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2015 MLB Season Thread with Postseason Discussion


Gary

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The fan who fell from the upper deck at a Braves-Yankees game has died.

http://abc7chicago.com/sports/fan-dies-after-fall-at-turner-field-during-yankees-braves-police-say/962262/

and they are flying the flag at American half-staff. dont know why. if he was in the military, that would be fine, other then that, i think the Braves flag (if there is one flying there) should be flown at half-staff.

Do you ever not have a problem? With anything?

i think lowing the team flag to half-staff would have been better.

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Day before rosters expand to 40. Here's what I see going on around the league.

Its a bit lengthy so if you just want to want to read my thoughts on one or two teams, just go to the bolded division.

AL East

I think you're seeing Toronto very slowly starting to pull away from the Yankees. Last couple weeks have been two steps forward, one step backward for that team, but its starting to become clear this is no longer a one dimensional team.

David Price has given Toronto a true number one ace. Sub 2 ERA since joining the team over 5 starts to go with a 4-0 record, and a strikeout to walk ratio of nearly 6:1. Also 4-0 for the month of August, a guy who a few weeks ago seemed like he couldn't buy a win, R.A. Dickey, who's nearly worked his record back up to .500

Outside of Price what's been the big difference for Toronto over the last few months has been their bullpen. Roberto Osuna has been lights out the past month with a sub 1 ERA for the month of August to drop his ERA to sub 2 for the year. You also have four other solid relievers in Brett Cecil, Liam Hendricks, Aaron Sanchez and Bo Schultz, all of whom could conceivably end the year with sub 3 ERA's.

I think this is the best most dynamic Blue Jay team we've seen since '93. I'm still going with Kansas City to take the AL pennant, but Toronto is a very close second.

As for the Yankees, I think they're probably the most underrated team going into October. People look at that team and ask where's the starting pitching. They have plenty of hitting, pretty good defense and arguably the best bullpen in baseball. But their number one starter is coming into October is Masato Tanaka, who wouldn't be anything more then a two on any other team playing in October and possibly not even a number three on some teams like the Mets and Cardinals.

But the Yankees have made one upgrade to their starting rotation since the deadline and that's been the promotion of Luis Severino. Now is Severino a guy that's going to be the magic pill as far as giving the Yankees that much needed big time starter? No he's not, or at least not yet. I'd be shocked if he went any further then six innings in any start from here on out. But I do think he could beat out Ivan Nova for the fourth spot in that rotation, or be a solid middle inning guy that the Yankees could throw out if a starter ever got in trouble, ala their own version of Yusmeiro Petit.

Either way Severino may just have enabled the Yankees to be the one team that could get away with having a sub par starting staff in October. If their hitting gets hot and their bullpen stays the way its been all year, they could be a very tough team to send packing.

AL Central

The Royals have basically just picked off right where they left off last year and I think are even better coming into October this year.

Pitching wise its about the same, but that offense is no longer a team of getting somebody on base and hope you can get them in. Hosmer, Gordon, Morales, Zobrist, Cain and Moustakas are all RBI threats even when there's just a runner on first base. Cain in particular I think has really emerged into one of the game's true superstar players. Seeing him at the plate and in the field, Kirby Puckett comes to mind for me as far as that great defense goes along with being a high average guy with some power to go with some pretty good speed on the base paths.

Shot list of names as far as guys who I would want on my team over Lorenzo Cain.

The only real knock on this team is that their starting pitching hasn't been there been all year. Even with the addition of Cueto, not much seems to have changed in Kansas City. Like the Yankees their bullpen is so talented, they may be able to get away with it as they did last year. Just keep in mind, both David Price and Dallas Keuchel are better pitchers then anyone the Royals ran into last year before they got to Bumgarner and the Giants and odds are they're going to have to face at least one of them.

AL West

Without question to me the biggest surprise of the second half has been Texas.

For the first half of the season, they were your typical Texas Rangers team. Plenty of offense, but zero pitching and middling a little under .500. That describes at least 70% of your Ranger teams in history.

