The Angels are going for the Snuggie record

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Matsui reporters.jpgThis press release came out of Anaheim Angels central earlier today:

On Tuesday April 6, 2010, the Angels will attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the “largest gathering of people wearing fleece blankets.”
All fans in attendance at the Angels vs. Minnesota Twins game (7:05PM)
will receive a complimentary Hideki Matsui Blankie courtesy of Konica
Minolta.

“We are very excited about this special opportunity,” team spokesman
Tim Mead said. “Setting this world record will be a unique and
memorable experience for our fans, the first of many in 2010.”

According to the release, the current record for the largest gathering of people wearing “fleece
blankets” is 17,758 set by the Cleveland Cavaliers on March 5th.
That, of course, was widely billed as the “Snuggie” record,
named after those ridiculous wearable blankets. I suppose the keepers
of the record books make them call it the “fleece blanket” record so
that the Snuggie corporation doesn’t get free advertising out of the
deal. You know, like the beer company that is the namesake of the
record book sanctioning the record.

Anyway, I don’t want the world to
end on April 6th, but if it does — and this event makes it slightly
more likely to happen in my view — I will be tickled by the notion that alien
archaeologists might one day find our world and think that our
civilization worshiped a god named “Konica Minolta Matsui” by
assembling by the tens of thousands while wearing synthetic ceremonial
cloaks in his honor.

In the playoffs, the Yankees’ weakness has become their strength

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Two weeks ago, when the playoffs began, the idea of “bullpenning” once again surfaced, this time with the Yankees as a focus. Because their starting pitching was believed to be a weakness — they had no obvious ace like a Dallas Keuchel or Corey Kluber — and their bullpen was a major strength, the idea of chaining relievers together starting from the first inning gained traction. The likes of Luis Severino, who struggled mightily in the AL Wild Card game, or Masahiro Tanaka (4.79 regular season ERA) couldn’t be relied upon in the postseason, the thought went.

That idea is no longer necessary for the Yankees because the starting rotation has become the club’s greatest strength. Tanaka fired seven shutout innings to help push the Yankees ahead of the Astros in the ALCS, three games to two. They are now one win away from reaching the World Series for the first time since 2009.

It hasn’t just been Tanaka. Since Game 3 of the ALDS, Yankees pitchers have made eight starts spanning 46 1/3 innings. They have allowed 10 runs (nine earned) on 25 hits and 12 walks with 45 strikeouts. That’s a 1.75 ERA with an 8.74 K/9 and 2.33 BB/9. In five of those eight starts, the starter went at least six innings, which has helped preserve the freshness and longevity of the bullpen.

Here’s the full list of performances for Yankee starters this postseason:

Game Starter IP H R ER BB SO HR
AL WC Luis Severino 1/3 4 3 3 1 0 2
ALDS 1 Sonny Gray 3 1/3 3 3 3 4 2 1
ALDS 2 CC Sabathia 5 1/3 3 4 2 3 5 0
ALDS 3 Masahiro Tanaka 7 3 0 0 1 7 0
ALDS 4 Luis Severino 7 4 3 3 1 9 2
ALDS 5 CC Sabathia 4 1/3 5 2 2 0 9 0
ALCS 1 Masahiro Tanaka 6 4 2 2 1 3 0
ALCS 2 Luis Severino 4 2 1 1 2 0 1
ALCS 3 CC Sabathia 6 3 0 0 4 5 0
ALCS 4 Sonny Gray 5 1 2 1 2 4 0
ALCS 5 Masahiro Tanaka 7 3 0 0 1 8 0
TOTAL 55 1/3 35 20 17 20 52 6

In particular, if you hone in on the ALCS starts specifically, Yankee starters have pitched 28 innings, allowing five runs (four earned) on 13 hits and 10 walks with 20 strikeouts. That’s a 1.61 ERA.

While the Yankees’ biggest weakness has become a strength, the Astros’ biggest weakness — the bullpen — has become an even bigger weakness. This is why the Yankees, who won 10 fewer games than the Astros during the regular season, are one win away from reaching the World Series and the Astros are not.