The White Sox, who led the AL Central for all but seven days from May 29 to September 25, fell to two games behind the Tigers with their loss yesterday. The White Sox get the Rays and Indians for their final six games, while the Tigers get the Twins and Royals.
- It sounds like Bobby Valentine's days as the manager of the Boston Red Sox are numbered. In an interview yesterday with a Boston radio station, GM Ben Cherington was asked about the pace of a managerial hiring decision, if the Red Sox decided to move on from Valentine. You'd expect a GM to dance around that question, and leave opaque the possibility of an actual firing. But Cherington didn't really do that, instead saying, "I'd always rather get the decision right rather than rush it. But I think that what we know we need to do is hit the ground running in this offseason. One of the things, as I look back at last offseason, that didn't go perfectly was simply the amount of time that we spent on the manager search and what that did to the rest of the offseason. I would like to spend less time on it this offseason, that's for sure." So, there's going to be a search? Obviously Cherington would say that he simply meant that the front office has to make a decision on Valentine, and that's part of "spending less time on it" this offseason. But it certainly looks grim for Valentine, whose season has been ugly from the word go.
- The Giants announced yesterday that, regardless of how far they make it in the playoffs, Melky Cabrera will not rejoin them this year. Cabrera was suspended for 50 games for testing positive for a PED, and would have been eligible to return to the Giants after their fifth postseason game.
- Grantland's Jonah Keri dug deep into those trades where a "small market" team is "forced" to trade one of its stars in arbitration, because they're getting too expensive. How often did they win that trade? How often was it a good idea to not just pony up the cash to keep the star? The results were mixed - with respect to positional players, there was a clear split in good trades and bad ones. On the pitching side, though, teams were more likely to "win" the trade if they were dealing away an established pitcher who was about to get expensive. It's a very interesting read.
- Deadspin evaluated which pundits have done the best at predicting MLB postseason appearances/results over the past three years, and the main takeaway was: they're all bad at it. If you bet a dollar on all of their predictions over those past three years, it would have netted you just $0.80 (meaning, they would have lost you 20%). Interestingly, even if you went by just the "favorites," you would have been a big loser, too. Baseball has actually been far more difficult to predict than the NBA or NFL, despite the theoretically increased parity in those leagues due to salary caps.
- How did the Oakland A's go from selling off this Winter to being a Wild Card favorite in September? Joe Lemire examines how they did it.
- Doug Fister set an AL record yesterday by striking out nine consecutive hitters.
- The Red Sox have named former favorite son Jason Varitek a special assistant to the GM.