ALCS Game 6 Chat

6:02
Meg Rowley: Hi everyone – thanks for chatting with us! We’ll be getting started here shortly.

6:03
Thurman15: Brandon Lowe batting in the 5 slot is not wise.  He is a lefty against Framber (a lefty).  And Lowe has been horrendous in the playoffs.

6:04
Meg Rowley: Lowe has been in a slump, but this year was actually better against lefties, and has a 127 career wRC+ against LHP.

6:04
Meg Rowley: Also a good chance to plug Ben’s piece on Lowe! https://blogs.fangraphs.com/is-brandon-lowe-broken/

6:04
Lzfreak: Baseball!

6:05
Meg Rowley: Base. Ball.

6:05
Derek: This has been a super weird series. I hope tonight is no different!

6:06
Meg Rowley:

Who takes Game 6?

Rays (76.7% | 33 votes)
 
Astros (23.2% | 10 votes)
 

Total Votes: 43
6:07
Avatar David Laurila: Hello baseball fans. The aesthetically-pleasing — yes they are — Rays are one win away from the World Series. The displeasing-to-many —yes they are — Astros are two wins away.

6:08
MickDeBrique: How does this chat system work?

6:08
Meg Rowley: We take many, but not all, of the questions and endeavor to have fun.

6:08
LFC Mike: Before first pitch..Meg..  how excited are you about the young Mariners?  Looking forward to Kelenic next year.

6:09
Meg Rowley: The system is good, and the prospect of a home grown core is neat, and they’ll need to spend money in free agency.

6:09
Meg Rowley: We have been to the moon, but struggle with bullpen door latches. Humans are the best.

6:10
Derek: I think those poll results might reflect a wee bit of wishful thinking

6:10
Avatar David Laurila: When the Red Sox came back from down 3-0 vs the Yankees in 2004, they won nail-biters in games 4 and 5, one of them on a walk-off home run. The Astros have won games 4 and 5 in nail-biters, one on a walk-off home run. Someone might want to give Framber Valdez some red dye.

6:11
Meg Rowley: ‘Stros are clearly in better shape now than at various points in the season, and they out-hit tampa in some respects in the first three games, but they were the No. 1 seed for a reason.

6:12
Meg Rowley: It took 5 pitches for shadow talk.

6:12
Derek: There’s no research out there supporting the idea that shadows have that huge of an impact is there?

6:13
Lzfreak: What are people’s opinions on the 3 man booth?

6:13
Avatar David Laurila: Two-person booths are usually better, but a three is fine with the right mix. This on is solid.

6:14
Meg Rowley: Everything that I have seen has been pretty inconclusive – it is the sort of thing that makes intuitive sense as a problem, but hasn’t been proven as far as I know.

6:14
Meg Rowley: I know the hitters discussed having a hard time picking up the ball early in the series

6:15
Al: Who’s the umpire behind the plate?

6:15
Meg Rowley: Tim Timmons, per GameDay

6:17
Avatar David Laurila: Interesting to see these throws to first. That’s Altuve on base, not Joe Morgan.

6:18
Avatar David Laurila: If any of you missed it, Dusty Baker compared Altuve and Joe Morgan to Mighty Mouse yesterday. In Baker’s words, “Mighty was a bad little dude.”

6:19
Lzfreak: Tim Timmons is an 80 grade umpire name

6:20
Kiermaier’s Piercing Green Eyes: Strike em out throw em out!

6:20
Meg Rowley: No first inning home run – shocking, truly.

6:22
Avatar David Laurila: Like I said, that was Altuve on base, not Joe Morgan. Jay Jaffe brought up Morgan’s fantastic stolen base success rate in the latest FanGraphs audio, which went up today.

6:24
JBJ: Snell dialed one up to 98 MPH, seems to have his swing and miss stuff tonight

6:24
Meg Rowley: Hardest pitch he’s throw this season, if my Savant query is right

6:25
Avatar David Laurila: I asked Kevin Cash in today’s media session if he feels his team has been putting up good at bats, and he said no. He feels his hitters haven’t been putting pressure on the pitcher, nor on the defense. He suggested that they have been putting pressure on themselves.

6:26
Meg Rowley: Any other interesting nuggets from that media session, David?

6:27
Avatar David Laurila: Nothing stands out, mostly because I didn’t do Diusty’s.

6:28
Meg Rowley: If you’re a player traded away from San Diego, do you think you have the highest average city downgrade?

6:28
Avatar David Laurila: Randy Arozarena came into today 8 for 21 in this series. Willy Adames, Mike Brosseau, Brandon Lowe, Austin Meadows, Hunter Renfroe, and Joey Wendle  came in a combined 8 for 74.

6:29
Meg Rowley: So what you’re saying is, they’re due.

6:29
Derek: Almost certainly, Meg – unless you’re just really into New York or something I guess

6:30
Meg Rowley: It is good, I suppose, to remember that people like living all sorts of places.

6:30
melon: 12 runs one inning let’s go Rays flap flap

6:31
Meg Rowley: Is “flap flap” the preferred rallying cry of Rays fans?

6:31
Avatar David Laurila: Rays hitters are due, but not in the same way Astros hitters were due earlier in the series. Dusty was happy with the at bats; the bad luck they were hitting into was the issue.

6:32
Meg Rowley: I know the efficacy of the shift is disputed, but the positioning of the Rays had to be maddening for Houston.

6:32
melon: I’m definitely trying my hardest to make it so

6:32
Sea Pancake: I really hope so. Rays are such an underappreciated mascot and I feel like Tampa doesn’t market them enough!

6:33
Avatar David Laurila: Not only have the Rays been positioning well, they’ve been playing clean D.

6:34
Meg Rowley: Indeed – clean routes. Though they seem to enjoy making Ji-Man stretch.

6:35
Avatar David Laurila: Dusty Baker suggested the other day that Joey Wendle has been playing third base like Brooks Robinson and Graig Nettles.

6:36
Avatar David Laurila: That was, ahem, a clean turn of two.

6:36
Mister Puppy: Clairvoyant much?

6:36
Meg Rowley: Quite a good player, that Wendle.

6:37
Avatar David Laurila: If only I were Clairvoyant. I do have a neighbor names Claire.

6:38
Meg Rowley: Did the ball boys travel from Tampa, or are these the Petco regulars?

