Here are several postseason go-to links to make your Monday a bit more bearable:
- The Tigers took the first two ALCS games from the Yankees in the Bronx. Justin Verlander’s reaction to teammate Jose Valverde blowing a 4–0 lead in the ninth inning of the opener was priceless, but Derek Jeter’s pain was difficult to watch.
- No one knows for certain how the Cardinals-Nationals NLDS series would have progressed had Stephen Strasburg been available to pitch, but Hardball Talk’s Craig Calcaterra offers some tough talk on the subject:
The losers never get to set the narrative. Just ask the Buffalo Bills fans who want their great early 90s run recognized as a success rather than a failure. Just ask Atlanta Braves fans (cough, cough) who have tried for years to say that their team was better than any other one-time World Series champ. Ask anyone else who roots for a team that, however good, doesn’t follow through on its promise. You can say you were good enough among friends and you can all make yourself feel better about things by doing so, but you’re never going to convince anyone else of it. Sports don’t work that way. Winners are the winners and losers are the losers, and when you conspicuously tempt fate and conventional wisdom the way the Nationals did with Strasburg, the voices calling you losers will be even louder.
- On a related note, Joe Posnanski uses the ninth inning of game five of the NLDS to explain the importance of walks.
- Citing Ian Desmond, Chase Headley, Aaron Hill, and A. J. Pierzynski as examples, Jon Roegele of Beyond the Boxscore tries to answer the question, “Are unexpected power surges sustained?”
- Bill James answers a befuddled reader’s question:
“I continually hear announcers talk about how a player is a fast ball hitter.I don’t think I can name one player who would rather hit any pitch other than a fastball. What are they talking about?!”
Asked by: Florko Answered: 10/13/2012
Without data, it’s hard to know. I always think . . . you meet guys every week who tell you that they were outstanding baseball players until the pitchers started throwing breaking pitches. But you know, NOBODY really hits the curve. Most good major league hitters just take the curve unless it’s going to be strike three, and try to hit fastballs. Slider is sort of the same; more hitters will chase a slider because it’s harder to figure out that it’s breaking, but . . . good hitters mostly lay off the slider and try to force the pitcher to throw a curve ball. Unless somebody hangs a curve in the middle of the plate, not that many people are going to hit it.
- Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times interviewed Bud Selig on a variety of topics, including his thoughts on the new postseason setup.
- Ned Garver, a “sinker-slider” pitcher, enjoyed early success in the majors, despite being stuck on losing teams. (He finished second behind Yogi Berra for the 1951 MVP Award.) Gregory Wolf interviewed the 86-year old righty, who spent 14 seasons in the bigs with the St. Louis Browns, Detroit Tigers, and Kansas City Athletics.
- The aces of the Tigers and Yankees, Verlander, and C. C. Sabathia, went the distance in their teams’ ALDS clinchers.
That’s it. Have a walk-off week!