Thursday, October 29, 2009

Game 1 at Yankee Stadium: Complete Games

Complete games against Yankees in Game 1 of the World Series at Yankee Stadium
1949 (Lost) Don Newcombe (Rookie of the Year - 1949): Brooklyn Dodgers (Lost Series 4-1)
1951 (Won) Dave Koslo: NY Giants (Lost 4-2)
1963 (Won) Sandy Koufax (Cy Young & MVP - 1963): Los Angeles Dodgers (Won 4-0)
2009 (Won) Cliff Lee: Philadelphia Phillies?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Yankees: Facing the Champs

Congratulations to the Yankees. I think (hope) that it will be a great series and go 7. They've fared pretty well over the years facing the defending champs, although most of those times they were simply getting revenge for getting beaten the year before:

World Series - Yankees faced the Defending Champs
1922: NY Giants (Lost 4-0-1) rematch
1923: NY Giants (Won 4-2) rematch
1943: St. Louis Cardinals (Won 4-1) rematch
1956: Brooklyn Dodgers (Won 4-3) rematch
1958: Milwaukee Braves (Won 4-3) rematch
1976: Cincinnati Reds (Lost 4-0)
1996: Atlanta Braves (Won 4-2)
2009: Philadelphia Phillies?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Coming back from 2-0

Teams who have been down 2-0 in a 7 game (or greater) series and won, since 1903:

1921 World Series 5-3 NY Giants over NY Yankees (Yankees won Game 1 at on the road and game 2 at home)
1955 World Series 4-3 Brooklyn Dodgers over NY Yankees
1956 World Series 4-3 NY Yankees over Brooklyn Dodgers
1958 World Series 4-3 NY Yankees over Milwaukee Braves
1965 World Series 4-3 LA Dodgers over Minnesota Twins
1971 World Series 4-3 Pittsburgh Pirates over Baltimore Orioles
1978 World Series 4-2 NY Yankees over LA Dodgers
1981 World Series 4-2 LA Dodgers over NY Yankees
1985 World Series 4-3 Kansas City Royals over St. Louis Cardinals
1985 ALCS 4-3 Kansas City Royals over Toronto Blue Jays
1985 NLCS 4-3 St. Louis Cardinals over LA Dodgers
1986 World Series 4-3 NY Mets over Boston Red Sox
1996 World Series 4-2 NY Yankees over Atlanta Braves
2004 ALCS 4-3 Boston Red Sox over New York Yankees

The Yankees have done it 4 times and had it done to them 4 times. It doesn't really happen anymore, for some reason, while it happened 6 times between 1978 and 1986.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Vincente Padilla

50 wins, 4.50 ERA since 2005
Jason Marquis: 65 Wins, 4.65 ERA
Livan Hernandez: 61, 4.97
Ervin Santana: 59, 4.52
Vincente Padilla: 56, 4.78
Braden Looper: 51, 4.57
Jose Contreras: 51, 4.54

10 wins, .540 W-L%, 4.75 ERA, since 2005 (Active):
Vincente Padilla: 56 Wins, .549 W-L%, 4.78 ERA
Matt Harrison: 13, .419, 5.76
David Huff: 11, .579, 5.61
Buddy Carlyle: 10, .556, 5.31

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Together again: Phillies, Dodgers and Yankees

The last time that the Phillies, Dodgers and Yankees were in the playoffs in the same year was 1978, with the Royals being the other team. The exact same 4 teams were in the playoffs the year before, 1977, too (only time that has happened).

1977: Dodgers over Phillies 3-1, Yankees beat Dodgers in WS 4-2
1978: Dodgers over Phillies 3-1, Yankees beat Dodgers in WS 4-2

In 1976, the Phillies had made the playoffs, and been swept by the Big Red Machine, who were on their way to a 2nd consecutive World Championship (first playoff appearance since 1950).

It was the Yankees first World Series in a long time (1962, 15 years - at least by their standards).

