NL Post-Season Preview

Just a handful of games remaining, and five division winners are confirmed, and the sixth nearly so. The NL wildcard teams are also essentially confirmed, but a different story in the AL with three teams chasing two spots, and none of them close to being safe and dry. This post looks at the NL contenders, with its AL companion to appear shortly. More after the jump.

The Braves and Dodgers are returning as division champs, the latter for the 7th consecutive season. Only the Braves have had a longer run of division titles than LA, with 11 straight for Atlanta from 1995 to 2005 (or 14 straight from 1991, excluding the aborted 1994 season). Like LA in this decade, those Braves teams found it hard to convert division titles into World Series wins, doing so only once.

For the Cardinals, it’s their first division title and first post-season appearance since 2015. That year, the Redbirds made the post-season for the twelfth time in sixteen years, a run that included four pennants and two World Series titles.

The Nationals and Brewers will go one round for the chance to join the division leaders in the division series round. It will be the first wild-card game for both franchises. The Brewers last season extended the Dodgers to the limit in the NLCS, while the Nats have four previous NLDS appearances (the last two seasons ago), but have failed to win any of them.

The Dodgers and Nationals look to have the edge in starting pitching over the others, with the Braves and Cardinals next, and the Brewers bringing up the rear. Washington and LA both have three qualified starters with .500 or better records and 120 ERA+ (and the Nats may have a fourth by season’s end), the Braves and Cards have two, while the Brewers will likely have no qualified starters, period. While it may be fashionable these days to suppose that starting pitching isn’t that important in the post-season, having three reliable starters who give you a good chance to win still works really well in the post-season, not least because a more rested relief corps is nearly always more effective.

Among relievers, the Cards look solid, and the Dodgers, Brewers and Braves appear sound. That leaves the Nats, with just about the worst relief corps in baseball; luckily for Washington, they use their relievers less than any other team, almost 200 innings less than the Brewers who have the busiest relievers of the NL post-season qualifiers. The Cardinals relief corps will need to be good to help out young starters in their first post-season. Getting length from their starters will be key for the Dodgers and Braves, to help mitigate vulnerabilities in capable but not stellar relief corps. Should the Brewers make the division round, their spotty starting pitching will likely result in an overtaxed and less effective bullpen, as occurred in last season’s playoffs.

Dodger pitchers have been equally effective against left-handed and right-handed batters, posting identical 3.44 ERAs in these splits, in each case the best in baseball this season. The other four teams fare better against right-handed batters, especially the Brewers. The Cardinals are notably lacking in left-handed pitching, both in their rotation and in the bullpen, a vulnerability likely to be exposed come October.

On offense, the Dodgers, Braves and Nats rank 1-2-3 in the NL in runs scored, but the edge has to go to LA with better balance from both sides of the plate, more patient hitters (Dodgers rank third in most walks and third in fewest strikeouts), and a wealth of post-season experience. Starting games, all the teams are tightly bunched near the top in OPS for innings 1-3, except the Cardinals who are near the bottom. In innings 4-6, the Dodgers maintain their placement near the top while the others are around the middle third of teams. At the end of games, the Dodgers and Braves have the two highest team OPS scores in innings 7-9, with the Nationals not too far behind, and the Brewers and Cards further back.

To beat the Braves and Brewers, their opponents need to take an early lead; when ahead after 5 innings, both teams have a .920+ winning percentage, notably higher than the other three, including 100 points higher than the Dodgers. An early lead may not be safe against LA which has a .358 winning percentage when trailing after 5 innings, with the Cards and Braves cards at .267 and .233 respectively, and the others are under .200. The Nats and Brewers really can’t afford to fall behind at all; both have an average winning percentage under .175 when trailing after each of the 1st through 8th innings.

Head-to-head matchups, and other splits, look like this:

vs.ATLLADMILSTLWSNTotal.500+ TeamsSeptember
ATL2-43-34-211-820-170.5650.650
LAD4-24-33-44-315-120.5840.667
MIL3-33-49-104-219-190.5450.810
STL2-44-310-95-221-180.5190.652
WSN8-113-42-42-515-240.4610.476

Records during September are a good barometer for making the playoffs, with 58% of playoff teams having a .600 or better September record, and only 10% having a losing record for the month. The numbers are similar though less pronounced for pennant winners; in the divisional era since 1969, 53% of pennant winners played .600 ball in September, and only 13% had a losing record. If the Brewers make it into the division round, the risk is their September juggernaut starts to slow (it’s really tough to maintain anything like an .800 winning percentage for more than a month), as was the case with the Indians in 2017.

