BP.com's original column launched in 1996, TA has been where Christina Kahrl ponders the implications of recent roster moves, their impact on managerial tactics or how they reflect organizational behavior. Plus a few too many references to things that have nothing to do with baseball.
Disappointments about in all three instances, but is there any good news to be found?
Obvious Good Move: You want a good move from a team that is giving Mike Hampton a last chance? It used to be that this sort of desperate effort to hang on was the butt of jokes in venues as obvious as Tank McNamara, when it made light of Steve Carlton's unwillingness to give up 25 years ago. OK, let's see... how about cutting Bobby Crosby? I figure a few A's fans might get a contact high from that.
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The Rockies knot things up while Los Dos Angeles take leads in their respective series.
Jim Tracy is going to win the NL Manager of the Year Award, because when you take over a team in May and that team plays .600 baseball under you and makes the playoffs, that's just the way it goes. When I wrote about the Rockies in July, I noted that their success seemed in part to be due to personnel decisions Tracy had made, largely in improving the defense.
Rounding up the news on the varies LDS matchups, with a focus on the skippers.
This time last year, Jim Tracy was about as far removed from the postseason as a man who spent almost his entire adult life in professional baseball could get. That's because Tracy spent the 2008 season out of the game; he had been fired by the Pirates after the 2007 season following a two-year run as their manager, one that saw his teams go 135-189. Tracy had a house on a golf course in suburban Pittsburgh, and spent the year working on his game on the links when he wasn't watching his son play catcher at Duquesne University. Tracy's chances of managing in the major leagues anytime soon appeared slim. He was just focused on getting some kind of job in baseball.
A rematch from the '07 postseason makes for a great showdown of two teams with very different virtues.
Well, here we are again, with the Phillies and Rockies set to battle one another in the National League Division Series for the second time in three seasons. Just as it was in 2007, the Phillies enter the fray with a division title while the Rockies used an incredibly strong second half to win the NL Wild Card. Unlike that entertaining 2007 season, however, in which the Phillies ousted the Mets from the top spot of the NL East on the final day of the season, only to have their spotlight stolen soon thereafter by a Rockies team that won a controversial play-in game, this year's Phillies controlled their division practically all season. In addition, the Rockies' second-half surge proved so strong that they actually gave the division-leading Dodgers a run for their money in the final week. A good chunk of the 2007 cast of characters remains intact for each team, but enough has changed to merit a new writeup instead of a recycled version of the prior Phillies/Rockies preview.
Where are the Rockies going, and how do they want to get there?
Just shy of three weeks ago, the Rockiesfired manager Clint Hurdle, having stumbled out to an 18-28 start and fallen 14½ games back in the NL West race. Owners of the league's worst record west of the Potomac, they surprised nobody by losing four of their first six games under interim skipper Jim Tracy. The Rox were sinking like stones, well on their way to their eighth losing season out of nine. Their PECOTA-based playoff odds, which were around seven percent when the season began, had dwindled to 0.3 percent.
Dan examines where research on clutch hitting is now, and ranks the best in 2006.
Clutch hitting is one of those issues that just won't go away. Ever since Dick Cramer's famous study titled "Do Clutch Hitters Exist?" was published in the 1977 Baseball Research Journal there has been no end to the discussion of just what is and what isn't clutch hitting, and how it can or can't be measured.