The MR. OCTOBERS of Game 2 of the NLCS

Last night’s MR. OCTOBERS were Noah Syndergaard and Daniel Murphy. Five points to each of them!

Standings so far (PP= Position Player, P= Pitcher, * means eliminated from playoffs):

PP Daniel Murphy 11

P Jeurys Familia 9

P Noah Syndergaard 8

PP Jorge Soler 6

P Marcus Stroman 6

PP Jose Bautista 6

PP Alex Rios 6

P Johnny Cueto 6

P Edinson Volquez 5

PP Alcides Escobar 5

PP Mike Moustakas 5

P Kelvin Herrera 5

P Matt Harvey 5

PP Travis d’Arnaud 5

P Dallas Keuchel 4*

P Jake Diekman 3*

PP Rougned Odor 3*

P Collin McHugh 3*

PP Kendrys Morales 3

P Shawn Tolleson 3*

PP Delino DeShields 3*

PP Salvador Perez 3

P Ryan Madson 3

P John Lackey 3*

PP Stephen Piscotty 3*

P Jacob deGrom 3

PP David Wright 3

P Travis Wood 3

PP Adrian Gonzalez 3*

PP Chris Carter 3*

P Marco Estrada 3

PP Troy Tulowitzki 3

P Wade Davis 3

PP Carlos Correa 3*

P Roberto Osuna 3

PP Kevin Pillar 3

P Pedro Strop 3

PP Yoenis Cespedes 3

P Justin Grimm 3

PP Javier Baez 3

P Clayton Kershaw 3*

PP Justin Turner 3*

PP Colby Rasmus 1*

PP Kyle Schwarber 1

P Jake Arrieta 1

The MR. OCTOBERS of ALCS Games 1 and 2 and NLCS Game 1

In the LCS round, every Mr. October gets five points.

So, anyway….

ALCS Game 1: Edinson Volquez and Alcides Escobar

ALCS Game 2: Mike Moustakas and Kelvin Herrera

NLCS Game 1: Matt Harvey and Travis d’Arnaud

Standings so far (PP= Position Player, P= Pitcher, * means eliminated from playoffs):

P Jeurys Familia 9

PP Jorge Soler 6

P Marcus Stroman 6

PP Jose Bautista 6

PP Alex Rios 6

P Johnny Cueto 6

PP Daniel Murphy 6

P Edinson Volquez 5

PP Alcides Escobar 5

PP Mike Moustakas 5

P Kelvin Herrera 5

P Matt Harvey 5

PP Travis d’Arnaud 5

P Dallas Keuchel 4*

P Jake Diekman 3*

PP Rougned Odor 3*

P Collin McHugh 3*

PP Kendrys Morales 3

P Shawn Tolleson 3*

PP Delino DeShields 3*

PP Salvador Perez 3

P Ryan Madson 3

P John Lackey 3*

PP Stephen Piscotty 3*

P Jacob deGrom 3

PP David Wright 3

P Travis Wood 3

P Noah Syndergaard 3

PP Adrian Gonzalez 3*

PP Chris Carter 3*

P Marco Estrada 3

PP Troy Tulowitzki 3

P Wade Davis 3

PP Carlos Correa 3*

P Roberto Osuna 3

PP Kevin Pillar 3

P Pedro Strop 3

PP Yoenis Cespedes 3

P Justin Grimm 3

PP Javier Baez 3

P Clayton Kershaw 3*

PP Justin Turner 3*

PP Colby Rasmus 1*

PP Kyle Schwarber 1

P Jake Arrieta 1

 

Mr. Octobers of Last Night (October 16, 2014)

The Mr. Octobers of last night are Madison Bumgarner and walk-off HR hero Travis Ishikawa.