So, who’s going to win in the senior circuit? My money would be on the Dodgers and Braves meeting in the NLCS, with LA taking the title on the strength of depth and experience. So, who do you like?

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127 Comments on "NL Post-Season Preview"

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Bob Eno (epm)
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Well, even though they’ve been playing their home games away in recent years, Brooklyn seems to be the class of the league, and I’d have to pick them emerging at the end of the fray. Especially if the Yankees clean up in the AL, destiny suggests the Dodgers are the premier team to lose the Series to them.

But it does concern me that the Dodger starting three has seemed awfully wobbly over recent weeks, and ace Kershaw generally has October wobbles no matter what.

Mike L
Guest

I’d be perfectly fine with a Bums-Yankees WS. I doubt Yankees are getting past Houston, but one can hope. The thing about the Yankees’ “Rotation” is that with just about any of them, you can find yourself down 5-0 by the 2nd inning.

Paul E
Guest

Agreed on the Astros….the way Verlander, Cole, and Greinke have pitched in September, it will be interesting to see if anybody puts up much of a battle. I realize this is the NL playoff review portion, and I hate to say it, but with Springer, Bregman, Altuve, Brantley, the new guy Alvarez, and Gurriel, they’re the 1936-1939 Yankees FCS.

Bob Eno (epm)
Guest
Pete Alonso now has 53 HR, a new rookie record, eclipsing the hoary record old timers will recall was set by Aaron Judge back in ’17. Obviously, there’s a general explanation for why we’re seeing some high individual HR totals these days, but why rookies, and why rookies who really weren’t superheroes in the Minors? The same thing was true of McGwire when he set the ancient standard of 49 in his 1987 rookie season (also a year of league HR records). McGwire’s rookie explosion was followed by some less impressive seasons, moving down to his dismal 1991 season, which… Read more »
Voomo
Guest

A bit harsh on Judge, I’d say. Has averaged 150 OPS+ over the last two years. Down from 170, sure, but he’s also vastly higher rated on Defense.

Here is his Plate Appearances per WAR (not including today’s finale, where he HRed)

2017 … 83.7
2018 … 90.5
2019 … 83.8

Bob Eno (epm)
Guest

Not sayin’ Judge hasn’t been good, but he hasn’t been the Judge we saw in ’17, largely because of injuries. McGwire’s three seasons after his debut were also fine: his OPS+ was down 28 from his rookie level, but still good. But the explosiveness of the rookie year didn’t come back by natural means. Judge, by comparison, is down 25 from ’17 over the 2018-19 seasons.

I’m really not talking about defense at all, so for Judge the relevant figure would be oWAR/PA:

2017 … 94.2
2018 … 127.7
2019 … 134.5 (not counting today’s game)

Bob Eno (epm)
Guest

Ah. I mean PA/oWAR.

Paul E
Guest
Bob, As far as age 24 seasons, Alonso’s season compares favorably with Adam Dunn’s 2004. OPS+ of 148 for Pete versus Dunn’s 147 and, if you add TB, HBP, and BB, it’s 441 for Alonso versus 436 for the Big Donkey. As far as G and PA, it’s 161 G for both and 693 PAs for Alonso versus 681 for Dunn. But, I have to believe the Mets’ front office might be disappointed if Alonso doesn’t cut down on his strikeouts and turns out be Adam Dunn for the next 10 years. I’m not saying Dunn was horrible but they… Read more »
Bob Eno (epm)
Guest
What you write is true, Paul, but, of course, Dunn was far from a rookie; he was in his fourth season. It’s the rookietude of McGwire, Judge, and Alonso that sets them apart. I believe that the list of rookies who have exceeded 40 HR reads as follows: Alonso 53 Judge 52 McGwire 49 These guys are so far ahead of the pack that they seem can’t miss superstars; after all, rookies are expected to get better, although not all do (see Walt Dropo). Judge may yet become a superstar, but he’s stalled, and after three seasons, his first still… Read more »
Vooomo
Guest

Could be as simple as pitchers changed their approach to Judge after he proved himself.
Rookies are going to get challenged.

