Thursday, October 7, 2010

The morning after the night before

I'll bet you figured that after that ridiculously long stream-of-consciousness blog last night that I couldn't possibly come up with anything more to say. Wrong again, websurfer.

A blizzard of white in the seats at Citizens Bank Ballpark.
1) I'm surprised this didn't occur to me during the game, but it didn't until I was watching highlights from the Roy Halladay no-hitter: No Homer Hankies in evidence at Target Field. I don't know what they call their hankies in Philly, but the fans there were waving white cloths.

I suspect the Homer Hanky phenomena in Minnesota died with the Metrodome. Or with all those first-round defeats of the Gardenhire era.

2) The Lou Piniella Theory of Postseason Baseball holds that you win in October with power pitching. (I blame this theory on Piniella, at least).

Roy Halladay: The National
League is easy for him.
High-strikeout pitchers are better in October than pitch-to-contact pitchers. That's true in April, May, June, July, August and September as well. But if by power pitchers we mean guys whose fastball pops are audible in the right field stands, that theory is badly overstated.

Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee are prime examples of that. They are precise with their location and they utilize all four dimensions of the strike zone (up, down, depth and timing).

Francisco Liriano and CC Sabathia looked like throwers Wednesday -- great stuff, limited command of it. Halladay and Lee were pitchers.

3) One way to think about these teams is to consider who on each is on a plausible Hall of Fame path. The Phillies, for example, have Halladay, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, arguably Roy Oswalt. The Yankees, of course, have at least three first-ballot guys (Jeter, Rivera, A-Roid). The Twins have Mauer. Tampa Bay has Longoria. Texas has Hamilton and Lee. San Francisco has Lincecum. Atlanta has Chipper Jones (even though he's out).

And Cincy has ... nobody. Oh, Joey Votto might win the MVP this year, but the man's 27 already and hasn't hit 100 homers in his career. Ardolis Chapman throws 105, but let's let him stay healthy after a couple hundred innings before we say he's on a Hall of Fame path. Orlando Cabrera and Scott Rolen have had distinguished careers, but if Alan Trammell and Ron Santo aren't getting in, Cabrera and Rolen aren't either.

This is not to lessen Halladay's accomplishment -- a no-hitter is a no-hitter. But Cincinnati does not strike me as a particularly talented playoff team.


  1. Please tell me that your omission of Thome in your HOF list was merely an oversight.
    Otherwise, what did you think of last night's strike zone? I thought it was bad both ways--worse for the Twins. The first pitch "Ball" in the Tex homerun at-bat still has me miffed. We only seemed to get that blown call with our 7-9 hitters up. But, maybe I'm just a whiner....GO get em tonight and we're still in decent shape. LuckyBucky

  2. There wasn't a blizzard, exactly, but I saw more like a... flurry of Homer Hankies during long shots of the game last night. No handouts at the Target Field gate, I'm guessing.

  3. Yeah there's a difference between the number of Homer Hankies you see when they're given away and when you have to go to the pro-shop to buy them. Funny how that works, eh? It's probably time for something new anyway. Given that the outdoor stadium in cooler weather means less noise than in the Dome, perhaps starting something new with a give-away that makes SOME kind of noise would be a good idea.

  4. Lucky: Thome was an oversight, and I wasn't trying to be exhaustive. If I were, I'd have gone a lot deeper on the Yankees. The point was going to be the barrenness of Cincinnati.

    Jim: Had to buy them in most previous years too, and that didn't stop us. (I was able to attend all postseason games at the Dome, but Target field is a tougher nut for me to crack.)