Craig Calcaterra

Blogger at NBC Sport.com's HardballTalk. Recovering litigator. Rake. Scoundrel. Notorious Man-About-Town.
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Nationals calling up top prospect Victor Robles

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The Nationals are calling up top prospect Victor Robles.

Robles, who is only 20, has hit an impressive .300/.382/.493 with 10 home runs and 27 stolen bases in 114 games this season between High-A Potomac and Double-A Harrisburg. Robles is an outfielder who is considered one of baseball’s top prospects. He is the complete package too, possessing superior speed, power, on-base ability and defensive skill.

It’s not clear how much he is going to play, but given the Nats’ comfortable division lead, he could get a lengthy September audition to see if he’s ready to step in for Jayson Werth, who will likely be leaving via free agency after the season.

Yankees, Rays are not going to flip-flop their September series for Hurricane Irma

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No one knows what Hurricane Irma might bring to Florida in general or to the Tampa Bay area specifically, but the Rays and Yankees are trying to figure out a plan for next week’s series, which is scheduled to kick off Monday when Irma is supposed to be in Florida.

The Yankees and Rays are scheduled to play in The Bronx from September 26-28, but just as the Rangers were unwilling to make a flip-flop work in the wake of Harvey, it sounds like the Yankees are equally unwilling. Here’s Joe Girardi, speaking to the Daily News, when asked about a flipping series:

“I think the trouble with that is people have bought tickets for those games. That’s the problem for us and I don’t think that’s fair to do for our fans. So, well you can just flip the tickets, well people plan trips around that. So I don’t think that’s fair.”

This was roughly the Rangers’ explanation. Which is legitimate when you think about it. No matter what happens it seems like the fans in Florida will be out of luck next week, and messing with a series in a few weeks isn’t going to change that. Of course, it’s not Joe Girardi’s call, so what will actually happen is not yet clear.

The Daily News speculates that next week’s series could be moved to a neutral site, such as Camden Yards or possibly the White Sox’ park. Girardi wonders if they can’t simply postpone Monday and then possible do a doubleheader on Tuesday or Wednesday if the area is spared major damage. For the record, the Marlins are not scheduled to play in Miami until next weekend, so there’s more time to make a decision about their next home games.

I suspect Major League Baseball will weigh in on this fairly soon.

 

Dodgers skid is bad, but hardly unprecedented

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The Los Angeles Dodgers still hold a commanding lead in the NL West and still have the best record in baseball, but they have lost six in a row and eleven of twelve. This has some Dodgers fans panicking, and wondering if a season that once seemed destined for the history books will end with yet another ignominious playoff exit.

While it’s every fan’s God-given right to panic, there’s a difference between panic and despair for the future. The former is an emotional response to bad stuff. The latter carries with it some amount of pessimism that is roughly based on reason. “They stink now,” the despairing Dodgers fan says, “so the NLDS is gonna be the end of it.”

Bah. This may be a crappy stretch for the Dodgers, but despairing fans should know that basically every great team — including World Series champions — go one one or two skids a year. Here some of the more notable ones from World Series champs since we began this website:

  • 2016 Cubs: Lost nine of ten between June 30 and July 9 and eight of twelve between May 11 and May 23;
  • 2015 Royals: Lost nine of eleven between May 24 and June 6 and nine of twelve between Septemeber 4 and September 16;
  • 2014 Giants: Lost six of seven and seven of nine in early to mid August and six of eight between September 19 and September 26;
  • 2013 Red Sox: Lost nine of eleven between May 3 and May 14 and seven of ten between August 8 and August 18;
  • 2012 Giants: Lost seven of ten between May 1 and May 11, seven of nine between June 29 and July 8 and seven of eight between July 25 and August 2;
  • 2011 Cardinals: Lost twelve of fifteen between June 10 and June 26;
  • 2010 Giants: Lost seven of nine between May 17 and May 26 and nine of ten between June 23 and July 2; finally
  • 2009 Yankees: Lost seven if nine between May 2 and May 12 and nine of thirteen between June 9 and June 23. They also lost three of their last four heading into the playoffs if you care about such things.

The point here isn’t that the Dodgers will definitely be OK. They may not be! The point is that every team has a bad skid or three from time to time, World Series winners included. The Dodgers losing these games are less preferable than them winning them, obviously, but their losing them carries no predictive value whatsoever.

So dudes: stop panicking. Or, if you can’t do that, at least stop despairing.