ALCS 2018 - Houston Astros

CoffeeNerdness

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Who cares really? We have Pedro dancing in the studio.
The studio is filled with ex-players who all have allegiances to their former teams and there's not expectation of neutrality. A national broadcast with a homer talking to the audience for 3.5 - 5 hours per game is much different. He's terrible enough at his job, so being a homer is the cherry on the shit sundae. We care because it's annoying af and detracts from the presentation of the game.
 

joe dokes

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We care because it's annoying af and detracts from the presentation of the game.
I didn't make it past 6 inning of TV in any of the games. The announcers just annoyed me and made the program worse. I dont need them to add to the telecast. I actually think Buck does that a tiny bit, as his genuine respect and appreciation for the history of the game and its moments seems to come through. (YMMV, of course). Anderson and Darling were worse than "not adding value." Maybe it was lack of preparation or familiarity (with the teams or each other). Maybe there's a skill in doing a national game as opposed to local that these guys lack.
When I was listening on radio, it was 95% Sox radio. But Sciambi was excellent as is Shulman on the NL games on ESPN.
 

Imbricus

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This series was another good case study in "dangers of taunting your opponents." Even though the Red Sox officially kind of shrugged off Bregman's Instagram post where he says he's prepping for game three with video of knocking a home run earlier in the season against Eovaldi, it clearly irritated some of the Red Sox. Pearce made a comment about it, and in game 3, he was swinging for the fences from his first time up, then finally caught a pitch and launched it. Then Price apparently said "Post that" after Eovaldi struck out Bregman last night.

It's dumb to give your opponents corkboard material to rally around and get psyched up. I know Bregman's a great player, but that was a stupid move. And Hinch's reaction to what Bregman did didn't help either.

Edit: Fixed to read Instagram post.
 
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DamageTrain

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Regarding the TBS announcers -- I happily had my headphones in with radio feed. A little out of sync but it was worth it.

Also -- listening to the NLCS on MLB audio made me realize how lucky we are with the radio announcers we do have. Found the MIL and LAD announcers awful and not just because they were homers. There was a complete lack of information and analysis on those broadcasts. The brewers radio announcer seemed completely flummoxed by Counsell's move with Miley in the first inning and did not offer any theories, or rationale, or information until much later in the game. Despite losing Dave O'Brien who was better on radio than TV, the local radio booth is solid. (Even when their chairs are not.) Finally, I have gratitude that we have had Joe's voice for 35 years (which brings me back to listening to baseball with my father in the mid 80s). (Sorry, a bit of a tangent, but the discussion of announcers and broadcasters came up above.)
 

Flunky

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They should start an MLB trollers support group and invite Judge and Bregman. The first class will be taught by Wilson Contreras entitled "Don't bat flip when you draw a walk."
 

brandonchristensen

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Just read that Bregman finished the series 0 for his last 10 with a HBP. GJGE.
Moving him to the 1 hole made the pitchers less afraid to pitch to him because Springer was a monster and was getting on at a high clip ahead of him. They cut that off at the knees.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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The social media/NY NY stuff is fun and great talk radio or hot takes material. And it may keep players focused on the task at hand as well as add to the good feelings when the aggrieved team wins. However attributing performance to players being fired up seems a bit of a stretch. If Alex Bregman's IG stories are more motivating than the incentives the players already have to play their best, the sport is in deep trouble.
 

DeadlySplitter

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The Red Sox are still the only team this season that hasn't lost four games in a row. The Astros on the other hand...
the Astros actually had two 5-game losing streaks in the 2nd half, including sweeps by the Rangers and Mariners.... at Minute Maid Park.

for some reason they were not that good at home, 46-35, that you'd expect from a 100+ win team. a lot of home games with offense doing nothing. felt like we saw that in games 3 & 5.
 

AB in DC

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I was about to say he's not wrong in principle, but with a blatant falsehood in the second sentence (the ball didn't land in the stands, goofus, it landed on the field), I'm not sure anything else is worth saying.
 

geoduck no quahog

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I fully admit I'm biased by the fact I live in a time zone 5 hours ahead of ET (Game 3 starting at 10pm was heaven though I did shut it off at 2am after JBJ's granny) but as for the argument about what's fair for the fans going to the game, I would think that missing the 1st 2 innings if you can't make it from work in time would be preferable to trying to get out of the city and drive 2 hours to your suburban home beginning at 12:45am...
I can't complain about anything anymore. I recall 1988, at a nice hotel in Amalfi with my wife, sticking my arm out the window for 3 hours at 2:30 AM listening to Armed Forces Radio on a shitty transistor as the A's beat the Red Sox.

