Monday, October 20, 2014

New York Yankees very early offseason notes

The New York Yankees are looking for a new hitting coach while undergoing some changes in the administration.  Brian Cashman is back as the GM for three more years but there are changes in the staff.  They have a new VP of baseball operations in Gary Denbo.  He was most recently in a scouting role with the Yankees.  He has been a long time hitting coach and coordinator throughout the organization.  He worked with Derek Jeter back in 2011 when he snapped out of a big slump.  Pat Roessler will not be back as the director of player development according to Mark Feinsand of the NY Daily News. 

Chili Davis is the new Boston Red Sox hitting coach.  He interviewed with the Yankees and also today Dave Magaden was told by the Yankees that he did not get the job.  He is currently the Texas Rangers hitting coach and is now seen as a possible leading candidate to take over for Davis in Oakland.  James Rowson who has been a minor league hitting instructor and Marcus Thames who was the AA hitting coach have been mentioned as possible other candidates.  Last week the Yankees were basically saying there could be a decision by Tuesday but we will have to wait and see.  Another name that has been mentioned has been long time friend of Joe Girardi, Dante Bichette.  We will have to see if any of those names pan out or is it someone we didn't even hear about. 

Trey Hillman who was serving as a special assistant with the Yankees is now going to Houston to become the bench coach under new manager A.J. Hinch.  There are rumors out there that the Yankees have discussed Omar Minaya becoming part of the Yankees staff in some capacity but up to this point it is just a rumor.  The Yankees have a bunch of players in winter ball. 

Greg Bird is a minor league first baseman who had a really good  year in AA and is off to a great start in the Arizona Fall League.  He leads the league with four homeruns at this point.  Aaron Judge who many consider to be their best prospect is also playing well in Arizona. 

The World Series begins on Tuesday night

The World Series features two opposite teams although they were both wild cards.  It seems like two unlikely teams but I see it different.  It is kind of David vs. Goliath although not exactly.  The San Francisco Giants surprised a lot of people by winning the National League as a wild card team.  The thing about them is though they have had a lot of success in recent years.  The Giants are now in their third World Series in the last five years and they have won two of them.  The Giants won it all in 2010 and also in 2012 which bodes well for them since this is an even year as well.  The Kansas City Royals haven't even made the playoffs since 1985 when they won their last World Championship. 
The Royals are the hottest team, they played great baseball after the All Star Break and then came back from a 7-3 deficit in the wild card game and haven't lost a game.  They swept through the Anaheim Angels and the Baltimore Orioles and are 8-0 in the postseason.  They are a young, athletic team that is acting like they have been here before.  The Royals play great defense and have a great bullpen. 
The San Francisco Giants have very good pitching from top to bottom.  They have more experience and maybe a little better offense.  There isn't really too much difference on paper between the two teams.  The biggest thing in my estimation would be the experience of the Giants.  The Royals do have the home field advantage though.  I see this being a very good and evenly matched series.  I think it will be along one but I think the Giants will come out winning their third title in five years.  I am going to pick the Giants in six to win it.  If you are a baseball fan buckle up as this should be a good one.  If you aren't you may want to check this out as everyone has been drawn into the story of the Royals.  It all begins on Tuesday night. 

Saturday, October 11, 2014

The San Francisco Giants eliminate the Washington Nationals in four games

The San Francisco Giants defeated the Washington Nationals in four games to advance to the NLCS again.  They won the World Series in 2010 and 2012 so if that streak continues they will win it again in 2014.  They are in the NLCS to face the only other team that has represented the NL in the World Series since 2009.  It is amazing how dominant the Giants and Cardinals have been.  The Giants continued to rely on their pitching especially ace Madison Bumgarner.  They were close games, the Giants never have the best hitting but they have enough of it to win. 

There was a marathon 18 inning game that the Giants were able to win.  The Giants have a winning pedigree and have been in this position so much that they don't get rattled and they know how to win.  The Giants have a winning pedigree.  They have to continue to rely on their pitching in the next series.  Bumgarner, Peavy, Tim Hudson and their bullpen.  They do have Hunter Pence, Pablo Sandoval and Buster Posey to carry the offense.  Brandon Belt has provided some good offensive moments and Brandon Crawford had some postseason success as well.  It should be a very good series with the Cardinals as they have a similar winning pedigree and anything can happen in October.  It is pretty much two evenly matched teams and it should be a lot of fun in the NLDS.   

