Good news for Phillies: Yanks bench Swisher, Posada

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Jorge Posada’s absence was expected with Jose Molina having caught A.J. Burnett in each of the right-hander’s three previous postseason starts, but Yankees manager Joe Girardi made the surprising decision Thursday to remove Nick Swisher from the starting lineup for Game 2 of the World Series and replace him with Jerry Hairston Jr. in right field.
The changes subtract two players who combined for 51 homers and 163 RBI in 864 at-bats this year in exchange for two players who combined for 11 homers and 43 RBI in 521 at-bats.
Swisher has struggled mightily in the postseason, coming in at 4-for-35 with a 12/3 K/BB ratio. Still, that hardly outweighs his 869 OPS for the year or his 924 mark after the All-Star break. Girardi pointed to the fact that Hairston is 10-for-27 lifetime against Phillies starter Pedro Martinez, even though most of those at-bats came many years ago. Most of those hits were singles anyway, and not a one of them drove in a run.
The Phillies have to be feeling awfully encouraged with the Yankees apparently already in panic mode.

2017 Preview: The National League West

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the National League West.

The Giants had the best record in all of baseball at the All-Star Break and the Dodgers lost the best pitcher in the world in Clayton Kershaw for a big chunk of the season. Yet, somehow, L.A. won the NL West by four games. The biggest culprit was the Giants’ suspect bullpen, which they put some real money toward fixing this winter. Is it enough? Or is a a Dodgers team with a healthy Kershaw just too talented for San Francisco to handle?

Below them is an intriguing Rockies team, though probably not a truly good Rockies team. The Dbacks have a lot of assorted talent but are nonetheless in reshuffle mode following a miserable 2016 campaign. The Padres, meanwhile, are in full-fledged rebuilding mode, but do possess some of the best minor league talent in the game.

Here are our previews of the 2017 NL West:

Los Angeles Dodgers
San Francisco Giants
Colorado Rockies
Arizona Diamondbacks
San Diego Padres

2017 Preview: The American League West

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League West

There’s not a lot of separation between the top three teams in this division. Indeed, it would not be a surprise for either the Astros, Rangers or Mariners to end the year on top. Part of that is because none of these contenders are perfect, with all three facing some big challenges in putting together a strong rotation.

Meanwhile, the best baseball player in the universe toils in Anaheim, where he’ll most likely have to content himself to playing spoiler. Up the coast in Oakland . . . um, green is pretty?

Our 2017 AL West Previews:

Houston Astros
Seattle Mariners
Texas Rangers
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Oakland Athletics