Another long MLB season has come to an end. All 162 regular season games have been played (and we just missed a couple of 163s). And as of this writing, just 10 remain with a chance to take home a World Series championship. Two-thirds of the league’s teams have packed it in and headed home for a long winter of wondering what might have been and awaiting the arrival of next spring and the ever-present hope that that season brings.

But now, it’s time to look ahead to what this postseason might have in store for us.

Rather than trying to put together a series-by-series breakdown, let’s take a more general look at the respective championship chances of the 10 remaining teams, ranking their World Series likelihoods in ascending order.

It’s all guesswork, obviously – heck, if I knew anything, I’d have gotten more than half of these playoff teams in our MLB season preview back in March. Yep – five out of 10, and just two division winners. Not great. Now, I feel reasonably good about these new rankings, so this list will almost certainly turn out to be laughably inaccurate.

But hey – fortune favors the bold.

(Note: As of press time, the two wild card games had yet to be played. Thus, all four Wild Card teams were included on this list, including a Red Sox team about whose chances I am thrilld to have been mistaken.)

Published in Sports
Wednesday, 29 September 2021 12:20

‘The Baseball 100’ an absolute home run

I love baseball history.

As an athletic late bloomer, my initial love of baseball came from its stories. Now, those stories came in different forms. Some were told through first-hand accounts and memories. Others were told through numbers. Both were fascinating to a clumsy kid who loved the game a bit more than it loved him back.

And yet, as much as I love baseball history … Joe Posnanski loves it more.

Posnanski’s new book is “The Baseball 100” (Avid Reader Press, $40), and it’s exactly what it sounds like – a compendium of essays, a list of the greatest players in the long history of the sport, ranked according to the opinions and whims of one man. The book was born of an ongoing feature at the sports website The Athletic, where the first versions of these essays ran.

It’s a wonderful collection of snapshots, purely distilled amalgams of both kinds of stories – memories and numbers – delivered with the unique aw-shucks humility and elevated dad humor of Joe Posnanski. His reverence for the game, his sheer unadulterated love for it, runs through every one of these 100 pieces. From inner circle Hall of Famers to names that might not be as familiar to the casual fan, Posnanski counts us down through the greatest of all time.

Published in Sports
Wednesday, 15 September 2021 12:15

Max Scherzer notches 3,000th strikeout

Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Max Scherzer joined an exclusive club over the weekend.

Scherzer entered the game against the San Diego Padres with 2,994 Ks. The 3,000th came in the fifth inning against Eric Hosmer; he’d finish the game with nine Ks in eight innings, leaving his total (for the moment) at the delightfully-palindromic 3,003. He is the 19th pitcher in MLB history to cross that threshold.

What’s crazy is there was even more history to be made.

Published in Sports
Wednesday, 01 September 2021 11:57

Red Sox Report Card – August 2021

Hey everybody! Remember when the Red Sox were in first place and it looked like they’d coast into the postseason without much of a problem?

As it turns out, there’s a reason they play ALL the games.

August wasn’t a great month for the boys from Beantown. They finished with a sub-.500 record for the month and ceded even more ground to the increasingly dominant Rays while ALSO allowing the dreaded New York Yankees to pass them as well. At this rate, Boston might not even make an appearance in the Wild Card Game; if they’re going to make it, they’re going to need a big turnaround in September.

Specifically, the pitching let them down in a big way last month. The offense was actually pretty solid overall, but the team’s mound work – particularly out of the bullpen – left a lot to be desired. It’s not over yet, but without some kind of drastic improvement, the fat lady will be singing for this Red Sox season soon enough.

On to the Report Card.

(All stats current as of the completion of the Aug. 30 game.)

Published in Sports
Wednesday, 25 August 2021 11:50

Miguel Cabrera joins 500 homer club

One of Major League Baseball’s most exclusive clubs just gained a member.

Detroit Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera became the 28th player in MLB history to achieve this historic milestone, hitting a 1-1 pitch from Blue Jays lefthander Steven Matz over the scoreboard in right-center field at Toronto’s Rogers Centre for a home run, his 13th of 2021.

It marks a moment that has seemed inevitable for a long time, yet the journey to get here proved a bit more interminable than anyone anticipated.

Published in Sports

By the time you read this, MLB teams will likely be beyond the 120-game mark for the season, three-quarters of the way through the 2021 slate. We’re coming into the home stretch, where teams will be making their postseason pushes and individual awards will be won and lost.

There’s a fair amount of turnover this time around – there have been some significant shifts in a number of seasons. Some very good, others not so much.

Standard stuff, really – the MLB Awards leaderboard always sees a fair amount of movement. But in this uncertain season, one of unusual circumstances across the board, one never knows what’s coming next. And honestly, it’s nice to have some of that intrigue. Let’s see where we’re at, shall we?

This is Clubhouse Leaders.

Published in Sports
Wednesday, 18 August 2021 11:37

Latest no-hitter makes MLB history … twice

It’s been a minute, but MLB notched another no-hitter over the weekend. And this one made history – twice.

Arizona Diamondbacks left-hander Tyler Gilbert threw the no-no against the San Diego Padres on Saturday night. It was the rookie’s first-ever major league start, making him just the second pitcher in modern baseball history – and the fourth ever – to accomplish the feat; he joins the legendary Bobo Holloman, who accomplished the feat while pitching for the St. Louis Browns back in 1953.

In addition, Gilbert’s game marks the eighth official no-hitter of the year, making this the most prevalent year for no-hit games in modern MLB history; the previous record of seven was achieved in three previous seasons – 1990, 1991 and 2015. The only other year with as many as eight is 1884, a year in which the game bore only a passing resemblance to what we see today.

Published in Sports
Tuesday, 03 August 2021 11:31

Red Sox Report Card - July 2021

Well … it was fun while it lasted.

I know, I know – it’s unfair to be defeatist, even after a month whose final day saw the Red Sox cede first place in the division to the Tampa Bay Rays. It’s not like July was outright terrible – Boston still managed to finish the month with a record above .500, albeit just barely (13-12).

Still, this isn’t the same team that looked so strong over the early part of the season. It’s a squad that has clearly come back down to Earth; whether they’ll be able to right the ship and regain their advantage in the A.L. East going forward remains to be seen. But there’s no denying that as a team, they simply haven’t performed up to the same level that we saw in the season’s first half.

All that being said, there’s a lot of season left. And July, while far from perfect, did have its bright spots to go with its downturns. Let’s break it down, shall we?

On to the Report Card.

Published in Sports
Wednesday, 14 July 2021 11:50

Meet the new guys: Boston’s 2021 draft

I’ll be honest – I don’t generally spend a lot of time thinking about the MLB Draft.

It’s the nature of the sport, really – whereas top NFL and NBA picks become immediate contributors to the team that selects them, baseball players often spend years in the minor leagues before reaching the point where they can make an impact.

However, by moving the draft to the All-Star break, it gives those of us who might not otherwise engage a chance to take a closer look at the moves being made by our favorite team or teams.

And so, I thought I’d take a few minutes to introduce you – and myself – to the top 10 picks of the Boston Red Sox in the 2021 MLB Draft.

Published in Sports

We’re almost to the All-Star break and teams are approaching and/or have crossed the halfway point of the long MLB season. While we tend to think of the All-Star Game as the midway point in a given season, the truth is that we’re there now.

And things have changed a little.

As per usual, there has been some movement with regard to our MLB Awards leaderboard. There are a couple of holdovers, but as always, things change. Take a look and see where we stand.

This is Clubhouse Leaders.

Published in Sports
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