Saturday, November 02, 2013

The first annual Kyle Davies Award - the anti-Cy Young

The first annual Dan Meyer Awards were a big success. While most of the world is focusing on players that succeeded in 2013, the DMAs focused on the dark side of batting statistics. Today, we are focusing on pitchers who were terrible in 2013. And despite this being more of a pitching era than a hitting era, there are no shortage of terrible pitching performances in this past season. This is the first annual Kyle Davies Award.

Kyle Davies pitched for seven seasons beginning in 2005 with the Atlanta Braves. After toiling there for two and a half years, the Braves traded him to the Royals for Octavio Dotel. If you really want to know how unsuccessful Kyle Davies was as a pitcher, all you have to do is ask any fan of the Kansas City Royals.

Davies compiled a lifetime ERA of 5.59 to go with a WHIP of 1.618 in 151 appearances, 144 of which were starts. Davies gave up over a hundred runs in two of his seven seasons. And it appears that he may not be done with his career. He pitched in the Twins' minor league system in 2013, which makes perfect sense when you think about the way the Twins pitch.

I could have named this award after a number of guys. There were guys like Adam Eaton, Jason Bere, Jimmy Haynes and Sidney Ponson I could have named the award after. But Davies is more recent in the mind of most, so he is our guy. The danger is that Davies is only 30 years old and who knows, he could come back and be decent and make a name change necessary.

Anyway, on with the awards. These are our candidates for starting pitchers. In order to qualify, a starter had to pitch 130 innings.

Barry Zito. Barry Zito was a hero in the 2012 post season. Unfortunately, that success did not carry forward to 2013. In essence, he was a disaster. He allowed 231 base runners in 133.1 innings. Woof. That's bad. That translates to a 1.70 WHIP which tied for the Major League lead with another of our candidates. Batters had this triple slash line against him: .318/.383/.491. Compare that to Matt Carpenter's triple slash line: .318/.392/.481. Zito's OPS against was .874. Carpenter's was .873. That means that every single batter Zito faced was Matt Carpenter! And that includes facing pitchers! His RA9-WAR was -2.4 and his rWAR was -2.6.

Edinson Volquez. Volquez is the cautionary tale for those who think Phil Hughes will settle down in a bigger park. The Padres thought the same thing when they acquired him as part of the Mat Latos trade. And that is what the Dodgers must have thought when they acquired him from the Padres. What were they thinking!? Volquez led the majors in earned runs allowed with 108 in 170.1 innings of work. Wee! His ERA was the third worst in baseball and although FIP puts him better, he still finished with a RA9-WAR of -2.4 and an rWAR of -2.4.

Lucas Harrell. God bless those Astros pitchers. They took the ball every fifth day and got hammered and still took the ball out there to do it again. That takes character, man. So don't forget that no matter how much we now make fun of his numbers. Harrell tied with Zito for the highest WHIP at 1.70. He struck out 5.21 batters per nine while walking 5.15 batters per nine. His 88 walks allowed was the highest in baseball. His FIP of 5.42 was the highest on our list. His winning percentage of .261 was the third lowest among starters and worse than his team's. RA9-WAR of -2.2 and rWAR of -1.6.

Joe Blanton. The Angels hoped that Joe Blanton would resurrect his career in California. Instead, that career sank to new lows. He went 2-14 with an ERA of 6.04. Ouch. His OPS against was .904! That means that every single batter that faced him was Edwin Encarnacion. Blanton allowed homers at a clip just under two per nine innings. In other words, he got blasted on a regular basis. Blanton finished the season in the bullpen but still compiled the necessary innings with 132.2. RA9-WAR of -1.9 and an rWAR of -2.0.

Those are our four candidates. So which would qualify for the worst? Gosh, it is hard to pick. If we combined the RA9-WAR with rWAR, the tallies would be: Zito at -5, Volquez at -4.8, Harrell at -3.8 and Blanton at -3.9. If you went by that, Zito would be the winner.