Standings (PP= Position Player, P= Pitcher, * means eliminated from playoffs):

PP Alex Gordon 13

P Madison Bumgarner 11

PP Travis Ishikawa 10

PP Mike Moustakas 8

P Andrew Miller 8*

P Yusmeiro Petit 8

PP Nelson Cruz 6*

PP Matt Carpenter 6*

P Wade Davis 5

PP Pablo Sandoval 5

PP Kolten Wong 5*

P Pat Neshek 5*

P Jeremy Affeldt 5

P Greg Holland 5

PP Lorenzo Cain 5

P Kelvin Herrera 5

PP Buster Posey 5

P Kevin Gausman 3*

PP Delmon Young 3*

PP Joe Panik 3

P Jake Peavy 3

P Yordano Ventura 3

PP Eric Hosmer 3

P Jered Weaver 3*

PP Brandon Belt 3

P Zack Greinke 3*

PP Matt Kemp 3*

P Bud Norris 3*

P James Shields 3

P Doug Fister 3*

PP Wilson Ramos 3*

P John Lackey 3*

PP Matt Adams 3*

P Trevor Rosenthal 3*

PP Bryce Harper 3*

P Ryan Vogelsong 3

PP Brandon Crawford 1

PP Brandon Moss 1*

P Brandon Finnegan 1

Last Night’s Mister Octobers (October 15, 2014)

Yesterday’s Mr. Octobers:

Orioles/Royals: Kelvin Herrera (the whole bullpen for the Royals was fantastic, but Herrera went longest) and Alex Gordon (simply for that amazing catch, if anything. I mean, jeez, I thought he’d get killed doing that.)

Cardinals/Giants: Yusmeiro Petit and Buster Posey.

 

Standings (PP= Position Player, P= Pitcher, * means eliminated from playoffs):

PP Alex Gordon 13

PP Mike Moustakas 8

P Andrew Miller 8*

P Yusmeiro Petit 8

PP Nelson Cruz 6*

PP Matt Carpenter 6

P Madison Bumgarner 6

P Wade Davis 5

PP Pablo Sandoval 5

PP Kolten Wong 5

P Pat Neshek 5

P Jeremy Affeldt 5

PP Travis Ishikawa 5

P Greg Holland 5

PP Lorenzo Cain 5

P Kelvin Herrera 5

PP Buster Posey

P Kevin Gausman 3*

PP Delmon Young 3*

PP Joe Panik 3

P Jake Peavy 3

P Yordano Ventura 3

PP Eric Hosmer 3

P Jered Weaver 3*

PP Brandon Belt 3

P Zack Greinke 3*

PP Matt Kemp 3*

P Bud Norris 3*

P James Shields 3

P Doug Fister 3*

PP Wilson Ramos 3*

P John Lackey 3

PP Matt Adams 3

P Trevor Rosenthal 3

PP Bryce Harper 3*

P Ryan Vogelsong 3

PP Brandon Crawford 1

PP Brandon Moss 1*

P Brandon Finnegan 1

 

Last Night’s Mister Octobers (October 14, 2014)

Mr. Octobers of yesterday are…

 

Cardinals/Giants: Jeremy Affeldt (by virtue of highest WPA in yesterday’s game) and Travis Ishikawa (for his early 3-RBI hit)

Orioles/Royals: Greg Holland (for slamming the door) and Lorenzo Cain (for continuing to be the most exciting man on the field)

Standings (PP= Position Player, P= Pitcher, * means eliminated from playoffs):