No one told me there'd be internet.
 

TampaSoxFan

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jayhoz

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Moving him to the 1 hole made the pitchers less afraid to pitch to him because Springer was a monster and was getting on at a high clip ahead of him. They cut that off at the knees.
Hinch moved Bregman because Boston pitchers were nearly intentionally walking him every time. He never adjusted when Boston pitchers starting to throw him strikes.
 

AB in DC

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This article is terrible in so many ways. First, the ball didn’t “land in the stands”, it caromed back onto the field from Mookie’s glove.

Baseball isn’t a game of coin flips. 10D catching the ball with bases loaded is a result of his defensive skill. It’s not simply “unlucky”.
True, but unless Devers was specifically trying to hit a ball into the Crawford Boxes, you can't just call that skill. (Maybe not "luck" either, in that it was a deliberate design decision by someone in the Astros organization, but still.)

Both Game 4 and Game 5 felt like 50-50 kind of games -- a ball a few feet to the left or right or short or long and either could have ended up with a different result.
 
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This article is terrible in so many ways. First, the ball didn’t “land in the stands”, it caromed back onto the field from Mookie’s glove.

Baseball isn’t a game of coin flips. 10D catching the ball with bases loaded is a result of his defensive skill. It’s not simply “unlucky”.
After deflategate, I have refused to go to the ESPN website. Sounds like their journalistic integrity hasn't gone up in the years I've been away.
 

Curt S Loew

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I can't complain about anything anymore. I recall 1988, at a nice hotel in Amalfi with my wife, sticking my arm out the window for 3 hours at 2:30 AM listening to Armed Forces Radio on a shitty transistor as the A's beat the Red Sox.

No one told me there'd be internet.
I had to go read the UPI on the Mod 28 Teletype. Uphill both ways.
 

drbretto

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True, but unless Devers was specifically trying to hit a ball into the Crawford Boxes, you can't just call that skill. (Maybe not "luck" either, in that it was a deliberate design decision by someone in the Astros organization, but still.)

Both Game 4 and Game 5 felt like 50-50 kind of games -- a ball a few feet to the left or right or short or long and either could have ended up with a different result.
I'm sorry, but that's just nonsense. Devers, based on the way he spreads the ball, has never hit anything to a specific spot in his life. Is he devoid of skill? Of course not. JBJ didn't just skillfully wait until those specific 3 at-bats, either. That's just baseball.

I get what you're trying to get at, btw, I'm not just being pedantic. Baseball just doesn't work that way. Every move you make has a luck factor in it. That luck is just nonsense. What happens on the field is all that matters, and what happened was the Red Sox beat the Astros, 4 games to 1, with the Astros losing all three at home. That's not luck. They got beat.
 

Fred in Lynn

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In addition to incorrectly presenting the idea that Mookie reached into the stands as fact, Miller’s complaint over West’s “confidence” in his judgment and complete disregard for the called strike on the second pitch of the PA to JD before the HR are bothersome to me. Umpires, lest he forget, have to make a judgment that is clear and absolute. Even Enrico Palazzo had to decide. Joe West’s shortcomings notwithstanding, the guy had to make a call. It’s not as though Miller directly criticizes the call; he’s criticizing his perception of West’s attitude toward his decision.

As for the pitch sequence to JD, I’m only left to assume that much of America was blacked out for the pitch immediately before the third pitch of the PA. I wouldn’t expect everyone to agree that the second pitch was a strike, and I certainly wouldn’t argue that the third pitch was a accurately called a ball, but as a journalist, Miller could have at least mentioned it since he decided to devote an entire paragraph to Verlander’s “unluckiness.”

On balance, I feel he left out readily available evidence that contradicted the chosen theme of his article.
 

DeadlySplitter

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game 4 was the only one both teams really played well. came down to inches.

Devers' ball got out, 10 feet to the right it's an out (like Kemp's drive to end the series). But it was at least a sac fly , and we limited the Stros to 2 XBH and 1 run in the game. you can't really play that what-if game.

as far as the JD HR goes, I saw some blaming Maldonado for jerking his glove up and "overframing" the pitch. until the strike zone is automated, these little things can matter depending on the umpire.
 

Papelbon's Poutine

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I was about to say he's not wrong in principle, but with a blatant falsehood in the second sentence (the ball didn't land in the stands, goofus, it landed on the field), I'm not sure anything else is worth saying.
I got as far as him stating that JDs homer was the game and series winner. I briefly questioned how much I had to drink during the game last night, double checked the box score to affirm my recollection was correct that he hit a solo shot and they won 4-1, then closed the trash article. It’s not even a lack of journalistic integrity, as someone noted, it’s just talent at this point. Their writers suck.
 