All of Zito's problems were on the road. He was actually 5-2 with an ERA under four at home and was 0-9 on the road with an ERA over nine! It was Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde-like. Volquez was equally bad at home and on the road and in the first half and second half. He was consistently bad.

Harrell was bad at home and worse on the road and bad in the first half of the season and worse in the second half. The same thing holds true with Blanton, who did not start a single game in the second half of the season.

All are great candidates for this award and I would not have a problem with any of the four choices. I think I would go with Edinson Volquez because he had the most innings of sucktitude and was consistently bad at home, on the road, in the first half, in the second half, as a Padre and as a Dodger. He never deviated from his deviant pitching. He is my pick for the 2013 Kyle Davies Award.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

The first annual Dan Meyer Awards - the Anti-MVPs

Now that the World Series is over, everyone will be focusing on off season awards. The BBWAA will have theirs. The BBA will have theirs and I have already contributed to that effort. All of the focus will be on players that played wonderfully in 2013. But there should be an award for the worst players in the league. Every top statistic has to have a bottom. Every yin needs a yang. Every Red Sox needs an Astros (too soon?). And so I have created my own: The Dan Meyer Awards

Why Dan Meyer? Good question. I was going to go with Dave Kingman. I mean, how else can you hit over 450 homers in the pre-PED era (we presume) and still not make the Hall of Fame? But Kingman had enough good years to put him in the positive numbers for his career. That didn't make him very good. But he was not bad enough to name an award after.

I considered Doug Flynn, a guy who played over 1,200 games and had unprecedented negative WAR for a guy with that many games. But Flynn could field a bit. He was no Mark Belanger, but he held his own with the glove. He could not hit a lick.

The last guy I considered was Bill Bergen, the worst hitter that ever lived. But again, Bergen was a pretty good catcher as far as we can tell for the early dawn of professional baseball. None of them really fit. And so I settled on Dan Meyer. For a fun tribute to the player, look here.

There were two Major League players named Dan Meyer. One was a pitcher the Braves unfortunately selected in the first round of the 2002 draft. He had one good year in 2009 for the Florida Marlins. But the rest were all bad. The one we want here is the other one. This Dan Meyer was a fourth round draft pick by the Tigers in 1972 and somehow managed to play twelve awful years in the Majors.

Our Dan Meyer could not hit and he could not field. As best as I can tell, his career was prolonged twice by two successful years where he managed to crack over 20 homers and score positive WAR. But other than those two years, he was abysmal. He never had a single season where his fielding approached league average.

Our Dan Meyer played three positions: Left Field, First Base and Third Base. He was not good at any of them and finished with negative runs for all three. Of his twelve big league seasons, he finished with a negative WAR figure eight times. In six of those seasons, he played more than 120 games, so it was not like he was a part-timer.

Meyer played from 1974 to 1985. The first three years were with the Tigers, the next five years were with the Mariners where he had his best years. And his last four were with the Oakland A's. gave him a total of -6.5 rWAR for his career. was a bit nicer and put the figure at -5.5 fWAR.

Meyer is the perfect symbol of these awards. We I salute him! These are not the Silver Slugger Awards. These are the Talc (Mg3Si4O10(OH)2Awards. The Awards will be handed out by position (450 plate appearances were needed to qualify):

First base: Paul Konerko. Konerko has been a really good hitter for a long time which was great because he was no great shakes in the field and he has always been baseball's worst base runner. But his batting bottomed out in 2013. -1.5 rWAR, -1.8 fWAR. Honorable mentions: Adam Dunn, Lyle Overbay. Dunn and Konerko were interchangeable at first base and DH, so either works.

Second base: Jeff Keppinger. Gee, I wonder why the White Sox were so bad this year? Gosh, these numbers are bad. Keppinger had 451 plate appearances, so he just made it. -2.0 rWAR, -1.5 fWAR. His .266 wOBA was beastly (in a bad way). Honorable mention: Darwin Barney whose wOBA was even worse than Keppinger, but whose glove saved him.

