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Thor'sLinks: Dbacks Rock Colorado, bring on the ALDS!

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The Diamondbacks oust the Rockies 11-8 as starting pitching falters again. And now we turn attention to the ALDS with 2 games today.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Was this just an artifact of the urgency (and excitement) o the current Wild Card Play-In process? Or are we back into October Bullpen Baseball? Of the 4 starters who have taken the field so far, and out of 36 possible innings they could have consumed, we have gotten only 7.1 total innings pitched. The longest lasting was Zack Greinke last night, going only 3.2 against the Rockies. Everything else has been relief pitching.  And relief pitching worked, but more as a function of survival. 12 runs scored total in the AL WC game, with the Yankees winning 8-4. And 19 runs scored last night, as the DBacks held off the charging Rockies 11-8.

Today the ALDS awakens. We get a 1PM PDT game as REd Sox visit the Astros (on MLBN), and then a 4:30PM PDT game on FS1 as the Yankees are in Cleveland.

Day Three of Playoff-Links:


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A Little Bit of Angels News

As I help you follow the manager/coaching merry-go-round, in full swing right now, we find the leap-frogging hit close to home. LAA hitting coach Dave Hansen has been fired. Unsurprising, considering how this was close enough to the very worst hitting team in all of Baseball. I know that it's not fair to remove the best hitter on the Angels and NOT do something similar to all other teams, but for purposes here we just say that Mike Trout is the phenomenon that he is regardless of who coaches bats. And if you remove Trout from the LAA numbers, the Halos were last throughout all of MLB in BA (.238), next to last in OBP (.303), last in SLG (.379), and last in OPS (.682). And it's not s if they had to fall a very long distance from 2016 to get there. Somebody has to take the fall for guaranteed contracts sucking eggs. And in the Business of Baseball, it's usually the guy that many feel doesn't have much of any actual impact........

The Arizona Instructional League starts up next Tuesday and here is your schedule............The League will use pitch clocks and experiment with extra-inning runner placement. The Angels prospects are assigned to the Scottsdale Scorpions. Where Jo Adell and Griffin Canning are on that list eludes me, but they are supposed to be there. Maybe they are in Arizona for team instructs But this is not my strength. You guys tell me..........

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October Baseball

This will be sweet for Oakland fans watching Sonny Gray. They get to watch the Ace that they, at one point, thought would be the linchpin of their playoff successes take the hill for the Yankees in the ALDS. Imagine if this were one of our ex's, like a Mike  Clevinger or a Patrick Corbin or a Rich Hill or a John Lackey or a Joe Blanton or a Trevor Gott or some such...........

Another way to prevent games from going past midnight on the East Coast would be to RETURN TO DAYTIME PLAYOFF GAMES. Let's all of us true baseball fans take the afternoon off from work and enjoy the sudden death nature of the WC games with a 1PM PDT start. Trust me, kids, once you get used to it, it becomes a cherished daylight adventure filled with communal memory building. Maybe then we can stop whining about the lengths of such games...........

That late night did not slow down viewers, and ESPN reports an increase of 58% over last year's WC coverage. Thank The Maker for ESPN getting lucky enough to have the Twins in the game!............

Most of the time I love it when I am right. But there are definitely times when I hate it. I knew this was coming, which is why I wrote my Aaron Judge-Mike Trout compare in yesterday's Links. It's the opening lines of this article: "Mike Trout went 1-for-12 in the 2014 ALDS as the Angels got swept by the Royals.....For Aaron Judge, in Tuesday night’s American League wild-card game, the only hard thing was the contact that the certain Rookie of the Year and possible MVP made.....Judge, who set a major league rookie record with 52 home runs during the regular season, went 2-for-4 with a single in the first inning....."..........Make no mistake, the motivation behind stuff like this Trout compare is the envy that the writer has for not having the fun of following THE Mike Trout on his own team and/or his own time zone..........

But you know who is TRULY a stud? Paul Goldschmidt..........

The Yankees have a power playoff team.....and the playoffs are turning into a power exhibition..........

And the Yankees better dig deep into that power baseball because the Indians got next............

Over on the Cleveland side, skipper Terry Francona is keeping Corey Kluber on normal rest and slotting him as his Game 2, and potential Game 5, pitcher. This, when most people would expect him to use Kluber to start Game 1. If the Indians can prevent a Game 5 AND advance, this shouldn't hurt. If a Game 5 is needed, this will be a brilliant decision............My personal opinion, though, is that since the odds of winning 3 out of 5 are far better than winning 3 out of 4 (and teams that lose the first game tend to lose a 5-game series about 3/4's of the time, proving that point), I would be more focused on Game 1 than a possible Game 5...........

Good on the DBacks for taking a moment to remember a person they knew (like a lot of us) who was killed in Las Vegas this past weekend..........

It must truly be time for John Lackey to consider retirement. He has become that guy-nobody-knows-what-to-do-with..........


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Everywhere In Baseball

The Rangers negotiated a buyout with their insurer on the balance of Price Fielder's contract, and went ahead and released him so that they could get their hands back on that 40th spot of their Active Roster. I wonder what this means for the Rangers luxury tax liabilities? It would be shitty if this means they could buy their way out of a cap threat at a discounted rate.........

The Tigers' due diligence on their way to hiring Fredi Gonzalez anyway includes an interview with long-time Mike Scioscia sidekick Dino Ebel. I don't know how brilliant Ebel might be as a manager. That's for others to suppose and destiny to define. But for some reason I think he would be highly missed in the Angels dugout............One guy, like our own Sosh, NOT going anywhere is Texas Rangers manager Jeff Bannister...........

It's Upside-Down Land in Missouri. The Royals like their current stadium. "We’re perfectly content where we are, we think it works well." But city officials have an inspired idea all their own. They are already spending taxpayer money to do a study and figure out where to spend more taxpayer money to build a new stadium closer to downtown than the Kauffman Stadium 10 miles way over there...........

Sports blowhards are like weather forecasters. They get paid good money to be wrong a lot But the big difference that still separates the two careers is that sports blowhards get paid their good money to scream and look like jackasses on their way to being wrong...........

Derek Jeter already knows about being wrong. As The Boss, it's something you claim the other guy did..........

Hmmm. I may have just found my 2017 Winter Friday Links Special Project. (Stick to paperback! Hardcover is $150.).........

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The Duffle Bag

Hey, Jon Heyman! If you moved your ass to the West Coast you wouldn't have this basic time problem doing your frikking job............"Clapping for the Yankee guys must be an important thing we do now. Not as important as hanging on to my Patek Philippe watch, however..."..........Right after Jose Bautista announced that he wants to keep playing, the Blue Jays were forced to announce that it wouldn't be with them. Smart on Toronto for saving $20 million, but they probably wish that Joey Bats hadn't made them act as the bad guy............Were you also distracted last night by the bird brains in the outfield?.........

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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 Reliever of the Year is Craig Kimbrel.

This should not be a surprise. Kimbrel is, again, our state-of-the-art bullpen dude just like he was last season. I don't go down with Saves, but I don't ignore the, either. What I love are things like K/9 and Left On Base and FIP and WAR. And Kimbrel dominates. 16.43 K/9 across 69 innings pitched, and stranding 93.9% of runners, is mind-blowing. Being tops in FIP and WAR don't hurt, either. And, then, look at his Game Log for 2017, especially those last two columns on the right, "Entered" and "Exited". Those are things of beauty.

Runners up to Kimbrel were Roberto Osuna and (skipping fancy-pants choices such as Chad Green and Andrew Miller) our own Yusmeiro Petit.

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