Baseball playoffs start (yay!)

I know, I know.  The Rockies – Padres game wasn’t technically in the playoffs.  The stats counted as regular season stats, which meant the batting title was still at risk and Jake Peavy had a chance to win his 20th game (which, of course, didn’t happen).

But still, that was some game.  Some quick observations:

  • I haven’t seen outfield play that bad in years, and I regularly attend AA minor league games.  Whew, that was cover-your-eyes awful.  Coco Crisp would have made every one of those catches with ease.
  • Despite the above, apparently the official scorers have forgotten how to put a check mark in the errors column.  Every bungled outfield play but one was listed as a hit.  No darn wonder errors are a misleading measure of defensive efficiency.  Worse, they contribute to ERA, which is also a mess.
  • I can’t remember who said it (probably Earl Weaver — he said practically everything else), but it’s still true: if you keep changing pitchers, sooner or later you’ll find one who is having a bad day.  Yesterday it was Jorge Julio for the Rockies.  It’s simply amazing the Rockies got away with it.
  • I’d heard about Troy Tulowitski before seeing that game, but I had no idea how good this kid is (worst picture at ESPN I’ve ever seen, btw — see the link above).   As a Red Sox fan, I can say that the Rockies have basically found their own Derek Jeter, except that Troy is a much better fielder.  Wow.
  • Matt Holliday is really good, but his defense contributed to the outfielding nightmare.  I’ll have to check the VORP stats at Baseball Prospectus to see how he really compares to Jimmy Rollins.

Okay, I just checked.  Holliday, 75.0.  Rollins, 66.1.  The real surprise, though, is that Rollins isn’t even the highest VORP on the Phillies.  Chase Utley is at 68.8.  Wow.

  • If anyone needs to know why you shouldn’t slide head first, that last play is Exhibit A.
  • There is no way Holliday touched the plate.  No way.  That means that instead of the game being over, it should have been tied, with two outs and a man on 2nd in the bottom of the 13th.  That means Trevor Hoffman might — just might — have gotten out of the inning.  We could still be playing that game now.
  • It felt really weird to see a game that exciting without having a serious rooting interest.  I kind of liked both teams.  I remember thinking over and over that it was shame either one had to lose.  Still, I’ll be rooting for the Phillies in the division series.
  • I SO enjoyed the announcers last night.  These guys (Don Orsillo, who I’ve listened to for years, and the other guy whose name I forget) were excellent.  Knowing that sooner or later I’m going to have Tim McCarver and Joe Buck inflicted on me made this brief respite all the sweeter.

Wednesday is going to be tough.  I’m teaching an online Ajax class and we have students on the west coast, so I’m committed until at least 5:30 pm and maybe 6 pm.  The Phillies – Rockies game starts at 3, the Sox are on at 6:30, and the Cubs start at 10 pm.  And I still have to teach Thursday morning.
Of course, I always have a tough time during the MLB playoffs.  I just hope the Indians beat the Yankees quickly and the Sox sweep the Angels.  Then we’ll see.

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