Wild Card Game Roundups

We all know what happened in A’s/Royals, so we won’t attempt to recap, just run through the wacky facts of it all. And oh, there were so very many:

- When James Shields was pulled, he had just 88 pitches. He’d thrown over 88 pitches in every single game he’d pitched for the Royals in his two years on the team, including over 88 pitches in a game where he was left in to give up ten runs in 3.2 innings.
– After Yordano Ventura gave up a home run to Brandon Moss and got into further trouble, the Royals were left with a 7-3 deficit. They hadn’t scored 8+ runs since August 17.
— Brandon Moss had two home runs in this game, after hitting .173/.310/.274 in the second half with only two home runs since July 24.
—- Jon Lester picked Billy Butler off. Lester hadn’t attempted a pickoff all season.
—– Seven different Royals stole bases.
—— Seven steals is tied for the most that any team stole in a game this season. That team was also KC, but only three different players stole bases in that one.
——- Alberto Callaspo drove in the go-ahead run for the A’s in the 12th. Callaspo hit just .223/.290/.290 this season (with 451 PA!), and his last RBI had been August 24.
——– Is that more or less weird than an Eric Hosmer triple?
——— Also, a reminder that the final score of a A’s/Royals game started by James Shields and Jon Lester was 9-8. Shields had 4 ER in 5 innings; Lester gave up 6 ER in 7.1.

As for the distinctly more routine NL Wild Card game:

Brandon Crawford hit a grand slam.
- It’s the first time a shortstop has ever hit a grand slam in the postseason.
– It’s also the first time a postseason grand slam has ever been hit in Pittsburgh (h/t dakern74).
— So far, everyone who has hit a home run in the playoffs has been named Brandon.

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2014 Bold Predictions – The Results

In what has become a tradition at YCPB, we make bold predictions before the season begins every year – because what’s more unpredictable than a blog called You Can’t Predict Baseball trying to, well, predict baseball? You can find our original predictions from 2014 here and our All-Star Break update here, but here’s our final update.

Blue Jays: Three or more pitchers throw 200+ innings for them.
Only R.A. Dickey (215.2 IP) and Mark Buehrle (202 IP) threw 200+ innings for the Jays. Drew Hutchison was third, at 184.2 innings pitched. Of note: the remarkably durable Buehrle has thrown over 200 innings every season since 2001. This prediction is a bust, though.

Orioles: Tommy Hunter is a top-five closer in the AL.

Hunter lost his job as Baltimore’s closer after putting up a 6.60 ERA through mid-May. He was quite good after that, posting a 1.77 ERA (with no saves) for the rest of the season, but he was by no means a top-5 closer in the AL. Bust

Rays: Evan Longoria finally plays a full season with a .900+ OPS.

Not only is this a bust, but Longoria had by far his worst professional season this year. He hit only .252/.320/.404, for a .724 OPS that is his career low by 117 points.

Red Sox: Grady Sizemore plays at least 81 games.
He didn’t do it all with Boston – he played 52 games with the Red Sox and 59 games with the Phillies – but Sizemore did play in 111 games this year. We’ll count this one as a success.

Yankees: The infield (C not included) will hit more total home runs than the outfield.
Yankees outfielders (meaning anyone who hit a home run while playing the outfield; you can see the splits here) hit 47 homers, and infielders hit 58. Success

Indians: Justin Masterson doesn’t have the lowest ERA among starters.
Masterson’s ERA was a terrible 5.51 before he was traded to the Cardinals in July (where he was even worse). Every other member of the Indians’ rotation ended up with a better ERA than that. We hope Masterson pitches well again in the future, but for us, this is a success.

Royals: Both Hosmer and Moustakas exceed an .800 OPS.
Hosmer hit .270/.318/.398/.716. Moustakas was even worse, at .212/.271/.361/.632. Well, hey, they’re going to the playoffs anyway. That’s better than we did on this prediction, which is a bust twice over.

Tigers: Max Scherzer is better than he was in 2013, but he doesn’t win more than 15 games.
While Scherzer was very good this season, he was, comparatively speaking, not as good as he was in 2013. He also won 18 games, making this prediction a bust on both levels.

Twins: For the second year in a row, no Twins starter strikes out 8 or more in one game.

This happened 12 times. That’s still on the low end – they were tied with the Marlins for 27th in the majors, and ahead of only Colorado and dead-last Baltimore (!!!), while Cleveland led the majors with 47 such games – but enough to make this a bust. Of note: while the Marlins also had 12 such games, six of those were Jose Fernandez starts. Jose Fernandez only made eight starts.

