Friday, October 5, 2012

Meet them in St. Louis

US Presswire photo
Bryce Harper and the Nationals will travel back to St. Louis for the NLDS.
If the Nationals are going to win their first-ever postseason series, they're going to have to take out the defending World Series champs.

The Nationals will face the Cardinals in the National League Division Series after tonight's wild Wild Card Game victory by St. Louis, a 6-3 triumph over the Braves aided in part by an apparent misapplication of the Infield Fly Rule.

That is, assuming Major League Baseball doesn't uphold Atlanta's formal protest of the game after the controversial call in the bottom of the eighth inning. With one out and runners on first and second, rookie Andrelton Simmons lofted a popup into shallow left field. Shortstop Pete Kozma backtracked and appeared ready to make the play but then pulled off as left fielder Matt Holliday came charging in, the ball falling to the turf as everyone advanced a base.

Left field umpire Sam Holbrook, though, signaled for the Infield Fly Rule, declaring Simmons out while allowing both runners to advance one base. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez raced out to argue with Holbrook, who didn't make the call until a split-second before the ball came down, and later filed a formal protest with crew chief Jeff Kellogg.

It's unclear how long it will take for MLB officials to rule on the protest, which if upheld would require the game to be resumed from that point. It appears unlikely that would happen, though, because protests can only be upheld if a rule was misinterpreted, not based on a judgment call like this.

[UPDATE AT 9:40 P.M. -- MLB has denied the protest, on the grounds the play involved a judgment call, not a rules interpretation.]

The crowd at Turner Field offered up its own protest, littering the field with bottles and garbage and forcing a lengthy delay as players retreated to their dugouts.

Ultimately, Cardinals closer Jason Motte entered to escape the eighth-inning jam and then another one in the ninth to win the game.

Thus, the Nationals are scheduled to fly to St. Louis late tomorrow morning in advance of an afternoon workout at Busch Stadium. The two teams will open the NLDS Sunday at 3:07 p.m. EDT, with Gio Gonzalez on the mound for Washington and Adam Wainwright starting for the Cardinals.

The Nationals were just in St. Louis last weekend, dropping two of three games and failing to clinch the NL East title. They did win the season series against the Cardinals, 4-3, with all seven games being played over the last month of the regular season.

234 comments:

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MicheleS said...

Ruling made. Appeal denied

Gonat said...

MicheleS said...
Wait..so TBS has CAL calling an Orioles game? Really no bias there at all.

October 05, 2012 8:50 PM
___________________________

He hates Angelos too but is an Orioles homer. Bad move by TBS.

Section 3, My Playoffs Sofa said...

"If the Nationals are going to win their first-ever postseason series, they're going to have to take out the defending World Series champs."

As it should be. To be the champ, you have to beat the champ.

MicheleS said...

Sofa.. Word!

Section 222 said...

I don't follow the O's and haven't followed the run up to this WC game. Can someone explain what Buck's plans for pitching this game are? Is he really running Johnny Wholestaff out there as NL suggested might happen maybe a month ago?

MicheleS said...

Wow, Buck already has the bullpen warming up after 1 inning. 1-1 in Arlington

Tim said...

We have a tough road. Cards get to have two games at home after flying after winning a road playoff game. That and struggling against them in St.Louis at the end of the season. They'll be a very confident bunch.

Nats get to show the world what kind of road warriors they are.

Drew said...

Showalter has stashed 10 guys in the bullpen for this one game. Saunders is a ploy to get Ron Washington to go heavily with right-handed hitters.

Showalter will quickly go to a right-hander.

If Baltimore wins he can change the roster after this game.

MicheleS said...

Umm.. we have drama:

Jon Heyman‏@JonHeymanCBS

Mlb hasn't officially ruled on protest yet. #braves #cards

sm13 said...

Glad to see the Braves go down. Cards will be tough, but I just feel that we match up better with them. Here's hoping Go and JZimm have us up 2-0 or Wednesday.

Gonat said...

MicheleS said...
Wow, Buck already has the bullpen warming up after 1 inning. 1-1 in Arlington

October 05, 2012 8:57 PM
_______________________________

Do or die.

Gonat said...

Yah, Reynolds was really hurt. I think he swung when hit by the ball.

Feel Wood said...

Joe Saunders is 0-6 in Arlington with a 6 or 7-something ERA. He's on a very short lease.

MicheleS said...

Best Thing Ever..

Omar Viscal on MLB Network

RickH said...

In addition to having the best overall record, the Nats have the best road record in Major League Baseball. Just sayin'.

Gonat said...

I'm thinking Joe Saunders pitching in Texas is like EJax pitching in Colorado.

Cwj said...

As classless as the Braves fans were, Chipper remains classy to the end (watching post game interview).

Gonat said...

I still can't believe what I saw in Atlanta. Chipper's error doomed them.

MicheleS said...

REMINDER.

They just showed the Nats/Bruce post season commercial. Showed GIO's first career shutout. It was against the Cardinals.

Gonat said...

What's Nats/Bruce mean?

natscan reduxit said...

... MicheleS, MLB has refused the appeal.

... I suspect they did so because they called upon the 'letter of the law' to confirm the umpire made the 'correct' call. But that's not the entire story; they made a wrong ruling, IMHO.

... the reason for the rule in the first place, the 'spirit of the law' if you will, arises from the potential situation whereby an infielder could make an easy double play on an infield pop-up if he simply lets the ball fall to the ground then make the DP.

... clearly, that 'spirit of the law' had no relevance in this case.

Go Nats!!

Cwj said...

