Author: Craig Calcaterra

Ryan Vogelsong

Playoff Reset: The Dodgers and Nationals backs are against the wall


source: AP

The Giants and Dodgers let games get away from them yesterday with bad decisions and bad bullpens, respectively. The Giants can still put Washington away today. The Cardinals, meanwhile, have the Dodgers’ backs against the wall. But while both L.A. and the Nats face elimination, each have hope based on the starting pitching matchups. The Dodgers because they have Clayton Kershaw going. The Nats because the Giants have pretty much the polar opposite of Clayton Kershaw going. Both series could end tonight or everyone could live on to play another day. I feel like we’re going to be playing another day in both cases.

The Game: Los Angeles Dodgers vs. St. Louis Cardinals, National League Division Series Game 4
The Time: 5:07 PM Eastern
The Place: Busch Stadium, St. Louis, Missouri
The Channel: Fox Sports 1
The Starters: Clayton Kershaw vs. Shelby Miller
The Upshot: The decision to pitch Clayton Kershaw on short rest seems like and even better one now than it did yesterday. Sure, he may not have his usual amount of stamina, but there is no better way for Don Mattingly to avoid his bullpen than to get a lot of innings from the best pitcher in baseball. Of course, last time out Kershaw tuckered out, abandoned his curve and melted down. Either way, the Dodgers would probably rather take their chances with his arm than with the guys down in that pen. For what it’s worth, Kershaw is 2-0 with a 0.47 ERA in three career starts on three-days rest. The Cardinals, meanwhile, counter with Shelby Miller, who is working on two-weeks’ rest. It’s his first career playoff start.

The Game: Washington Nationals vs. San Francisco Giants, National League Division Series Game 4
The Time: 9:07 PM Eastern
The Place: AT&T Park, San Francisco, California
The Channel: Fox Sports 1
The Starters: Gio Gonzalez vs. Ryan Vogelsong
The Upshot: Runs continue to come at a premium this series, with the Nationals’ breakthrough yesterday coming as a result of Madison Bumgarner’s curious decision to throw to third rather than first on a Wilson Ramos bunt, leading to all the runs the Nats would eventually need. In Gonzalez, the Nats have a guy going who was pretty hot down the stretch, putting up a 4-1 record with a 2.36 ERA in his last seven starts of the year. Such is not the case for the shaky Ryan Vogelsong. One gets the sense that the Giants have ridden him too long based on his nice run in 2011-12. On paper anyway, he may be the worst starter we’ve seen in the postseason thus far. The Nats, particularly, have feasted on him. He’s 1-2 with a 7.94 ERA in five career starts versus Washington. This year against the Nats he’s allowed nine runs and 13 hits over 11 and a third innings across two outings.

The playoffs continue to get good ratings so far this year

old TV

The latest from the folks at MLB:

The action on the field is once again leading to strong TV viewership. The Royals’ 8-3 win over the Angels on Sunday drew 4.4 million viewers on TBS, an increase of +29% over the comparable game last year, while the Orioles’ 2-1 win over the Tigers earlier in the day drew 3.3 million viewers on TBS, up +14% over its comparable game last year. Overall, the MLB Postseason as a whole is averaging 3.6 million viewers, an increase of +9% over last year to make it the most-watched MLB Postseason since 2010. In addition, viewership among the 18-34 audience is up +19% over last year through this point.

The younger demographic increases most likely please the folks on Park Avenue. Baseball may not be dying, but one of its bigger problems is viewership among the young.

Paul Pierce wants his son to be a baseball player because of the union

Paul Pierce

From our friends at PBT: Wizards forward Paul Pierce was asked if he wants his son to play basketball. His response:

I want him to be a baseball player. They’ve got a better union.

Ouch. Of course, the union is a weaker today than it was five years ago. At least if it’s tendency to throw some players under the bus and allow precedents to be set that, if the league rallies public opinion just so, it’ll give up things without getting anything in return.

Still: Pierce’s kid is still a baby and the MLBPA has a long way to go until it’s down where the unions in the other leagues are at.

Cobb county commissioner defensive, full of crap regarding details about the Braves new ballpark deal

Braves ballpark

Tim Lee is he chairman of the Cobb County, Georgia County Commission. He’s the guy who was in charge of the effort to give the Atlanta Braves hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer money to move to a new ballpark up in his county. He’s also the guy who made a point to limit public debate on the matter.

In other words, pretty par for the course as far as these things go.

Also par for the course? He is insulted — ABSOLUTELY INSULTED — that a newspaper would have the temerity to ask him about all of this or to be critical of the whole affair. From the Marietta Daily Journal:

COBB Commission Chair Tim Lee apparently has decided to balk rather than be interviewed again by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution about the Atlanta Braves’ move to Cobb County.

Lee pointedly turned down an interview request Thursday from AJC investigative reporter Dan Klepal, saying he was fed up with the AJC’s relentlessly negative coverage of the move, according to an email leaked to Around Town.

He did agree to answer email questions. One of the questions involves the work a private attorney did on behalf of the Braves-to-Cobb deal. An attorney Lee allegedly hired without the knowledge of his fellow Cobb Commissioners, let alone the public, and which said hiring would have been against the law. There is a good bit of controversy about this, as Lee had previously denied that he had hired this attorney. Then, uh-oh, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution found an email confirming that Lee did, in fact hire the guy. Here’s Lee’s defense, again, in his own words:

“As explained in some detail and repeatedly, Dan McRae provided legal advice about bond, financing and other legal issues that I needed during the initial, confidential discussions with the Braves,” Lee wrote. “He was not paid, nor was it promised he would be paid for the services he provided. Whether you call him project counsel, bond counsel, economic development counsel or some other description, he was performing legal work during the pre-public announcement time period, with no expectation of payment. He has never been paid nor has he requested to be paid, which further shows he did the work for free with no expectation of payment. I don’t know how many times I can say that to your satisfaction — he did the work for free, period. If you suggest otherwise, you are making a false allegation.”

It’s been five years since I’ve practiced law, so I guess I’m just out of the loop. Back in my day, however, lawyers tended not to do free work like this. They tended to, you know, like being paid either in cash or in the form of retainers or promises of additional work. But I guess in the past five years things have changed and now lawyers are just freely giving away their time on near-billion dollar projects.  Good for my former profession!

In other news: is anyone really surprised about any of this crap?