The Devil You Know

The Astros’ ALDS opponent has been revealed and it is a team they know very well from their own division. The Astros have played the Seattle Mariners 19 times each of the last 10 seasons (other than Covid 2020) since they have joined the AL West. They were 12-7 against the M’s this season. (It doesn’t matter).

They went an amazing 14-5, 14-5, and 18-1 between 2017 and 2019 against the M’s.  (It doesn’t matter). The M’s stumbled down the stretch in 2022, at one time going 7-12 in one 19-game stretch in September. (It doesn’t matter). The Astros have a huge advantage in playoff experience – having made it to the postseason 7 of the last 8 seasons. (It doesn’t matter). The last time the Mariners were in the playoffs in 2001, their Rookie of the Year in waiting, Julio Rodriguez, was less than a year old. (It just doesn’t matter).

What does matter is that the Mariners made the playoffs in 2022 and won the wild card series in two games on the road against the Blue Jays. They sent the ace they stole from the Reds at the trade deadline, Luis Castillo, out to the mound in game 1, and he threw 7.1 innings of shutout ball in a 4-0 win. In game two, their star pitcher Robbie Ray was manhandled by Toronto, but the team came back from an 8-1 deficit to beat the Blue Jays 10-9. They were aided by a fielding collision between Bo Bichette and former Astro star George Springer that knocked Springer out of the game and allowed the three tying runs to score. What matters in the playoffs is that anyone can win any series, and any team can get enough momentum behind them for two to three weeks to beat even the very best teams.

So, what does the series between two teams that know each other so well, the Astros and the M’s, look like?

Starting Pitching

The Astros have the best starting staff in the American League, anyway you look at it. Their starters have won an incredible 84 games out of their 106 wins this season. Second in the AL? The Mariners with 56 wins. The Astros starters are 1st in the AL with a 2.95 ERA, a 1.07 WHIP, and a .213 BA against. The Mariners are 6th in ERA (3.75), 8th in WHIP (1.26) and 8th in BAA (.251).  

The series is going to play out as a Game 1 Tuesday, Game 2 Thursday and then Games 3-5 (if needed) Saturday thru Monday. The only starter announced so far is likely Cy Young winner Justin Verlander (18-4, 1.75 ERA) in Game 1, but Game 2 and Game 3 are probably going to be Framber Valdez (17-6, 2.82 ERA) and Lance McCullers Jr. (4-2, 2.27 ERA). Game 4, if needed, would be where things get interesting. They could bring back Verlander on normal rest for that game, but that would burn him for starting the first game of the next series. Would they use him here if they were down 1-2, but not if they were 2-1? They still have (depending on their playoff roster) Cristian Javier (11-9, 2.54 ERA), Jose Urquidy (13-8, 3.94 ERA) and Luis Garcia (15-8, 3.72 ERA) in reserve to start that 4th game.

On the M’s side of the game, if they don’t bring back Castillo on short rest, they will likely will start the ALDS with young Logan Gilbert, who is 13-6, 3.20 ERA and has pitched solidly against the Astros. They would certainly follow him with Castillo (8-6, 2.99 ERA – Reds and M’s) on Thursday. Then the question is would they follow him with Robbie Ray (12-12, 3.71 ERA) , who was hit around by the Astros this year or Chris Flexen (8-9, 3.73 ERA), who had much better outings against the Astros. Rookie George Kirby (8-5, 3.39 ERA is another choice for the M’s, who threw a ton of pitches in his 4 inning start against the Astros earlier this year.

Bottom line – this is an area that the Astros should have the advantage, but a five game series is nerve racking.

Relief Pitching

The Astros have statistically the best bullpen in the American League as their 2.80 ERA is tops and they have a strong 1.14 WHIP (3rd) and .210 BA against (3rd).  But the bullpen is a real strength for the M’s. Their 3.33 ERA (4th) trails the Astros a bit, but they do have the best WHIP (1.08) and BA against (.207) in the AL. One of the biggest differences between the teams is the 65 HRs the M’s have given up vs. the 36 by the Astros. The Mariners pen did pitch about 10% more innings than the Astros, but that doesn’t explain that big difference in homers.

