2011 World Series Game 7 - Texas Rangers v St Louis Cardinals

Pujols Pandemonium: Recapping a busy day at HardballTalk


We’ve published over 50 posts containing mentions of new Angels first baseman Albert Pujols since the Winter Meetings kicked off on Sunday night.

Today, of course, it all came to a head.

In case you missed any of the analysis from our team of writers, here’s a recap of the subjects we’ve broached over the past 12 hours or so relevant to Pujols and his agreement with Anaheim:

And if you want to read a fascinating recap of how the Pujols negotiations went down from start to finish, check out this piece by Bob Nightengale of USA Today. He has the full scoop from agent Dan Lozano.

  • The initial deal announcement hits the site. 10 years, $254 million, and a full no-trade clause.
  • Craig argues that we shouldn’t resent Pujols for chasing big money in Anaheim. The Cardinals had a chance, and their offer simply didn’t compete.
  • A St. Louis Post-Dispatch headline reads “PUJOLS TURNS HIS BACK ON ST. LOUIS”
  • Craig sees the contract as a potential albatross down the road for the Angels.
  • Gleeman reviews how some of the best hitters in baseball history have fared after age 32.
  • Around noon, it is reported that the Marlins’ 10-year offer to Pujols was worth $275 million.
  • Pouliot wonders what other moves the Halos will make this winter, beyond Pujols and C.J. Wilson.
  • How will Pujols deal with the switch from the National League to the American League and how will he fare in Angel Stadium? Pouliot attempts answers.
  • For comparison’s sake, Gleeman examines the largest contracts signed last offseason.
  • Based off FanGraphs’ projected dollar values, Pujols’ 11 years in St. Louis were a steal for the Cards.
  • With so many star first basemen now in the American League, expect major All-Star snubs in 2012.
  • Pouliot gives a few suggestions on what the Angels’ lineup might look like next year.
  • MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch says Lozano tried to shop Pujols to the Yankees at one point.
  • According to the Post-Dispatch, retail stores in the St. Louis area were giving away their remaining stock of Pujols jerseys and jersey shirts after the announcement.

It’s rare for one player to dominate the news stories on HBT. But nothing about Thursday was common.

There’s no one to blame in Yankees’ loss

Joe Girardi
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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.