Tag Archives: Raul Ibanez

With Gabe Kapler out, what’s next for the Phillies?

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Kapler was let go after two seasons as the Philadelphia Phillies manager

 

Under tremendous fire from their fan base after a disappointing 2019 season, the Philadelphia Phillies had to make some type of change at the management level. Today, that change was announced.

The Phillies have fired manager Gabe Kapler after two seasons as the skipper and with one year remaining on his contract. The club went 80-82 in 2018 and then finished at 81-81 in the recently completed campaign under his guidance.

Telling in the decision is that it reportedly did not come from club management in the front office, but instead was made by ownership.

Per Bob Nightengale and Chris Bumbaca of USA Today: “The decision was made by Phillies owner John Middleton, and not general manager Matt Klentak, a high-ranking Phillies executive told USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity.

Middleton then released a statement himself, as reported by ESPN:

Several years ago, I promised our loyal fans that I would do everything in my power to bring a world championship team to our city. I will never waver from that commitment. … I have decided that some changes are necessary to achieve our ultimate objective. Consequently, we will replace our manager.

Just last week, I wrote that the Phillies should bring Kapler back. I felt that, while he indeed made mistakes, the injury situation was bad enough that he should be given the final year of his contract in 2020 to see if he could push the club forward.

However, Middleton reportedly took the time to not only consider the situation in his own head, but also sought out the opinions of a number of his team’s key players. It can now be assumed that those players did not aggressively back their manager.

So, the owner made the decision that most of the problems with the 2019 Philadelphia Phillies were in the clubhouse and the dugout, and not in the front office. That much became clear when Middleton also let it be known that Klentak would “lead the search” for the new manager.

Be sure of this, while Klentak sorting through the candidates during the search and lining them up for interviews may indeed be the case, no manager will be hired at this point without input and likely final approval from Middleton.

I believe you can also be sure of another thing as well – the new manager will have some real experience in that role, unlike Kapler when he was hired.

That would leave out candidates such as former Phillies outfielder Raul Ibanez and the recently retired Carlos Beltran, two hot names being bandied about to fill one of the open MLB managerial positions this off-season.

While I believe he would make a perfect candidate, I do not believe that Joe Maddon will be the man. A big-league skipper for parts of 16 seasons, Maddon has an overall 1,252-1,068 record.

He has taken his teams to the postseason eight times, and won a World Series with the 2016 Chicago Cubs. Maddon was also the Tampa Bay Rays manager when they captured the American League pennant in 2008 before dropping the Fall Classic to the Phillies.

However, Maddon is widely seen as the front-runner for the open managerial position with the Los Angeles Angels. He has history there, spending more than three decades from 1975-2005 as a player, coach, scout, minor league manager, and big-league coach.

Maddon also served previously as the Angels interim manager in both 1996 and 1999. It is hard to believe that he wouldn’t take that job, hoping to help make Mike Trout and company into legitimate contenders.

So, let’s get right to it. Who do I see as the leading contenders to become the new Philadelphia Phillies manager beginning with the 2020 season? I have three leading candidates.

Buck Showalter

Now 63 years of age, Showalter has been the manager with four different organizations: New York Yankees (1992-95), Arizona Diamondbacks (1998-2000), Texas Rangers (2003-06), and Baltimore Orioles (2010-18).

Showalter has an overall record of 1,551-1,517 and won a division title with three of the four clubs. However, his teams had winning seasons in just 10 of the 19 full years that he was at the helm, and only reached the postseason five times.

It may be in his favor that he was hired for the Orioles managerial job during the time that current Phillies club president Andy MacPhail was serving in that position with Baltimore and while Klentak was their Director of Baseball Operations.

Joe Girardi

Turning 55 years of age this coming weekend, Girardi was the man in the dugout as the New York Yankees skipper when the Bronx Bombers took out the Phillies in the 2009 World Series. He put together an overall 910-710 mark in the Big Apple over 10 seasons from 2008-17.

Girardi’s teams reached the postseason six times, and reached the American League Championship Series four times. Just two falls ago, his Yanks held a 3-2 lead in the ALCS vs Houston before the Astros rallied to win the final two games.

He also won three World Series rings as a member of the Yankees late-1990’s dynasty. Girardi was the NL Manager of the Year with the Florida Marlins in 2006 after keeping a low-budget team in Wildcard contention for much of the summer. But he was fired following that one season after clashing with owner Jeffrey Loria.

