Derek Jeter and Larry Walker were announced as the 2020 inductees to the baseball hall of fame. Jeter came one vote shy of being the second unanimous inductee. It is a bit disappointing seeing him coming up one vote short since Jeter was my favorite player growing up. I had a feeling someone was going to decide that he shouldn’t be unanimous. I am curious what the reason was for not voting for Jeter. The person has not revealed themselves and I believe it will remain that way. If the voter doesn’t address it, I am assuming they don’t have a good reason to back up their decision. Larry Walker finally got in the hall on his final year by a few votes. I’m happy for Walker get in the hall after waiting a long time since he deserved it.
The question continues to remain will Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens get in. They have two years left on the ballot. Clemens had 61% and Bonds 60.7% in this past ballot. In my opinion, those two should be in the hall of fame since they are two of the best players in their era. They are two players you can argue would have been hall of famers without PEDs. Bonds put up one of the most ridiculous stretches from 2000-2004 and I don’t care that it was with the help of PEDs since it is that crazy. Clemens was one of the best pitchers in baseball for most of his career. Next year the only guy who is likely to get in is Curt Schilling. In 2022, Alex Rodriguez and David Ortiz who have a link to PEDs are on the ballot. The voters might feel like they should have Bonds, Clemens and A-Rod inducted in the same year since they are three of the biggest faces of PEDs in baseball. I Predict that 2021- Curt Schilling, 2022- Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Alex Rodriguez, and David Ortiz, 2023/24- Omar Vizquel. With the upcoming eligible players, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see another year without any inductees voted in. A-Rod and David Ortiz are the only players over the next four years that could be first ballot hall of famers. Carlos Beltran is borderline, but the cheating scandal with the Astros will likely push him out of being a hall of famer. Adrian Beltre is a possibility because of his longevity and picking up over 3000 hits in his career. Joe Mauer is another possible inductee who was among the best players in baseball for a stretch of his career. There really aren’t many big new candidates over the next few years.
The New York Yankees have swept the Minnesota Twins to advance to the ALCS. The Yankees dominated the Twins in three games outscoring them 23-7. The team looked great in the three games.
The starters didn’t go very deep in the game but with a great bullpen it isn’t a big problem. It is ideal to get the starters to go at least 5 which happened in only one game. Boone is not afraid to pull a starter before they get through the fifth. One big question mark in the bullpen is Adam Ottavino. He is only facing one batter out of the pen. Ottavino is the not same pitcher he was earlier in the season, but he should face more batters to take some pressure off the rest of the bullpen. Severino looked shaky in his start. He shut down the Twins when they had runners in scoring position. Sevy needs to have better control of his pitches in his next outing.
The Offense worked the count and made pitchers work. Gincarlos Stanton had a solid series. Stanton only got one hit, however he worked four walks with a good eye. Stanton looks like he will breakout in the ALCS. Didi Gregorius had fans calling for him to be benched for game two. Didi went out and hit a big grand slam in game two. Edwin Encarnacion showed his presence immediately on the first pitch roping a double. Encarnacion looks like he will be a key player in this postseason. Encarnacion was a huge pick-up for Brian Cashman during the season. Twenty-two-year-old Gleyber Torres is not fazed by the pressure of the postseason. Aaron Judge, and DJ LeMahieu are playing well like expected. The defense was a big reason the Yankees won game three. The defense was fantastic making several webgems that saved runs. Those plays stopped any momentum from forming along with silencing the crowd.
The question is do the Yankees want to face the Astros or the Rays. I expect the Yankees to face Houston. I feel more confident about the Yankees chances against the Rays since they played well against them in the regular season. The Astros starting pitching is scary to face, but it doesn’t seem like they are unbeatable. Justin Verlander and Zack Greinke look beatable based off their performance in the ALDS. Gerrit Cole is the guy to be worried about. Houston will have home field advantage, which was the difference back in their last postseason matchup in 2017. The Astros going to game four and five will be a huge advantage for the Yankees since it would prevent Gerrit Cole from pitching three games in the series. Whoever they play, they need to keep the plate discipline from the ALDS and keep being Savages in the box.
The New York Yankees finished the regular season with 103 wins and the AL East title. They thrived through adversity dealing with a ton of injuries throughout the year with the next man up coming through. Thirty players have spent time on the injured list during the season. The Yankees are facing the Minnesota Twins in the ALDS. This century the Yankees have dominated the Twins in the playoffs.
