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WeekEnd HaloLinks: Welcome to the NLDS eSeries

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Sloppy D and 1000 players kick off the NL playoffs

MLB: NLDS-Washington Nationals at Los Angeles Dodgers Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

PLAYOFFS

Well, that could have been a LOT more fun with a few tweaks, such as NOT using 4 hours to burn through 39 players in the early game, and such as NOT seeing the Dodgers gifted 7 walks, and such as NOT suffering 5 (later reduced to 4) infield errors in the two combined games, and such as NOT watching Fernando Rodney. Period.

Quite topically, we saw 5 home runs on the night with all of those coming in the late innings of both games. In the early game they meant everything. In the late game they were meaningless, little more than 2019 MLB juiceball.

Wait. That’s not quite right. That first home run (truly a juiceball) in the late game was hit by Gavin Lux of the Dodgers. Lux, still only 21-years old, is now the youngest Dodger in history to hit a post-season home run. It came in his first post-season At Bat. And it makes this article about how the Dodgers are once again fueled by youth simply prophetic. The second home run, by Joc Pederson, was most definitely NOT a juiceball. That sucker would have reached orbit had it not collided first with the foul pole screen.

Both games were exciting in their own way. The first was a scoring race at the end and the second was (kind of) a pitching duel at the first.

(I say “kind of” because it was the bases on balls and a very costly error by Howie Kendrick - he committed 2! - that fueled the early game. But Howie was not the only guy who had a bad night. Ronald Acuna, Jr. pulled a regrettable bonehead, showboating a 324 foot double into a single....That move doesn’t sit well with his own teammates.....But that didn’t stop Acuna from showboating again, this time when he DID hit a home run.....Carlos Martinez, the Cards’ pitching victim of that Acuna home run, didn’t like the pimping either.....Post-game Acuna was all about talking up maximum effort, so somebody said sumpin’. to him...As a reminder, it was Acuna’s team that lost the game and Martinez’ team that won, with Martiniez himself receiving the post-season W).

The first game was the game where only 4 combined runs were scored through the first seven innings, and then 9 combined runs were scored in the final two innings.

The late game saw only 2 combined runs scored through 6 12 innings, and neither run required any form of base hit (there was a base hit in the mix of the second run, but it meant nothing to how the run scored). And then the Dodgers raced away with things, with a nice kick start by Rodney.

But we wake up today with the Cardinals taking the first game in Atlanta, 7 to 6. And the Dodgers win the California opener 6 to 0............

C.C. Sabathia will not be on the ALDS roster tonight..........

For the Twins’ sake, let’s hope they win at least tonight’s game..........

Trent Grisham’s error the worst muff in payoff history, based on WPA? Hell to the no. That math must fail to consider that even without that muff, Josh Hader, the Brewers’ best pitching option at that time, cannot throw his best pitch and there is still a go-ahead runner in scoring position with another out to deal with. And it was still only the 8th inning, meaning that Craig Counsell still had to figure out how to survive any downgrade from Hader if the game progressed in a tie state. Nope. All Grisham’s error did was put a nice clean end to things right away..........

When betting on playoff baseball, the 4 most important rules are (1) don’t, (2) don’t, (3) don’t and (4) don’t. After those, the next 4 most important things are listed here............

Fair point about empty seats at a 5PM start on a work night near downtown LA.............

Without a doubt my favorite playoff moment in almost 2 decades..........


ANGELS

($$) - I gotta give Albert credit. He did stay healthy this year................

We may be all happy for Jo Adell to be burning it up in the AFL. We may be overlooking Brandon Marsh and Jahmai Jones quite a frickin’ bit..........

Mike Trout won the Hank Aaron Award back in 2014. His only win. Voting is now open..........

Mike Trout, 2019 Baseball Digest Player of the Year. That’s not just for the American League, folks, that’s for the entirety of MLB...........

Bill James (of all people) trying to make a point about a statistically inconsequential difference....And then he gets schooled by this reply.............

Alfredo Griffin is being honored back in the Dominican Republic..........

