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HumpLinks: Yanks bomb while Twins bomb

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The Yankees blew up the Twins last night as the AL playoffs got off to a home-run happy start. Tonight it's the National League's turn. Rockies versus Diamondbacks.

The Arizona Republic-USA TODAY NETWORK

Well that answered that. The question was whether or not Ervin Santana could do to the Yankees what he did way back on October 10, 2005. Nope. Santana did what a lot of other pitchers with Angels DNA did this year. Give up a shitload of runs in a hurry.

All told we had 5 home runs in the AL Wild Card game, most early, and the Yankees blew the Twins back to Minneapolis, and their fans back to the Vikings, in a bug hurry. Yankees advance 8-4. In a 3 hour and 51 minute tour. I wonder if them East Coast sportswriters bothered to stay up late for that?

Here is something to be pissy over. Mike Trout has played in 3 total playoff games, and is 1 for 12 (.083 Batting Average). One home run and 3 walks. Aaron Judge has now been in his first playoff game, and is 2 for 4 with 3 runs scored, 2 RBI's, a Base on Balls, and a home run.

Day Two of Playoff-Links:


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A Little Bit of Angels News

The easiest rumor to postulate this early in October is the one that suggests Justin Upton will opt out. And so it has been rumored. I mean, who really wants to look out at their keyboard and punch up the keys that say nothing has changed? But the really easy thing to observe is how player salaries do not go down, and how Upton just delivered the 17th best fWAR among all MLB position players, is still only 29 years old, has not too much competition in the OF Free Agent market this Winger window, and has this one chance for a contract reset for a reason. So, sure, anybody can say he is leaning towards an opt out. From Billy Eppler's position, the idea that he could talk Upton and his agent into ignoring the chance for an even better contract should be a non-starter. Eppler's only two real choices are to take his chances in the bidding war for Upton (which would be stupid, knowing like we do how Pujols' contract already has created wallet limitations with Arte), or preempt everything and meet Upton's asking price with a new contract now...........

Yep. Lots of folks whiff on pre-season predictions. Thank you Beyond The Boxscore for admitting that you did not see the Angels in the WC chase even when you thought they would have an actual baseball team to field. However, I still see you admitting that the Angels had a Mike Trout that you overlooked. What you overlook is that Mike Trout missed 40 some games anyway.........

Wait. Sports Illustrated predicted the Angels to be really, really bad. The Angels outperformed Sports Illustrated's prediction, even with both hands tied behind their back. And for that SI thinks they failed to live up to their low expectations? Man, that is truly missing out on the story...........

The best position player ever drafted by the LAA franchise? Not Mike Trout. Not yet, anyway..........

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October Baseball

We just lost the most home-grown team in the playoffs...........

The Wild Card games this year feature the largest mismatches of the dual Wild Card era. Since, by definition, all that advantage is discarded and everything is reset for the WC game, this makes it uber-critical to use that regular season advantage to the extent that you actually win your Division and avoid that WC penalty game in the first place..........

Because of that, lots of folks seek ways to restore some level of handicap. But that road denies us all what might be considered "the Most Cruel, Devastating, and Wonderful Events in Sports"..........

Oh swell. "Your 2017 Major League Baseball World Series of Youtube". But don't expect the same level of jokes. Money talks............

Once upon a time there were 25 possible World Series matchups. Now there are only 20. But at least CBS no longer has their loser Twins to worry about. Notice that they rank the Twins at 5 of the 6 worst intriguing things to watch............IT also makes Yahoo happy, as they ranked the Twins 5 of the 7 worst..........

If you make the playoffs, it's good to be a Wild Card team. At any rate, it's a least as good as being a 100 game winner.........That's an odd outcome that will not last much longer. In reality, it's best just to be a Division winner. About 3 times better.........


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Everywhere In Baseball

Managerial Merry-Go-Round............The Tigers are interviewing Freddi Gonzalez...........The Cardinals fired their pitching coach, Derek Linlliquist, AND their bullpen coach, Blaise Ilsley. AAA pitching coach Bryan Eversgerd is expected to make the move up...........The Mets, who already saw their manager Terry Collins retire up to a Front Office position, have fired their pitching coach, Dan Warthen, and their head trainer, Ray Ramirez. (Yeah, the Mets fired the top guy in charge of athletic training after experiencing a lot of injuries. Imagine. Mets fans are happy.)..........If the Red Sox fail to get to the ALCS, their manager - John Farrell -  could see his job at risk..........

Derek Jeter has his mitts full in Miami. Lots of debt and little talent and a superstar owed $310 milliion over the next 10 years who doesn't want to stick around if Jeter is not committed to winning in year 1. Maybe Stanton should have thought of the problems with being locked up before he locked himself to that contract (he does have a player option in a few years)...........

Actually, I think the thing that Dusty Baker has done best over his 22 years as MLB manager, is picking good gigs at the right time to manage them. I notice, for example, that he did not wait around for the Chicago White Sox job..........

Let's re-write some history, shall we? It was NOT the  Dodgers who moved West and dragged the Giants with them, changing Major League Baseball forever. Nope. It was the Giants doing that, all alone and  all by themselves. You probably didn't know that, did you? That's because you are not as smart as Sports Illustrated. Nor do you look as good in a bikini..........

Ok, we are back. Bullpen usage was a huge thing last October. Maybe it pops up again this month. If things got really wild, and some manager wanted to maximize bullpen advantages, what kind of team would have the edge? Any in this years playoffs?..........


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The Duffle Bag

Derek Jeter sure is fastidious about clean hands. Maybe he needs to read more............He also needs to start his own bobblehead collection..........Jose Bautista must be thinking that if Albert Pujols is gonna keep playing, and he at least did better than Pujols, he might as well keep playing too............Aaron Judge sells a lot of jerseys. (Mike Trout is only 8th, which is why he needs me as his marketing rep.). In  fact, Judge is the top-selling rookie jersey, ever.........Best moment of last night's broadcast..........Second best moment of last night's broadcast..........

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2017 IBWAA Awards Voting

As one who is privileged to lose astronomical amounts of time in the loving labor of providing your morning entertainment, I (as are others here on the masthead) am a member of the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America. Not as formal as that fancy name, and nowhere near as recognized as that other baseball writers thingy. But, nonetheless, it gives me the chance to pretend to be serious. So, as serious as I have time to be, here are my 2017 awards ballot results and reasoning............

My vote for American League Cy Young Award is Corey Kluber. This is a tale of the hare and the tortoise. Chris Sale also had a monster season. For most of the year he was tops in WAR among ALL MLB players (ignoring how different WAR is for pitchers than position players in order to say that). But then we got to August. Prior to August Sale's ERA was 2.37 and his slash line against was .192/.236/.305 with an OPS of .541. From August on out he tanked to a more pedestrian combo of an ERA at 4.09 with a slash line against of .241/.293/.440 with an OPS of .733. Kluber just kept on trucking. In the end Sale led the League in Innings Pitched (214.1), strikeouts (308), FIP (2.45) and K's per 9 (12.9). Kluber led in ERA (2.25), Complete Games (5), Shutouts (3), ERA+ (204), WHIP (0.869), and Hits per 9 (6.2). Kluber was not far behind Sale in IP and FIP, but considerably behind in K's. So you have the two most dominant guys going at it, and close when all was said and done. One could not be faulted for voting either way. But my money leans to Kluber. Better sustained body of work. Not because Sale's a dick. I'm not petty.

Runners up to Kluber then Sale, in order, are Chris Archer, Luis Severino and Justin Verlander.

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