Category Archives: Postseason

Seattle blows SB 49, 28-24.

Yes, as I mentioned before, I hate the Roman Numerals. And sorry, Patriots fans, but Seattle blew it more than the Patriots won it. I mean, 27 seconds left, you are one yard away from a SB winning touchdown and you have a beast in the backfield along the likes of a Jim Brown, Jim Taylor, Larry Csonka, Emmitt Smith, Franco Harris, John Riggins,…. you get the drift. And you THROW the ball? Really? The late Ohio State coach Woody Hayes said that three things can happen when you throw the ball, and two of them are bad. And one of the bad things happened. New England picked off the pass to preserve their 28-24 come from behind lead and win the game. The Patriots were down 24-14 at one point. But Marshawn Lynch is in your backfield, you have 2nd and goal from the one. There are three things you CANNOT do. Fumble the ball away is one, get picked off is another (the third is to get hit with a penalty, making Lynch’s job harder). But you have one of the best backs in the game, an absolute bruiser who, with 27 seconds left and your team still owning a couple of time outs, you don’t just give him the ball three times to get 36 inches? Really? The Seahawks benefitted just moments before from what looked at the time to be deja vu. David Tyree part 2 if you will. An unbelievable catch to set up Seattle to win the game in the closing seconds. Then Seattle just gave the game away. More games are lost by the losing team than won by the winners. Here is Case #1. Unbe-friggin-lievable. Pete Carroll and his offensive assistants, and some players, better buy a lot of Sominex, for there will be plenty of sleepless nights ahead. For Brady, his 3rd MVP, tying Montana. For Belichick, his 4th SB win, tying Chuck Noll. Brady ties Bradshaw with 4 SB wins. For Seattle, a whole offseason of wanting a do-over of the stupidest call in SB history.

Nats land Scherzer. Super Bowl set.

Max Scherzer goes to the Nats, $210MM over 7 years, with 1/2 deferred. So $15MM over 14 years. I don’t know about paying someone $15MM between the ages of 37-44, esp. when they are a) washed up b) declining severely and/or c) injured. Not to mention d) retired.

The Yanks said they were not in for Scherzer or Shields, and some but not all, believed them. Maybe with Scherzer off the market, it can be believed now (Shields is still available). It seems last year’s big splash took them out of the market for any big splash (just little splashes–see Headley, Drew….) this year.

That said, there are a lot of free agent pitchers available next year. See this post

http://bronxbaseballdaily.com/2015/01/top-9-pitchers-yankees-can-sign-in-2016/

from our friends at Bronx Baseball Daily to see who may fit the Yanks needs in next year’s free agent draft. The problem is, who comes off the books? McCann has four years left on his deal, A-Rod three, Teix, CC and Beltran a couple. Then you have in-their-prime players like Ellsbury and Tanaka signed to multi-year deals. Even Headley has a four-year deal. Hal doesn’t want to increase the payroll, and there is little flexibility as long as those multi-year deals, especially the ones for aging, fading players, are on the books.

The Yanks did look at Johan Santana, a low-risk, high-reward option. I doubt anything will come out of it. I hope not.  Santana was pitching in the Venezuelan league in hoping for a comeback. Reports have it he was at 86-89 and pitching more on guile than anything else. Santana has missed all of 2011, 2013 and 2014. In his only season since 2010, Johan was 6-9, 4.85 in 2012 (with a tainted no-hitter, the only one in Mets’ history). ERA+ 79. He’s had two shoulder surgeries and turns 36 in March. Minor league deal with incentives? Maybe. But I wouldn’t expect much out of it. Santana had a nice career, not HOF, and it’s a shame his career came to an end basically at the age of 31. 2 CYA, 6x consideration, and 2x in the top 10 for the MVP award. 139-78, 3.20, ERA+ 136. Once great. Now?

I am heading up to the Stadium on May 24th. Hmmmm….. that’s about 1/3 of the way through the season, and A-Rod is 6 HR away from tying Willie Mays at 660. You can do the math. At 18-21 HR/yr. (how much does he have left, if anything?) that could be about the time A-Rod ties or passes Willie. If he does it in front of me, #660* or #661*, I won’t be applauding.

Not much else in Yankeeland right now. That, and busy at work, have me writing less.