PP Alex Gordon 8

PP Mike Moustakas 8

P Andrew Miller 8

PP Nelson Cruz 6

PP Matt Carpenter 6

P Madison Bumgarner 6

P Wade Davis 5

PP Pablo Sandoval 5

PP Kolten Wong 5

P Pat Neshek 5

P Jeremy Affeldt 5

PP Travis Ishikawa 5

P Greg Holland 5

PP Lorenzo Cain 5

P Kevin Gausman 3

PP Delmon Young 3

PP Joe Panik 3

P Jake Peavy 3

P Yordano Ventura 3

PP Eric Hosmer 3

P Jered Weaver 3*

P Yusmeiro Petit 3

PP Brandon Belt 3

P Zack Greinke 3*

PP Matt Kemp 3*

P Bud Norris 3

P James Shields 3

P Doug Fister 3*

PP Wilson Ramos 3*

P John Lackey 3

PP Matt Adams 3

P Trevor Rosenthal 3

PP Bryce Harper 3*

P Ryan Vogelsong 3

PP Brandon Crawford 1

PP Brandon Moss 1*

P Brandon Finnegan 1

Mr. Octobers of Yesterday (October 11, 2013)

It’s very easy to pick who the Mr. Octobers of yesterday were: Zack Greinke and Carlos Beltran.

Greinke pitched great in a loss, going 8 innings of 4-hit ball and striking out 10.

Beltran, meanwhile, continued to be perhaps the greatest postseason performer of our era, which is especially impressive when you consider he has never even been to a World Series. His walk-off hit, of course, will be what first comes to mind, but that forgets the great throw he made to get the would-be go-ahead run at home in the 10th inning.

Standings (PP= Position Play, P= Pitcher):

PP Carlos Beltran– 11

P Justin Verlander– 9

P Adam Wainwright– 9

P Clayton Kershaw– 6

P Max Scherzer– 6

P Koji Uehara– 6

PP Shane Victorino– 6

PP David Freese – 6

PP Miguel Cabrera– 6

P Zack Greinke- 5

PP David Ortiz– 3

P Sonny Gray-3

PP Adrian Gonzalez– 3

P Gerrit Cole– 3

PP Pedro Alvarez– 3

P Jon Lester– 3

P Mike Minor– 3

PP Hanley Ramirez– 3

PP Yoenis Cespedes– 3

P Jason Grilli– 3

PP Carl Crawford– 3

P Chris Capuano– 3

PP Seth Smith– 3

P Dan Otero– 3

P Michael Wacha– 3

PP Matt Holliday-3

PP Jose Lobaton-3

P Jake McGee-3

PP Juan Uribe-3

PP Jhonny Peralta – 3

PP (Position Player) Russell Martin– 1

P (Pitcher) Francisco Liriano– 1

PP Desmond Jennings– 1

P Alex Cobb– 1

Preview/Predictions for the 2013 NLCS

It could be a classic series in the making in the National League Championship Series. After all, we are seeing two pitching-rich members of the “Original 16” facing off, with exciting hitters old and new dotting their lineups as well. Who holds the edge? Well… I don’t know. As I’ve said before and will say again, it’s really difficult to predict a series, where one funny hop or blown call can change everything. So, let’s go aspect by aspect.

First, starting pitching. In this aspect, the Dodgers have an edge. Not too big of an edge, but an edge nontheless. First off, the fact that they were able to finish off the Braves in four games means that they can set up their rotation roughly how they want, with the exception that they will have to swap Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw in the rotation, which, while not what they would have preferred, is hardly a death-blow. By comparison, the Cardinals will be unable to call upon their ace, Adam Wainwright, until Game 3, although they will be able to have young phenom Michael Wacha go against Kershaw. This leads to another advantage that the Dodgers’ rotation has over the Cardinals: depth. Lance Lynn and Joe Kelly are certainly capable pitchers who could defeat the Dodgers, but they aren’t quite at the one-two punch level of Hyun-Jin Ryu (who would be a Rookie of the Year candidate most seasons) or Ricky Nolasco.

Now, lineup. This goes in St. Louis’ favor. They have a deeper bench, more depth, and have Carlos Beltran, who, as has been noted before and will be noted again, is the greatest postseason hitter of our era, if not any era. The redbirds scored 77 more runs this season than any other NL team, and there’s really only one hitter of their eight position players (Pete Kozma) that I wouldn’t fear due to either numbers or reputation.

