November 18, 2014

Those Stanton-To-Boston Rumours Can Finally Stop

Giancarlo Stanton and the Miami Marlins agreed to a 13-year contract worth $325 million. It also includes an early opt-out clause.

$25/year seems reasonable for Stanton, but ... 13 years? Stanton turned 25 ten days ago, so this will take him through his age-38 season. ... Business Insider calls it "a genius move".

November 13, 2014

Schilling Posts Picture Of Stitched-Up 2004 Ankle

Curt Schilling shared a post-surgery picture of his stitched-up right ankle - from the glorious 2004 postseason - on his Twitter account yesterday.

It's a bit more graphic than the swollen ankle shot featured in Don't Let Us Win Tonight!

November 7, 2014

P-Rod

Welcome back, Slappy! Let the circus begin.

New York Daily News, November 6-7, 2014:
Alex Rodriguez urinated on a wall of his cousin Yuri Sucart's home to send a message and mark his territory, the cousin's wife told the Daily News in an explosive interview at the couple's Miami home.

Carmen Sucart, whose husband, Yuri Sucart, is A-Rod's estranged cousin and alleged steroid mule, blasted Rodriguez for accusing her deathly ill husband of trying to extort the troubled Yankee superstar.

"He is the devil," she said Thursday. "He is evil."




November 6, 2014

Truck Day: February 12, 2015

Gordon Edes has information on the Red Sox's 2015 spring training schedule.

Opening Day is against the Phillies on Monday, April 6 in Philadelphia.

October 30, 2014

Red Sox, Uehara Agree On Two-Year Extension

The Red Sox and Koji Uehara have agreed on a two-year contract extension (2/18). The announcement came on the one-year anniversary of Uehara striking out Matt Carpenter for the final out of last season's World Series.

Ben Cherington:
So we had a chance to obviously examine Koji at the end of year and spend quite a bit of time talking to him and looking at what happened in late August and early September. After that, we really felt comfortable with where he was and where he will be going forward from a health and performance standpoint.
Also: Kevin Youkilis - the Sultan of Sweat - announced his retirement.

Bumgarner

Some random facts about Madison Bumgarner's extraordinary postseason:
                      IP    H   R  BB   K
1001 NLWC    at PIT   9     4   0   1  10
1006 NLDS 3  vs WAS   7     6   3   1   6
1011 NLCS 1  at STL   7.2   4   0   1   7
1016 NLCS 5  vs STL   8     5   3   2   5   NLCS MVP
1021 WS 1    at KCR   7     3   1   1   5
1026 WS 5    vs KCR   9     4   0   0   8
1029 WS 7    at KCR   5     2   0   0   4   WS MVP
         7 games     52.2  28   7   6  45
Elias:
Bumgarner is the second pitcher to toss a shutout and have a relief appearance of five or more scoreless innings in a single World Series. The first to do so was the Indians' Duster Mails in the 1920 World Series against the Dodgers. Mails pitched 6.2 scoreless innings of relief in Game Three; he then earned the win and allowed just three hits in a shutout in Game Six to give Cleveland a four games-to-two advantage in that best-of-nine series. ...

Bumgarner is the second pitcher with five or more scoreless innings of relief in a winner-take-all World Series game. The first was the Yankees' Joe Page in Game Seven of the 1947 World Series versus the Dodgers, earning the win and allowing one hit in a five-inning outing.

Bumgarner retired 14 consecutive Royals batters at one point in his relief appearance on Wednesday night. He is the fifth pitcher to have a streak of that length in a winner-take-all World Series game, joining the Diamondbacks' Curt Schilling (16 straight batters retired in 2001 vs. Yankees), the Yankees' Ralph Terry (17 in 1962 vs. Giants), the Cardinals' Murry Dickson (14 in 1946 vs. Red Sox), and George Earnshaw of the Athletics (15 in 1931 vs. Cardinals).
Jayson Stark, ESPN:
His career World Series ERA was down to 0.25, the lowest by any pitcher in history with at least 25 innings pitched. His ERA in this postseason, over a record 52.2 innings, had shrunk to 1.01, the best of any pitcher with 40 or more innings in any postseason.

His five-inning save was four outs longer than any save in World Series history.
2 Wins, 20 IP, Sub-0.50 ERA In A World Series
Christy Mathewson    1905 Giants
Waite Hoyt           1921 Yankees
Carl Hubbell         1933 Giants
Harry Brecheen       1946 Cardinals
Sandy Koufax         1965 Dodgers
Madison Bumgarner    2014 Giants
2 Starts and 3+ Innings of Relief in a World Series
Cy Young             1903 Americans
George Mullins       1909 Tigers
Madison Bumgarner    2014 Giants
ESPN's David Schoenfield asks if Bumgarner's performances in Games 1-5-7 was the greatest by a pitcher in World Series history? ... SI's Cliff Corcoran includes Bumgarner in his list of top five World Series pitching performances.

Bumgarner's World Series resume (he turned 25 in August):
4-0, 0.25 ERA, 1 save. 36 innings, 14 hits, 1 run, five walks, and 31 strikeouts. 0.528 WHIP.

