October 16, 2013

SportsFilter: The Wednesday 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 - 12 comments

Tigers starters have 0.86 ERA & are averaging 1.67 K's per inning, Red Sox have .133 BA in 1st 3 games.

How One Little Call Helped the Red Sox Beat the Tigers

Overmatched Miguel Cabrera

posted by justgary at 09:14 AM on October 16

Grantland has a regular feature called "#HotSportsTakes" wherein the author crafts an over-the-top example of a terrible, old-school sports columnist's take on recent news. Today's article praising the Cardinals at the expense of the Dodgers has flown over the heads of many in a particular fly-over state.

posted by yerfatma at 03:27 PM on October 16

Oh my god, that column is gold. It's like some sportswriter version of Poe's Law, because I swear I've read that kind of drivel from the pen of people like Rick Reilly for years.

posted by hincandenza at 07:35 PM on October 16

Y'know, Johnny Gomes is right; the narrative of the Boston/Detroit series seems to be various parts

  • The Tiger's staff is amazing, right? Sooo good
  • The Tigers bats are choking
  • Given the choking, there must be some bad calls going on, or something, to explain why the Tigers aren't running away with this series
Which is... nonsense. Yes, the Boston bats have been quiet, but so have Detroit's- because the pitching has been phenomenal on both sides of the field so far. So why aren't we talking about how good the Boston staff has been, since they've allowed one fewer run, and have won 2 of 3 despite getting abysmal run support from the bats. The "great pitching/lousy hitting" goes both ways, but you'd think from the media that the Tigers losing 2 of the first 3 games despite great pitching is some utter travesty of baseball justice.

These are two of the best teams in the AL, and just contenders for the AL Pennant. Boston and Detroit are each excellent teams on both sides of the ball, with Boston scoring about .36 runs/game more while allowing about .18 more runs as a pitching staff. Boston clearly has the better bullpen, while Detroit when healthy has a little more pop in the bat.

In other words, this series is and should be close, and something of a crap shoot as to who ends up winning- regardless of who misses out on the World Series, it won't be because they weren't good enough, but because only one team can come out of this cauldron of an ALCS.

The Red Sox have outscored the Tigers all of 7 runs to 6 in this series, a series that's tight enough we could easily have seen either team be up 3-0 at this point, or any other variation of outcomes, with just a couple of tiny differences in swing timing or pitch location. The Sox were no-hit in 8.1 innings in game 1, and still almost pulled off a win, because their pitching was stellar. They did win game 3 in a mirror of the game 1 game, and game 2 hinged on the poor bullpen and one mighty swing from Ortiz.

posted by hincandenza at 07:54 PM on October 16

Stephen Drew was a good two feet from the bag when they called the runner out at second. Wow.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 09:11 PM on October 16

Yeah, that wasn't so much a Neighborhood Call as it was a Zip Code one.

posted by yerfatma at 09:46 AM on October 17

Oh my god, that column is gold. It's like some sportswriter version of Poe's Law, because I swear I've read that kind of drivel from the pen of people like Rick Reilly for years.

And today delivers. I think that's an even better example of Poe's Law because I refused to believe someone could think those things.

posted by yerfatma at 10:07 AM on October 17

So why aren't we talking about how good the Boston staff has been

The boston staff is strong, but I have no problem with the attention detroit's staff is getting. They're simply better, and more dominant. Period. And this is before last night's debacle.

I have no doubt the Red Sox have a better team than the Tigers (though not by much). But no one has the staff Detroit has. In a short series, when the starting pitchers can go all out, pitch longer, not worry about lasting the entire season, their starting pitching is the great equalizer. And a tough matchup for any team, even slightly 'better' teams.

posted by justgary at 01:34 PM on October 17

Do you think they have the better team if Cabrera is fully healthy?

I do think the Sox have a big edge towards the bottom of the lineup. Between the bottom three hitters and the bench players the Sox have players who could potentially come up big with a pinch hit home run or steal a base when needed. The Tigers, on the other hand, get to choose between which player they will put in to strike out.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 06:31 PM on October 17

I actually meant to say 'with Cabrera not fully healthy'. So yeah, I do think that makes a difference. I think these teams are very close. I think especially the depth of the Red Sox helps over a long season. But in the post season it's hard to bet against Detroit's starting pitching.

posted by justgary at 07:36 PM on October 17

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