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16.05.2019 03:18
The Boston Red Sox won their fourth World Series Antworten

Los Angeles Dodgers 5-1 on Sunday night to take the Fall Classic in five games.The baseball world's focus now turns to 2019 and a wild hot-stove season highlighted by free agents Manny Machado and Bryce Harper.There should be a lot of offseason overhauling as 29 teams look to take down the Red Sox Willie Mays Jersey , but what are the chances we'll see the same World Series matchup again next season? We'll take a quick look below and make some early predictions.Boston Red SoxDon't expect too many changes in Boston, as much of the team is under contract through 2019. The biggest free-agent names are out of the postseason bullpen, as closer Craig Kimbrel and right-handed flamethrowers Joe Kelly and Nathan Eovaldi can walk. First baseman Steve Pearce and second baseman Ian Kinsler may also be on the move.While it's possible a few players parlay their postseason appearances into big paydays that the Red Sox aren't willing to match, Boston's core is still intact.Ace Chris Sale will be back, and left-hander David Price can opt in for 2019 for $31 million if he so chooses. Rick Porcello should take the mound once again for Boston, so the team's top three starters should be back.The batting lineup cifically an excellent outfield what makes this team tick, however, and most of those players will be back. Boston will have a young 26-and-under core leading into 2019 led by likely American League MVP Mookie Betts, shortstop Xander Bogaerts, third baseman Rafael Devers and left fielder Andrew Benintendi.The team will also welcome back defensive wizard (and clutch slugger) Jackie Bradley Jr. and designated hitter J.D. Martinez, who led the team in home runs (43) and runs batted in (130).As long as Boston figures out a good plan for its bullpen with three key free agents potentially leaving, the Red Sox should enjoy another fantastic season.Their chief competition is the New York Yankees and Houston Astros.The Red Sox and Yankees have easier 2019 schedules simply because they get to play the Baltimore Orioles 19 times each. The O's won just 45 games last year and are in the midst of a significant rebuild. The Toronto Blue Jays are tearing things down as well, so the two AL East powerhouses should have an advantage so long as the pesky Tampa Bay Rays don't spoil the party (which isn't out of the realm of possibility).But the Yankees' problem is that it doesn't have as strong of a starting pitching staff as Boston's, as evidenced in the American League Division Series. Chris Sale gets the edge over Luis Severino in the battle of the aces, and the Yankees' best pitcher down the stretch (J.A. Happ) is a free agent who could head elsewhere.Of course, plenty will happen between now and next October, but right now, the Sox look like favorites to win the American League, with the 103-win Astros not far behind. The guess here is an American League Championship Series grudge match next year, with the Red Sox winning a much closer battle.Way-too-early prediction: a return trip to World SeriesLos Angeles DodgersThe Los Angeles Dodgers have significant question marks heading into the offseason, which makes it difficult to back them as 2019 National League pennant winners right now.The biggest one is the status of left-hander Clayton Kershaw , who can opt out of his contract and become a free agent. If he does so and leaves town, then the L.A. starting rotation loses its anchor. Kershaw has gone 148-64 in his last 10 seasons with a 2.29 ERA and 9.8 strikeouts per nine innings. Although his playoff struggles are well-documented, he's still been the best pitcher in the game over the last 10 years hands down. Losing him would be a tremendous loss.Kershaw could certainly return, and the team should welcome back a few solid starters including young right-hander Walker Buehler, veteran left-hander Rich Hill and 2017 All-Starsouthpaw Alex Wood. However, left-hander Hyu-Jin Ryu is a free agent and could head elsewhere.The Dodgers are known for their league-best lineup depth and should retain that into next year, but Machado may be a half-season rental if he chooses to go elsewhere in free agency. He smacked 37 home runs and drove in 107 runners as a member of the Baltimore Orioles and Dodgers. He was L.A.'s best slugger and can play shortstop and third base.L.A.'s other problem is that a few NL teams could be on the rise. The Atlanta Braves are well ahead of their rebuilding schedule and surprisingly won the NL East. They lost to L.A. in four NLDS games but could make another run toward the World Series with a fantastic lineup, led by future superstar Ronald Acuna and first baseman Freddie Freeman.Keep an eye out for the Philadelphia Phillies, who were strong for most of the season before wilting. However, they were the fourth-youngest team in baseball and have a bona fide ace in right-hander Aaron Nola. The Phils should also be active in free agency this season, per Matt Breen of, and Machado or Harper have been mentioned as possibilities.Couple that with stout teams looking to continue playoff runs (e.g. the Chicago Cubs, Milwaukee Brewers and Colorado Rockies) and senior-circuit sides who could have resurgent years (e.g. the St. Louis Cardinals and New York Mets), and the NL could be a fight to the finish. The competition may be too strong for L.A.Way-too-earlyprediction: a playoff trip, but no World Series The Twins somehow managed to exceed and disappoint, the Red Sox dominated, and analytics started to rub me the wrong way"Noted baseball manager and All-Star Game tumbler Tommy Lasorda once said: “The saddest day of the year is the day the baseball season ends”. While personally I might amend that statement to “the day after the Super Bowl” (at least I have football to get me through to early February), I can in part share Lasorda’s sentiment.Unfortunately, this was “one of those years” for the home ball-club where by the end of September, the final game seemed merciful rather than sad. I hate when seasons end like that. I want to be devastated at the end (unless popping bottles), as that is how I know I wanted the ride to continue.With the calendar now firmly into November and all its autumnal goodness Barry Bonds Jersey , I’d like to take a moment and give my thoughts on the 2018 Twins, the postseason, and how analytics are kind of going “the other