Once again we are left to wonder why a major league manager gets into a playoff game and operates differently than he did during the regular season? A team spends 162 regular-season games defining roles and a manager blows it all up during a playoff game. Why?
I was left to wonder again on Tuesday as Scott Servais, the manager of the Seattle Mariners, went to the bullpen for starter Robbie Ray, bring him in with a two-run lead and two out in the bottom of the ninth inning in Houston.
By now you are aware that it didn’t work out. And, yes, this kind of thing will happen again. Likely before the first week of November expires.
Joe Posnanski, looking back at THE decision in the Houston Astros’ victory over the visiting Mariners on Tuesday:
“When Mariners manager Scott Servais faced his nightmare scenario — having to get Yordan Alvarez out to seal a game that the Mariners had led by four runs on three different occasions — he decided to bring in left-handed starter Robbie Ray. I’m not going to lie, even in the moment this seemed like the worst of all options. Robbie Ray is a fine pitcher, he won the Cy Young Award just last year, but in his extensive baseball career he had never once been brought into anything even close to a situation like this. Not once.
“In fact, even as a starter he’s never faced a situation like this. He’s only completed one game in his entire career, and that was a complete -game shutout he threw in Pittsburgh back in 2017. He’s never had to get one guy out in the ninth inning to win the game. This seemed a hell of a time to ask him to do it.
“Even beyond that, Ray’s most glaring flaw as a pitcher is his tendency to give up the long ball — he gave up 32 of them this year, second-most in the league. He has not, even in a tiny sample size, shown any noticeable ability to get Alvarez out (in five previous encounters, Alvarez went one-for-three with two walks). Alvarez, as mentioned, hits lefties about as well as he hits righties.”
(Check out Posnanski’s substack site right here.)
Headline at The Beaverton (@TheBeaverton) — Alberta Premier Danielle Smith honours oppressed anti-vaxxers by marking 2 minutes of coughing.
Headline at The Beaverton (@TheBeaverton) — Update: Next 6-8 months will feel like a decade in Alberta.
Some interesting numbers from Dan Gartland and Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated, involving Aaron Judge, Roger Maris and Babe Ruth, the American League’s three single-season home-run leaders. They point out that Judge got into 161 games this season and faced 230 pitchers. . . . Ruth saw 230 pitchers in 10 years with the Yankees. . . . In seven years with the Yankees, Maris faced 270 pitchers. . . . Of course, Judge hit 62 home runs, one more than Maris (1961) and two more than Ruth (1927).
BTW, only 11 players who qualified for a batting title this season hit more than .300, the third fewest in MLB history — ahead of only 1960 (10) and 1968 (6).
More from Gary Cavalli, who blogs at The Inside Track: “There were only 36 complete games pitched in the major leagues this year. Seriously. . . . Consider that the Giants’ Juan Marichal completed 30 by himself in 1968. . . . This year teams used an average of 8.71 pitchers per game, second-highest total in history after last year’s 9.09. And starting pitchers averaged only five innings.”
On Sunday night, I posted a quote from then Carolina Panthers head coach Matt Rhule here — “We’re not going to win unless we score more points. I’m not going to lie to you.” That was after a 37-15 loss to the visiting San Francisco 49ers that left Carolina at 1-4. Rhule was fired Monday morning. No need for a tag day, though, as he is still owed more than US$40 million on the seven-year, $62-million deal he signed on Jan. 7, 2020. It’s pocket change to owner David Tepper, a billionaire who manages a global hedge fund.
“A new report commissioned by Hockey Canada says that a controversial reserve fund it used to settle a multi-million-dollar lawsuit alleging a 2018 group sexual assault involving World Junior players was necessary, but there were serious problems with how that fund was administered, CBC News has learned,” writes Ashley Burke of CBC News. “CBC News has viewed and verified parts of a 100-page-plus preliminary report written by retired Supreme Court justice Thomas Cromwell that recommends sweeping changes. The report found Hockey Canada didn’t have policies and procedures in place to govern use of its reserve funds, didn’t fully disclose its funds in financial records, and broke the rules by failing to notify members of large payouts.”
Burke’s complete story is right here.
THINKING OUT LOUD — If you are watching the NLDS between the Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies this week, pay special attention to the umpiring crew because it includes Stu Scheurwater, the 39-year-old pride of Regina. Scheurwater, a full-time MLB umpire since December 2017, was at second base in Game 2 on Wednesday. . . . Does anyone else find it a bit off-putting that the Canadian Hockey League, whose players are mostly teenagers, appears to have cut a sponsorship deal of some kind with BetRivers Canada, an online casino and sports book? . . . When the 2023 MLB season gets here, the Cincinnati Reds will have a BetMGM sportsbook operating right in their home stadium. That being the case, it would seem that it’s time for MLB to induct Pete Rose into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
A SIGN OF THE TIMES — If you’ve been watching sports on TV lately, surely you have seen the commercial pushing Google Pixels. Although it’s a phone — at least, I think it is — the word ‘phone’ is heard/seen exactly once in the 30-second spot. All the rest of time is spent telling us that this is the best camera of them all.
Before arriving in Prince George for a Tuesday night date with the Cougars, the Brandon Wheat Kings apparently merged with the Portland Winterhawks . . . The Wheat Hawks, er, Wheat Kings went on to post a 2-1 victory over the Cougars before an announced crowd of 1,671. . . .
F Dylan Guenther, who played the past three seasons with the Edmonton Oil Kings, is on the season-opening roster of the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes. He was the ninth overall pick in the NHL’s 2021 draft. Guenther, 19, could get an early-season taste of NHL play and then be returned to Edmonton. The first year of his contract doesn’t kick in until he plays a 10th NHL game. . . . He put up 45 goals and 46 assists in 59 regular-season games in 2021-22, then scored 13 goals and added eight assists in 16 playoff games. . . .
F Fraser Minten of the Kamloops Blazers remains with the Toronto Maple Leafs, but he has a wrist injury. Minten, 18, is expected to be back in Kamloops by Sunday. He was a second-round selection by Toronto in the NHL’s 2022 draft. Last season, he finished with 20 goals and 35 assists in 67 regular-season games, then added 16 points, six of them goals, in 17 playoff outings. . . .
G Talyn Boyko, who finished last season with the Kelowna Rockets, has signed a three-year entry-level deal with the New York Rangers, who selected him in the fourth round of the 2021 NHL draft. The 6-foot-7 Boyko is to turn 20 on Sunday. The Rockets acquired the 6-foot-7 Boyko from the Tri-City Americans during the 2021-22 season. . . . As a 20-year-old, he is eligible to play in the WHL, but, at least for now, he is with the ECHL’s Jacksonville Icemen.
If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:
Living Kidney Donor Program
St. Paul’s Hospital
6A Providence Building
1081 Burrard Street
Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6
Toll free: 1-877-922-9822
Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney
Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre
Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street
Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9
604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182
Or, for more information, visit right here.