Maybe they'll have Livo calling the Nats-Cards games :)

MicheleS said...

Gonat.. the MLB Commercials for the Postseason with Bruce Springsteen singing.

Cwj said...

Interesting wild card game (the parts I actually got to watch), but I'm over that now. The Braves could have won the game but they didn't.
Time to focus on beating the Cards!

NatsSec130 said...

There were a lot of critics who said the Nats should have treated Stras like Medlen and pitched him out of the 'pen to start the season. I think tonight showed why that would have been a terrible idea. You risk winning only enough games to get into the WC play-in game, and then you're in danger of being one-and-done. Which is exactly what happened to Medlen and the Braves tonight. But I suspect all that will be lost on the pundits on BBTN and MLB Network tonight. IN RIZZO WE TRUST.

Gonat said...

MicheleS said...
Gonat.. the MLB Commercials for the Postseason with Bruce Springsteen singing.

October 05, 2012 9:21 PM
_______________________________

What team does he play for?

MicheleS said...

Wow.. umps are at the mike on post game conference

natsfan1a said...

Stupid laptop. It was a crazy game. That chop really gets on my nerves. I'm glad I don't have to hear it again until next season. (But I'm sorry for your brother, NatsNut.) I can understand the fans being upset, but not throwing stuff on the field. I was wondering whether they'd end up with a forfeit. Embarrassing, and too bad for Chipper that it ended with that type of fan behavior. Wonder whether there was a large cohort that wasn't the usual fans. Anyway, bring on the Cards, whose lineup makes me kinda nervous. Heh.

Joe Seamhead said...

MLB has denied the Braves protest.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

You don't see Ump Press Conferences everyday.

Doc said...

Good news on the Birdies' victory!

Nats won't have to face Craig Kimbrel or listen to the phoney tomahawk chant!

Section 222 said...

Boy, I sure have a lot of confidence in Torre listening to this.

natsfan1a said...

Where are you all seeing the postgame stuff?

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Who is sitting next to Torre with the depression on his face?

Gonat said...

Dude, turn that frown upside down!

Gonat said...

Gatorade stationed on the table and they are drinking water with no labels on the bottle. I guess the water company didn't pay up.

Steady Eddie said...

Tim -- we have pitching in St. Louis our MLB-high winning ace (Who pitched his only career CG shutout against them on Aug 31) and our RH ace who should have gotten the win against the Cards in STL had Druuuu not blown the save. EJax and Det have very good home records. This is a very tough lineup but we'll be OK.

This is where our infield defense -- and ALR at the keystone of that defense -- is key to support the starters' confidence to attack the hitters and throw strikes. Davey knows what it is to have. Team that's built to win in the playoffs, and we are.

Would be nice to have another power RHP in the rotation but we don't. Though I suspect if we go to a Game4, Stammen may be quick to warm up and go long if Det is not in command early.

Gonat said...

natsfan1a, MLB Network

MicheleS said...

1A.. It's on MLB Network

MicheleS said...

Add it to my tab Gonat

MicheleS said...

Steady.. Det will be pitching at home. Big advantage for the Nats

natsfan1a said...

D'oh! Thanks, Gonat and Michele. Don't know why I didn't think of that.

Steady Eddie said...

MicheleS -- that's why I wrote about EJax and Det's solid home records -- because they both melted down against the Cards on the road.

This 2game away start might really work to our advantage in this particular situation. Who'd a thunk that not starting at home could be a benefit when our aces are good anywhere and our 3&4 are more homers -- and they ordinarily would be starting on the road?

natsfan1a said...

Dang, nice pants, Vizquel. Shoes, too. :-)

NatsLady said...

Joe Sheehan ‏@joe_sheehan
Xavier Nady (.184/.253/.316; .221/.272/.341 2011-12) made the #sfgiants' playoff roster. Huh.

MicheleS said...

Steady.. you have been bringing it lately with the stats. Couldn't remember who posted (the memory is the first thing to go). All credit to you on that one.

All I can say, is that Det and Ejax (The Other Guys) will step up this post season.

Gonat said...

MicheleS said...
Add it to my tab Gonat

October 05, 2012 9:44 PM
_______________________________

I will and you don't owe me a thing, its our imaginary tab!

Section 3, My Playoffs Sofa said...

I thought they gave a pretty good dissection of the play there, good points made by all three.

But for the Nats in St. Louis--the Braves lost tonight because they didn't catch the ball, and they threw it all over the field. If the Nats play clean defense, they have the edge.

DC in 4.

MicheleS said...

Gonat.. remember I am still going to get you to spill your guts some how :-)

Gonat said...

I think Napoli should unbutton to the 4th button on his jersey. He always wears it that way like he is making a fashion statement. Sheesh.

Gonat said...

MicheleS said...
Gonat.. remember I am still going to get you to spill your guts some how :-)

October 05, 2012 9:54 PM
____________________________

Best to get the Harrisburg guy to kiss & tell.

Joe Seamhead said...

I am going to repeat the gist of what I said about the game on the previous blog. 3 runs on 12 hits, 3 errors, a poor call for a safety squeeze bunt by Fredi Gonzales and a lousy baserunning gaffe by Simmons. The Braves were not robbed. They lost the game while choking.

Gonat said...

Flaherty forgot how many outs there were.

MicheleS said...

Omar Visquel should be a permanent analyst on MLB.. He can replace any of the other goof balls.

Gonat said...

