Five Cuts: Mother Nature could give Angels a boost over Yankees
1. Even without a rainout, the Yankees or Angels could become world champions by playing 11 games in 28 days without ever being scheduled to play three days in a row.
For one reason, who wants to see a pennant decided by wind, rain and temperature below 40 degrees? More importantly, a couple of rainouts hopefully would rid the ALCS of this ridiculous schedule of four days off, two days on, one day off, two days on, one day off, one day on, one day off, two days on.
The Yankees, for instance, to their great delight, can use only three starting pitchers for seven games under that schedule while having only one start -- by the already well-rested
It seems a rainout would benefit the Angels, who gladly plan to start four pitchers anyway, and hurt the Yankees, who might actually need a fourth starter --
"These playoffs ... even if you have good weather is quite disjointed," Angels manager
"Right now I think our rotation has some nice depth to it. We want to get four guys out there to pitch in the series. Naturally, the quicker you can play those games is advantageous to us to keep going and keep playing with guys that will be rested. But, you know, we'll see."
2. So why does baseball schedule so many off days? It work like this: When Fox asked to start the World Series on a Wednesday -- it didn't want two games scheduled for Saturday, traditionally a low-viewer night -- baseball said, "Sure, whatever you like." But baseball never changed when the regular season ends; it still finishes on a Sunday. So four extra off days had to be dropped into the postseason schedule to push Game 1 of the World Series to a Wednesday. Thus we get this stretched format that baseball people hate.
When I asked Angels GM
3. There is no doubt that
Well, it is true that the Angels saw improvement in pitches seen per plate appearance by
I believe that the greater intangible contribution by Abreu is something that Reagins said was an unexpected bonus: that he is a bilingual speaker who offered leadership skills to every corner of the clubhouse. What Reagins described reminded me, in a quieter version, of the unifying stability that the Red Sox get from
"He's able to communicate with everyone in the room," Reagins said of Abreu. "He cares about and studies the game as well as anybody. The biggest impact is him just talking baseball. He talks baseball with everybody in the room."
4. The smart signing of
Sabathia struck out eight batters in his Game 1 ALDS start against Minnesota. The Yankees had gone 19 straight postseason games without getting that kind of strikeout performance from their starter, dating to the start by
You want the definition of a reliable ace? Since Aug. 2, Sabathia is 10-1 with a 2.44 ERA in 13 starts. The Yankees are 12-1 in those starts, and in every one of those wins Sabathia has pitched at least as far as two outs into the seventh inning. So don't believe the nonsense you will hear if Sabathia does start in this series on three days' rest. The guy is a workhorse.
5. Some random thoughts and observations on NLCS Game 1: Yes,