Mike Scioscia

A local product who was born in Upper Darby and attended Springfield High School and Penn State University, Scioscia will turn 61 years of age in late November.

He was the manager with the Angels for 19 seasons from 2000-2018, leading that franchise to their only World Series championship in 2002. During his tenure the Angels won six AL West Division titles, including over five of six seasons between 2004-09.

Scioscia had an overall 1,650-1, 428 record at the Angels helm and seven of his teams reached the postseason. However, despite having the game’s best player in Trout for most of that time, the Angels made the playoffs just once over his final nine years.

He had a 13-year playing career with the Los Angeles Dodgers and was the starting catcher on their 1981 World Series championship team. Scioscia was an NL All-Star in both 1989 and 1990.

Other possibilities who fit the bill of an experienced big-league manager who might be open to consideration for the position would include John Farrell, Dusty Baker, John Gibbons, Clint Hurdle, Brad Ausmus.

Whomever gets the job of trying to guide the Philadelphia Phillies back to the postseason from inside the locker room and dugout, both Klentak and MacPhail should now consider themselves as being squarely on the hot seat.

The Phillies have not only failed to reach the postseason during the four full seasons of the MacPhail-Klentak front office regime, but the minor league system is widely regarded as among the weakest in the game.

That comes after four years of their leading the draft and international signing process. If the Phillies cannot become winners on the field, and should that minor league organization not begin to display legitimate depth of talent, heads in the front office should be the next to roll.

Can the 2018 Eagles do what the 2009 Phillies could not?

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Despite Utley’s heroics the Phillies fell just short in repeat world title attempt

Tonight is the 2018 NFL season opener between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Atlanta Falcons. That would be the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles, by the way. Those words still look and sound so glorious, do they not?

The Birds and their fans will celebrate their title one final time with the raising of the first-ever Super Bowl banner at Lincoln Financial Field this evening. But after that, the game will begin. The football calendar will officially turn to a new season.
In that new 2018 season the Eagles will be defending an NFL championship for the fourth time in franchise history. It marks just the second time in the last 35 years that a Philadelphia major pro sports team will attempt to repeat as a champion.
Philly fans remember well the last time it happened Just nine years ago the Philadelphia Phillies played the 2009 season as defending champions of Major League Baseball.
The long playoff run and Fall Classic triumph had been punctuated by a Halloween parade around City Hall and down Broad Street to Citizens Bank Park.
The Eagles experienced pretty much the same thing. A long playoff run, early February Super Bowl, parade this time up Broad Street from the stadium area and out the Ben Franklin Parkway to the Art Museum.
There was a shorter than normal off-season as the Phillies did the banquet and awards circuit that winter and then returned to Clearwater for spring training in February 2009. The Eagles had a month shorter off-season as well. While the Birds and their coaching staff were prepping for the Patriots, the rest of the NFL was already getting a jump on 2018 preparations.
As far as personnel were concerned, the 2009 Phillies returned largely the same cast of lead characters who had won the crown. The only change among starting position players came with Raul Ibanez replacing Pat Burrell as the left fielder.
On the mound, the biggest change at the start was that young lefty J.A. Happ stepped into the starting rotation in place of the Kyle Kendrick and Adam Eaton combination from the previous year.
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Lee arrived at the July 2009 trade deadline to provide a needed shot in the arm.
Those Phillies had to make a big injury adjustment when Brett Myers hit the DL for three months in late May. You probably won’t recall that they gave Antonio Bastardo five June starts, or that they signed Rodrigo Lopez and plugged him in for five July starts. But you will recall that they traded for Cliff Lee and signed Pedro Martinez in July, bolstering the rotation for August and beyond.
There was a World Series hangover at the beginning of the season. Six weeks in, the Phillies went through a stretch in which they lost six of eight games. On Friday, May 15, the 2009 Phillies woke up with a 16-16 record. And then it all changed.
Following that mid-May rough stretch, the Phillies went on a five-game winning streak. It began a stretch that saw the club capture 19 of their next 26, moving them to a season-best twelve games over the .500 mark and to a four-game lead in the NL East.
And then the bottom seemed to again drop out. A loss on Friday, June 12 began a horrendous stretch in which the club dropped 11 of 13 games. Despite falling to just three games over .500 they remained atop the division, but barely. With just a half-game lead, they once again turned things around.
From June 27 to the MLB All-Star Game break the Phillies went 11-4, hitting the break with their lead back up to four games. They didn’t let up when play resumed, winning their first five. It kicked off a 10-2 run that pushed their record overall to 58-40 and stretched their division lead out to seven games.