6:38
Meg Rowley: (and Houston, for that matter)

6:39
Steven S: Wendle has traditionally been a utility player with the Rays, but I wonder if they think about making his primary position 3rd base. Really impressed by his work at the hot corner this postseason.

6:40
Avatar David Laurila: I don’t think Wendle has enough of a track record to be firmly slotted in at third. Not at 30 years old.

6:40
Jordan: do you still get a lot of jabs at Houston Astros hitters in these chats?

6:41
Avatar David Laurila: There weren’t many when I chatted a few days ago. They’re a bit tiresome, frankly.

6:42
Meg Rowley: I think there’s room for discussion of the obvious, but like all things, best in moderation.

6:42
Avatar David Laurila: A high pitch count early is not something the Rays want.

6:43
Meg Rowley: I do wonder what kind of reception they’ll get when fans are back in the ballpark – we tend to have long memories.

6:43
Jeremy: Does it look like Snell is struggling to find the zone or that the gameplan is to get the Astros to chase?

6:44
Avatar David Laurila: The Astros don’t chase a lot, so I think Snell is just missing.

6:45
Kiermaier’s Piercing Green Eyes: I get that things like AsTeRiSkS gets old, but I am sick on seeing men with contempt for rules and decency get away with it. Seeing unapologetic cheaters celebrate is infuriating.

6:45
Avatar David Laurila: I’m more offended by a sub-.500 team in the postseason, frankly.

6:46
Steven S: The Rays do a good job of getting their young guys to trust their stuff and throw strikes, but if feels like Snell has been nibbling at the edges all year. What needs to change for Snell?

6:46
Lzfreak: Maybe it’s just me but every time I watch Snell I come away unimpressed. Lots of high pitch counts and early exits

6:47
Smok: If it’s just this season it can be accepted. If next season has a similar structure….

6:47
Meg Rowley: This season was his lowest in-zone rate in the majors, and I think some of this is missing, but he hasn’t been all in-zone in the past.

6:48
Meg Rowley: I think it is good practice for people who screw up as badly as Houston has to apologize and do so convincingly – sadly think they’ve taken ownership’s cue on that score.

6:49
Meg Rowley: Just haven’t had a great track record of understanding that forgiveness doesn’t happen on the offender’s time table.

6:51
Quadrangular: Has the industry opinion of defense shifted (pun not intended) at all over the last few years? Seems to oscillate more dramatically on a year by year basis. Remember when announcers were lauding how well setup the Championship Cubs were with their world-beating defense?

6:52
Meg Rowley: I don’t think you’ll ever find an analyst who thinks it is good to have a bad defense. I do think a lot of folks are open to less good fielders if their team can position them effectively and they possess a potent bat.

6:52
Avatar David Laurila: FWIW: I haven’t checked if they’re reasonably synced up with TV, but the Astros and Rays both have top-notch radio broadcast duos. (Not suggesting that this TV trio isn’t good.)

6:55
melon: “Strobe effect”!!

6:55
Meg Rowley: At least that’s a nice bit of phrasing

6:55
Derek: A run! Not driven in by a homer!

6:55
Meg Rowley: In this economy!?

6:55
Avatar David Laurila: Ladies and gentlemen, a run scored without a ball leaving the yard. Just like the old days! Run and tell old gramps.

6:55
Kiermaier’s Piercing Green Eyes: KK falling over the dugout fence…

6:55
Meg Rowley: Be careful of your wrist, dude!

6:56
5 Run Homer: What happens to Adames when Wander comes up?

6:56
Guest: Adames had such a nice year, what do you think of his outlook? I’m definitely a fan

6:57
Meg Rowley: I would imagine he moves to second, when the time comes – and that isn’t even all of the infield glut in that system.

6:57
Meg Rowley: Adames isn’t a free agent until 2025, and they love versatile infield dudes.

6:57
Avatar David Laurila: With that curveball, Valdez is a little like late-career Frank Tanana, but with more velo.

6:58
Meg Rowley: Now, your next question is, where do they put Brujan if Adames is at second, and to that I say, I don’t know, but gosh are they lousy with options.

6:59
Meg Rowley: (a moment, I need to locate my water bottle)

7:01
Derek: And where does Lowe, Brandon go?

7:02
Meg Rowley: and if they push Vidal out to center, where does Josh Lowe go?!

7:02
Quadrangular: Tampa seems to recognize their own glut of middle infield talent when considering the trades they’ve pulled off. When you have depth, utilize it!

7:02
Meg Rowley: Indeed – much like SD, the consolidation tends to net them interesting pieces.

7:03
Sea Pancake: And what even happened to Nate Lowe???

7:03
Avatar David Laurila: Just looked at my Twitter feed and someone was bringing up Mike Davis’s fantasy points. My first thought was, ‘What does a 1980s Oakland A’s outfielder have to do with fantasy points?’  (Presumably there is a modern-day Mike Davis.)

7:03
Meg Rowley: They pulled him off the CS roster I think? For Diaz, I believe.

7:04
Derek: That Mike Davis is a running back for the Panthers!

7:04
Meg Rowley: (and having a surprisingly good season!)

7:05
Wire Fan: Are the Astros going to end up regretting the Altuve extension?

7:06
Avatar David Laurila: I think Altuve has another two or three really good seasons in him.

7:07
Meg Rowley: I don’t think he’s as bad as this, but it is hard to know what effect the banging scheme had, or how complete our understanding of their cheating is. Tony Adams analysis had him using the scheme less often than others, but it feels naive to look at the drop and not wonder.

7:07
Meg Rowley: he had two good years after ’17, and he’s running a BABIP 50 points lower than he usually does in a weird season

7:07
Jeremy: Lowe was dropped when Austin Meadows returned from injury.

7:08
Meg Rowley: That’s right – thank you.

7:09
Avatar David Laurila: Not that the last week-plus portends his future, but Altuve came into tonight 14 for 34 with five home runs over his last nine games.

7:10
Avatar David Laurila: Altuve had a 138 wRC+ in 2019, and he’s only 30, so I think this year was an outlier.

7:11
Meg Rowley: Another good reason not to cheat – when you just have a weird down year, people assume something more!

7:11
Dean P. Simmer: @David you had me at “late career Frank Tanana”

7:11
Avatar David Laurila: Early-career Tanana was smoke.

