It looked like there would be no hunts for playoff berths down the stretch, but a few teams are trying to spice things up.
Two weeks ago, I shoveled dirt on the 2011 playoff races and braced for a comparatively dull September full of little more than teams jockeying for position as fans and writers debated award candidates and the inevitable, interminable would-you-rather-face questions. Through the results of September 7, the day my article ran, our Playoff Odds report showed eight teams with at least a 90 percent chance of reaching the postseason, and three more between one and 10 percent. Based upon personnel, run differentials, schedules, and historical probabilities, there was roughly a 1-in-6 chance somebody would upset the applecart.
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Craig checks out a slew of two-start options as we approach the All-Star break.
It’s the week before the All-Star Break, and the schedule makers were sure to cram in all the action they could ahead of the season’s pseudo midway point. Only the Phillies and Pirates have a day off this week, providing tons of options for fantasy leaguers looking for two-start pitchers.
Craig takes his weekly look at two-start pitchers and finds a few interesting options for the coming week.
There are a few of starters in line to take a two turns in the rotation who just might be available in your league to give you an edge in head-to-head action this week. This is one of the most wide open weeks of the season where there will be plenty of pitchers to think about as you set your lineup.
Which teams with rotation stalwarts sporting ERAs that resemble Olympic gymnastics scores should be panicking, and which should stay the course?
The 2011 season is still young. Teams have played anywhere from 22 to 26 games, less than one-sixth of their schedule, and we're still in small sample territory. Nonetheless, there's no shortage of players whose slow starts are keeping their managers or fans lying awake at night. Earlier this week, Steven Goldman examined a doublehandful of slumping hitters, surveying both their performance and their teams' alternatives for change. Today, I turn my attention to a similarly struggling set of starting pitchers who have gotten pasted more often than not this year.
The American League has plenty of pitching options for you to consider, but the Senior Circuit is nearly bereft of useful starts next week.
Proceed with caution: most of the pitchers who will be available in your leagues (meaning those with less than 20 percent ownership in ESPN or Yahoo leagues, as noted with a ^) for a two-start week aren’t going to be worth your time. There are a couple of starters with potential to help your team, but because of the limited numbers, you better pounce quickly or you’ll be on the outside looking in.
As training camps wind down, here's a look at news that has cheered each major-league team this March.
Spring training is the time for optimism and dreams. However, with Opening Day just eight days away, the time for wishing and hoping is drawing to a close. Before the party gets spoiled by the natural ebb and flow of the season, let's take a look at one positive occurrence for each of the 30 clubs this spring (to balance things out, on Friday we'll look at the negatives of the spring):
It's a series that will feature superb pitching staffs, and one team will come away with a long-awaited title.
In baseball as in literature, archetypes tend to be formulaic, proof that fiction falls short of reality when it comes to the power to describe any one thing in shorthand. The need, indeed one of the great benefits of the human mind is to identify patterns, and to peg things that fall within those patterns, or to re-evaluate the pattern as a whole to create some new rubric, some new way of explaining things. Take our current post-season slate: instead of a much-anticipated rematch between the Evil Empire and the Phillies' a-bornin' senior-circuit dynasty, last week we got the pleasure of witnessing imperial ambitions utterly overthrown in both leagues.
A series that will feature spectacular pitching may come down to the tiniest advantages to decide the winner.
So, let's see, for an initial checklist for maximum LCS entertainment potential, is there anything missing? Record-wise, the two best teams in National League? Check, even if we allow for the fact that the Giants weren't one of the top two teams in Clay Davenport's adjusted standings. The two best rotations in baseball? Check. Heck, it even features two of the three best defensive units in the league (via PADE), with only the already-vanquished Reds separating the Giants and Phillies. And the offenses are... well, OK, this whole clash of the titans thing only goes so far, because they're not both among the best in the league. The Phillies are, tying for third in the league in team-level True Average, but the Giants finished back in ninth place, even with Brian Sabean's ticky-tack trades to accrue incremental improvements.
Attempting to plot the career path of those who may reach the 300-win plateau.
I’m excited to join Baseball Prospectus. If you’ve read any of my previous work, you may know me as something of a PITCHf/x guy. I’ve been learning about and writing about PITCHf/x since the pitch-tracking system was installed in major-league ballparks in 2007, so that description is apt. My interests extend beyond PITCHf/x to the physics of baseball and the details of the pitcher-hitter confrontation.