Paul Sewald (5-4, 20 svs, 2.67 ERA) is the Mariners closer. Other high leverage relievers are Diego Castillo (7-3, 7 saves, 3.65 ERA), Erik Swanson (3-2, 3 saves, 1.64 ERA) and Andres Munoz (2-5, 4 svs, 2.49 ERA). Even though the leftys in the bullpen don’t always have the best stats, Manager Scott Servais has never been shy about bringing in Anthony Misiewicz (0-1, 4.61 ERA), Matthew Boyd (2-0, 1.35 ERA), and Ryan Borucki (2-0, 4.24 ERA). It will be interesting to see who makes the playoff roster for this series.

The Astros’ bullpen starts with closer Ryan Pressly (3-3, 33 saves, 2.98 ERA), but he shares late inning high leveraged situations with Rafael Montero (5-2, 14 svs, 2.37 ERA), Ryne Stanek (2-1, 1 sv, 1.15 ERA), Hector Neris (6-4, 3 svs, 3.72 ERA), and Bryan Abreu (4-0, 2 svs, 1.94 ERA). The wide, open question is who will be helping out the bullpen in a longer relief role. Rookie Hunter Brown (2-0, 0.89 ERA)? Starters like Javier, Urquidy or Garcia? The makeup and use of the long relievers will be a key to the series.

Bottom Line – Astros have a small advantage here


The Astros are statistically better than the Mariners. They were 3rd in the AL in runs scored and OPS and 5th in BA and 4th in OBP. The Mariners were closer to the middle of the pack as they were 8th in runs scored, 14th in BA, 7th in OBP and 6th in OPS. But you have to be afraid of any team that believes in itself that it comes back from an 8-1 deficit in the playoffs.  

The heart of the Astros offense is the quartet of Yordan Alvarez (95 runs, 37 HRs, 97 RBIs), Jose Altuve (103 runs, 28 HRs, 57 RBIs), Kyle Tucker (71 runs, 30 HRs, 107 RBIs) and Alex Bregman (93 runs, 23 HRs, 93 RBIs). Assistance they get from rookie Jeremy Pena, Yuli Gurriel and Trey Mancini can be critical, but if they get help from whoever is plugging the CF spot (Chas McCormick, Mauricio Dubon) that can be big too. Aledmys Diaz is their secret weapon, who can play left field or anywhere on the infield.

The core of the Mariners’ offense revolves around young CF Julio Rodriguez (84 runs, 28 HRs, 75 RBIs), 1B Ty France (65 runs,  20 HRs, 84 RBIs), and 3B Eugenio Suarez (76 runs, 31 HRs, 87 RBIs). Their catcher Cal Rayleigh has a lot of power 27 HRs, 63 RBIs that is offset by his low .211 BA. Mitch Haniger has missed a lot of time this year, but has been productive when well. What they get out of some of the other folks like Adam Frazier, Carlos Santana and J.P. Crawford may well tell their story.

Bottom Line – Despite the worries we have with the Astros’ offense, there have been overall a lot more problems with the Mariners’ offense.

Overall – If the series is decided by playoff experience, the Astros win in a walk. If it is decided by momentum and the excitement of a first-time playoff run for most of their players, the Mariners are a real threat. 

Bottomline – The Astros in four games, but it will be tough.  


90 comments on “The Devil You Know

  1. If anybody goes to a game Framber is pitching – bring along signs that say “Breathe!!!”

    I liked this article because it really helps you think of these players as people with the psychological problems everyone experiences day to day. This doctor looks like a gold mine of support for our players. Framber is a completely different pitcher than he was a few years ago and we can see why.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Bottomline – The Astros in four games, but it will be tough.