White Sox: Adam Dunn bats over .240.
He hit .221 in 2014 – .220 with the White Sox, and .222 with the Athletics. Bust

Angels: Mike Trout has more runs scored than strikeouts.
Trout scored 115 runs, and struck out 184 times. Bust

Astros: They have more than one All-Star.
Their All-Star was Jose Altuve and only Jose Altuve. Bust

Athletics: Yoenis Cespedes hits 40 home runs, with an OBP under .325.
His OBP, at .301, was under .325, but he only hit 22 home runs. And yes, it’s still weird that Cespedes isn’t on Oakland any more. Bust

Mariners: Robinson Cano doesn’t hit .300, hit 30 homers, or drive in 100.
He hit only 14 homers and drove in just 82 runs, but he did hit .314. Bust

Rangers: Prince Fielder has a lower OPS+ than last year.
Fielder played his last game on May 16, then had season-ending surgery on his spine. His OPS+ was 105, compared to last year’s 122 (interestingly, his OPS+ went up five points since we did our updated predictions at the Break despite Fielder’s numbers remaining the same. We miss offense). We hope Fielder is healthy and good next year, because baseball’s better when he’s one of the game’s fearsome sluggers, but for our purposes, this is a success.

Braves: Despite losing half the staff to Tommy John surgery, their starters still finish top-5 in the NL in ERA.
Atlanta’s starters were indeed fourth in the NL in ERA at 3.42, trailing only the Nationals (3.04), Dodgers (3.20), and Reds (3.37). If only they scored any runs at all. We miss offense. Success

Marlins: Jose Fernandez leads the NL in wins.
Fernandez won four games but made just eight starts before going down with season-ending surgery. Clayton Kershaw led the NL with 21 wins. Bust

Mets: Matt Harvey wins at least two games.
He didn’t pitch at all. Bust

Nationals: Strasburg strikes out 250.
League-leading 242. Close, but Bust.

Phillies: Ben Revere hits a home run.
Success!!!!!!!! MULTIPLE home runs!!!!!!!

Brewers: Ryan Braun has his best season by OPS+.
Braun hit .266/.324/.453/.777 for a 114 OPS+. All five of those are career lows, by a decent amount. Bust.

Cardinals: Matt Carpenter wins the batting title.
Your NL batting champion is Justin Morneau, at .319. That is the lowest batting average for a league leader since Terry Pendleton in 1991, and he also hit .319. You have to go back to Tony Gwynn’s .313 in 1988 to find a NL batting champion with a lower average; in the AL, you have to go all the way back to Rod Carew’s .318 in 1972. We miss offense. Anyway, Matt Carpenter hit only .272, and ended up tied for 31st out of 64 qualified players. Bust

Cubs: Jeff Samardzija remains a Cub all year.
This one was a bust by the time we did the first update on our bold predictions.

Pirates: The Pirates win no more than 85 games.
They won 88. Bust

Reds: Billy Hamilton doesn’t steal 50 bases.

He stole 56. Bust

Diamondbacks: Bronson Arroyo gives up more home runs than Mark Trumbo hits.
Both of these players had injury-plagued 2014s. Trumbo played in only 88 games and Arroyo made just 14 starts; Trumbo hit 14 home runs, and Arroyo gave up 10 homers. Relatively close, but bust.

Dodgers: Matt Kemp leads their position players in WAR.
While Kemp hit a very good .287/.346/.506/.852, 14o OPS+, including a downright scalding .971 OPS in the second half, WAR really does not like Kemp’s defense. His 1.1 WAR was 3rd-worst among Dodgers with 90 games played. Bust

Giants: Their team ERA+ is over 100.
Despite a team ERA of 3.50, their ERA+ was… 99. In 2000, a team ERA of 3.50 would have been the best in baseball by more than half a run. We miss offense. Bust

Padres: Huston Street gives up more home runs than at least one regular starter.
Street gave up four home runs all year – three with the Padres, then one with the Angels – which wasn’t more than any qualified starter on either of his teams, or any other team, this year. Bust

Rockies: Michael Cuddyer bats .330 or better again.
Cuddyer hit .332, but he only played in 49 games this season, so he didn’t qualify. We’ll still call this a tentative success.

With seven successes out of thirty, we had a “batting average” of about .233 this year. Considering the state of the game when it comes to offense, that’s still somewhat respectable, and it’s better than the batting averages of (among others) Carlos Santana, Chris Davis, Brian McCann, Curtis Granderson, Ryan Howard, Adam Dunn, Jay Bruce, Mark Teixeira, Allen Craig, and BJ Upton. We miss offense.

Stay tuned for the playoffs here at YCPB!

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Daily Roundup, 09/28/14

Entering the final day of the season, there were still three races with one-game playoff potential.
- Unfortunately, none of those scenarios came to pass, as Detroit clinched the AL Central, Pittsburgh lost (clinching the NL Central for St. Louis), and Oakland beat Texas, finally eliminating Seattle.

In that Pittsburgh-Cincinnati game, it was 1-1 when Jason Bourgeois led off the 8th with a triple. After a lineout, Johnny Cueto’s spot came up. With Cueto sitting on 19 wins and the Reds already out of it, he was allowed to hit for himself.
- He singled in the go-ahead run.
– Cueto becomes the first Reds pitcher to win 20 games since Danny Jackson in 1988.