A good problem to have. What to do now with Jose Rojas? (No, we won’t get to be trading him for Noah Syndergaard...) And to think that we did not call Rojas up in September to see him season a little bit at 3B, because we wanted to have Tommy LaStella go 1 for 9 against Houston in 2 meaningless games the final weekend of the season.........


MANAGERIAL MUSICAL CHAIRS

Mickey Callaway got fired. Not a huge shock there. At least it should not be a shock to anybody outside of the Callaway family..............This brings back into the pile of managerial candidates one Carlos Beltran...........And Joe Girardi is listed high..........

The Phillies managerial job might open up next. If it does, that will bring to 8 the total of MLB managerial openings (we already nave needs with the Cubs, Angels, Giants, Padres, Pirates and Royals). There are only 30 teams total, only 20 teams not making the playoffs, and only 14 of those were really even trying. So 6 of the 14 (the Royals were not trying) are already blowing up their coaching staff, and that number might hit 50% mark. Yikes...........

Skipper Brad to the Padres is not a joke. It’s a real possibility..........

In Pittsburgh, after Clint Hurdle was let go, they followed the LAA example and let go of their pitching and bench coaches...........

We need a tracker for all of this. Some of what I am finding is not good enough..........And some is only so-so..........

($$) - My opinion is that the theory of Joe Maddon being the number one candidate for every opening would be true if this were still 2014..........


BASEBALL

The Indians are positioning themselves to maximize their current ownership of Corey Kluber..........

I am reading FanGraphs to learn how these 4 NLDS teams were built - here are the Dodgers.....here are the Braves.....here are the Nationals.....and here are the Cardinals - and I see one common thread. Not one of them built a significant portion of their 25-man by picking off the bone pile..........

Watch this sequence. It speaks to something I have been harping on for years now. The Rays went into Oakland to face down the A’s in a winner-take-all contest where the A’s were sending Sean Manaea to the mound. Now Manaea was out for most of the year due to injury but after coming back he had been solid. 1.21 ERA and 358 ERA+ over 6 games. The Rays were not going to have a cake walk. Instead, they had scouts and they had a plan. A very good plan that they executed with discipline. Manaea would last only 2 full innings and would exit down 4-0 in the 3rd......On to the next data point. The last time that Manaea faced the Angels was last year, back on June 16th. Manaea would go 6 innings and give up just 4 hits and a walk. He would get credit for the Win after getting damaged only by the first three batters he faced in the 5th (single-single-home run). The Angels did not take a similar approach as the Rays. Look at Manaea’s pitch chart for that LAA game. Manaea was feasting on the inside of the plate. The Rays take time to know and do what the Angels fail to even learn..........More frustrating, TheRinger tried to pull apart the Tampa Bay/Oakland result looking only at the data results, and misses entirely the why that MLB dudes demonstrated so clearly...........

The Orioles sucked ass this season, and the organization decided to send hand-written notes of apology to randomly selected season-ticket holders. Did the owner write these letters? Nope. Did the GM who orchestrated the shit show pen the letters. Nope. Did anybody in the Front Office who did the analytics to create and manage the roster, or did the marketing to con the fans out of their money in order to watch the wreck ink any letters? Nope. They made the players write the letters. Mine would have been: “Hi. I realize that there is no way I should have ended up on a Major League Roster as I am simply not that good yet, and it showed all year. I’m sorry that happened, and I am sorry that the boss took your money and forced you to watch that happen. But it’s not like I am going to be around here for another season anyway, so I sure hope that you stick around and take your chances on guys who will obviously be at least as good as I wished I actually were. And maybe you get a cool bobblehead out of it. Yours truly, Scrub”.........

SportsIllustrated is finally dying...........


STUFF

When the job you sought involves trying to interview a bunch of uncontrollably happy jocks with unlimited cans of beer to share..........Andruw Jones AMA: “Favourite player not on the Braves?”...”Mike Trout”..........Yankees having fun with official MLB logo..........Chipper Jones throws out the first pitch...Chipper Jones snags the foul ball............

Jobs are everywhere! We already shared LAA franchise posts. None of those are analytical in nature.....MLB has an internship opening in their diversity program.....The DBacks needs an analyst.....The Tigers need scientists.....And the Cardinals need scientists. I wish these jobs would post salary info.........