Joe Seamhead said...
I am going to repeat the gist of what I said about the game on the previous blog. 3 runs on 12 hits, 3 errors, a poor call for a safety squeeze bunt by Fredi Gonzales and a lousy baserunning gaffe by Simmons. The Braves were not robbed. They lost the game while choking.

October 05, 2012 9:57 PM
_________________________________

No doubt about it and remember they also choked with bases loaded and got the gift on the botched 3rd strike and then Ross hits a 2 run homer.

Also, I thought someone wrote that McCann wasn't on their roster today.

Gonat said...

Gonat said...
Flaherty forgot how many outs there were.

October 05, 2012 9:57 PM
_______________________________

It took these brainiacs 2 balls into the next inning to talk about it.

natsfan1a said...

I kinda like the showering pig, though.

Gonat said...

Rangers have blown opportunities. Probably don't want to test the Orioles bullpen. Let's go Texas.

MicheleS said...

1A.. have you seen the new Southern Comfort commercials? I am not sure if I should be horrified or just laugh about that whole concept

natsfan1a said...

I'm blanking on that one if I have seen it, Michele.

Swift Eagle said...

The Southern Comfort commercials are GREAT!!

MicheleS said...

1A.. Fat Hairy guy in well a skimpy bathing suit walking on the beach.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

More annoying, I.have friends that know I'm a Nats guy and insist on including me in their Oreos convos.

They keep saying "we" like they play for the Oreos. Withen on first and third with no outs and they are in a lather.




Swift Eagle said...

Haha..I think it's safe to say he's "strutting" Michele! Lol

natsfan1a said...

No, I haven't seen that one.

I like Omar as an analyst, too.

Gonat said...

I have to give credit, Joe Saunders got the job done. Despite his awful stats vs the Texas team, he bent, didn't break.

Section 3, My Playoffs Sofa said...

He didn't even bend all that much. 6 hits and a walk over 5.2

Section 3, My Playoffs Sofa said...

The only inning he didn't give up a hit was the 6th, and he didn't finish that. That's what they call "scattered 6 hits."

MicheleS said...

Buck must have seen something with Saunders, b/c everyone was like ?????? on that move and figured he would be out after 2.

Section 3, My Playoffs Sofa said...

He was starting to look like he was losing it. No sense not using the 57 relievers the brought with in a do-or-die 1-run game.

Gonat said...

MicheleS said...
Buck must have seen something with Saunders, b/c everyone was like ?????? on that move and figured he would be out after 2.

October 05, 2012 10:42 PM
__________________________________

Buck has made a bunch of stupid moves and eventually it will bite you.

MicheleS said...

Wait? Nate McLouth? Seriously???

MicheleS said...

Gonat.. Wash is not exactly a genius, so Buck has that going for him

Faraz Shaikh said...

no post for AL Wild Card game?

Swift Eagle said...

McLouth has been amazing since Markakis was hurt, another huge hit there...

Swift Eagle said...

Rangers are in full blown Atl Braves Choke-Mode

Section 3, My Playoffs Sofa said...

Texas is starting to crack...

Gonat said...

Texas is just playing like a loser. They still haven't recovered from that Wednesday defeat to the A's.

Section 3, My Playoffs Sofa said...

Buck has made a bunch of stupid moves and eventually it will bite you.

O'Day got his guy, and apparently the starter was tiring. What was wrong with that?

Gonat said...

Swift Eagle said...
McLouth has been amazing since Markakis was hurt, another huge hit there...

October 05, 2012 10:49 PM
______________________________

Seriously? That was a bleeder. If Espinosa would learn bat on ball falls in for hits some times and K's only go in the catchers mitt he may raise that BA and OBP.

Gonat said...

Josh Hamilton hoping he doesn't have to face another lefty.

sjm308 said...

So, Wainwright completely shut us down the last time we faced him. NI thoughts?? I do like seeing Garcia in the 2nd game. I am hoping to come home 1-1 and I don't really care which game we win.

O's are really having themselves a year. Does Saunders remind anyone of a lefty who spent most of this year in the minors and yet came through in clutch games for the best team in the majors. I think LannEn will look at that performance and realize he will be pitching in the majors for years to come.

Go Nats!!

William O. Douglas Loeffler said...

I love the way that people attempt to find meaning in what are essentially, random occurrences in a one-game play-off. It is a basic attribute of humanity to ascribe meaning to everything.

The Braves didn't choke. They lost to an equally good team, one with a worse record but better run-loss differential against easier competition.

The Post did a fairly lengthy article this week showing what most journalists and fans choose to overlook, on purpose, I think. The post-season has little or no correlation with the regular season. That is the main reason why they changed the format. The wild card teams were winning too much, but instead of merely acknowledging this, we hear over and over again that certain teams "are built for the play-offs."

That is garbage. Baseball is baseball. If something works in the regular season, it works in the play-offs and no one has ever been able to prove differently, in spite of tons of stats-heads trying.

Section 3, My Playoffs Sofa said...

Ah, that's what I like about the post-season -- the shots of Nolan Ryan, with his "looks like I picked the wrong day to quit smoking" face.

Nothing against Nolan, he just does that face really well.

Section 3, My Playoffs Sofa said...

I don't know about "meaning" but the Braves played like crap, under pressure.

Gonat said...

William, some wilt under pressure. It happened to Atlanta today and while Chipper's error probably wasn't due to pressure, I think the other mistakes were.

William O. Douglas Loeffler said...

Nolan Ryan is a jerk and I take delight in any and all misfortunes of the Dallas Senators. He was also a complete failure in the post-season as a player, and if you want to talk about choking, just look at Ryan's performance when his team was one game away from the World Series back in 1980, I think it was. Ryan basically imploded, as was his wont, as his control was quite iffy.

