So, how was Jim Joyce's day behind the plate?

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Joyce behind plate.jpgI don’t know if this makes me a cynic, an optimist or what, but the first thing I thought today when I realized that Jim Joyce was going to be working behind the plate was “boy, I bet the Tigers get a wide strike zone today!”  I mean, I want to believe that people don’t try to make up for mistakes like that, but people are people, ya know?

For what it’s worth the game wasn’t close — the Tigers killed the Indians 12-6 — and the strike zone, while not the best in the world, didn’t seemed skewed in the Tigers’ direction or against the Tribe.

Here are starter Rick Porcello’s pitches plotted over at Brooks Baseball. Just about as many missed balls as missed strikes. Joyce obviously gives the pitcher the benefit of the doubt on the left edge and harms him on the lower right, but it’s not like this is a crazy or unprecedented game for anyone. Indians’ starter David Huff had a little better zone. Of course he got clobbered, but that’s not Joyce’s fault.

I dunno. Probably expecting too much — or too little, maybe — out of people to even make such an inquiry, but it’s a fun one all the same.  If anyone else with better Pitch f/x-fu than me wants to take a crack at it and tell me what I missed, by all means, let me know in the comments.

Justin Verlander named ALCS MVP

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Following the Astros’ decisive 4-0 shutout over the Yankees on Saturday night, Justin Verlander was named the Most Valuable Player of the American League Championship Series. Hall of Fame outfielder and former MLB manager Frank Robinson handed the award to Verlander, who was beaming as he thanked his teammates and members of the Astros’ organization.

“I’ve got to say, it came down to the wire, and one thing kept going off in my head was Dallas,” Verlander told the crowd gathered at Minute Maid Park. “When he called me, he said that I won’t regret my decision to join the Houston Astros. And here we are right now, it’s the best feeling in the world. We’ve got four more wins to win a World Series, and I do not regret my decision to come here. This is the best feeling a player can have. So, thank you.”

Among a cast that boasted the likes of Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and Dallas Keuchel, among others, Verlander was spectacular. He locked down a complete game win in Game 2, holding the Yankees to one run on five hits and a walk and striking out a postseason-high 13 batters. In Game 6, he saved the Astros from elimination with seven scoreless innings, helping propel the club to their eventual 7-1 finish that set up their series-clinching finale on Saturday.

The 34-year-old righty also took his place among some postseason greats. Thanks to an eight-strikeout outing on Friday night, his collective 136 postseason strikeouts are good for sixth-most in MLB playoff history, just a smidgen shy of Tom Glavine (143), Mike Mussina (145), Roger Clemens (173), Andy Pettitte (183) and John Smoltz (199). He also joined Bob Gibson, Curt Schilling and Sandy Koufax as one of just four hurlers to strike out 20+ Yankees in a postseason series.