It's a Dirtbag world

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It got lost a bit in all the playoff excitement the last couple of days, but I spotted an interesting story in the Long Beach Press-Telegram, which pointed out the amazing baseball pipeline at Long Beach State.

According to the story, Long Beach State had 17 players compete in the major leagues this season, more than any other school.

What is also impressive is the quality of Dirtbags — err, players — on the list, as the group includes All-Stars Jered Weaver, Troy Tulowitzki and Evan Longoria.

Interestingly, according to Baseball-reference, Long Beach State has had only 33 players play in the big leagues overall, so the impressive run is a recent phenomenon.

The honor for most big leaguers in MLB history goes to the University of Texas with 100 (Roger Clemens, Huston Street, etc), followed by Arizona State (98, Barry Bonds, Reggie Jackson, Dustin Pedroia), and Stanford (82, Mike Mussina, Bob Boone).

But for now, it’s a Long Beach world.

It isn’t a stretch to say the parade won’t stop any time soon, either. Third baseman Adam Heether, outfielder Shane Peterson, shortstop Devon Lohman, and pitchers Jarad Hughes, Nick Vincent, Andrew Liebel, Bryan Shaw, Adam Wilk, Charlie Ruiz and Jake Thompson are all performing well enough in the minors to warrant an eventual shot at the majors.

Hail, Dirtbags!

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Starters? Openers? Who cares? It’s the lack of offense killing the Brewers

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The talk of Game 5 of the NLCS — and, indeed, the talk of the postseason so far — has been the Brewers’ creative use of their pitching staff. Indeed, Craig Counsell calling for Brandon Woodruff, and removing Miley from the game after just one batter and five pitches, stands as one of the more audacious acts of bullpenning in recent memory.

In light of that strategy, it was tempting to compare and contrast the Brewers’ approach to that of the Dodgers. Clayton Kershaw gave up an early run and, as has so often been the case lately, didn’t look super sharp early. But as the game wore on he got stronger, his curve got more devastating and he turned in an ace-like performance, leaving after seven innings of work, retiring the final 13 batters he faced. The Brewers may have an army of pitchers they throw at you, but the Dodgers, on this night, had a Hulk.

That’s all a lot of fun, and it was a tempting narrative to grab a hold of, but you know what? It doesn’t matter a bit. The fact of the matter is that the Brewers have scored two runs in the last 17 innings between Games 4 and 5. Two runs, with one of them being an oh-by-the-way run with out in the ninth tonight. They’ve only scored three runs in their last 24 innings. They could have a college of coaches using a murder of pitchers and they’d still be staring at being down 3-2 like they are right now because the bats have gone cold.

The presumptive NL MVP, Christian Yelich, was 0-for-4 in Game 5 and is only 3-for-20 with three singles in the entire NLCS. Ryan Braun is 5-for-21. Lorenzo Cain is 6-for-24. Games 3 and 4 have, obviously, been the big problems for the Brewers. In those games the entire team is batting .168 with 26 strikeouts and they are 3-for-13 with runners in scoring position.

Craig Counsell could go back in time, bring back Pete Vukovich, Rollie Fingers, Teddy Higuera, Moose Haas and Jim Slaton, use them all for an inning and two-thirds each and it wouldn’t matter if the Brewers can’t score. That’s the story of the series so far. No matter how much we might want to talk about the pitching shenanigans, that’s the only thing that really matters.