The A's even the series behind young rookie Sonny Gray and old man rookie Stephen Vogt.
Sonny Gray was sitting on the stage, taking questions, with a little mustache that Derek Holland would have made fun of and a voice that has never once been mistaken on the phone for his dad’s. A guy in a suit says “last question,” and about then Justin Verlander quietly walks into the room for his turn on stage. Verlander is showered, dressed, cologned. He’s wearing this suit,
Does Detroit's rotation make up for Oakland's other advantages?
For months, our daily Playoff Odds have given the Tigers the best chance—by a pretty wide margin—of winning the World Series. For most of the season, that was because they were the team with the easiest path to the postseason, but even now they stand above the rest. The reason is simple: The Tigers have won a lot of games, but should have won even more, according to run differential; and their run differential should be even higher than it is, according to third-order metrics. They’ve been a top-tier offense while having undoubtedly the league’s best pitching. Four of the top nine FIPs in the AL are in their rotation. Playing in a traditionally soft division hasn’t kept them from pushing to get better, and the investments they’ve made in recent years—massive extensions for Miguel Cabrera and Justin Verlander, big contracts for free agents Prince Fielder and Anibal Sanchez, and relatively heavy expenditures on bullpen help—have all worked out, so far.
Forecasting what might be the best of an outstanding group of first-round series.
Thanks to the stipulation in the latest playoff format that says intradivisional division series are kosher, the 2013 playoffs have now given us a second one, and a very intriguing series. The Red Sox went 12-7 this season against the Rays and took the division, and as a reward, they have the home-field advantage with the Rays’ rotation slightly out of whack.
Can a rotation mismatch seal the deal for the Dodgers?
The Cardinals won six in a row to end the regular season, snatching the National League’s top seed away from the Braves, who scuffled to a 13-14 record in September. That put Atlanta on a collision course with Los Angeles, which won 62 of its last 90 games and only eased up on the gas pedal when the West division title was well in hand.
Breaking down the 2013 interleague schedule for all 30 teams. What teams are forced to deviate from their regular roster/lineup construction for the longest stretch of the year?
With the Astros finally moved into the American League, we have a very different interleague schedule this year. Not only does it mean that there is now at least one interleague series happening each day of the season, from April to October, it also means that the "rivalry weekends" that were the highlights of the interleague schedule fifteen years ago have been re-shaped. Additionally, the newly balanced divisions mean that, outside of the rivalry games, all teams in a given division can play the exact same teams as their divisional opponents. No longer do the schedule makers have to worry about a six-team division matching up with a four-team division.
So how did the schedule makers do? Did the schedule turn out as balanced as can be? Were they able to ensure that teams from any one division would have the same opponents as their division-mates? Were all clubs given the same number of interleague matches or did some lucky squad or two end up a series short? One thing to remember here is that, with interleague games happening all year long instead of on two or three specific weekends, clubs are now on unequal footing when it comes to setting their rosters for the change in league rules. If one team, for example, only ever has to worry about forcing their pitchers to hit one weekend a month, they are probably in a better situation than the club forced to suddenly remove their all-star DH for nine straight games. National League clubs playing in American League ballparks will have similar problems in trying to add a DH for extended periods of time.
A look at the monetary incentive players have to perform well in the postseason.
Incentive. At the workplace, it comes in many forms. For some, it’s merely being able to keep your job. In other cases, one can receive a pay bonus. So whether for Clark Griswold in Christmas Vacation or players in Major League Baseball, bonuses can be used as a carrot for performance.
For players in Major League Baseball, bonuses come in a host of different shapes and sizes. From signing to performance to awards, a player’s contract can have bonuses as a key element. One that often gets overlooked, however, centers on the postseason in the form of “shares.”
While the starters for the Brewers and Cardinals got off to a slow start, the offenses did not in Game One.
Zack Greinkeversus "phony" Chris Carpenter. Tony Plush, er, Nyjer Morganversus "Alberta" Pujols. A showcase for the coming winter's two top free-agent first basemen. A rematch of the 1982 World Series. A good old-fashioned NL Central grudge match featuring the league's top two slugging teams, and six of the league's top 13 sluggers according to slugging percentage. This year's National League Championship Series between the "Beast Mode" Brewers and the more staid Cardinals does not lack for storylines, tough talk, or the potential for fireworks. On Sunday afternoon, the two teams produced plenty of the latter, albeit without the sideshows we'd been led to expect. After falling behind early, the Brewers used a two-pitch sequence to break the game open in the fifth inning, with Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder each plating a pair of runs in the space of a few moments. Behind their big bats and their bullpen, the Brewers took Game One, 9-6.
As three series head to Game Fives, we dig up an investigation of the five-game format's fairness.
While looking toward the future with our comprehensive slate of current content, we'd also like to recognize our rich past by drawing upon our extensive (and mostly free) online archive of work dating back to 1997. In an effort to highlight the best of what's gone before, we'll be bringing you a weekly blast from BP's past, introducing or re-introducing you to some of the most informative and entertaining authors who have passed through our virtual halls. If you have fond recollections of a BP piece that you'd like to nominate for re-exposure to a wider audience, send us your suggestion.
As we prepare for the three remaining Division Series to be decided, revisit Mike Carminati's case for switching to a longer series format, which originally ran on November 2, 2006.