way” for me at the moment:The Twins somehow managed to both extremely disappoint and somewhat surprise me (sardonically) over the recent 162. On one hand, a team that made the Wild Card Playoff game in 2017 (albeit in a weak American League) was never anything more than ultra-fringe contenders for a berth in ‘18. The last two months of the season were a total wash. Miguel Sano, Byron Buxton, and Ervin Santana were basically non-contributors (whether on the field or off of it). Jorge Polanco’s suspension reduced him to a second-half player only. Eddie Rosario looked pretty “Super” indeed...until he got hurt and all the air left that balloon, and Max Kepler looked to be primed for a career season after April and then just “was around” for the rest of the way. The only two pitchers that could be counted on for consistent quality performances were Jose Berrios & Kyle Gibson, as the rest of the staff (thought to be bolstered by new additions Lance Lynn & Jake Odorizzi) severely underachieved and the bullpen fell into ruin due to the combo of ineffectiveness and overuse (dole out the blame how you will on this issue).Considering all the failures listed in the above paragraph, one can imagine the season looking like the “total system failure” that was 2016. This was not exactly the case. Instead of the wheels falling off in, you know, the FIRST WEEK OF THE SEASON, we hung with Cleveland for a couple of months, began a deep slide in mid-July, and then finished the last few weeks on kind of a winning tear (albeit against the dregs of the AL Central). All of this added up to the odd-shaped 77-85 record, meaning we were technically only six games worse than 2017.I think the bottom line of the 2018 season for the Twins might have been this: Now-former manager Paul Molitor managed every game, to a certain extent, as if it were Game 7 of the World Series. While seeming like an admirable trait, that strategy works a heck of a lot better when talented players are on the field and have a chance to contribute at least something each and every night. Without that talent spread, however, you end up burning through your few legitimately talented players (via injury/fatigue) in pursuit of a few extra meaningless wins.I’m not suggesting a full-on tank job would have been a better result for the ‘18, but I would have rather seen moves made for the long-term instead of Molly grinding it out each and every day/night.Moving on to the MLB postseason Madison Bumgarner Jersey , I have to congratulate the Boston Red Sox on another round of playoff dominance. (I know, I know, the above clip is from 2004, but Joe Buck’s “Red Sox fans have longed to hear it” is one of my favorite calls ever.Still gives me goosebumps.) When they make the postseason, they don’t mess around, taking home the big trophy in ‘04, ‘07, ‘13, and now ‘18. Since 1969, only 12 teams with that year’s best record went on to win the World Series, which amounts to about one in every four teams over that span. To be honest, I thought the number would be even less. This is now the third time a BoSox team has accomplished the feat, and this playoff bracket was easily the most difficult for them. They first knocked off the 100-win rival Yankees, losing just one game. Then, they smothered the 103-win defending champion Astros, again only dropping a single tilt. Finally, they beat down the 92-win supposed “Super Dodgers” (now with Manny Machado!) in five as well. Before the playoffs started, I told my brother “when Boston has had home field throughout the playoffs, Fenway has reigned supreme” and that’s exactly what happened.I know that to many, the Red Sox are “the new Yankees” in terms of their ability to retain talent long-term and build super-teams, but likely because of that magical ‘04 season it’s still tough for me to really root hard against them. I came into the World Series nominally pulling for the Dodgers so my LA-dwelling brother could have something to celebrate Juan Marichal Jersey , but with the Blue Men seemingly out-maneuvering themselves and Machado acting the fool, I couldn’t help but be won over but Boston again when all was said and done.To wrap things up, the topic of analytics in baseball is one that has been on my mind a lot the last few weeks. I was introduced to the concept by “Moneyball” (like most others) and became fascinated with the new ways in which people were thinking about my all-time favorite sport. I’m terrible at math, so the underpinnings of the new-age stats go completely over my head, but shaking up the old adages or that “medieval approach” Jonah Hill discusses was enough to re-invigorate my love of baseball statistics.Moneyball is now a teenager in terms of how long it has been adapted into the game of baseball. Some teams dove in right away, others had to dip a toe in for quite some time, but now all teams rely on analytics departments to a certain extent. What’s becoming a little worrisome to me is that we are getting so good at “crunching the numbers” that all games/teams/outcomes will start looking the same. If every GM and manager is basing their organizational and in-game philosophy strictly on something like, say, win probability, at what point do we just simulate the games? I know I’m taking things way too far with that last statement, but it’s something I’ve thought a lot about recently. Baseball has, for example, basically expelled the stolen base because the numbers tell us it is a high-risk, low-reward play. The same basic argument can be had with hitting for contact vs. launch angle or velocity. Is baseball a better overall sport with no stolen bases and a bunch of walks, strikeouts, and home runs? There are a lot of ways to answer that question. I just wonder if perhaps it is time for the pendulum to swing back a little bit in terms of analytics.One of my favorite baseball quotes of all-time goes as such: “People ask me what I do in the winter when there’s no baseball. I’ll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring.” (Rogers Hornsby).Fortunately, I believe us die-hard Twins fans will have something to stare out the window at this offseason, what with a new manager (Rocco “Best Named Manager of All-Time” Baldelli) and coaching-staff-to-be at the helm and seemingly flush with cash to invest back into the on-field product. It will surely be interesting to see how it all plays out!



M.C. Klein

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