And that monster rookie season was a tale of two halves.
.329 / .448 / .691 / 1.139
.228 / .391 / .548 / .939

Nobody could be expected to sustain a 1.139 OPS at any point in their career.
Judge’s second half in 2017 is in line with what he has done since.

Bob Eno (epm)
Guest

Yeah, it’s different with Alonso: his two halves are much better balanced:

.277/.367/.625/.992 27 HR
.243/.349/.542/.891 26 HR

But Judge’s story isn’t quite that simple either. His second half was itself composed of two parts:

Post-AS through August (44 G): .179/.346/.344/.690 7 HR
September (27 G)………………….: .311/.463/.889/1.352 15 HR

So I think the pitchers really didn’t figure Judge out so much as that he went into a slump and then pulled out of it strong. (Alonso also went into a July tailspin after the All-Star break, but pulled out in August.)

Paul E
Guest
Bob, While Dunn was far from a rookie, perhaps Pete, Judge, and McGwire would have been called up earlier if they were deemed capable. Perhaps that’s why they are not “can’t miss superstars”? Frank Robinson tied Berger’s record at age 20 and had a far greater career than Berger or most of the guys that were called up at a greater age. The list of guys debuting at 19 or 20 includes Mays, Aaron, Cobb, Mantle, Williams, Trout, Mel Ott, Ruth, Foxx, etc…When comparing future production (and promise), Bill James made a point (around 1984) that Julio Franco had a… Read more »
Bob Eno (epm)
Guest
You’re right, Paul, that all things being equal, the kid who comes up younger has the brighter prospects. But all things are rarely equal, as the comparisons between Soto & Hoskins, Albies & Hernandez suggest. For example, Albies came up younger, but, on the record, he’s simply a better ballplayer. Hernandez didn’t make it Triple-A until his sixth season, and 10 WAR after 800+ G puts him far away from Albies or our three guys. But Judge spent only three years in the Minors, total, while Alonso spent just over two. These guys played college ball, which is the main… Read more »
Paul E
Guest

Bob,
FWIW, Judge’s 171 OPS+ is first (1901-present) amongst 25 year old ROOKIES ahead of Oliva, Minoso, Cuyler and 24th overall among all players regardless of rookie status. Pete’s 148 OPS+ is 58th overall amongst 24 year olds and 5th among rookies between Piazza (153) and Salmpon (143) in 1993. Pete hits the 53 bombs but those two guys hit .300 with significant power. Pete batted .260. Piazza struck out 86 times; Pete 183. Certainly a different approach, in general, nowadays

Bob Eno (epm)
Guest

All correct, Paul. I actually don’t predict a long and productive career for Alonso. I’m quite suspicious that he’s more than a one-dimensional player. But in that one dimension he did something truly spectacular, which no one else has done, with only two others coming anywhere close. That’s the dimension I’m interested in.

Paul E
Guest

Barring injury, I believe Alonso will have a better career than Ryan Howard but not too disimilar. McGwire is a bad comp because of the steroids.
I’m overstating the obvious but, Judge is a better all-around player than all of them but he has to stay on the field and prove he is that kind of talent from 2017

Doug
Guest

Evidently, I was premature in awarding the Central title to the Cards. They’re sending Jack Flaherty (0.97 ERA since the ASG, and the same in Sept) to the hill today to try to avoid a game 163. Wouldn’t be available again until game 2 or 3 of the division series, but absolutely the right call in using him today to make sure they get to that round.

Richard Chester
Guest

For the first time since 1901 no player had more than 10 triples.

Bob Eno (epm)
Guest

More precisely, perhaps, for the first time since 1878. (I read your post as saying that this had happened in 1901 and thought, Surely not!

Richard Chester
Guest

Sorry for the confusion but I don’t like to combine 19th century stats with those of the 20th and 21st centuries. There are too many differences. In the future I will clarify my comments. I meant to say for the time period 1901-2019, the year 2019 was first time no player had more than 10 triples.