One of my greatest moments in life was watching the Rangers lose after coming so close last year. I will always be an honorary Cardinals fan. Seeing Texas implode this year, along with their model citizen, Josh Hamilton, warms my heart.

Swift Eagle said...

Wainwright will be tough...Nats will have to put up some runs, b/c holding the Cards to 4 or fewer will be very difficult...I'm hoping the HR bats return, we know the Nats will K a lot, but hopefully there will be just enough big flies to make up for it

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Swift, are the Cards players better than the Nats similar to how you were saying the Braves players were better?

William O. Douglas Loeffler said...

Players get nervous. No one denies that, but calling the Braves' loss a team choke seems ridiculous. So, they were a 94 game winning team, solid in all ways, except composure, even after playing great all September? I don't buy it.

Yeah, there are chokers, like Nolan Ryan out there, but it is hard for a 25 man team to choke.

Swift Eagle said...

Every single player who has ever played in the MLB playoffs insists there is a MAJOR difference than playing in a regular season game...I'm not saying throw out the regular season, but I agree that it's almost useless to try to apply regular season trends/stats to predict playoff results...

Faraz Shaikh said...

Sofa, perfect description of Ryan's face. I remember his from 2010 and 2011.

Anyways, it isn't over yet. In this park, one swing can bring back Texas back in the game.

Section 3, My Playoffs Sofa said...

Wow, that was close. Weiters almost hit the pole. Inches.

Swift Eagle said...

Haha..No I think the Nats roster is better than the Cards!

Yes, I really do think the Braves overall talent was a little better than the Nats..I'm higher than most on their young guys like Freeman, Heyward, Simmons, Kimbrel, Medlin, etc...When you add Prado and McCann (hurt)...I thought they're overall line-up was a little better..

The reasons the Nats won the NL East? Starting Pitching and Davey...

Section 3, My Playoffs Sofa said...

FS, we had a long discussion in here I think, during the WS last year (or was it the year before?) about that face.

Gonat said...

Swift Eagle said...
Every single player who has ever played in the MLB playoffs insists there is a MAJOR difference than playing in a regular season game...I'm not saying throw out the regular season, but I agree that it's almost useless to try to apply regular season trends/stats to predict playoff results...

October 05, 2012 11:07 PM
_________________________________

I would agree with that. Every year someone gets hot and steps up in the post-season while other just fold like ARod has done so many times.

Section 3, My Playoffs Sofa said...

Nobody said all 25 guys choked, but three different starters had rec-league errors in the biggest game of the year, and the team lost.

John C. said...

Late to the thread, a few thoughts:

(1) I don't think the Braves choked; Chipper and Uggla have been lousy defensively all year. Simmons' error was the only one that suprised me.

(2) I thought the Infield Fly call could have gone either way, and if the umpire had passed it up because of the spirit of the rule in the moment I wouldn't have had a problem with it. I do think the umpire should have signaled the call sooner. But I think it would be nuts for ML baseball to start overturning judgment calls based on what the Commissioner thinks is the spirit of the rule. That's going to cause more problems than it solves, IMHO.

(3) I'm looking forward to Sunday, and really looking forward to Wednesday. Geaux Nats!

Gonat said...

Section 3, My Playoffs Sofa said...
Wow, that was close. Weiters almost hit the pole. Inches.

October 05, 2012 11:09 PM
_______________________________

Isn't Weiters a switch-hitter?

William O. Douglas Loeffler said...

Yeah, and the Nats had a couple of games where they looked like rec league players down the stretch, even guys besides Wang. We are slated for a few day games. Hopefully, no balls will hit Jayson or Bryce on the head....

Swift Eagle said...

The problems with the infield fly call were: 1. It was way too late and 2. It was called by an Outfield Ump! (seems impossible)..

Instead of Outfield Umps for fair/foul calls and traps, they should use replay...It's unlikely a regular 4 man crew would have called that an infield fly....

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Gonat, Wieters is a switcher. Not sure why he went lefty against Uehara.

William O. Douglas Loeffler said...

I think it is time to abolish the infield fly rule.

Swift Eagle said...

Ghost--

Hope you're not still mad at me for my pro-Braves stance! I was never going to switch allegiances! I just think they have good players and a terrible skipper...Lol

Section 3, My Playoffs Sofa said...

it's almost useless to try to apply regular season trends/stats to predict playoff results...

The real difference between playoff teams is so small that in a short series (and best of 7 is short), a team that is a couple of percentage points better over a large sample size can't take advantage of their slight edge in skill or whatever. Flip 5 games out of 162 from L to W, that's about 3%. A 3% advantage in wins in the playoffs isn't much help.

Swift Eagle said...

Yes Sofa...and there are a lot more crazy plays, wild throws,and booted grounders, etc b/c the players are tense...

William O. Douglas Loeffler said...

Absolutely. That was always true, even when you had the NL winner against the AL winner, prior to 1969. Once you add in all these layers of play-offs, the effect is strengthened much more.

If you had the Houston Astros playing the Cardinals tonight, they would have had a decent chance of winning the game, in a way that the worst team in the NFL would never have a decent chance of beating a play-off team.

Section 3, My Playoffs Sofa said...

I think it is time to abolish the infield fly rule.

OK, I'll bite. What would you replace it with?

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Swift, I even think Espi is better than Uggla. I just can't get around thinking any Barve except for Medlen and Kimbrel are better.

Just sounded like Legion of Doom so don't start with how good the Cardinals are.

