Baseball Thoughts Entering the 2015 Playoffs (or how the Cubs can win the World Series)

By Joe Hines
PSDC Staff & Chicago Guru

I’m sitting in the ProjectShanks.com home office in Longview, Texas, six feet to the left of my slave-driving boss, Chris Stuckey. Talk about pressure.

But I surge ahead, determined to transfer these thoughts I have from my brain to keyboard, whether a thousand miles away at home, or at headquarters.

Photo Credit: USA Today

Photo Credit: USA Today

In case you haven’t noticed, the Cubs have the third best record in baseball. It is typical, that in such a case, the two better records belong to teams in their own NL Central Division; the Cardinals and Pirates. With only a couple of games this weekend to settle the dust and seal the postseason awards, the National League playoffs are set. The Cubs and Pirates will play the one game wild card game in Pittsburgh on Wednesday night, TBS the dutiful portrayer of the game. And don’t the playoffs just scream TBS? They broadcast an excuse me game every now and again, I was surprised to find late in the season that Ted Turner’s network even continued to broadcast baseball, with the superstations TBS and WGN dumping the local team coverage in the last few years, they being the Braves and Cubs. But that’s a conversation for a different column. [Read more…]

Major League Baseball’s Review at the Two-Thirds Point

By Joe Hines
PSDC Staff & Chicago Guru

Mike-Trout

Major league baseball is at the 2/3 mark of the 2015 season and begs for a review. These are the dog days, heading into mid-August with sellers selling and buyers hoping to rent their way to top of the heap. Re: Toronto Blue Jays. [Read more…]

My Most Excellent Cub Game

By Joe Hines
PSDC Staff & Chicago Guru

Those of you who read my work with regularity know I am a huge, die-hard Cub fan. It’s either a curse or a privilege, depending on your point of view. So when I get the opportunity to head into the city and see a game at iconic, pastoral Wrigley Field, I leap at the chance. Friday was such a day.

Joe-Hines-Wrigley-PSDC

For those of you who have never been to the friendly confines, so named by Cubs legend Ernie Banks, God rest his soul, allow me to paint a picture of its setting. [Read more…]

Still Waiting for Roberto Clemente Day

By Justin Broyles
PSDC Writer
 

Today would have been Roberto Clemente’s 80th birthday. It is a day that the MLB and its fans remember one of the best and influential players in baseball history. As I do remember the great one, I always say to myself, why is there no Roberto Clemente Day in baseball?

Roberto-Clemente

Jackie Robinson has an entire day dedicated to his legacy, which is well deserved because he broke the color barrier in baseball. Players all wear No. 42 on that day and that number is retired across the league. This is all deserved, I don’t disagree with that, but where is the love for Clemente? [Read more…]

Reaction to the Brewers-Pirates Bench-Clearing Brawl

By Andrew Voght
PSDC Contributor

So unless you’ve been under a rock or working overtime, you’ve heard about Gomez fight 3.0. This dude has a chip on his shoulder and knows how to stir the pot in the NL Central. In the third inning, Gomez came to bat against rookie Gerrit Cole and in true Carlos Gomez (and Brewers) fashion he lacked hustle on his way to a triple.

The biggest part of the situation was Gomez’s reaction to what seemed to be a bomb to dead center and flipping his bat while jogging to first. But falling short of the fence, the ball bounced on back into play towards center fielder Andrew McCutchen. After rounding first Gomez decided to turn on the burners and blew his way to a triple. [Read more…]

PSDC Random Stat of the Day

By Johnny Griffith
PSDC Stat Man

The Pirates scored their only run in Game 5 on an RBI single by Pedro Alvarez, who became the first player in major-league history to drive in runs in each of the first six postseason games of his career (beginning with Pittsburgh’s Wild Card Playoff Game against the Reds). Alvarez is the first player ever to drive in runs in each game of a Division Series that went the distance. His six-game RBI streak in the postseason is the second-longest in Pirates history, one shy of the mark of seven straight games with RBIs set by Clyde Barnhart, spanning the 1925 and 1927 World Series.

Pedro-Alvarez

From Elias via ESPN.COM

Random Site of the Day: www.theoatmeal.com

MLB Playoffs: National League Division Series Previews

By Joe Hines
PSDC Staff & Chicago Guru 

While waiting to see if Tampa Bay or Cleveland earns the right to be dismantled by their next opponents, here is a Reader’s Digest version of the National League Division Series.

Pittsburgh Pirates vs. St. Louis Cardinals:
As a Cubs fan, every atom I’m made of wants to see St. Louis lose… or to see Pittsburgh win. These Central Division rivals continue a long season series in the NLDS. The Pirates have the advantage of having the entire country rooting for them, outside of St. Louis. This of course is because they are in the postseason for the first time in 22 years. That personal bias aside, here is how I see the series unfolding by segment.

Russell-Martin

OFFENSE
Advantage: St. Louis. The Cardinals have a preposterous advantage here. Their average of .300 plus with runners in scoring position is absurd. The major league average is somewhere around .260. One of the few offensive liabilities is the loss of Allen Craig. He was having a near-MVP season until he was injured, but I see the likes of Yadier Molina and Matt Carpenter filling the hole left by Craig’s absence.