7:12
melon: Do you buy Correa’s assertion that Altuve didn’t want to be involved? (sorry if this topic has been run into the ground)

7:15
Avatar David Laurila: I have no idea if Altuve wanted to be involved or not, but I have had a few hitters tell me they’d rather not know what’s coming (as hard as that is to believe). One said that he has a better chance of hitting a slider is he’s simply reacting to it, as opposed to sitting on one.

7:16
Mick: Are the cardboard fans in the stadium Padres fans? Or a mix of Rays/Astros?

7:17
Meg Rowley: I think they’re more neutral now – first responders and broadcasters – at least behind home.

7:17
Meg Rowley: Hunter Renfroe looks like he could be related to Mike Trout.

7:18
Meg Rowley: Of potential interest to the group

As the broadcast talks constantly about the shadows, @gschifman actually did some research on it last year (and has some more coming). Read last year’s entry:

baseballprospectus.com/news/article/5…

16 Oct 2020
7:19
Grant: If Renfroe and Trout are related, only one of them got the gene that makes you swing at two straight curves in the dirt

7:20
Meg Rowley: heh – I didn’t say they are related, just that they look like they could be.

7:24
Avatar David Laurila: Kevin Cash is on the short list of baseball’s best managers.

7:25
Meg Rowley: He’s terrific – and so strange to think he’s now the third longest tenured AL manager?

7:25
Meg Rowley: (my internet is being a little pesky – I’ll be right back, need to power cycle the router)

7:26
Dreen: TB getting a lot of credit for positioning correctly.  I would assume that everyone can do positioning right in this day and age of analytics.  Do you think TB positions better?

7:29
Avatar David Laurila: Tigers radio voice Dan Dickerson was on FanGraphs audio today, and one thing he talked about was how positioning paired with reads/instinct is optimal. The data may show you want to be in particular spot, but the specific situation and read could mean you should be two steps in either direction.

7:29
melon: Who else is on that short list of best managers for you?

7:30
Avatar David Laurila: Bob Melvin for one.

7:31
Avatar David Laurila: Francona, Counsell, Baldelli are three more.

7:32
Avatar David Laurila: Cora and Hinch are (were?) outstanding managers.

7:32
Drew: enjoyed seeing valdez come right back with that deuce and win the at-bat and mental battle

7:33
Avatar David Laurila: Pitchers with plus hooks can be a lot of fun to watch.

7:33
Kiermaier’s Piercing Green Eyes: Supposing the score stays as is, do you let Snell face the top of the order again?

7:35
Meg Rowley: (am returned, sorry about that)

7:35
Avatar David Laurila: Snell is at 71 pitches, so he’s maybe around 90 by the time he reaches third-tim-through. Hmmm. That’s a tough call, but if he looks good next inning, I say yes.

7:35
Derek: What exactly do you look for when you’re evaluating managers? The most obvious thing to us laypeople are things like shifting and bullpen management… What else?

7:37
Avatar David Laurila: I think good people skills is crucial. Giving all the information available, most all managers “should” be able to make smart in-game decisions.

7:37
Astros_fan: Hi.  New to this. Just wanted to hop in and say this season has been difficult as a ‘Stros fan.  I feel like a lot of people at Fangraphs have taken a decently balanced approach to things.  It’s one of those situations where there are so many things that are actually wrong and deserving repudiation, but others which feel like they are unfair.  No idea how to try and say anything nuanced in a chat like this, and don’t want to distract from the game. But if anyone wants to talk about it, I’d welcome the discourse.  reddit’s r/baseball has really hurt me in ways I just wasn’t prepared for. I just want to talk thru some of it.

7:38
Avatar David Laurila: Fandom isn’t always simple.

7:38
staz: John Farrell went from WS win to out the door because he lost the Red Sox clubhouse.

7:39
Avatar David Laurila: Can’t vouch for the veracity of that, but it’s true that you need control of the clubhouse (ideally without a steel fist).

7:40
Meg Rowley: Managing people is really hard (uh, David can testify how I am not perfect at it) and I can’t imagine doing it with 25ish dudes with the mentality pro athletes have. That part should get talked about more imo.

7:41
Dreen: One observation by reading the posts in SBNation is that everyone believes the announcers are “against their team”.  Clearly there must be some kind of confirmation bias.  Now, with that said, has there been more “objective” measurement on whether playoff tv announcers are  objective or favor one team?

7:41
Avatar David Laurila: I was at Wrigley in the last week of Joe Maddon’s Cubs tenure, and asked him about managerial shelf life. He admitted that a manager’s voice/message will often get stale after a matter years.

7:42
Meg Rowley: I haven’t seen an objective analysis – I was impressed with how Joe Davis and Jason Benetti dealt with the Wild Card Series games that involved the teams they call all season.

7:42
Guest: As a Patriots fan, my advice to Astros fans is to accept the role of villain and root for your team.

7:42
staz: That’s the theory on SoSH anyway, Mr. Laurila 😉

7:43
Meg Rowley: I also think it can lead to some healthy distance – the issue is with the behavior of those on the team, not the fans.

7:43
Avatar David Laurila: I don’t visit SoSh much these days. Should maybe drop in more often.

7:43
Astros_fan: Yeah – I agree David Laurila. I think the part that hurts worst is some of the criticism of Altuve.  I have had a few personal interactions with him, and I can honestly attest to how sweet and decent a person he is. Anyway!  enough psycho-therapy from me.  Just appreciate y’all letting me just air my feelings. 🙂 Wish the best for everyone on this thread and on the field today!

7:46
Avatar David Laurila: Somewhat lost in the cheating scandal is the fact that there are a lot of good people in the Astros clubhouse. That doesn’t mean they should all be left off the hook, but we should be careful not to overtly criticize each and every individual for the actions of others.

7:47
Derek: Not suggesting Astros_fan or anyone else do this – I think it is a certain kind of admirable to stick with a team you’ve been a fan of for a while no matter what – but it’s also not impossible (or wrong) to find a new favorite team! I’ve been a Red Sox fan pretty much since I knew what baseball was (2000-ish) and made the decision to finally just stop supporting them after the Betts trade and John Henry’s other various forms of shithousery (which he also employs in England as the owner of Liverpool – and I am a fan of Everton, Liverpool’s intra-city rival so it made it a little easier to just distance myself from Henry altogether), and it’s been great! Still looking for a true new “favorite” team but just watching and following baseball has been fun (well, “fun” for 2020, anyway) this season. So that’s always an option!

7:48
Avatar David Laurila: Fellow Everton fan here. Tomorrow should be interesting.

