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WeekEnd HaloLinks: Astros Priced out of Playoffs

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Houston rolled by Boston as Verlander finally falters.

MLB: ALCS-Boston Red Sox at Houston Astros Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

As it happens, it wasn’t even close. 4 to 1 is the magic ratio. The Red Sox took down Justin Verlander and the Astros by a score of 4-1. And that gave the Red Sox the AL pennant and Golden Ticket to the World Series by destroying Houston 4 games to 1.

So 1 World Series trophy as a reward for sucking serious eggs and forcing your fan base to become Rangers fans for 6 seasons is not a bad trade off. And the Astros window is far from closed. But there are other AL teams rising. They don’t have the League to themselves.

And lots of playoff narratives have been pushed aside.....David Price was aces, while Justin Vulnerable was the Verlander.....Jackie Bradley Jr. was twice as productive at the plate as Alex Bregman.....The trash talking and posturing was out of Houston and it was Boston who was vindicated....The Red Sox got all the breaks, while the Astros can whine about all the injustices.

Yeah, it could have been an epic series, if only the Astros had stuck around.

The NLCS will be decided within the next 40 hours or so, and then we pause for the World Series. It will be all lined up when you and I next meet on Monday

Meanwhile, purge your Friday blues with these Suffering-The-Pink-Hat-Brigade-HaloLinks:


A Little Bit Of Angels News

Omar Vizquel, no longer in the running for LAA Manager, was gracious and professional in reviewing his interview experiences and not making it to the next round. He revealed that, yes, what we all suspect to be true is, in fact, true. The Angels Front Office decision team is looking for somebody who can align with their goal of driving statistical analysis hard into their game strategy. I find this fascinating, though. A couple of Vizquel’s comments imply that Billy Eppler is looking for a person who is already well-connected to sabremetric principals. “I was surprised by a lot of the questions they asked me. There were a lot of sabermetrics involved in all of their questions. They’re apparently going far beyond what it means to be responsible and wise about the moves that you can make. They want someone who is very interested in the numbers and can weigh the percentages.”.....”some of [the questions] surprise you...It’s good to go through that experience so that you’re not caught off guard the next time that you have an interview and they talk about some of the terms that are used....I’m going to keep preparing, especially with the percentages and those things that they might ask in the future.”......Now, Vizquel is not an idiot. He has been in the game for quite a while, with a lifetime of in-game experience. And he is not ignorant of the infusion of data-driven information into the dugout. But that is clearly not enough. So here is the part that fascinates me: are the Angels now looking for somebody who is one of their kind to install into their manager spot? Or are they willing to accept somebody into their manager spot who is open to becoming one of their kind? Vizquel’s comments give me the impression that Eppler & Co. are seeking a frat bro who knows the secret Python handshake............

Whatever the reality of the LAA interview process, the MSM is still shooting in the dark.....They are only capable of picking up scraps of evidence from which they can give us any guidance towards status......The Halos better pick it up, though, as the community of candidates is being harvested by other teams as well. The Reds are very active, moving Brad Asmus into a 2nd round. And that 2nd round has already started, with Joe Girardi already having completed his 2nd tour..........

Jahmai Jones in the AFL. 3 for 5 is better than the 1-4 on Wednesday. But that’s j - a - h - m - a - EYE there, Bernie Pleskoff famous scout..........

If you just woke up after sleeping through the 2018 season, let me save you 7 months of time. Just go read this recap. It’s pretty much all there.........


Everywhere In Baseball

Huh?? MLB’s Astro-gate cover-up is a complete sham that has pissed off even all the other MLB teams? Who could have seen that coming?...........But what would be more disingenuous would be if MLB did their Houston hand-slapping after the post-season, when the cameras were turned off and any repercussions would have little impact on Roberto Osuna’s chances to be a World Series hero............But there appears to be a lot more going on here than many of us probably want to know or worry about. Paranoia seems to be as strong of a theme for 2018 as bullpenning was in 2017..........

Still lots of reverberations over that fan interference calls on Wednesday. Pretty much everywhere. That play will probably live in the minds of Astros fans forever. It’s the price they pay for having a dipshit home run wall that is literally in the laps of front row fans. Maybe Jose Altuve can scream at Houston Astros owner Jim Crane. It’s also the price they pay for not being Yankee fans. Yankee fans have years and years of experience with that, and MLB knows how to reward them.........

John Smoltz is supposed to be a smart guy. He’s paid to be Smart Guy Who Played The Game Broadcast Analyst just for that reason. And broadcasters are supposed to prep for games, talking to players and managers before hand. So why was Smoltz flummoxed by Crag Counsell’s Wade Miley gambit, when Dodgers manager Dave Roberts joked with the media before game time that this was precisely what Counsell was going to pull off?..........

The Counsell Gambit might end up being pretty common, unless MLB decides to intervene with some new rule. Because nothing makes old-timers more happy than when they can create some rule to impose discipline on the game so that it looks just the way that it has looked for them all along. Even though this was not unusual in MLB long before our old geezers even came along in the first place. So, no, this was most certainly NOT one of the more unconventional things baseball has ever seen. Just something we living today have ever seen........

With all the other things to be said about Wednesday, I didn’t have room to go into Clayton Kershaw’s performance, which was stellar. That was 9 K’s against only 3 hits across 7 innings. Ace stuff at a much-needed ace moment. And when you chart out the totality of Kershaw’s post-season career, and then plug that into what Kershaw does during the regular season, and understand that he is still only 30 years old and still is good for 25 starts a year, Kershaw would be my guy to battle Bryce Harper for biggest contract this winter should he opt out..........Oh, and about Harper...the Nats might want to keep Bryce Harper, after all............

Not a good look, Machado: “He’s A-Rod without the steroids.”..........

Free burger deal got paid up in Milwaukee. But, to be clear, this ain’t an In’N’Out or Five Guys thing. “...the burgers are not the world’s greatest.”..........

Dayton Moore of the Royals is probably going to sing Luke Heimlich, eventually. And then what?..............

Mookie Betts, and not Mike Trout, is The Sporting News MLB Player of the Year..........Because TSN has yet to catch up on modern stats..........

Kim Ng is getting a serious shot at Baltimore GM. Baltimore was a total mess this year, but there might be some things there with which to work..........

Pivot to Video always was a stupid idea. But then nobody asked my opinion early enough, so it’s all their fault..........


The Duffle Bag

Yasiel being Puig. It’s the playoffs. He can have all the joy he can grab as far as I’m concerned..........Happy 80th birthday, Bobby Knoop..........The Marlins are looking to rebrand. Their franchise still smells fishy to me.........Hey, Chris Russo, you inconvenienced by these MLB playoff start times? Just move your ass to California and get over yourself...........Now we know. This was a $1000 pay day and not a moment of embarrassment..........Welcome to Big League Chew, ladies!...........LA Metro trolling the Brewers, Machado-style............