Photo by Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos via Getty Images
Colorado Rockies news and links for Sunday, October 11, 2020
The League Championship Series begins today with the last two teams standing in the American League going head to head tonight. The National League begins tomorrow. The Rockies will not participate (sorry to those of you just clicking on a baseball website for the first time in 12 months), which means I find myself in the same place I do most Octobers—hoarding every inning of baseball I can get my hands on before the offseason like a squirrel gathering acorns for the winter.
Last week we covered the Purple Row Rooting Guide in a far more, Dinger-esque impressionistic sense than in years past, but we kept the poll in place. Based on those results, a plurality of us are very disappointed. The Padres (26%), Athletics (18%), Marlins (11%), and Yankees (7%? And I thought this was a safe place for me…) have been eliminated. More to the point, three of the four teams remaining got the fewest votes: the Dodgers (6%), Braves (4%), and Astros (4%). The good news for us is that fourth team got the second most votes (24%)! So I guess Purple Row is now a Pro-Tampa Bay Rays Blog, now.
Perhaps a more extended introduction is needed. Sports Illustrated, in their playoffs preview, called the Rays “MLB’s most anonymous team” (read it, it’s wonderful), which is almost surely correct since I literally write for a baseball blog and I could not name more than nine current players. This is significant because I just checked and did you know the Rays had the best record in the American League? They finished seven games ahead of the Yankees and they played in a division with three postseason participants.
It’s not like the Rays saw the door to the ALCS open without anyone guarding it and walked in without having to get ID’d by the bouncer. They had one of the most balanced teams in baseball, finishing eighth in team pitching fWAR, ninth in team offense fWAR, and first in team defense fWAR. They did this while having just one player finish in the top 50 among pitchers (Tyler Glasnow, 46th at 1.2 fWAR) and one in the top 60 among position players (Brandon Lowe, 16th at 2.3 fWAR). That’s the definition of a balanced team, one that was on pace to win 108 games over a 162-game season.
Speaking of Glasnow, he throws one of the nastiest pitches in baseball, has a great sense of humor, and is awfully handsome. Google doesn’t know if he’s married but Lowe is. His wife owns a bakery called Sweet and Lowe. But before you get confused, his name rhymes with “now.” If that’s not confusing enough, his teammate Nate Lowe pronounces it like “go.”
Consider also Mike Brousseau. He played at little known Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan and went undrafted after graduating in 2016. The Rays gave him a contract and sent him to rookie ball. Turns out, the kid could hit, so the team sent him to A-ball the next season. He earned a promotion to High-A due to his .853 OPS and earned an .845 OPS. He raked in the Australian Baseball League that winter (1.225 OPS) and spent 2018 at Double-A. The Rays moved him up the ladder in 2019 to Triple-A and he made his major league debut that summer. Before you know it, he’s taking Aroldis Chapman deep in Game 5 in the ALDS to send the team to the ALCS. (Warning, some language in the linked video)
Kinda hard to beat a story like that.
If you needed more reasons to root for the Rays beyond those two (or the cast of characters considered in the SI piece—seriously, it’s worth your time), consider they are the only remaining team in the playoffs who has not won a World Series; they lost to the Phillies in their only appearance back in 2008.
Oh, and if you needed more reasons, the team currently standing between them and the World Series is Houston. You remember them, don’t you? And on the other side of the bracket are the Dodgers. Should LA make it to the World Series, I know I want the Rays there standing in their way, ready to extend their championship drought another year.
That is the case for the Rays. We won’t be covering them that much here, but follow our good friends at DRays Bay (who I tragically failed to consult for this article).
And Go Rays.
What about you? Are you more or less interested in the playoffs without the Rockies participating?
★ ★ ★
It might be work bookmarking this page from Thomas Harding. Free agency, options, arbitration, he covers it all. It’ll prove useful throughout the offseason.
This post doesn’t quite require a content warning, but it might not be the best to read if you’re already having a bad day. Kevin Henry bravely goes where even the bravest fear to tread.
In case you didn’t see, the Wild Card Round produced some massive ratings. No one game did as well as any of the Wild Card games in previous years, but there were more of them. So do you take the lump sum or the installments spread over several years? Will the networks push the league to expand the format in the next CBA so they can get get get get get get that paper?
★ ★ ★
Please keep in mind our Purple Row Community Guidelines when you’re commenting. Thanks!