The D-backs are in the post-season for the first time since 2017. Discuss.
ISH95: Thrilled. It’s been a long time coming, and there were some dark moments for a bit, but they rebuild is going well so far. Now it’s time to see if it continues!
Spencer: Yay! I’m likely to miss the entire postseason for us unless the team gets unbelievably hot, but I’ll be rooting and hoping to find the game at a bar to catch at least a small amount.
DBacksEurope: Excellent! Just like many I didn’t think they would be able to reach the playoffs this year. As a matter of fact I had them below .500 in my preseason expectations. They have surpassed that, so it is a terrific feat for this team and I am sure Mike Hazen and the rest of the office and staff are filled with pride. I don’t think we’ll make it any further than the NLDS, but you have to start somewhere.
Makakilo: yay!! I was thrilled in a celebration of my optimism! Part of my celebration was attending a couple games. The Diamondbacks played/competed so well in the clinching game - they were so very close to winning but it turned out that they did not need to win!
The moment they clinched, Torey Lovullo stepped out of the dugout with arms raised and a joyous smile. That felt great!
Dano: Very pleasantly surprised. Yesterday’s game was kind of a bummer to attend, given that it wound up being a pitchers’ duel that we lost pretty abjectly, but St. Louis coming through and stomping the Reds out of the postseason, and noticing it with some of the folks in our part of the ballpark before they put it up on the Jumbotron was fun. Real October baseball in 2023? That’s nifty.
Justin: It is awesome! And two years after a 110 loss season! I am pretty sure I was back from my “hiatus” in 2017, but I know I missed the 2011 playoffs on this site. So this is definitely nice to go into as a “writer” this time around.
James: This is the sort of excitement MLB was hoping for when they ridiculously expanded the playoffs to their current point. That said, as much as I don’t care for the expanded playoffs, I will absolutely be cheering on my Diamondbacks and hoping that they can, at the very least, give a good accounting of themselves by spoiling Milwaukee’s playoffs, either by beating them or by burning out their pitching staff.
How do they match up against the Brewers?
ISH95: I’ll have my thoughts on this with the preview lol
Justin: What’s a preview? :P
Spencer: A streaky offense against the best, well-seasoned playoff rotation? I’m not optimistic. Not getting shut out might need to be the bar.
DBacksEurope: I give them 50-50. I said last week I am not too impressed by the Brewers. They have the better pitching staff but we have a better hitting squad. The only problem is our hitting squad is too streaky and too reliant on just a few guys, so it’ll be a tough matchup. I give them a better shot at reaching the next round against the Brewers than against the Phillies.
Dano: As I think I mentioned in a recent round table, I was undecided as to whether I’d prefer we face Milwaukee or Philly. I think I’m pleased. They’re worse at throwing out base stealers than Philadelphia, I think, which is good for us. Also, we took four of six off them during our two series this year, and for all their vaunted rotation etc etc etc, we scored a lot of runs. Also, Milwaukee kind of makes a practice in recent years of getting into the playoffs pretty regularly, and then getting bounced pretty early. They never feel like contenders, and they never really act like contenders. I think we’re good, at least in that this opponent gives us the best chance to move on to the division round.
James: I would have preferred them to face Philadelphia. Philadelphia has a mighty offense, but their pitching is pretty average for a playoff team and their defense is atrocious. That would have helped the Diamondbacks a great deal. But, since they are facing the Brewers, I figure the odds are against them, about 30/70. Milwaukee has some solid pitching and the Diamondbacks will not be able to send Gallen or Kelly out to start the series.
Makakilo: Although the top 3 starters for the Brewers(Woodruff 189 ERA+, Miley 137 ERA+, and Burnes 127 ERA+) are formidable, this season when D-backs’ Gallen or Kelly started against the Brewers, the D-backs were 3 wins to 1 loss. Therefore, I like our chances in those two games.
And in the first game Pfaadt has very good chances of success because, although he sometimes allows home runs, Brewers’ best home run hitters are much worse than the best Dbacks’ home run hitters.
Left handed batters( likely to face righty Pfaadt):
- Brewer Yelich 19 homers this season
- Brewer Tellez 13 homers this season
- Compared to
- Dback Carroll 25 homers
- Dback Marte 25 homers
This comparison holds for Right handed batters, too.
- Brewer Adames 24 homers
- Brewer Contreras 17 homers
- Compared to
- Dback Walker 33 homers
- Dback Gurriel Jr 24 homers
Brandon Pfaadt starts Game 1. How do you feel?