Doug
Guest

There were 14 teams this season with 10 or more players having 10+ HR. There were only 22 such teams before 2019, all of them since 1998. First teams with:
14 such players: 2019 Yankees
13: 2019 Yankees/Blue Jays
12: 2018 Yankees
11: 2004 Tigers
10: 1998 Yankees/Orioles
9: 1952 Giants
8: 1939 Yankees
7: 1936 Yankees
6: 1925 Browns
5: 1922 Phillies

Voomo
Guest

Highest WAR with at least 20 decisions and a winning percentage of .150 or lower:

2.3 … Spencer Turnbull (2019, 3-17)
1.2 … Ben Cantwell (4-25)
1.2 … Don Larsen (3-21)
0.5 … Jack Nabors (1-20)

Doug
Guest

Highest W-L% (20+ decisions):
under 2 WAR: .818 (18-4), Domingo German 2019 (1.9)
under 1 WAR: .762 (16-5), Tommy Byrne 1955 (0.7)
under 0 WAR: .750 (15-5), Chuck Dobson 1971 (-0.1)
under -1 WAR: .700 (14-6), Byron Houck 1913 (-1.2)

Richard Chester
Guest

This is way off-topic but I am posting a comment of mine that I posted on Twitter but got little reaction. Given the work I did on this I do not want it to go unnoticed.

Here it is.

Since 1901 there have been at least six 9-inning games in which a team overcame an 11+ run deficit for a victory.
DET on 6/18/1911 (12 run deficit)
CLE on 6/15/1925 (12)
SLB on 6/17/1936 (11)
BOS on 8/28/1950 (11)
SLN on 6/15/1952 (11)
HOU on 7/18/1994 (11)

Voomo
Guest

And how the game has changed in a quarter century. Those 94 Astros scored 15 runs in that game with only one Homer, while striking out just three times.

Paul E
Guest

….and in that same game, the STN had 17 hits and zero walks. Pretty bizarre – I imagine that hasn’t happened often in a 9-inning game

Paul E
Guest

sorry, it’s (17 H, 0 BB) actually happened 31 times since 1908 ! Golllollleee, sirprise, surprise, surprise…

Mike L
Guest

Richard, I liked it on twitter. I don’t necessarily think that will raise your profile enough so that MLB will take you on as an influencer, hawking baseball products, but, since you are retired….

Richard Chester
Guest

By googling I verified that my results are correct (at least for the 12 run deficit games). I had created a spreadsheet using data from retrosheet gamelogs. Turns out there is also an 11-inning 12 run deficit game as the Indians defeated the Mariners 15-14 on 8/5/2001.

Doug
Guest

Juan Soto’s 8th inning single that provided the margin of victory for the Nats on Tuesday yielded a .582 WPA, fourth highest in the post-season for any 2-out bases-loaded single, and highest for any such hit before the 9th inning.

Now that the Nats have made the division round, their long suit in starting pitching should play well. But, probably not enough to overcome their Achilles heel of a bullpen.

Josh Davis
Guest

Nice post, Doug. My (NL) money would be on the Dodgers as well, though I don’t see anyone beating the Astros in the WS this year. Houston’s 2019 staff:
Verlander: 7.8 WAR
Cole: 6.8 WAR
Greinke: 6.4 WAR

Has there ever been another team with three 6+ WAR starters? Maybe someone whose more adept with Baseball Reference can answer…

Richard Chester
Guest

The 2017 Nats (Gonzalez, Scherzer and Strasburg) and 2011 Phils (Halladay, Hamels and Lee) did it. That’s for pitchers with at least 95% of games as a starter from 1901 to date.

Doug
Guest

Using a less demanding standard for starting pitching (60% of games) adds the 1925 Reds (Pete Donohue, Dolf Luque, Eppa Rixey) and 1913 White Sox (Eddie Cicotte, Reb Russell, Jim Scott). The Chicago trio each topped 7 WAR, led by Russell with 8.9 WAR in his rookie season (only Mark Fidrych with 9.6 WAR in 1976 has since topped that mark among rookies).

Josh Davis
Guest

Thanks, guys. More than I would have thought. But still exceedingly rare.

Tom
Guest

Completely off-topic.

The Dodgers went 57/67 in stolen base attempts, an 85% success rate.
Cody Bellinger went 15/20.
No other Dodger got caught more than once.

