The MLB playoffs continue to be wildly entertaining. In the opening game of the NLCS, Chicago Cubs Manager Joe Maddon got himself ejected arguing the slide rule that negated what would have been an out and put a run on the board for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Then, he left Wade Davis in the bullpen in Game 2 as John Lackey served up a walk-off home run to L.A.’s Justin Turner.
On the American League side of things, Houston Astros pitcher Justin Verlander (still feels weird) went HAM on the New York Yankees. His offense found the Aroldis Chapman cheat code just in time to give the Astros the win and a 2-0 series lead.
Verlander’s success, and the success of the team as a whole can be tied to an organization that uses analytics and a smart approach to baseball, as outlined in this enlightening piece by Tom Verducci. The article shows a version of Verlander who is absorbing new information on opposing hitters like Neo in The Matrix, and is crediting this analytical awakening in part to Brad Ausmus like he’s some sort of dugout dwelling Morpheus who convinced Verlander to take the red pill.
So where ya goin’ to tomorrow?
Speaking of one Brad Ausmus, word around the campfire is that the Boston Red Sox have an interest in the former Tigers skipper. After Peter Gammons wrote about it in a piece that made it seem like maybe Brad didn’t get a fair shake here in Detroit, MLive’s Evan Woodbery took a few minutes out of his day to take a more accurate account of the Brad Ausmus era. I think he did a pretty solid job of it.
Leaving on a southern train
The final player in the Justin Verlander trade has been named later. Eighteen-year-old outfielder Juan Ramirez is packing his bags and heading south to Houston.
To complete the Justin Verlander trade, OF Juan Ramirez has been acquired by the Astros as the player to be named later.— Tigers PR (@DetroitTigersPR) October 14, 2017
Ramirez, although young, is an intriguing prospect. While he shows a propensity to make good contact and carried a high on-base percentage, at 5’9 he doesn’t have much in the way of power. I don’t think the Astros are too worried about the power part. The 20 walks to 14 strikeouts over 163 at bats in 2017 is probably what has them jazzed. Yeah, he’s tiny, but the Astros had another tiny dude who hit for little power as a teenager come up through their system, and he turned out pretty well.
What’s real and what’s for sale
Lynn Henning of the Detroit News opines on who the Tigers might be looking to unload over the winter. Spoiler: James McCann, Jose Iglesias, Ian Kinsler, and Shane Greene are all on his list. That’s all well and good, but consider that this is coming from a man who goes on to say “Castellanos was comfortable during a September reacquaintance with right field.” This has me questioning his evaluative abilities. I’ve read a lot of words on the Nicholas Castellanos experience in right field, and “comfortable” was not one of them. Anyway, it’s a pretty extensive look at what Lynn thinks might happen with this team next year, and involves him mentioning that they could lose 100 games several times.
Around the horn
Matt Wieters continues to be cursed. Twenty-one years later, the Jeffrey Maier incident happens again. The slide replay rule sucks. The players we don’t see coming. Using a Wall Street technique on baseball salaries.
Baseball is awesome
This is how you make an entrance.