    I’ll take that in a heartbeat. The M’s think they are this year’s ‘team of destiny’ – and not without reason. We will need to show up ready – and click on all cylinders.


    • The crowd in Seattle will be electric , but I guess the Astros are no stranger to such after facing the Yankees as a visitor. Did the Astros announce the list of the players they will carry for this series. I would leave Maton off. I get nervous everytime he comes in.


    • In order to start alternating two NL broadcasts and then two AL broadcasts into prime time weekday slots only. They make more money with weekday prime time spots than they do in daytime weekday slots.


  3. By the way – if anyone sees the release of the Astros ALDS roster – slap a link here if you can. I am assuming they need to release this 3 hours or so before the game??


    • Chandler Rome just posted on Twitter that every American League playoff team except the Astros has posted its ALDS roster.

      Maybe the ghosts of Aspromonte and Mejias have walked out of the corn and want to play – and the ghosts of J.R. Richard and Larry Dierker are warming up to pitch games 1 & 2?


    • Dubon and Hensely, Meyers, Mancini join the starters.

      Abreu, Brown, Montero, Neris, Stanek, and Pressly join Verlander, Valdez, McCullers, Javier, Garcia, and Urquidy. [the ghosts of J.R. Richard and Larry Dierker did not make the cut].


    • Wow, Pena is going to play OF for us in the postseason? By my count we actually have three outfielders and a collection of INF and DH who will also play out there. I would like to know how the deliberations went.


  4. I have zero issues with the post season roster, especially the pitchers. A bit surprised not to see Diaz in left, but no complaints from me. I hope everyone is at 100%, as there has been a flu bug
    going through the clubhouse. All I’m looking for right now is a clean first inning from Verlander.


  5. 108 Plate Appearances. 1 Homerun. 10 RBI. .250 avg in that time.

    That is what we got in exchange for the career of Enmanuel Valdez. This is what just gives me nightmares about Click. I don’t know that Valdez will ever be a star, or even a starter, or even make it to the majors, but finding out wasn’t worth 108 PAs of extremely mediocre baseball from a guy who by all accounts has zero interest in resigning here (and has actually said is open to returning to Boston). We been had.

    Should be fun series. I feel like Seattle having a short series before is actually helpful to them. You have to think they feel like Castillo will be a better matchup with Valdez than he was with Verlander. They don’t have anyone that will likely match JV frame for frame but now arguably their best starter will get a chance to match Framber frame for frame.

    Still say, Astros in 4.


  6. OOF JV. OOF.

    I would say a combination of Verlander pitching on 7 days rest and the Mariners having some momentum coming off the last series after coming back from a 7 run deficit has fueled their offense.

    They steal game 1 better turn on the seatbelt sign ride is going to get bumpy.


    • And after how the Phillies jumped on the Braves early this “bye” doesn’t look so great. No one wants their fate decided in a 3 game series, but it looks like no one should want a 6 day layoff either and then have to walk out there and turn it back on.


  7. I said wow. But I was not shocked. It was like batting practice. I was happy to see Robbie Ray come in. I’m not sure if he wanted to be there. He grooved Yordan twice. That’s foolish if not disrespectful. 5 RBI’s? And don’t forget the run he saved with his rocket from leftfield to the plate.

    I hope we can beat this scrappy team before Verlander is due to pitch against them again. Twice now he’s given up 6 runs and 10 hits to the M’s this year. That’s enough.

    What a job by our pen. 15 outs, 3 hits, 1 run, the solo shot off Javier. Was Javier in there to stay fresh for his potential start on Sunday? I hope that was the reason.

    Could Yuli actually be our wake up guy for the post season? I sure am happy for him.

    I would not mind seeing Gilbert again. And Robbie Ray can’t be excited about his upcoming start. Manager Servais might have gotten a bit carried away with the creative use of his pen.