The Super Bowl is set. The defending champion Seattle Seahawks vs. the New England Patriots. Interesting games yesterday on Championship Sunday. The Seahawks were outplayed by the Green Bay Packers for 57 1/2 minutes, and the Pack had a 19-7 lead with three minutes to go. TD Seattle with 2:09 left to make it 19-14. Recovery of an onside kick. TD. 2-point conversion to put Seattle up 22-19. Green Bay comes back to tie it on a last-second 48-yd. FG. 22-22. Seattle gets the opening kickoff of OT and scores to win 28-22. What a finish. What a choke by the Pack.

It was the fourth OT NFC title game in the last eight years.

In the AFC, no contest. New England wins 45-7 over the Colts. It’ll be SB #6 for the Belichick/Brady duo. Now the authors of “spygate,” Belichick and the Patriots, are being investigated for deflated footballs. Whatever. They still dominated and will be hard to stop.

It’s a pick ‘em right now after the line opened at Seattle by 2 1/2.

So does Seattle repeat for the first time since New England did it a decade ago, or do the Patriots add to their legacy?

 

Yankees make incremental move.

You remember when, in playing SCAT, the card game, that you would put down a 3 of hearts and pick up a 5 of hearts because it gave you more points? (Especially if you already held the Ace and King of Hearts?)

That is kind of like the move the Yankees did yesterday. They picked up Chris Martin for cash from Colorado. Martin is a RHP, and a project. He did make the majors last season, and went 0-0, 6.89 in 16 games. 15 2/3 IP, 14 K. He is 6’8″, a big boy, and 28 years old.

In picking him up, they DFA’d Gonzalez German, a 27-year-old RHP, who they got from the Mets for cash just last month. German was 0-0, 4.75 for the Mets in 2014 in 25 games, 31 K in 30 1/3 IP.

Apparently the Yanks felt that Martin is, or has to potential to be, an incremental upgrade over Germen. We’ll see. It doesn’t appear like a major move or upgrade, but…. see the SCAT reference above.

The Yanks finalized their coaching staff. The hitting coach will be Jeff Pentland, who will have Alan Cockrell as the asst. hitting coach. Joe Espada (3b/infield). Tony Pena moves to 1b Coach and Rob Thomson becomes the bench coach. Larry Rothschild is the pitching coach and Gary Tuck the BP coach.

One thing I’ve pointed out elsewhere. Some people wanted a former major leaguer to be a coach. Sometimes it works. But coaches have to teach and just because someone was talented themselves doesn’t mean they can teach. Charlie Lau was a great hitting coach who was a .255 hitting catcher. Meanwhile, Ted Williams was the manager of the 1972 Texas Rangers who only hit .217 as a team.

So the #4 seed won the national championship? What’s scary is that Urban Meyer thought next year would be the time. A lot of sophs and juniors here. Ohio St. and TCU (who finished #3) are on top of a lot of lists right now for the best of next year.

Championship Sunday is set. AFC: Colts @ Patriots (the 4th straight AFC title game for New England), and NFC: Green Bay @ Seattle. Both home teams are favored by about 7.

 

Dynasty? SF wins 3rd title in 5 years.

When you think of baseball dynasties, you think of the Ruth-Gehrig-DiMaggio-Mantle Yankees of 1921-1964. The Big Red Machine. The Bronx Zoo. The Torre Yankees of 1996-2003. When you look at the makeup of the San Francisco Giants, you don’t see dynasty. But after winning their third title in the last five years, maybe that qualifies them as one now. At the very least, with the decade half-over, they can already call themselves the team of the decade (unless someone else runs off three or four titles over the next five years). The Giants became the first road team since the 1979 Pirates to win Game 7 when they beat the Kansas City Royals 3-2 last night.

Madison Bumgarner joined a very select group of pitchers to win three WS games in the same Series. Bumgarner got the save. For his efforts, Bumgarner was named WS MVP. 2012 WS MVP Pedro “Kung Fu Panda” Sandoval went 3 for 3, Mike Morse drove in two runs, and all the damage was done by the 4-7 hitters. Neither starting pitcher went four innings. Both managers had quick hooks. SF starter Tim Hudson went just 1 2/3, and KC starter Jeremy Guthrie 3 1/3. With neither starter going five innings, the decision on who got the win came down to an official scorer’s decision. Usually, they just hand the win to the pitcher who was on the mound when the eventual game-winning run was scored. That was Jeremy Affeldt, who was credited with the win. But the official scorer did not get it right. He handed the win to Affeldt. He did not have to. This was “official scorer’s discretion” and the guy who should have been given the win was Bumgarner, who came out of the bullpen on two days rest to pitch five innings of scoreless relief and preserve a 3-2 lead. Bumgarner thus wound up winning Games 1, 5 and saving Game 7 of this WS. No guts by the official scorer there. He went “formula.”