Shortstop: Adeiny Hechavarria. The Marlins' shortstop deserves to be here since he has an impossible name to spell and type. Both Fangraphs and B-R agree that Hechavarria cost his Marlins 32 runs on offense. 32 runs!! He was the only shortstop (other than our honorable mention) that met our minimum requirements that finished with a negative WAR in both sites. -1.9 fWAR, -2.1 rWAR (!). Honorable mention: Starlin Castro. That was one awful middle infield for the Cubs, eh?

Third Base: Keppinger could slide in here too. But that's not fair. So the winner is Michael Young. Which probably isn't fair either as he was a sometimes DH, 3B, 1B, etc. But he did enough of them poorly and batted league average and ran the bases poorly and still managed 565 plate appearances. Jackpot! -0.2 fWAR, -1.3 rWAR. Honorable mention: Can we just give it to the entire Yankees' cacophony of third basemen? No? Okay, David Freese then.

Left Field: Vernon Wells. That little devil fooled us for a couple of weeks, eh? He fooled Joe Girardi too and ended up getting 458 suck-the-life-out-of-you-until-you-die plate appearances. -0.8 fWAR, -0.2 rWAR. The Angels did not kill two birds with one stone. They killed two teams. Honorable mention: Dayan Viciedo.

Center Field: Justin Ruggiano. I do not know what happened to Ruggiano this season. He lost 216 points off his OPS from 2012. That is sort of incredible. Thanks to positional values, no center fielder finished below zero in the WAR category. But Ruggiano had negative numbers both on offense and on defense. The latter might be because center is not his best position. Honorable mention: Michael Saunders.

Right Field: Nick Markakis. This was simply a bad year for Markakis and looking at his career, was probably an outlier. All facets of his game tumbled. -0.1 fWAR, -0.1 rWAR. Honorable mention: Drew Stubbs.

Catcher: J.P. Arencibia. This one is not even close. To finish with a negative WAR as a catcher with all those positional points is pretty darned hard to do. Not only did Arencibia finish with an OPS of .592 and a wOBA of .259, but his defense fell too. And if you followed along with his Twitter account, he seemed to be in complete denial. That was one ugly season. Honorable mention: How about Rob Brantly, except he did not get enough plate appearances.

There you have it: Your 2013 Dan Meyer Awards. I would have to go with Adeiny Hechavarria for the anti-MVP. What about pitchers, you ask? I am saving those for tomorrow when the first annual Kyle Davies Awards are announced.

“Dear Mr. Fantasy” Baseball Podcast Named as a Finalist for 2013 Podcast Awards

“Dear Mr. Fantasy” Baseball Podcast Named as a Finalist for 2013 Podcast Awards

Barrie, Ontario, October 30, 2013— The 9th Annual Podcast Awards nominations have been announced and the “Dear Mr. Fantasy” baseball podcast has been named a finalist for a 2013 Podcast Award in the Sports category. Other nominees in the category include podcasts produced by ESPN and CBS Sports.
The “Dear Mr. Fantasy” podcast began in January 2012 by Barrie, Ontario resident Chris McBrien discussing fantasy baseball statistics, player analysis, projections and general advice on the topic. Joined each week by his sidekick, “The Fantasy Doctor”, McBrien’s podcast has featured industry experts such as USA Today Sports Editor Steve Gardner and baseball writer Tim Heaney among the weekly guest spots.
Podcasts have been growing in popularity in recent years. Apple recently announced that the iTunes store eclipsed 1 billion podcast subscriptions spread across 250,000 unique podcasts in more than 100 different languages.

“It’s an honor to be nominated and that’s not just a cliché”, states McBrien. “When you consider the sheer volume of podcasts being produced today as well as the caliber of competition in the category, it’s an achievement just to be recognized alongside such big names”.

The Podcast Awards were founded in 2005 by Todd Cochrane, a universally-known podcaster, new media expert and author. The Awards recognize the best podcasters in the world by allowing the people to nominate, and then vote for their favorite podcasts across several diverse categories.