Congratulations to Jordan Zimmermann on his no-hitter.
- This is the second year in a row with a no-hitter on the final game of the season. Henderson Alvarez did it last year against Detroit.
– The pitcher opposing Zimmermann today? Henderson Alvarez.

The Royals finished the season with 95 home runs – as a team.
- That’s the third-lowest team total since 1996, and the lowest from any AL team.
– They are the first AL team not to hit at least 100 home runs in a full season since 1992. Even in shortened 1994, there was only one AL team that didn’t hit 100 home runs (and that team, the Brewers, hit 99 home runs in 115 games).
— Again, this team is going to the playoffs.

Joe Nathan managed to record 35 saves despite a 4.81 ERA.
- That’s the 5th highest ERA for anyone to reach that milestone.
– It’s not even close to the record though–in 2004, Shawn Chacon saved 35 games with a 7.11 ERA.

Derek Jeter was removed from today’s Yankees/Red Sox game in the third inning after an infield single. Again, congratulations to Derek on a remarkable career.
- However, this information is mostly notable here on YCPB for his replacement: Brian McCann. Which means Brian McCann was pinch-running for someone.

Bobby Abreu ended his chronically underrated major league career today, too. He got his last hit as well, a hit as a Met against the Astros. His first MLB hit in 1996 was for the Astros, against the Mets.
- His manager was Terry Collins back then, too.

We wanted to take this space to thank all of you for following along with us this in this season of unpredictability. Stick around for the postseason and offseason, featuring a review of our bold predictions, plus thoughts on the World Series and Hall of Fame nominees. And remember – sometimes, the Royals make the playoffs.

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Daily Roundup 09/27/14

Francisco Liriano scored a run.

Nelson Cruz tripled.
- It’s actually his second triple of the season.

Ramon Santiago hit a walk-off grand slam:

Samuel Deduno doubled for his first Major League hit.
- It’s the first double for an Astros pitcher this year as well.

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Daily Roundup 09/26/14

The Royals are going to the playoffs!
- It’s the first time the Royals have made the playoffs since 1985.
– It’s the first time ever that the Royals and Pirates have made the postseason the same year.
— Via @marc_normandin and @hollinger, The entirety of Greg Maddux and Jamie Moyer’s major league careers happened since the last time the Royals made the playoffs.
—- Actually, you should probably just read this.

Jean Segura hit a home run.

The sequence of these tweets is impressive, to say the least:

(h/t @acomack).

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Daily Roundup, 09/25/14

Sometimes in baseball, you get a moment right out of a movie, and a list of facts (with the occasional dollop of snark) just won’t do. Here at YCPB, we feel like that happened tonight.

Thank you, Derek. The ultimate unpredictability might be the idea of baseball without you.

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Daily Roundup, 09/24/14

Phil Hughes set the all-time K/BB record in a season.

The Braves are 4-0 on Wednesday in September.
- Apart from that, they have one win this month. (h/t @Sctvman)

Jake Arrieta triple.

Stephen Drew homered.

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Daily Roundup 09/23/14

Felix Hernandez tonight, against a Blue Jays lineup in which Munenori Kawasaki batted fifth: 4.2 IP, 7 H, 8 ER, 3 BB, 5Ks.
- It’s the second time in team history that Mariners’ starter allowed eight earned runs in consecutive games. — Hernandez also walked in a run.
— Dalton Pompey, who started the year in A-ball, hit a home run.

Salvador Perez infield single.

The Pirates will be going to the playoffs two years in a row…
- This means that they will have gone to the postseason more times in the 2010s than the (defending World Champion) Red Sox.

Madison Bumgarner homered again, bringing his season total up to four.
- Via @billshaikin, after that at bat, Bumgarner had a .484 slugging percentage, while Puig was at .482.

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Daily Roundup, 09/22/14

The Mets are currently in second place.

Derek Jeter drove in three runs.
- The Orioles got one-hit.
– The last one-hit shutout by the Yankees at Yankee Stadium was in September 2010. CC Sabathia threw eight scoreless innings, and Jonathan Albaladejo closed it out. (h/t @yestoresearch)

Cleveland scored no runs today, but due to a quirk of scheduling – they were completing an unfinished game from August where they led 4-2 in the 10th – they won one game and lost another.
- Terrance Gore scored a run in that first suspended game. It started before he made his MLB debut.

The Pirates have played three 1-0 games in a row.

Kevin Pillar and Anthony Gose homered
- in the same game, even.

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Daily Roundup 09/21/14

Derek Jeter stole third.

Nick Punto tripled.

Ruben Tejada home run!

Delmon Young had an infield hit…
- Which he followed with a stolen base.

The Athletics won on a walk-off hit.
- They won by more than one run, as well.
– In fact, the A’s won their series with the Phillies.
— It’s only their second series win since August.

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