It was the first time since 1952-53 (Yankees over Brooklyn Dodgers) that a team has won 2 consecutive World Series, both over the same team.

1936-37: Yankees over NY Giants
1921-22: NY Giants over Yankees
1907-1908: Cubs over Tigers

I would gladly take a World Series that goes 6 games,which has not happened since 2003. The playoffs are more interesting with the Yankees involved, and it will get really interesting if a Joe Torre-led Dodgers team faces them in the World Series.

There are some great story lines set up: Can the Phillies do the improbable and repeat? Can the Dodgers make it to the World Series for the first time since 1988? Will there be an all LA series? Yankees-Dodgers? The most exciting matchup, I think, would be the Phillies vs. the Yankees, with the chance for the Phillies to repeat while being the underdog.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

MLB Notebook

A post I made at MLB Notebook: Team OPS - Postseason History.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Lidge has improved, just in time for the Phillies

Last 5 Appearances: 3.2 IP, 0.00 ERA, 1 SV
Previous 12 Appearances: 10.1, IP, 10.45 ERA, 6 SV, 3 BL SV,

ERA by Month
April: 7.27
May: 7.98
June: 6.75
July: 5.91
August: 6.75
September: 9.00
October: 0.00 (2.1 IP)

The Phillies knew they had a problem with Lidge for a long time, but the problem wasn't fixed. It is possible, however unlikely, that he has brought himself back to 2008-form. He was brought in to face one batter tonight, and he struck him out to end the series, which is a positive sign.

The series figures to be a fairly close one, and Lidge could be the crucial player. If he pitches like the Lidge of April 5-September 25, it could be a very long series for the Phillies. If he pitches like the Lidge of September 28-October 12, the Phillies have a great chance to get back to the World Series.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Division Series Sweeps

After so much postseason futility, the Dodgers are suddenly great in the postseason. Since the beginning of the current playoff format they are only the 3rd team to sweep a Division Series in consecutive seasons. Apparently, there are only 2 managers who can engineer this, with Joe Torre now having done it in with two different teams, a decade apart.

Division Series Sweeps in consecutive seasons
Atlanta Braves: 1996-1998 (Dodgers, Astros, Cubs)
New York Yankees: 1998-1999 (Rangers)
LA Dodgers: 2008-2009 (Cubs, Cardinals)

Multiple Division Series Sweeps
4 Braves: 1996-98, 2001 (Dodgers, Astros, Cubs, Astros)
4 Cardinals: 1996, 2000, 2002, 2005 (Padres, Braves, D-Backs, Padres)
2 Yankees: 1998-99 (Rangers)
2 Dodgers: 2008-09 (Cubs, Cardinals)
2 Red Sox: 2004, 2007 (Angels)

Phillies-Dodgers rematch would look much different

If the Phillies and the Dodgers face each other this year in the NLCS, it will look different than it did last year, when the Phillies won 4-1.

2008 NLCS - Starting Pitchers
Phillies: Cole Hamels, Brett Myers, Jamie Moyer, Joe Blanton, Cole Hamels
Dodgers: Derek Lowe, Chad Billingsley, Hiroki Kuroda, Derek Lowe, Chad Billingsley

Derek Lowe went to the Braves in free agency; Brett Myers and Joe Blanton will be pitching out of the bullpen; Jamie Moyer had surgery and won't pitch at all in the postseason; Hiroki Kuroda is injured and his status is uncertain for the NLCS. Chad Billinglsey will now be the 4th starter, and will not get more than 1 start in the NLCS. Cole Hamels will be in the rotation.

2009 LDS - Starting Pitchers
Dodgers: Randy Wolf , Clayton Kershaw, Vincente Padilla
Phillies: Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, (announced) J.A. Happ

Pedro Martinez might be the 4th starter for the Phillies, since he was initially announced as the game 3 starter before it was postponed, and it was switched to Happ.

