Saturday, October 19, 2013

A simple NLCS at bat gets complicated

Don Mattingly called it the key of the game. The TBS broadcast team said the same thing. Other news stories called it as such. It was the third inning and Matt Carpenter came to the plate to face Clayton Kershaw with a zero to zero score and one out. To that point, Kershaw had thrown 38 pitches to get the first seven outs. By the time Carpenter hit his double, that count was up to 49. Carpenter would score almost immediately on a Carlos Beltran single. That was the only run the Cardinals needed. The simple explanation would be that Carpenter had a great at bat and won the battle. The opposite would be that Kershaw lost that battle. But things are never that simple. In that single at bat, Carpenter did not just win a battle that Kershaw lost. It gets so much more complicated than that.

The first paragraph presented the traditionalist view of the at bat. Carpenter and Kershaw battled and Carpenter won. There is another school of thinking where the pitcher only has three things in his control: the walk, the strikeout and the home run. Therefore, in this also simple explanation, Kershaw did his job and Carpenter did his job and a batted ball just happened to fall in play. Again, that is too simple an answer. The umpire also affects balls and strikes, the catcher's ability to "frame" the pitch just off the corner and the batter's patience and strike zone awareness also play a part.

There is also another factor we haven't discussed and that is pitch selection. Ultimately, the final say on the pitch to throw is the pitcher's, but the catcher and often times the pitching or dugout coach or manager also have a say on what is thrown.

So as you can see, we have already ratcheted up the complication factor beyond the simple happenings that show up in the box score concerning when Matt Carpenter faced Clayton Kershaw in the third inning.

Let's look at the pitch sequence and also my imperfect recollection of the at bat I watched on the television set. Fortunately, sites like can help. Here is that site's charts of the proceedings:

I added the pitch sequence numbers to the bottom chart. Just to help us out here, I will type out each pitch with the results as best I remember them:
  1. Slider - outside corner. Called a ball. Could have been called either way.
  2. Fastball - Center of the plate, mid-thigh. Bad location. Fouled. Carpenter a tad late.
  3. Fastball - Middle in, belt high. Bad location. Fouled. Carpenter late again.
  4. Fastball - Above the belt, inside. Good location. Fouled. Carpenter late. Great pitch, so a good foul.
  5. Curve - Middle away. Bad location. Fouled hard just outside the first base line.
  6. Slider - Brooks called it a fastball, but it was at slider speed. Not much movement? Inside and up in the strike zone. Hanger. Fouled.
  7. Slider - Low and below the strike zone. Better location. Fouled...barely.
  8. Fastball - Belt high and inside. Fouled. Carpenter late.
  9. Fastball - Way outside and high. Ball.
  10. Fastball - Inside on the black, above the belt. Great pitch. Carpenter hit it foul. Great foul.
  11. Slider - Middle in, thigh high. Hit hard for a double. 
That is how the at bat went. Kershaw made some great pitches that Carpenter was great to foul off. Kershaw made some fat pitches that Carpenter also fouled.  The last pitch was ill-advised. I have problems with the pitch selection because Carpenter was behind on a lot of the fastballs. There was only one he seemed to time well. The slower slider helped Carpenter. It was also thrown in a bad location, down and middle in, just where lefty batters love it. Carpenter did and laced it. A curve might have had a greater surprise factor.

A curve might have also been a better call with the ninth pitch while the count was still 1-2. But I think the curve was taken out of the equation because Carpenter reacted well to the first one and hit it well, just missing a double. But part of that equation was a bad location and another curve could have been thrown to a better result.

Otherwise than that, Kershaw and his catcher, A.J. Ellis, could have stayed with fastballs as Carpenter had shown no ability to put good wood on those.

So, you see, a lot happened in that at bat. Kershaw challenged Carpenter in the strike zone. Carpenter could not square up the fastballs. Two of the three sliders were thrown in bad locations with the final one being hammered. The one curve was in a bad location and then abandoned. This was no simple eleven pitches. Kershaw did not get the call on the first pitch, thus giving himself less room with a ball. It was complicated. And yes, I agree that the result of that confrontation was the single biggest factor in why the rest of Kershaw's day did not go very well.

