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SnakePit Round Table: Dodger Free World Series

We can kick back and enjoy it now.

Astros and Braves in the World Series. Thoughts?

James: It’s a scenario I can easily live with. THe Red Sox got bounced and, most importantly, so did the FTDs. I was low-key rooting for the Rays in the AL, but mostly, with the teams that made the playoffs, the Sox (both Red and White) getting bounced is all that matters. In the NL, my only strong preference was anyone but LA.

Makakilo: First thought: The Braves made some great additions in the offseason and during the season:

Star: Eddie Rosario: season: 131 OPS+ & 2 DRS in LF, 2021 playoffs: +20.1% cWPA

Solid additions:

  • Joc Pederson: season: 96 OPS+ & -2 DRS in CF, 2021 playoffs: +2.4% cWPA
  • Adam Duvall: season: 104 OPS+ & +15 DRS in LF/RF, 2021 playoffs: -0.2 cWPA
  • Drew Smyly: season: 23 starts with 99 ERA+, 2021 playoffs: +1.9% cWPA
  • Charlie Mortenson: season: 33 starts with 132 ERA+, 2021 playoffs: +0.2 cWPA

Second thought: Former Diamondback Zack Greinke pitches for the Astros. Although his season’s 103 ERA+ and his 2021 playoffs -3.1 cWPA are merely solid, it would be exciting to see him pitch an outstanding game in the World Series. He can do it!

Steven: Best case scenario for me outside of the Giants in the World Series. The Braves are a real likable team, especially considering they lost Acuna early on in the season. I’m indifferent on the Astros, but once the Rays got ousted it was theirs to win. Like the Dodgers, the Astros have real talent across the board.

Dano: Meh. Given what the other alternatives were at this stage, it’s fine, I guess. At least the Yankees didn’t make it in, and neither did the Dodgers. I continue to view Houston as the broadly unrepentant cheaters they are, and so seeing them in another World Series disgusts me, but I kind of hate the Red Sox too, especially the Alex Cora-led Red Sox. With the AL contenders, it was gonna be cheaters all the way down.

ISH95: I’m happy the Dodgers got bounced, obviously. Wish we had better options instead of Boston and Houston, but out of those two would have preferred Boston. Not as terribly upset about the Astros as some might be, though.

Jack: I’m looking forward to a good world series. I hope it goes 7. A couple of real old school managers and some great story lines.

What went wrong for the 107-game winning Giants?

James: Nothing? I mean, no, they didn’t advance to the World Series, but they took the Dodgers to five games and even then, took it to the final innings. The San Francisco offense simply got beat by the Los Angeles pitching, despite Roberts’ wacky pitching decisions. The playoffs are a crapshoot. The Giants and Dodgers were the two best teams in all of baseball, by a fairly wide margin, during the regular season. The Dodgers simply managed to run a bit deeper than the Giants for the NLDS. Sadly, I think this may have been San Francisco’s one real shot.

Makakilo: In the playoffs, the Giants scored 2 runs or less in each game after the first game, while the Dodgers scored an average of 4 runs per game. The Giants lost because their offense slumped in the playoffs.

As a point of reference, during the 2021 season, the Giants scored an average of 4.1 runs per game against the Dodgers.

Steven: The Dodgers just had more top end talent, especially on the pitching side. Buehler, Urias, and Scherzer combined for 5 earned runs across almost 28 innings. The Giants just couldn’t solve those guys.

Dano: Nothing, really….I’m with James on this one. Lotsa people lose at craps.

ISH95: Hard to say anything went wrong. They went head to head with a team that was only technically not equal to them in the win column, and got within a couple innings of advancing. Add to that preseason expectations of a 70-75 win team, I’d say it was successful all the way around.

Jack: With all the shortages, it was just a matter of time until Pixie Dust ran out too. Just kidding. As Mak said, the offense dried up, or the Dodger pitching was just too good that series.

And for the 106-game winning Dodgers?

James: Dave Roberts overthinking the way to use his pitchers. Also, until the Turner injury, some of his player choices in the outfield raise some eyebrows as well. Dave Roberts’ decision-making is something I would highly question, but I suspect the injuries that chipped away at their roster and left them “short-handed”, both on the mound and in the field, will be used as an excuse to paper over any managerial short-comings.

Makakilo: In the playoffs, the Dodgers were evenly matched with the Braves (4.0 vs 3.9 runs scored per game, and 3.25 vs 3.3 runs allowed per game). In their series, three games were decided by one-run. The Braves won 2 of those 3 games; that was the winning difference.

Steven: Happy they lost, it’s pretty embarrassing a team with that talent and payroll lost to the Braves. But it’s a long season, and just one bad stretch by a pitching staff at the wrong time can be the death of any World Series chance.

Dano: Gosh, I guess they didn’t spend quite enough money on their roster? Heh. Seriously, though, Dave Roberts deserves much of the blame, I suspect, because even with the injuries they suffered (who didn’t?), how does a team that stacked wind up “short-handed” that close to the finish line? Roberts had plenty of talent to draw on, but he clearly misallocated and misused his resources. Also, I suspect, arrogance plays a part.