With fantasy sports growing in popularity annually, there has been an increasing need for more information on the topic. Fantasy sports now account for approximately $4 billion in annual economic impact across the sports industry.

“In addition to providing information on our topic, the key for us is to keep things fun and always involve our audience”, states McBrien. “Baseball doesn’t have to be all stats and numbers. It can be a chance to get together with friends and have fun and a lot of laughs. The content on our show relies heavily on listener feedback, questions and comments. Podcasting can be a highly interactive medium and a chance to connect with listeners. That’s what we strive to achieve with our show”.

For additional information or a sample copy, contact:
Chris McBrien


I have had the privilege of being a guest on "Dear Mr. Fantasy" and when you listen to the podcast, it sounds like a couple of guys having a good time. But Chris and the good Doctor are very professional and prepared unlike just about any podcast I have ever been associated with and they highly deserve this honor. I will keep you informed on when the voting begins and would appreciate you voting for my good friends, not because they are good friends, but because they deserve this award.

Final thoughts on the 2013 World Series

2013 is one of those times when the best team in baseball won the title. That does not always happen. Perhaps some of the players used the chip on their shoulders that few picked them to win the AL East, never mind the whole thing. I thought they would be vastly improved over a 2012, but I have to admit that I did not expect them to be the powerhouse they were in 2013. I did correctly pick a resurgence of Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz, but I thought David Ortiz would decline. You win some and you lose some.

I am not a big proponent of the character thing. A lot of World Series titles have been won with flawed characters playing on the winning team. What I do think is that the Red Sox are more prepared to play each game than any other team in baseball. One of the things that make Yankee fans gnash their teeth when it comes to the Red Sox is the knowledge that Boston is simply a smarter organization than the Yankees are.

And so are the Cardinals. What they did this season with the youth they had on the team, especially the pitching staff, was astounding. They were darned fun to watch this season.

And so was the entire post season. By now, most of you know that I have been a Yankee fan since the mid-1960s. Those were bad teams back then, so I do not consider it my birthright to have the team in the post season. But it was a great run from 1995 to 2012 seeing them in the post season every year but one.

But what I found fascinating is that I really enjoyed this post season because the Yankees were not playing in it. I did not have all that stress and simply watched each game with wide-eyed wonder and enjoyed baseball immensely. Twitter heightens that experience by watching it together with a thousand other people.

In my fifty years of watching baseball, I cannot remember a player so dominating a World Series like David Ortiz dominated this one. He got inside the heads of Cardinal pitchers unlike anything I have ever seen since the Barry Bonds days.

And Ortiz probably cemented his Hall of Fame case with this one. The DH is a position and David Ortiz is the best DH ever.

But Ortiz also showed why he is hated pretty universally outside of Boston with his post game "press conference." Once he grabbed the mic from Erin Andrews, he must have gone on for seven minutes. Can you imagine Series MVPs of the past doing that? Would Bret Saberhagen, Dave Stewart or Tom Glavine to be so self-serving? I cannot picture any of them puffing themselves up like Ortiz.

Part of David Ortiz's bravado is what makes him such a great player. It is also what makes him such a turn off.

Some other observations:
  • Many considered this the coming out party of Xander Bogaerts. I did not see it that way. His series seemed good considering that until the last game, he was the only other player on his team besides Ortiz with an OPS over.700 in the Series. But he struck out 36.6% of the time and was not quite solid on defense. 
  • It seems that Jonny Gomes should stop reading about himself on the Internet. His little rant against sabermetrics showed that he has read about himself and it has not been complimentary. Look, you cannot take away from the fact that his only two hits of the Series were big ones. But good golly, he pretty well sucked all the rest of the time.
  • I was glad for Stephen Drew to have a good last game. His defense was a big reason the Red Sox had the season and post season they did. Defense in the post season is huge.
  • And speaking of defense, Dustin Pedroia had an amazing season and an even more amazing post season in the field. He was everywhere.
  • Carlos Beltran had another great post season. But I am not all that excited about him being a Yankee. He will be yet another aging player on a roster full of them and he will be yet another player that makes me grit my teeth watching him hit into the shift. Ugh.
  • The post season signature of Michael Wacha and Trevor Rosenthal was truly fun to watch. They were amazing (Wacha's last game notwithstanding). 
It was a truly fun series. The best team won against the best team in the National League. My only hope is that after their victory parade, the Red Sox go en masse to a barber.