MLB Game Picks - Saturday: October 19, 2013

Congratulations to the St. Louis Cardinals and the team's fans for making it to the World Series after their 9-0 exclamation point of a victory over Clayton Kershaw, Donnie Baseball and the rest of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Congratulations also go to the Dodgers who had a great season that fell a couple of games short.

The game yesterday showed off all of the Cardinals strengths. Starting with Matt Carpenter's eleven pitch at-bat that led to a double to a whole bunch of timely hits, untimely errors by Yasiel Puig to great pitching by starter Michael Wacha and the bullpen. This game was a showcase of all that makes the Cardinals the best team in the National League. It also exposed some of the Dodgers' problems that need to be addressed over the winter and into the spring.

I begin the following thoughts with a disclaimer about my obvious dislike of Adrian Gonzalez. His on-field arrogance and interview chutzpah did not help his team's cause. And that little "Mickey Mouse" poster before the game was childish and taking things too far. I am a big karma guy and Gonzalez did not buy himself any in this series--except for the bad kind.

We still have to figure out who the Cardinals will be playing in the World Series. The win in Detroit in Game 5 was huge for the Red Sox and gives them an edge coming back to Boston. But that edge is somewhat dulled by having to face Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander (if it goes that far) back to back to get this job done. Will the series get to Verlander?

The Pick:

  • The Boston Red Sox over the Detroit Tigers: Here is what I am thinking. First, I believe the Red Sox will score four runs off of Max Scherzer. Scherzer usually gives up one or two runs, but you have to double that because of how well the Red Sox score runs. That said, the key to the game is what the Red Sox get from Clay Buchholz. It is a little disconcerting that two such important games in the LCS should be started by pitchers whose names begin with "Clay." I do not feel that his last game showed how good Buchholz is. Like Kershaw last night, it was just a bad day at the office. I think he will come back just as strong as ever and pitch a great game. His key is to pitch quickly and to not nibble against the better Tigers hitters. The odds makers are also going with Boston to win in this game. Just saying.

Yesterday: 0-1
Post season: 18-14
Season: 1392-1081

Friday, October 18, 2013

MLB Game Picks - Friday: October 18, 2013

I tried to find it and could not. But basically what I was looking for was this tweet by a big-time beat writer that said that Koji Uehara had given up four runs in four post season innings. I remember he said, "Yikes" at the end of the tweet. This was after Uehara had taken a loss on the famous Jose Lobaton homer in the ALDS. The tweet was laughable because we all tend to make a big deal over such small sample sizes when it comes to the post season. Koji Uehara has been amazing ever since that homer. He is a difference maker.

And that is a good lesson to take when picking winners in these games. You cannot get all hung up because one player is batting .500 in the series. Each game is a crap shoot inside of a series that is a crap shoot. If you play 162 games, you have a pretty good idea how good a player and a team are. Five or seven games? Not so much. As much as possible, you go by the 162 and not the latter. Such was the case in my pick yesterday between the Red Sox and the Tigers. And on that day, it worked. Today? Who knows. Remember, it is a crap shoot.

Friday's pick:

  • The Dodgers over the Cardinals: This game is the perfect illustration of what I was just talking about. Michael Wacha had a very good 2.78 ERA in the regular season in what still is a short sample size. Even smaller is his fourteen brilliant innings so far in this post season. He has pitched two games, 14 innings, one run, seventeen strikeouts while allowing only six hits and three walks. That is enough juice to make you whistle in awe. But it was just two games. He still has to pitch a third. And you know what? He still has to pitch against what has been the best pitcher in baseball over the past two seasons. Clayton Kershaw also is a lefty. The Cardinals don't like lefties. I cannot see them scoring more than a run. So the Dodgers have to score two or three to win this game. I see a Game 7 happening in this series.

