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MLB: NLCS-Chicago Cubs at Los Angeles Dodgers
John Lackey, on the mound, in Southern California, in the playoffs, 15 years later. Career bookends?
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Anybody who thinks this year’s playoffs are boring, has just voted themselves off the Island of Sport. This was a great weekend for fun times. Sure, we ain’t in it. But you read these words all the damned time from me: in a couple of weeks the season will be fully over and we will be months away from any form of live baseball, and it will suck. But here, while we still have any form of live ball at all, we are getting treated to mega-fun games. Even if you don’t have a rooting interest it’s still very cool to watch the excitement and see players and fans (and biased announcers) freaking out.

So do it.

Dig Day Fourteen of Playoff-Links:


A Little Bit of Angels News

Billy Eppler is, indeed, having chats with Justin Upton and his agent prior to the target date for Upton’s opt-out, which is now just a couple of weeks away. This only makes sense, even if it doesn’t have to go anywhere..........

Mike Scioscia is on the verge of out-Lasorda’ing Tommy himself............

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October Baseball

Quite a bit of kerfuffle this weekend, wasn’t there?

The Yankees almost got themselves Maier’ed. That would not have happened, of course. The MF Yanks are now protected from the sweet arm of Baseball Justice by the gods of instant replay..........Also, Luis Severino is gettin’ pissy at Joe Girardi. Which is kinda funny since Severino has the worst post-season ERA for any pitcher with at least 10 innings pitched...........

Haha High Heat Stats! I am WAY ahead of you on the Aaron Judge assault on the all-time playoff strikeout record (Last week’s Thor’sLinks). By the way, here is an updated Judgement Chart:

Tracking Aaron Judge’s 2017 Playoff plate Accomplishments

There was a surprising amount of controversy surrounding the Astros’ walk-off run. Did Aaron Judge make a mistake by throwin to the cut-off man? Did he throw tot he wrong cut-off man? Did Carlos Correa interfere with Didi Gregorius’ relay to home plate? Did Correa have the right to own the bag at 2B?..........

Over in Dodgertown, a huge amount of angst remains ongoing over a run that didn’t mean much other than it got Joe Maddon inflamed (and ejected)? Maddon, historically, hates the “Buster Posey Rule” and he always has. Maddons is so mad he wants to talk to the MLB Front Office about it. Joe’s position is that the Posey Rule ain’t manly baseball, and it exists only because Buster Posey is an important marketing asset as one of the game’s superstars. That is wrong, though. NFL players are showing severe casualties due to CTE, and baseball athletes are getting bigger/faster/stronger too. Baseball already has a problem. Also, it takes far less impact to create actual fatalities when world-class athletes are competing than Joe cares to think about. In any event, Joe was wrong. Willson Contreras clearly plants his left foot into the lane to block Charlie Culberson’s route to the plate well before he had the ball, and much further than he needed to do to make the catch. And I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that Maddon, an ex-catcher, actually came up with that idea and worked to get Contreras taught to stick out his leg like that, in the firm belief that he had figured out a way around a rule he has never liked...........

Keith Olbermann is still a dick. And Yasiel Puig has a better social media director...........And Olbermann wasn’t the only one who wants to strip the fun back out of Baseball..........

And then last night, with a 1-1 tie entering the bottom of the 9th, Yasiel Puig led off with a walk and was sacrificed over to 2nd by that Charlie Culberson dude from the night before. In came John Lackey to shut down the threat. It would not work out. Lackey would end up walking leadoff hitter Chris Taylor in a tough battle, forcing a head-to-head face-off with Justin Turner, the guy who had driven in the Dodger’s earlier run. Turner was born in Long Beach, raised in Lakewood, and played his college ball at Cal State Fullerton where he was part of an NCAA championship team. 2 pitches into his at-bat Turner took full ownership of LA County.............Dodgers won 4-1 and take a 2 games to none lead heading back to Chicago...........

Before we hang up on the Nationals, we still have a chance to review the umpire screw up on the adjudication of Javy Baez/Matt Wieters play...........And we can get into it again concerning the detail of Jose Lobaton coming a fraction of an inch off the base and getting picked off. (My opinion on that one is that if we now have infielders on notice for that fraction of an inch when turning double plays - no more “neighborhood play” - we have that standard for baserunners, too). We can also inform you that that game was the longest 9-inning postseasons game in recorded history. 4 hours and 37 minutes...........

Broadcast ratings for these playoffs are killing it. Twins-Yankees was the 4th best WC game ever in terms of viewership.....And Indians-Yankees ALDS Game 2 was the highest peak-viewing game broadcast in history....Notice a trend? Yeah, it’s true. The Yankees are back, and their hoards are with them. The Yankees have regained the viewing crown from the Cubs...........Keep this in mind as the NFL implodes..........


Everywhere In Baseball

All stories tracing the rise of the Houston Astros begin with their tanking. But now that they are here, they know how to leverage modern information systems to keep right on improving, as Justin Verlander just found out..........

Good hitting might just be beating good pitching more gooder than the adage implies. And the article advises us to keep our eyes on the Astros-Yankees series to see if we gain any more evidence...........

A cool bit of baseball history. Colorizing the vintage Chicago White Sox. Wait. Huh? That doesn’t sound right. ...........

The fires that continue to rage in Northern California, causing massive loss of life and devastation, were destined to impact local baseball fans. One young fan, an Oakland A’s devotee, lost his whole collection. And, good on the A’s, they want to help the young fan replace everything..........

The Managerial Merry-Go-Round is going full speed: Fredi Gonzalez remains top dog for the Tiger’s opening............The Red Sox are still going full-speed ahead on sticking a new body into their skipper slot............

The MLB Diversity problem has a diversity challenge itself? The hiring standards are too high, which is the point where I usually need to stop commenting..........

So you want to forecast FA contracts to figure out Arte’s payroll? Try the Black-Scholes Model..........

RIP former CWS pitcher Daniel Webb, killed in an ATV accident............

RIP Betty Jane “Moe” Moczynski.............


The Duffle Bag

No, Charlie Morton is not THAT “Morton”............Congratulations, LAD Ballgirls. You earned a standing O..........Mud Ball!.............I think Sam Miller is on to something here.........Miguel Cabrera knocked in one too many?..........Mia Khalifa got booted from Dodger Stadium right when Jose Contreras (of all players!) was involved in the most controversial moment of the night..........TIL: The old Houston Astrodome was inaugurated with gunfire..........

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2017 IBWAA Awards Voting

Alright, all my votes have been broadcast. In a few weeks the other league of writers will reveal their selections and let’s see how one of the unwashed rubes do against all those seasoned, professional, insiders. Here is my list:

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR:

AL - Aaron Judge
NL - Cody Bellinger

CY YOUNG AWARD WINNER:

AL - Corey Kluber
NL - Max Scherzer

RELIEVER OF THE YEAR:

AL - Craig Kimbrel
NL - Kenley Jensen

MANAGER OF THE YEAR:

AL - Mike Scioscia
NL - Bud Black

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER:

AL - Jose Altuve
NL - Anthony Rendon