Faraz Shaikh said...

WOW What a performance by O's!!!

William O. Douglas Loeffler said...

SI just ran a garbage article saying that the Nats have a small chance of winning because we strike out too much, which, is garbage with a capital "G"?

Why would striking out a lot during the regular season not hinder winning, but somehow, it is more burdensome in the play-offs? It makes no sense. SI merely went back and tried to find some trend from the past five years and that was all they could find. Just wait five more years and it will probably be true that teams that strike out a lot, like the Nats and O's do well in the play-offs.

MicheleS said...

I love that commercial

Gonat said...

Section 3, My Playoffs Sofa said...
I think it is time to abolish the infield fly rule.

OK, I'll bite. What would you replace it with?


October 05, 2012 11:23 PM
_________________________________

True. What do you replace it with? Rarely do you see that call botched and some like Harold Reynolds thought it was the correct call.

If he catches it, end of story. Atlanta still had their chances with 2 more batters and couldn't score.

Braves choked, plain and simple.

William O. Douglas Loeffler said...

Why do they even need an infield fly rule at all? I know the supposed theory behind it, but has it even been tested in 100 years?

It takes a very special type of fly to qualify and it is hard to see how they would double anyone up, unless the runners are asleep. If they do, well, that seems to be no different from a regular double play. It is not worth the headache of the rule for something that rarely happens to begin with and that would rarely result in anything bad for the game.

Gonat said...

Faraz Shaikh said...
WOW What a performance by O's!!!

October 05, 2012 11:24 PM
_________________________________

Really? How's about a poor performance by the Rangers. They are the top scoring team in the Majors and have looked like crap.

Section 3, My Playoffs Sofa said...

Infield fly call, ADD: Billy Ripkin made a good observation, that the SS was not, in fact, under the ball, but there was no way the umpire could have known that from the angle he was seeing the play, when he made the call, and he called it late. Omar Vizquel pointed out that once the SS calls for the ball and acts like he's under it, the ump pretty much has to take his word for it, he's going to call it, he can't wait.

Swift Eagle said...

Rangers had a 5 game lead with 9 to go, and now they need at least 2 runs against the O's closer just to stay alive...Blink of an eye

William O. Douglas Loeffler said...

Real Clear Sports picked the Rangers as the top team in the majors, granted the last poll was with ten days to go in the season, but even then it seemed questionable. Hamilton is a headcase....

Section 3, My Playoffs Sofa said...

Of course, the infield fly rule mainly exists so fans can play "jailhouse lawyer" about the rule.

Swift Eagle said...

I wouldn't abolish the rule, but there's no reason for the Infield Fly rule to be so vague...Just change it so the ball has to be, stay with me, In The Infield...

Section 3, My Playoffs Sofa said...

Babe Ruth was a head case. Ty Cobb was a head case. The list is long.

Gonat said...

William O. Douglas Loeffler said...
Hamilton is a headcase....
________________________

Where does Hamilton go next year? This is his Free Agent year.

The Dodgers seem to be collecting headcases.

Section 3, My Playoffs Sofa said...

Swift, what about infields that don't have dirt?

NatsLady said...

I was watching in real-time and I thought it was a routine fly ball that the SS was catching. I said, "OH OH" when it dropped. My feeling is if I thought that, the ump thought that. You can't predict a miscommunication, you have to call what you see.

William O. Douglas Loeffler said...

There is no way that that play would have resulted in a double play if the SS lets the ball hit on purpose. I am not saying the ump made a bad call. I am saying that it seems clear that the rule is stupid.

It is almost impossible to double up any runner going to first on an infield fly. It might be possible to double up guys at second and third, but it would have to be a particular type of fly ball and I just don't see it happening much.

We do see guys thrown out at second fairly often on botched short fly balls like the one in the game today, but never do you see a double play on a ball like that.

It is very hard to envision why this rule was ever adopted. I know it makes sense when you hear the logic of it, but the gameplay doesn't bear the explanation out.

Swift Eagle said...

Hamilton needs to stay in the AL so he can DH...The O's could use him at 1B and DH...ALR would be a fit there too...

JaneB said...

These post season games seem way more treacherous to me than they used to seem. I guess because it's been so long since I team I cared about was in one. I'm still feeling sick to my stomach that the Braves lost on such a bogus call. Leaving aside the fan reaction, it was just awful.

The Rangers, on the other hand, are not playing as sharply as they can, or as they need to. It's the mistakes that get you. SO as much as great pitching, I want our guys to play clean. (I know -- like no one else here does).

Did you all notice that the shot of Cal Ripken, a whie back, spelled his name as CARL Ripken, Jr.? The TBS team isn't error free, either.

Gonat said...

Swift Eagle said...
I wouldn't abolish the rule, but there's no reason for the Infield Fly rule to be so vague...Just change it so the ball has to be, stay with me, In The Infield...

October 05, 2012 11:33 PM
________________________________

Don't worry, MLB will make an arc parralel to the infield about 25'6" into the outfield for the Infield Fly Rule area.

William O. Douglas Loeffler said...

Thome = Slower than Morse?

Swift Eagle said...

Section 3, My Playoffs Sofa said...

Swift, what about infields that don't have dirt?
October 05, 2012 11:35 PM

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I think they all have the lines, if not the dirt...But how many don't have dirt? Toronto may be the only one...Not sure?

Section 222 said...

.It's unlikely a regular 4 man crew would have called that an infield fly....

Did you see the play from Chicago on Harold Reynolds' breakdown where the Infield Fly rule was called on an almost identical play at the almost identical late moment? The one thing that's clear here was that it's a judgment call.

