Brian Wilson

One more thought on Brian Wilson


The George Lopez Show stuff from the last post inspired an offline conversation with someone who wondered whether people might think that Brian Wilson has gone overboard or jumped the shark or whatever.

To this I have to offer an emphatic no.  Wilson may be completely over the top, but I don’t get the sense that he’s putting on some act simply to get noticed.  I get the sense that he is truly a goofball, and is simply enjoying himself now that he’s learned that people don’t mind it when he lets his freak flag fly.  It would be totally different if he was a phony who was out to get attention.  I don’t see that at all.

Not that this will stop someone — be it a blogger, columnist, radio show host or whoever — from soon declaring the shark jumped.  That’s just what we do.  Indeed, when Brian Wilson loses effectiveness as a closer — as all closers inevitably do — I am 100% certain that someone will write the “perhaps Brian Wilson should have been working on his game more than his act” column.  And when I read it I’ll die inside a little.

By its very nature — by virtue of the development process and the kinds of guys who are drawn to it — baseball lends itself to way more conformity than other sports.  The stuff Bouton described in “Ball Four” wasn’t just a 1950s-era hangover.  There’s a big premium placed on not sticking out. There are more coaches who are ex-players who — accurately or not — will say that when they played things were “done the right way” or whatever.  As a result I get why ballplayers are more conservative than their NBA or NFL counterparts.

But there are hundreds of normal workaday ballplayers in the game.  There’s usually only one Bill Lee, Mark Fydrich, Jose Lima or Brian Wilson going at any given time.  When one of them comes along and adds some color, our lives are better for it.

I hope no one gets their nose out of joint over the George Lopez thing. Or the Showtime Series featuring the Giants that will air later this year.  Even if it’s too much for some, it’s enjoyable as hell for a lot of us, so let’s just let it be, OK?

There’s no one to blame in Yankees’ loss

Joe Girardi

You’re going to boo All-Star Brett Gardner for striking out against a Cy Young contender?

You’re going to bash Alex Rodriguez for going hitless in another postseason game, three years after his last one?

Maybe you’d prefer to put it all on Masahiro Tanaka for giving up two solo homers to a lineup full of 20-homer guys?

The truth is that the Yankees were supposed to lose tonight. They were facing an outstanding left-hander with their forever-lefty-heavy lineup, and they simply didn’t have anyone pitching like an ace to set themselves up nicely for a one-game, winner-take-all showdown. The 3-0 result… well, that’s how this was supposed to go down.

It didn’t necessarily mean it would; what fun would it be if the better team always won? And the Astros might not even be a better team than the Yankees. However, the Astros with Dallas Keuchel on the mound were certainly a better team than the Yankees with whoever they picked to throw.

I just don’t see where it’s worth putting any blame tonight. Joe Girardi? He could have started John Ryan Murphy over Brian McCann against the tough lefty, but he wasn’t willing to risk Tanaka losing his comfort zone by using a backup catcher.

The front office could have added more talent, perhaps outbidding the Blue Jays for David Price or the Royals for Johnny Cueto, and set themselves up better for the postseason. However, that would have cost them Luis Severino and/or Greg Bird, both of whom went on to play key roles as the Yankees secured the wild card. Would it really have been worth it? I don’t think so.

Tanaka gave the Yankees what they should have expected. Had Keuchel’s stuff been a little off on short rest, Tanaka’s performance would have kept the Yankees in the game.

Keuchel, though, was on his game from the first pitch. The Astros bullpen might have been a bit more vulnerable, and late at-bats from Gardner, Carlos Beltran, Rodriguez and McCann definitely left something to be desired. Still, on the whole, the lack of offense was quite a team effort.

The Yankees got beat by a better team tonight.  I’m not sure the Astros would have been better in Games 2-7 in a longer series, but they had everything in their favor in this one.

Keuchel, Astros cruise past Yankees in AL Wild Card Game

AP Photo/Kathy Willens

Dallas Keuchel faced the Yankees two times during the regular season and was fantastic in each outing, striking out 12 in a complete-game shutout on June 25 and whiffing nine batters over seven scoreless frames on August 25.

The 2015 Cy  Young Award candidate continued that trend in Tuesday night’s American League Wild Card Game, limiting the Yankees to three hits and one walk over six innings of scoreless ball as the Astros earned a 3-0 win and advanced to a best-of-five ALDS with the top-seeded Royals.

Keuchel was working on three days of rest but didn’t show very many signs of fatigue, whiffing seven and needing only 87 pitches to get through six. He sure looked like he could have gone an inning longer, but Astros manager A.J. Hinch decided to turn the game over to his bullpen and they added three more big zeroes to the scoreboard at a very loud then very boo-heavy Yankee Stadium. Tony Sipp worked around some early jitters to throw a scoreless seventh, Will Harris kept the Yankees off the bases entirely in a scoreless eighth, and closer Luke Gregerson went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the ninth.

Impending free agent outfielder Colby Rasmus provided the first burst of offense for the Astros in the top of the second inning with a leadoff homer against Masahiro Tanaka. And then deadline acquisition Carlos Gomez, who missed a bunch of time down the stretch with an intercostal strain, got to Tanaka for another solo shot in the top of the fourth. Houston scored its third run on a Jose Altuve RBI single in the top of the seventh.

This is a young, talented Astros team with an ace at the head of its rotation.

Kansas City could have a problem.