Happy Hall of Fame Day


The Hall of Fame voting results will be announced today at 3PM. You can get your info either by following the Baseball Writers Association of America Twitter feed, going to their website or watching the announcement live on the MLB Network or at (the MLB show starts at 2PM, but the announcement won’t be until 3).

Note: someone always announces it on Twitter, like, two minutes before any of those outlets announce it. Some dude who is hooking up — say — Barry Larkin’s microphone. Someone who spends their day instant messaging the guy who has to actually update the BBWAA website knows. Information wants to be free.  And as we’ve noted, that information is almost certainly going to be that Barry Larkin is elected and no one else is.

Anyway, we’ve kind of beaten the Hall of Fame politics to death around here these past couple of weeks because, really, what the hell else was there to talk about?  But let’s see if there’s still some life in that horse by reading Colin Wyers’ latest at Baseball Prospectus.  It’s pretty thought-provoking.

The upshot: Colin takes aim at something Rob Neyer said recently about how it’s OK to think through things like Jeff Bagwell’s suitability for the Hall of Fame. Rob talked about  how suspicions — even if thin or baseless — still have to be contended with somehow, so better to take the time to consider it all.  Colin agrees with the idea of considering things, but doesn’t think there’s much to consider in this instance.

Then he says two interesting things that those of you who like to argue about steroids probably need to contend with in some way:

  • “… if we look at players who have actually been identified as taking steroids or other performance-enhancing drugs—either through the Mitchell report or suspension by MLB—they aren’t any bigger than the average player. The average PEDuser was 73 inches tall and 193 pounds. The average MLB player over the same time span was 74 inches, 195 pounds.”  and
  • “… the increase in home run rates for shortstops and designated hitters was essentially identical.”

I don’t consider that to be definitive of anything as opposed to being merely neat. But this does all go back to what I’ve been saying forever: PED users really don’t fit a profile, and scrutinizing the big power hitters in ways we don’t scrutinize pitchers and middle infielders has no basis in fact or reason.  Either ignore it all or suspect and judge them all, but at least do it equally.

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.