Where Are All The Playoff Races?

It’s August 3rd so let’s take a look at what to expect for MLB playoff races during the next two months .

In the AL East, the Red Sox lead the Yankees by just one game, but the Yankees are up seven games in the Wild Card race. Cool Standings gives the Sox a 97.3 percent chance of making the postseason while the Bronx Bombers have a 97.7 percent chance. Tampa Bay? They are 10 games back in the Wild Card and have just a 1.3 percent chance of playing baseball in October.

The AL Central boasts zero teams with a positive run-differential (yikes!). The race is tight though as Detroit leads Cleveland by three games. Of course, that’s a decent chunk and gives the Tigers much better odds to make the playoffs than the Indians have (61.3 percent vs. 24.4 percent). In the past two months though, Cleveland is 21-32. To put that in perspective, Kansas City was 22-32 in that time. Yes, the Indians just acquired Ubaldo Jiminez but there’s still a lot of questions around his velocity. Given the Indians performance the past two months, a 24.4 percent chance of making the playoffs seems generous.

In the West, there actually is a good race. Texas and Los Angeles are just a game apart. The teams have gone back and forth all year, but Texas upgraded its bullpen at the deadline while the Angels did nothing. Cool Standings gives Texas 62.7 percent odds at reaching the postseason while the Angels have just a 39.0 percent chance.

So in the American League, I only see the AL West as a real playoff race. Detroit is going to pull away and Boston and New York will battle for the AL East, with the loser earning a playoff berth via the Wild Card. That’s pretty weak overall. Continue reading “Where Are All The Playoff Races?”

More Calls for Instant Replay in Baseball

After last nights 19-inning marathon between the Pirates and Braves ended in a disgraceful manner with home late umpire Jerry Meals calling Julio Lugo safe at the plate on a play that wasn’t remotely close.

There’s no excuse for blowing that call. I really can’t fathom how Meals could miss it. Has there ever been an easier call to make. It really doesn’t make any sense. But it happened so where do we go from here?

Well to instant replay of course.

Instant replay has been discussed in baseball quite a bit over the past few years and is now used for determining home run calls. But it can be expanded.

The system I propose is actually pretty simple. Challenges! Football has them. Tennis has them. They work great, don’t slow the game down much and prevent umpires/officials from determining the outcome of a game.

Give each manager one challenge per game. If he wins the challenge, he keeps it. If he loses it, then he’s done. They cannot be used for overturning strike/ball calls. They can be used for tag plays on the bases, trapping the ball, fair/foul line drives, close plays on the bases, etc.

Most games, managers won’t use them and there won’t be a difference. Every once in a while though, a manager can toss that red beanbag (I like beanbags over flags) onto the field. It’d add a slight bit more strategy (if there’s a close call in the second inning, do you risk using it and losing it?) and will entertain fans.

The umpires on the field can either leave briefly and check it out or a fifth umpire can sit upstairs in a replay booth and make the ruling himself. Or Bud Selig can set up a small group that sits in a room in the MLB Offices in New York and makes the calls for all games.

Any method would be quick, add a bit of entertainment and fix umpires’ mistakes.

Anyone have a reason why this isn’t a good idea?

Talking About HoF for MLB Players Under the Age of 28? Really?

Today on ESPN Boston, Joe McDonald wrote an article contemplating Dustin Pedroia’s chances of reaching the Hall of Fame.

Anyone else think this is a decade too soon?

McDonald does temper the article by saying,” Obviously, Pedroia has a long way to go before he can even be mentioned in the same breath as the Hall of Fame.” But nevertheless, he goes on to compare Pedroia’s stats through his first five full seasons with Roberto Alomar, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame this past weekend.

Alomar and Pedroia’s stats are similar in their first five seasons, but that’s not the point. Pedroia is a great player right now. Ten more years of playing at this level will put him in Cooperstown but that’s a long way to go and not a topic of today. What should be a topic is his 21-game hitting streak and the ease at which the Red Sox are winning ball games these days.

McDonald closes by saying:

Maybe we are witnessing a future Hall of Famer in Pedroia.

Well, whether we are or are we aren’t won’t be known for quite a while. Let’s just enjoy it while we can.

Wait. There’s more nonsensical Hall of Fame characterizations from ESPN today! Continue reading “Talking About HoF for MLB Players Under the Age of 28? Really?”