Open to all BP staff, One-Hoppers is the grab bag of anything baseball-related that anyone's seen or thought about. It can be something from an individual game, a splash of snark, breaking news or a reaction to same, tidbits of research, and more.
The Brewers fail to complete the sweep on their first night in Arizona.
Saturday and Sunday saw the Milwaukee Brewers looking like World Series contenders. Ryan Braun was 6-for-8 in two games, while Prince Fielder was 3-for-8. Yovani Gallardo pitched a gem on Saturday, and a strong offense bailed out a pedestrian outing from co-ace Zack Greinke on Sunday. With that kind of talent playing at that high a level, Milwaukee's visit to Phoenix and Chase Field felt like nothing but a formality on their way to the National League Championship Series. Shaun Marcum, whose ERA was over two runs better on the road than at home (4.81 vs. 2.21), was getting the start Tuesday night, further raising expectations of Milwaukee fans.
David Price falls to the Rangers in the ALDS again.
Is it possible to write about Game 3 of a 1-1 series without describing it as pivotal? After watching the Rangers succumb to Matt Moore in Game 1, David Price complimented his young teammate by praising the opposing lineup. As part of Price’s comments, he suggested the Rangers lineup features “five Longorias”. Overzealous but not absurd according to the 2011 True Average figures compiled by Evan Longoria and the Rangers five best hitters (as seen below). Price’s quote may have centered around another precocious lefty in the Rays playoff rotation, but the quote was fresh enough to stand out throughout the Game 3 proceedings.
Anyone can tell you that the players and coaches on the field decide baseball games, but the observant could also tell you that Game 2 of the Rays-Rangers series can serve as a highlight reel for Jon Daniels.
With rain having scrambled his rotation plans, Joe Girardi is keeping his options open.
Sitting in on the press conferences of managers Jim Leyland and Joe Girardi for the third time in about 24 hours, one gets the sense that neither they nor their players are as fazed by the rain-induced schedule juggling as those of us covering the series. "This is not a crisis, this is postseason baseball," said Leyland on Saturday afternoon.
The Yankees and Tigers will both have to juggle their rotations after rain forced play to be suspended with just an inning and a half in the books.
Clinching their respective playoff spots early gave the Yankees and the Tigers the luxury of lining up their rotations to create the Division Series’ best pitching matchup, a pair of aces in CC Sabathia and Justin Verlander, but Mother Nature pissed all over that on Friday night. The short version of the story is that Game One was suspended after an inning and a half of play in the Bronx with the score 1-1. Delmon Young homered off Sabathia with two outs in the top of the first inning, and the Yankees scratched out a run without the benefit of a hit against Verlander in the bottom half. Leadoff hitter Derek Jeter reached base on a strike three wild pitch, advanced to second via Curtis Granderson’s walk, took third on Robinson Cano’s groundout, and scored on Alex Rodriguez’s groundout. Tack on a Mark Teixeira walk, and the Yankees ran a shaky Verlander's pitch count up to 27 before the skies opened up. The 28-year-old righty had particular trouble locating his four-seam fastball, getting strikes on just nine of 17 pitches.
Matt Moore leaves little doubt as to whether he's ready for October with a dominating Game 1 performance.
Matt Moore’s ability to stomach postseason pressure was the great unknown entering Game 1 of the Rays-Rangers series. Short in experience and years alike, Moore needed to be long in stuff and poise in order to contain the right-handed heavy Rangers lineup within a hostile and offensive-friendly environment. Three hours after the game’s first pitch, Moore had provided enough evidence to suggest he might be able to deal with stressful conditions just fine, as he led the Rays to a 9-0 victory and a 1-0 advantage in the best-of-five series.
A tribute to the players whose successes and failures made the season's final days so memorable.
In retrospect, I peaked too early. As memorable and riveting a night for baseball as Tuesday night was, with one barnburner and two other come-from-behind victories that collectively tied up both leagues' Wild Card races heading into the final day of the season, Wednesday was even moreso. My schedule and sanity didn't allow me to chronicle another night of quadro-entropic action in the same minute detail, but with a TV, a laptop, an iPad, and an iPhone, I caught all of the relevant action, including the Braves' agonizing 13-inning loss, the Red Sox ninth-inning collapse, and the Rays' amazing comeback from 7-0 against the Yankees with just six outs remaining (via Twitter and the #teamentropy hashtag, I caught a great deal fo the snark as well). The five or 10 minute span which saw Boston lose and Tampa Bay win may be the most shocking stretch of baseball I've witnessed since — we'll go easy on Bill Buckner and Sox fans — the Steve Bartman game.
An important day in baseball history resonates on a personal level as well.
April 15 is Jackie Robinson Day, the 64th anniversary of the day when Robinson broke baseball's color barrier by taking the field for the Brooklyn Dodgers. It's a day to pause for a moment to reflect upon Robinson's immeasurable courage in battling racism, and the impact his bold success had on this country, from the integration of the military to the Civil Rights movement to the election of Barack Obama to the United States presidency. Robinson's arrival in the major leagues forced America to live up to its ideals of equality, and his actions changed the course of this country's history in ways that continue to be felt, ways that eclipse even his on-field greatness.
The Madoff-Wilpon fiasco is more likely to hurt the Mets' owners than their team.
Ever since word first broke two years ago that the Mets' owners, Fred and Jeff Wilpon, had been heavily invested in Bernie Madoff's Ponzi scheme, I've been getting occasional questions along the lines of "What will this mean for the Mets' payroll?" And my reflexive answer has been: "Not much." Just because the Wilpons' personal bank account was taking a beating, my reasoning went, that shouldn't change whether it made financial sense to sign a top-tier free agent to try to boost wins and thus ticket sales—any more than it mattered to the Yankees when George Steinbrenner's ship-building business went kablooey. And, indeed, the Madoff scandal didn't stop the Mets from throwing lots of money at Jason Bay in the hopes that he'd get Met fans dreaming of a World Series. (That Bay ended up reminding them of a different 1980s flashback is another story.)