The difference in the series turned out to be one run, and one man. And perhaps, one slip. With the game tied 2-2 in the top of the fourth, Sandoval reached on an infield single. KC 2B Omar Infante made a nice play getting to the ball, but his right leg slipped out from under him as he tried to throw out Sandoval at first. Had he not slipped, who knows? That’s baseball. Sandoval eventually scored the eventual WS-winning run later that inning on a single by Morse. SF manager Bruce Bochy showed guts in going to Bumgarner. 3 titles in 5 years should put him into the HOF one day. Funny how he did go to Bumgarner after some “experts” I heard on ESPN radio said that there was no way Bumgarner should pitch, and no more than one inning. What pansies. To me, it was refreshing seeing Game 7 the way it should be. You manage that game differently than other games. The players have all offseason to rest, and although he didn’t start, Bumgarner winning pitching in a third WS game reminded me of Randy Johnson coming out of the bullpen in Game 7 of the 2001 WS (a painful memory for us Yankees fans), or Lew Burdette starting on two days rest in 1957 (another painful memory for Yankees fans),  Sandy Koufax in 1965 pitching a CG shutout on two days rest, Bob Gibson going 1-4-7 in 1967 or Mickey Lolich going 1-5-7 in 1968 (and facing and beating 1-4-7 Gibson in that 1968 Game 7). You go with your best in Game 7. You manage differently.

Bochy managed it brilliantly. If Bumgarner would have been too tired after only two days of rest, Bochy would have heard it from here to eternity. But Bochy played his trump card. He went with, and stayed with, his best. That’s one thing I’ll take out of this WS. One run, and one man (Bumgarner) made the difference. KC has nothing to be ashamed of.

So the offseason begins… with free agency, trades, etc. and oh yeah,….. A-Rod is now officially back. (Crying.).

In other news, it looks like a few moves are coming soon. Joe Maddon, who just left the Rays, is expected to take the manager job with the Cubs, and there are rumors that the Yanks are after Raul Ibanez to be their next hitting coach.

WS Game 6: BLOWOUT! KC forces a Game 7.

No Contest.

With a 7-run 2nd inning, KC forced a Game 7 in winning 10-0 tonight. Game 7 will match up 35 year old Jeremy Guthrie for KC vs. 39 yr. old Tim Hudson of S.F.

Of course, with Game 7, all hands are on deck. Could Baumgarner make a relief appearance?

Whatever, one game for all the marbles. It doesn’t get better than that.

 

 

 

WS Game 5: Baumgarner puts SF up 3 games to 2.

Madison Baumgarner pitched a CG 4-hit shutout and SS Brandon Crawford drove in three runs as the San Francisco Giants shutout the Kansas City Royals 5-0 Sunday night to take a 3 games to 2 edge in the World Series.

The Series now goes back to KC for Game 6 on Tuesday night, and if necessary, Game 7 on Wednesday night. The Giants are one win away from their third title in five years.

Baumgarner, making a bid for WS MVP, has started four WS games in his career, and is 4-0 with a 0.29 era. He has given up just 1 run in 31 WS innings.

On a sad note, top Cardinals prospect Oscar Tavares was killed in a car accident in the Dominican Republic. He was just 22.

WS Game 4. SF evens it up.

Hunter Pence had 3 hits and 3 RBI, and the Giants’ bullpen tossed 6 1/3 innings of scoreless relief after starter Ryan Vogelsong was knocked out in the third. Down 4-1 after 2 1/2, San Francisco came back to win 11-4 and even the World Series at two games apiece with Game 5 Sunday night.

Pablo Sandoval, seeking to become only the fourth player to win two WS MVPs in his career (Koufax, Gibson, Reggie Jackson; Sandoval won it in 2012), chipped in with two hits and two rbi.

I find it funny that there was talk over the Internet yesterday about the Giants possibly watering down the basepaths in order to slow down Kansas City’s running game. Heck, they did it in 1962 to try to slow down Maury Wills. It isn’t new… especially in San Francisco.