FanDuel - WFBC

October 12, 2012

SportsFilter: The Friday Huddle:

A place to discuss the sports stories that aren't making news, share links that aren't quite front-page material, and diagram plays on your hand. Remember to count to five Mississippi before commenting in anger.

posted by huddle to general at 06:00 AM - 21 comments

Great LDS round of the playoffs. As grum noted in a thread yesterday, we are getting the maximum 20 games out of this round. And some great moments/storylines. I kind of like the fact that all of the teams going to the LCS will not have their starting rotations lined up optimally for those series; hopefully will make for a couple of 7 gamers.

posted by holden at 09:19 AM on October 12

Tim Lincecum on live TV after taking a cork in the face: "Now I know what chicks feel like."

posted by rcade at 04:46 PM on October 12

FIFA hands Canadian soccer captain Christine Sinclair 4 game suspension, fine

posted by tommytrump at 09:02 PM on October 12

Bryce Harper picked a good night to finally break out of his NLDS slump.

posted by hincandenza at 10:27 PM on October 12

What an unbelievable baseball playoffs this has been. Wow.

posted by insomnyuk at 12:51 AM on October 13

Hard luck loss for the Nats; tough that after so long without a playoff appearance for that region, the O's and Nats both make it... and each gets bounced in the 5th game of the *LDS.

So, yay, we have teams like the Cardinals and Yankees advancing. What joy, nice to see those franchises finally getting a chance to advance in the post-season. :/

posted by hincandenza at 05:03 AM on October 13

Hard to feel sorry for the Nationals not advancing when they make the decision to shut down the ace of their staff. Tough call, but in a tight series, a dominant pitcher is the difference.

posted by dyams at 07:05 AM on October 13

Hard to feel sorry for the Nationals not advancing when they make the decision to shut down the ace of their staff.

Unless they had plans to pull their closer and put in Strasburg in the 9th inning of game 5, I don't see how any second guessing by the Nats haters is anything more than huge counter-factual storytelling.

posted by grum@work at 09:15 AM on October 13

FIFA hands Canadian soccer captain Christine Sinclair 4 game suspension, fine

The best part of this is listening to ALL THREE major Canadian sports networks just thrash FIFA and the Olympic referee while discussing the story. They don't even try to couch it with phrases like "Some people believe" or "Fans feel that".

posted by grum@work at 09:50 AM on October 13

Why do you assume I'm a Nats hater, grum? You're making ridiculous assumptions and are flat-out wrong. I guess if the Tigers decided to shut down Verlander and lost a series, my mentioning that would label me a Tigers hater? The Tigers didn't have to hand their deciding game 5 to their shaky closer because the ace of their staff dominated their opponent. Strasberg is dominating enough to do the same thing.

If you think every single Nationals fan isn't asking themselves if the series goes differently and maybe doesn't even make it to a game 5 with their ace in the rotation, I think you'd be wrong. Maybe Washington assumes they'll be a perenial playoff participant for years to come, but letting these opportunities slip by is often a mistake.

posted by dyams at 10:22 AM on October 13

If you think every single Nationals fan isn't asking themselves if the series goes differently and maybe doesn't even make it to a game 5 with their ace in the rotation, I think you'd be wrong.

Runs scored by Washington:

Game 1: 3. Game 2: 4. Game 3: 0. Game 4: 2.

Any Nationals fan who thinks that a lack of starting pitching depth is why St. Louis won this series is flat-out wrong. They scored 9 runs in their first four games and their bullpen blew a game in the ninth inning of game 5.

Detwiler, the guy that started because Strasburg wasn't there, gave up three hits and an unearned run over six innings. That'd be a quality start for Strasburg too. The Nationals just didn't put runs on the board and Storen imploded. Strasburg doesn't fix either of those problems.

posted by dfleming at 12:20 PM on October 13

With Strasburg pitching, the Nats have Detwiler to use in relief. They lost that series because their bullpen gave a huge lead away in game 5. Not hard to connect those dots.

posted by rcade at 12:41 PM on October 13

The Nats walked 8 hitters last night. It's difficult to win games that way. For all the attention given to the Cardinals comeback, the Nats did their best to help.

posted by justgary at 01:10 PM on October 13

With Strasburg pitching, the Nats have Detwiler to use in relief.