Jnai

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After deflategate, I have refused to go to the ESPN website. Sounds like their journalistic integrity hasn't gone up in the years I've been away.
Sam is one of the best baseball writers on the planet. He's probably the best. It's not even close.
 

DeadlySplitter

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FWIW, McCullers apparently has a completely shredded elbow and needs TJ.

I question why he was on the roster if that was the case. Playing through injuries and being less effective, sounds like a certain team last year...
 

tims4wins

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Re: the JD home run after the 0-2 pitch, it should be noted that the 0-1 pitch was clearly a ball and called a strike. So, whatever.

Edit: already said, sorry
 

Savin Hillbilly

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I got as far as him stating that JDs homer was the game and series winner.
I think a lot of writers are still hung up on the idea that whenever a run is scored that gives its team a lead they never relinquish, that's the "game-winner," even though the inanity of this concept is glaringly obvious to anyone who has ever watched more than a few games of baseball and has functioning brain cells.
 

Papelbon's Poutine

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Sam is one of the best baseball writers on the planet. He's probably the best. It's not even close.
Based on what criteria? The guy can’t get simple details correct.

I’ll gladly take Jonah Keri or Keith Law (as much as I know he’s hated in these parts). I’m not super familiar with Sam but he’s not instilling a lot of confidence in me with that piece.
 

Jnai

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Based on what criteria? The guy can’t get simple details correct.

I’ll gladly take Jonah Keri or Keith Law (as much as I know he’s hated in these parts). I’m not super familiar with Sam but he’s not instilling a lot of confidence in me with that piece.
Literally what are those details here? The word "stands" does not appear and we are nitpicking over whether the go-ahead-and-never-lost lead change constitutes the winning hit.

His articles are well written, have a larger point, are often humorous and clever, and he knows Sabermetrics and analysis at a deep level.

Is this the best thing he's ever written? No. But trashing him as being part of ESPNs failing journalistic integrity in the wake of deflategate is beyond absurd.
 

lapa

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Pretty sure that the networks have a lot of influence, if not outright control, on the start times. They likely want maximum eyeballs from 8:00 to 11:00 p.m. eastern time and care a lot less about how many fans are left if a game runs late. This is likely codified in the contracts with MLB. In other words, it's all about the money, as always.
Oh i don’t doubt that but isn’t it more usual that games in the playoffs take 4 even 5 hours so if they’re starting games at 8 even 8:30 then all the heady late drama is way past bedtime
But maybe the networks get most by having eyes on screen at first pitch I guess ?
 

pk1627

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True, but unless Devers was specifically trying to hit a ball into the Crawford Boxes, you can't just call that skill. (Maybe not "luck" either, in that it was a deliberate design decision by someone in the Astros organization, but still.)

Both Game 4 and Game 5 felt like 50-50 kind of games -- a ball a few feet to the left or right or short or long and either could have ended up with a different result.
Felt like?

You saw a different Game 5 than me. Sox pitching was dominant.

I was sitting in Section 105 for Game 4 and all the Astro fans around me were pointing all the mistakes their team made. Failing to step on second base led to a run (bases loaded walk). The wild pitches in the first, third and eighth led to runs. Trying for 2b leading off an inning down 3 was a completely unnecessary risk, especially as they knew what pitches were coming, as it turns out. (Now I know why Springer unnecessarily stole 3rd in that inning).

Sox took advantage of every mistake. Made one mistake in that Kelly threw a wp leading to a run. The game tightened up when Kimbrel came in, sure, but the Sox outplayed Houston that game. Luck wasn't the issue.
 

Gash Prex

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Wouldn’t you have to compare the Red Sox “luck” to determine how it played out in the series? I can think of a number of occasions where it should have been a hit for the Sox (or like the HR for the stros was in the same place as Devers)
 

Cumberland Blues

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The Astros were only unlucky in that they had to play the Red Sox. From my couch - it looked to me like the immensely talented Astros played their asses off in this series and they would have crushed a lesser opponent. The Sox just played a little better 4 out of 5 times. It's weird how many people seem surprised that a 108 win team is really freakin' good.
 

JohntheBaptist

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The studio is filled with ex-players who all have allegiances to their former teams and there's not expectation of neutrality. A national broadcast with a homer talking to the audience for 3.5 - 5 hours per game is much different. He's terrible enough at his job, so being a homer is the cherry on the shit sundae. We care because it's annoying af and detracts from the presentation of the game.
Do you guys seriously think the PBP guy was rooting for the other team? You're tense about the game and he's annoying you, he isn't "rooting for the other team." Its one thing to do this in a game thread but come on, this is embarrassing.

