Great Moments in Cognitive Dissonance: big market/small market edition

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Here’s Associated Press columnist Tim Dahlberg on September 28th, talking about the “Moneyball” movie:

Bottom line is small market teams can’t win consistently, no matter how many numbers they crunch. The deck is stacked against them by the most important numbers in baseball — the size of a team’s payroll.

Here’s Associated Press columnist Tim Dahlberg this morning, talking about the playoffs:

No Yankees. No Red Sox. No Phillies, either, with what was supposed to be the best postseason rotation ever.

Too bad, because they were teams you could cheer for. They were also teams most of us love to cheer against.

Instead, baseball’s flirtation with parity gives us Milwaukee and St. Louis in a rematch of the 1982 World Series remembered by no one outside those two cities. And, instead of the Yankees and Red Sox in the American League, we get Detroit against Texas in what, at least on a rainy opening night Saturday, was a very tough matchup to sit through … The problem is, baseball isn’t winning. Outside of its core cities the game struggles to find a national audience. And, with the biggest cities out, that struggle gets even harder.

The common thread if you read the entirety of both of those columns, plus most other stuff Dahlberg writes: he just really doesn’t like baseball very much and, increasingly, doesn’t seem to understand it at all.

Astros’ bullpen throws combined one-hitter for MLB-best 30th win

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The Astros’ bullpen did yeoman’s work in place of the injured Dallas Keuchel on Monday against the Tigers. Keuchel is temporarily sidelined with a pinched nerve in his neck.

Brad Peacock made the spot start, limiting the Tigers to one hit and two walks with eight strikeouts over 4 1/3 innings. Chris Devenski took over with one out in the fifth, finishing out that inning as well as the sixth and seventh, facing the minimum. Will Harris pitched a perfect eighth and Ken Giles closed out the 1-0 victory in the ninth. Devenski, Harris, and Giles each had two strikeouts.

The Astros scored their only run in the bottom of the first inning as George Springer drew a leadoff walk, then scored on Jose Altuve‘s one-out double. Tigers starter Brad Fulmer pitched well enough to win on most days, giving up the lone run in seven frames.

After Monday’s win, the Astros became the first team to reach 30 wins, sitting on a 30-15 record. With a +55 run differential, even their expected record matches up with their actual record.

Brandon Phillips hit his 200th career home run

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Braves second baseman Brandon Phillips became the 337th player in baseball history to hit 200 career home runs, driving a solo home run to left-center field during Monday night’s home game against the Pirates. Phillips is the 14th second baseman (who played a min. of 75 percent of his career games at the position) to rack up at least 200 career home runs.

Phillips, 35, entered Monday’s action batting .290/.345/.405 with two home runs and 12 RBI in 142 plate appearances. If he’s anything, he’s consistent, as he finished with an adjusted OPS between 90-99 (100 is average) every year between 2012-16 and it was sitting at 97 coming into Monday.