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TuesdoLinks: Howie Powers the Nats

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Howie Kendrick, a “doubles machine” just bulldozes the Cardinals to the brink.

League Championship Series - St Louis Cardinals v Washington Nationals - Game Three Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

PLAYOFFS

Remember how the Cardinals used to poach ex-Halos and ride them to playoff success? Well, they missed out on Howie Kendrick and it’s costing them dearly.

It’s his third season with the Nationals, and he gave them 121 regular season games in 2019, more than 2017 and 2018 combined. His first half was a stellar .327/.378/.563 with an OPS of .940. And then, in the second half, he got hot. Yeah. Even better. His second half was .373/.423/.587 and an OPS of 1.01. He has carried that into the playoffs, first destroying the last vestiges of a dream among all Dodgers fans, and now rolling right over the Cardinals. Last night he was 3 for 4 with 3 doubles, 3 runs driven in and 2 runs scored. He is now batting .417 in the NLCS.

The Nationals won their 3rd game of the NLCS 8 to 1 and now lead at home 3 games to none. And tonight the Nats send ex-Halo Patrick Corbin to the mound with the chance to gain entry to the World Series. And it would be even funnier should the Cards lose, having been closed out by that other ex-Halo Fernando Rodney.........

Weather may play a role tomorrow night in New York. It might restore all three rotation guns for the Astros to full rest...........

Starting pitching has returned to own the mound innings in these playoffs.....This, in spite of the sudden and surprising reliability of the Nationals bullpen.....But it’s happening because it’s working so well..........

And when the bullpen doesn’t work out in a key playoff game, it’s always the manager who gets roasted..........

As the Nats keep moving forward, they keep steamrolling over the legacy of Bryce Harper..........

This is a fun insider tale that deals with managing that celebration champagne. What happens if the wrong team ends up winning?..........


ANGELS

Tim Brown of Yahoo! re-kindles the fire. Brown is not to be confused with being an Angels fan, and Yahoo! is a major outlet. But he is not an investigative journalist. Brown’s contribution will be as an ongoing wagger of fingers..........

($$) - You don’t have to click the link. It’s just an historical placeholder. The article from the Athletic rehashes all that has been published to this point concerning the Skaggs scandal. But I want to share something not discussed too heavily around here that is in that link: “ ‘We are shocked to hear these reports,’ [Angels spokesperson Marie] Garvey told ESPN. ‘We had no prior knowledge of Tyler or any other member of the Angels organization having abused opioids or any narcotic and continue to work with law enforcement to get answers.’ ” So Tim Mead, who knew enough about Eric Kay having OD’d to visit him in the hospital as he recovered, kept Kay’s long-standing addiction a secret? Remember Carpino’s statement: “The Angels maintain a strict, zero-tolerance policy regarding the illicit use of drugs for both players and staff.” We have a point of inconsistency here between the statements of Carpino, Mead, Garvey and what we know to be factual events...........

Well, with nothing else of note happening these days in happy LA-A Land, how did our guys do in the AFL All-Star game? Not much, actually...........

Take this FWIW, but Joe Maddon was not made aware of the Skaggs Scandal at the time of his interview...........There seems to be some confusion about which horse in the race is in the lead, “Moon” Joe Maddon or John “Ice Cream” Farrell...........


MANAGERIAL MUSICAL CHAIRS

The Cubs are open to poaching Joe Espada away from the Astros............

The Cubs are also joining the Giants in a possible battle for the love of Gabe Kapler. Personally, I am kind of shocked that Kapler is getting wooed. Maybe Front Offices love having a guy rubber stamp questionable bullpen usage?..........

Eduardo Perez is leaving the ESPN analyst studio and answering the call of ex-player agent Brodie Van Wagenen to interview in becoming BVW’s next MLB manager. makes perfect sense..........

The Mets are going off in other surprising directions, too. Mike Bell out of the DBacks Front Office?..........


BASEBALL

Andrew Friedman looks to be sticking with the Dodgers..........But the coaching staff that supports the pitchers? That’s taking the blame..........

Here it is. I knew it was coming. The Yankees are in the playoffs. The Yankees are from an extreme time zone. And Major League Baseball is not doing all it can do to accommodate the legacy of Babe Ruth. Won’t anybody think of the children?? And, no, I am not making that up..........

($$) - The ball is juiced...The ball is not juiced...Hell yeah the ball is juiced. Ok, we admit the ball is acting as if it was juiced but we didn’t juice it...The ball has been unjuiced for the playoffs....No it hasn’t...Yes it has...Hell yes it has...I could track down links to each of those sentences. But that is not the point of this paragraph. the point is that MLB has blown any trust we might have had in their stewardship of the rules and fair play..........

Next season the new MLB rule of requiring a pitcher to face at least 3 batters is going to cost LOOGy’s their jobs..........

Daniel Hudson is a baseball family hero. Just the kind of guy a family-oriented ballclub like Arte likes to showcase should employ. If only he had not had that one bad inning against the Padres while in Tempe..........

One would expect that everybody in Houston, certainly every Houston Astros fan, has chosen to completely forget how they became an MLB power. Annual ownership of the AL West, annual playoff chances, one WS ring already in hand and another one just 7 more wins away, and who gives a shit about the money stolen from fans back in 2013? The only fan base that lays a permanent personal claim to everything in history are Yankee fans. That’s what one would expect, but it is not so. One guy who cannot forget would be the owner before tanking, Drayton McLane. The current owner, Jim Crane, is suing McLane and claiming that McLane overvalued the TV contract. And McLane is countersuing by saying that Crane’s tanking de-valued the TV contract. It’s a huge legal read, and is all about money. We fans are not even an afterthought............

While we are talking about the Astros tanking cycle, look at how their current roster was built. A good core of homegrown enhanced by draft position and pool monies obtained via tanking. And a HUGE roundup of solid talent and successful role players brought in by selling assets. And here in one place is a reference that you can use to chase down all the names of players they traded away and get a measure of their actual value. My fave might be one that has nothing to do with tanking, but everything to do with Houston’s salesmanship. That would be Rule 5 acquisition Josh Fields, traded to the Dodgers in 2016 and struggling to stick in MLB ever since. For Fields, the Astros got none other than Yordan Alvarez, who might just end up with the 2019 AL RoY...........

OK, this is a much better report. When it was announced that the Qualifying Offer this season was going down for the first time, ever, everybody got their panties up in a bunch. My take was that the QO only deals with the op 125 salaries, and only the average at that. Such a thing might not reflect the overall rise or fall in total MLB payroll commitments to players. Maybe there was an evening out of salary as more attention and money is spent on buying out arb years? This report looks at ALL the tiers. And most of those were flat or declining..........

MLB is opening up a retail store. One. In Manhattan. Because it “gives us another unique way to market our players and teams and help continue to grow the sport.” This curious mind will wonder if each of the 30 MLB franchises gets their 3.33% of all shelf space?..........


STUFF

Because radio broadcasters are normal people, too...........This kind of job posting alerts you to the Mets building up their analytics in the Dominican Republic. Is Eppler doing likewise?..........Georgia Native Americans speak up. Why did they wait until all the foam tomahawks were put away for the winter?..........