I think the LF ump made the wrong judgment, but I can see why he made the judgment he made. The SS had called for the ball and was very briefly camped under it. He just happened to duck away because he (mistakenly) thought Holliday had called him off, just at the time that the ump called the IFR. Bad timing.

The IFR really isn't appropriate on popups to the outfield where the runners are going halfway. They are already guarding against a trick double play and don't need the IFR's protection. But drawing that distinction is a pretty hard judgment to make. Abolishing the rule would go way too far, obviously.

Someone said earlier that now a whole lot more people have heard of the IFR. Funny thing is, most of them still don't understand it. The TV guys hardly even tried, during that whole long 18 minute delay, to explain what the rule is and why it's needed. Not that anyone here needs that explanation but I bet a whole lot of people watching on TV would have appreciated it.

By the way, this AL WC game is pretty boring compared to the Cards-Braves game.

Section 3, My Playoffs Sofa said...

The rule isn't theoretical in the least, it's crystal clear, and it exists for an unambiguously good reason. But like balls and strikes, and balks, and ... geez, pretty much every call an ump makes, there's an element of judgement to it.

Section 3, My Playoffs Sofa said...

Thome = slower than Carlos Baerga.

William O. Douglas Loeffler said...

The umps have enough to screw up as it is.

It seems to me that if the so-called reasoning for the infield fly ever actually happened, it would become a sports center type of highlight and not a negative. How is letting the ball fall in that situation any more type of "unfair" than various other strategies on the field, like intentional walks? Who is to say they don't screw it up and throw it into right field?

Swift Eagle said...

I agree guys, I don;t think it was a terrible call, I just think it was late...Sec 222 is right, they SS was there and called for it, then peeled off...It's very reasonable to say it was "ordinary effort" to catch it...

MicheleS said...

William Ladson‏@washingnats

I just learned that INF Mark DeRosa and LHP John Lannan have been taken off the #Nats' roster for the NLDS. I'll have more on #MLB.com #MLB

Section 3, My Playoffs Sofa said...

And for the record, it wasnot a bogus call. It might have been wrong, but it wasn't horrible.

MicheleS said...

Ladson tweet means Tyler and maybe Garcia??? Since no Braves, no Lannan

William O. Douglas Loeffler said...

Every sport does have to have one special rule that is stupid and annoying. Soccer has offsides. The NFL actually has many. The infield fly rules real purpose is to separate the true fans from the casual fans....

Gonat said...

Look what the 20 year old did there and our 25 year old infielder can't figure that out. MAKE CONTACT!

Swift Eagle said...

Road teams looking good tonight! Hope that continues Sunday and Monday!

Gonat said...

MicheleS said...
William Ladson‏@washingnats

I just learned that INF Mark DeRosa and LHP John Lannan have been taken off the #Nats' roster for the NLDS. I'll have more on #MLB.com #MLB
October 05, 2012 11:40 PM
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Yes, TyMo and Garcia.

Section 222 said...

Even though I disagree with the call, it's just not right to say the Braves lost the game because of it. They still had the bases loaded with two out and came up empty. More importantly, they made a bunch of errors, and some mental errors too -- like that "safety squeeze" with the pitcher up next. The Braves deserved to lose this game, they were not robbed.

Swift Eagle said...

How can the Rangers have the infield back here?!

Section 3, My Playoffs Sofa said...

Don't worry, MLB will make an arc parralel to the infield about 25'6" into the outfield for the Infield Fly Rule area.

I think something like that could work.

Gonat said...

Not even a save situation anymore. Frickin Angelos team. I was soooo hoping they would fail miserably here and its Texas who will slither out of their own stadium.

NatsLady said...

Atlanta did not play well enough to win the game and the Cards did. Yes, this game is boring. I think Showalter would have gone with his bullpen earlier but Saunders pitched well.

Swift Eagle said...

I'm curious about the 'No Dirt" fields now Sofa! Can you think of any? It would have to be turf fields..I know Tampa has a full dirt infield...

Section 3, My Playoffs Sofa said...

I think they all have the lines, if not the dirt...But how many don't have dirt? Toronto may be the only one...Not sure?

Yeah, but you can't change a basic rule based on the groundskeeping at a particular time.

Section 3, My Playoffs Sofa said...

I'm probably thinking of old turf fields, Swift.

MicheleS said...

You know what will be fun. Buck vs Girardi.

Gonat said...

Section 3, My Playoffs Sofa said...
Don't worry, MLB will make an arc parralel to the infield about 25'6" into the outfield for the Infield Fly Rule area.

I think something like that could work.

October 05, 2012 11:44 PM
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MLB is so reactive that they will do it even though its only an issue twice a year but they allow clowns like Marvin Hudson umpire a post-season game as he makes numerous mistakes based on incompetence.

William O. Douglas Loeffler said...

Well, if that call had gone the other way, the Braves would have had a much greater chance of winning. In a one game scenario, that is all you can say. If you do the odds thing with the crazy up and down line, I am sure that was not a happy graphic moment for the Braves, but yes, they still could have hit a home run after that or made a comeback.

Bob Short's Texas Senators will never, ever, will a World Series. That franchise was cursed from the start. The only good thing about seeing the Rangers have some success is that the ultimate failures become all that more crushing, as they have blown the last 3 years in ways that are each more heartbreaking than the last....

Swift Eagle said...

Buck will be looking to eliminate another of his ex-teams in the playoffs...

Cwj said...

