Friday, October 12, 2012

BLM | Daily Edition has Moved

The Daily Edition site of Big Leagues Monthly has moved, visit our new site here ... BLM | DAILY EDITION.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Nationals Hope Home Field is An Advantage in Game 3 vs. Cardinals


By Stevo-sama | @yoshiki89

After a Series-opening loss to the Nationals that displayed nothing short of a host of failed opportunities for the Cardinals, the Redbirds came back with a significant roar in the second game. The Nationals don’t have any postseason history to refer to, but at a higher level…a Game 1 loss with a Game 2 rebound (and usually a significant one) is par for the course for the Cardinals, at least as far as 2011 is concerned.

Last year’s postseason hustle for the Cardinals may indeed be an exercise in evaluating outcomes with a small sample size, but let’s face it…if there is anything consistent between their postseason performances this season (so far), as compared to last season it’s a rise of unexpected occurrences that result in a nearly improbable finish. Beginning with the one-game Wild Card playoff against the Atlanta Braves, this was fairly established.

Who to Watch for in the Arizona Fall League

Jarred Cosart                           (Karen Warren/Chronicle)

With the Arizona Fall League starting earlier today, let's take a quick look at some of the prospects to watch on each team.

By Jared Thatcher | @Jared_Thatcher

Mesa Solar Sox

Solar Sox appear to have a weak pitching staff, but will field a very strong outfield this year with a handful of top prospects.

Pitchers of note: Jarred Cosart (Astros), Steven Rodriguez (Dodgers)

Cosart will still be a starter although I expect him to be transitioned to a reliever at some point. Rodriguez is the youngest pitcher on the staff, but look for him to have a great AFL.

Infielders of note: Javier Baez (Cubs), Jonathan Singleton (Astros)

Baez rocketed up prospect lists with a strong showing between two levels this season and should get some good work in the AFL. The extra playing time should help Singleton and Houston desperately needs him to break out and be a contributor soon.

Outfielders of note: Nick Castellanos (Tigers), Joc Pederson (Dodgers), Yasiel Puig (Dodger), Matt Szczur (Cubs), George Springer (Astros)

This could be the best outfield in the AFL this year. Most of them are top 100 prospects and I expect Pederson (the youngest) to really up his prospect status. Go to a Solar Sox game just to watch the outfield.

Yankees vs. Orioles: Looking Ahead To the Remainder of the ALDS

(Patrick Semansky/AP)

By Bernadette Pasley | @LadyBatting

It should not surprise anyone that the ALDS series between the Orioles and Yankees is tied at a game apiece. These two teams know quite a bit about ties. After all, they sat tied atop the AL East for what seemed like the entire month of September. They split their last regular season series of the year. They split their 18-game season series. Even Game 1 of the ALDS was tied at 2 for four long innings on Sunday night.

Things will remain tied today, a travel day before the series resumes tomorrow night in the Bronx. All the remaining games will be at Yankee Stadium, which leads one to believe that the Yankees now have home field advantage. But, do they really? I don’t think so.

Monday, October 8, 2012

The Education of Mike Matheny

(Paul Nordmann/Getty Images)

--This column was originally written for the September issue of our e-magazine. The October issue of Big Leagues Monthly | Magazine launched recently so be sure to check that also.

By Daniel Shoptaw | @C70

For years, the St. Louis Cardinals and their fans knew what they had in the dugout. With Tony La Russa, a Hall of Famer just waiting for the official call, there was a comfortable familiarity that was similar to wearing an old sweater. Sure, it could itch you and drive you crazy, but it fit well, you knew where it was going to be itchy and it made you look good in public.

Cardinal fans knew all the drawbacks with La Russa and had the memes to fall back on. Tony hated young players. Tony would always stick with the veteran. Tony would use five pitchers to get four outs whether he needed to or not. You knew the arguments, you knew the counterarguments, and you knew that Tony was always going to do something that would likely drive you crazy but he had the gravitas to get away with it.

Winning two World Series in the last five years of his career softened a lot of the criticism and second-guessing that La Russa got and even the harshest of critics were more likely to shake their heads and say, “That’s Tony” after another questionable call blew up on the Cardinals. While people still didn’t agree with his over-reliance on platoon splits and small sample sizes, he’d earned the right to pull a Frank Sinatra and do it his way.

Oakland Tries to Stay Alive in the ALDS

( Dave Reginek/Getty Images)

By Devin Pangaro | @devinpangaro

The Oakland Athletics are in a hole. A deep, dark cavernous abyss to be sure, but not entirely bottomless as they attempt to dig themselves out of the 0-2 disadvantage they currently find themselves in. They can really only blame themselves. While one can attempt to rationalize a 3-1 loss to Justin Verlander as nothing to be bent out of shape over, Sunday's loss was excruciatingly painful to watch unfold.

Solid relief pitching and sound defense, the two constants of this Oakland team suddenly failed them. The ever reliable Coco Crisp, a man whose defensive reputation for making highlight reel plays precedes him, suddenly cannot make a routine catch?

How did the three-headed relief monster of Sean Doolittle, Ryan Cook, and Grant Balfour suddenly quiver in the cold, hostile territory of Detroit surrendering multiple late game runs?
Are my eyes playing tricks?

Perhaps this isn't the team that came within one game of leading the American League in wins. Perhaps the walk-offs and the good feelings are over. Perhaps, the A's will head home, bow to the home fans one last time and die by the sword for a final time in 2012.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Jose Altuve’s Short Story

(AP Photo)

By Bernadette Pasley | @LadyBatting

There were many interesting storylines in the 2012 regular season. Miguel Cabrera’s Triple Crown, seven no-hitters, and the amazing runs of the Baltimore Orioles and the Oakland A’s all grabbed the headlines this year. But there was also another story, one that went on in Houston, Texas, that I enjoyed following. I am not sure why. Perhaps it was because it demonstrated determination to succeed in the face of obstacles. Or, maybe it was because it was just a cute and, at times, funny story. That story was Jose Altuve.
At 5’5”, Jose Altuve was the shortest player in Major League Baseball in 2012. An All Star and the Houston Astros’ most valuable player, he batted .290 with seven home runs, 37 RBI and 33 stolen bases. But his height was more a topic of conversation than his stats were. The media and fans alike enjoyed watching the pint-sized second baseman from Venezuela put together a fine first full season in the Majors. One fan even devised a unit of measurement called Official Standard Listed Altuves (OSLA). If you go to his blog How Many Altuves? you can type in any height or distance in feet, and the number of Altuves (height or distance times 5’5”) will be calculated for you.