Friday, October 14, 2016

MLB Predictions, Round Two, and a Pace of Play Comment

Before getting to The Grandstander's LCS predictions, allow me to review how I have done so far.

To save you from looking it up, I called the following for the League Division Series:

  • Blue Jays over Rangers
  • Cubs over Giants
  • Dodgers over Nationals
I believe I had that!

Oh, what's that you're asking?  Well, why yes, I did pick the Red Sox over the Indians.  Can't win 'em all, but if you bet with those four picks, you'd have made money.

So what do I see coming up?

In my previous selections, I had the Red Sox over the Blue Jays, so I need a reset here.  I can't make much of an informed choice here, I have to admit.  I couldn't name many players from either team, to be honest, but I do know that much of the Indians' starting pitching staff is lost to injury.  They got away with that in a three game series with the Sox, but I am thinking that the Jays have a lot of fire power that will overcome the Tribe's short staff.  In all honesty, I will be rooting for the Indians and Terry Francona, but I will call this one as a Blue Jays win.

My original prediction called for the Dodgers over the Cubs, and I will stand by that,  I have no doubt that the Cubs are the best team of the four remaining, but I somehow think that the Cubs' history will continue to catch up with them and cause them to somehow kick it away.  However, the manner in which they won the clinching Game 4 against the Giants does make me think that maybe the nonsensical "curses" that Cubs fans so love to talk about, if they exist at all, may well be banished as a result of that win.

I will also stand by my original prediction of the Dodgers to win the World Series, albeit over a different team than I originally thought.

Before I leave, how about those two final games in the two NL series?  Imploding bullpens, over-managing, endless pitching changes, games that take FOREVER to complete, and in the end, storybook heroics from Clayton Kershaw.  Great theater, to be sure.

Baseball does have a problem, though.  The Cubs-Giants game four, and Dodgers-Nats game five were dramatic, terrific ball games, but, as noted above, they took forever to complete.  Both ended well after midnight.  The seventh inning alone in the Dodgers game took one hour and six minutes to play.  The entire game took four hours and thirty-two minutes.  Dusty Baker made FOUR pitching changes in that inning alone.  Yeah, yeah, I know that the charm of baseball is that it has no clock, you can't go into four corners, take a knee, or run out the clock.  I know all of that, but who really has time for that?  If I was still working and had to get up with an alarm every morning, there is no way that I see the end of either of these games, and these are the most important games of the year, the Showcase Events of the season.  And when these four hour games involve a couple of also-rans playing out the string in August, and those games do happen, who cares?

Like it or not, Baseball Purists, the game really does have a Pace of Play problem, and if MLB doesn't make real efforts to address it, pretty soon, all us old guys who love the game no matter what are going to be gone, and then, no one will care.

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