    I can’t say enough about how much I like our team tonight. I admit, I had very little expectation of Pena extending the game. And that batch of joyous winners jumping up and down at the plate following the blast looked nothing like the seemingly disinterested group we sometimes find fault in. And in the middle of that scrum was Verlander. He stayed around and got picked up by his boys.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thoughts –
    – I watched it all – some of it while working and never gave up (too much). After what we’ve seen with this team in the playoffs – you just have to have faith
    – Very interesting – you have a team that believes in lefty on lefty matchups so much, that they brought in last year’s CY winner who has only pitched in relief 4 times in 225 MLB appearances. This against a team that believes in lefty on lefty, so little that they left their only lefty reliever off the roster.
    – Whether it’s bringing in starters for relievers or having closers go two innings – managers always seem to push the boundaries in the playoffs and then have the wall fall on them.
    – Had an amusing story about the end of the game. My oldest son was watching the game at work through the internet and he was on delay vs. what I was seeing. I had texted him after the Bregman HR and he told me he was on quite a delay vs. me. So, I said – OK…..I’ll……type…..slowly. Now in these kind of situations, myself and my two sons who like sports will sometimes screw with the one not seeing the game live – you know “OMG!!! Anyone who didn’t see that play live is a loser”. Well, I took respectful pauses after the Hendley walk and the Pean single before I typed anything, but when Yordan launched his I immediately texted “Yessssss!!!” “Incredible!!!” And my son thought I was screwing with him again until the home run showed up.
    – You would think that the M’s are very very deflated, lost the momentum and may be wondering about their manager’s decision making. But – Astros need to knock them flat in game two and not let them up and put the foot on their throat in Game three
    – Happy to see Yuli hitting – happy to see Bregman with his clutch home run to make it a game – Happy to see Yordan with one hit into the upper deck and two slamming the right and left field walls
    – Hope JV got this out of his system – Framber – next up

    Liked by 1 person

  9. My text to girlfriend was”Unreal”! Her reply was “Wow”! I guess that kind of wraps it up in a nut shell. Bull pen was very good, Yuli was 2021 Yuli, and the team never quit. A super effort. One thing I’d think about doing; Changing the DH. I’d rather have Hensley or Jake be the DH. Mancini is just disappointing at the plate.


  10. I am glad that Dusty let a lot of guys play, to get their ‘playoff jitters’ out of the way. We saw yesterday how the playoff atmosphere can get in the head of even the most mature, savvy veterans – i.e. Justin Verlander, Jose Altuve, and Robbie Ray – not to mention rookies like J. Pena, H. Brown and D. Hensley.

    First blood. Now it’s on.


  11. Me and my wife didn’t stop talking about that moment for hours.

    Hats off to Pena. Without his ability to take a 1-2 pitch that he was fooled on and still muscle it into CF Yordan doesn’t even get that chance. We talk about all the time how he needs to improve his approach and pitch selection but we all see that talent.

    The 9th inning heroics are not possible without the Breggy bomb.

    The bullpen was lights out as well. 5 IP, 1 run on a solo HR. The Mariners couldn’t string anything on anyone.

    It was great to get so much positive contribution from so many people. We still didn’t get anything from Altuve or Tucker either. They are due.


  12. I think Bregman’s 8th inning home run was very very important
    – It brought us within range – it meant that once we got one more person on base in the 9th we had a shot
    – It had to put doubt in the M’s collective psyche
    – Very importantly it may have caused the M’s to pitch Yordan. I have no idea if the M’s considered walking Yordan and moving the tying run to 2nd base – but the clutchness of Bregman had to give them pause


    • Plan A was to get Pena out in the ninth for the win.
      Plan B was out in the bullpen warming up for Seattle to bring in a lefty veteran to get Yordan to bite on something breaking out and away. Instead, Raleigh and Ray came in with two identical fastballs.
      One final comment. The Astros scalded some balls right at people last night. That’s BABIP. The Astros spent the last third of the regular season getting BABIP payback for the first two thirds of the season. Maybe some hits will find holes the rest of this series for them.


