Time for baseball's postseason to begin:
Normally, on the last Sunday in September, the big news is either from the NFL or from the MLB playoffs. Yesterday, the big news came from Marlins Park, where Henderson Alvarez threw a no-hitter, a no-hitter that ended in a walk-off 1-0 win for the Marlins. After throwing nine hitless innings, Alvarez was still involved in a scoreless tie in the bottom of the ninth. After one out Giancarlo Stanton and Logan Morrison hit back-to-back singles, went to third on a wild pitch, and stayed there on a groundout by Adeiny Hechavarria. Chris Coghlan walked, and with pinch-hitter Greg Dobbs at the plate, reliever Luke Putkonen’s first pitch got past catcher Brayan Peña, and history was made. The fifth no-hitter in Marlins history. The first four:
May 11, 1996 Al Leiter
June 10, 1997 Kevin Brown
May 12, 2001 A. J. Burnett
September 6, 2006 Anibal Sanchez
September 29, 2013 Henderson Alvarez
September 29, 2013 Henderson Alvarez
Just goes to show you that you just never know what you’re going to see at the ballpark on any given day.
The Marlins will open the 2014 regular season here at Marlins Park against the Colorado Rockies on March 31st, 2014. Jose Fernandez will have the first pitch at 7:10 pm.
Here is the complete, month-by-month 2014 schedule for the Marlins:
TODAY’S TRIVIA QUESTION: When was the last complete-game no-hitter that ended in a walk-off win in the Major Leagues? The answer comes later, alligator.
The Marlins ended the season as the worst offensive team in the majors, and one of the worst in major league history. The Fish were held to three runs or less 102 times this season, and their record in those 102 games is 22-80. Taking it one step further,
When scoring three runs in a game - 9-18
When scoring two runs in a game - 10-20
When scoring one run in a game - 3-24
Of course, they led the majors in getting shutout, having been blanked 18 times so far this season.
The Marlins finished the season as the lowest scoring team in baseball, managing to score only 512 runs. The Marlins were also last in the majors in hits, doubles, home runs, batting average, total bases, and slugging percentage. That is an average of only 3.16 runs per contest. Here is the complete list of the bottom-dwellers:
TEAM W-L Runs
Marlins 62-100 513
White Sox 63-99 598
Cubs 66-96 602
Phillies 73-89 610
Astros 51-111 610
In contrast, the Boston Red Sox (97-65) finished the season as the highest scoring team in MLB with 853 runs scored.
This weekend, incompetent and meddling team owner Jeffrey Loria fired Larry Beinfest as president of baseball operations and promoted general manager Michael Hill to that position. Dan Jennings is replacing Hill as GM.
You may ask yourself, “What makes Dan Jennings the most qualified person to be the new General Manager?” Here’s a quote from Mr. Jennings yesterday, talking about Loria: “He (Jeffrey Loria) has done a tremendous job” and should be involved in the process of making personnel decisions. That pretty much tells me why this gentleman was promoted. He’s just another minion and one more “yes-man” for Loria’s collection.
For the sake of the Marlins, I wish Hill and Jennings the best of luck. They’re going to need it. The problems, however, are not that difficult to spot. Their starting pitching has the potential to be very, very, good. The bullpen has been very effective, for the most part, and the defense is much improved. It is more than apparent that this team needs to find some offense in the offseason. They need to surround Giancarlo Stanton and Christian Yelich with ready-for-prime-time players. However, we have to face reality. What this ball club needs, more than anything, is a new owner - one that is ready to make a real commitment to put a quality team on the field year in and year out.
In other baseball news, we have a playoff game to break a tie before the wild card playoff game in the American League.
Tonight, the Tampa Bay Rays and the Texas Rangers will square off in a tie-breaker game to determine who plays the Cleveland Indians in the AL Wild Card playoff game. Game time in Arlington tonight is 8:00 pm, and you can watch the game on TBS. The Rangers will send Martin Perez to the mound and the Rays will counter with David Price. It is impossible to pick one-game playoffs, but since I had the Rays making it to the World Series, (SEE BELOW FOR MY PRESEASON PICKS), I gotta go with them. I also like David Price against the rookie Martin Perez.
Here is the complete post season schedule in MLB:
Tomorrow I will bring you my predictions for the first round of playoff matchups.
Let me refresh your memories and bring you what I said before the season started. I posted this on this blog as the season was about to start:
Here are my seven “take it to the bank” predictions for the 2013 season, in honor of my childhood hero, the great number 7, Mickey Mantle:
- The Miami Marlins will finish in last place in the NL East, and will struggle not to lose 100 games this season. The team will not trade the man-child, Giancarlo Stanton, but Ricky Nolasco and Steve Chisek will be pitching elsewhere before the season is done. The Braves and the Nationals will fight for supremacy in the division, with the Braves taking it in a close race. Postseason comment: Got it right with the Marlins, except that they somehow managed to do the right thing and kept both Stanton and Steve Chisek. Predicting a disastrous season for the Marlins was easy, though. We knew this wouldn’t be pretty. The Braves won the division as I predicted, and it wasn’t close.
- My New York Yankees will not finish last in the AL East, however, they will not finish over .500. This year, the AL East will be represented in the post season by Rays and the Jays. Postseason comment: The Yankees did better than anyone, including myself, expected. Great job by Joe Girardi. I was totally wrong, along with everybody else, about the Toronto Blue Jays. Did not see them collapsing like they did. I also didn’t see the Red Sox going from 93 losses last year to 97 wins this season.
