was packed with more interesting developments that one sometimes sees in a week of baseball. To wit:

Jose Bautista tied the game in the 8th with a two-run homer. This was notable not only for its momentum-shift, but also because the broadcast team -- and many fans at home -- had openly questioned letting Madson pitch to Bautista in that situation, with Wade Davis ready to come in. Ask yourself: would either Joe Torre or Joe Girardi have let anyone but Mariano Rivera face Bautista in such a spot?

At that point, to elongate the suspense, the tarp came out and we had a 45-minute rain delay. This was significant because Davis HAD come in to close out the inning, and pitchers are notoriously vulnerable after long rain delays.

If anyone was affected by the rain, it might have been the Blue Jays closer Osuna, who gave up a bottom of 8th leadoff single to Cain, then another to Hosmer. This second single became a turning point, as Bautista threw to the infield to hold Hosmer at first, but Cain had never stopped running, and the third base coach waved him home. An inadequate throw to the plate made Cain the go-ahead run. It's part of baseball lore -- before any of our times -- that in Game 7 of the 1946 Series, Enos Slaughter scored from first on a single, the winning run that put the Cards over the Red Sox. I've always wondered how that could have happened, and now I have some idea why. The question afterward is, did Bautista do something wrong by throwing where he did? Did he neglect to watch the runner at a crucial moment?

It turned out, there was more. Davis came back out for the 9th, and promptly gave up a single to Russell Martin. His pinch-runner quickly stole second AND third -- putting the tying run 90 feet away with no outs. Davis walked the next batter, Pillar, and, while Davis struck out Navarro, Pillar took second. Meaning a fly ball tied it, a single likely put the Blue Jays ahead.

The key at-bat was Revere with one out, and the epicenter of the at-bat was a 2-1 pitch called a strike that most everyone watching saw as a ball. This changed the entire direction of the at-bat, and a put-on-the-defensive Revere struck out on the next pitch. (He then proceeded to demolish everything in sight in the dugout) I noted Wednesday that the Jays benefited mightily from generous umpiring in that day's game, so it's hard not to think of this as karmic payback. But it's weird to have a call like that so clearly make a difference to the potential outcome of a series. The Blue Jays had one more shot -- presumed MVP Donaldson -- but he grounded out harmlessly, and the Royals got their second straight ticket to the World Series.

I'm not sure I've ever lived through such a short stretch of baseball that encompassed so many of the game's elements -- slugging, speed and baserunning, managerial decisions, judgment calls by fielders, umpiring calls, even the weather were on display over those last two innings. It's as if someone constructed a microcosm of why this is such a fascinating, varied game for many of us.

We've been blessed with some memorable matches this post-season. So far, the Mets have not really been involved in one. Let's see if that changes over the next week or so.

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Re: 2015 MLB Playoffs

Postby danfrank » Fri Oct 23, 2015 9:15 am

I hope you're right.

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Re: 2015 MLB Playoffs

Postby Mister Tee » Fri Oct 23, 2015 1:06 am

danfrank wrote:
Mister Tee wrote:To be honest, I hadn't heard of Murphy's comments till today. Reading them over, they're certainly condescending (in a way he probably doesn't realize), and ignorant/provincial, but they don't seem motivated by malice, for what that's worth.


So, what, he gets some kind of pass because he's sincere, or has no malicious intent? My mother used to say that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. I don't believe in hell, but I believe in the sentiment. This guy's a baseball star, and when he says stuff like this he does real damage. These days a person doesn't get away with disparaging other groups under the cover of religious belief (mostly), but gays continue to be fair game with little scrutiny or criticism from the media or anyone else. Meanwhile, gay kids are still getting bullied, beaten up and offing themselves. It pisses me off.

I know we're on the same side here, Tee, but I had to say my piece. I'll get off my soapbox now.

Yeah, 90% in agreement with you. Just, the way I read the full comments, he was talking about, in spite of what he'd call his conviction and I'd call his prejudice, wanting to get to know Billy Beane, and my feeling is someone that open, however ignorant/condescending he is now, is more apt to wake up one day and realize he's been sold a bill of goods by his religion and come to enlightenment. So I don't see him as a completely lost cause -- which is not in any way to dismiss how hurtful he is to people in the here and now.

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Re: 2015 MLB Playoffs

Postby danfrank » Thu Oct 22, 2015 10:19 pm

Mister Tee wrote:To be honest, I hadn't heard of Murphy's comments till today. Reading them over, they're certainly condescending (in a way he probably doesn't realize), and ignorant/provincial, but they don't seem motivated by malice, for what that's worth.