Yesterday: 1-0
Post season: 18-13
Season: 1391-1080

Thursday, October 17, 2013

MLB Game Picks - Thursday: October 17, 2013

I did not get anything correctly yesterday. In fact, I was about as wrong as wrong could be. My faith in Joe Kelly was misplaced. And that got me thinking about why Shelby Miller is even on the Cardinals' roster. The guy did win fifteen games during the season and is more talented than Kelly. And then not to remove Kelly early and insert everybody but Miller the rest of the game allowed the lead to build to the point where the Cardinals could not catch up. And those two double-plays by Yadier Molina were killers.

Over at the ALCS, I did not expect Jake Peavy to totally ralph the game. Say what you want about Dustin Pedroia not making that double-play, but the game never should have been in that position in the first place. John Farrell's hook was too slow as well.

Doug Fister and Zack Greinke were very good, but these losses go to their opposing starting pitchers. Oh, and one more thing. I love when Yasiel Puig gets emotional on the field. But I hate what Adrian Gonzalez is doing. One seems like genuine exuberance. The other seems like arrogant prickness. But that might be clouded by my view of Gonzalez as a Hispanic and modern day version of Steve Garvey. Smug pugs.

So now I don't know what I am doing. I thought I had these two series figured out. But nothing is ever figured out when it comes to predicting what is going to happen in baseball. Where do these series go from here? If the Tigers win today, then the Red Sox are in big trouble because the games in Boston will probably be split. The Cardinals get Clayton Kershaw tomorrow and if he wins, then that series is all square and anything can happen.

Today's pick:

  • The Red Sox over the Tigers: First, I cannot imagine Anibal Sanchez being as sharp in his second ALCS start as he was in the first. If it was Verlander or Scherzer, sure. But Sanchez needs batters to swing out of the strike zone and for his control to be pinpoint. But then again, the Tigers' bats seemed to awaken a bit, or perhaps it just seemed that way because Peavy was so bad. Who knows. Spare me the lineup change as the reason. Most of their bats are from the right side with the lefty, Jon Lester, on the mound. Lester is going to have to come up with a big game. Because, like I said, if the Tigers win this one, the Red Sox are in big, big trouble. It will help if Xander Bogaerts starts the game. I stand firm with my belief that the Red Sox are the better team. So they are my pick.

Yesterday: 0-2
Post season: 17-13
Season: 1391-1080

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Yasiel Puig draws a walk

There are times during the course of watching a broadcast of Major League Baseball when you are an English major with a mind that wanders can lead to unexpected thoughts. For example, I was watching the Cardinals play the Dodgers in Game 4 of their National League Championship Series and the seemingly innocuous happenstance (I had to use those words to prove I was an English major) of Yasiel Puig taking a walk occurred. That led to the time honored cliche from the announcers lips that, "Puig draws a walk." I completely forgot about the importance of that walk and the weirdness that Puig would actually take four pitches and instead focused on that weird cliche. "Puig draws a walk."

Being of the curious sort, I then decided to look at the word, "draw," in the dictionary. Well, I did not actually look at a dictionary. Nobody does that anymore. I went to a dictionary site online. To my astonishment, there are 47 different uses listed for the word. Twenty more and it would have been ketchup. Just in case you might be interested in all the usages, I list them all here as culled from Let's see where the walk fits (my thoughts in red).