      • Exactly right – people will second guess bringing in the wrong pitcher and pitching to Yordan, but the Mariners had us right where they wanted us and failed to get those guys out. I really hope it takes the wind out of their sails and invigorates our guys. Winning this series is the most important thing, but not overloading our bullpen to do it would be fantastic.


      • Tucker hit one to the wall that took a better than average play on. Altuve smoked one that turned into a double play (happens sometimes when you smoke one). Gurriel hit that liner to left on a rope but right at em. Vazquez hit em hard in both his at bats but one of them didn’t find a hole. I thought about all em as they happened.

        I really loved their swings all night except Mancini who I thought just had bad at bats most of the night. I felt he didn’t even approach his at bat with a runner in scoring position in what felt like a make or break moment any differently and just ended up striking out on a pitch out of the zone.


      • Which is why I think Mancini should sit and Hensley, Myers, or McCormick should DH if not playing. It’s playoff time and you go with the player who’s got a better chance of getting on base.


  13. Possible Subtitles for yesterday’s game from old movies:

    1. Mission: Impossible!
    2. A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the ALCS.
    3. Gone With the Wind.
    4. Escaping Alvarez.
    5. The Empire Strikes Back.
    6. Yordan the Barbarian.
    7. Sleepless in Seattle.

    Keep it going.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I’m thinking about game two at this point. Yordan came off his 6 day rest without any rust. That homer was a remarkable feat when time and place are considered but he had already had a big game. He’s dialed in.

    We ended up with 8 runs and 11 hits with Jose and our DH getting shut out and Tucker with a single. I think that bodes well for us even with Castillo on the mound. We’ll score runs.

    My concern again is getting through the first inning with no damage. Framber led MLB in innings pitched. Is he the guy that looked gassed once he’d competed his 25 quality starts quest? Or is he ready to give us one of his zen efforts?

    If the scrappy M’s figure out a way to win game two, then they will leave Houston with goal accomplished. We don’t want that to happen.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s funny how baseball works sometimes. Tucker gave one a 320 ft trip that Haniger made a better than average play on in RF at the wall, but his single was an oopsy check swing he was trying to pull back and dribbled it into a spot in the shift no one was in. Funny game.


  15. Well we’re back to our centerfield conundrum, or controversy if you’d prefer. Chas went 1 for 2 on Tuesday and scored the first run. He then got pulled as part of a double switch in an effort to get the offense awakened. No big problem with that. But today he’s rewarded with a game 2 on the bench. Jake gets the start. We’ve already got a centerfielder that has produced more than league average offensively at that position. And depending on what metrics are used, Chas has been solid in center. I know he has not made an error. Can anyone tell me what advanced defensive metrics might be factors in convincing Dusty Baker to think he does not already have a starting centerfielder? I sure hope Jake plays an impeccable game and adds a big hit. But I thought this hunch approach to line up making would be gone in the post season.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t think it is that. I think it is more along the lines of yes it’s the playoffs but he is intent on getting everyone some PT, some ABs, so if needs them to hit in the 5th inning of game 5 of the WS it isn’t their first AB in weeks.

      As a fan I definitely want the best 9 out there every go around in the playoffs and not treat it like just another day in July. I see what he is trying to do though. I wouldn’t be surprised if Vazquez catches a game here and 2 games in a 7 set.

      Castillo has spent his career in the NL and has faced the Astros once, in 2019. Alvarez, Bregman and Gurriel were the only Astros in the lineup that day that are still here. These two sides are pretty unfamiliar with each other, so it probably is a good day to get Diaz and Meyers in there IF you are of the belief that you need to get them all some PT.


      • I think Dusty Baker is a very stubborn man. We’ve got a guy with a .332 OBP and a .738 OPS sitting on the bench instead of hitting in the 8th slot. It’s not July. It’s October and this is the most important baseball game of the year for the Astros. I don’t know if there is another guy in the playoffs on any team hitting 8th with those numbers.

