Tag: Los Angeles Angels


Remembering World Series Game 7s of the past 30 years


KANSAS CITY — What happened before has no bearing on what will happen today. People will try to convince you that’s not the case. They’ll toss out that stat about Game 6 winners at home winning Game 7s as if it’s meaningful rather than simply interesting. They’ll point to 1985 and imply it has some sort of predictive value. It clearly doesn’t. What happens tonight is gonna happen because of what happens tonight not because of what happened before.

But, as long as we keep that in mind, there is no harm in gawking at history. Specifically Game 7 of the World Series. Here’s a brief rundown of the ones that happened in the past 30 years:

2011: The Cardinals defeated the Rangers, 6-2, in St. Louis

Man, what a disaster that ended up being for the Rangers. Game 6 was the real disaster, but Game 7 was, obviously, where it ended. Chris Carpenter did something not a lot of pitchers do anymore, and that’s start his third game in a seven game series (thanks rainout!). Allen Craig of all people robbed someone of a homer in the field. David Freese’s postseason legend was cemented with more RBIs and a World Series MVP. Overall not a competitive game, though. The highest drama had already gone down in this series. This is pretty common pattern, as we’ll see.

2002: The Angels defeated the Giants, 4-1, in Anaheim

This was a fantastic series, but Game 7 was a bit of a comedown here as well. The Angels’ big comeback in Game 6 when the Giants were eight outs away from winning it all traumatized Giants fans for a good bit. Obviously, two World Series titles since then have helped those wounds heal, but don’t think fora second that the Royals aren’t fancying themselves as these Angels and the Giants aren’t worrying that history is repeating itself, even if it is not doing so in such a dramatic fashion.

2001: The Diamondbacks defeated the Yankees, 3-2, in Phoenix 
1997: The Marlins defeated the Indians, 3-2, in Miami
1991: Twins defeated Braves, 1-0, in Minneapolis

If we’re lucky, tonight we get one of these. All three ended in a walkoff with Luis Gonzalez, Edgar Renteria and Gene Larkin doing the honors, respectively. Of course, the men who hit the walkoffs weren’t necessarily the men most remembered for their exploits in the series or even the game. A Game 7 can certainly create heroes, but in 1997’s case, Jose Mesa and Tony Fernandez instantly became goats. In 2001, Gonzalez was a hero, but Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson became legends. In 1991, Jack Morris nearly became immortal, with his performance almost catapulting him into the Hall of Fame.

1987: The Twins defeated the Cardinals, 4-2, in Minneapolis

Fun footnote: This was on a Monday and was broadcast by ABC, which also broadcast Monday Night Football at the time. Because of that — and because of another Minnesota team playing in the same darn stadium — ABC and the NFL decided that they would move the Broncos-Vikings game to Tuesday as a result. Can you imagine that happening today? They’d probably move the World Series to a neutral site and broadcast it on Fox Sports 47.

1986: Mets defeated Red Sox. 8-5, in New York
1985: Royals defeated Cardinals, 11-0, in Kansas City

Two more instances in which all the drama — be it Bill Buckner or Don Denkinger-induced — happened in Game 6. We had negative drama in Kansas City last night, so perhaps the script will be flipped and we’ll get it all in Game 7 this time? I think that’s almost certainly an omen, actually.

Wait. I said none of that mattered. Never mind.

*crosses fingers anyway*

Brewers claim infielder Luis Jimenez off waivers from Angels

Luis Jimenez Getty

The Brewers announced this evening that they claimed infielder Luis Jimenez off waivers from the Angels.

Jimenez appeared in 18 games with the Angels this season and batted just .162 (6-for-37) with two doubles and a 13/0 K/BB ratio. However, the 26-year-old owns a healthy .299/.335/.509 batting line over eight seasons in the minors and slugged 21 home runs over 117 games this season in Triple-A. Granted, those numbers were boosted by the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League. That success hasn’t translated yet.

Jimenez has mostly played third base in pro ball and figures to compete for a bench job with the Brewers in the spring.

Mike Trout, Giancarlo Stanton win the Hank Aaron Award

Mike Trout

Angels center fielder Mike Trout and Marlins right fielder Giancarlo Stanton are the winners of the Hank Aaron Award for their respective leagues, Major League Baseball has just announced. The award is given to the best offensive player in each league.

