December 7, 2013
And here's the full roster.
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Following are the one hundred most recent articles for the category Records .
11/14/2013: Let’s discuss the THT Annualby Dave Studeman
12/06/2013: Cooperstown Confidential: Ed Charles and 42by Bruce Markusen
12/06/2013: The Athletics get busyby Brad Johnson
12/06/2013: Getting to know Ryan Haniganby Chad Dotson
12/04/2013: Cataloging the non-tendered playersby Brad Johnson
12/04/2013: Alone on the pedestalby Jason Linden
12/03/2013: Mascot fight!by Greg Simons
12/03/2013: Why is a sinker “heavy?”by David Kagan
12/03/2013: The role of fall leaguesby Jeff Moore
12/02/2013: Nationals make great deal for Fisterby Matt Filippi
12/02/2013: The Twins go holiday shopping, but to what end?by Brad Johnson
12/02/2013: The end of the benchby Chris Jaffe
11/29/2013: Card Corner: 1973 Topps: Danny Waltonby Bruce Markusen
11/29/2013: The best rookies of the ‘30sby Chad Dotson
11/27/2013: Towards an award prediction systemby Shane Tourtellotte
11/26/2013: MLB’s coffers are overflowingby Greg Simons
11/26/2013: The role of prospects in tradesby Jeff Moore
11/25/2013: Stepping up to the plateby Frank Jackson
11/25/2013: 10 things I didn’t know about player birthdaysby Chris Jaffe
11/22/2013: The end of the road for Chris Carpenterby Chad Dotson
11/21/2013: All the news that’s fit to inventby Azure Texan
11/20/2013: Marcus Stroman, the mythbusting machineby Kyle Boddy
11/20/2013: Welcome to the birthplace of… someone elseby Jason Linden
11/19/2013: 2013 THT awards reviewby Greg Simons
11/18/2013: THT Fantasy has moved to Rotographsby Dave Studeman
11/18/2013: Atlanta gets burned againby Frank Jackson
11/18/2013: The 2014 Hall of Fame VC ballotby Chris Jaffe
11/18/2013: Must See MLB.TV 2013by Dave Studeman
11/15/2013: The best rookies of the ‘40sby Chad Dotson
11/15/2013: Card Corner: Wayne Granger: 1973 Toppsby Bruce Markusen
11/14/2013: 10th anniversary: the A.J. Pierzynski tradeby Chris Jaffe
11/14/2013: The Screwball: The face of championship baseballby Azure Texan
11/14/2013: Player-A-Day: Casey Fienby Brad Johnson
11/13/2013: Player-A-Day: Tim Lincecumby Brad Johnson
11/13/2013: Pitcher performance after batting successby Shane Tourtellotte
11/13/2013: 25th anniversary: Rob Neyer writes a letterby Chris Jaffe
11/13/2013: Houston hoodoo ‘62by Frank Jackson
11/12/2013: It’s The Hardball Times Annual 2014by Dave Studeman
11/12/2013: Player-A-Day: Joe Mauerby Brad Johnson
11/11/2013: Fastball velocity by game stateby Jon Roegele
11/11/2013: The rise of the middle-aged managerby Chris Jaffe
11/08/2013: Player-A-Day: Josmil Pintoby Brad Johnson
11/08/2013: Hall monitor: The case for Andruw Jonesby Chad Dotson
11/07/2013: Big leaguers, bit partsby Azure Texan
11/07/2013: Player-A-Day: Nathan Eovaldiby Brad Johnson
11/06/2013: If he’d only gotten another shotby Jason Linden
11/06/2013: Player-A-Day: David DeJesusby Brad Johnson
11/05/2013: Player-A-Day: David Ortizby Brad Johnson
11/04/2013: Player-A-Day: Jose Dariel Abreuby Brad Johnson
11/04/2013: The Boston (Braves) Marathon of 1928by Frank Jackson
11/04/2013: 10 things I didn’t know about birthdays in 2013by Chris Jaffe
11/01/2013: Taking the close pitch with two strikesby James Gentile
11/01/2013: Card Corner: 1973 Topps: Don Baylorby Bruce Markusen
11/01/2013: The best rookies of the ‘50sby Chad Dotson
10/31/2013: The Screwball: Celebrate good times, come on!by Azure Texan
