I love the MLB playoffs. They’re awesome, but they don’t lend themselves to a lot of marco-analysis. We’re mostly breaking down individual plays and games. That’s great, just different. I would suggest my skills are more catered to analyzing trends and seasons and stuff rather than individual events, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like doing it. Here, I’d like to be a little more casual, mostly because the playoffs are fun and you don’t want to think too much when you have to stay up until 1am.
Below I present 10 answers to questions you will ask tonight.
1. Wait, Bartolo Colon is paid to be a professional athlete?
Yes. But now I’m thinking about looking up video of him covering first base.
2. Why did someone let TBS cover the playoffs?
So, ESPN wouldn’t agree to move Monday Night Football to ESPN2 during the playoffs and Fox didn’t want to lose their entire Fall lineup. There isn’t really anyone else who could outbid TBS, so here we are. Things will get better when FS1 gets some games next year, even if that’s barely a step up. Just grit your teeth and deal with it. We’re all in this together.
3. What’s a good place to get companion coverage?
Twitter is great, but I’ve been enjoying having the FanGraphs live chats up as well.
4. How do you prepare to stay awake late into the night on a Friday?
Sheer will? I don’t know, I’m already exhausted from working and watching baseball this week and the game doesn’t start for 5 hours. The adrenaline will kick in if the game is close, but if the Tigers get a big lead my wife will be asleep, literally, immediately.
5. Is the Tigers bullpen a serious concern in the playoffs?
It’s not good to be without Rondon, but Porcello is going to be a huge advantage down there and Fister could/should throw an inning tonight. I’m not really that worried so long as Leyland uses them semi-correctly. I would prefer the Tigers have a stronger lefty behind Smyly than Alvarez, but for some reason they have soured on Downs.
6. Will the Tigers defensive and baserunning issues cause problems in October?
I don’t really think so. The Tigers, for my money, aren’t bad at these things through mistakes, they’re bad through lack of ability. What I mean is that they don’t boot the ball and have a lot of TOOBLANs, but rather just don’t get to balls and don’t take extra bases. I think miscues are amplified in October, but otherwise I think defensive deficiencies have similar effects in the regular season and playoffs.
7. Which Tiger do you think has the big series?
Omar Infante. Seems right.
8. How do you get the most out of Cabrera with his injury issues?
We’ll have to see how he’s doing after the five day break, but it’s just something you live with. At some point you move him to DH and try Martinez at third, but we aren’t there yet. That said, I want to see Martinez taking grounders at third. Can’t be caught off guard.
9. Are the late season hitting woes a concern?
Not one bit. Meaningless. I’m serious, means nothing.
10. Who is the key to tonight’s game?
Well the stupid answers are Cabrera and Scherzer, but Avila/Martinez/Fielder are really important because Colon has a pretty serious platoon split. Lefties do much better, so you want to see those guys deliver.
Enjoy the game, and feel free to Tweet at us tonight during the game (@NeilWeinberg44). I’ve got access to some cool statistical tools, so I’ll likely be posting some fun numbers during the game.