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NLDS – All Matt all the time

I don’t want to focus on the Dodgers being down two games to one as they approach an elimination game today. Instead I’m fascinated about how the Matt’s have dominated this series.

Game One:

  • With two out in the 6th inning, Clayton Kershaw had given up one hit, a home run. Matt Carpenter hit what appeared at the time to be an innocuous home run to change the score from 6 – 1 to 6 – 2 and nobody really cared.  It would be the beginning of an hour of onslaught by the Cardinal Matt’s.
  • The Dodgers entered the 7th with a 6 – 2 lead but a trio of Matt’s would prove the Dodger undoing.  Matt Adams started the Matt carnage by collecting the fourth straight single off of Clayton, driving in the 3rd run of the game for the Cardinals and making Dodger fans nervous.
  • By the time Matt Carpenter came up in the same innings, the score was now 6-4 the sacks were loaded, and Don Mattingly had visited the mound. Whatever transpired, Don left the best pitcher in baseball in to face his nemeses Matt Carpenter. It did not go well. Matt Carpenter delivered a three run double that many Dodger fans will never recover from. It might have been the most important at bat of the series, possibly of Clayton’s career and it shockingly ended with Clayton on the Matt.
  • Far from done, the next Matt came up, and in typical Cardinal Matt fashion Matt Holiday planted a Pedro Baez pitch into the left field pavilion putting the game out of reach.
  • Matt Kemp did his best, collecting three hits of his own but one Matt on this day could not offset a trio of Cardinal Matt’s

Game Two:

  • With the Dodgers leading 1 – 0 in the top of the eight inning, Dodger killer Matt Carpenter slugs a two run home run off of JP Howell. Not only does this put the Cardinals up 2 – 1, it increases the debate from Friday when many fans felt JP Howell should have faced Matt Carpenter instead of letting the best pitcher in baseball try to work his way out of a nasty situation.  I’m not sure even Sandy Koufax could get Matt Carpenter out at this point.
  • This time the Dodgers had the right Matt at the right time. Answering the home run by Matt Carpenter, Matt Kemp takes Neshek deep for a two run blast, giving the Dodgers a 3 – 2 lead that they would hold to even the series at a game a piece.

Game Three:

  • In the 3rd inning of a scoreless game, that guy hits another home run. Matt Carpenter in three games has now homered against Clayton Kershaw, JP Howell, and Ryu. This from a man who hit all of eight home runs during the regular season.  Only two from the left side. In three three games he has three home runs against three of the toughest left hand pitchers in baseball.  It has been a mind boggling run by Matt Carpenter.
  • With three games in the book Matt Carpenter has three home runs, a bases loaded double, and for some reason the key to Kershaws lock.

Time for a Dodger / Giant postseason matchup

I’ll be gone for a few days, I hope by the time I come back that the Dodgers will have already vanquished the Cardinals, and that Bumgarner made sure the National/Giant series goes at least four games.

Since early June, I’ve been baying about a possible Dodger / Giant postseason series. Most of my Dodger friends were not keen on the notion, but I’ve noticed that has changed in the past week. Probably for two reasons:

  1. Nationals look like a formidable opponent, and if the Giants can take them out so much the better
  2. The Giants do not look very formidable unless Bumgarner is on the mound.

I don’t care about one or two. I just think it would make for a great NLCS to have the Dodgers playing the Giants.  It does not happen as often as it feels like but those  Yankee / Red Sox post season series have elevated the game of baseball.  To put the Dodger / Giant rivalry on a higher plane means meeting in the postseason.

The Dodgers will do their part  starting tomorrow night.  Not many (including myself) expect the Giants to give the Nationals much of a series. I’m on record as expecting the winner of the NLCS to win the World Series. Of course that is predicated on the match up being the Nationals and Dodgers.  It would please me greatly if the Giants surpass expectations and defeat the Nationals. It would displease me (and everyone who reads this) if the Cardinals do the same.

I hope this does not became a case of beware what you hope for.

 

Edinson Volquez and his 1.08 Sept ERA takes the hill among a plethora of skeptics

Last winter the Pirates did not pursue AJ Burnett whose last start of the 2013 season was a vivid reminder of what 2014 might be if they choose that path once again. Instead the Pirates picked up reclamation project Edinson Volquez who quietly had his best year since his 24-year-old rookie season.