Doug
Guest

The 1958 Braves and 2010 Red Sox are the only other teams to have only one player with more than one CS. No team has had none.

Doug
Guest
Before Wednesday’s AL Wild Card, these were the W-L records for teams in an elimination game using a starting pitcher making his post-season debut. LH starter: 15-4 RH starter: 19-34 That dominance for lefties is probably not why the A’s started Manaea but, like just about everything the A’s have tried in elimination games, it didn’t work out for them, again. Incidentally, having a starter make his post-season debut in a WC game has become something of a tradition; among 32 starters in the 16 WC games to date, 11 of them were making their post-season debuts, including two games… Read more »
Doug
Guest

A’s teammates Matt Chapman and Matt Olson this season recorded identical totals of 36 HR and 91 RBI.

Quiz: which other teammates with the same first name recorded identical HR and RBI totals in 400+ PA seasons?

Richard Chester
Guest

Tony Taylor and Tony Gonzales of the 1968 Phillies each had 3 HR and 38 RBIs.

Paul E
Guest

Richard from Scotland Yard does it again! Immediately I was thinking of all these tandems who hit a ton of homers. However, obviously, it’s more likely to happen ath the lower end of the scale. Allen hit 33 (of 100) Philadelphia home runs that year. I wonder how often that may have happened (33%+) in the expansion era or from 1961 – 1993?

Richard Chester
Guest

Looks like my earlier comment did not post. There have been 29 occurrences of a player hitting at least 33.0% of his team’s seasonal HR from 1961-1993. Highest percentage is 44.9% by Mike Schmidt of the Phils in 1981.

Paul E
Guest

Thanks Richard. In 1981, Schmidt (7.7 in 107 team games) may have broken Al Rosen’s WAR standard (10.1) for 3B if not for the strike….but, the same is probably true of Brett ( 9.4 WAR in 118 G played) the prior year if not for injuries

Mike L
Guest

For old time’s sake….Babe Ruth had 29 of the Red Sox 33 HR in 1919!

Voomo
Guest

And yes, both of those Tonys were diminutives of the same full name of Antonio, though Gonzales’ Antonio was his middle name.

Voomo
Guest

Though apparently, while Olson is a proper Matthew, Chapman has a birth name of just plain Matt.

Dr. Doom
Guest

Apropos of nothing, 2019 is the first MLB season in history with four teams reaching 100+ wins.

Paul E
Guest

Doom,
My condolences on the passing of the 2019 Brewers. I have to believe that Yelich would have won the M V P if not for the injury but they really surprised a lot of people coming back from his injury and finishing so strong. Tough ending in DC – ugghhh

Scary Tuna
Guest

Doom, it’s good to see a post from you. I missed your commentary as the Brewers stormed into the playoffs with their 18-2 run. The Wisconsin expatriate sitting by me in our office filled some of the void with his daily Brewers banter, but he didn’t bring quite the same knowledge and enthusiasm you did in your posts last September. Was sad to see their season end so abruptly the other night. The idea of a Brewers-Twins post-season clash was fun to entertain for a few weeks, anyway.

Bob Eno (epm)
Guest

Welcome back, Doom! Your commentary and Brewer advocacy have been much missed.

Doug
Guest

Two 35 year-old starting catchers in the Cards/Braves series opener. Only the second time to start a series (Dodgers/Cubs in 2016).

Keuchel and McCann form a post-season battery for a second team. Others to do it include Carlton and McCarver, Lackey and Ross, Lester and Ross, Kuroda and Martin. Any others?

Richard Chester
Guest

Post-season battery for a second team: Wally Schang/Carl Mays and Wally Schang/Bullet Joe Bush for the Red Sox and Yankees.

Doug
Guest

Carlos Martinez on Thursday became the first pitcher to finish and win a post-season game with a relief appearance of 2 IP or less while allowing 3 ER or more. Since 1908, that’s been done only 10 times in the regular season by a visiting pitcher.