Trout had the third-best OPS in the American League at .939, slashing .287/.377/.561. He tied for third in home runs with Jose Abreu at 36, and led the league in runs scored with 115 and RBI with 111.

Stanton had the second-best OPS in the National League at .950, slashing .288/.395/.555. He led the league in home runs with 37 and knocked in the second-most runs with 105. Stanton may have led the league in RBI had he not missed the final three weeks of the season after getting hit in the face with a pitch.

Gold Glove finalists announced

gold glove award

Gold Glove award winners are announced November 4, but in the meantime Rawlings just named three finalists for each position in each league:

AL, catcher: Alex Avila, Yan Gomes, Salvador Perez
AL, first base: Eric Hosmer, Miguel Cabrera, Albert Pujols
AL, second base: Robinson Cano, Dustin Pedroia, Ian Kinsler
AL, third base: Josh Donaldson, Adrian Beltre, Kyle Seager
AL, shortstop: Alcides Escobar, J.J. Hardy, Alexei Ramirez
AL, left field: Alex Gordon, Michael Brantley, Yoenis Cespedes
AL, center field: Adam Jones, Adam Eaton, Jackie Bradley Jr.
AL, right field: Kole Calhoun, Kevin Kiermaier, Nick Markakis
AL, pitcher: Mark Buehrle, Felix Hernandez, Dallas Keuchel

NL, catcher: Jonathan Lucroy, Russell Martin, Yadier Molina
NL, first base: Adrian Gonzalez, Justin Morneau, Adam LaRoche
NL, second base: D.J. LeMahieu, Brandon Phillips, Chase Utley
NL, third base: Nolan Arenado, Juan Uribe, Pablo Sandoval
NL, shortstop: Zack Cozart, Adeiny Hechavarria, Andrelton Simmons
NL, left field: Justin Upton, Starling Marte, Christian Yelich
NL, center field: Billy Hamilton, Denard Span, Juan Lagares
NL, right field: Jason Heyward, Gerardo Parra, Giancarlo Stanton
NL, pitcher: Zack Greinke, Clayton Kershaw, Adam Wainwright

I stopped paying much attention to the Gold Glove awards a long time ago–somewhere between Rafael Palmeiro winning one as a designated hitter and Derek Jeter winning five as a shortstop–but feel free to complain about the finalists.

Your Official HardballTalk World Series Preview

Screen Shot 2014-10-21 at 9.28.35 AM

Just as we all predicted back in March, the Royals and the Giants will face off in the World Series. Or maybe some of us didn’t predict that. Heck, maybe some of us all but wrote off these teams in July. It’s been a crazy up and down season for both of them, and now here they are, back up again and ready to square off in the Fall Classic.

Try to remember how this all works next March when the experts are, once again, predicting things.

But just as no one can predict what’s going to happen before the season begins, no one can really predict what’s going to happen here. Basically every favorite in a postseason series has lost and neither the Giants nor the Royals have some monster, dominating player which makes them a clear-cut favorite here. Not that that matters either. Baseball’s best hitter, Mike Trout, and best pitcher, Clayton Kershaw are watching this on TV like you are. Because October refuses to follow scripts.

But we’re not flying totally blind here, obviously. And we can at least attempt to break this down somehow. If, for no other reason, than the games don’t start of nearly 11 hours.

The Matchups:

Game 1 Tonight in Kansas City: Madison Bumgarner vs. James Shields
Game 2 Wednesday in Kansas City: Jake Peavy vs. Yordano Ventura
Game 3 Friday in San Francisco: TBA vs. Tim Hudson
Game 4 Saturday in San Francisco: TBA vs. Ryan Vogelsong
Game 5 (if necessary) Sunday in San Francisco: TBA vs. TBA
Game 6 (if necessary) next Tuesday in Kansas City: TBA vs. TBA
Game 7 (if necessary) next Wednesday in Kansas City: TBA vs. TBA