AJ Burnett was given a $15,000,000 contract by the Phillies to be the worst starting pitcher on their team.  Edinson Volquez was given $5,000,000 to fill his shoes, and he did exactly what very few baseball people felt he could do.  A year ago it would have sounded like a panic move to consider using Volquez in the most important Pirate game of 2014, but maybe Volquez has earned it?

Volquez has pitched at least six innings his last six starts. Four times he has gone at least seven innings.  In those six starts he has given up a total of only five earned runs. In forty one innings.  It looks like a daunting task going against one of the elite hurlers in the NL, but I’m not about to undersell the Pirates at home, even against Madison Bumgarner.  For one game it is very possible that Edinson could fulfill his role as a Giant killer.

The Pirates blew past the over/under on wins this season mainly because of two unheralded additions to the 2014 team. One was of course Edinson Volquez. The other was the purchase of Vance Worley from the misbegotten Twins organization. Worley would go onto to post the best ERA+ of any Pirate starter, and give them major important innings, while their ace in training Gerritt Cole was injured. Both moves have proven to be brilliant for 2014, and allowed the small payroll Pirates a chance for a meaningful postseason.

If Volquez can vanquish Bumgarner, the Pirates should have a fighting chance against the Nationals, as it allows them to send a fully rested Liriano/Cole at the Nationals for game one and two.

 

Top Dodger pitching game scores in postseason play against Cardinals – Jose Lima still on top

Jose Lima 2004 NLDS Victory

Jose Lima holds a special place for most Dodger fans. His inexplicable shutout of the Cardinals in game three of the 2004 NLDS was as unlikely an event as has ever happened in the postseason at the Ravine.

Wow, three of the top five game scores performances against the Cardinals in the postseason happened last October, and the Dodgers still managed to lose the series in six games.

Padilla was of course the pitching star  in the 2009 NLDS , leading the Dodgers to the NLCS where he did not fare as well.

Player                  Date Series Gm#  Tm Opp  Rslt  IP H ER BB SO GSc
Jose Lima         2004-10-09   NLDS   3 LAD STL W 4-0 9.0 5  0  1  4  80
Zack Greinke      2013-10-11   NLCS   1 LAD STL L 2-3 8.0 4  2  1 10  75
Hyun-jin Ryu      2013-10-14   NLCS   3 LAD STL W 3-0 7.0 3  0  1  4  74
Vicente Padilla   2009-10-10   NLDS   3 LAD STL W 5-1 7.0 4  0  1  4  72
Clayton Kershaw   2013-10-12   NLCS   2 LAD STL L 0-1 6.0 2  0  1  5  70

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 9/29/2014.

I guess for context we should look at every start. Seeing Clayton Kershaw on the bottom is very very sad.  At least three more games will get added this year.

Player                      Date Series Gm#   Rslt  IP  H ER BB SO GSc
Jose Lima             2004-10-09   NLDS   3  W 4-0 9.0  5  0  1  4  80
Zack Greinke          2013-10-11   NLCS   1  L 2-3 8.0  4  2  1 10  75
Hyun-jin Ryu          2013-10-14   NLCS   3  W 3-0 7.0  3  0  1  4  74
Vicente Padilla       2009-10-10   NLDS   3  W 5-1 7.0  4  0  1  4  72
Clayton Kershaw       2013-10-12   NLCS   2  L 0-1 6.0  2  0  1  5  70
Fernando Valenzuela   1985-10-14   NLCS   5  L 2-3 8.0  4  2  8  7  65
Orel Hershiser        1985-10-10   NLCS   2  W 8-2 9.0  8  2  5  4  62
Zack Greinke          2013-10-16   NLCS   5  W 6-4 7.0  6  2  1  4  60
Fernando Valenzuela   1985-10-09   NLCS   1  W 4-1 6.1  7  1  2  6  59
Clayton Kershaw       2009-10-08   NLDS   2  W 3-2 6.2  9  2  1  4  51
Ricky Nolasco         2013-10-15   NLCS   4  L 2-4 4.0  3  3  1  4  47
Orel Hershiser        1985-10-16   NLCS   6  L 5-7 6.1  9  4  1  1  39
Randy Wolf            2009-10-07   NLDS   1  W 5-3 3.2  6  2  5  2  38
Odalis Perez          2004-10-10   NLDS   4  L 2-6 2.1  3  2  5  0  38
Bob Welch             1985-10-12   NLCS   3  L 2-4 2.2  5  2  6  2  32
Jeff Weaver           2004-10-07   NLDS   2  L 3-8 4.2  8  6  2  4  26
Jerry Reuss           1985-10-13   NLCS   4 L 2-12 1.2  5  2  1  0  26
Odalis Perez          2004-10-05   NLDS   1  L 3-8 2.2  5  6  2  3  25
Clayton Kershaw       2013-10-18   NLCS   6  L 0-9 4.0 10  7  2  5  17

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 9/29/2014.