ISH95: Well, he wouldn’t be my first choice, but he’s been doing better lately. I feel better with the risk with Gallen and Kelly directly behind him. Two scoreless outings in his last five make feel better too. Let’s just not talk about the other three.
Spencer: Good. Not because I think he’ll dominate his way to an early victory, but because he needs to be an important part of the next playoff rotation and getting the butterflies and nerves out in 2023 is perfect!
DBacksEurope: Pretty much a guaranteed loss. It’ll come down to Gallen and Kelly, like normal.
Dano: I would prefer Gallen or Kelly, but Pfaadt will have to do. It’ll depend on which Brandon Pfaadt shows up, really, and if he has the mental strength to rise to the occasion when the really bright lights are on. In any event, I think he’s better than any of the other available alternatives. If he’s pitching well, he can be tough to beat.
Justin: Like I said in a GDT the other night to someone, as a Coyotes fan just glad to be here. As the recapper for Game 1, I am apprehensive.
James: With the roof open, things could get ugly quick. That said, if the Brewers take the same tactic as some other team have and try to ambush Pfaadt’s fastball up, he might actually find some success, especially if he is locating his other stuff. It’s going to come down to which Pfaadt shows up that night. If he has his sharp arsenal working, I actually think it could be a very good game.
Makakilo: In three of his last five games, Pfaadt did not allow any homers. In two of those three games he pitched into the sixth inning and the Dbacks won. My feeling is that the Dbacks have a 50-50 chance to win his start. If Dbacks win, they become the favorites because Gallen and Kelly pitch next.
How can the D-backs prevail?
ISH95: Remember how to hit. The starting pitching should be good, the bullpen has been good, Sunday’s bullpen game excluded. It’s just the offense that’s the problem. They’ve shown they can hit, but if they put up a performance like they did against the Astros, their Cancun vacation won’t be too terribly delayed.
Spencer: Score runs. Milwaukee’s offense isn’t exactly terrifying. I believe Pfaadt, Gallen and Kelly have the potential to keep them in line. And the bullpen is better than it has been for years. But tit-for-tat, I don’t know if I trust our bats to be better than theirs, especially against the likes of Burnes Woodruff and Miley/Peralta.
DBacksEurope: Well, I have repeated it over and over for months: this team fully relies on Gallen and Kelly. But you see that even against way better teams it isn’t enough. Gallen and Kelly were excellent against the Astros but our offence is too numb. Hopefully we get a couple of lucky shots by some other guys than Carroll and we are able to bring some excellent work of our two aces to a fine finish in the form of two wins. D-Backs win the Wild Card 2-1, baby!
Dano: Yup, score runs. The offense needs to show up. As I noted above, they didn’t have any trouble doing that in Milwaukee earlier in the year, so I’m reasonably hopeful that this can and will happen.
Justin: Score runs and remember how to hit. No “Randy-ball” type games.
James: They need a good outing from Pfaadt, one that does not tax the bullpen. The bullpen, once it comes into use, needs to be efficient. On the offensive side of things, they need to push, push, push. The Brewers are not the Phillies. They will make some good defensive plays.But the Diamondbacks are going to succeed if they can take the extra bases on weak hits, make the first-to-third run, steal bases, requiring a good throw, dancing around on the bases to disrupt the pitcher, etc. Use the new rules and the team speed to disrupt the pitching at every turn.
Makakilo: When the Dbacks execute their hitting and pitching and baserunning to their full capabilities, they will win games and they will win the series!
Predict the winners of the other three WC series.
Spencer: I don’t have enough internet to know the AL matchups… so I’ll say Philly beats Miami, Tampa and Houston win as well.
DBacksEurope: Sorry, Spencer, Houston won the AL West. You probably wish to say Toronto. Phillies beat Marlins, Tampa beats Rangers, although I hope it is the other way around, and Toronto beats the Twins.
Dano: Yeah, I’ll give it to Philly over Miami. Tampa over Texas. And yeah, Toronto over Minnesota, though that may be wishful thinking on my part….the Twins have won a lot of ball games and series over the last month and change, many of them against at least relatively tough teams.
Justin: DBE, he is in the middle of the ocean on a cruise that he has had scheduled for a year and a half, that is why he said he doesn’t have enough internet! I’ll second Dan’s predictions: Philly, TB and Toronto.
James: Tampa has been cruising and is well rested. I’ll take them over the Rangers. The Toronto-Minnesota series could either be really exciting, or an absolute slaughter. I’ll take the Blue Jays either way. In the NL, I have the Phillies over the MArlins. Again, the Phillies have had time to set themselves up and they are rested. I also think that they will hit well enough to negate Miami’s pitching. Miami has some offense, but they don’t have Philadelphia’s pop.
