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HumpLinks: NL Wild Card Day

The Giants try to hang on to their even-year magic, as they take on the Mets in the NL Wild Card play-in game.

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Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports

And that, my friends is why you don't want a Buck Showalter as your chief decision-maker. My guess is that Mike Scioscia was sitting in his family room watching that game last night in total support of Showalter's bullpen decisions. I can hear it myself. "Sometimes it just doesn't work out the way you want. The Blue Jays played tough. You have to tip your hat to them. Now we just turn the page and have Zach Britton ready to go tomorrow."

For my part, I would see that the Orioles will have Machado, Trumbo and Wieters coming to bat in the next inning and Britton HAS gone more than 1 inning before. And I see that the Blue Jays are coming up with the top of THEIR order. So, yeah, I have Britton out there for the 11th. I will give Showalter some serious credit, though. Ubaldo Jimenez, a starting pitcher, has been pretty damned good down the stretch. His September numbers were stellar. If the game had gone long, Jimenez has the stamina to last 9 innings. And had the Orioles won, he wouldn't have needed to pitch again until the 9th or 10th of the month. It wasn't totally brain dead thinking. But when it was obvious that the Blue Jays were teeing off on him...well.........

Jeff Fletcher's 13-year old son, however, he and Showalter are of like minds.

By the way, the Blue Jays burned through five relievers, all of whom combined for 0 runs and 0 hits and only 1 walk across 5 innings of work. And one of those guys was Jason Grilli.




Tonight's game: National League Wild Card Play-in Game

San Francisco Giants at New York Mets - SCiti Field, NY, NY
Date Time Probable Pitchers TV
Wednesday, 10/5/2016 5:30 PM PDT Madison Bumgarner (15 - 9, 2.74 ERA) vs. Noah Syndergaard (14 - 9, 2.60 ERA) FS-W, MLBTV


Everywhere In Baseball

Trout Porn: Ok, we have read Trout Porn before and it has been amazing stuff. But this article from FanGraphs is XXXX rated Trout Porn, stuff of the highest degree. Mind blowing. How good is the baseball player we have been watching, DAILY? Well, the quote this reddit observer, summarizing the FanGraphs article, "Trout’s first five full seasons mix peak-Albert Pujols‘ bat with peak-Rickey Henderson‘s base-running value and peak-Mickey Mantle‘s defensive value. Offensively, he’s had peak-Willie Mays‘ batting average, peak-Carl Yastrzemski‘s on-base percentage." And I would add "peak Miguel Cabrera wRC+ and peak Joe Morgan WAR". I would also add this scary thought: Mike Trout is still 2 years away from entering his peak baseball athletic abilities............USA Today, home of the mind-numbingly stupid Bob Nightengale, puts up a Trout celebration article to drive ad sales and revenue for themselves. They promote the real astonishment of how many guys already in the Baseball Hall of Fame Trout just passed this year in terms of WAR. Super impressive list............And CBS' Dayn Perry runs the the Top 100 ballplayers of 2016, with Mike Trout #1: "He played center field on a regular basis, he was the most productive hitter in all of baseball by a wide margin, and he's back to adding significant value on the bases. Trout was the best player of 2016, and it's not a close call."

Everything but Votes: Some more pro-MVP articles being posted, which are probably only pissing off the ignorant and stupid. Fox Sports picked up this one from fellow LAA blog site Halo Hangout, "Angels Trout still deserves MVP despite dismal season". I would have used a modified title there, myself...........Fox Sports also picks up this one from Call to the Pen, ""Los Angeles Angels: Nobody Likes Mike Trout". The author rolls through all the usual and customary idiocy, but does add one interesting note that I have missed: "Not only will the BBWAA likely snub Trout once again, but his peers seem to be doing the same. Last week, the finalists for the Players Choice Award for Player of the Year were announced. The finalists are Mookie Betts, Jose Altuve, and David Ortiz. Perhaps some sentimental value put Ortiz ahead of Trout, but those three names are certainly head scratching. If the players thought Altuve was deserving despite his team not reaching the postseason, why didn’t they include the player who had the best offensive season among all of them?"..........Fox Sports, itself, votes for Trout, but gives themselves an out by agreeing not to complain about Betts............

Miller Time: Jeff Miller over at OCR just needs to get some things off his chest. Some obvious, some meaningless, some click bait.  This one, "No, Mike Scioscia doesn't deserve all the blame, but yes, it's time Angels made a change" is the latter. If you are paying attention you will notice that Miller safely puts this out there now that Billy Eppler has already declared that Sosh is safe..............

Crappy: Playoffs are a crap shoot. All the bright guys know that. But that's not going to prevent the bright guys from trying to predict how the dice will roll anyway. It's the Cubs..........Or it's some other team..........But forget that, always go to Vegas for expertise in forecasting. First team out? The one with the worst odds. Vegas knows, baby............Then again, it IS an even year...........

Zoning In: Here is a great update on the changing dimensions of the MLB strike zone, and the impact on outcomes that entails. My chief takeaway is that if Mike trout were a left-handed batter, he would break baseball...........

Media Biz: Cord cutting the playoffs - legally - has never been easier! It's not free. But it's legal.............

Expansion: But why is Montreal so much more special than a Portland or San Antonio or Mexico City?.............

Worst of 2016: It's a click-bait thingy. But it's about the Worst Players of the Year. One loser is a Halo, and another loser is an ex-Halo. I offer this up as a game. Can you name the players before you go click happy?...........


The Duffle Bag

h/t reddit: If there is a World Series Game 5 in Chicago, asking prices for tickets are already astronomical...........Ok. Play time is over, Now let's start seeing what Tim Tebow looks like against REAL prospects...........Major League Baseball has a real problem, from Front Office to Minor Leagues, with the whole concept of "apprenticeship". It's an abuse on a national scale...........Junk science, applied to modern baseball athletes, taken to the woodshed. I find it funny that when debunking a report that baseball players are fat, the author chose a photo of Mike Trout............What? Barry Bonds a clubhouse problem? Color me shocked............People who think anybody is more valuable to a baseball team than Mike Trout are the kind of people who believe in all these playoff myths............Tony La Russa is about to follow the career path of Tony Reagins, getting booted into an "advisory" role...or out the door............La Russa's puppet GM, statistical Luddite Dave Stewart, is totally fine getting canned. He's got better things to do. Such as sort his sock drawer, I suppose...........Mark Trumbo, a guy with a better batting record in the playoffs than Mike Trout, talks about his development days as a kid in Area Code Baseball...........Now we're talkin'. Judges getting hard-ass on the fools who run out onto the field at sporting events. 40 years ago I would have said that this was excessive bail, but these days with the financial stakes vested by franchises in their athletes, and the athletes in themselves, and the potential for distraction away from truly serious security concerns, and the cost per minute for broadcasting, keeping an idiot chilling in jail for a few days before they get their day in court seems like an idea worthy of discussion...........