Let me set the scene for you: The Tigers and Rangers play a tight afternoon Game 2 that many do not see the end of, because they have turned instead to a mundane Monday Night Football contest between the Lions and the Bears. Oh my.
Let me reset the scene for you: The Tigers and Rangers play a tight afternoon Game 2 that stays in the afternoon, with nobody turning the channel. They achieve this with one simple alteration of baseball rules: A batter is only permitted one two-strike foul ball before he is called out.
As always, please, control your incredulity. Baseball, as a game, has gotten demonstrably slower over the years — not just because more batters are getting on base, but also because they’re taking longer to do so. Major leaguers averaged 3.81 pitches per plate appearance this season, just down from record numbers in recent years. Contrast that with 1988, the first year that Baseball-Reference tracked the stat, when plate appearances lasted a mere 3.59 pitches.* Continue reading
What we read while Al Davis told Steve Jobs to “Just win, baby!”…
You’ve already seen how spot-on our resident baseball experts were in Game 1 of the ALCS — John remarkably predicted two rain delays lasting approximately 45 and 60 minutes, both occurring in the bottom of the fifth (he was half-a-frame off) — so you should be psyched to see them back at it for the NLCS — a battle of Central Division rivals who last met in the playoffs in the 1982 World Series. That’s right, it’s the first-ever rematch of a World Series in a non-World Series round of the postseason. History!
TIM: Alright, so I think I’m finally over the Mets loss in the 2006 NLCS to talk about…wait, the Cardinals are back in it? Didn’t they miss the playoffs by like 15 games?
JOHN: It certainly seemed heading for that a few months ago. But, hey, look on the bright side: They managed to make the playoffs thanks to a collapse by your hated Atlanta Braves!
MLB’s new one off-day policy meant that John S and Tim didn’t have time to preview the Division Series this year. But now they’re back to discuss the American League Championship Series. Together, they preview the Tigers-Rangers matchup and make their predictions…
JOHN S: Alright, so I think I’m finally over the Yankees loss enough to talk about this potential LCS. First off, let’s talk about Verlander. All throughout the season, we’ve heard how Justin Verlander is the key to how far the Tigers can go. His entire MVP case seemed built around the idea that the rest of his squadron was a bunch of glorified Little Leaguers. Hopefully, though, the ALDS proved that the Tigers are actually quite good, even apart from their dominant ace. And yet there are still a few Around The Horn talking heads who insist that the Tigers only chance against Texas is if Verlander starts Games 1, 4 and 7 (which Jim Leyland won’t do). This idea seems insane to me. So just how important do you think Verlander is to the Tigers, on a scale of “C.J. Wilson to the Rangers” to “Jake Peavy to the ’05 Padres”?
TIM: Don Kelly? Ramon Santiago? Tell me these plucky kids aren’t Little Leaguers! Continue reading
What we read while Boston mourned…