10/31/2013: Player-A-Day: Leonys Martinby Brad Johnson
10/30/2013: Player-A-Day: Jon Lesterby Brad Johnson
10/30/2013: Forecasting the major 2013 awardsby Shane Tourtellotte
10/30/2013: The effect of seeing pitchesby Jon Roegele
10/29/2013: Putting the knock on pitching changesby Joe Distelheim
10/29/2013: Player-A-Day: Ryan Howardby Brad Johnson
10/29/2013: Losing momentum in the sixth gameby Dave Studeman
10/29/2013: Previewing the fall Stars gameby Jeff Moore
10/28/2013: Player-A-Day: Travis Woodby Brad Johnson
10/28/2013: Marquis Grissom: Mr. October Jr.by Frank Jackson
10/25/2013: The blackballing of Dick Dietzby Bruce Markusen
10/24/2013: Player-A-Day: Xander Bogaertsby Brad Johnson
10/24/2013: The Screwball: Put it in neutral?by Azure Texan
10/24/2013: The all-decade team: the ‘00sby Richard Barbieri
10/24/2013: Player-A-Day: Michael Wachaby Brad Johnson
10/23/2013: Earn money watching baseballby Dave Studeman
10/23/2013: Player-A-Day: Jose Iglesiasby Brad Johnson
10/23/2013: 20th anniversary: The Joe Carter gameby Chris Jaffe
10/23/2013: Giants take a risk with Lincecum’s two-year dealby Matt Filippi
10/23/2013: BOB: Nolan Ryan retires…for nowby Brian Borawski
10/22/2013: Where does David Price fit?by Jeff Moore
10/22/2013: Survey says?!?!?by Greg Simons
10/22/2013: ALCS post-mortem: The Fielder playby Shane Tourtellotte
10/21/2013: The best rivalries of 2013by Chris Jaffe
10/21/2013: World Series workhorsesby Frank Jackson
10/20/2013: WPS recap: ALCS, 10/19/2013by Shane Tourtellotte
10/19/2013: WPS Recap: NLCS, 10/18/2013by Shane Tourtellotte
10/18/2013: WPS recap: ALCS, 10/17/2013by Shane Tourtellotte
10/18/2013: Card Corner: 1973 Topps: Bob Baileyby Bruce Markusen
10/18/2013: The 2013 Atlanta Braves and core WARby James Gentile
10/18/2013: The best rookies of the ‘60sby Chad Dotson
10/17/2013: The Screwball: What about Bob Lemon?by Azure Texan
10/17/2013: WPS Recap: LCS, 10/16/2013by Shane Tourtellotte
10/16/2013: WPS recap: LCS, 10/15/2013by Shane Tourtellotte
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January 20, 2013
The greatest Cardinal is goneFor Cardinals fans of the past 15 years, the greatest player they've ever witnessed wearing the birds-on-a-bat jersey obviously is Albert Pujols. For fans such as me who grew up watching Whitey Herzog's runnin' Redbirds, it was Ozzie Smith. A generation before that, it was Bob Gibson or Lou Brock.
But the greatest St. Louis Cardinal of all time undoubtedly was Stan "The Man" Musial, who passed away Saturday at the age of 92.
Musial was the definition of what it means to be a Cardinal, the epitome of striving for success in that classic Midwestern manner. For the Simons family, our Cardinals fandom goes back at least to the beginning of Musial's career, as it and my father's early life matched up quite nicely.
Dad was born in the spring of 1940, and the next season Musial made his major league debut. At that time, no one knew what to expect from either of them, my dad because he was just learning to walk, Musial because he was fresh-faced, 20-year-old kid with all of 239 plate appearances in Double-A.
By the time my father turned nine years old, "The Man" had earned three Most Valuable Player awards and a trio of batting titles. While Musial would win another four batting championships, he could muster "only" four more second-place finishes among his 18 seasons of receiving MVP votes.