The night of "upsets" it seems :)

Can you imagine how tense we would all be watching the Nats in a 1 game do-or-die? Man, I would have a heart attack!
Yet, of course, the Nats are the Champs of the NL East with the best record in the world.

Did I mention earlier that I'm very nervous about watching their first playoff game? Sunday can take forever to come and I'll be happy :D
The Nats will handle the Cards. I'm now happy it wont be the Braves.

NatsLady said...

Can't see the O's beating the Yanks. Absolutely could see them beating the Rangers--overrated and dispirited. Not the case with the Yanks.

Cwj said...

Man, Johnson is a great closer for a non-strikeout guy.

Gonat said...

The Cards couldn't celebrate on the field. This should be interesting. Yuck.

Section 222 said...

WODL, I guess you seriously think that the IFR should be abolished. I'm surprised. I thought you were just being provocative, as you like to do.

The situation never happens because the IFR makes it impossible to carry out a trick double play. Remember when LaRoche intentionally let a bunt drop? He did that because he knows the IFR doesn't apply. And it was a blast to watch. But there's an element of risk to doing that with a bunt popped fairly close to the ground. If every real pop up to third base with two runners on was a potential double or even triple play, there would be havoc on the basepaths. How could the hitting team ever possibly defend against that? Send the runners half way? One or both of them will get doubled off. Once you get past Little League and popups are automatic outs, the IFR is needed.

Swift Eagle said...

I don't know how the managers stay so calm...I'd be going crazy in the dugout during playoff games..

I used to think the Yankees had a Joe Torre statue sitting in the dugout during the playoffs...

William O. Douglas Loeffler said...

I don't think all of the Rangers' fans are dangerous rednecks....

Faraz Shaikh said...

Top of the ninth is an example why Orioles are playing awesome baseball right now.

Gonat said...

NatsLady said...
Can't see the O's beating the Yanks. Absolutely could see them beating the Rangers--overrated and dispirited. Not the case with the Yanks.

October 05, 2012 11:50 PM
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Yankees got hot at a good time. Cano is en fuego.

Cwj said...

NatsLady- The one team I absolutely do not want to face the Nats would be the Yankees.
Ugh...I not only hate them, but they have a way of always winning, which makes them even more evil :)

Steady Eddie said...

Except for Darvish and Cruz, is this Rangers team ever flat. They've been deflating for the last couple weeks of the season.

NatsLady said...

Nats will handle the Cards and Giants/Reds. If it's the Tigers, they will take care of them, too. I'm not sure about the A's or Yanks.

Gonat said...

Faraz Shaikh said...
Top of the ninth is an example why Orioles are playing awesome baseball right now.

October 05, 2012 11:52 PM
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Theres Orioles gloating sites. Go there, please. Some of us like the old Washington Senators.

Swift Eagle said...

O's better make sure they know where Jeffrey Maier is these days...

Section 222 said...

NL, if I'm not mistaken they won 9 of 18 games against the Yanks. They know the Yanks well. They aren't intimidated. Absolutely they have a shot at beating them.

And another high priced team with expensive off season signings bites the dust. How sweet it is!!

Gonat said...

Cwj said...
NatsLady- The one team I absolutely do not want to face the Nats would be the Yankees.
Ugh...I not only hate them, but they have a way of always winning, which makes them even more evil :)

October 05, 2012 11:53 PM
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Nats won 2 out of 3 in both 2006 and 2009. If not for that horrible call at home and some other odd plays, things would have been different this year.

Swift Eagle said...

Hmmmm..Would this count as a blown save, even though it wasn't a save situation?

William O. Douglas Loeffler said...

How is that havoc any different from what happens with the soft bunt bloop? The thing is that it is hard to test because the situation doesn't come up that much. A player can probably go a third of the way on a soft fly. It is hard to see how many occurrences would result in anything different than the application of the rule.

So maybe it is supposed to save time, but it is confusing and possibly robs the fans of an exciting play. Until about 1930, I think, players on third were allowed to score on non-force plays from third base with two outs, if they crossed home before the third out was recorded. That rule was changed, so there is precedence.

Section 3, My Playoffs Sofa said...

OK, this is getting more interesting...
Load the bases with 2 outs, tying run at the plate. Bottom 9.

Faraz Shaikh said...

Orioles win!!!

Cwj said...

Congrats to the O's.

William O. Douglas Loeffler said...

I can't believe they didn't go to a lefty, but it worked.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Talk about making it interesting.

Faraz Shaikh said...

Great stuff! Don't know about anyone else but my cousin deserves this.

NatsLady said...

I wasn't thinking of our series vs. the Yanks. That was a learning experience. I was thinking of how the Yanks are now, how they did what they needed to do to win the division. They are a tough, smart team.

Also, I am SO glad Texas lost. I can take or leave the O's but I really don't like Texas.

Section 3, My Playoffs Sofa said...

I love this stuff!

William O. Douglas Loeffler said...

I am sure that Nolan is good at commiserating with his players given his own distinct lack of post-season success....

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Joe Saunders. What a game.

Swift Eagle said...

I want the Nats to beat the Cards, Giants, and then the Yankees...The last 3 Champs...

Bring 'em On!

Section 222 said...

Both road teams win the WC games. Nice! Hey Rangers, you had two shots to win the series and you couldn't. Step aside and let another AL team have a shot.

The Yankees are tough, but look out for the Tigers with Miggy, Prince, Austin, and Verlander. Dangerous team that's played very well for the last three months of the season.

William O. Douglas Loeffler said...

The Lord was with the Orioles tonight. Texas never had a chance.

Section 222 said...