So far, the only starter on either team who hasn't pitched well in the postseason was Cole Hamels, the 2008 NLCS and World Series MVP. Cliff Lee was unbelievable in his 1st postseason start (2009 version of Cole Hamels?).

Randy Wolf isn't exactly a great #1 starter, Kershaw is young and unproven, and Padilla was actually released by another team (Rangers) just a few months ago, but it is hard to pick against the Dodgers right now, after their impressive sweep of the Cardinals. Of course, they had an impressive sweep of the Cubs last season before losing to the Phillies 4-1. Their starting rotation is unconventional and might not scare anyone, but they will be tough to beat, whether they face the Phillies or Rockies.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Postseason Rematches

Potential LCS Rematches
Phillies v. Dodgers 1977-78, '83, '08 (Phillies won in '83, '08, lost in 77-78)
Red Sox v. Yankees 1999, '03-04 (Red Sox won in '04, lost in '99, '03)
Angels v. Twins 2002 (Angels 4-1)

Potential World Series Rematches
Red Sox v. Phillies 1915 (Red Sox 4-1)
Yankees v. Cardinals 1926, '28, '42-43, '64 (Yankees won in 1928, '42, lost in '26, '43, '64)
Yankees v. Dodgers 1941, '47, '49, '52-53, '55-56, '63, '77-78, '81 (Dodgers won in 1955, '63, '81, lost a lot)
Red Sox v. Cardinals 1946, '67, '04 (Red Sox won in '04, lost in '46 and '67)
Yankees v. Phillies 1950 (Yankees 4-0)
Twins v. Dodgers 1965 (Dodgers 4-3)
Twins v. Cardinals 1987 (Twins 4-3)
Red Sox v. Rockies 2007 (Red Sox 4-0)

Other possible rematch
Yankees v. Angels 2002, 2005 – LDS: (Angels won both series)

Current Rematches
Cardinals v. Dodgers 1985, 2004 (Cardinals won both series)
Twins v. Yankees 2003-04 (Yankees won both series)
Phillies v. Rockies 2007 (Rockies 3-0)
Red Sox v. Angels 1986, '04, '07-08 (Red Sox won all 4 series)
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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Which Cliff Lee will show up today?

Cliff Lee was unbelievably good for his first 5 starts with the Phillies after being traded from the Indians on , but the last 7 have been miserable.
First 5 starts: 5-0, 0.67 ERA, 39 SO, 6 BB
Next 7: 2-4, 6.20 ERA, 35 SO, 4 BB

His walks and strikeouts have remained good, and the home runs allowed have stayed the same too. He started allowing a lot of hits:
August: .226, 3 HR
September: .320, 3 HR

There is something in his favor, though. Despite Colorado's fine play this season, they only hit .235 on the road (vs. .287 at home), which was 2nd worst in the league. They were 21st in runs scored on the road vs. 2nd in runs at home.

Breakdown of Lee's last 7 starts:
3 Home: 1-2, 4.05 ERA (including complete game shutout vs. Nationals on Sept. 15)
4 Road: 1-2, 8.10 ERA

His most recent 4 starts were much better than the previous 3 in allowing hits:
(Sept. 15-Oct. 1: 4 starts) 27 H, 24.2 IP
(Aug. 29-Sept. 9: 3 starts) 29 H, 15 IP

Prediction: In the first postseason start of his career, Lee is solid, but not dominant (3 ER over 7 IP) and gets the win.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Baker v. Porcello

Rick Porcello (Tigers): 14-9, 4.04 ERA, 81 SO, 50 BB
Scott Baker (Twins): 15-9, 4.36 ERA, 160 SO, 46 BB

