Will Prince be crowned a champion before he makes a bid for free agency?
Why Milwaukee Will Win Pitching. The Brewers hold the starting pitching advantage in the first three games, and it’s overwhelming for Game Three. Their bullpen is also superior, anchored by elite stoppers John Axford and Francisco Rodriguez and a fine supporting cast of Kameron Loe, Takashi Saito, et al. The D’backs will struggle to score.
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The 2006 draft has served as a major talent influx for the top forces in the NL West.
I'd wanted to write about Clayton Kershaw because I haven't discussed him in as much detail as his season merits, but finding a fresh angle proved to be difficult. Improved control? Done. Comparisons to Sandy Koufax? Done. A thousand other things? Done.
With their rotation order for the World Series at stake, the Yankees advanced with a blend of their own execution of Angel miscues.
For much of last night, it was 1996 again. Or 1998. Or maybe 2000. You had Andy Pettitte getting big outs, a deep lineup grinding away at an opposing starting pitcher, a key break going the Yankees' way, a crowd buzzing with confidence, eager to celebrate a clinching. Forget that it was a new building, or that the guy who got the biggest hit not so long ago contributed to a dark day in franchise history, or that the big plays were consecutive bunts, or that Mariano Rivera managed to give up a run. For one night, Aura and Mystique did a show in the Bronx, and when they were done, the World Series was coming home again.
The Angels' Game Two starter stops by to talk about his personality, pitching to contact, and how he feels when he doesn't get a strike call.
Joe Saunders doesn't blow hitters away, he simply beats them. The 28-year-old left-hander has logged unimpressive 4.68 and 4.89 K/9 rates the past two seasons, but thanks to an ability to mix his pitches and throw quality strikes, he has been an effective member of the Angels rotation. His 33 wins over the 2008 and 2009 campaigns are the most on Los Angeles' staff. He'll never be mistaken for Sandy Koufax or Steve Carlton, but when Saunders takes the mound on Saturday night, the Yankees will be facing a pitcher who usually finds a way to win. He may not look pretty doing it, but for the crafty southpaw, that's not the objective. Saunders talked about his game when the Angels visited Fenway Park in mid-September.
The showdown between East and West is echoed in the junior circuit, but is it power versus power?
Whether due to the simplicity in casual conversations or the attractiveness of identifying the major component of team-wide success, combining several aspects of play into a tidy unit has become fairly commonplace. Most teams, however, are multidimensional, and many instances of such identifications are simply incorrect, based on reputations and not actual facts. Did the Twins really succeed through small ball and the manufacturing of runs, or was it simply assumed that they did based on using Nick Punto and a general lack of familiarity with their roster beyond Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau? And did the Yankees really not execute the little things throughout the season just because they could bop the ball all around the yard? I raise these questions because, for at least the next week, we are going to hear about how different the Angels and Yankees are in terms of their respective styles of play.
The Angels keep on rolling, the Nationals make their call on who's in charge, and the Rays go black to lighten the mood.
Their top three starting pitchers have spent time on the Disabled List. Their primary set-up reliever is out for the season after their record-setting closer left as a free agent in the winter. Their hard-hitting designated hitter has been plagued by injuries all season, and their center fielder missed more than a month; these injuries befell a lineup that lost its power-hitting first baseman to free agency in the offseason.
The Cubs and Angels have to worry about their LDS assignments, while the Brewers have to worry about even getting there.
Carlos Zambrano (0 DXL)
If you buy what Bob Brenly said during Friday's game, that Zambrano was losing velocity without having anything physically wrong, then there's still the question of what Zambrano gave up in pursuit of a no-hitter. If you don't buy into Brenly's logic and you worry, like me, that Zambrano's return was just the start of a downward slope that might have been accelerated by 110 pitches at high adrenaline, then you end up at the same place. Zambrano has one start, maybe, before the playoffs, and in that start the Cubs will have to make a lot of decisions. With the division clinched and Zambrano's scheduled Thursday start putting him in position to lead off the Cubs' Division Series, they almost have to see him go the normal distance, hopefully with the same higher elbow at ball release like he had during the no-hitter, before they can write his name into their playoff rotation in ink. If he has another poor performance and looks bad physically, the Cubs do have options, but not nearly as good.