- The Pittsburgh Pirates will finish over .500 for the first time since 1992. Unfortunately, they will not win the NL Central. The Cardinals and the Reds will be in a “mano a mano” all season long and both of those teams will advance to the post season. Postseason comment: Nailed it. Even the Pirates made it to the playoffs.
- The AL Central is the easiest to guess at, as the Detroit Tigers will win this division hands-down. Look out for the KC Royals as they continue to improve, but not enough to challenge this season. Postseason comments: Whiffed on the Cleveland Indians taking the wild card, along with everyone else that follows baseball. Nobody expected the Tribe to go from 96 losses last year to 92 wins this season.
- Out west, in the National League, the San Francisco Giants and the Los Angeles Dodgers will fight to the death all year, with the Dodgers eventually coming out on top. Keep your eyes on the Arizona Diamondbacks and the San Diego Padres, who will both improve and keep the second place team out of the postseason. Postseason comment: What the hell happened to the Giants?
- In the AL West, the Angels and the A’s will fight it out all year with the Texas Rangers, thanks to the fact that both the Seattle Mariners and the Houston Astros play in that division, and the Angels will finish ahead of the A’s, who will also advance to the postseason. Postseason comment: What the hell happened to the Angels?
Just for fun, these were my predictions before the season started:
Wild Card Jays over A’s Nats over Cards
Division Series Tigers over Jays Braves over Dodgers
Division Series Rays over Angels Nats over Reds
ALCS / NLCS Rays over Tigers Braves over Nats
World Series Braves over Rays
Always fun to reminisce.
Here are the capsules and summaries from all the games in the majors yesterday.
Here are the final standings in MLB:
Here are the final individual league leaders in MLB:
Mediocre start to my week four picks. Here are this week’s results so far, with my picks in yellow:
San Francisco 35 St. Louis (+3 1/2) 11
Cleveland 17 Cincinnati(-4) 6
Indianapolis (-10) 37 Jacksonville 3
Tennessee (-3) 38 NY Jets 13
San Diego 30 Dallas (-1) 21
New England (+2) 30 Atlanta 23
Buffalo 23 Baltimore 20
Minnesota 34 Pittsburgh 27
Arizona 13 Tampa Bay 10
Seattle 23 Houston 20 (OT)
Detroit 40 Chicago 32
Kansas City 31 NY Giants 7
Denver 52 Philadelphia 20
Washington 24 Oakland 14
Here are the game capsules and summaries from yesterday’s games in the NFL:
Week 4 NFL Capsules and Game Summaries
Week 4 NFL Capsules and Game Summaries
MIAMI @ New Orleans -7 8:30 pm ESPN and Ch. 39 in Miami
The Dolphins have shown what they’re made of so far this season, and last week rallied from a ten-point deficit to beat the Atlanta Falcons last week. They are 3-0 for the first time since 2002. Ryan Tannehill has completed almost 67% of his passes so far this year, and has done something we haven’t seen here in Miami in a while - the Dolphins have scored seven touchdowns in their eight trips into the red zone. New Orleans still has Drew Brees and a formidable group of receivers, with TE Jimmy Graham the most dangerous. The Fins will have trouble with the former UM tight end. The Saints are at home, and that is always a difficult place to play for the visiting team. All that being said, I’m going with my heart on this one, taking the Dolphins plus the seven points.
As I noted above, I’m 3-3 so far this week, pending tonight’s Dolphins-Saints matchup on Monday Night Football
vs the Spread Straight Up Season Total
WEEK 1 4-2-1 5-2 ----- -----
WEEK 2 5-2 7-0 9-4-1 12-2
WEEK 3 4-2-1 5-2 13-6-2 17-4
WEEK 4 3-3 3-3 16-9-2 20-7
More on the Dolphins:
Here’s ESPN’s NFL Nation Blog, with more news from all around the league:
Of course, we can all continue to sleep at night, knowing full well that Aaron Hernandez remains in jail, where he belongs.
In college football, the University of Miami Hurricanes beat the living tar out of the University of South Florida, 49-21. The Florida Gators beat Kentucky, 24-7, and Florida State outscored Boston College 48-34.
Manny Navarro and Susan Miller Degnan have all the latest from Coral Gables:
FIU enjoyed a bye week this week, and their next game will be in Hattiesburg, on Saturday, October 5th, starting at 4:00 pm, against the Golden Eagles of Southern Mississippi. Could be the week they win a game?
Here’s the latest from FIU, courtesy of David J. Neal:
Here’s the latest from Tallahassee and FSU:
From Gainesville and the University of Florida:
Here are the NCAA Football rankings for this week and they include Florida State (#8), Miami (#14), and Florida (#18).
Here is the complete schedule in College Football for week 6, including TV info:
In Miami Heat news, the Heat extended the contract of Head Coach Erik Spoelstra.
In other NBA news, the league is expected to change the Finals schedule, from the present 2-3-2 format to a 2-2-1-1-1 format:
I’m selling three lots totaling a little over five acres in the beautiful North Carolina mountains, overlooking the New River, a quick 35-minute drive from Boone and Blowing Rock. Click here to see some photos and feel free to contact me if you have any questions:
THE ANSWER TO TODAY’S TRIVIA QUESTION: When was the last complete-game no-hitter that ended in a walk-off win in the Major Leagues?
Set the DeLorean back to May 31, 1952, when Virgil Trucks did it for the Tigers against the Washington Senators. Of the 282 no-hitters in MLB history, yesterday’s gem was the FIRST ONE EVER to end on a wild pitch.
Behave yourselves, and always remember that tomorrow will bring us a brand new day.