draw  (drô)
v. drew (dr)drawn (drôn)draw·ingdraws
a. To cause to move after or toward one by applying continuous force; drag: drew the chair closer to the table; a team of horses drawing a wagon. See Synonyms atpull. As in the Cardinals drew the Dodgers closer to elimination.
b. To cause to move in a given direction or to a given position, as by leading: The teacher drew the children into the room to see the decorations.
c. To move or pull so as to cover or uncover something: draw the curtains. In this series, the Cardinals drew the Dodgers' offensive weaknesses?
2. To cause to flow forth: a pump drawing water; a blow that drew blood. The Shane Robinson homer drew blood.
3. To suck or take in (air, for example); inhale. What Dodger fans did on Matt Holliday's homer.
4. To require (a specified depth of water) for floating: a boat drawing 18 inches.  The Dodgers' boat is sinking.
5. To take or pull out: drew a gun from beneath the counter; drew out a fat wallet. Every baseball player can draw out a fat wallet. Some fatter than others.
a. To extract or take for one's own use: draw strength from one's friends. What the Cardinals do by bringing in Trevor Rosenthal?
b. To make (tea) by steeping. I cannot imagine ballplayers steeping tea.
7. To eviscerate; disembowel.  What Nick Punto did to his team when he got picked off.
a. To cause to come by attracting; attract: afraid the casino will draw undesirable elements to the town.
b. To select or take in from a given group, type, or region: draw clients from all levels of society. The Cardinals draw intense, passionate, irrational and sometimes unsporting fans. But we still haven't gotten to the walk.
9. To bring to a certain condition or action; lead: drawn to despair; drew them to resign. What the Cardinals are doing to Dodger fans.
10. To bring about deliberately; provoke: draw enemy fire; draw a penalty on an opponent. Adrian Gonzalez and Yasiel Puig drew cries of foul by Cardinal players. P.S. Get over it.
11. To evoke as a response; elicit: a performance that drew jeers from the audience. Don Mattingly's decision-making is drawing questions.
12. To earn; gain: deposits that draw interest at a rate of 5 percent. Hmm...Maybe this is the ticket for Puig's walk.
a. To withdraw (money).
b. To use (a check, for example) when paying.
c. To receive on a regular basis or at a specified time: draw a pension.  I don't want to talk about ballplayer's money anymore.
14. To take or receive by chance: draw lots. Jon Jay helped the Dodgers draw good fortune with his outfield play in Game 3.
15. Games
a. To take (cards) from a dealer or central stack.
b. To force (a card) to be played. Mattingly going with Ricky Nolasco seemed like a forced card.
16. To end or leave (a contest) tied or undecided. This only happens at All Star Games.
17. Sports
a. To hit or strike (a billiard ball, for example) so as to give it backspin. Holliday's homer had backspin.
b. To hit (a golf ball) with a draw.
18. To pull back the string of (a bow).
19. To distort the shape of.
20. To stretch taut.
a. To flatten, stretch, or mold (metal) by hammering or die stamping. See Holliday's baseball.
b. To shape or elongate (a wire, for example) by pulling through dies. What Mike Matheny did with the Cardinals bullpen this season.
a. To inscribe (a line or lines) with a pencil or other marking implement. What Robinson will do to his home run baseball before it goes on his mantle.
b. To make a likeness of on a surface, using mostly lines; depict with lines: drew a map of the area; drawing landscapes and still lifes.
c. To portray in writing or speech; depict with words: draws moving scenes of ghetto life. Puig's emotional reactions on the field draw from his Cuban baseball heritage.
23. To formulate or devise from evidence or data at hand: draw a comparison. I have been drawing a comparison between Shane Robinson and Jon Jay all series.
24. To compose or write out in legal format: draw a deed. The 2013 Dodgers are drawing their last will and testament. 
1. To proceed or move steadily: a ship drawing near the shore. The Cardinals are drawing near an NL Pennant. 
2. To attract customers or spectators: The new play is drawing well. These two teams always draw well.
3. To pour forth liquid: The patient's veins don't draw easily. If this was the movie, The Natural, Hanley Ramirez's rib would be doing this.
4. To cause suppuration. This has to do with pus, which I don't want to talk about. Let's just call suppuration what southerners call what is happening between the Cardinals and the Dodgers.
5. To take in a draft of air: The flue isn't drawing. Not going to the Punto well again.
6. To steep in or as if in the manner of tea. Okay, now we are repeating ourselves.
7. To pull out a weapon for use.
8. To use or call upon part of a fund or supply: drawing on an account; drew from the experience of fellow workers.
9. To contract or tighten: material that draws when it dries. The Cardinals are drawing the noose.
10. To conclude a contest without either side winning; tie: The chess players drew in 32 moves.
11. To make a likeness with lines on a surface; sketch.
a. An act of drawing.
b. The result of drawing.
2. Something drawn, especially a lot, card, or cards drawn at random. A Puig walk is certainly random.
3. Sports & Games
a. The arrangement of competitors in a tournament in which the match-ups are made at random.
b. A match-up or opponent in such a tournament.
4. An inhalation, especially through a pipe or other smoking implement. What a certain Indians' relief pitcher does.
5. One that attracts interest, customers, or spectators: a singer who is a popular draw.
6. The movable part of a drawbridge.
7. A special advantage; an edge: have the draw on one's enemies. Cardinals' offense qualifies here.
8. A contest ending without either side winning.
9. A small natural depression that water drains into; a shallow gully. What Jon Jay is digging.
10. Football A play in which the quarterback drops back as if to pass and then hands off to a running back.
11. Sports A face-off.
a. Games A draw shot.
b. Sports A moderate, usually controlled hook in golf.

