Stony Brook's takedown of LSU is just another reason to love baseball.
The Weekend Takeaway Kevin Millwood and five Mariners relievers combined to no-hit the Dodgers at Safeco Field on Friday night. The Nationals swept what closer Tyler Clippard described as “a statement series” in Boston. The Tigers staged a spirited, eighth-inning rally to capture the rubber match of their series with the Reds, leaving Aroldis Chapman to pick up the pieces from his second consecutive loss and lifting the Pirates into a tie for first place.
But while Prince Fielder was busy stretching to catch Ramon Santiago’s throw for the first out of the bottom of the eighth at Great American Ball Park, a more remarkable turn of events was afoot some 800 miles southwest in Baton Rouge. Sophomore pitcher Frankie Vanderka had just struck out junior right fielder Alex Edward to cap Stony Brook’s 7-2 victory over Louisiana State in the deciding game of the Super Regional between those two teams.
While the ALCS went into rain delay mode, there's still news and moves from around the majors.
Jimmy Rollins was reflecting on the previous October and looking ahead to this year's postseason one day early in spring training, when he said something that made it clear the Phillies would not be complacent this season. "What we did last year, winning a World Series, was a great accomplishment and something we can cherish for the rest of our lives," the shortstop said. "You know what, though? The truly great teams are the ones who won more than one World Series. The teams people remember and talk about forever are the ones who did it more than once. That's what I'd like to see us do, and I think everyone else on this team feels the same way."
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Pennants are hanging in Boston and Denver, and part of the reason why is how the Red Sox and Rockies got PADE.
First things first: the World Series. As if it weren't totally apparent by the Red Sox's four-game sweep, the best team won, not just the best team in the series but the best team in baseball, as measured in a few different ways. The Red Sox outscored their opponents by 210 runs in the regular season, 19 more than the Yankees did theirs, and over 100 ahead of everybody else. They projected to win a major league-best 103.1 games by their third-order Pythagorean winning percentage, 7.6 more than any other team, and topped the season-ending Hit List, which they'd led since early May.
Rejiggering the playoffs has already paid dividends--might even more be in order?
With the postseason rapidly approaching, let me offer praise to Major League Baseball. Since the introduction of the three-division format in 1994, tweaks in the first-round format improved the League Division Series (LDS), especially in terms of fairness. Awarding home field based on a rotating schedule switched to winning percentage, keeping division winners playing meaningful games longer. The two-three format gave way to the two-two-one series, ensuring the teams with the better record two home games. In this case, baseball listened to its critics, and acted accordingly.
Can the Cubs pull it off in the NL Central, or is it a matter of just somebody having to win the division?
Lou Piniella had grown a beard, which makes him look more suited for the Stanley Cup Playoffs than the National League Central pennant crawl/race/chase. Yet while the fiery Piniella was expected to bring a more aggressive, hockey-like mentality to a Cubs franchise that hasn't won a World Series in 99 years, he is serving as a study in calmness in a division race in which none of three teams seems to have the desire to control. In fact, Piniella couldn't seem more relaxed when he cracked, "the only way to gain ground in our division is by getting rained out."
On a more serious note, however, Piniella realizes now is now the time to be riding his team hard. "Walking into the middle of the clubhouse and giving a pep talk at this stage of the season would be meaningless," Piniella said. "We have a pretty veteran team with smart guys. They know what's at stake now. They know what we're playing for. If I have to walk into the clubhouse and remind them then we shouldn't even being worry about the playoffs in that case."
If you could sit down and watch a bit of every playoff race, where would you go? John's the man with a plan. Plus records, rumors, and more.
Jim Leyland has always insisted that the pennant races don't begin until August 15th. While Leyland has never given a definitive reason for why he has arbitrarily picked that date, the Tigers' manager understands pennant races, having lead Pittsburgh to three straight division titles from 1990-92 back when the Pirates still mattered, guided the Florida Marlins to the World Series title in 1997, and taken the Tigers to the World Series last year.
How much value is playoff experience when October comes around? Mike explores this issue from every possible angle.
The Yankees-Tigers series opened, just as expected, with an overwhelming New York win. The FOX commentators, Joe Buck and Tim McCarver, gleefully rained down on the viewer choruses of the ever-cloying "Murderer's Row and Cano," referring to the Yanks' tremendous offense. They pointed out that all nine batters in the lineup had been an All-Star at least once and that the Yankees had a great deal more experience in the postseason than did the largely untried Tiger lineup.