I can't believe they didn't go to a lefty, but it worked.

They had their all star closer out there. Would you replace Drew with Burnett or Gonzales against a lefty with two outs in the 9th?

baseballswami said...

Wow. Epic fail. Does wash lose his job?

baseballswami said...

Nolan is not amused.

William O. Douglas Loeffler said...

Playing at home in the post-season is not worth much. Perhaps, it means more in a strange ballpark like Fenway, but in general, it just doesn't matter that much.

The home field advantage matters much more in sports where the players are constantly touching each other, i.e., football and basketball, and which tend not to involve scoring based on a large measure of luck. Sports like hockey, where half the goals are unintentional, and baseball, where the difference between a homer and a foul or single is random, tend not to have much of a home field advantage.

So why do we talk about it? Because MLB does not reward teams at all for success in the regular season, so they pretend that giving one more home game is some great advantage. It rarely is.

Section 222 said...

The soft bunt bloop in that situation happens once a year, the popup to the infield happens two or three times a game. And it's a much tougher judgment call whether a bunt can be caught with ordinary effort. If the rule covered bunts, it would cause arguments on a regular basis.

I'd understand if you were arguing to get rid of the IFR in cases where the ball is hit a certain number of feet beyond the infield but to say it should be completely abolished is absurd.

William O. Douglas Loeffler said...

Hey, if Wash could get that catcher to play first base, he will always have a job in baseball. I love that line, "tell him it's not hard." "It is incredibly hard."

William O. Douglas Loeffler said...

How is it absurd when it already doesn't apply to bunt bloops? Just because you say it is absurd to abolish it? Just because they have always done it that way? The mound used to be fifty feet from home, too.

Abolishing the rule would have ZERO effect on the outcomes of games, and would be one fewer arcane rules to deal with. I remember hockey guys telling me the same exact thing about the three line rule in hockey and why the game simply couldn't be played properly without three lines.

baseballswami said...

Wild, marathon night of baseball. Lots of twists and turns. I love it.

Section 222 said...

I just strongly disagree that abolishing it would have no effect on the game. it would turn every pop up with two or more runners on into a crap shoot. Will they catch it? Will they drop it? Where should the runners go to best prepare? It would make no sense.

My position has nothing to do with the fact that it's always been done that way. It's because it's a sensible rule to prevent strange and ridiculous results from an at bat that basically has failed.

William O. Douglas Loeffler said...

They have changed the rule twice already, so that it doesn't apply to line drives or bunts. I would be interested in seeing them experiment with it in the grapefruit league or something. I understand that theoretically, on pop flies to the 3rd baseman or SS, it might happen all the time, but it is going to take a particular kind of fly where the ball is right next to third base.

Remember, the ball has to drop first, without being touched, it then has to be picked up and the 3rd baseman has to touch 3rd and beat the runner to second with a throw. To me, unless that is almost an automatic outcome, the overlay of a very complicated rule is not beneficial. You are not going to see many plays involving the SS or 2nd baseman because that involves 2 long throws. You would never get the runner at first.

Furthermore, why is such a play viewed as a negative, any more than a team playing for a double play in other ways. Why is an intentional walk allowed when one of the primary purposes thereof is to create a double play? Maybe they have tested it, but I have not heard of such.

Dave said...

I just don't know exactly how to feel about that Orioles win. Yeah, it's great, isn't it, that the other team from this area is in the Division Series, remarkable recovery season, O's magic, blah blah blah.

But I can't help feeling that we are moving to the potential for a really polarizing and painful reminder of why DC had no baseball for three and one-third decades.

The ownership of that team felt that the DC area--including Northern Virginia, where I live--was their property. They blocked baseball in the Nation's Capital on more than one occasion.

When baseball finally was allowed to return here, the Orioles' ownership created an abominable and grossly unfair television contract that sets out to put the Nationals at a permanent financial disadvantage relative to the O's.

And not only the ownership, but also an awful lot of fans, regard the Nationals as an encroachment onto some sort of mid-Atlantic baseball tradition. It's been a long time since the Orioles were the St. Louis Browns; there are players on this Nats team who were drafted by the Expos. A lot of Orioles fans see the Nats as carpetbaggers who don't belong here.

So, as reluctant as I am to say this, I look forward to the Oriole's being handed their return ticket to Baltimore by the Yankees.

My dream World Series at this point would be Nats-Athletics. It would be very interesting to see Gio and Zuki play against the former Nats prospects.

Section 222 said...

Some serious pitching matchups tomorrow -- Parker vs. Verlander and then, at night, Cueto vs. Cain.

Then on Sunday, Gio vs. Wainwright and CC vs. ?? This is why being the division winner matters.

John C. said...

Just a note on the infield fly rule: the ball does not have to fall untouched to game the system without the rule. Most commonly the infielder would deliberately muff the catch - let it fall out of his glove in a place where it is quickly & easily picked up to start the double or triple play

rabbit34 said...

Outside of Harper, I still can't believe the Nationals have the bats to pull this "thing" off. But, I am hoping for a Nationals/Orioles Series. At first I figured it would be the Braves/Yankees. That won't happen. Will my second guess happen? Some Braves fans made Chipper proud, I'm sure. GO NATIONALS!!

natsfan1a said...

I thought it was so they could argue incessantly in an attempt to demonstrate how much smarter they are than other fans? Eh, is it time for baseball yet? :-)

Section 3, My Playoffs Sofa said...

Of course, the infield fly rule mainly exists so fans can play "jailhouse lawyer" about the rule.
October 05, 2012 11:32 PM

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