Pre All Star Break
Rick Porcello: 8-6, 4.14
Scott Baker: 7-7, 5.42

Post All Star Break
Rick Porcello: 6-3, 3.92
Scott Baker: 8-2, 3.21

Since August 1
Rick Porcello: 5-2, 3.21
Scott Baker: 7-2, 3.52

Since September 1
Rick Porcello: 3-1, 3.22
Scott Baker: 3-2, 3.97

Away: Rick Porcello: 6-6, 4.21
Home: Scott Baker: 6-5, 4.55

vs. Min: Rick Porcello: 1-2, 3.09
vs. Tigers: Scott Baker: 1-1, 6.75

Last Start
Porcello: September 29th (6 days rest)
Baker: October 1st (4 days rest)

Porcello: 4.42
Baker: 7.42

Ground Ball/Fly Ball
Porcello: 1.24
Baker: .55

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Emergence of Carlos Gonzalez

OPS - Post All Star Break (min. 200 PA) Playoff Teams
1.044 Matt Holliday (A's/Cardinals (1.019 OPS w/Cardinals) 2nd Overall - ML
1.042 Troy Tulowitzki (Rockies)
1.018 Albert Pujols (Cardinals)
1.003 Ryan Howard (Phillies)
.998 Joe Mauer (Twins)
.996 Kendry Morales (Angels)
.994 Mark Teixeira (Yankees)
.992 Carlos Gonzalez (Rockies) 10th Overall
.962 J.D Drew (Red Sox)
.954 Miguel Cabrera (Tigers) 15th Overall

Most of the names are very familiar and expected (Pujols, Mauer, Howard, etc.). The only real surprise to me is Carlos Gonzalez (Rockies).

After a disappointing 2008 with the A’s, where he only hit 4 HR in 302 AB with a .242 BA, he was traded to the Rockies, along with Huston Street, in the Matt Holliday deal in November 2008. He was also one of the many players traded by the D-Backs to Oakland for Dan Haren in December 2007. His good performance in the 2nd half has probably earned him an offseason without being traded, but we'll have to see.

He didn't even get an at-bat this year until June and was only hitting .202 with 1 HR at the All-Star Break, which was before he started getting regular playing time. He eventually batted all over the lineup, although ended up hitting most often in the leadoff spot. He played about an even amount in LF and CF (putting up his best numbers in CF), although he sometimes played both positions in the same game.

The Rockies are loaded with outfielders, including Brad Hawpe, Seth Smith, Ryan Spilborghs and Dexter Fowler. Gonzalez shares playing time with Fowler and Smith. Fowler was once considered a top ROY candidate (at least by some) this year before he went on the DL. Eventually Gonzalez will be an everyday starter, but he seems to be getting some kind of playing time every game, with a good number of starts.

Gonzalez's lofty 2nd half numbers are mostly the result of a monster August, where he posted the 2nd highest OPS in entire league, behind only Matt Diaz: .370, 6 HR, .714 SLG, 1.146 OPS. His September numbers were respectable too: .277, 5 HR, .543 SLG, .885 OPS. The Rockies were winning before the emergence of Gonzalez (21-7 in June), but he gives them another weapon and could be a factor in the playoffs.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Bobby Abreu

Bobby Abreu has produced a lot of interesting numbers in his career, and this is a prime example. He is a throwback in many ways, in this case he is more like some of the great players of the 1920's than anyone playing today.

Since 2003, he has had 5 seasons of at least 100 RBI and 20 or fewer HR (2003, 2006-09). This season, he has 15 HR and 102 RBI, and with one day to go, I'll go out on a limb and say he'll finish with less than 21 home runs this year too.

Since 2003, while Bobby Abreu has had 5 of these seasons, the rest of the league has combined to produce 6:

2003: Hideki Matsui, Edgar Renteria
2006: J.D. Drew, Michael Young, Ryan Zimmerman
2007: Jeff Francoeur

There have been 57 combined seasons since 1955 (besides Abreu), and 8 other players had more than 1 season (Rusty Greer, Bill Buckner, Ted Simmons, Joe Torre, Kirby Puckett, Minnie Minoso, Paul O'Neill, Thurman Munson)

With 5, Abreu is the ML leader going back to 1934. It happened a lot during the 1920's, with Hall of Famers Harry Heilmann and Goose Goslin the all-time leaders with 8. Heilmann's seasons were from 1921-1929 and Goslin from 1925-1934.