Adrian Gonzalez, Andre Ethier, Shawn Green lead the way with nine total bases in Postseason play against Cardinals

Three LAD have posted at least nine total bases against the Cardinals in postseason play. You have to drop the criteria all the way to six to get any additional players. Those two would be Milton Bradley and Mariano Duncan.

The three players who have at least nine total bases are:

It was the infamous Mickey Mouse Ear gesture by Adrian after he blasted a home run against the Cardinals at Dodger Stadium on Oct 16th that ignited the crowd.

Andre Ethier hit a double/triple/home run on Oct 10, 2009 in what had to be the biggest moment of his career, vaulting the Dodgers to a 5 – 1 game victory, and 3 – 0 series victory.  Imagine, I wrote a whole story about his and neglected to mention Andre Ethier.

Lost in the Jose Lima game were the two solo home runs launched by Shawn Green to give the Dodgers the offense they needed.

Player                  Date Series Gm#  Tm Opp  Rslt PA R 2B 3B HR TB RBI
Adrian Gonzalez   2013-10-16   NLCS   5 LAD STL W 6-4  4 3  0  0  2  9   2
Andre Ethier      2009-10-10   NLDS   3 LAD STL W 5-1  5 2  1  1  1  9   2
Shawn Green       2004-10-09   NLDS   3 LAD STL W 4-0  4 2  0  0  2  9   2

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 9/29/2014.

NFBC – Final Update – Matt Kemp homers Moustacheball into mo money

When I first started posting about my teams results in the NFBC back in early August I had just cracked the top 20. At that time I was simply excited to be leading my league, and while hoping for a top 10 overall finish, never really believed it was possible. Yet, Kershaw/Kemp just kept doing their thing, and while some teams above me had Kershaw, no one had Matt Kemp so every time he delivered, he moved my team up the ladder. It was a crazy final day for me, and below is the recap.

Main Event Las Vegas March 22 League One Results

Moustacheball had the Main Event Las Vegas March 22 League One league title locked up several weeks ago, and ended up winning by 19 points, a substantial margin given the competition which included the 2013 NFBC $125,000 overall winner.  The winner of each of the 30 leagues pulls home $6500

Rank Team Batting Pts Pitching Pts Overall Pts
1 MoustacheBall 66.0 61.0 127.0
2 The Governor 58.0 50.0 108.0
3 Seeing Doubles 48.5 57.5 106.0
4 Zefurs || LV2 53.0 50.0 103.0
5 Welcome to Stevieland 50.5 46.0 96.5
6 Tiger Slappy 45.0 48.0 93.0
7 CC’s Desperados 47.0 40.5 87.5
8 Ozville Flying Monkeys 38.5 42.0 80.5
9 DonnieBaseball ME 36.0 43.0 79.0
10 Four Headed Monster 55.5 16.0 71.5
11 Team Izenstark 24.5 35.5 60.0
12 Mudhens 21.5 36.0 57.5
13 Bama & Madcow 23.5 33.5 57.0
14 Team Cohan 21.5 30.0 51.5
15 Miami Mac 11.0 11.0 22.0

2014 NFBC Overall Results:

Going into the last game, Moustacheball was in 7th place just a bit above 8th place. Some times you just need some luck. The team below had Wainwright ready to pitch but when the Pirates lost to the Reds, Wainwright sat out the last game which crushed that teams chance of taking my seventh place spot.  Cole Hamels came up big in his last start of the year to give a good start to my day, but I was still in seventh as the morning games finished, but now found myself just a few points behind 6th.

One swing of the bat by Matt Kemp and Moustacheball had pushed themselves into 6th place. Now it was simply watching and hoping the lead would hold up. Most players were sitting out Sunday so very little action was happening in the afternoon games, and when the dust had settled on the 2014 season, the Moustacheball team had secured 6th place, and another $5,000 by 1 point.

I had paid over 250 FAAB dollars for Mookie Betts and in Sept he proved to be worth every penny, but it was Clayton Kershaw who pitched this team into the money.