Dad was too young to appreciate the three World Series titles the Cardinals brought home by the time he'd started first grade, but he had another 17 seasons to follow the greatness of Musial. Consistently, relentlessly, Musial portrayed excellence year after year, batting well over .300, walking a bunch, striking out very little, and clobbering plenty of pitches over the walls of Sportsman's Park.
When Musial's career was complete, he had compiled a .331/.417/.559 BA/OBP/SLG line with 3,630 hits (an NL record at the time), 475 homers, 1,951 RBI, 1,949 runs scored and 24 All-Star Game appearances (thanks to a stretch of seasons with two games a year). His strikeout-to-walk numbers were an astounding 696-to-1,599, his OPS was 976 (13th best all-time), and his OPS+ stood at 159 (15th best all-time).
When Musial's career was complete, my dad's childhood had officially ended, as he married my mom in the summer of 1963, Musial's final campaign. I don't think she knew it at the time, but my mom was being indoctrinated into the Simons family Cardinals fan club. Lucky her.
One of the greatest attributes of Musial's career was his balance, his consistently. See those RBI and runs scored totals up above—1,951 and 1,949, respectively? Put those on a scale, and it will hardly sway one way or another. And then there's his home and away hit totals of exactly 1,815 each. Recalling those near-perfect pairings reminded me again of my parents, matched together so well that they'll be celebrating 50 years of marriage this summer.
It might seem odd that a player's passing immediately brings to my mind thoughts of my family, but the Cardinals are ingrained in us, part of the ebb and flow of our everyday lives. A large majority of the conversations my dad and I have touch on the Redbirds at least briefly. I was granted full membership in the club before I was even born, and I'm forever grateful for it.
My family has loved the Cardinals for over seven decades, and Stan Musial was the ideal representation of a Cardinals player all that time. There is no one to take his place, but we all have the memories to cherish.
I called home last night to ask my dad if he ever saw Musial play in person, but he was asleep, so I'll have to check again today. I did speak to my mom, and she told me they did see Musial in spring training a few years ago, and he was ambling around the field, chatting with players and waving to the fans. Another great memory, another delighted fan.
The enduring images of Stan Musial are of him rapping a solid hit, playing his harmonica, thanking the fans. Whatever mental picture you have when Stan "The Man" Musial comes to mind, it's almost certainly a pleasant one.
For "baseball's perfect warrior ... baseball's perfect knight," his enduring legacy will be one of consistently bringing unwavering commitment to the field and joy to the fans, day after day after day. That's true for my parents, many other family members, and millions of Cardinals fans everywhere.
Thanks for the memories, Stan Musial. You are, and always will be, "The Man."
Posted by: Greg Simons
October 04, 2011
Division series preview 10/4/11
With their close wins on Monday, Texas and Detroit have taken control of their respective American League series.
To stave off elimination, Tampa Bay will send Jeremy Hellickson to the hill against formidable lefty Matt Harrison. Harrison's 2.99 ERA this season away from Arlington makes him a worthy adversary for players like Desmond Jennings, whose two homers kept the Rays around in game three.
But Hellickson's sterling numbers are even better this season at Tropicana Field, where he sports a 2.54 ERA in 99.1 innings while holding opposing hitters to a .205 average. Joe Maddon must be comfortable with sending "Hellboy" out to stave off elimination for the Rays.
After former Rays top pick Delmon Young smacked a solo homer in the seventh inning off former Rays closer Rafael Soriano, Detroit took a 2-1 lead over the vaunted Yankees. New York's worst fears are now realized in that they have to start the inconsistent A.J. Burnett facing elimination. However, Tigers Game Four starter Rick Porcello has not been much better at Comerica Park than Burnett has been on the road this season.
Game Four Starters IP Record ERA WHIP K/9 Burnett - Road 76 4-5 6.28 1.63 8.2 Porcello - Home 83 5-5 5.64 1.48 5.1
Based on these stats, it should be a slugfest in the Motor City today, which would be welcome news for the Yankees after its third through sixth hitters in Monday's order went a combined 0-14. But the key is clearly Burnett, with an Everest-sized mountain of pressure on him to succeed and earn his massive contract.