But then they get Cole Hamels, Derek Holland comes back looking better then ever, Colby Lewis seems to have tracked down a time machine as seven of his last nine starts have been quality ones. Now all of a sudden everyone should be wondering just how good this Ranger team really is.

Two months this was a team with one starter in Gallardo that you were afraid of no matter how good your offense was. Now they could have as many as three with the additions of Hamels and Holland.

If this was the team the Rangers had trotted out from day one, they could be the ones sitting with the best record in the AL right now.

For their part Houston I think has done a pretty good job keeping pace. Dallas Keuchel would get my vote for Cy Young if the season ended today. They have to be thrilled with the addition of Scott Kazmir. Before him the biggest problem I saw with Houston is that if you beat Dallas Keuchel you probably win the series, because after Keuchel the next best guy they had was Scott Feldman. Who wants to give the ball to Scott Feldman down 0-1?

Even with Kazmir I still get the sense with this Astros team that they're still not quite there yet. They're second in home runs, but seventh in OPS, which tells they really have no way of scoring runs outside of hitting home runs and I don't like those types of offenses in October, because even an average starting pitcher could shut them down if they're not hitting like they normally do.

With the Angels I think its pretty safe to say that they are out of contention. Pujols has fallen off in the second half and its really exposed the lack of depth in that lineup. Before it was just Pujols and Trout you had to worry about, but now its just Trout. Even if the offense got better, Jered Weaver has completely fallen off and C.J. Wilson is done for the year, so I don't see how they have enough pitching to get back into the race.

What I see in Anaheim is team that may have to make some very tough calls this offseason. I know they got knocked around for not doing more at the deadline, but what were they supposed to do. They have no farm system and nobody at the major league level they could afford to trade.

I think Mike Trout gives them probably the best player in baseball to build a team around, but this year is a good lesson of what happens when its all on him. You don't want to use the r word around a team that thinks they can spend their way out of of their problems, but that may be what has to happen.

Power rankings this is how I would have it amongst the teams that I think could be playing in October:

1. Royals

2. Blue Jays

3. Rangers

4. Yankees

5. Astros

NL East

I don't think any Met fan wants to call this race over just yet given the recent history of September collapses the Mets have had, but I have a hard time picturing how the Nats get back into this without the Mets completely falling on their faces.

Like the Jays and the Rangers in the AL, this is not the same Met team that started the 2015 season. Two months ago this team couldn't hit worth a lick. But they add Yoenis Cespedes who's been their best hitter since joining the team, they get David Wright back and they get Travis D'Arnaud back who looks like he could be the best catcher in the NL after Buster Posey and suddenly they can hit.

They've also brought up Michael Conforto who looks like he's going to be the starting left fielder going forward with Cespedes in center. You bring in Kelly Johnson and Juan Uribe, Conforto and Cespedes force Michael Cuddyer to the bench. You add that in with Ruben Tejada and Juan Lagares all of a sudden you're looking at a team with a pretty damn good bench to go with everything their starting lineup has to offer.

They may be 11th in the NL in OPS, but this is not the 4th worst offense in the NL.

Pitching wise its an abutment of riches in the starting rotation. Bullpen I think is solid at the back end with Clippard and Familia, but I would be nervous about innings 5-7. Sean Gillmartin is the only guy who's done anything in that position. Both Robles and Torres have blown some games and Eric O'Flatherty has been nothing short of a complete disaster since joining the team, so if there's a weakness to be had on this team that would be it.

The solution in mind may be to wait until October, because Jon Niese, Bartolo Colon and Stephen Matz are all going to be on the team in October, but only one of them will need to start.

With Washington if there's any team that should be kicking themselves for not doing more at the deadline its them.

They've been playing better lately, but it could be a case of too little too late. Max Scherzer has pitched himself out of the Cy Young discussion. A 6.43 ERA to go with an 0-3 record in the month of August will do that. Everyone in that lineup not named Bryce Harper continues to be pedestrian with their productivity. The addition of Papelbon has made the bullpen marginally better, but that's about it. And what a shock that Stephen Strasburg once again could be having health issues after getting pulled from his last start. That's on top of Denard Span who looks like he's going to miss at least half the month of September with back issues and after Harper, that's probably been their second best position player this year.