7:48
it’s true I guess: Blake Snell is an anagram of Ellen’s Balk.

7:48
staz: I’m of the opinion that all 30 teams bend the rules, some more than others. Some get caught and some don’t.

7:49
Avatar David Laurila: I think there were a lot of nervous people around the gam when the Astros scandal emerged.

7:50
Guest: I’m with staz, I assume everybody’s looking for an edge.  I’m honestly a little surprised at the level of outrage at the Astros.

7:51
Avatar David Laurila: Success has a way of breeding contempt, so the vitriol isn’t be too surprising. See Patriots, New England.

7:51
Meg Rowley: Eh this wasn’t the only sign of a bad culture in that org. They aren’t the only ones to break the rules (they broke them, they didn’t bend them), and not every one who works there is rotten obviously, but they messed up badly and have handled it terribly since.

7:51
Derek: Ah, didn’t realize that, David! I am pretty excited for the game (but also emotionally prepared for a typical Everton-style letdown, so…)

7:52
Avatar David Laurila: Everton fan for 20-plus years. They’ll win ta derby eventually.

7:52
Jeremy: For me, the Taubman thing and the organization’s response to that is much more of a reason to hate the Astros than the cheating.

7:53
Avatar David Laurila: True. Very true.

7:53
Meg Rowley: Yup.

7:53
5 Run Homer: The Astros thing is more about a moral bankruptcy and what that means than the actual act of cheating

7:54
Avatar David Laurila: At the risk of stating the obvious, this is a huge situation that could detrmine the outcome.

7:54
Meg Rowley: Two run single from Springer.

7:55
Avatar David Laurila: Springer is going to become a rich man this winter.

7:56
Ben Clemens: Hey everyone, I’m dropping in for an hour or so

7:56
Ben Clemens: A-Rod is livid right now. Successful sacrifice bunt in the playoffs and he didn’t get to announce it!

7:56
Ben Clemens: At least Jeter wasn’t doing a guest call.

7:57
Kiermaier’s Piercing Green Eyes: This hurts so much, but I deserve it for ascribing higher meanings of justice and right and wrong to a children’s game.

7:57
Internet Stranger: “I think there were a lot of nervous people around the gam when the Astros scandal emerged.”  They were pretty obviously scapegoated.  There were plenty of articles about other team’s sign stealing pursuits for anyone that cared to look.

7:57
Ben Clemens: None of us would watch baseball if we didn’t like that feeling of pain

7:57
Ben Clemens: It’s nice that it’s inconsequential

7:57
Meg Rowley: (It’s the 5th inning)

7:58
TCWHY: Whatcha drinking tonight ben

7:58
Ben Clemens: Water!

7:58
Ben Clemens: But soon, probably a nice Dogfish Head Seaquench Ale

7:58
Ben Clemens: My semi-weekly poker game starts at six so I will have my fair share of beers tonight, no need to get started too early

7:59
forestation: How much credit should hitters get for hitting grounders “thru the hole,” “against the shift” etc? Isn’t it mostly just luck?

7:59
Ben Clemens: I think there are kinda two questions here.

7:59
Guest: Do we know what the game 7 pitching matchup would be?

7:59
Avatar David Laurila: Morton-McCullers, presumably.

8:00
Ben Clemens: If you’re saying, do they deserve as much credit as they get? no

8:00
Ben Clemens: But hitting it hard makes it more likely to find a hole, for example

8:00
Ben Clemens: There’s stuff you can do to improve your chances

8:01
Guest: If the Rays win this game, how many times will we hear some combination of the words “2004,” “Red Sox,” and/or “Millar” in the next 24 hours?

8:01
Avatar David Laurila: Ad infinitum is a Latin term.

8:01
Guest: Ben, isn’t the proper strategy for poker to drink water while everyone *else* at the table is drinking beer?

8:02
Ben Clemens: Kinda depends if you’re trying to win a few nickels from your friends or have fun

8:02
Internet Stranger: Five game’s worth of babip are evening out in this inning it feels like

8:02
Ben Clemens: Seeeeriously

8:02
Avatar David Laurila: This inning is starting to look a lot like last night’s sixth for the Braves.

8:02
Wire Fan: Cash seems to be OK dropping this game.  Is anyone even warming up?

8:02
Ben Clemens: McClanahan is going

8:03
TCWHY: Shouldn’t hitters who hit grounders through the shift get more credit though? Since they are hitting it where the trends say they don’t typically hit the ball, it could mean they are less predictable as a hitter.

8:03
Avatar David Laurila: If successful yes, but it’s a lot easier said than done.

8:04
Meg Rowley: Feels weird to praise grounders.

8:04
Astros_fan: Thanks David. :).  And the other thing I need to realize is trash-talking and stuff is just part of sports.  I do appreciate your advice Derek! I’m such a died-in-the wool Astros fan, it’d be difficult. I attended their games in the 90’s every weekend with my parents. They had cheap $1 seats in the dome outfield for kids.  It’s some of my most cherished memories.  And of course a lot of the argument is how the Astros might have tarnished other people’s memories by their actions.  The impact of that is difficult/impossible to quantify. I know there has been some good attempts at it here and elsewhere (https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/the-astros-scandal-isnt-going-awa…).  Either way. Most of all, I think I am most disappointed with the ownership. I feel like Crane did some of the dirtiest things in the whole affair, and selling out Hinch the way he did was just awful.  My hope is to bide time till new ownership happens. (¯\_(ツ)_/¯).  Ok! Sry! I will stop distracting from game!

8:05
Ben Clemens: Yeah I’d argue that if you’re consistently hitting grounders through holes

8:05
Ben Clemens: It would just show up in the numbers

8:05
Ben Clemens: So if you hit 300 grounders and 180 find holes when 100 do for your average player, maybe we can start talking

8:05
Ben Clemens: Noise is SO big on a single hit though relative to signal

8:06
forestation: When announcers praise grounders they’re usually talking about placement not velocity. I guess I’m doubting how well hitter can actually control spray angle

8:06
Ben Clemens: Yeah look it’s hard to talk for three hours!

8:06
Ben Clemens: I think that a lot of ‘oh well placed grounder there!’ is talking to fill space, personally

8:08
melon: Also, “That grounder just happened to be well placed but it’s mostly down to luck, not the ability of the hitter” doesn’t really make for energetic commentating imo

8:08
Avatar David Laurila: Dusty may want to get someone up. I sense trouble for Valdez.