We have gone through 47 definitions and only one seemed to fit. It looks like Yasiel Puig earned that walk. But then again, maybe the pitcher just gave it to him. Why do I do these things to myself?

MLB Game Picks - Wednesday: October 16, 2013

John Lackey pitched a heck of a game. No matter how unlikable the guy is to anyone outside of Boston for his body language, his past or his continued carping to the press about PED users, he beat Justin Verlander at his best. And Verlander was crazy good. Eight innings, four hits, ten strikeouts and one run. That one run though was enough for Lackey who completely shut down the Tigers until the bullpen took over and kept it there.

Frankly, I could not see that Lackey performance happening. It was one of those post season things that just takes you by surprise like a Shane Robinson home run. Thus, the pick in that game was incorrect. But I was right in my NLCS pick as the Cardinals now have the Dodgers knock, knock, knocking at heaven's door. Robinson's unexpected homer gave the Cards a little breathing room so the bullpen could hang on. And they had help. That Punto pick-off was embarrassing for the king of scrap as TOOTBLAN ran like wildfire throughout Twitter.

There are two more games today and if the Cardinals win, this will be the last time of the season there will be multiple games to thrill us on the same day. The picks:

  • The Cardinals over the Dodgers: The Cardinals have to be like sharks smelling blood. They have the Dodgers on the ropes and no team wants to let such a situation continue further. The more I watch this Dodgers' lineup, the more I wonder how they won as many games as they did. Take away Hanley Ramirez and you are left with Adrian Gonzalez and the sometimes heroics of Yasiel Puig. Joe Kelly has had his first post season start and he did pretty well considering how nervous he was. He will be considerably more comfortable this time out. Zack Greinke has the ability to shut the Cardinals down, but I think he will give up two or three runs and give the Cards a chance to win. The Dodgers went completely dead once Punto got picked off. I believe they will stay that way.

  • The Red Sox over the Tigers: I put Jake Peavy and Doug Fister in the same category. They are both very good but not great pitchers. They have great moments and stumble sometimes. The team that wins this game is the team that gets a good performance from its starting pitcher. The Red Sox are simply the better team here. So if you make it a starting pitching wash, then the better team should win. That doesn't always happen though, especially in the post season. I have always maintained that the post season was a crap shoot not always dictated by statistical means. You need to look no further than last year's Giants to see that. Anything can happen and all a picker can do is pick a team and then watch to see what happens like everyone else.

Yesterday: 1-1
Post season: 17-11
Season: 1391-1078

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

MLB Game Picks - Tuesday: October 15, 2013

The Dodgers surprised me last night. Hyun-jin Ryu was terrific, but that really should not be a surprise. He pitched well at home all season and the Cardinals simply do not hit lefties well and have not all season. And I was surprised that Hanley Ramirez played and played well. The biggest surprise was that someone (Mattingly?) got through to Yasiel Puig to get him to settle down at the plate. All of his at bats were good ones, even when he struck out. He was much more under control and that aided the Dodgers' cause.

