Link-O-Rama: Phillips, Ibanez, Mills, Beltran

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* In addition to letting Steve Phillips go, ESPN has now also fired the 22-year-old production assistant with whom he had an affair. Meanwhile, agent Steve Lefkowitz revealed that Phillips has entered a rehab facility for sex addiction in an effort “to save his marriage.”
* Charlie Manuel said today that Raul Ibanez will “more than likely” be the Phillies’ designated hitter for Game 1 of the World Series against Yankees left-hander CC Sabathia. Ben Francisco will likely replace him in left field, which is a massive upgrade defensively in addition to giving the injured Ibanez some extra rest.
* Red Sox bench coach Brad Mills appears to be the front-runner for the Astros’ managerial opening after Manny Acta turned Houston down.
* Alex Speier of WEEI.com quotes “a major-league source” as saying that “there is virtually no chance” the Mets will trade Carlos Beltran.
* You can follow the “Circling the Bases” team (minus Craig, who hates technology) on Twitter:
– Aaron Gleeman: @aarongleeman
– Matthew Pouliot: @matthewpouliot
– Bob Harkins: @bharks
– D.J. Short: @djshort
What we lack in creative Twitter account names, we more than make up for in good looks and sarcasm.

How Yu Darvish tipped his pitches during the World Series

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You hear a lot about pitchers tipping pitches. It’s often offered up post-facto as an excuse for poor performance by the pitcher himself or his own team. It’s sort of like the “best shape of my life” thing being offered in the offseason to talk about why the player got injured or played badly the previous year. “Smitty’s stuff is still great, he was just tipping his pitches,” said a source close to the player whose stuff is not really great anymore.

Which isn’t to say that pitchers don’t tip pitches. Of course they do. Opposing teams look for it, pick up on it and take advantage of it whenever they can. It’s just that (a) the opposing team has an interest in not talking about it, lest the pitcher STOP tipping its pitches; and (b) the guy actually tipping his pitches doesn’t want to talk specifically about it lest he starts doing it again.

Which is what makes this article at Sports Illustrated so interesting. In it Tom Verducci talks to an anonymous Houston Astros player who explains how Dodgers starter Yu Darvish was tipping his pitches during the World Series, leading to him getting absolutely shellacked in Games 3 and 7. The upshot: the Astros knew when a slider or a cutter was coming, they waited for it and they teed off.

Darvish is a free agent now. I’m guessing, whoever signs him, knows exactly what they’ll gave him work on the first day of spring training.