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MLB Today: Red October Rolls On

October 17, 2023 | by RotoRob | Comments Comments Off on MLB Today: Red October Rolls On
Bryce Harper is having another stellar playoff run for the Philadelphia Phillies.
Once again, Bryce Harper is lightning rod for Red October. (Sports Illustrated)

Bryce Harper hit a b-day dinger; the Rangers keep rolling; and Trevor May, on his way out of the game, had some choice words for the A’s owner. Let’s see what else is going on in the world of baseball…

Phils Keep Rolling

Once again, Red October is a thing. The Phillies wasted little time in dispatching Miami, and then took out arguably the best team in baseball (Atlanta) with minimal resistance.

And now Philadelphia — thanks to an incessant onslaught of homers — has even managed to finally hand upstart Arizona its first loss of these playoffs.

The Phillies still have some work to do before claiming their first World Series title in 15 years, but right now they look virtually unstoppable. From Harper’s dramatic swats (see video below) to Nick Castellanos being red hot and Kyle Schwarber finally jumping into the fray, this team is firing on all cylinders.

The domination has been especially noticeable in Philly against fellow NL teams — that’s 10 straight home playoff wins vs. National League opponents.

Snakes Have Work to Do

It’s become very clear, very quickly that Arizona has a tough road ahead if it hopes to win the NLCS. The Snakes are the underdog (+1.5) in Game Two Tuesday as per odds at FanDuel.

Worse yet, Arizona ace Zac Gallen has gotten progressively worse in each of his three postseason starts, and was downright bad in Monday night’s series opener. He was so good to begin the season, but struggled in June and (especially) July, and also had a tough finish. Gallen may have shattered career highs in wins, innings pitched and strikeouts this season, but his bottom line numbers paled compared to 2022.

The D-Backs are going to need him to channel his early season form if they have any hope of making a series out of this.

Clearly, Arizona doesn’t have the boppers to match Philly, but shortstop Geraldo Perdomo accounted for two of the team’s three runs in Game One with a homer, marking back-to-back games he’s gone yard. He stepped up his power game a bit this season (a career-best six jacks in 139 games, after hitting just five in 148 in 2022), but no one saw this coming from him on the big stage.

Perdomo proved he can hit MLB pitching this season, but is likely on borrowed time with top prospect Jordan Lawlar breathing down his back next season.

Andrew McCutchen Bounces Back

Andrew McCutchen actually enjoyed a pretty solid bounce back in his return to the Pirates this year. He didn’t see as much action, and injuries — as usual — slowed him, but considering how much PT he had, his counting cat numbers were good, and he hit well.

Interesting, McCutchen’s career is more and more aligning with former two-time All-Star outfielder Brian Giles. Giles had a very fine career as an on-base machine, but a domestic abuse issue caught on video ended things for him.

As for McCutchen, he’s a free agent this winter, but it’s clear he can still provide value in a sheltered role in which he’s not expected to take 500 at-bats. At the very least, let’s hope he hangs in there for at least one more long ball… it’ll be No. 300 of his fine career.

RotoRob Tune of the Day

American rock legends Grand Funk Railroad got their start in 1969, and despite three separate breaks, remain active today. They hit their peak in the ’70s thanks to classics like “We’re an American Band,” the title track from their seventh album, released in 1973.

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MLB Today: Farewell, Miguel Cabrera

October 3, 2023 | by RotoRob | Comments Comments Off on MLB Today: Farewell, Miguel Cabrera
In his final season, Cabrera saw less action, but hit a little better (675 OPS), and at the very least proved less bad than he’d been in 2022.
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MLB Today: Kevin Kiermaier Bounces Back

May 24, 2023 | by RotoRob | Comments Comments Off on MLB Today: Kevin Kiermaier Bounces Back
Armed with a clearer idea of Kiermaier’s potential career trajectory, we examined him closer, and would you look at that: suddenly he is performing at a career-best level, OPS wise, and is worth considering in AL-only leagues. Before taking an 0-fer on Monday, he had hit safely in seven straight games, and has hit extremely well in May (969 OPS) with speed (four steals).
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MLB Today: Time for Marcell Ozuna to Go?

April 19, 2023 | by RotoRob | Comments Comments Off on MLB Today: Time for Marcell Ozuna to Go?
Ozuna, meanwhile is a two-time All-Star, two-time Silver Slugger and a Gold Glove winner, but right now last season’s (sort of) bounce back is looking like a mirage. Given that just two years ago he tried to strangle his wife and then had a DUI arrest last summer, there’s plenty of baggage here that a World Series team does not need.
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MLB Today: Kutter Crawford Racking Up Ks

August 7, 2022 | by RotoRob | Comments Comments Off on MLB Today: Kutter Crawford Racking Up Ks
The rookie was roughed up in his second start of the season, and had a poor outing on Sunday, but otherwise has given up just three earned runs or fewer in all six of his other starts, including four with one earned run or fewer. In fact, since the start of July, Crawford’s ERA was an eye-opening 2.38 before Sunday.
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