The only way Washington gets back in the race is for guys like Ryan Zimmerman, Jayson Werth and Anthony Rendon to do what they haven't done all year and that's show up.

NL Central

It could be the case that the three best teams in the NL are all in this division.

The Cardinals starting pitching has just been unfair all year. 1-5 in that rotation all have sub 3 ERA's. As a team their ERA is only .15 higher then what it was in 1968 with Bob Gibson. What's even scarier is all of that is without Adam Wainwright.

Bullpen situation I think is similar to the Mets, but like the Mets you have to figure at least one of those starters most likely Carlos Martinez is going to be moved to help out with the middle innings.

What's surprising about this team is that the lineup which we're so used to seeing near or at the top of the NL in every statistical category year in and year out, hasn't been anything all that special this year.

Holliday and Heyward are the only everyday players hitting at least .290, and its very likely not a single player will finish the year with 30 home runs. What's been really hurting them is the lack of production at a few positions. Mark Reynolds has not done much at first, and how often is it the case where you could consider first base a weakness on the Cardinals? This is a team that's had Albert Pujols, Stan Musial, Johnny Mize, Keith Hernandez, Jim Bottomley and Mark McGwire all play that position over the years. Hard pressed to come up with another team having that much historical depth at one position.

You also have Yadier Molina who looks his finally starting to show his age at the plate. The average is still there, but the power isn't. Peralta has completely fallen off in the second half, and Kolton Wong hasn't been much above average at second.

The Cardinals have always been a tough team for me to crack. Almost any year I expect them to do something in the playoffs they get bounced round one and any year I don't think they're doing much, they win the World Series.

This year is no different. One look at the record and you would figure they have to be the all out favorites to win the NL. But a closer look says if their pitching was anything less then the flat out best in the league, they probably wouldn't be in the playoffs.

With Pittsburgh I think you're getting the sense of a team where this could be it. If not 2015 for these guys, then when?

Pretty good starting eight I think, but no bench to really speak of. Starting staff is solid, bullpen is solid.

There's nothing really wrong with this team in terms of how they're built. It just feels like they're still one player short of getting to that next level and its seems like that's been the theme for the Pirates over the last few years.

I would love to see Pittsburgh do well, I can't see this team going past the NLCS.

Similar deal I think with the Cubs, although their future looks a bit brighter. My question with them is if I beat Jake Arrieta in game one is that effectively series over, because how are you going to beat me 4 games out of 6, or 3 games out of 4 if Arrieta can't win you more then one of those games? Yeah they will have Jon Lester going game two, but given a choice between Jon Lester and the other guy in October, I'm probably taking the other guy, because odds are that other guy is Clayton Kershaw, or Jacob DeGrom, or Michael Wacha. This is one the issues with October baseball. Guys who you would previously send out there and not think twice of can suddenly make you wish you had something a bit better.

A lot more to like with the Cubs then dislike, but I think too many guys are still finding their way around the locker room for them to do much. Once guys like Kyle Schwarber get a full year under their belt I think they'll be in much better shape.

NL West

It has to be frustrating being a Dodger fan at this point.

Top to bottom I really don't see any weakness with this team. The only liability in the lineup is Jimmy Rollins. The bench is solid. Greinke and Kershaw is best 1-2 combo of any team in baseball. The bullpen is solid but not great. Much better then last year if nothing else.

But its also a team that's been no-hit twice in less then a month and you have to wonder if maybe that offense isn't as great people think it is.

Dead last in steals and only ninth in batting average. The Dodgers can walk and they can hit home runs, but what if they get a power outage? Those two no-hitters may be part of the answer.

I'd like to think better of them and want to make them my favorite out of the NL, but I thought they were a better team last year coming in and they got bounced in four games and we're a dark horse pick of mine a few years prior to that. I've lost all trust in them at this point to send them past the NLCS.

With the Giants like the Cards I'm not surprised they're in it, but really surprised with how they're getting it done.