8:08
Ben Clemens: ‘In the end, all things will end, and really, baseball is just a way of distracting ourselves from the inevitable coming of death’

8:08
Ben Clemens: And to go back to the game, totally agreed David

8:09
TCWHY: I think you just previewed meg’s next column

8:09
Meg Rowley: Would never claim credit for Sam’s words

8:10
Meg Rowley: Though there’s probably a reason he’s the one who brought me on at BP

8:10
Astros_fan: astros radio is indicating that Maldonado is giving Valdez a tongue-lashing

8:10
Ben Clemens: And that Meg hired me lol

8:10
staz: Valdez has lost command of the curve

8:10
staz: Valdez hasn’t thrown a curve for a strike this inning. Sit dead red.

8:10
Avatar David Laurila: Robert and Sparky are great,

8:10
Ben Clemens: It’s surprising how quickly he lost the handle on it

8:12
Meg Rowley: If ever there’s a hitter to get your curve feel back against…

8:12
Ben Clemens: Staz, Zunino clearly wasn’t listening to you

8:13
Ben Clemens: He still isn’t locating it in the zone

8:13
Ben Clemens: The Rays are just playing into his hands

8:13
Craig: His hammer looks good enough to get some McCullers level usage

8:13
melon: If I were Framber Valdez I would simply pitch a perfect game

8:14
Guest: Just realized if he hadn’t opted out, King Felix might finally be getting his shot in the playoffs tonight

8:14
Meg Rowley: this just occurring to you probably means you’re a happier person than i am

8:14
Ben Clemens: Wouldn’t he have gotten cut for a 40-man crunch at some point this year anyway?

8:15
Meg Rowley: Good god.

8:15
Purple Urkel: Snapping the bat over the thigh is a badass move

8:16
Meg Rowley: Zunino is very strong.

8:16
Ben Clemens: I’m sure I shouldn’t actually admit this with Meg here but I used to mention Mike Zunino in my articles more than he really needed to come up b/c I know Meg likes him and I wanted to fit in

8:17
Meg Rowley: hahahaha

8:17
TCWHY: It must be hard to do that. Right?

8:17
Ben Clemens: Oh for SURE

8:17
Meg Rowley: I appreciate his defense and feel very badly that he was rushed by a not great baseball team.

8:17
Ben Clemens: Yeah if I, a reasonably healthy man in my 30s, tried to do that

8:17
Ben Clemens: I’d have a bruised leg and an intact bat

8:17
Avatar David Laurila: Framber’s pitch count is 79. His high this year was 113.

8:17
Guest: Offseason question for the commercials: Who is the most surprising name we’ll see non-tendered this year?

8:18
Ben Clemens: Ooh, this is a great question

8:18
Meg Rowley: Hmmmmm

8:19
Meg Rowley: I guess I’d just be generally nervous if I were on the Rangers or Marlins.

8:19
Ben Clemens: I’m digging through some arb estimates right now, I’ll try to have one for you next commercial break

8:19
Meg Rowley: They seem… very cash strapped.

8:19
Meg Rowley: Oh boy.

8:20
Guest: D-Backs were threatening to not pick up Marte’s option so I can’t imagine they’re much better

8:20
Ben Clemens: Yeah, I think it is basically a lock that they weren’t going to pick it up. Otherwise you don’t make that trade

8:20
Ben Clemens: LOVE Tucker going back to not leave Dusty hanging

8:21
Ben Clemens: Extreme ‘junior guy at the office’ vibe there

8:21
Meg Rowley: Imagine I’ll focus a lot on liking Dusty in next few weeks if this goes against Tampa.

8:21
Craig: Which would feel worse? Going up 3-0 and losing 4 straight, or going from 3-0 to 3-3 then losing game 7?

8:21
Ben Clemens: This is a great question actually

8:21
Ben Clemens: Because I almost snap-answered, and now I think the other thing

8:21
Ben Clemens: Let’s put it to a poll

8:22
Ben Clemens:

Which would feel worse as a fan?

Up 3-0, lose four straight (78.5% | 66 votes)
 
Down 3-0, rally to 3-3 before losing (21.4% | 18 votes)
 

Total Votes: 84
8:23
melon: My argument: losing four straight is embarrassing but rallying to 3-3 before losing means you go out head held high

8:23
Man Robfred: Definitely going up 3-0 and losing 4 straight.  Coming back from 3-0 at least gives you sense of accomplishment from not going down punchless.

8:24
Ben Clemens: I voted for tying it and then losing, because I would just be so stressed the whole time

8:24
Ben Clemens: Ohhhhh we’re gonna do it we’re gonna do it

8:24
Ben Clemens: Then you do the hard part, now it’s just a Game 7, people win those all the time

8:24
Avatar David Laurila: Dusty Baker after Game 2: “I’m not really going to have a message other than, ‘Hey boys, we’ve got to keep swinging it. That’s all you can do. Talk is cheap. We’ve just got to find some holes.”

8:24
Ben Clemens: and lose??

8:25
Erik: I’m with Ben. Also I feel like my answer would be different between fan perspective vs player perspective.

8:25
Ben Clemens: Yeah mine is as a fan

8:25
Meg Rowley: I guess there would be something to getting soundly beat in sweep.

8:25
Ben Clemens: I’m not sure how I’d feel as a player

8:25
Meg Rowley: Like, eh, just not our series, they were better.

8:26
Ben Clemens: This series would have felt differnet

8:26
Ben Clemens: Arguably the Astros were up 3-0 in EV wins and down 3-0 in wins

8:26
Ben Clemens: Baseball is so weird though

8:26
Ben Clemens: The better team doesn’t win all that often

8:26
Ben Clemens: I mean they win more often than not

8:27
Ben Clemens: But not THAT much more often than not

8:27
Jazz: But imagine being so close and letting it slowly slip away as it eats at you more and more. The fear you could fail builds to a crescendo. Then you lose that last game and have the whole off season to know you had to win one of four games and couldn’t do it. That you failed in a way few times have failed before. It would be crushing.

8:27
Meg Rowley: It’s weird to know that because of the way my fandom of a particular team has faded, I’m not sure I’ll ever know how it feels to root for MY TEAM in the World Series.

