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Happy Thanksgiving! Regularly Scheduled Articles Will Resume Monday, December 1

Articles Tagged Pennant Race 

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September 23, 2014 6:00 am

What You Need to Know: September 23, 2014

0

Daniel Rathman

Lots of good pitching, occasional horrible pitching, and long, LONG game highlight yesterday's action.

The Monday Takeaway

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The staff shares its favorite stories from late-Septembers past.

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September 4, 2014 6:00 am

What You Need to Know: September 4, 2014

8

Chris Mosch

The Dodgers and Nationals played a marathon, Jon Lester and Felix Hernandez dueled, and someone threw a baseball at Andrew McCutchen. Plus find out what to watch today.

Justin Turner claimed Jordan Zimmermann’s pitch had hit him.

Maybe Zimmermann’s 1-2 fastball grazed Turner’s forearm. Maybe Turner is a liar. In any case, there was not enough video evidence to support his claim.

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In his final season, Bud Selig gets his wish: a year in which almost no one is out of the race early.

On Thursday morning, MLB.com writer Richard Justice noted that all but a handful of teams were within hailing distance of the closest playoff spot.

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What does history say about the best point in the season to secure a spot in the playoffs?

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.

Is it better for a team's playoff hopes to seal a playoff spot early in September, or to have a race come down to the wire? Mike surveyed baseball history in search of an answer in the piece reprinted below, which was originally published on October 1, 2006.


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A closer look at some of the most improbable pennant race comebacks and collapses in baseball history.

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.

While we wait to see whether any teams complete an improbable late-season comeback in 2012, revisit some of the unlikeliest playoff teams ever in the piece reprinted below, which was originally written for the paperback edition of It Ain't Over but instead was published at BP on October 4th, 2009.
 


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If the Nationals had handled their ace's innings limit a little more like the Braves massaged Kris Medlen's, they might not be facing a Strasless October.

WARNING: Here there be hindsight.

We can’t say Mike Rizzo didn’t warn us. “There’s not going to be a whole lot of tinkering done,” he said. “We’re going to run him out there until his innings are done.” That was on February 20th, the earliest reference by Rizzo I can find to any specific plan for limiting Stephen Strasburg’s workload. We knew then that the Nats weren’t going to get creative: they were going to pitch Strasburg like any other starter until he was fresh out of innings. What we didn’t know then (and what we still don’t really know now), is when that would be. For months, everyone assumed Strasburg would go into storage after 160 innings. Why 160? As far as I can tell, the 160 meme began innocently enough, with this sentence from an mlb.com article by Bill Ladson on February 19th: “He is expected to throw 160 innings, the same number his teammate Jordan Zimmermann threw last year after coming off elbow reconstruction.” Expected by whom? The article didn’t say. Certainly not by the Nationals. But before long, 160 was ubiquitous, and usually attributed to the team. By the time Rizzo denied the number had come from him in an article at BP in April, it was already accepted as fact.

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September 21, 2010 8:00 am

Expanded Horizons: The Great NL West race

12

Tommy Bennett

The wild card hasn't sullied a three-team battle for the division crown.

The wild card has ruined the thrill of the pennant race, they say. The Yankees and Rays, the two teams who almost by consensus are considered the best in baseball, should be in the middle of a good, old-fashioned dogfight right now. Instead, they are locked in the embrace of the biggest September sister-kiss in recent memory. Both teams were, as of Monday morning, better than 1-in-75 favorites to make the playoffs. This is a bum deal, traditionalists scream. Where’s our September swoon—our choke job for the ages? “I’m not greedy,” you say, “I don’t need Bobby Thomson in a one-game playoff. I just want to watch one go down to the wire.”

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August 4, 2010 8:00 am

On the Beat: A Nice Change of Pace

5

John Perrotto

The Reds are in contention for the first time in a decade, along with other news and notes from around the major leagues.

Dusty Baker couldn't resist having a little fun with the reporters gathered around him. The Reds manager was asked Tuesday night how he planned to set up his starting rotation for next week's pivotal series against the Cardinals. Baker grinned then playfully did not answer the question.

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The postscript on the stretch races of 2007, and how remarkable the blown leads and late-season successes of that year were compared to history's most epic collapses.

Given the peril the Tigers' season is in, it seems appropriate for us to bring this back to provide a sense of the history of epic collapses. This was the new chapter that was supposed to go into the paperback edition of It Ain't Over, but for reasons only the publisher can adequately explain, it didn't get inserted. Given that we've got a great race in play once again, here's what you missed.

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October 4, 2007 12:00 am

Lies, Damned Lies: The Greatest Pennant Race Comebacks

0

Nate Silver

A look at the greatest comebacks in pennant race history. Has there been a recent addition to the list?

I've had kind of a lucky year. The PECOTA projection I made in the offseason that gained the most notoriety is that the White Sox would finish 72-90; that turned out to be their actual finish. After that, the next most controversial projection was that Dustin Pedroia was going to have a very good year; now he looks like a shoo-in for the Rookie of the Year Award. And in a July article for Sports Illustrated, we noted that the Secret Sauce predicted that the Red Sox would meet the Cubs in the World Series, an outcome that now looks entirely possible (though incrementally less so after the Cubs' loss last night).

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September 24, 2007 12:00 am

You Could Look It Up: Pete Reiser's Place in Dodgerdom

0

Steven Goldman

The perils of head trauma, and how it can derail a promising career.

Sixty-five years ago, the nation was at war and the Dodgers were about to fall out of postseason contention. Today, the nation is at war and the Dodgers are about to fall out of postseason contention. If the 2007 Dodgers fail to last into October, that failure will be due at least in part to the timidity with which the organization embraced young players like James Loney, Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp and Chad Billingsley. Their 1942 counterparts lost for precisely the opposite reason, holding on too tightly to a young player when they should have played anybody else.

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