The biggest weekend of the season is highlighted by two huge matchups on the West Coast.
For the first time since 2001, the A’s have more than two hitters providing high-caliber production.
Jim Baker breaks down the weekend’s featured tilts, including a mismatchup of historic proportions.
The Yankees have never gone to the postseason with a team ERA above league average. That could be about to change, just one way in which this year’s staff is one of the least impressive ever for a Yankee playoff team.
Despite the perception that they’re coming in through the back door, wild-card teams have both been comparable to their division-winning counterparts and had comparable success in the postseason in the ten years since they were created.
Which teams have played through dramatic changes in their run scoring or prevention this year, and which ones haven’t? Jim Baker takes a look, and brings back the Loneliness Factor as well.
Jim Baker examines the irreplaceable: infields, MVP candidates, and one very good left fielder.
Jim Baker, five-tool writer, invents a statistic and researches preseason
predictions from the 1960s.
With just two of 15 weekend series featuring a pair of good teams, Jim Baker focuses on some of the milestones that individuals are pursuing.
Jim Baker’s latest Prospectus Matchups peruses the Rangers’ rotation, the mashing of Calvin Pickering, and an alternate ending to the Yankees’ drafting of Derek Jeter.
Jim Baker’s latest Matchups break down four battles of playoff contenders. Plus a sneak peek at Jim’s latest off-broadway production.
Note: As we’ve mentioned in the past, every so often, we lay our hands on a document that was probably not intended for public consumption. We are not at liberty to say how it is we come by these things because we do not wish to compromise our conduit thereto. Suffice it to say, we will continue to make these available to you as long as we can continue to “come by” them. Here is the latest of these intercepted internal missives.
The Dodgers and Cubs play the most important games ever between the two teams, while Atlanta and St. Louis offer a potential playoff preview. Find out everything you need to know about this weekend’s games.
WORST MATCH-UP (worst combined record with both teams being under .500): Arizona @ Montreal
Prove Me Wrong! (“Prove Me Wrong” is an uncopyrighted feature of this columnist.)
Today’s Prove Me Wrong proposition is this: No pitcher of Randy Johnson’s quality has ever been on a team as bad or worse than the 2004 Arizona Diamondbacks.
Since the advent of three-division play, the average distance between first and second has risen from 6.4 to 8.2 compared to the two-division era. Percentage-wise, about a quarter of the races come within 2.5 games when the season is done, which is also about what it was during the two-division era. Grudgingly then, I must concede that the raw number of close finishes has gone up because–obviously–25% of four division races is less than 25% of six. However, it is undeniable that the number of blow-out finishes has gone up as well, and not just because there are more divisions. Fully a third of the divisional races since 1995 have gotten way out of hand, up from about 25% in the 1969-1993 era. If teams like the Phillies, White Sox, Red Sox, Cubs, Padres and Giants don’t watch out, that trend will be maintained this year.
Who needs starting pitchers? They’re like the pace car at Indy: They get the thing in motion before the real guys come along to finish up the job. At least, that must be the rationale around Yankee Stadium these days. Only three teams in all of baseball find themselves in the predicament in which the Yankees are in–their best starting pitcher has a lower VORP than their highest-ranked reliever. The Yankees actually go this one better in that their two best relievers are rated higher than their best starter.