Doug
Guest

Highest career post-season OPS (min. 40 PA, active players italicized)
1. 1.287 – Babe Ruth (159 PA)
2. 1.269 – Jorge Soler (41 PA)
3. 1.215 – Willie Aikens (49 PA)
4. 1.214 – Lou Gehrig (150 PA)
5. 1.207 – Bobby Brown (46 PA)
6. 1.199 – Carlos Delgado (43 PA)
7. 1.192 – Paul Goldschmidt (41 PA)
8. 1.154 – Troy Glaus (88 PA)
9. 1.138 – Chris Young (60 PA)
10. 1.131 – Sean Casey (41 PA)

Paul E
Guest

Doug,
Whattaya got against Colby “Neckbeard” Rasmus”? Here’s the list for 35+ PA’s. Is it possible Ruth dropped due to PH appearances or starting pitcher appearances? This info is off of baseball-reference “MLB Playoffs” tab:
1. Colby Rasmus…… 1.610….. 35 PA
2. Jorge Soler…. 1.269….. 41 PA
3. Willie Aikens. 1.215….. 49 PA
4. Lou Gehrig… 1.214….. 150 PA
5. Babe Ruth…. 1.214….. 167 PA
6. Bobby Brown……. 1.207….. 46 PA
7. Carlos Delgado…. 1.199….. 43 PA
8. Paul Goldschmidt1.192….. 41 PA
9. Ryan Ludwick…… 1.167….. 39 PA
10. Troy Glaus…. 1.154…… 88 PA

Doug
Guest

I think your numbers are the right ones. I was using the P-I Game Finder and excluded pitchers just to limit the number of players I would need to sort. But, of course, that would affect Ruth’s numbers. My mistake.

Paul E
Guest

Doug
I only “checked” since I could have sworn Carlos Ivan Beltran had to be on this list with all his October raking….turns out list last few postseasons (ages 38-40) took him off the top 10

CursedClevelander
Guest

Mitch Garver was batting lead off today. Back in 2010, when John Jaso led off for the Rays, he was only.the 3rd catcher to do so in the postseason after Jason Kendall and Roger Bresnahan. Not sure if anyone did from 2011 to 2018

Doug
Guest

No starting catcher batted leadoff from 2011 to 2018, but 11 catchers have entered a game in the leadoff position (Chris Widger did it three times), most recently Yasmani Grandal in the 2018 NLCS, and also including current Rays manager Kevin Cash, playing for Boston against the Rays in the 2008 ALCS.

Doug
Guest

Mike Soroka on Sunday became the youngest pitcher since Steve Avery in 1991 to make his post-season debut with a start of 7+ IP allowing one run or none. I’m curious how the 16 year age difference between Soroka and Adam Wainwright ranks among pitchers both making such a post-season start, but don’t have the answer yet.

Paul E
Guest

Jack Quinn (46 y.o.) vs. Charlie Root (29) on October 12, 1929 has to be one of a few. In this case, Quinn is given a DoB of 7/1/1883 (in Outer Slovenia in somewhere in Eastern Europe ?) with July 1 being the cutoff for b-r.

Paul E
Guest

How about Phil Niekro (43) versus John Stuper (25) in the NLCS of 1982?

Paul E
Guest

one last one – Kenny Rogers (41) versus Rich Harden (24) in the 2006 A L C S.
Wouldn’t know how to search for more on the PI. Spreadsheet stuff, I guess ?

Doug
Guest

Gerrit Cole’s 85 game score on Saturday was the highest in post-season history in a start of less than 8 IP.

Paul E
Guest

Charlie Morton went 5 innings last night (again) and came away with his 2nd postseason W for 2019. Here’s Charlie’s last three regular seasons all-time, based on W-L%, age 33-35, 60+ decisions:

1…Sal Maglie…. .766…77…1950-1952…59-18
2…Morton…….. .738…61…2017-2019…45-16
3…Preacher Roe.. .737…76…1949-1951…56-20
4…Whitey Ford… .734…79…1962-1964…58-21
5…Sam Leever…. .727…77…1905-1907…56-21
6…Jamie Moyer… .726…62…1996-1998…45-17
7…Eddie Lopat… .723…65…1951-1953…47-18
8…Carl Hubbell.. .718…85…1936-1938…61-24
9…Whit Wyatt…. .714…77…1941-1943…55-22
10..Joe McGinnity. .703..118…1904-1906…83-35

Mike L
Guest

Yeah, but Jamie Moyer still had 13 years left….and 165 more wins….

