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The REAL HumpLinks: Nats Roll, Astros Stroll

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Ex-Halo Hudson finishes what ex-Halo Corbin started and the Nats sweep the Cards. The Astros take a lead.

League Championship Series - St Louis Cardinals v Washington Nationals - Game Four
He was right there in your very hands, Billy...
Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

PLAYOFFS

It must be soul-crushing even to the die-hard St. Louis Cardinals fan to show up at their neighborhood Buffalo Wild Wings in order to root for a Cardinals comeback being down 3 games to none, and Cards are losing Game 4 by the score of 7-0 before the first wing basket makes it to the table. Shit. Here has been paid good money for the first round of beers, and the first basket of wings, and nobody wants to hang around one more minute, not even Mr. Die Hard. What to do? Sit there alone and get his money’s worth and watch his team flail the NLCS into history, or walk off and consider the food a sunk cost, turning his attention to the STL Blues (which is suddenly his first love)?

Our mythical Cards fan chooses to stay. 40 buck is 40 bucks and he is going to pretend that it’s all about being “a true fan”. Come the 3rd inning and he is humored with a Yadier Molina solo home run. This is good. It turns out that our hero is wearing a Molina jersey. Then comes the 5th inning. The Cards score 3 runs, the score is now 7-4, and fanboy is chest-thumping with righteous indignation as to how it’s never over and we have a comeback and it’s now game on! All those co-workers who stiffed him are bandwagoning losers. The waitserver, the only person within listening distance, humors him with a smile. Maybe he will finally tip. The 6th inning comes and goes, then the 7th. Cards fan goes quiet once again. He’s hungry, but maybe there is not enough time to down another basket of wings. He could do a beer, though. And he can grab a burger at McDonalds on his drive home. The 8th inning comes and goes. He knows he is dust, and his Cards are dust, but it’s now too late to sneak away out the front door. Now he is stuck to watch the finally 3 outs of futility. Maybe if he doesn’t look and he spends the time catching up with his Insta it will be like it never happens. The 9th inning comes and the 9th inning goes and he is right. The Cards never happened. Nats win Game 4 by that final score of 7-4 and sweep the Cards 4 games to none, and Washington gets it’s first experience of Word Series baseball. And all you need to do is look at the Cardinals batting stats for the LCS to understand how this happened. That Quarterpounder is gonna taste like cardboard tonight.

And while eating that cardboard, Cards fan can listen to post-game news on his radio and learn that Howie Kendrick was named NLCS MVP.............

In the first game, the Yankees got Gerrit Coled 2-1 and the Astros now have the ALCS lead 2 games to 1. It helps that they got access to Luis Severino’s slider when it was failing early. That’s baseball.....We might have a Game 4 today, weather permitting, but there is just enough doubt to prevent either team from naming their next starter. So let’s assume they go through with their plans to both bullpen the game.

Deadspin celebrates a very fine Houston hit and run. But watch the “full-field angle” and pay attention to Yankee catcher Gary Sanchez and his FML body language............

When you read this, recall that Mike Trout has enjoyed a grand total of three post-season games. The Houston Astros are wasting Mike Trout..........

We have more games, so we have more data. And the more data we get, the more it can be proved that the post-season baseballs are un-juiced. “...there’s a one in a million chance the balls are the same.”..........And at least one MLB General Manager is not liking the formal Front Office party line...........


ANGELS - THE HAPPY STUFF

Let’s relish the Brandon Marsh love after Marsh clocks a pair of home runs............Taylor Blake Ward does a side-by-side to note some swing mechanic adjustments Marsh has made since last June..........

Jahmai Jones with some AFL power.............

ANGELS - THE UNHAPPY STUFF

The rest of the news world is slowly turning their attention our way. Craig Calcaterra wants the national question to be: “how should MLB punish the Angels for their violation of the JDA and ensure that it doesn’t happen again?”............He is ticked off because the word is out that MLB and MLBPA are looking at adding direct opioids testing starting in 2020..........Maybe “ticked off” is not the correct term. He is headhunting.............

We are hearing player names in regards to DEA interviews. Matt Harvey, Andrew Heaney, Trevor Cahill, and Noe Ramirez. Two other remain unnamed. And there is a passage at the very end of the link that shows how much crafty maneuvering is going on: “The source also said Angels officials and attorneys are not sharing information with Manfred’s office because they are concerned that such communications could be subpoenaed by the government.”.........

And Calcaterra shows back up to showcase his pissiness that players are being interviewed...........

MLB could fine the Angels $2 million for failing to report. This seems like a mere administrative down payment..........

We do have some legal expertise here on HH and those voices have been heard from since the beginning of this weekends craptastrophe. But allow me to enter yet another legal voice. Sheryl Ring is a legal analyst who used to write for FanGraphs, and now does so for the mothership. I have linked to her studies numerous times before, but now we are in her legal crosshairs. It would be linkage malpractice to avoid her take. And no offense to our local scholars, but Ring opens some doors for me. There is an excellent educational run-up to two paragraphs, which are all the meatier compared to what we have been speculating so far. To cut to the chase: “That said, here’s what we do know. As a matter of law, the team’s statement is probably false.”............Tim Brown is still banging the drum at Yahoo! The days will be more trying but we must get answers surrounding Tyler Skaggs’ death. My guess is that Brown has the time because other Yahoo! writers got the LCS gigs. But if that’s true, my theory is that Brown is merely the advanced guard of what will happen more and more once we get to November...........($$) - And over at TheAthletic, the search is on for legal culpability..........


MANAGERIAL MUSICAL CHAIRS

Hey, this is helpful. MLB Trade Rumors has posted an MLB Manager Tracker. Is my work here now done?...........


BASEBALL

When you know that something of social import has been left in the hands of a prior generation too long: “Today, more than ever, umpires have been kinda conformed into one strike zone which is a little unfortunate.” - John Smoltz, a guy who made a fortune by getting batters out via exploiting umpires who failed to conform to the written rules of the game. The umpires one and only job, of course, is to make sure that a fair contest is conducted by forcing all parties to conform to the written rules of the game............

Yankee fans have this thing - and they are not the only ones - where the belief is that paying the price of admission entitles the bearer of the ticket to be as verbally reprehensible as possible. A lot of sports fans feel that this is not just a privilege, but a universal right. And it is nowhere near being anything new. The Romans probably behaved this same way with the gladiators. I don’t agree with it, I raised my sons to be better than that, but there is nothing to be done about it. Just ask stadium security: From Josh Reddick: “ ‘The most frustrating part is there’s no action taken. You look at the security guards — they’re just watching, not saying a thing to anybody. Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if they were the ones helping to say that. It’s just a matter of circumstance to where they just let it ride.’ ”..........

Interesting point. I noted before that putting Jessica Mendoza in the ESPN Sunday Night Baseball booth was kinda troubling since she is also an employee of the Mets. In this article that talks about the potential overhaul of the broadcast team, it is mentioned that the Dodgers called bullshit on that and would not grant Mendoza the typical media access during the playoffs. (The link is actually to a link to the article, but the tweet calls out the specific issue I am noting.)...........

Gerrit Cole: “My favorite players were Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera...”..........


STUFF

You will notice that nobody from security wants to run and and tackle THIS trespasser!...........I hate playoff team memes............But I love it when a city goes bonkers over the baseball team advancing through the playoffs..........Theo Epstein, ummm, “pissed off”?.............