The starters for the Yankees are James Paxton, Masahiro Tanaka, and Luis Severino. I like the order of the three. Paxton has pitched like an ace since the trade deadline. Tanaka is better at home and is great in big games. Sevy is the number three starter right now and has some experience in the postseason. My guess is the starter of game four depends on the course of the series. It would either be an opener or J.A Happ. Happ will most likely pitch a few innings during game four anyway. Game five would be Paxton but will have a shorter leash willing to go to the bullpen early. The Yankees bullpen is one of the best in baseball. They are fine with going to the bullpen early if the starters don’t look good. Even though the bullpen is loaded I feel they shouldn’t go to it too early if they don’t have to. It would work out the best for them if they don’t send out all their weapons, Chapman, Britton, Ottovino, Kahnle, and Green every game. Kahnle is the pitcher in that group I would be most worried about since he hasn’t pitched as well recently. One of the biggest reasons the Yankees end up World Series Champs would be because of the bullpen. The Yankees are going into the postseason with a mostly healthy lineup. The only big player on the IL is Aaron Hicks. Edwin Encarnacion, Gincarlos Stanton and Gary Sanchez are coming off recent injuries. The biggest question for fans is will Stanton perform in the postseason. Stanton was awful last year against the Red Sox. He will have a chance to breakout after getting a taste of the playoffs last season. Some interesting players to look out for include DJ Lemahieu, Brett Gardner, Luke Voit, and Didi Gregorius. DJ Lemahieu is the MVP of the Yankees so far. Lemahieu was remarkable with runners in scoring position, which in the playoffs can make or break winning a championship. Gardner was on the last World Series champion Yankee squad. His experience can be crucial to bring home a championship. Luke Voit has struggled going into the playoffs. It is interesting if he will bounce back or end up being a bench player due to his struggles. Didi Gregorius hasn’t been the same player this season coming off Tommy John surgery. Didi has proven to come through in the postseason and is a guy you want at the plate in a big spot based off his experience. This series will end up having a lot of home runs since both teams hit over 300 home runs in the regular season. The teams had high-scoring affairs when they played in Minnesota earlier this year. I predict the Yankees will take the series in four.
After the controversial no-call pass interference in the NFC championship game cost the Saints a spot in the Super Bowl fans were calling for penalties to be reviewable. On Tuesday, the owners approved a change to allow flags and missed penalties to be reviewed. Coaches will have the same amount of challenges with two and a third if both are correct. This will prevent a bad call from ending a team’s chance at a championship. An issue with the NFL is bad penalties and no-calls. Fans complain over bad calls especially during big games. This will hopefully help with the penalty issue in the NFL. One issue is that this will show there is a ton of bad calls by officials. It is possible it could expose the officiating of the NFL as sub-par. This will lead to the outcry for more reviews on penalties, which leads to more downtime for replays. As of right now, we don’t know about the process with reviewing the penalties. Is it going to be for clear penalties or are they going to be on calls that could go either way? Fans will be angry if they are going to call a penalty for a play that isn’t clear after the replay. It is very likely that it will be like the “what is a catch” issue with replay review. During its first season we will see questionable calls on penalties after replay because refs are not hundred percent sure on how to approach the review process. It will take a while to get the reviews of flags to reach the expectations of fans. Are teams going to be like managers in baseball, where they challenge small things like thinking the players foot was less than an inch off the bag when they were tagged. Is a coach going to say there is pass interference on a play with some contact? One issue with this change is at the end of close games there will be reviews for any play with a questionable flag or no-call. If there is a failed fourth down conversion or turnover the play will be reviewed in the hopes of a penalty being called after the review. It would be annoying seeing that at the end of every close game especially when there is not anything that can be called a penalty. This will increase the length of games. They should have an official in the booth to help with reviewing penalty like how they do in college football. This will allow for reviews to take less time. During the last two minutes, it would make it quicker and easier to determine what plays should be reviewed. It would make the review process in general better.
In the end, the sole purpose of this rule change is to make sure you don’t have a missed penalty that cost a team a chance to win a championship. I like this decision because it can lead to better officiating from the refs. It also will prevent a bad call resulting in a disappointing end to a great game. I hope they figure out the right way to do it to make fans happy. Unfortunately, this will take time for the league to figure out and will lead to more complaints from fans initially.