So, what about bullpen? I give this one to the Dodgers, slightly. Kenley Jansen is an awesome reliever, especially when you consider he once was a catcher. And they also have Brian Wilson, who seems to be back to normal (or whatever he calls normal), as well as other good relievers like J.P. Howell. While the Cardinals certainly aren’t hurting in the bullpen, with Trevor Rosenthal at the helm most notably, but I feel like the Dodgers have a slight advantage here- I’m not entirely sure why, I just feel that way.

However, there are other factors to keep in mind: the Cardinals have home field and more experience, for example, and, well, Don Mattingley still hasn’t won a World Series, despite playing for and then coaching with the Yankees, so you have to wonder if there is some sort of hex upon him.

I don’t believe in hexes, though. Well, not for the purposes of this article at least, as I predict the Dodgers will win in 7.

The 3-in-1 hit Was Fine

So, like a demolition crew, the Giants won 9-0 last night in a eventually rain-soaked Game 7. The game’s signature play, however, was Hunter Pence’s double during the third inning. You can see a GIF of the play over at Deadspin, but in essence, as the bat broke into two the barrel hit the ball not once, not twice, but thrice. This, of course, caused some weird spin to come onto the ball, badly confusing Cardinals’ rookie SS Pete Kozma, who made a bad first move that allowed what could have been a double play to instead be a double that burst the game open.

Some online have said that there is a rule that anybody who hits the ball twice or more with the bat is out and the ball is dead. See rule 6.05 H:

(The batter is out if…) After hitting or bunting a fair ball, his bat hits the ball a second time in fair
territory. The ball is dead and no runners may advance.

 

Looking at this, you would think this would mean that Pence should have been out. But, well, that’s only if you don’t read a comment below that:

Rule 6.05(h) Comment: If a bat breaks and part of it is in fair territory and is hit by a batted
ball or part of it hits a runner or fielder, play shall continue and no interference called.

 

Pence’s bat broke, and this is part of the reason why it hit the ball several times, as it trampolined back into the ball. Therefore, the play is valid.

Now, of course, there would have been no way for the umpire to have seen the bat hit several times anyway, as the umpire didn’t have the super-slow-motion replay that FOX’s broadcast had. And, besides, this type of unintentional multi-bat-hitting isn’t what the rule is there for. Instead, it is there to stop, say, a guy bunting a ball in the air and then playing fungo with it.

And now you know.

Humor: The Laws of Game 7s

Tonight is one of the greatest events in any sport: a Game 7. While I messed up and assumed that Adam Wainwright was starting tonight, it does not change the fact that it’s a Game 7. Win or lose, do-or-die, victory means the World Series, defeat means an early tee-time or a day out hunting something other than hanging curveballs.

So, with all of that in mind, it’s time to go over the LAWS OF GAME 7.
(Note: This is humor, and not all of them are meant to be serious.)

Rule One: All Hands on Deck

This is a rule for the managers. During Game 7, all hands are on deck. And I do mean all. Everyone needs to be ready to pitch: starters, relievers, outfielders who were stud pitchers back in High School… remember, there is no tomorrow if you lose. If you have to teach your backup catcher a knuckleball on short notice in the 24th inning, you do it.

Rule Two: Nothing else is on television during a Game 7.

There’s a debate on tonight. The Bears and Lions are playing tonight. Neither will be seen on my television, unless there is a rain delay. Apologies to the President of the United States and the esteemed ex-governor of Massachusetts.

By the way, can you imagine if tonight was an ALCS game between the White Sox and whatever Mitt Romney’s favorite team is (I’m presuming either the Tigers or Red Sox)?

Presumably it would mean stuff like this:

“Mister President, I have a question on China, and, by the way, it’s tied at two in the fifth…”

Rule Three: Everything that has ever happened in a Game 7 is relevant.