ISH95: In a sense, same thing as the Giants. They were one of the best teams in baseball, made it nearly to the World Series.

On the other, I think it’s generally the consensus that this chapter is over for the Dodgers, and you have to wonder how it’s going to be viewed historically. They spent, what, almost two billion dollars over the past six years? And all they have to show for it is beating up on one of the worst divisions in baseball, and only winning a World Series the year they only had to play half of a season. If I were the Dodgers upper management, I’d be taking a long hard look at the team from top to bottom this off-season.

Jack: How could anything be “wrong” with the Dodgers losing ? Scherzer Dead arm, Buehler having to go on 3 days rest, losing Kershaw earlier. It all backed up on them.

How much attention will you be paying the World Series?

James: At the very least, it will be on in the background. If the game is engaging or if I happen to be having a slow night, I might give a game my undivided attention. If I stay as busy as I expect to, I’ll be vaguely aware of the score and not much more while I perform other tasks.

Makakilo: It’s satisfying to watch two great teams play baseball. Although I may be busy some days, I will make time to pay attention to the series.

Steven: Indifferent, mostly due to fatigue. The season is too long, the games are too long, and I can’t keep my excitement even though playoff baseball is a different experience. The game would be better if they tried to replicate this experience in the regular season.

Dano: None whatsoever, I’m happy to say, aside from having a glance at the line scores the morning after a game, should I remember to do so. I don’t care one whit about either of the teams that made it.

ISH95: I’m actually following the post season a lot more than I usually do when the Diamondbacks aren’t involved. I’ll be following it fairly closely and watching as much as my schedule allows.

Jack: I’ll be watching as much as I can of every game. I suggest everyone else does too. This could very well be the last MLB baseball you get to watch for quite some time.

Predict the result and MVP.

James: The rosters do not need to be finalized until Tuesday. The Houston Astros are still waiting things out to see if Lance McCullers will be in shape enough to pitch in the World Series. If McCullers is able to answer the bell, I think the Astros have the edge. If McCullers is unable to go, I think Atlanta might have a slight edge, though Houston will have home field advantage, which might just balance things back out. Gun to my head, I think the Astros find a way to eke out a series win, though if Atlanta pulls off the win, I wouldn’t consider it a noteworthy upset. As for MVP, if the Astros win, then I guess I might go with Correa as MVP, just in time to boost his free agent stock.

Makakilo: The odds are 50/50 per, with the Astros having a very slight edge in their Elo rating (1571 vs 1565). In the playoffs, albeit against teams that don’t compare to the Dodgers, the Astros scored more runs per game (6.0 vs 3.9) than the Braves. So, Elo rating and runs per game are two measures that point toward the Astros.

Nevertheless, I will cheer for the underdog Braves, especially when the underdog beat the Dodgers! Eddie Rosario is my choice for MVP!

Steven: I have the Braves in 6 with Freddie Freeman as MVP. He has pretty stark splits vs RHP, and the Astros are loaded in the starting rotation with RHP.

Dano: Do I have to? This isn’t a prediction so much as what I hope for, which is that the Braves beat Houston, because Houston is still a vile team of cheating cheaters. Let’s say they win in six, because why not? That feels right. And I’d love to see Eddie Rosario continue his badass postseason dominance, so let’s say Rosario for MVP.

ISH95: Braves in Seven. And I’m going to go with Dansby Swanson, just for giggles.

Jack: Like any other series between two good teams, there is no predicting a World Series result. But I think despite McCullers being out the Astros still have the edge. The extra day of rest will recharge their bullpen arms. Even with two days off I think the Dodgers series took a lot out of Atlanta’s bullpen. Furthermore I think the Atlanta pen being so left hand heavy, an advantage vs. LAD, will hurt them against the Astros, especially if Luke Jackson can’t stop giving up so many Extra Base hits. On top of that, Lefty Max Fried didn’t look right to me last time out. So look for one of Houston’s right hand bats, Altuve, Correa, Bregman, or Gurriel to get hot. I’ll go with Bregman. He’s been relatively quiet and is probably due for a hot streak.

In your opinion, what should be considered a crime against food?

James: Having been a chef for more than two decades, I have plenty of strong opinions about food. I think one that often gets overlooked though is failing to season food. Even the best dishes almost invariably need at least a tiny pinch of salt. The chemical reaction of the salt on the tongue is what wakes taste buds up with little electrical impulses, giving food its vibrant flavour. If you are going to go through the trouble of cooking something, take the time to at least make sure you can taste it. More easily identified, those savoury gelatin molds with other foods suspended in them that for some reason seem to keep coming back from the dead around the holidays. Just stop, please.

Makakilo: Salting food before tasting it should be a crime against food.

Dano: There are so very, very many things that should be considered as such. That said, introducing liquid cheese into or onto any dish is the absolute worst.

ISH95: James got my biggest one. After that, I’d say intentionally overcooking food.

Jack: Adults eating pasta with just butter melted on it.