Rays over Rangers. I read the opinion of a maverick who predicts the Rays will go all the way and win the World Series. More realistic is they just win the wild card series. In the wild card series, the Rays have home field advantage (which adds a lot because the Rays have best home field wins/losses 53-28 in the Majors).
Marlins over the Phillies. The Marlins could be the surprising winner because they have some surprising statistics for a team in the playoffs:
- Less runs scored than allowed(668 vs 720)
- They won an improbable number of 1-run games (33 wins vs 13 losses)
Jays over Twins. I liked what I read about the Jays’ coaching.
What’s the WORST movie that you ever watched and why?
ISH95: Hmmmmm. Babylon was pretty bad. I left not understanding what the whole point was, and that frustrated me a lot. I can live with the whole “everything is ambiguous” that modern media seems to love these days, but at least guide me towards an emotion.
Spencer: I don’t know. Last time this came up I suggested VelociPastor. That’s still epically bad. But it’s designed that way. Rise of Skywalker (or Rise of Reddit as my friends and I call it since JJ Abram’s just went Reddit and meshed all the fan theories together to collect his paycheck) is noteworthy for its budget, series reputation and overall lack of quality movie making. Ditto that for the Flash (2023). Special shout out to Asteroid City too, but I’m not sure if that was bad or I’m just not a fan of movies that feel like they think they are better than you because the story is “abstract.”
ISH95: God I had suppressed the Flash. That was bad. Still sticking with mine because of the expectations I had going in, but The Flash is very much a dishonorable mention.
DBacksEurope: If a movie is bad, I stop watching it. There is quite a large list of them. I will mention the movie or movies that were the biggest disappointment: the Godfather movies. They are terribly dull and the only reason to watch them is the presence of Robert de Niro who is in just one of them. Highly overrated. Speaking of Robert de Niro, whom I love, the Irishman is probably the last “big” movie I stopped watching. Couldn’t stand those artificial faces, I was only able to watch that, keeping me from following the story itself. Think I watched…30-45 minutes?
Dano: Like DBE, I don’t watch bad movies in their entirety. I suppose I used to occasionally, if I was trapped in the actual movie theater due to a feeling of social obligation. If I’m watching at home, I just say “nope” and turn it off and find something else to do. I suppose the only one I can think of in anything like recent memory was Zardoz, which my ex-wife and I watched, increasingly bemusedly, for some reason or other. I suspect this was my answer last time as well, because I’m pretty sure this question has come up before.
Justin: I have never liked going TO the movie theaters, and haven’t since way before COVID was a thing. I will third the “I will stop watching a movie if I think it was bad.” There was actually a 3 part documentary series (I know, not a movie, but still) on whatever streaming service that made it seem like Jessie James and Billy the Kid were buddies, which is….false. I couldn’t finish the second episode and never bothered starting the third.
I think this question has come up before too and that was my answer.
James: This is a difficult question for me. Like Jim, I tend to go out of my way to watch a number of very bad films. But they are films that are either intentionally bad, or just so bad they are good. Then there are a few that I saw in Director’s Screenings that were pretty bad - then. The two worst by far were Sexy Beast and The Quick and the Dead. The release versions of those films were much better though. Recency bias has me thinking Star Wars: The Last Jedi, not for Star Wars purposes, but because any film that can have 40 minutes excised from it with no one being the wiser is a bloated mess. Also, the tone was all over the place. When I think back, too many are borderline bad on purpose, but I think the one that takes the cake, because of how damn seriously the director took the movie and went after anyone who criticized it at all would be the gawdawful Fantastic Four (2015), written and directed by Josh Trank.
Makakilo: Wanting to avoid the worst movies, I read movie reviews before watching a movie. Recently I said no to a couple of invitations to see movies in a theater because reviews convinced me that they were movies that I would abhor.
Jim: I feel I should chip in on this one. I guess there are several tiers of bad, to some extent depending on budget. For instance, I hated National Treasure with a passion, but it was technically competent. Is that “worse” than a movie like The Creeping Terror, which is bad across the boards, but does provide considerably more entertainment value? Then there are the ones I consider massively over-rated, such as Pulp Fiction. There are certainly very few I’ve stopped watching. I enjoy writing an evisceration, and if it might help save someone else from a similar fate. But I’ll confess I’ve made several attempts to watch Speed Racer, and never lasted more than five minutes. So that’s probably a good pick.