Tuning them out is both possible and not difficult, trust me.
 

Minneapolis Millers

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Wouldn’t you have to compare the Red Sox “luck” to determine how it played out in the series? I can think of a number of occasions where it should have been a hit for the Sox (or like the HR for the stros was in the same place as Devers)
This was my problem with the article - it's theme was pretty poorly supported. If you have "bad luck" in, say, three key instances but "good luck" in 5 key instances, it's not too convincing to ignore the good and say the outcome was because of "bad luck." Needed a little more actual thought and analysis.
 

JohntheBaptist

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Sam is one of the best baseball writers on the planet. He's probably the best. It's not even close.
Not the greatest thing I've ever read, but he's right. Baseball is awash in luck, and when two teams are so evenly matched, it will play a part. I thought Houston was coming up unlucky in little things too, clearly.
 

Minneapolis Millers

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I'm typically aware of my own hyper sensitivities. I can't be an objective listener to a playoff broadcast when the Sox are playing. I certainly found the TBS announcers annoying.

Was Anderson "rooting" for the Astros? No, not overtly. But it is often the case that announcers create a narrative propping up the trailing team to keep people interested in the broadcast (pregame and during the game). As Kimbrel implodes before our eyes, and the announcers get more and more excited about the comeback, I get more and more annoyed.
 

Byrdbrain

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Do you guys seriously think the PBP guy was rooting for the other team? You're tense about the game and he's annoying you, he isn't "rooting for the other team." Its one thing to do this in a game thread but come on, this is embarrassing.

Tuning them out is both possible and not difficult, trust me.
I didn't think he was very good but I agree, the whole rooting for the other team thing is dumb and embarrassing. He wasn't a Sox homer so the perception here is that he was an Astros homer.
 

Minneapolis Millers

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Not the greatest thing I've ever read, but he's right. Baseball is awash in luck, and when two teams are so evenly matched, it will play a part. I thought Houston was coming up unlucky in little things too, clearly.
Maybe we need to distinguish between the different kinds of "luck." Hitting a ball hard but at someone or close enough to someone that it gets caught, could be considered "unlucky," but that happens all the time. Most of the time, actually. It's part of the game. But having a ball hit the wall and then travel on top of the padding so that you can't grab it and hold a runner at third, well, that's pretty quirky, and unusual enough that most would consider it "bad luck." I don't put Devers' HR in that sort of unusual category, any more than the MFYs put Dent's HR in the "luck" category. That's how the ball park is built, and again, part of the game.

I think the article conflated these different types of events, and frankly omitted similar events that favored Houston (like Kemp's wall-ball catch and his short HR down the line), all to drive a particular narrative that wasn't very convincing.
 

JohntheBaptist

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I didn't think he was very good but I agree, the whole rooting for the other team thing is dumb and embarrassing. He wasn't a Sox homer so the perception here is that he was an Astros homer.
Oh they're pretty bad. They're all bad. They've always been bad, and always will be. More so when we're amped and nervous. I guess I just stopped caring, but actually believing they're rooting for the other team the next morning, come on.

As Kimbrel implodes before our eyes, and the announcers get more and more excited about the comeback, I get more and more annoyed.
Kimbrel eating it is wildly exciting. It's a national broadcast. I get what you're saying but what would one expect them to do?
 

Philip Jeff Frye

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Yeah, sure, there's a lot of luck in baseball, but if you're going to complain that a team that just lost a series 4-1 was just unlucky, then what's the point of playing the series? Maybe we should just have the writers vote on the champion at the end of 162 games like they used to do in college football.
 

OurF'ingCity

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I'm typically aware of my own hyper sensitivities. I can't be an objective listener to a playoff broadcast when the Sox are playing. I certainly found the TBS announcers annoying.

Was Anderson "rooting" for the Astros? No, not overtly. But it is often the case that announcers create a narrative propping up the trailing team to keep people interested in the broadcast (pregame and during the game). As Kimbrel implodes before our eyes, and the announcers get more and more excited about the comeback, I get more and more annoyed.
This. National announcers will always root for the better story, at both a micro and macro level. So, in last night's game, I don't think it's wrong to suggest that TBS was "rooting" for the Astros to win, which would have extended the series and brought increased drama, tension and, presumably, viewers to TBS.

Edit: Sometimes this doesn't result in a clear "rooting interest." In the Pats-KC game, for example, it just seemed like the announcers hoped the offense would score every time with the ball regardless of which team it was, which would produce a more exciting game and feed into the narrative that these were two heavyweight teams trading punches.