Posts Tagged ‘the 1996 atlanta braves’

What Makes a Great Playoff Series?

Leyrtiz

This is a question that has been on my mind since Tim undertook his massive investigation of the 1999 NLCS last week.

The seven-game playoff series (we’re not even going to talk about the atrocious five-game divisional format) is really one of the best things about sports when it unfolds right. It takes the highs and lows of a great game and stretches them over a week and a half. Rooting for a team involved a great series, as Tim can attest, essentially consumes your life for those days. You’re either riding a high from a great win, resentful and angry at the world after a bad loss, or anxiously awaiting an upcoming match-up. The best series have the dramatic arc of a great novel.

I’ve been thinking about this question because I’ve been wondering if the 2009 ALCS between the New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim was a Great Series. Superficially, it looks like one: two extra-inning, walk-off games, questionable managerial decisions, close contests in five out of six games. If not for inexplicable errors by Howie Kendrick and Scott Kazmir in Game 6, four of the six games would have been decided by one run. Continue reading

Symposium: Joba to the ‘Pen

John, John, John. I’ll start with a concession: Yes, starting pitchers are more important than relief pitchers. We’re not breaking any new ground here with that vague and general idea. But that’s not at the heart of the Joba Debate. Instead, the first critical question here is: Is a good starting pitcher more important than a great relief pitcher?

Because Joba Chamberlain isn’t the same pitcher across those two roles. With the help of Baseball Reference (really a great tool; maybe you should use it sometime), we learn the following:

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