PITCHING
Advantage: Stinking Cardinals. A rotation thought to be weaker with the loss of Chris Carpenter continued to plug holes with the seemingly endless stream of minor league call-ups. Adam Wainwright with 19 wins leads the way in the rotation. The bullpen is a red flag though, especially the back end. That may be one of the Pirates slim chances, getting to the short relief corps.

INTANGIBLES
Advantage: Pittsburgh. We love to posit ourselves behind the feel good story in any playoff series, and the Pirates fill the bill. The long postseason absence has most baseball followers hoping for the feel-good, magical result. The Buccos, with 94 wins have the most wins besides the Cards, they haven’t even had 80 wins for a season since 1992.

Prediction: Cards in 4

Atlanta Braves vs. Los Angeles Dodgers:

OFFENSE
Advantage: Atlanta. The Braves get just a slight edge here largely due to the absence of Matt Kemp of the Dodgers. LA has played the great majority of its schedule without Kemp. In fact, the ignominious beginning to their season, up until June, was played WITH Kemp in the lineup. The remarkable final 2/3 of the season was played largely without him.

PITCHING
Advantage: Los Angeles. Clayton Kershaw and his sub 2.00 ERA is enough to carry over to the rest of the staff, even games he doesn’t start.

INTANGIBLES
Advantage: Los Angeles. Due largely to the worst to first in one season scenario they put together. They were something like 30-3 immediately following the All-Star Break. Plus Kershaw is just awesome.

Prediction: Dodgers in 5

American League tomorrow.

Follow Joe on Twitter: @hinesjoe

The Road to 82: A Countdown to a Pirates’ Winning Season: It’s Here at Last

By Garrett Franskousky
PSDC Writer

The Streak, the Curse it’s all over. The Buccos finally got over the hump that has haunted Buccos fans for two decades with a 1-0 win over the Rangers in Arlington. Gerrit Cole and Rangers ace Yu Darvish both pitched artfully, as each starter both pitched a full seven innings. Cole finally looked like the fireball prospect he was throughout the minors as he finally established his strikeout pitch, striking out nine batters in the game while allowing only five base runners. The Pirates offense would only muster six hits including Pedro Alvarez’s RBI double that plated Marlon Byrd for the team’s only run. [Read more…]

The Road to 82: A Countdown to a Pirates’ Winning Season- 1 To Go

By Garrett Franskousky
PSDC Writer

 

The Pirates have finally done it. The long agonizing years of losing season after losing season are finally over. The Pirates reached the 81 win plateau in a 4-3 win. The Pirates offense got started in the first when Andrew McCutchen ripped his 100th career home run with a long shot to left-center. In the bottom half however Pirates starter Gerrit Cole would have a difficult time with his command as he left a decent amount of pitches in a very hittable zone and would allow two runs off the bat of Jonathan Lucroy. After the first inning however Cole would find his groove, as he would only allow three more base runners over his next five innings of work. The Pirates would climb back into the thanks to two RBIs off the bat of Marlon Byrd, one in the third and one in the eighth. In bottom of the eighth however, Vin Mazzaro would allow the tying run to come across thanks to a Jean Segura RBI single. But one of the most unlikely of Buccos would be the one to bring the team back as Travis Snider hit a solo shot in the top of the ninth to retake the lead. Melancon would get the save opportunity over Grilli who was activated yesterday, mainly because Clint Hurdle wants to ease Grilli back into the role. But Melancon pitched artfully as he has all year and got the save. [Read more…]

The Road to 82: A Countdown to a Pirates’ Winning Season- 2 To Go

By Garrett Franskousky
PSDC Writer

I hope you had a great Labor Day weekend like the Bucs did, as the Pirates won two of three against the Cardinals and the first game of the series against Milwaukee. The first game and 79th win for the Pirates was a laugher as the Bucs blasted the Cardinals in a 7-1 contest. Cardinals’ starter Lance Lynn was torched by Pittsburgh batters as he was gave up seven runs on 10 hits in the first four innings. The offense was led by Russell Martin who crushed a three-run homer in the third, Neil Walker who went 3-for-4 on the day, and Marlon Byrd who went 2-for-4 with an RBI single. Starter AJ Burnett enjoyed having run support which has been a rarity for his starts this year, as AJ went seven innings, only allowed four hits and struck out six. [Read more…]

The Road to 82: A Countdown to a Pirates’ Winning Season- 4 To Go

By Garrett Franskousky
PSDC Writer

The Pirates continued a trend of late, and rebounded from a lackluster loss with a solid win in a 5-0 decision over the Cardinals. Francisco Liriano continued on his tear, winning his 15th game of the season lasting 8 shutout innings allowing only two hits and walking two while striking out six batters. On the other side Shelby Miller, who is in the middle of a breakout season, fell to 0-4 against Pittsburgh this year in an outing where he only lasted 4.1 innings allowing all of the Pirates’ five runs. Offensively, the Pirates were led by Garrett Jones, who went 3-for-4 with four RBIs. Jones was coming of a dreadful August, hitting only .117 in the month before last night’s game. With the win the Pirates move up an even tie for first with the Saint Louis Cardinals. [Read more…]