The week ends with a New New York vs. Old New York matchup, a look at the AL MVP race that includes pitchers, and a new contest.
Just what the Dodgers needed at this juncture: a collision with the most lucid team in the National League. Even in cruise mode, the Mets are pushing all comers to the side. They've won 16 of their last 20 and are getting outstanding starting pitching from nearly every manjack to whom they give the ball--and there have been a lot of them. Even when Steve Trachsel starts, they still manage to win.
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Jim has an emotional realization about the wild card, explores a year of rookie pitchers, and sounds off about the AL Cy Young race.
Didn't we see this last year with Chicago and Cleveland? Didn't Chicago wake up in time to hold off the Indians? BP's Postseason Odds report still has the Tigers installed as an 85% chance to win the division, so it's a good bet they'll hold off the Twins. Minnesota has done a remarkable job to get this far--especially considering they grabbed the starter's pistol at the beginning of the race and shot themselves in both feet with it. So, what that means is that this will not be a preview of the first round unless the Athletics can slip by the Yankees in the overall standings in the next month. It could be a preview of the American League Championship Series, though.
Jim touches on the subject of modest ambitions, the hidden virtues of the college of coaches, and closers who still work like men.
Forget Vernon Wells' walk-off homer: it was great to see Mariano Rivera pitching in that situation last night. Why? Because, as has been argued many times by many people at BP and elsewhere, why would you not want to expend innings on your best reliever in high-leverage situations? Yankees manager Joe Torre has not been afraid to leave Rivera in for more than one inning. What follows is a list of the 12 closers with the most saves. The numbers next to their names are appearances they've made that have exceeded one inning followed by total games pitched.
Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' predictions for 1998. We'll go division by
division and each of our staff members will tell you what they think about the
races. Remember, there's a reason we don't print this stuff in the book; there
is no good way we know of to predict what a team will do before the season
begins. Consider these teamwide WFGs, take them with a grain of salt, and