        I looked up some defensive stats on Baseball Savant. In 54 CF starts, Chas comes in at 5 outs above average, a score of 92 out of 100. 92 on outfield jump, 88 on sprint speed. If Savant is reliable, Chas is no slouch in centerfield. Except for having a weak arm, he’s one of the better CF’s in baseball.

        I sure hope our manager somehow knows that Jake is going to have a game, because if not, he’s doing the organization a disservice.

        Liked by 1 person

      • If the biggest complaint about Chas is arm strength – then …. that is still not a point in Jake’s favor because he has the wimpiest noodle arm I’ve seen.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I just read a Dusty quote from yesterday. “I think Jake probably has a better chance of hitting Castillo”. I sure hope he’s right and Jake has an impact, because that quote could only serve to offend Chas. There was no need for it.


    • This was a composite of 2021 and 2022. Fangraphs had Joey Gallo at 4.5 WAR for 2021 and 0.3 in 2022. I’m going to make the assumption they originally used only 2022 numbers and found the results for almost everyone so depressing they expanded it. Be advised that this is going to be a rough offseason as almost all the available FA are either not worth signing or demanding ridiculous amounts of money.


  16. So – I see Dusty is giving Yordan the day off today……ok just messing with your heads.
    Its Framber against Luis Castillo

    Our lineup today is
    Jose Altuve 2B
    Jeremy Pena SS
    Yordan Alvarez Superman
    Alex Bregman 3B
    Kyle Tucker RF
    Yuli Gurriel 1B
    Aledmys Diaz DH
    Jake Meyers CF
    Martin Maldonado C


  17. What a tense game.
    Framber was Zen and then he was not.
    We walked 7 guys. The layoff was real.
    And we got some help from the man behind the plate.
    Castillo looked unhittable until the moon shot.
    Pena is covering for Altuve. Jeremy is all we could have hoped for.
    10 more big, but scary outs from the pen.
    What else can be said about Yordan Alvarez?
    Two great, tough wins against a team that is not done fighting.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Castillo just overpowered Meyers and Maldonado both, they looked lost. Munoz did the same thing to Maldonado until he came off that fastball and left a 90 mph hanger at his knees. Maldy gave it a ride but he hit it to the deepest part.

      If things really turn and we see Castillo again (seems unlikely but I probably just jinxed it) there is no way Meyers should be in there. The only good contact he made was a foul to the right side (because he was 10 minutes behind the pitch).

      Those matchups probably favor Dubon and Vazquez over Meyers and Maldy, and thats probably who should have been in the lineup. I get it, I just dumbfounded you by saying Dubon, but he swings a light bat and while he isn’t going 3/4 with 2 HR in a playoff game ever, he puts it in play 3 out of 4 plate appearances even against the flamethrowers. And while he likely won’t end up on first base, Meyers DEFINTELY won’t if he can’t make contact.

      Meyers is hitting .151 in his career versus “power pitchers” (that’s pitchers in the top 1/3rd of baseball in strikeouts). McCormick is at .189. Dubon is only at .181 but he has a lower strikeout rate than both of them against power pitchers and is probably better defensively. You could make the argument that McCormick is more likely to run into one by accident – but he only has 4 of his career 28 dingers on power guys.

      Its all bad hats to pick from, but we have to wear one. Castillo is who he is because he can take every mediocre hitter to task and he controlled the bottom of our order completely.

      When I look at all these guys I see their limitations. They can work all day long but their results against high velocity just suggest to me the natural talent isn’t there to catch up to it. This is what gives me so much hope in Pena – there is a learning curve in there for him because he handles power pitchers almost as well as he does everyone else. He doesn’t carry their instinct baggage. If he works at it, he can be a star.