World Series 7: Giants 3, Royals 2

Giants - 020 100 000 - 3  8  1
Royals - 020 000 000 - 2  6  0
The San Francisco Giants are the champions of baseball for the third time in the past five seasons.

It is only the second time in the history of the National League that a team has won three titles in a five-year span (Cardinals, 1942, 1944, 1946).

Madison Bumgarner, who pitched a complete game, four-hit shutout in Game 5, came out of the bullpen on two days rest to throw five scoreless innings of relief (5-2-0-0-4, 68), allowing only two singles and receiving credit for a save. The 25-year-old Bumgarner, who was named the NLCS MVP, was an easy choicee as WS MVP.

Bumgarner pitched a record 52.2 innings during the postseason. ... He became the third pitcher to win 2+ games as a starter and pitch 3+ innings as a reliever, joining Cy Young (1903) and George Mullins (1909). ... Bumgarner's 0.25 ERA in the World Series is the lowest in history among pitchers with at least 20 innings.

Pablo Sandoval (3-for-3, 2 runs scored) and Michael Morse (1-for-3, 2 RBI) led the offense. Hunter Pence had two hits, giving him 12 for the World Series and tying a Giants record held by Buck Herzog (1912).

Sandoval was grazed on the right elbow by a Jeremy Guthrie (3.1-4-3-0-3, 49) pitch to start the second inning. He made no attempt to evade the pitch; indeed, he sort of steadied his elbow prior to contact. Nevertheless, he was awarded first base. Pence followed with a groundball single to left and Brandon Belt drove a hard single to right, loading the bases with no one out. Morse lined out to Nori Aoki in right and Sandoval scored, with Pence advancing to third. Pence's hustle was key because when Brandon Crawford flied out to center, he was able to come home.

The Royals tied the score in the bottom half of the inning against Tim Hudson (1.2-3-2-1-1, 28). Billy Butler singled to left-center and came all the way around to score on Alex Gordon's first-pitch double to the gap in right-center. Salvador Perez was drilled in the left thigh near the knee and as the Royals' trainer talked with Perez on the field, the Giants' bullpen got busy, with Jeremy Affeldt warming up. Mike Moustakas flied out to left and Gordon was able to tag and race to third. He then scored on Omar Infante's line drive sacrifice fly to center. Alcides Escobar singled, moving Perez to second, and ending Hudson's night. Giants manager Bruce Bochy called for Affeldt, who got a grounder for an inning-ending fielder's choice. Hudson's 1.2 innings was the shortest outing by a starter in a Game 7 in WS history.

Kansas City caught a tough break in the third. Lorenzo Cain singled to right. Eric Hosmer sent a ground ball towards right-center. Giants second baseman Joe Panik dove to his right and gloved the ball, then flipped it to shortstop Crawford for the force at second. Crawford's relay to first arrived at almost the exact same time that Hosmer dove head first into the bag. Hosmer was originally called safe, but the Giants challenged the play, and it was overturned, and ruled a double play. (None of the angles shown on Fox provided a definitive view. The Royals radio announcers pointed out that Hosmer likely would have been safe if he had run through the bag at full speed. They noted that in track and field events, sprinters run through the tape and do not dive head first across the finish line.)

The Giants took the lead in the next half-inning. Again, Sandoval led off and got on base, this time on an infield single as Infante moved to his right and slipped while trying to throw. Pence singled to center. Belt flied to left field and Pence went to third. Ned Yost then went to his bullpen, calling on Kelvin Herrera. Morse fouled off two pitches before breaking his bat and dropping a single into shallow right field. Sandoval scored what turned out to be the Series-deciding run.

Affeldt plunked Gordon in the back with a curveball to start the bottom of the fourth. But Perez chased the first pitch and grounded into a 4-6-3 double play to end any thought of a KC rally.

After that, it was Bumgarner time. Not having as much time to warm up as he usually does as a starter, he might have been a little rusty in his first inning. Infante lined a single to right to start the fifth and Escobar bunted him to second. Aoki lifted a fly ball to the opposite field and Juan Perez ran a long way towards the line and hauled it in. Cain ended the inning by striking out on a high fastball.

Bumgarner retired the side in the sixth (P6, F8, F8), seventh (F9, 5-3, K), and eighth (K, 6-3, P4).

He started the bottom of the ninth by striking out Hosmer (again, on high fastballs) and getting Butler on a foul pop to first. Gordon lined a 0-1 pitch to left-center. Gregor Blanco came in, but decided to play the ball on a hop rather than attempt a dive for it. But the ball skipped past him for an error, rolling to the wall. Perez came over from left to help out, but he booted the ball on the warning track. By the time the ball was returned to the infield, Gordon was standing on third, the game-tying run only 90 feet away.

