The Big Hurst: I found this cool "baseball" article from the blog of the great mind behind Baseball Mogul. Also, I'm glad Texas is done, but I'm not sure who to root for between the Rays and the Indians.
skoormit: Yeah, I'm with you on Indians v Rays. A few years ago it would have been Rays, easy, but they no longer have that feel-good vibe for me.
The Big Hurst: You gotta feel good for Marlon Byrd. Ninety-three years in the league, finally gets his first playoff game, and blasts an important homer in his first at-bat. And Lirano has a .078 lifetime batting average, but somehow gets a playoff hit. From YCPB, I love that the last pitcher to win a playoff game for the Pirates was a rookie named Tim Wakefield.
skoormit: Tampa does have two Bama Boys in the starting lineup (Jennings and Young). So that'll do it for me. Go Rays!
The Big Hurst: I didn't know that. You're good at predicting that too, apparently. Jennings and Young did most of the damage - and both were born in Birmingham, Alabama. The Rays and Indians played 7 times this year and there were shutouts in 5 of those games. What are the odds on both those events? I like most of the teams still playing, but I'm strongly rooting for the A's over the Tigers and fairly strongly rooting for the Pirates over the Cardinals. Otherwise, I'm not sure I care. The Dodgers/Braves is interesting. One team was great in April and middling the rest of the way, and the other was terrible early and great at points since. Which team shows up? And it's wild that the Dodgers and Red Sox are both in the playoffs after making their monster money talent swap.
The Big Hurst: You mentioned in the wrapup that the 2013 Marliners had a Really Bad Offense. I think there's an easy way to show this. They scored just 513 runs. How bad is that? It's a full 85 runs less than the next worst team, the White Sox. Jeebus. The last time anybody got close to this bad was the 2010 Seattle Mariners, but that was in a very obvious pitcher-friendly dome. But the 2013 Marliners park didn't favor pitchers. I went back to 1973 by brute force and couldn't find anyone else as bad as 513 runs. The closest were the 1978 A's with 532 and the 1976 Expos with 531. When you're probably the worst offense in 40 years, you're probably one of the worst offenses of all time. The 2013 Marliners clearly had a Really Bad Offense (except when I picked against them).
The Big Hurst: October 7 was a good day for playoff games. Four games, three decided by one run, two games with late lead-flips and one was a walk-off against an unhittable pitcher, and a 21 year old rookie with a near-miss no-hitter. And the other game was pretty good, too.
The Big Hurst: So it'll be the Red Sox and Tigers, then the Cardinals and Dodgers? That's the #2 and #3 payroll in the AL, along with the #1 and #4 payroll in the NL. It's America; money still talks. #occupytheplayoffs
The Big Hurst: When Al Alburquerque pitched to Jarrod Saltalamacchia on October 12, was it the most letters ever in a pitcher/hitter combo? Probably. Also, if major league baseball was played with a golden goal - first team to score wins - the 2013 standings might not look that much different. Doesn't this beg the question of how much baseball is really necessary to determine the "best" teams?
The Big Hurst: If skoormit doesn't dig this baseball card & pitching gif, I'll eat my stinky, sweat-stained, Veterans Stadium Phillies cap.
The Big Hurst: Kershaw's worst start of 2013 (17 GSc vs. 28 GSc) puts the Cardinals in the World Series. Whatever. Give that man the Cy Young. And anyway, the World Series Predictor is probably going to doubt that they'll win a series against the Red Sox or Tigers.
The Big Hurst: The World Series Predictor suggests strongly that the Red Sox should whomp the Cardinals (41-0). The Cardinals don't win a single category:
- +16 points to the Red Sox for home field advantage
- +6 points to the Red Sox for more runs against them in the regular season
- +6 points to the Red Sox for more strikeouts by their pitchers
- +5 points to the Red Sox for more hitter OPS
- +4 points to the Red Sox for more hitter doubles
- +4 points to the Red Sox for more payroll
- Both teams had equal wins during the regular season, so that factor is a tie
The Big Hurst: And The World Series Predictor WORKS! Congratulations to the Boston Red Sox for winning the American Baseball Cup. Now for four or five months of depressing baseballless doldrums.