“Big Game James” Shields has the better nickname, but he also has a career playoff ERA of 5.19 and hasn’t distinguished himself this October. Worth noting, though, that his best start of the season came in a four-hit shutout of the Giants back in August. Madison Bumgarner is clearly the best pitcher on either team. After that, a mixed bag for both teams. Jake Peavy has been a revelation since being traded to San Francisco from Boston and now stands to win a World Series with a second team in two seasons. Ryan Vogelsong has been a poor pitcher for a couple of years now but, somehow, has managed to turn it on in the postseason. Behind Shields the Royals have the hard-throwing Ventura and then a couple of guys in Jeremy Guthrie and Jason Vargas who are just as capable of putting up zeros each night as they are of getting shelled. It’s not a insanely large advantage, but as far as the rotation goes, San Francisco is better. ADVANTAGE GIANTS

The Lineups:

Again, the Giants have the best player on either team in Buster Posey, but see the stuff about Mike Trout above when it comes to weighing star power in October. Neither of these teams will hit you with an offensive blitzkrieg, but the Giants had, surprisingly, one of the better offenses in the National League this season and the Royals have been scoring runs in bunches this October. One factor to all of this is that both teams do a great job of putting the ball in play. We live in the age of the strikeout, so simply putting wood on the ball is a plus. As far as the head-to-head of it all, the Royals will miss Billy Butler in the games in San Francisco, but the same goes for every AL team in the World Series. Overall, I like what the Royals have been doing lately than what the Giants did all year, when a lot of the team’s big offensive numbers were posted early in the year. Yes, I know recency bias is a fallacy of some kind, but we are in seven-game crapshoot territory here. ADVANTAGE ROYALS

The Bullpens:

What the Royals have done with Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland has been near-historic this season. Nothing is certain in life but death and taxes, but right after that comes “the 2014 will beat you if they have a lead by the seventh inning.” What’s more, Ned Yost seems to be willing to stretch Herrera and Davis more as the postseason wears on, so maybe we can adjust that to the sixth inning. The Giants’ pen is not bad at all, of course, with Jeremy Affeldt, Santiago Casilla, and Javier Lopez putting in outstanding performances this year, even if they don’t throw as hard as the Royals’ relievers. Plus: Affeldt and Lopez match up really well with the Royals’ lefty batters, and there is none better at playing the situational matchups than Bruce Bochy. ADVANTAGE ROYALS

The Managers:

Ned Yost was the butt of a lot of jokes in September and the early part of the playoffs due to his small ball tendencies and a lot of curious choices when it came to late inning matchups. But he has done quite well in the ALDS and ALCS, taking counsel from his coaches and, one may guess, listening to his critics. He’s still not John McGraw out there, but he has not screwed up massively in a few weeks right now, and that’s something. On the other side of the field, well, Bruce Bochy has been there, done that, won the trophy and is probably on his way to the Hall of Fame. If you can recall an instance when Bochy has made a tactical blunder, well, you’re a better man than I am. ADVANTAGE GIANTS

The Magic:

I don’t believe in voodoo, momentum or teams of destiny, but I know a lot of people do, so let’s talk about that. The Royals have not lost a playoff game yet, and haven’t lost any games since September 27. Everything is clicking for them, they’re a great story and they play in a city absolutely starving for a championship. The world is an absurd place, and my love of that absurdity can’t help but smile at the notion of Ned Yost, who was probably close to being fired back in May, hoisting a trophy. The Giants, meanwhile, have all of the playoff experience anyone could want and seem to excel at winning it all when everyone favors the other guys. Edgar Renteria hitting bombs in 2010? Beating the tar out of Justin Verlander in 2012? That stuff doesn’t happen unless you made a pact with some supernatural force in exchange for temporary, mortal greatness. It’s a hard call, but with the caveat that the universe is a random, uncaring place which has no time whatsoever for your mortal beliefs about fate, destiny and magic, let’s give the nod here to the better, more uplifting story. ADVANTAGE ROYALS

The Prediction:

This is a fun matchup but an even matchup and anyone telling you that they know what’s going to happen is selling you snake oil. So I’m jus going to give a guess, partially informed by my fascination with shut-down bullpens and partially based on my wishes and desires. ROYALS WIN IN SEVEN, in what I hope to be an exciting, seesaw battle.