All of the Royals' hopes rested on Perez's shoulders. Bumgarner threw him nothing but high fastballs and Perez could not stop himself from chasing them. He swung and missed the first one, took a ball, then swung and missed the third pitch. He laid off the fourth for ball 2, then fouled off the fifth. He popped up the sixth pitch into foul territory where Sandoval made an easy catch - and then collapsed on his back on the grass as his teammates flooded out of the nearby dugout in celebration.

Factoids: It was the first time in a WS Game 7 that neither starter went more than 3.1 innings. ... Pence and Belt became the second pair of teammates to hit safely in all seven games of a World Series, joining Hank Bauer and Billy Martin of the 1956 Yankees.

October 29, 2014

Posnanski On Bill James: Vanguard After The Revolution

Sportsworld:
Here is Bill James on one of his favorite words and causes: "Bullshit."

"Bullshit has tremendous advantages over knowledge. Bullshit can be created as needed, on demand, without limit. Anything that happens, you can make up an explanation for why it happened. ..."

Bill James is 65 years old, and he still has an acute sensitivity to bullshit. This has been the defining instinct in his professional life. For forty years now, he has been writing purportedly about baseball, but more about that grating buzzing sound of bullshit that has served as background music to our National Pastime. ...

Nobody was doing what Bill James was doing in the 1970s. He had predecessors, of course, people who tried to look objectively at baseball through the numbers, outsiders who studied the game's data and came to interesting and unexpected conclusions about the limitations of batting average or the self-defeating nature of bunts or whatever.

But no one before James had ever concluded that there was an AUDIENCE for such thoughts. ...

As it turns out, there was a very large audience of baseball fans who had grown tired of the same bullshit that drove James to distraction, tired of being spoon-fed clich├ęs about valiant pitchers who simply knew how to win, tired of reading quotes from managers about a .200 ballplayer who helped the team in so many hidden ways, tired of only being told a story from the insider's point of view.

World Series 6: Royals 10, Giants 0

Giants - 000 000 000 -  0  6  0
Royals - 071 010 10x - 10 15  0
The Royals exploded for eight hits and seven runs in the second inning and cruised to victory behind Yordano Ventura's seven shutout innings. And for only the second time in the last 12 seasons, the World Series will be decided in a Game 7.

Ventura (7-3-0-5-4, 100) was the pitching star of the night, allowing only three hits (though he did walk five). Sixty-four of his 100 pitches were clocked at 95+ mph.

Giants starter Jake Peavy (1.1-6-5-1-2, 42) allowed a walk and a single in the first inning. He fell completely apart in the second. Alex Gordon and Salvador Perez both singled to right center - and San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy got Yusmeiro Petit up in the bullpen. Peavy had been working every Kansas City hitter away, but when he came inside to Mike Moustakas, the Royals third baseman ripped a double down the right field line. Gordon scored, the the Royals led 1-0. Omar Infante flailed away at three outside pitches and struck out, handing Peavy and the Giants an easy out. Alcides Escobar tapped a ball to first baseman Brandon Belt. Belt looked towards the plate - and Peavy pointed towards the plate - but Perez was not running. Belt then raced Escobar to the bag, but the Royal slid in ahead of a tag. The bases were loaded. Nori Aoki fouled off four pitches before grounding a run-scoring, opposite-field single into left field. That was the end of Peavy's night. (It was the shortest outing for a WS starter since David Wells of the Yankees recorded just three outs against the Marlins in Game 5 in 2003.)

Petit entered the game with the bases loaded, down 2-0. Lorenzo Cain fought off a 2-2 pitch and dropped a single into short right-center - and two runs scored, Escobar running through a stop sign at third base. KC 4-0. After a wild pitch moved Cain to second, Eric Hosmer doubled to left-center for two more runs. 6-0. Then Billy Butler doubled to the right-center gap, and Hosmer scored. 7-0. Petit was able to retire the 10th and 11th batters of the inning and get his team back in the dugout.

Ventura walked the bases loaded with out in the top of the third - and there was a faint hope the Giants could get back in the game. But Buster Posey went after the first pitch and grounded into a 6-3 double play to end the frame. The Giants were able to get only two runners past first base for the rest of the game.

Two ground-rule doubles - by Infante and Cain - gave the Royals a run in the third. It also marked the second time in World Series history that all nine starters on a team had at least one hit through three innings. The first was the 2001 Diamondbacks, in their Game 6 rout of the Yankees.

Escobar doubled home a run in the fifth and Moustakas homered to lead off the seventh.

Six different Royals had two hits: Escobar, Cain, Hosmer, Perez, Moustakas, and Infante. Cain drove in three runs, and Hosmer and Moustakas had 2 RBI each.

Tonight's 10-run margin was the largest in a World Series shutout since the Royals whipped the Cardinals 11-0 in Game 7 of the 1985 WS.

The last time there was back-to-back shutouts by opposing teams in the World Series was 1958.

Home teams have won nine straight World Series Game 7s. The last visiting team to win a Game 7 was the 1979 Pirates.

Since 1982, 10 World Series teams have come home trailing 2-3. Eight of the 10 won Games 6 and 7. The Royals will try to make that 9-of-11 tomorrow night.