8:27
Ben Clemens: Honestly I’m not sure that would bother me as a fan

8:27
Ben Clemens: As a player, sure

8:28
Ben Clemens: As a fan, I can tell myself and feel fine that WWWLLLL is the same as LLWWWLL

8:28
Ben Clemens: Or whatever

8:28
Ben Clemens: Whereas being down 3-0 and giving up hope (which is TOTALLY what I’d do as a fan)

8:28
Ben Clemens: And then you pull me back in?

8:28
Man Robfred: Uh oh Ben, sounds dangerously close to that “piece of metal” quote.

8:29
Ben Clemens: Psh, I had four losses in both of them

8:29
Ben Clemens: I’d rather win

8:30
Meg Rowley: I wish fewer of TBS’ shows (and shows in the TBS universe?) were about bad things happening to people?

8:30
Ben Clemens: Oh I owe a non-tender name

8:30
Ben Clemens: How do you feel about Mark Canha?

8:30
Meg Rowley: I Canha believe he’d get non-tendered

8:31
Ben Clemens: lol

8:31
TCWHY: Boooo

8:31
Meg Rowley: reviews are mixed

8:31
Ben Clemens: I don’t THINK he will but he’s a similar player to a lot of people they have and he’ll be above $5 million

8:32
Ben Clemens: So Frenchy and Ron think that the key is to get Framber out of the game, and I have to say I agree

8:32
Ben Clemens: I don’t think it’s b/c you get to the bullpen, though

8:32
Ben Clemens: It’s because by getting him out of the game, you have baserunners

8:33
Ben Clemens: Which seems pretttttty good at the moment

8:33
Rick: Surprising non-tender: Tommy Pham: 7-8MM is costly for coming off a sub-replacement level season.

8:34
Ben Clemens: I think they’ll keep him but yes another option

8:34
Derek: Lol the accidental tongue teaser from Brian Anderson – “Renfroe will reach”

8:34
Ben Clemens: Also a great description of his plate discipline

8:34
Avatar David Laurila: Assuming the Rays don’t come back in the final innings, Kevin Cash will get to answer non-fun questions in his postgame presser. How do you explain things going amiss… yet again?

8:35
Jazz: People remember the Red Sox coming back from down 3-0 against the Yankees. Does anyone remember the last series to go WWWLLLW?

8:35
Ben Clemens: Has that happened before? I don’t remember

8:35
Astros_fan: Re: my question about ‘the yips’ earlier. Has anyone else here had that experience?  I know Meg has played a lot. Think that’s what is happening w/ Altuve?

8:35
Meg Rowley: Oh I have not played a lot.

8:36
staz: WWWLLLW has not happened in MLB

8:36
Ben Clemens: I feel like it’s probably happened in basketball

8:36
Ben Clemens: More series, for one thing

8:37
Astros_fan: Oh sry my bad.  Maybe I was thinking of Jeff Sullivan? Sry, I know one of yall had some baseball exp

8:37
Meg Rowley: No worries! Just wanted to clarify.

8:37
Derek: Wait why did Diaz just yell at Valdez like that?? Is there history between those two?

8:37
Avatar David Laurila: Drama and intrigue.

8:37
Ben Clemens: Based on what Correa is doing, I kind of think Framber was at fault?

8:37
Ben Clemens: That’s not the thing you do to someone who just got yelled at for no reason

8:38
Ben Clemens: I have literally no idea WHAT he did

8:38
Wire Fan: Correa is an ass, not a leader.

8:38
staz: Correa yelling something makes him a leader?

8:38
staz: What if he was shouting “I am a very weak man, with no credibility!!”

8:38
Ben Clemens: Extremely curious to know what Correa was saying

8:38
Meg Rowley: I wonder if there was chirping we didn’t see or something

8:39
Ben Clemens: There had to have been

8:39
Ben Clemens: Maldonado didn’t even look surprised that Yandy was yelling

8:39
Meg Rowley: Because Martín seemed conciliatory

8:39
Meg Rowley: yeah

8:39
Ben Clemens: Well, it’s especially tough to get out a slump if you’re struggling and also they’re calling pitches two inches below the zone as strikes, oof

8:39
TCWHY: The wild speculation by the announcers is the best part

8:40
Ben Clemens: Ron’s “I know some Spanish” was fun too

8:41
Astros_fan: So what do yall think about Maldonado’s prospects as a manager? He seems to have a great way to manage players.

8:41
Ben Clemens: I could absolutely see that

8:41
Avatar David Laurila: As Angels scribe Fabian Ardaya just tweeted, things are getting spicy in the Gaslamp

8:42
Ben Clemens: Okay, one last super-spicy non-tender name

8:43
Ben Clemens: Kris Bryant

8:43
Guest: Baez?

8:43
Ben Clemens: He’s too much cheaper

8:43
Ben Clemens: Otherwise I’d throw him in there too

8:43
Pie: Ben, wow. The spiciness. After all of the drama surrounding his service time!

8:44
Ben Clemens: “Oh we now agree with the grievance!”

8:44
Ben Clemens: PR machine in full force lol

8:44
Wire Fan: Isn’t schwarber more likely to be non-tendered? Or is that not spicy?

8:44
Ben Clemens: Yeah, I think he’s more likely to get non-tendered, but could you IMAGINE if they did it to Bryant?

8:46
staz: How was that a “proper slide”?

8:46
Meg Rowley: (jinxes aren’t real but I think we did a thing to the Rays defense)

8:46
Ben Clemens: From the lens of a guy who played in the 80’s and a guy who played in the early 2000’s but was by most accounts hard-nosed

8:46
Ben Clemens: You’re supposed to drive your foot through the pivot man’s foot

8:46
Ben Clemens: So I’m sure they think it was proper

8:46
Avatar David Laurila: Altuve is now 16 for 37 with five home runs in his last 10 games.

8:46
Ben Clemens: Looked out of bounds to me

8:47
Quarantino Martinez: “Amazing leadership qualities” is how the radio describes Correa

8:47
Astros_fan: so who do you think is in charge of the crowd-noise soundboard?  That would be a fun job.

8:48
Ben Clemens: I think earlier they said it was a sound engineer who normally does concerts?

8:48
Ben Clemens: I will tell you that the A’s had some generic nonsense crowd noise and it really took me out of it

8:48
Ben Clemens: They had the exact same roar for a foul ball out of play and a single

8:48
Derek: Yeah the Rays defense is certainly jinxed

8:49
Ben Clemens: Do you guys think Alex Bregman is just sitting in the dugout stewing at everyone else getting called the leader?