I was also surprised by the Cardinals. Adam Wainwright pitched a very good game and deserved a better bottom line if not for the sloppy defense displayed by the Cardinals. They did not get errors in the game for their misplays, but they were misplays just the same. John Jay comes under the most scrutiny as he was bloody awful in center field. Is Shane Robinson that much worse of a hitter? Why not give him a start out there? Granted, center field might not be Robinson's best position, but neither is it Jay's.

There are two big games today. Due to the pitching match-ups, they will be very interesting too.

The picks:

  • The Tigers over the Red Sox: I am not convinced about either pitcher in this game. Yes, Justin Verlander is pitching. And yes, you could say, "But William, haven't you seen the way he has pitched this post season?" And that would be a great point. But the Red Sox have a better approach at the plate than most teams and Verlander did not beat them during the season. In his one game against them, he gave up four runs in seven innings. Not bad. Not great. John Lackey has been much worse on the road than he was at home. His ERA is a little more than two runs higher on the road than at home and he gave up 18 road homers as compared to only 8 at home. And yet, in two starts against the Tigers, he was pretty decent this season. I will give the nod to the Tigers at home with Verlander over Lackey, whose road splits seem more of a warning flag than Verlander's 3-4 lifetime record against the Red Sox.
  • The Cardinals over the Dodgers: When I think of the two pitchers, Lance Lynn and Ricky Nolasco, they seem to balance each other out. Neither has had a season to write home about, especially in late stretches. Lynn has stopped having that one bad inning and instead is giving up a lot of runs spread out over several innings. Nolasco had the devil's ERA in September at 6.66. But he only gave up one homer. So maybe it was a BABIP thing where everything fell for a hit against him. But Nolasco beat the Cardinals twice during the season and had an impressive ERA at Dodgers Stadium. So maybe I am heading the wrong direction here. But then again, Lynn pitched once against the Dodgers in their stadium and was untouchable. So who knows. My gut tells me that the Cardinals will break out against a right-handed pitcher and the big boy at first base will be part of the action. And Lynn has post season experience.

Yesterday: 0-1
Post season: 16-10
Season: 1390-1078

Monday, October 14, 2013

MLB Game Picks - Monday: October 14, 2013

Yesterday's pick ended up being correct but for none of the reasons I listed. I thought both Clay Buchholz and Max Scherzer would be good with Buchholz being a little better. Buchholz was bad and gave up five runs. Scherzer was amazing. Unfortunately for the Tigers, Scherzer could not go the distance (or was not allowed to) and the Red Sox teed off on the Tigers bullpen to capture the game.

It was quite the day for Boston fans who saw Tom Brady throw a touchdown pass with five seconds left in the game to beat the Saints and then David Ortiz hit a grand slam to tie the game against the Tigers. Once Ortiz hit his homer, there was no doubt which team would win the game. Jarrod Saltalamacchia did the honors with a walk off single in the ninth off of Rick Porcello who never did record an out.

Wow. Just wow.

The Cardinals - Dodgers NLCS moves to Los Angeles for Game 3. The Cardinals are already up 2-0 in the series. What will happen tonight? The pick:

  • The Cardinals over the Dodgers: The Cardinals just might sweep this thing. They already hold a two game advantage and then are able to put Adam Wainwright on the mound for Game 3. Pretty heady stuff there. While the Cardinals do not hit lefties well and Hyun-jin Ryu is one of those, I think the Cardinals will score a couple, which should be enough over a Dodgers' lineup that will probably be missing Andre Ethier and Hanley Ramirez. Ryu is good. But he is no Wainwright. The Dodgers are not hitting. The Cards are pitching. This thing might be over quickly.