So, what, he gets some kind of pass because he's sincere, or has no malicious intent? My mother used to say that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. I don't believe in hell, but I believe in the sentiment. This guy's a baseball star, and when he says stuff like this he does real damage. These days a person doesn't get away with disparaging other groups under the cover of religious belief (mostly), but gays continue to be fair game with little scrutiny or criticism from the media or anyone else. Meanwhile, gay kids are still getting bullied, beaten up and offing themselves. It pisses me off.

I know we're on the same side here, Tee, but I had to say my piece. I'll get off my soapbox now.

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Re: 2015 MLB Playoffs

Postby Mister Tee » Wed Oct 21, 2015 11:53 pm

To be honest, I hadn't heard of Murphy's comments till today. Reading them over, they're certainly condescending (in a way he probably doesn't realize), and ignorant/provincial, but they don't seem motivated by malice, for what that's worth.

As for the baseball:

Toronto/KC was grippingly tight for six innings -- Estrada ahead of Volquez solely by virtue of a home run that made it Toronto 1-0. Then it felt to some of us like the plate umpire took over, refusing to call the outside corner a strike through one Blue Jay at bat after another (there were infuriated people online saying "That's strike SIX!"), till there was one run in on a bases-loaded walk, and, finally, a bases-clearing double (the first actual hit of the inning) that put the game out of reach. As a fan of "as much baseball as possible", I'm pleased the series is extended...but part of me would like to see how that 1-0 game would have continued without the somewhat dubious umpiring.

Speaking of "as much baseball as possible" -- the Cubs made it clear from the first inning there was to be little hope for such on the NL side, surrendering 4 runs before the home team even came to bat, and another 2 in the 2nd. There were slight flurries in the middle innings -- a bases-loaded no outs situation, two on in the next -- but somehow they yielded only 1 run for the home side, and I felt safe switching over to the Daily Show during the latter part of the game. The Cubs, it turned out, never once led in any game of the series, which is pretty much the definition of not showing up. Kudos to the Mets, who clearly outplayed them, but as baseball it was vapid.

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Re: 2015 MLB Playoffs

Postby danfrank » Wed Oct 21, 2015 10:57 pm

Go figure: The Cubs sweep the Mets in the season series, 7-0, then get swept by 'em in the NLCS. They were clearly outplayed by a team that's just very hot right now. Tee's right, of course, that superior pitching is almost always the dominant factor at this stage. It would be nice to cheer on Daniel Murphy for his record-breaking performance, but he's an outspoken homophobe ("I disagree with that lifestyle," whatever that means), so I'll take a pass.

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Re: 2015 MLB Playoffs

Postby Mister Tee » Wed Oct 21, 2015 11:08 am

After a highly competitive first round, the post-season is now tilting toward lopsidedness, with both Championship Series near clinching in 4 or 5 games. This doesn't of course mean either Series will be clinched -- many a team has looked unstoppable until suddenly it couldn't win that last needed game. And both Series can look to a familiar antecedent: when the Jays and Royals met in 1985, it was Toronto that put up a commanding 3-1 lead, but then lost the final three games, including the final two on the road. And Cubs' GM Theo Epstein of course was in charge of the only team ever to rebound from a 3-0 deficit.

But if it's Mets/Royals, that'd be a fun, never-before-seen match-up. In fact, unless I'm mistaken, it'd be the first World Series ever between two teams who were not among (or descended from) the original 16 teams. It'd also be a test of my theory that, in the current system, starting pitching is damn near everything. Consider: the Mets had the FIFTH best record in the NL -- and that's playing in a division where three teams had beetween 90-100 losses. They finished only three games better than the Yankees -- a team I freely acknowledge was riddled with flaws. Yet here they stand, one win away from a 50/50 shot at the trophy, because every day they can run out a potentially great starter. Yes, they've had help from Murphy (was I the only one who shouted "are you KIDDING me?" when he homered yet again last night?), and probably some luck (scoring the go-ahead run on a strikeout/wild pitch pretty much personifies luck, and they've had a number of other plays go just barely their way), but primarily it's those colorful, very good young pitchers who are carrying them.

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Re: 2015 MLB Playoffs

Postby Okri » Tue Oct 20, 2015 8:57 pm

Well, I think we have an answer to that.


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