8:50
Meg Rowley: lolol

8:50
Ben Clemens: Earlier they relayed an anecdote about Correa calling Springer the leader, now literally Bert Blyleven is saying it’s Correa

8:50
Ben Clemens: Bregman just chewing the collar of his t-shirt vehemently

8:50
Meg Rowley: Lindbergh and I talked to the M’s soundboard operator earlier this season https://blogs.fangraphs.com/effectively-wild-episode-1573-make-some-no…

8:50
Meg Rowley: it was fun

8:51
Hugh Duffy: To be fair to Springer, it’s a lot longer of a jog in from right field if you have to lecture your pitcher. Better to delegate that to someone in the infield.

8:51
Ben Clemens: Now I really want to see this!

8:51
Ben Clemens: Sprint in from the outfield, “Hey, chin up!”

8:52
Ben Clemens: Turn around, sprint back out

8:52
Meg Rowley: Now we’re just writing innings I would write about?

8:52
Meg Rowley: Because I’m into that

8:53
Ben Clemens: This is a controversial opinion

8:53
Ben Clemens: But uh, how good do we think Blake Snell is these days?

8:53
Ben Clemens: I was thinking about the Rays’ decision to take Snell out

8:53
Ben Clemens: And how I didn’t even question it

8:54
Ben Clemens: I definitely do not think of him in the same uncontested ace tier that I used to

8:55
Meg Rowley: I think we use that term too liberally in general

8:55
Ben Clemens: I got hoodwinked by him winning the Cy Young

8:55
Ben Clemens: But yeah, I agree

8:55
Avatar David Laurila: Ben’s Springer-running-in post reminds me that when former Red Sox manager “Walpole Joe” was managing in Triple-A, one of his outfielders made consecutive great catches and Morgan ran out mid-inning to shake his hand.

8:56
Ben Clemens: hahahaha amazing

8:56
Avatar David Laurila: Walpole Joe Morgan that is.

8:56
Meg Rowley: That’s fantastic

8:57
Craig: It’s clear he has the potential, but does your gut say Correa actually becomes that MVP candidate within the next 3-5 years? Or do you think he stays “just” above average?

8:57
Ben Clemens: Yeah I’m a seller of Correa as an MVP guy

8:57
Ben Clemens: Think he’s a great player, All Star some years, but he needs to take another step forward, in my mind, if he’s going to be an MVP candidate guy

8:58
Ben Clemens: Not to say that can’t happen

8:58
Ben Clemens: I just don’t see any obvious signs of it right now

8:59
Ben Clemens: Guerilla Radio continues to be a baffling musical choice by a billion-dollar corpporation

8:59
Ben Clemens: I like it! But I’m not sure I get it

9:00
Avatar David Laurila: Morgan also claims he once got thrown out of a game, and the next day the first batter hit a routine ground ball and was thrown out at first by a step and a half. Morgan came racing out, right to the same umpire, and said, “Good call; you got that right.” Then he turned around walked calmly back to the dugout.

9:01
Mad Joe-Don: Aw. Now I’m sad about the other Joe Morgan.

9:02
Avatar David Laurila: Second-best second baseman in history.

9:03
Ben Clemens: Alright guys, I’m going to duck out. Had a blast hanging out. Good luck everyone’s favorite teams, etc.

9:03
Meg Rowley: Good luck with poker, Ben!

9:03
Ben Clemens: May your non-tenders be surprising but make sense after some consideration

9:05
Mad Joe-Don: Behind Hornsby?

9:06
Avatar David Laurila: Yes on Hornsby.

9:07
Avatar David Laurila: The Astros do need to get nine more outs.

9:09
melon: What are y’all’s takes on the new three batter minimum pitching rule

9:10
Avatar David Laurila: Not a fan, but it more benign than the other rules changes, some of which I hope aren’t brought back.

9:10
Kiermaier’s Piercing Green Eyes: Ugh, tomorrow’s game is at 8:37. Come on MLB, no other league is dumb enough to schedule so many games that they know end after midnight.

9:10
Meg Rowley: Rehashing the 2012 draft feels unkind to me personally.

9:11
Avatar David Laurila: With a Game 7 looking likely, I believe it was Earl Weaver who said, “Momentum is only as good as tomorrow’s starting pitcher.”

9:14
redkel: Momentum’s pretty good on both sides then.

9:14
Jeremy: Is it definitely Morton-McCullers tomorrow?

9:14
Avatar David Laurila: I’m not aware of an actual announcement, but it seems more than likely.

9:15
DRW: Thanks for sending me/us to the audio about the piped in crowd noise; that was very interesting.

9:15
Meg Rowley: Glad you liked it!

9:16
melon: There’s still time for a 12 run inning

9:16
Avatar David Laurila: This has been proved possible. That said, it takes hitters who are hitting.

9:17
Guest: It was Earl Weaver, who IMHO was unsurpassed as a manager simply because he recognized that the bunt is never a good play.

9:21
Avatar David Laurila: Game 7s are great fun, albeit mostly if you don’t have a hors in the race. There will be a lot edgy and distracted Astros and (especially) Rays fans tomorrow.  This assuming no rally tonight, of course.

9:22
Meg Rowley: (Acuña just grounded out in the other game, if anyone is interested. Dodgers didn’t score in the top of the inning.)

9:22
Banging cans: Arozarena coming up empty there feels like the end of the night for the flappy bois.

9:23
Avatar David Laurila: An Arozarena hit certainly would have made the game more interesting.

9:23
Craig: If you’re Dusty Baker, at what point do you quite trying to save guys for tomorrow and bring in one of your best relievers? 7-4? 7-5?

9:24
Avatar David Laurila: Tying run at the plate, for sure. Maybe tying run on deck.

9:25
Astros_fan: So I’ve heard some comments about the San Diego pitching mound. With Alvarado and Snell’s struggles, Pressley’s hammy sensitivity, Josh Jame’s injury… – think anything’s there?  Seems like it’s pretty heavily regulated.

9:27
Avatar David Laurila: I asked Glasnow about pitching at Petco earlier this week — mound and backdrop — and he didn’t suggest it was different.

9:27
bosoxforlife: I am forced to leave this lively discourse and move over to the NLCS where the NL MVP just hit a double, then moved to 3rd on a passed ball.

9:27
Meg Rowley: What is going on with catchers today?