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The St. Louis Cardinals defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers in four games to advance to NLCS

The St. Louis Cardinals defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers in four games to advance to their fourth straight NLCS.  It is the first time a team has appeared in four straight LCS since the 1998-2001 New York Yankees.  The St. Louis Cardinals don't seem to have the best team but they are always there.  The Cardinals have a great business model though.  They have a lot of young guys that are inexpensive that they work in mainly through their own system.  The Cardinals of course sign some free agents like Matt Holliday but he even comparably isn't that bad of a contract. 

The Cardinals won this series though mainly for one reason.  I give them credit and lots of it for never panicking, for coming back in the late innings.  Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers though blew two games.  He is the best pitcher in baseball, he had an incredible year but he had a 6-1 lead in game one of the series and blew that in a horrendous seventh inning and then in game four he had a 2-0 lead and was cruising along and blew that in the seventh inning.  The worst part is that he gave up the game winning three run homer to Matt Adams.  He hasn't given up a homerun to a left handed batter in two years and never off of his curveball.  Adams also wasn't hitting that great this season but he had his big moment in game four. 

The Dodgers also had no one to trust out of the bullpen other than their closer.  Jansen though the closer only got into one game.  It was a contrast of styles as the Dodgers are a free spending big time organization and then there are the Cardinals who don't spend that much money but keep on turning up in the NLCS.  It is amazing that the biggest spenders this year didn't make it out of the first round if they made it to the postseason at all.  The New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox both missed the playoffs.  The Detroit Tigers, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the Dodgers were all bounced in the first round.  What does this teach us?  The Cardinals are a team to be modeled after and the Kansas City Royals and Baltimore Orioles who will meet in the ALCS are more teams like the Cardinals then the biggest spending teams.  It will be interesting going forward if more and more teams act like the Cardinals.  It will be really interesting to see if the big spenders act more like them or if they keep doing what they know which is to spend more money and hope for a different outcome next season.  The Cardinals will meet up with the San Francisco Giants who have won the World Series twice in the last four years.  This would be their third time in five years if they end up winning it all this year. 

Thursday, October 2, 2014

The San Francisco Giants take care of business in Pittsburgh with a blowout win

The San Francisco Giants defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday night.  The game took place at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and the final score was 8-0.  The Giants are no strangers to the postseason as they won it all in 2010 and 2012.  If they continue the streak they would win it all again this season.  Madison Bumgarner showed that he is one of the best young pitchers and Edinson Volquez was not that good.  Brandon Crawford hit a grand slam to lead the Giants offense. 

Bumgarner pitched a complete game shutout.  He gave up four hits and a walk with ten strikeouts. 

Volquez took the loss pitching five innings and giving up five hits and five runs.  He walked three and struck out three.  Justin Wilson pitched 1/3 of an inning giving up a hit and a walk with a strikeout, Jared Hughes pitched an inning giving up three hits and two runs with a walk and a strikeout and Bobby LaFromboise pitched 2/3 of an inning.  John Holdzkom pitched an inning giving up two hits and a run with a walk and a strikeout and Mark Melancon pitched a perfect inning with a strikeout. 

Gregor Blanco drew a walk, Panik had three hits and Buster Posey had two hits and an RBI.  Pablo Sandoval had two hits and drew a walk, Hunter Pence had a hit and drew a walk and Brandon Belt had two hits, three RBI and drew two walks.  Crawford had a hit and four RBI, Ishikawa drew a walk and Crawford hit a homerun.  The Giants were 4-11 with runners in scoring position and left eight men on base.  Crawford and Arias each committed an error. 

Josh Harrison had two hits, Andrew McCutchen drew a walk and Russell Martin had a hit.  Starling Marte had a hit and the Pirates were 0-4 with runners in scoring position and left six men on base. 

In the fourth Crawford hit a grand slam to give the Giants a 4-0 lead.  In the sixth Belt hit an RBI single to increase the lead to 5-0.  In the seventh Belt hit a two run single and it was 7-0 and then the Giants added another run in the eighth on a Posey RBI single to make it 8-0 and that was the final score.  The Giants will move on to play the Washington Nationals in the NLDS.   

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