In the National League, Milwaukee has won the first two games at home to take a commanding 2-0 series lead going to Phoenix. Arizona will throw 25-year-old starter Josh Collmenter into the fray for his first career postseason start, but there is certainly room for optimism for D-backs manager Kirk Gibson. Collmenter has thrown 14 shutout innings against the Brewers this season and will look to continue his success on Tuesday.
In the other matchup, St. Louis scored five runs off Cliff Lee in a 5-4 Game Two win that surprisingly leaves the series knotted at one going back to the Gateway City.
The pitching matchup for Tuesday's game three is one of the best you'll see for any third game of a playoff series. For Philadelphia, Cole Hamels is 7-3 with a 2.93 ERA on the road this season, and Cardinals starter Jaime Garcia is 9-4 with a 2.55 ERA at Busch Stadium this season. However, Philadelphia's top duo of Ryan Howard and Chase Utley has a history of tremendous success in St. Louis, which could lead the Phillies to a series win.
Career @ Busch PA Slash Line HR RBI R XBH Ryan Howard 123 .368/.512/.695 9 35 20 13 Chase Utley 91 .351/.440/.506 2 12 16 7
No matter what happens, having all four playoff series going on in the same day will surely make this one memorable October Tuesday.
Posted by: Shlomo Sprung
September 14, 2011
Tigers hitting also contributing to second half surgeIf you've been paying attention to baseball over the last month, you know the Detroit Tigers are currently on an 11-game winning streak and have gradually emerged as the American League's most dangerous team going into the postseason.
A lot of that has to do with the improvement of its pitching staff. Its 4.27 ERA before the All-Star break was ranked 25th in the major leagues. Since the Midsummer Classic, the team ERA has improved to 3.73, good for eighth best in baseball. The acquisition of Doug Fister certainly has a lot to do with that.
However, the improvement of the team's offense in several statistical categories has made that half-run-per-game progression look even more dangerous and imposing.
Detroit Tigers (MLB Rank) Record Slash Line Runs Strikeouts Before All-Star Break 49-43 .264 (5)/.332 (5)/.415 (8) 413 (8) 667 (21) Since All-Star Break 37-19 .294 (1)/.349 (3)/.450 (4) 298 (4) 370 (8)
The better slash line is obviously important for the Tigers, but the team's dramatic decrease in strikeouts has been a huge factor for the offense. If Detroit can continue to cut down on the whiffs in the playoffs against opposing staffs, Jim Leyland's club has a realistic chance to represent the Junior Circuit in the World Series.
Posted by: Shlomo Sprung
September 02, 2011
September playoff hopefuls
Chicago White Sox
Games back: 5.5
Games remaining: 28
Playoff odds: 12 percent
Today the White Sox begin a three-game series against the first-place Detroit Tigers. Talk has centered on A.J. Pierzynski returning from a brief minor league rehab assignment after fracturing his wrist in early August. Pierzynski doesn't have much history when it comes to injuries, but one would have to assume that a loss of power is likely.
Rookie catcher Tyler Flowers has improved enough defensively to catch the eye of manager Ozzie Guillen, but his atrocious strikeout rate has finally caught up with him. Already considered a strikeout machine, Flowers has fanned at a rate of 30.7 percent. Over the past few weeks, his high BABIP has also taken a tumble while his walk rate has been cut in half to 7.3 percent.
Getting Pierzynski’s contact rate back in the lineup should help, especially near the bottom of the order where strikeouts have become frequent.
In his last start, Jake Peavy struggled with his velocity and was knocked around a few days ago by the Twins. Peavy did mention having some health issues after that failed appearance. Philip Humber is set to return, and his presence will be needed if Peavy is set to miss any time.
The White Sox were able to claw their way back into the race after winning five out of six against the Mariners and Twins. The upcoming three-game series on the road against the Tigers will be important to see where this team stands.
