Good morning. It’s the final Outside the Confines of September. Which means playoff baseball is on the way.
- There’s only six days left of the major league regular season and Jeff Passan breaks down all the crazy tiebreak scenarios that could come up in the American League Wild Card chase. It’s not likely to happen, but if you want real chaos you need to root for a five-team tie for the two AL Wild Card spots. That’s a scenario that MLB never even bothered to make a rule to deal with.
- Jay Jaffe breaks down all the remaining races and the wild Wild Card tie scenarios as well.
- David Schoenfield has things to look for in the final week of the season. (ESPN+ sub. req.)
- Mike Axisa has four reasons why the Yankees are now back in prime playoff position.
- Sam Borden introduces another reason why the Yankees are winning: their new lucky pet turtle.
- This is perhaps the most important link of the week, so of course it’s behind a paywall. Kyle Glaser looks at how well the new rules introduced in the minor leagues this season worked. (Baseball America sub. req.) I’ll give a quick summary. Pitch clocks got a big thumbs up from everyone. Larger bases were a small positive, as were the limits on stepping off the mound and pick-off throws. The rules limiting shifting really didn’t do anything. The automated strike zone (“robot umpires”) needs a lot more time in the minors and is nowhere near ready for The Show.
- Jay Jaffe points out that teams that head into the playoffs “hot” or “cold” doesn’t really play a role in how well they do in the postseason. Sorry, Cardinals.
- Zach Kram looks at how the playoff hopes of the Padres collapsed this year.
- Jesse Rogers notes that now that the White Sox have clinched the AL Central, the real hard work begins.
- Jesse Yomtov tries to find one positive thing for the four worst teams in baseball.
- Legendary Hall-of-Fame Spanish-language Dodgers broadcaster Jaime Jarrín announced that he will retire after the 2022 season. Jarrín has been broadcasting Dodgers games since 1959.
- The Giants are making the playoffs, but their World Series hopes took a blow when first baseman Brandon Belt suffered a broken thumb. The Giants aren’t putting a timetable on his return, but he certainly could be out for the year.
- Luke Hooper looks at the Giants’ options at first base going forward.
- Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard pitched one inning Tuesday night in his first major league appearance since 2019.
- Angels two-way player Shohei Ohtani said after his final pitching appearance of 2021: “I want to win.” He said he loves Anaheim and the Angels, but he wants to win.
- Phillies outfielder Bryce Harper could win the National League MVP Award this season. Brian Menéndez writes that Harper’s great season is not a product of luck.
- Matt Snyder looks at which MLB managers could get fired this off-season.
- Ben Clemens looks back at his pre-season predictions. This is why you should never make pre-season predictions.
- Rays owner Stuart Sternberg has apologized for a plan to post a “Tampa Bay/Montreal” sign at Tropicana Field during the postseason. The Rays will not be doing that now.
- Evan Drellich looks at the Rays’ harebrained idea to play half of their games in Tampa and half of their games in Montreal. (The Athletic sub. req.) Which apparently isn’t dead yet.
- Joe Lemire looks at the “title inflation” going on in MLB at the moment. Now general managers get “Corporate-style” titles like “President of Baseball Operations.”
- Ben Lindberg looks at Athletics pitcher Yusmeiro Petit and the advantages that some pitchers get from “hiding the ball” during their delivery.
- Aaron Dodson has a profile of the life of Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor, who went from having to buy shoes on layaway in Puerto Rico to having his own shoe line today,
- Marc Carig thinks that in addition to no-hitters, we should be looking at “all-hitters,” or games when a starting pitcher gave up a hit to every batter they faced. (The Athletic sub. req.)
- Rustin Dodd and Sam Blum look back at the greatest day of regular season baseball ever: the final day and game 162 of the 2011 season. (The Athletic sub. req.)
- Anthony Castrovince has a great look at when the White Sox decided to move home plate out eight feet at old Comiskey Park before the 1983 season.
- And finally, normally a meaningless home run in a game between two long-eliminated teams in the last week of the season wouldn’t get much of a mention. But when Cleveland outfielder Bradley Zimmer hit a home run off of his older brother, Kansas City pitcher Kyle Zimmer, that’s something different.
Here’s what Craig Calcaterra wrote about it in his subscription newsletter.
I’m frankly amazed that Bradley made it around the bases without dancing like a fool and taunting Kyle like crazy. If it was my brother and me in those situations there’d be double freedom rockets, muscle flexes, and two dudes yelling “BITCH!” back and forth at each other for all 360 feet of the trot. ESPECIALLY if, as was the case here, the YOUNGER brother was the one who hit the dinger. As the younger brother I can tell you that it would be bedlam, my friends. And I think any pair of well-adjusted brothers would say the same.
It’s going to be an interesting Thanksgiving at Momma Zimmer’s house. You all have a great day today and tomorrow, OK?