Oh, sure, it may seem like past Game 7s are unimportant to this current situation, but they are not. Carlos Beltran, for example, struck out to end Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS, when he was with the Mets. Matt Holliday may end up missing tonight’s game with an injury- he also missed Game 7 of last year’s World Series with an injury. Allen Craig hit a home run in last year’s World Series Game 7. The Giants have never won a best-of-7-series Game 7, falling in seven games to the Angels in 2002’s World Series, the Cardinals in the 1987 NLCS, the Yankees in 1962 and the Senators in 1924! The ghosts of Octobers past will be remembered!

Rule Four: Rain doesn’t matter.

It could rain tonight. But, guess what, the World Series is starting Wednesday, and the Tigers need to know where to fly to. Therefore, as Jayson Stark says:

Rule Five: There are no rules.

And anything can happen. That’s the beauty of Game 7.

Which team could “take” the Tigers? It could depend on how the LCS ends.

Well, thanks to Barry Zito’s vintage performance last night, the Giants have forced the Cardinals back to San Francisco, where St. Louis and Chris Carpenter will have to beat Ryan Vogelsong in Game 6, or, failing that, will have to hope that they and Adam Wainwright can outdo Matt Cain in a climactic Game 7. In other words, it’s a whole new series that could go either way.

Meanwhile, in Michigan, the Tigers, having already swept away the complacent Yankees, are going to stay sharp by scrimmaging their Instructional League team. The Instructional Leagues are semi-formal affairs to get low-level minor leaguers- generally those who played in the short-season leagues- some more experience. It’s a win-win: the Tigers will be able to remain sharp, and the minor leaguers will be able to test themselves against, well, some of the best players on the planet.

So, assuming nobody gets hurt, the Tigers will still be relatively fresh against whoever the National League sends out against them. So, who would have a better shot against Detroit?

I’m not sure, but I feel like it would be the Cardinals. Well, unless if they have to win in seven games, in which case I’d probably go with the Giants. Well, maybe.

Here’s what I mean:
Game 1 of the World Series will be Wednesday, weather permitting. The Tigers will be starting Justin Verlander, probably followed by Scherzer, Fister and then Anibal Sanchez. A formidable group for any team.

If the Cardinals win Game 6 on Sunday, their rotation would likely have Adam Wainwright leading off, followed by Kyle Lohse (or maybe Lance Lynn)  on Thursday and then Chris Carpenter for Game 3 on Saturday. Given the fact the Cardinals have a better bullpen than the Tigers seem to have (so, is Coke officially the closer now?), this would give them a decided series advantage if the Tigers’ starters were to stumble.  But if they have to go 7, they will be stuck with sending Lohse/Lynn in the first two games with their two aces having to be held back for games 3 and 4. Sure, they will still have the bullpen and their playoff-veteran defending-championship lineup, but going against Verlander and Scherzer with your third and fourth starters seems like a recipe for going down 0-2.

By contrast, the Giants, although they will, by necessity, be unable to use Cain and Vogelsong in games 1 and 2 if they advance, will still have some good pitchers who can fill the shoes. Barry Zito, for example, still can “have it” like he did last night, and he is a veteran. Few would argue about him starting a Game 1. Madison Bumgarner and Tim Lincecum both are covered with question marks, but I’d probably rather pick between those two guys than possibly having to send out Lance Lynn against Miguel Cabrera and friends, especially after the number that the Giants offense did against him last night (with significant aid of an errant throw off second base by Lynn).

Finally, although it was admittedly an extremely small sample size, various Giants were able to get to Justin Verlander during this year’s All-Star Game. Again, extremely small sample size (and Verlander admitted later he wasn’t pitching it like he would a regular season or playoff game), but you do have to wonder if that might give the Giants something of a psychological edge.

Or maybe Verlander and the other Tigers pitchers will just embarrass whatever team comes against them, just as they did their 1966 Orioles vs. 1966 Dodgers impression on the Yankees. Actually, that might be the most likely outcome, isn’t it?