Games back: 5.5
Games remaining: 28
Playoff odds: 7.3 percent
The Indians have gotten the worst of it from the injury front. Shin-Soo Choo’s lost season could be over as a strained oblique could cost him most of this month. Jason Kipnis is dealing with injuries to his hamstring and oblique. Michael Brantley is out until next season after wrist surgery. Starting pitchers Josh Tomlin and Carlos Carrasco are dealing with elbow issues, and return dates for Grady Sizemore and Travis Hafner remain iffy.
On the bright side, Jeanmar Gomez had a promising start earlier this week. His location looked good, and he was able to keep the ball on the ground. Usually organizations don’t like to push their young pitching prospects at this point of the season, but they may have no choice.
The Indians have the good fortune of beginning a three-game series against the Royals in Kansas City. So far this season, the team has been successful against KC, winning 10 out of 15. After that, the Indians get their chance to arm-wrestle the Tigers for three games at home. A lot of variance could occur in six games, but the key injuries to this team should prove to be too much for the remainder of this season.
Los Angeles Angels
Games back: 3.5
Games remaining: 25
Playoff odds: 15.9 percent
The Angels are looking legitimate, especially with Ervin Santana enjoying a solid second half. Santana doesn’t have the same velocity he once had in 2008, but his command has been improving towards previous levels. He should be a very solid number three starter behind Jered Weaver and Dan Haren.
The Angels have been light offensively, but with Peter Bourjos threatening to finish strong and Mike Trout showing he is a better option than Vernon Wells, the right alchemy could be in place for an offensive run.
The schedule should be fairly easy for the Angels during the first week and a half as they face the Twins and Mariners at home. On the other hand, the first-place Texas Rangers have the misfortune of having to face the Red Sox and the Rays on the road. This could turn into a very tight race by next weekend.
San Francisco Giants
Games back: 6
Games remaining: 25
Playoff odds: 4.6 percent
Since the Division Series was first played in 1995, only two teams have come back after being down by six games on the first of September. In 2006, the Minnesota Twins were six games back from the AL Central-leading Detroit Tigers. The Twins would go on to win 19 of their remaining 29 games while the Tigers were pushed into a wild card berth by only winning 11 of their final 27 games.
The second time happened in the NL West in 2007 when the Colorado Rockies were down six games from a wild card spot. The Rockies won 21 of their 28 remaining games to force a one-game playoff with the San Diego Padres. As you may have heard, the Rockies won that game, and we have been saddled with the term “Rocktober” ever since.
The Giants don’t have as many games to pull off a miraculous run, but they do get a chance to face the division-leading Arizona Diamondbacks at home beginning tonight for three games.
Even with Carlos Beltran fully healthy and hitting the ball like he did before being dealt at the trade deadline, it’s very hard to see an offense as anemic as the Giants winning the necessary 18 or 19 games needed. A six-game deficit is a lot to make up in only 25 games.
Assuming the D'backs stay true to form and follow up their nine-game winning streak with another multiple-game losing streak and only win 45 percent of their games, it still would prove too tall of an order for a team that has averaged fewer than three-and-a-half runs per game.
St. Louis Cardinals
Games back: 7.5
Games remaining: 25
Playoff odds: 4.3 percent
After sweeping the first-place Milwaukee Brewers yesterday, the deficit became more manageable, but with only 25 games remaining, a lot has to go right for the Cardinals, and a lot has to go wrong for the Brewers.
The Cardinals have the benefit of playing the most home games among all playoff hopefuls this month. It also must be mentioned that no team has ever made the playoffs since the divisions were expanded after being down eight-and-a-half games at the start of September. The current record holder is the Seattle Mariners, who found themselves down six-and-a-half games, only to win 19 of their remaining 28 games to take first place from the Angels—and all 28 of those games were needed.
On the flip side, the Brewers also have 25 games left, but 12 of them are against the Cubs, Astros and Pirates, against whom the team has a win-loss record of 28-9 this season.
Posted by: Vince Caramela
June 17, 2011
Quiz results: Ichiro’s BAThank you, voters, for turning out in strong numbers again. There was significant interest—and more weird symmetry—in Ichiro Suzuki's final 2011 batting average. Here is what your cumulative totals look like:
Click for more...
Posted by: Greg Simons
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