And do they pull him out in favour of Storen in the 9th? Clippard in the 8th? I mean, yes, they could replace Edwin Jackson's 1ER with someone else, but Detwiler is not going to be their closer or setup man. Those guys gave up 5 runs and lost them the game.

posted by dfleming at 04:52 PM on October 13

Maybe those relievers have more gas in the tank during game 5 with Detwiler in the pen the whole series.

You're looking at things too narrowly. Having Strasburg in would've changed more than the last couple innings of game 5. Maybe it would've even changed things for the worse. But to declare his absence irrelevant because their relief imploded is too simplistic.

The Nats were always going to face a mountain of second-guessing over their Strasburg policy if their season ended without a World Series title. I think that criticism's well-deserved. They should have found a way to keep him under the desired inning count without excluding him from the postseason.

posted by rcade at 05:00 PM on October 13

If Strasburg is in the rotation, who sits out?

Detwiler.

Who was the best starter for Washington in this series?

Detwiler.

I fully agree that Strasburg's inning limitation should have been handled differently, but I despise the "what-if" scenarios that are more than an inning pitched or an at-bat, unless they are in the macro sense over an entire season ("What if Player X doesn't get injured in July?").

Maybe those relievers have more gas in the tank during game 5 with Detwiler in the pen the whole series.

Strasburg/Detwiler's usage is going to have absolutely no effect on how Storen gets used, unless you believe there is an alternate reality where Strasburg pitched a complete game in the series. Of course, that would completely ignore the reality that Strasburg has NEVER thrown even 8 innings in any start of his ENTIRE MLB career.

Storen was going to pitch when Storen pitched, and he was probably going to suck in that final appearance.

posted by grum@work at 08:45 PM on October 13

But to declare his absence irrelevant because their relief imploded is too simplistic.

I didn't make it simplistic. I also cited the fact they scored 9 runs in their first four games. Strasburg doesn't put enough zeroes on the board to make up for the fact they just couldn't score any runs.

posted by dfleming at 09:55 PM on October 13

There are a million different scenarios where Strasburg pitching makes a difference including with either Detwiler or Jackson helping out in the pen. If you take one of your best pitchers out for the post-season, it matters. I don't really see how this is a controversial statement. It's true that the Nationals offense didn't show up, but that makes the pitching even more important - not less important.

posted by bperk at 09:47 AM on October 14

There are a million different scenarios where Strasburg pitching makes a difference including with either Detwiler or Jackson helping out in the pen.

If there are a million different scenarios where it works out great for Washington, then there are a million different scenarios where it turns out worse for Washington.

What if after his "rest" in September he starts a game in the playoffs and reinjures his arm (cold weather + lack of action + amped up pressure of playoffs)?

Not all counter-factual histories are going to be positive.

posted by grum@work at 10:27 AM on October 14

It's amazing to me how defensive people get when anyone dare speculate whether or not a team's ace starter may have had an impact on that team's playoff performance. Seems to me when the team's best pitcher is taken out of the equation it will obviously alter how the remainder of a staff is utilized. That could mean three runs scored one game is enough to come away with a win, as well as changing how, or even if, certain pitchers are even used certain games.

It requires some worthless "what if" speculation, but Washington opened themselves up to that when they made the decision to shut Strasburg down.

As for the "rest" issue possibly leading to injury, I was never a proponent of completely ending his season. It seems like they could have had a better plan where he could have continued pitching at various times through the second half of the season in an effort to have him still be able to contribute in the playoffs.

posted by dyams at 11:25 AM on October 14

It seems like they could have had a better plan where he could have continued pitching at various times through the second half of the season in an effort to have him still be able to contribute in the playoffs.

Continuing the absurd what if, consider the possibility that saving Strasburg for the playoffs might've meant they don't make it at all, or ended up in a one-game wild card playoff. Again, you can't focus solely on the best case scenarios for what ifs. Strasburg getting them to the playoffs, in my opinion, is more important than saving him for a potential run.

Also: I dont know why everyone keeps calling him their ace. Gio Gonzalez is the presumptive Cy Young winner this year and had better numbers across the board. He was their #2 starter, with Zimmerman a very close #3. Given his short leash, you're talking about replacing one very good Detwiler start with 6 innings of Strasburg and maybe a relief appearance. Does anyone think Strasburg starts game 5 on short rest? I don't.

It also wouldn't have changed the fact that Davey Johnson brought Storen out in game 3 for a meaningless 9th inning which led to him pitching three times in three nights for an inning, something he hadn't done all year.

posted by dfleming at 12:39 PM on October 14

You're not logged in. Please log in or register.