Paul E
Guest

Morton was threatening to retire last offseason before signing with Tampa. I imagine he won’t be approaching Moyer’s additional 165 wins. I believe McGinnity pitched in the minors till his arm nearly fell off ( 48 y. o. ? )

Doug
Guest

Actually, McGinnity pitched almost 500 innings in the minors after age 50, incl. 89 innings (6-7, 4.01) in his final season at age 54 (fittingly, his last team was the Dubuque “Ironmen” of the Mississippi Valley League).

Doug
Guest

Ronald Acuna Jr. had four hits on Monday, including two XBH, but did not score or drive in a run. First time in the post-season.

Bob Eno (epm)
Guest
The outcome of the NLDS has me thinking back to 1969, when the division series were first devised. I was distraught then (I think it’s easier to be distraught when you’re younger) because the governing principles of the Pennant and World Series had been discarded. Until that time, pennants were always straight-up competitions among league teams who played perfectly balanced schedules. It took 154 / 162 games to determine which team was superior, but the outcome always guaranteed that the winning team was the one who had fought to the best record, and the World Series was simply a battle… Read more »
Paul E
Guest
Bob, Let’s not forget those 1987 Minnesota Twins (5th best record in the AL; best in West). I grew up in the 60’s and 70’s and was OK with two divisions and the unbalanced (5 x 18 and 6 x 12) regular season schedule since teams, at least, played their division rivals in September. I believe the ’83 Dodgers beat the Phillies 11 out of 12 in the regular season and lost in the NLCS – almost as egregious as the ’87 Twins. But, it’s a professional sport and they’re beholden to the almighty dollar more and more each year.… Read more »
Bob Eno (epm)
Guest
We’re thinking alike on this one, Paul. I thought the Twins win was a shame. And there was an extra dimension to my disappointment. One of the first Series I recall was, for me, the peak of the Lost Golden Age, when Brooklyn broke their 0-7 World Series jinx in 1955. In that Series, as the newspapers stressed, the Dodgers became the first Series team to lose the initial two games and then go on to win the Series. I thought it proved the Bums were super heroes. Imagine my dismay when the hated Yankees turned the tables in ’56… Read more »
Paul E
Guest

Bob,
On the topic of indoor noise, how about the inability of NCCAM and NBA teams to win on the road? I believe MLB visiting teams win at a 42% clip and that is significantly higher than the NBA (and the NFL, for that matter). Four 8-team divisions without wild cards would be great with a 7-game NL/ALCS and even a 9-game WS…..except, we don’t need another two expansion teams as starting pitching is hard enough to come by as it already is.

Mike L
Guest
Bob, I’m with you on this. I hated the split format when it first was announced–it seemed unjust. I doubly dislike the modern Wildcard format. It bothers me immensely that a mid-80’s win team can win a one game series and then be on equal standing with teams that may have won 20 more games than they did. And I think the entire injustice is more accentuated by the current vogue for tanking. You have teams that are already weak throwing over the side everything they can to get weaker. If you were lucky enough to have the majority of… Read more »
Doug
Guest
The one game WC bothered me, as well, at first. But, since a division crown is the only sure way to the real dance, a one-gamer against another WC team doesn’t strike me as too absurd, especially if the two teams are fairly close in wins. After all, the WC teams are qualifying via the back door, so either would do as well as the other to make the real post-season. Where an injustice really arises is if the two WC teams aren’t close in wins, thus making the one-game crap shoot rather unfair to the better team. Instead, to… Read more »
Mike L
Guest

Interesting thought on the conditional one game playoff. Could work.

Richard Chester
Guest

Agreed.

Doug
Guest

The Nats, with that post-season monkey off their back, have become just the fifth team to hold the same opponent to one run or none, on 3 hits or less, in consecutive post-season games. The first four times were all in the World Series, in 1915, 1919, 2001 and 2010, but never before by the visiting team to start a series. The Yankees will be looking to match Washington’s feat in game 2 of the ALCS.