MLB Game Picks - Wrapping it up in a bow

The season officially ended as the Boston Red Sox claimed the World Series title with a dominating win over the St. Louis Cardinals. I was a bit sad that I correctly picked the last game as I wanted the series to go a full seven. But I was correct in that the Red Sox were like sharks with blood in the water and that logic dictated that the green Michael Wacha had no more miracles in his bag. Congratulations to the Red Sox and their fans, especially those in my Twitter timeline that I have gotten to know so well.

I finished the post season at 21-18, which was better than last year's dismal performance of 17-20. My final season tally led to me being correct 56.1 percent of the time this season. I think this completes my fourth complete season doing this and five years altogether. And I have been consistently mediocre at my job here. Two years ago, I was correct 56.3 percent of the time and last year was 55.5 percent.

I doubt any of those numbers are close to being as good as the odds makers or those who simply use computers to project the outcomes. But I do not do this to be a computer or to predict odds for gambling purposes.

Why do I do this anyway? Well, a long time ago, a reader asked me to and I gave that reader what he wanted. That simple request became my obsession and I did not miss a single day for the second season in a row and only missed two or three days the season before that due to a computer glitch.

It has become a way for me to stay connected with my favorite sport day after day. Doing so kept me on top of players and trends and helps the rest of my writing. It is not always easy. I kept my continuous day streak by getting up an extra hour before work each day and even earlier on golfing weekends. It meant making sure a laptop was always with me when I traveled. But hey, we all need our obsessions. This is mine.

And I also know that there are many of you who stopped by here day after day to see what I had to say and I appreciate that. Knowing you are out there makes doing this even more fun. Thank you for making the Game Picks a daily stop on your Internet journey.

The feature will continue next season and in the meantime, I will have more time to write real articles about the sport I love over the off season. Baseball is the greatest game of them all and that is one thing that ties us all together.

Until Opening Day, this is a wrap for the Game Picks. I had a blast.

Yesterday: 1-0
Post season: 21-19
Final season tally: 1395-1085

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

MLB Game Picks - Wednesday: October 30, 2013

The last game picks post was Monday and I even predicted a score. I predicted the score would end up, 3-1. I was exactly correct. But I picked the wrong team! Ahhh!! Five World Series games are now in the books and I have only picked one of them correctly. That has pushed my overall post season record to the point where it is just barely over .500 and the only thing that will keep me from getting below .500 is that there are only one or two games left.

And that is what today's pick is all about. Will the Series go two more games or one? Everything seems to be in Boston's favor right now. They are home with a 3-2 lead. They went to St. Louis and took two out of three there. Now they are in their home park with their own wildly screaming fans and pitch John Lackey who has already shown he can push around the Cardinals at Fenway Park. The only obstacle they have in front of them is Michael Wacha. Wacha was great and recorded a win against the Red Sox. But in that game, the Red Sox broke Wacha's magical spell and hit a two-run homer off of him.

So what will happen tonight? The pick:

  • The Red Sox over the Cardinals: Wacha, no matter how good he is, is still green as a Major League pitcher. His post season story has been miraculous. For him to pitch another insanely good game seems against logic. This is going to be a Red Sox team with blood in their eyes looking for a way to strike. The Cardinals will be looking for a way not to lose the game while the Red Sox will be expecting to win it. The mental aspect of this game of baseball is not to be overlooked even if it cannot be measured. What I have seen in this series is a Red Sox team that had a plan against each pitcher they faced while the Cardinals have had no game plan going in to each game. The Cardinals have allowed the Red Sox pitchers determine the pace and the battle lines. It is that plan for the Red Sox and the lack of a plan by the Cardinals that has determined this series. The Red Sox win the sixth and final game of this 2013 World Series. But then again, I am 1-4 in the first five games, so what do I know?

