The tater trots for August 28: Votto wins it in the 14th, Torrealba's bad luck, and a few quick trots.
The baseball world was still dealing with Hurricane Irene on Sunday, with the Braves/Mets being canceled on top of all the other games that had already been pushed to the earlier part of the weekend. A respectable 26 home runs were still hit across the league, though, including a back-to-back-to-back trio from the Yankees.
The transactions the teams from MLB's drama division regret because they didn't happen.
Even with less than two weeks until pitchers and catchers report, it's not hard to find holes on the rosters in the majors' strongest and most expensive division. Here are five moves—all free agent signings, though trade possibilities were considered—which AL East teams should have made, some of which could still happen.
The regular season ends without a 163rd addendum, but not without drama.
Maybe it's a matter of my being close to the action in the AL Central the last two years, but it seems to me that a 163rd game for a one-game play-in is one of the rites of autumn you can start taking for granted. And with a day that opened with a 50/50 shot at there being a 163rd and even a 164th game riding on the outcome, you can't deny the Braves/Phillies and the Padres/Giants games deserved center stage.*
A rematch from the '07 postseason makes for a great showdown of two teams with very different virtues.
Well, here we are again, with the Phillies and Rockies set to battle one another in the National League Division Series for the second time in three seasons. Just as it was in 2007, the Phillies enter the fray with a division title while the Rockies used an incredibly strong second half to win the NL Wild Card. Unlike that entertaining 2007 season, however, in which the Phillies ousted the Mets from the top spot of the NL East on the final day of the season, only to have their spotlight stolen soon thereafter by a Rockies team that won a controversial play-in game, this year's Phillies controlled their division practically all season. In addition, the Rockies' second-half surge proved so strong that they actually gave the division-leading Dodgers a run for their money in the final week. A good chunk of the 2007 cast of characters remains intact for each team, but enough has changed to merit a new writeup instead of a recycled version of the prior Phillies/Rockies preview.
Garza feels great, the Cubs are thinking very hard about pitcher usage, and hurry, Billy Wagner, hurry!
"If I could do one of these every week, I'd do it," I said, as I was leaving the Tampa Ballpark Event. Sure, I might have been a little lighter in the wallet due to an extra fine from Andrew Friedman-and I'll put my money into the charity pot for all the times I've said "Devil" in front of "Rays" this season-but getting pinged for wearing my retro Devil Rays '07 jersey is a bit much. For the packed room, Friedman was the highlight during a great night of talking baseball. From the big swings in the team's performance since last year's event, the attendance issues, building a team and a ballpark together, to discussions of what to do about "too much talent," the attendees got their money's worth... and a hat! Heading down to our front-row seats right behind the bullpen, we received a lot of attention from the players there. Chad Bradford and Troy Percival seemed to be looking over at us quite often, surprised that Baseball Prospectus was there. (What? They were looking at Jenn Sterger?) I have pictures up and believe me, if you've never seen Ben Zobrist hit a grand slam in person, you haven't lived. I do want to thank everyone with the Rays-especially Andrew Friedman, David Baggs, and Stephen Thomas-for helping us to do this. Powered by one heck of an event, on to the injuries:
Is it "committee day," and have all of the big moves already been made?
The rumor mill is decidedly quiet today. Some will call it the calm before the storm, but to me, it's "committee day." It happens every year, and is the time when everyone gets together (actually or virtually) and sorts out what they think they still need to do. The big, bold deals have for the most part been made, and now harsh reality sets in and the fine work of running a team comes into play. If you can't get the one big piece, can you get the one useful piece? Was there really a Plan B, a Plan C, or a plan at all?