Doug
Guest
16 strikeouts by Nats pitchers in game 3 are two more than the previous post-season record in a game with zero walks allowed. The first post-season game with double-digit strikeouts and no walks was the first post-season game, by the Pirates in game 1 of the 1903 WS; it would be 46 years before the next. Of 34 such games overall, 27 have come in the past 20 post-seasons. Nats pitchers could match or better the record for fewest runs allowed in any LCS (3 by the 1970 Reds and 1983 Orioles), any best-of-7 LCS (4 by the 1990 A’s),… Read more »
Doug
Guest

The Yankees’ WOHR loss to the Astros in game 2 was the fifth in Yankees’ post-season history; they lost the series on each of of the previous occasions (1957, 1960 and 2003 WS, 2004 ALCS).

Voomo
Guest

Warren Spahn gave up a three-run HR in the 9th of that 1957 game,
came out to pitch the 10th,
gave up another run…
and got the Win.

That year marked the beginning of a streak of 7 consecutive seasons leading the league in Complete Games (ages 36-42)

Doug
Guest
In the last of those league-leading seasons, the 42 year-old Spahn pitched half of his complete games (11 of 22) on three days rest, including his 15.1 IP loss to Marichal and the Giants. In his final season as a Giant, the 44 year-old Spahn recorded his second-to-last CG opposing ’57 Braves WS hero Lew Burdette, then pitching for the Phillies. Burdette also went the distance to make the game one of only 10 since 1908 with a pair of CGs for age 38+ pitchers (of those 10 games, Spahn and Burdette have the highest combined age, at more than… Read more »
Mike L
Guest

WOHR is also “World Organization for Human Rights”
There’s a metaphor there….

Paul E
Guest

Mike L
Obviously, they’re not doing a great job. Let’s hope they’re a non-profit or have some other reasonable excuse

Mike L
Guest

Excellent point. Maybe someone comes out of the bullpen….

Doug
Guest
Congrats to the Nationals on the franchise’s first NL pennant, in its 51st season. The closest the franchise had come previously was an NLCS loss to the Dodgers in 1981 (in the other strike-shortened season in 1994, the Expos recorded the majors’ best record). The previous Washington-based team, the Senators, claimed their first AL pennant as the Texas Rangers in that franchise’s 50th season. Those are two longest droughts for any franchise from inception to pennant, The Mariners now have the longest current drought, at 43 years. In the clincher, Nats pitchers struck out 14 Cardinals, after whiffing 16 the… Read more »
Doug
Guest

Post-Season ERA not higher than WHIP and both below 1.00, minimum 3 starts.

Doug
Guest
Quite the 9th inning to close out the ALCS. Only the third post-season game with both teams hitting multi-run HR in the same inning in the 9th or extra innings. The others were the Mets and Giants in game 2 of the 2000 NLDS, and the Twins and A’s in game 5 of the 2002 ALDS. Astros become the first team with two walk-off HR in the same series. What didn’t happen in that 9th inning was Martin Maldonado leading off and trying to bunt his away aboard as he’d done earlier in the game. That was only the 8th… Read more »
Mike L
Guest

Ouch.

Richard Chester
Guest

I have seen many comments on Twitter about the Yankees not making the WS for this decade. I pay no attention to them as I consider the decade as starting with a year ending in 1. Accordingly the second decade of the 21st century extends form 2011 to 2020. The Yankees still have 1 year left to make it to the WS.

Paul E
Guest

Richard,
I guess if the NYY sign free agent Gerritt Cole in the off-season, that has to be a minimum 10 WAR swing (5 WAR in opposite directions for the Yanks and Astros). That certainly would help NY. Coupled with the fact the Sawx seem to be up against it with their starting pitching, another 100-win season might be, to paraphrase Richie Ashburn, “a lead-pipe cinch”.

Doug
Guest

However you consider decades, the Yankees have made it to only one World Series in 16 years. Previously, they could say that only after the 1995 season, and when they made it to their first World Series in 1921.

Mike L
Guest

It’s like an endless winter, barren of promise.

Bob Eno (epm)
Guest

While Washington basks in the endless summer that returns the city to the Series every 86 years!

Mike L
Guest

I sense my irony has been met with more….

Paul E
Guest

The 1904 Washington Senators were playing so poorly in the summer of 1904 that Dryden famously wrote, “Washington – first in war, first in peace, and last in the American League,”[27] a play on the famous line in Henry Lee III’s eulogy for President George Washington as “First in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen”.

They left Washington and made the series 4 years later in Minneapolis (1965). I guess that’s all it took

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