Monday: 0-1
Post season: 20-18
Season: 1394-1085

Monday, October 28, 2013

MLB Game Picks - Monday: October 28, 2013

I finished off yesterday's picks post by saying something silly about the game ending on catcher's interference. This 2013 World Series is proving that nothing is silly. No, it was not a catcher's interference. Instead it was a two-out pick-off with Carlos Beltran standing at the plate representing the tying run. But let's not get too carried away with the pick-off, even as embarrassing as it was. The odds of Beltran hitting Koji Uehara were still high. This game was pretty much over when Jonny Gomes (take THAT haters) hit his three-run homer off of Seth Maness.

And it was that homer that again put me in the wrong column. I have now incorrectly picked three of the four World Series games. I wrote a piece yesterday about how in Game Three, everything John Farrell did went wrong. In Game Four, everything Farrell did went right. Go figure. That is baseball.

So bring on Game Five, the last home game of the St. Louis Cardinals' season. The two aces of the staff will battle. Who will win? The pick:

  • The Cardinals over the Red Sox: The last time these two starters met, Jon Lester was terrific and Adam Wainwright was much less so. Wainwright suffered from shoddy defense (including his own) but he was not "on" his game either. I believe tonight will be different. This is a big-time pitcher who has pitched his share of big-time games. He will be pitching in his home park in front of his own fans. The Red Sox still have to forego playing Mike Napoli as they lose the DH. I still expect Lester to pitch well. The Cardinals still have a problem with lefties. I see the score in a crisp, tight game of something like 3-1 or 3-2. But then again, why would you believe anything I predict? This is a great World Series in pretty much the same way a great NASCAR race includes spectacular wrecks.

Yesterday: 0-1
Post Season: 20-17
Season: 1394-1084

Sunday, October 27, 2013

John Farrell's moves go bust in Game Three

Everyone will remember the obstruction call that ended Game Three. Some will remember Brandon Workman being allowed to hit in the ninth inning. That decision by Farrell was curious and probably correctly questioned with Koji Uehara in the bullpen. But none of Farrell's decisions worked out in the game--even the ones that were not questioned.

The one that stands out to me was Will Middlebrooks pinch hitting for Stephen Drew in the top of the seventh. You really cannot find fault with Farrell's call here. Drew has been missing in action at the plate for most of this post season. His only hit in this series was that silly popup that fell between Molina and Wainwright in Game One. Drew has been a strikeout machine.

Sure, you could argue that Middlebrooks has not been much better and that would be a valid point. But Drew had no chance, so you cannot fault Farrell.

Unfortunately, the decision moved Xander Bogaerts to short and put Middlebrooks at third and that came back to bite the Red Sox. Middlebrooks did not hit any better than Drew. Middlebrooks is probably not as good at third base as Bogaerts and Bogaerts might not have the game reactions that Stephen Drew has at short. And thus we have the bottom of the seventh.

With Bogaerts at short and Middlebrooks at third, the Cardinals started the bottom of the seventh against Craig Breslow who had just been brought into the game. Breslow has not had a stitch of luck in this series thus far. The first batter Breslow faced was Matt Carpenter.

Carpenter checked his swing on a Breslow offering and the ball squirted off towards short. Bogaerts did not get a good jump on the ball and his throw to first was late. There is no sense blaming David Ortiz at first for not scooping Bogaert's low throw because Carpenter would have been safe anyway.

Does Drew make that play? Probably. Does Drew react quicker than Bogaerts did? Maybe, maybe not.. But Bogaerts did not make the play and Farrell's move does not work out.