7 players have had 7 seasons, none of which were after 1939. They are all well-known (and Hall of Famers): Honus Wagner, Ty Cobb, Pie Traynor, Al Simmons, Tony Lazzeri, Charlie Gehringer and Joe Cronin. 2 players had 6 seasons, both early 20th century: Hall of Famer Sam Crawford (the all time leader in triples) and Bobby Veach. Crawford once had 120 RBI and 5 HR, in 1910, which was at the height of the dead ball era.

This is also the 4th season in a row that Abreu has done this. When was the last time anyone did that? Charlie Gehringer from 1931-1936.

This is just one component of Abreu's career, but it is an interesting one. I have nothing against home run hitters, but it is good to see someone who can consistently drive in runs even if they don't hit a lot of home runs. There have been 221 combined seasons of 100 RBI since 2003 (244 from 1960-1980), and Abreu is basically by himself in this category.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Javier Vasquez

An entry I made at MLB Notebook:

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Albert Pujols didn't need the entire decade to make this list

300 HR, 1000 RBI: 1900's-1980's
20's: Babe Ruth
30's Jimmie Foxx
30's Lou Gehrig
30's Mel Ott
50's Duke Snider
50's Gil Hodges
60's Harmon Killebrew
60's Hank Aaron
60's Willie Mays
60's Frank Robinson

1990's: Ken Griffey Jr., Albert Belle, Juan Gonzalez, Barry Bonds, Frank Thomas, Rafael Palmeiro

2000's: Manny Ramirez, Albert Pujols, Alex Rodriguez, David Ortiz, Lance Berkman, Carlos Delgado, Vladimir Guerrero (Jim Thome is 14 RBI short and Carlos Lee 9 HR, so it is unlikely to grow)

The only teammates for an entire decade on the list are Duke Snider and Gil Hodges, who both played for the Brooklyn/LA Dodgers in the 1950's.

Other teammates:
Albert Belle and Frank Thomas; 1997-1998; Chicago White Sox
Juan Gonzalez and Rafael Palmeiro; 1990-1993, 1999; Texas Rangers
Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz; 2003-2008; Boston Red Sox

Did not play in every season of the decade:
Albert Pujols (2001-present)

Tigers could claim first Division Title since 1987. Who else hasn't won a division in that span?

The Tigers could claim their first Division title since 1987 today with a win over the Twins. It's not the same division they won in 1987 (AL Central vs. AL East), but they'll take it. They won their last division in 1987 by giving the Blue Jays one of the worst final weekends in history.

In 1987 the Tigers were 11 games back in May, but fought their way way to be enter the final weekend trailing the Blue Jays by 1 game and facing off with the Blue Jays in a 3 game series at Tiger Stadium. They proceeded to sweep the Blue Jays to take the AL East.

That was 7 years before the Wild Card was created and the Braves have won 14 Division Titles in that span and the Yankees have now won 10. 14 different franchises have won the World Series since 1987 and virtually every other team has won a Division Title. Which other teams have not won a Division Title since 1987?

Teams that existed in 1987
Kansas City Royals (last Division: 1985)
Milwaukee Brewers (last Division: 1982)

Teams that did not exist in 1987
Colorado Rockies (Wild Card: 1995, 2007, clinched at least a tie 2009)
Florida Marlins (Wild Card: 1997, 2003)

The Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals franchise has not been to a playoff series since 1981, when they won the 2nd-Half of the 1981 Strike Season, but they did technically win the 1994 NL East before the season was called off. It's a little confusing because it is often claimed that the Braves won 14 consecutive Division Titles, but they get credit for it.
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