      • Steven, I’m going to give you the short hypothetical answer because I am thinking only about a game three right now.

        I don’t think there’s a chance Baker would sit Maldonado for Vazquez’ bat under any circumstances short of a broken leg.

        As for Dubon, Dusty could well start him in place of Chas based on recent history alone.

        As far as those handpicked stats you’ve noted, this discussion could become applicable at a later time. I’ll save my own thoughts.


  18. Yankee fans sure are griping about their afternoon game on a Friday afternoon. Heck, I’d be looking forward to skipping out at lunchtime.

    Was checking out the Seattle blog post game yesterday. Those nice folks sure hate the Astros too, “the bullies of the AL West”. I’ll be on my last legs and the Astros will still be hated across America and beyond!

    Here’s a creative one. …J.P. Crawford who banged one off the Crawford boxes and forced Yordan Alvarez to stumble after it like a truffle pig rooting through the underbrush”.

    Is it truffle season in the great Northwest?


    • Spoiled Yankee fans can feel the rest of our pain now. I’ve missed the first few innings of both games due to the day start times. For once, major league baseball is making them the daytime punching bag and they have no clue how to react. Maybe they should get an entire round where they are put in these wonky time slots.

      To be honest, I know part of it is they have to skip their travel day off due to the weather – so now they need to finish the game early to travel – but I could see a world where MLB is so worried about ratings that they rearrange all the games that day to cater to the Yankees getting the primetime slot.


  19. And that was just a stupid decision to walk Alvarez in the 9th.

    Even a hot hitter like Alvarez only has about a 7-8% chance of getting one and yarding it against a top half bullpen type pitcher. Even in a slumpish year Bregman has a 25-27% of driving in a run from 2nd base with a single. To intentionally put a runner in scoring position for Bregman should get a manager a wtf-are-you-doing meeting from his boss.


  20. And imagine you are Robbie Ray. You won a Cy Young award last year. You get this new fancy contract. And likely your only appearance in the playoffs will be when you are asked to come in and face one guy in the 9th inning in a role you have never done before, make 2 pitches, both probably questionable pitch selections/locations, and thats all you get to see in the playoffs as your manager declares we probably have to use a 3 man rotation for this series.

    Or you are Ryne Stanek, coming off a near historic season with a 1.15 ERA and you are watching Montero become “the guy” in front of Pressley. You even watch Abreu and Neris go out and get important outs, Abreu doing it after throwing 35 pitches two days ago. What do you think is in Staneks mind right now? Let me first say – I would be doing the same thing as Baker, Stanek just cannot be trusted to throw strikes enough – but imagine what is in his head right now.


    • I have to chuckle about the spoiled Yankee fans. There were years where I never got to see a single inning of our team in the playoffs – all those Larry Dierker managed teams that lost in the first round. By the time I got home from work they had already been dispatched by the Braves, Padres or whoever.
      My most famous time was when we lived in Arkansas in the 80’s. It was game 6 of the Mets – Astros and I was stuck in downtown Little Rock in those pre-Internet days. Amazingly there was no local radio broadcast of that game. Another engineer, lent me his special radio that picked up the audio from the TV broadcast. But I hit a quandary. It was time to go home, but the game was going on and on. I called my wife to tape the rest of the game on the VCR and went down to catch the bus.
      I walked in just in time to see Billy Hatcher’s blast to tie it. And of course I watched it the rest of the way through Kevin Bass’ strike out with the ducks on the pond.
      And the Yank fans have to adjust for one game???
      So Yank fans – Nyah nyah nyah or wah wah wah


    • The pitch selection was correct, but the location was awful. If he buries it low and in we’re probably praising Servais for his use of a starter. Instead, the result was much like when the Astros used Keuchel against the Royals in 2015. Excepting Bumgarner and Randy Johnson I can’t recall starters really excelling in those situations. Having said that…with hindsight being 20/20…I’d sure like to have seen Cole get a shot in 2019.


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