Yesterday: 1-0
Post season: 16-9
Season: 1390-1077

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Trevor Rosenthal's ninth inning was pretty good

Before these 2013 playoffs, Trevor Rosenthal had recorded four professional saves in his career. He had one in the minors in 2010 and three at the end of this current Major League season. And yet, after his ninth inning against the Dodgers on Saturday, can you picture anyone else closing games for the Cardinals? His ninth inning might have been one of the most dominant post season saves I have ever witnessed.

According to the Play Index at, Rosenthal became only the sixth pitcher ever to record a post season save while facing three batters and striking them all out. The others:

That's it. Think of all the big-name closers missing from that list.

Rosenthal needed fourteen pitches to quell the Dodgers. According to, ten of them were strikes. They were all fastballs. Those fastballs averaged 99 MPH with a top speed of 101.2. Two were called strikes. Eight were swinging strikes and six of those were swing and misses.

His first victim was Yasiel Puig, who looks completely lost at the plate. This at bat went seven pitches. Puig took two strikes and swung through another. He fouled one off. Puig struck out. Puig wore the Golden Sombrero with four strikeouts in four plate appearances for the game.

Rosenthal's second victim was Juan Uribe, a player who has post season heroics on his resume. The closer dispatched Uribe on four pitches. Uribe fouled one off and took one ball that could have been a strike and swung and missed on two others.

Andre Ethier then pinch hit for Shoemaker and did not stand a chance. Ethier swung at three straight pitches, the second one being 101.2 MPH and did not get close to hitting anything. In the words of that Bugs Bunny cartoon, "Strike one-Strike two-Strike three-you're out." I am sure Ethier thanked manager, Don Mattingly, for that pinch hit opportunity.

Trevor Rosenthal now has eleven games under his belt as a post season pitcher. He has pitched a total of 13.2 innings. He has allowed no runs. He has allowed four hits and four walks (one intentional) and has struck out 22 batters. That is a force of nature right there.

You cannot take away what Michael Wacha did in this game. It was the biggest factor in why the Cardinals won the game. But gosh, you had to watch that ninth inning and whistle at how Trevor Rosenthal is rocking and rolling coming out of the bullpen. What a weapon.

MLB Game Picks - Sunday: October 13, 2013

Both of my picks were wrong yesterday. But I was not thinking of that at all while watching two of the most exciting and tense playoff games ever yesterday. Both games finished with a score of 1-0, which has never happened before. Both games featured four big-time pitching performances and great bullpen work. And with a score like it was, the tension lasted right through to the last batter of each game.

The Red Sox added a bit more drama than the Dodgers. At least they put a man in scoring position in the ninth after getting their first hit of the game (!). Over in St. Louis, Trevor Rosenthal pitched what might have been the most dominant closer inning in playoff history. Just wow.

So you could not have asked for better games. Of course, Red Sox and Dodgers fans might not agree because they came up on the short end. But still. Yesterday was why we love baseball and why it is the best sport on the planet.

Which brings me to Sunday's game. Sunday means day baseball. To have the only game of the day be played at 8:07 really upsets me. This is the playoffs. If Fox does not want to get their precious NFL messed with, then they should not bid on baseball. I am really tired of money being the only factor for when these games are played.

The Pick:

  • The Red Sox over the Tigers: Detroit's pitching has owned the last two seasons they have been in the ALCS. By design or by fate, they completely shut down the Yankees last year and then did the same to the Red Sox in Game 1. I have to take that into account. But at the same time, I have to look at both pitchers and both are great. How great? Well how about the fact that both of them combined went 33-4 this season? Woof. Max Scherzer is your AL CYA winner this year. Well, they haven't announced that award yet, but he is going to win it and he deserved it. But he is not a guy you think of throwing shutouts. His brilliance has been limiting the opposing team to one or two runs to allow his team to win. Clay Buchholz has shut down stuff. He has the ability to pitch nothing but zeroes. In his sixteen starts this season, his ERA was 1.74. At home, I have to go with Buchholz. And unlike the Yankees last year, I have to believe the Red Sox cannot be smoked the entire series.

Yesterday: 0-2
Post Season: 17-9
Season: 1389-1077