9:27
redkel: I am dying to see Greinke out of the pen tomorrow in an all-hands-on-deck situation. Made his last relief appearance in 2007. So you’re telling me there’s a chance?

9:28
Avatar David Laurila: I think anything is possible tomorrow.

9:29
Meg Rowley: Braves just put a run on the board on a d’Arnaud sac fly

9:30
Avatar David Laurila: Meanwhile, we’re approaching the three-and-a-half hour mark and we”re in the top of the eighth. And yes, I want you to get off my lawn.

9:30
Lzfreak: I don’t want the Astros to win but I like the idea of a game where the catcher matchup is d’Arnaud vs Garneau

9:34
bosoxforlife: Wrong game but I can’t get over how Freddie Freeman suffered from a severe case of Covid-19 and has returned to have an incredible season and playoffs. Simply amazing.

9:35
Meg Rowley: It’s pretty amazing – I don’t mean that to say if he hadn’t been able to play like this it would have been some failing but, it’s pretty remarkable.

9:35
Avatar David Laurila: If there is indeed a Game 7, the Astros will have played a winner-take-all postseason game in four out of the last six years.

9:36
Craig: How many consecutive postseason appearances before it goes from the playoffs are a crapshoot to ok maybe something is going on with the Dodgers

9:37
Avatar David Laurila: Well, the Dodgers have lost in the postseason in each of the past seven years, and 11 times in the past 17 years. From 1941-1953, they lost in the World Series five times (without winning one) and had three 96-plus-win seasons where they didn’t reach the Series. They have truly had some bad stretches.

9:37
Rick: Re: Craig’s comment: A Dodgers-Twins series would be great right now.

9:39
Erik: As a Twins fan yes it would be. Yes it would be.

9:39
Internet Stranger: How many runs do the Astros need to score here to let Sneed or De Jong finish the game and save everyone else?

9:39
Avatar David Laurila: Might be one base hit away from just that.

9:42
Avatar David Laurila: Pretty good chance that Erik Neander is mapping out a pitching plan for tomorrow just now.

9:42
Hugh Duffy: Just to say something about the other game, A.J. Minter has dealt through two innings (1 hit, 4 SO), which is impressive for a guy who had a 7.06 ERA last year (and a 0.86 ERA this year).

9:43
Mad Joe-Don: If you’re the Astros do you try to arrange for cutouts of the 2004 Yankees in the stands for tomorrow’s game?

9:43
Meg Rowley: If I’m the Astros, I try to avoid antagonistic sass, which likely means they do it.

9:44
Avatar David Laurila: A Dusty Baker fact: He played for the World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers in 1981, and finished his career with 1,981 hits.

9:46
Mad Joe-Don: ‘Antagonistic Sass’ is the name of my ska band.

9:46
melon: I wish I were a cardboard cutout

9:46
Avatar David Laurila: Which is different than “I wish I were an Oscar Mayer wiener.”

9:47
Astros_fan: wow. Did not realize that David

9:47
Avatar David Laurila: I major in useless trivia.

9:48
Roger: Anyone care to guess the Astros’ starting five next year?

9:49
Meg Rowley: I’d imagine (not necessarily in this order) Greinke, McCullers, Framber, Urquidy, and then one of Javier/Garcia?

9:49
Lunar verLander: I love random numerology in baseball

9:50
Meg Rowley: Whitley was banged up this year, so not sure what is going on there.

9:50
Astros_fan: Well that’s one way to get thru the heart of the lineup scorelessly.

9:50
Avatar David Laurila: Scorelessly is a good word.

9:51
Meg Rowley: (first and third with one out for the Braves in the 2nd)

9:51
Avatar David Laurila: Well, well, well.

9:52
bosoxforlife: Markakis gets a hit and run single. I thought i was watching a game from the 20th century.

9:52
Meg Rowley: Oh boy.

9:52
Avatar David Laurila: Those are no longer common.

9:55
Hugh Duffy: And then Pache attempted a squeeze bunt attempt! Before just hitting a breaking ball into the outfield.

9:55
Hugh Duffy: Big 20th century game energy.

9:57
Avatar David Laurila: Not that they aren’t used to it, but it’s by no means an easy job to call a 4-hour game that lacks drama. Tonight’s broadcasters have done a good job of keeping viewers engaged IMO.

9:57
Meg Rowley: Yeah, I’ve enjoyed this TBS booth for the most part.

9:58
Astros_fan: Y’all have also done a great job moderating/conducting this game chat. Thanks Meg, David, and fangraphs, et al.

9:59
Lunar verLander: To be fair, Yandy tried to introduce some drama.

9:59
Meg Rowley: I hope we get a candid explanation of what went on there.

9:59
Avatar David Laurila: Thanks. Chatting for four hours sans drama is also not exactly easy.

10:00
Mad Joe-Don: In profile, May looks like prow of a ship.

10:01
Avatar David Laurila: Somwhere I have a photo of me interviewing May at a Midwest League ballpark. My hair is and was pretty long, but I can’t match his do.

10:03
Roger: Which prospect whom we didn’t see play in a major or minor league game at all this year has the biggest impact next year?

10:03
Avatar David Laurila: Gore? Trevor Larnach might be a darkhorse.

10:05
Meg Rowley: Kelenic might be up there

10:05
Lzfreak: Mark Prior is a pitching coach?

10:05
Meg Rowley: I mean, it’s Franco if he debuts but they don’t have to add him to the 40 man so imagine it takes an injury (or several)

10:06
Avatar David Laurila: Prior was bullpen coach last year. Talked curveballs in my pitch series. I believe Wainwright was in that installment.

10:07
Avatar David Laurila: And… we have reached the four-hour mark in tonight’s baseball contest.

10:08
Astros_fan: Have an uneasy feeling that there will soon be drama in this game.

10:08
Meg Rowley: I think you’ll be ok.

10:09
Avatar David Laurila: Drama would have been good. Instead, we’re on to a Game 7. That will b drama.

10:09
Avatar David Laurila: Thanks evryone.

10:09
Astros_fan: Thank-you all for hosting.  Hope you all have a great evening!

10:10
Meg Rowley: Alright everyone, thanks for hanging out! We hope you enjoyed it. Enjoy the rest of tonight’s action, and have a good weekend/Game 7!





Meg is the managing editor of FanGraphs, the host of FanGraphs Audio, and the co-co-host of Effectively Wild. Her work has previously appeared at Baseball Prospectus, Lookout Landing, and Just A Bit Outside.

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