The next batter should have gone differently. It was Carlos Beltran batting right-handed. And being a modern hitter, Beltran was allowed to wear this protective elbow gear while batting. I do not like them and feel such devices give the batter more comfort and an advantage at the plate. Breslow's offering was inside. Beltran made no attempt to get out of the way. Slow-motion replay showed Beltran even moving his elbow slightly into the path of the pitch.

Beltran should not have been awarded first. But he was to make it first and second with no outs. That brought Matt Holliday to the plate and Farrell's decision bit him again. There is no doubt that Holliday hit a hard shot toward the line at third off of new reliever, Junichi Tawaza. But Middlebrooks seemed flat-footed on the play and though the shot was within a few feet of him, he could not make even a stop on the play. Both Carpenter and Beltran scored on the double that resulted. Bogaerts might have made a play on that smash.

Personally, I believe both of those plays, the one from Carpenter's check swing and the one from Holliday's smash, might have gone differently with the original infield set in place. Farrell did not get any offense from the move and seemed to get worse defense. But we are not done yet.

Flash forward to the bottom of the ninth when we get that unbelievable finish to the game on the obstruction call at third. That call never comes into play if Middlebrooks catches Saltalamacchia's throw. It looked like Craig would have been safe at third. But that would be it and there is no obstruction call.

Saltalamacchia's throw was wide. But it was catchable. Middlebrooks did not catch it. Would Bogaerts have caught it? I think so. Middlebrooks made two nonathletic plays at third. Xander Bogaerts is much more athletic than Middlebrooks. We will never know, of course, but that is my feeling on how things turned out.

Brandon Workman batting in the ninth? While the above decisions did not work out for Farrell, they at least can be defended to try to get some offense. But Workman batting for himself was indefensible. That never should have happened.

Postscript: I have a problem with the official scoring of the game. Workman's last base runner was Yadier Molina. He was thrown out at home. The winning run was scored by Allen Craig, who was Uehara's base runner. Why then did Workman get the loss? It should have been Uehara's loss.

MLB Game Picks - Sunday: October 27, 2013

Well...that was different. The St. Louis Cardinals won Game 3 of the World Series in about as unlikely a fashion as anything most people will ever see in their lifetimes. An obstruction call at third base ended it after Jarrod Saltalamacchia's throw bounced off the tip of Will Middlebrook's glove, off Allen Craig and into the left field foul grounds. I believe the call was the correct one. But Saltalamacchia's throw was off line, Middlebrooks did not catch it and the Cardinals go home a winner. Somewhere, a dead announcer is saying, "How about that." The play was the third time in this World Series where the go ahead run was caused by throwing the ball to third base to try and get a runner. Unbelievable.

The Red Sox are angry, understandably. Just about every player interviewed started by saying, "I don't know the rulebook..." Exactly. But they are upset. How will that translate to Game Four? That is what this post has to figure out.

If the Red Sox focus that anger on the Cardinals in Game Four, they could be fueled to victory. If they glower internally, they could have a feeling the odds are against them and that would not be a good way to go after this game. How will they react? And what of the pitching match-up?

There has to be a pick. Here it is:

  • The Cardinals over the Red Sox: If this was the average, healthy Clay Buchholz, this pick would be for the Red Sox. But he has been saying all week that his arm feels dead. He has pitched in the post season like his arm is dead. That is not encouraging. Meanwhile, Lance Lynn won seventeen games. But it feels sort of like a Phil Hughes sort of winning record. Lynn has fallen apart often in the last couple of months. But, unlike Hughes, he is capable of a shut down game. But let's say that neither pitcher does well. In that case, the Red Sox are not in good shape. The Cardinals have Shelby Miller and none of their relievers overextended themselves in Game Three. The Red Sox burned through Felix Doubront and he likely would not be available. That leaves them with Franklin Morales or Ryan Dempster for long relief. Neither of those options seem appealing. But baseball being the great game it is, all this theorizing could be moot and the game could end on a catcher's interference call. Who knows.

Yesterday: 1-0
Post season: 20-16
Season: 1394-1083