If last night was the final game of CC Sabathia’s terrific career, it was a shame it had to end that way. But it was a hell of a ride. The next time his picture will be on the cover of MLB Bullets will likely be when he’s inducted to Cooperstown.
Also, I realized that since Washington’s last trip to the World Series was in 1933, it can be considered “pre-Code.”
We’re on the verge of something that no one reading this can remember—a decade in which the Yankees failed to make the World Series.
- Jeff Passan writes about what we’ve learned so far in the playoffs and some of what we can expect to see this winter. Passan wrote this before Game 4 of the American League Championship Series, but he was assuming even at that point that the Astros will win the series.
- The Astros/Yankees ALCS has been full of controversy, on- and off-the-field. Astros manager AJ Hinch said he would pull his team off the field if fans at Yankee Stadium continued to throw objects at his players.
- Security was increased for Game 4, but Yankee fans were still behaving badly as fans taunted Astros starting pitcher Zack Greinke about his depression and social anxiety disorder as he warmed up for the game. Security did throw at least one fan out for that.
- The Yankees have accused the Astros of sign-stealing and relaying the information by whistling in at least Game 1. Hinch responded by calling the charges “a joke.”
- Here’s more on the sign-stealing and also charges of picking up on pitch-tipping, which no one thinks is illegal but it seems to be an issue anyway.
- MLB investigated the sign-stealing charges and dismissed the complaint, saying they found no rules violations by the Astros.
- Bob Nightengale believes that the Wednesday rain-out dealt a huge blow to the Yankees chances.
- Wallace Matthews doesn’t understand why the injured Giancarlo Stanton is still on the Yankees playoff roster.
- Many offered tributes to Sabathia as he left Game 4 with an injury, in what was almost certainly the last game of his career.
- Tom Verducci looks back at Astros pitcher Gerrit Cole’s amazing streak of 19-straight wins, equalling the mark of Hall-of-Famer Rube Marquard in 1912.
- Ben Lindbergh notes that this postseason has highlighted a resurgence in the importance of starting pitching. Recent seasons before this year had an increasing tendency for playoff managers to more heavily rely on their bullpens.
- Turning to the National League Champions, the Nationals, David Schoenfield examines what the Nats sweep of the Cardinals means for the team going forward into the World Series.
- Neil Paine looks at how close the Nats came to being eliminated in the postseason, not once but twice.
- Devan Fink covers similar territory, but focuses on the Nationals superstars who are coming up big at the right moment.
- Another article on how the Nats bullpen has gone from zeroes to heroes.
- Demetrius Bell says the Nationals success this season is proof that teams should keep trying to win because you never know what will happen once a team makes the postseason. Too many teams think the one-game playoff isn’t worth trying very hard for.
- Bill Baer wants to remind you that the Nationals won by spending lots of money.
- Baer also thinks that Nationals fans should stop trying to make the World Series about Bryce Harper. Harper wasn’t the reason the Nats failed in previous postseason and his absence isn’t the reason they won this year.
- Justin Klugh explains why he’s so thrilled that Howie Kendrick won the NLCS Most Valuable Player Award.
- Baseball and Washington have a long history and John Thorn explains who the first Washington Nationals were, a team that started play in 1859. Thorn also gives a brief history lesson on the Nationals vs. Senators nickname for DC baseball.
- You may have heard that former Cubs manager Joe Maddon is the new manager of the Los Angeles Angels.
- Tim Brown notes that Maddon is taking on a big challenge with the Angels, one that goes far beyond just wins and losses on the field.
- Ken Rosenthal notes that the Angels, a team in turmoil after a poor season and the scandal surrounding the death of Tyler Skaggs, need an upbeat leader like Maddon right now. (The Athletic sub. req.) Rosenthal also reports that the Halos are the “overwhelming favorite” to sign Orange County native Gerrit Cole when he enters free agency this winter.
- Michael Baumann writes that Maddon was the obvious choice for the Angels, but he’s not sure Maddon is the right choice to deal with the mess that is going on with the Angels at the moment.
- The Angels themselves, however have no doubts. While they’re all retired from playing now, many of the former Angels players who knew Maddon when he was in Anaheim before are still connected to the organization and have nothing but great things to say about the new Halos manager. Also, current Angel Tommy La Stella played for Maddon before with the Cubs and is thrilled to get a chance to play for him again.
- Angels two-way player Shohei Ohtani is disappointed in his 2019 season and vows to do better in 2020. He had a 2.5 bWAR in 106 games and he didn’t pitch or play the field once. He has high standards.
- Back to the playoffs which are still being overshadowed by a ball controversy. Jeff Passan asks the players what they think of the “dead ball” being used in the postseason. Or not being used in the playoff according to commissioner Rob Manfred.
- Stephanie Apstein notes that teams are adapting to the new reality of a “deader” baseball.
- Jay Jaffe explains why he is more skeptical that the ball, in general, is not flying as far in the postseason (although he does find a possible exception), but that the lack of quality control for balls speaks poorly of MLB’s leadership.
- David Roth argues that the dead postseason ball is a sign of how arrogant owners manipulate the game just because they can.
- According to one report, the Phillies vacant manager’s job will go to a veteran skipper with Dusty Baker, Joe Girardi and Buck Showalter as the three finalists.
- The Padres will give veteran manager Ron Washington a second interview for their vacant managerial position.
- MLB will let investment funds buy minority stakes in teams and Ben Clemens thinks this is a big deal that should get a lot more attention than it is getting.
- Giants minor league Jacob Heyward (Jason’s brother) got ejected arguing balls and strikes with a robot umpire in the Arizona Fall League.
- Finally, this is a Cubs item but I’ll include it anyway. Yu Darvish got into it with someone on Twitter and that led to his new “Eat Fried Chicken Until Death” Diet. Clearly Darvish has a career as a nutritionist after his playing days.
And tomorrow will be a better day than today, Buster.