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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, 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
Tuesday, 01 June 2021 10:06

Red Sox Report Card - May 2021

Well … we all knew that this was probably coming.

While it was a pretty big surprise to have the Red Sox come out of the gate as the leaders in the A.L. West in the month of April, it’s less of a surprise to see that lead disappear in May. That’s not to say that Boston was bad in May – 15-12 is far from terrible – but it definitely opened the door for teams like Tampa (the current division leader) to make up that early deficit.

Still, being 10 games over .500 two months into the season is better than all but the most optimistic among us expected. And there’s still a lot to like about this team, with an offense that has largely maintained its early production pace. The pitching? Well, that’s another story.

So yes, the season’s second month didn’t live up to its first, at least as far as the Red Sox are concerned. And we’ve seen some unfortunate slumps to go with strong performances. But as always, there’s more to come – two months down, four to go.

On to the Report Card.

Published in Sports

Bring on the no-hitters! Keep ‘em coming!

As crazy as it seems, I am once again writing about MLB’s promulgation of no-hit games. While I’ve alluded to the possibility of a record-breaking number of no-nos in 2021, I had no idea that said record might fall by the All-Star break.

And yet here we are, with two more no-hitters spun by big league pitchers last week – Spencer Turnbull of the Detroit Tigers shut down the Seattle Mariners on May 18, while New York Yankee Corey Kluber blew away the Texas Rangers the VERY NEXT DAY.

Depending on who you ask, this puts us at either six or seven no-hitters in just the first two months of the season.

(Officially, the number is six. Unofficially – and in my own humble opinion – it’s seven, because I am firmly in the “Madison Bumgarner’s seven-inning complete game no-hitter is a no-hitter” camp. I’m not going to relitigate that argument again here – just check out either of my previous no-hitter piece from late April to get the entirety of my feelings on the matter.)

So will we see that magic number fall this season? Is 2021 the year we finally cross into the realm of eight no-hitters and beyond? It certainly seems within the realm of possibility, though there are certainly factors working against it as well.

Published in Sports

Every couple of years, I find myself writing a variation of the same story. There will be a cluster of no-hit games pitched in the majors and I, as a fascinated student of baseball history, will wonder if we are about to see a season in which we get more than the record seven no-hitters we saw in 1990, 1991 and 2012 (I got to write about that last one).

But after the past week saw not one, but two no-hitters added to the total of the still-nascent 2021 MLB season, the question must be asked again: Is THIS the year of the no-hitter?

With no-nos thrown by John Means of the Baltimore Orioles and Wade Miley of the Cincinnati Reds within days of each other, the season’s total for no-hit games already stands at four – more than halfway there.

(Well, officially four anyway. Unofficially, it’s five, because I am firmly in the “Madison Bumgarner’s seven-inning complete game no-hitter is a no-hitter” camp. I’m not going to relitigate that argument again here – just head to the website and check out my piece from a couple of weeks ago to get the entirety of my feelings on the matter.)

So will we see that magic number of seven fall this season? It certainly seems within the realm of possibility, though there are factors working against it as well.

Published in Sports
Tuesday, 27 April 2021 10:58

New rules lead to no-hitter nonsense

When is a no-hitter not a no-hitter?

That’s the existential question raised by Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Madison Bumgarner’s performance on April 25. In the second half of a scheduled doubleheader against Atlanta, Bumgarner pitched a complete game shutout and didn’t allow a single hit to a Braves batter.

Exciting, right? Bumgarner joins Joe Musgrove of the San Diego Padres and Carlos Rodon of the Chicago White Sox this season in pitching a complete game and shutting down the opposition without allowing a single hit.

But in the eyes of Major League Baseball, it’s not a no-hitter. Not officially.

See, MLB has had a rule in place since 1991 that states that for a no-hitter to be officially recognized, the pitcher must complete at least nine innings. Games in which the pitcher does not reach that benchmark are not counted as no-hitters in the eyes of the league. MLB’s current rules, in effect since last season, state that doubleheader games are now scheduled for seven innings. This means that Bumgarner’s gem, while a complete game, doesn’t count as an official no-hitter.

But should it?

Published in Sports
Tuesday, 30 March 2021 22:16

MLB’s possible milestones for 2021

Among the many secondary and tertiary benefits of a regular-length baseball season is the fact that fans might get more of a chance to see some historic accomplishments from players, numbers that place them among the best of their generation.

Baseball is a game that has always held its own history in high regard. And one of the best ways to keep track of that history has been through statistical milestones, numbers that have come to act as a sort of distillation of greatness. Round numbers that represent on-field brilliance in an easy-to-understand way.

Granted, changes in the game are in turn changing these milestones. The way the game is played and the meaning of the numbers being tallied isn’t what it once was; the sabermetric revolution has altered how we look at these statistics. Still, there’s something undeniably special about those iconic career marks. While their relevance may fade someday, we’re not there yet.

Published in Sports
Tuesday, 20 October 2020 11:18

Dodgers-Rays: A 2020 World Series preview

An unprecedented baseball season is on the verge of concluding.

After a truncated regular season and an expanded postseason structure, all in the face of an ongoing pandemic, the World Series is set to begin. The Los Angeles Dodgers and Tampa Bay Rays will be facing off for the 2020 MLB championship.

Even now, things will be different than ever before. Due to safety protocols and restrictions, the World Series will be played in a bubble, with all games taking place at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas – the Dodgers are ostensibly the “home” team due to a better record. Obviously, this isn’t how these players anticipated their season playing out, but at the end of the day, a ring is a ring.

And these guys want that ring.

Published in Sports

And here we are. Another MLB regular season has come to an end. The playoffs are in full swing, with the handful of remaining teams doing everything within their power to make it to the World Series.

However, the league’s individual honors aren’t predicated on playoff performance. These awards are for the regular season. And while there was a fair amount of up-and-down over the course of the year, a lot of these names are ones that aren’t the least bit surprising. There are arguments to be made – there always are – but I’m comfortable with the selections that I’ve made. As always with this sort of thing, your mileage may vary.

Here we go: 2019’s final Clubhouse Leaders.

Published in Sports
Tuesday, 01 October 2019 16:24

Road to the 2019 World Series

Another long MLB season has come to an end. All 162 regular season games (and a couple of 163s) have been played. 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 us take a general look at the respective championship chances of all 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 six out of the 10 playoff teams right in our MLB season preview back in March. 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 are included on this list.)

Published in Sports
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