I know it sounds strange to be excited about a 6th place finish but when it is 6th place out of 420 teams, I don’t feel wrong in feeling great about the season.  I played against the best roto players in this country and more than held my own. Every roto site from http://www.baseballhq.com to http://www.rotowire.com has multiple teams in this competition.

Finishing sixth won’t change my life, but it does give what I do some validation.

It is easy to look back at the draft and see which move was the move that could have changed everything. With the 20th pick, I took Pirate pitching prospect Jameson Tallison. I had Dee Gordon on my list but figured I could get him with the next pick. The very next team picked Dee Gordon.  I only had 186 points in the stolen base category, if I only added 50 steals that Dee would have brought me, that would have been 408 points. A swing of 222 points, and possibly the overall championship. Given he would have replaced Aaron Hill as my 2nd baseman, my BA would also have gone up quite a few points, as would have runs scored.  The team that won, did have Dee Gordon. Kudos to him.

Rank Team Owner Overall Pts AmountWon
1 Sons of Thunder 2014 Greg Morgan, Dale Morgan 3,643.0 $125,000
2 Broken Arms Michael Makula 3,521.5 $30,000
3 Cocktails and Dreams Chad Schroeder 3,501.5 $20,000
4 Belt Hangers Chas Nelson 3,467.5 $10,000
5 Da Giant Bums Neal Moses, Charlie Casey 3,450.5 $7,500
6 MoustacheBall Meercat john 3,433.5 $5,000
7 Sultans of Smack Stephen Fiore 3,432.0 $3,000
8 Hoss Cartwright Kieran Lalonde, Lindy Hinkelman 3,418.0 $2,000
9 Mudhens Jon Stadtmueller 3,408.5 $1,750
10 Cue the Duckboats ME 3/26 Jason Duponte 3,371.0 $1,600

Matt Kemp 10 Total Bases on 4/19/09 against Rockies at the Ravine is tops

Matt kemp 9/29/12

A few weeks ago we looked at the greatest single LAD efforts against the Rockies at Coors. Today we will look at the greatest single LAD efforts against the Rockies while playing at Dodger Stadium.

I was a little surprised that Mike Piazza did not make this list. Matt Kemp sits on top with the best, and second best games using total bases as the criteria. At least nine total bases was used in the search.

Brendan Scolari of www.truebluela.com wrote the recap of the game that Matt Kemp collected the ten total bases.

As for the hitting, Rafael Furcal, Andre Ethier, and Casey Blake each had a double and a single. Manny had two singles, Hudson had three hits, and Russell Martin got on base four times. But the player of the game was Matt Kemp, who went 3-5 with a double and two home runs, one of which was a grand slam. Kemp had 5 RBI’s.

Eric Stephen had the recap of the second best game against the Rockies at the Ravine.

Matt Kemp hit a pair of home runs, including one near the top of the left field pavilion, to lead the Dodgers to a 3-0 win over the Rockies on Saturday night at Dodger Stadium. The fourth straight win for the Dodgers pulled them to within two games of the Cardinals, who lost on Saturday to the Nationals. Kemp’s home run in the fourth inning, to left field, was estimated at 461 feet, which made it the longest hit by a Dodger this season. The previous long, per ESPN Home Run Tracker, was 454 feet, also hit by Kemp, on April 25 against Atlanta.

Paul LoDuca may not be on top of the total base leader-board but some would consider his six for six performance to be the best of the lot. For one thing is was six hits. For another thing they needed all six hits to beat the Rockies 11  -10 in a crazy game.  His sixth hit put him on base in the 11th inning to score the winning run on a single by Shawn Green.

Hey hey, Jeff Reboulet.

Player             Date  Tm Opp          Rslt PA 2B HR TB RBI
Matt Kemp          2009-04-19 LAD COL  W 14-2  5  1  2 10   5
Matt Kemp          2012-09-29 LAD COL   W 3-0  4  0  2  9   2
Paul Lo Duca       2001-05-28 LAD COL W 11-10  6  0  1  9   4
Andre Ethier       2009-04-18 LAD COL   W 9-5  5  0  2  8   4
Manny Ramirez      2009-04-18 LAD COL   W 9-5  4  0  2  8   2
Matt Kemp          2008-06-02 LAD COL   W 8-2  5  2  1  8   1
Jeff Reboulet      2001-07-28 LAD COL  W 10-6  5  2  1  8   4
Adrian Beltre      2000-09-17 LAD COL  W 12-6  4  0  2  8   3
Eric Karros     1999-07-22(2) LAD COL L 11-12  5  0  2  8   4

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 9/26/2014.

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