Years past its been great pitching and just enough offense to get by. That script has completely reversed itself this year as nobody other then Madison Bumgarner has been that intimating to face, but their hitting is right there with LA and may in fact be even better then the Dodgers as they've had no problem hitting for average (1st in the NL) or hitting for power (3rd in the NL in slugging). Not a lot of dingers, but plenty of doubles to make up for it.

I think San Fran has the best middle relief of any of the teams I see in the NL. Starting pitching could be better, but they could survive a game one loss by Bumgarner given the way that lineup is built. They're the last team in the NL who experience would be an issue for.

Their story really hasn't been all that different coming into September then it has in recent years. Nothing to really love or hate about this team, just sort of there hoping for a few of their guys to step up once again.

Power rankings here's how I would go for the NL of the teams still in it:

1. Cardinals

2. Mets

3. Dodgers

4. Giants

5. Pirates

6. Cubs

Of the 11 teams really still in it, I'd say the Cubs, the Pirates and the Astros are the only teams who I don't see winning the World Series. Everyone else I can picture a path for.

What I like about October this year is how many Cinderella stories we have coming in. The Mets, the Blue Jays, the Cubs, the Rangers, the Astros would all be very special stories if they went all the way.

Just a lot of fans getting excited who haven't had any reason to be excited in a long time.

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I think I said last year that way back in 2009 or 2010 I read an SI piece about how the Royals were going to contend in 2013. They were a year off, but it happened.

I also remember a similar piece about the Astros when they were at the bottom, and similarly, they've contended.

Outside of the now-absurd predictions of the Ms in the World Series, the only thing I ever read about them is that they have bad contracts, wasted Felix, and have a bleak future.

No point here, other then a long sigh for my local baseball franchise.

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Awwwwww man, really? I figure Mets fans would love Mattingly the most of any ex-Yankee because Donnie represents the time period of the Mets greatest dominance of the city. Associated good memories and stuff like that.

The only ex-Yankee I liked was Yogi Berra, but he lost my respect when he and Steinbrenner made up.

"he lost your respect" .. get a grip man

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Been a while since I was able to award this

LONGESTPOSTAWARD_zps0631c553.png

I read all of that by the way. Nice job.

Has it really been over two years since I last won one of those? Jeez. I've really slacked.

Pmoehrin does excellent work here and deserves a better platform.

Yeah, where have you been? The other Yankee fans here don't seem to tolerate my shenanigans like you do.

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Been a while since I was able to award this

I read all of that by the way. Nice job.

Has it really been over two years since I last won one of those? Jeez. I've really slacked.

Pmoehrin does excellent work here and deserves a better platform.

Yeah, where have you been? The other Yankee fans here don't seem to tolerate my shenanigans like you do.

Ironically, mostly on a medium where you're limited by 140 characters.

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Picking up 9 games on the Yankees in five weeks isn't good enough? Jeez. They're 16-16 over their last 32 games; hardly blazing any paths with their play, and the best hitter on the team just got shutdown, certainly, through the first half of the month, if not longer, which is a pretty big blow.

In that same time, the Jays are 25-7, which translates to a .781 W%. I'm not really sure Jays fans can be the ones annoyed by how the other team is playing recently. It's pretty clear who the better team out of the two is.

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The Giants couldn't even take advantage of the Reds winning twice at Wrigley.

Cubs lose two of three to the last-place Reds, yet gained a game on them for the WC.

My Giants are done. Injuries and inconsistent pitching from the rest of the staff other than Bumgarner. Curse of the odd year. I hate saying this but the Dodgers deserve the NL West title. Playoff success is what they have to prove though.

Odd stat of the night: Crew Chief Mike Winter has ejected Bruce Bochy 6 times in his career.

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Shockingly, I think the Giants have exceeded my expectations. I thought that they'd be flat-out terrible this year, yet they stayed in the race until the end of August. It was a pleasant surprise that they were as good as they were this year, and I hope they do a bit of an overhaul in the offseason (i.e. a better backup 2B, better starters outside of MadBum, etc.)

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