Though the team would drop eight of the next 11 contests, Lee had arrived to inject some life – not to mention a stopper to the rotation. He got the win in two of the three victories during that rough stretch.
The rest of the way, those 2009 Phillies were never seriously challenged within the division. Charlie Manuel‘s squad clinched a third straight NL East crown with a 10-3 romp over the Houston Astros at Citizens Bank Park on September 30 and then coasted through the final four games.
In the NLDS the Phillies faced a real challenge from the Colorado Rockies but fought them off in four tough games. Then for a second straight season, the club overcame the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLCS in five games.
For the first time in history the Phillies returned to the World Series for a second consecutive year. That is exactly what the Eagles will be trying to accomplish. It’s a tough road. There were ups and downs along the way. But the Phillies had the best team in the NL, and they proved it over the course of the long season and two tough playoff series.
The 2018 Philadelphia Eagles look very similar. The Birds are again one of the strongest teams in football, but there will be challenges along the way. They will take some hard shots. They might even go into a losing stretch of games.
But given health from most of the key players, there is no reason that in the end their talent cannot take them back for a shot at a repeat. The Phillies had that shot and came up just short.
In that 2009 World Series the Phillies ran into a talented and experienced New York Yankees squad. They even handed the Yanks a 6-1 thrashing in the opener at Yankee Stadium.
But New York got a gutsy performance from A.J. Burnett in Game Two to even the series, then out-slugged the Phillies to take two of three at Citizens Bank Park. Up by three games to two, the Yankees put the series away with a convincing 7-3 victory in Game Six back in the Bronx.
Thinking back on it, that World Series defeat was disheartening. The Phillies were no longer the world champions. But they were still a strong ball club. They would get a couple more serious shots at another ring. Though they came up short, it was a magnificent run.
This is what looms ahead for these Philadelphia Eagles. They are the champions, but there are other talented teams out there. The Eagles look right now to be the best team in the NFC East. Get into the playoffs, have Carson Wentz and most of the supporting cast healthy, and anything can happen.
The 2009 Philadelphia Phillies showed that repeating as a champion is not an easy task, even for a supremely talented team. But just because those Phillies came up short doesn’t mean this Eagles team will. It’s about fighting through a long season and earning a shot in the playoffs.
That’s all these Birds and the fans should be looking at right now. The game in front of them. The season ahead of them. Get that playoff spot and take a shot in January at the repeat. Fly Eagles, fly!

Phillies Fall Classics XIV: 2009 World Series Game Five

The Philadelphia Phillies were the defending world champions, facing the 26-time World Series winning New York Yankees.

The Philadelphia Phillies, defending World Series champions, had captured the opener of the 2009 Fall Classic against the 26-time champion New York Yankees.
However, the Yanks stormed back, winning three straight to take a commanding lead of 3-1 as the series reached a fifth game at Citizens Bank Park in South Philly.
The Yankees were hoping to add a 27th title, and would be just as happy to get it over with right here in the City of Brotherly Love as to let the Phillies think they could get back into the series.
The Fightin’ Phils were fighting now to keep their season, and their dreams of a repeat, from dying in front of their home fans as Game Five of the 2009 World Series got underway.
Yanks’ skipper Joe Girardi would give the starting assignment to 32-year old righty A.J. Burnett, who the club had signed as a free agent the previous off-season.
Burnett had shut the Phillies down in Game Two to even things up, and Girardi sent him out to the mound to try to duplicate that effort and nail down a championship.
Charlie Manuel turned back to 31-year old lefty Cliff Lee, obtained in a big trade with Cleveland just three months earlier. Lee had masterfully handled the Yankees juggernaut in winning Game One.
The Yankees wasted little time in trying to send Lee the message that they wanted the crown, and that he wasn’t going to get in their way.
In the top of the 1st inning, Johnny Damon lined a one-out single to center field. Then with two outs, Alex Rodriguez ripped a double to right field, scoring Damon with the game’s first run.
Unfortunately for the Yanks, it became apparent very quickly that this wasn’t going to be the same kind of dominating performance from Burnett as they had received back in Game Two.

Burnett yielded a leadoff single to Jimmy Rollins, then promptly hit Shane Victorino with the very next pitch.
With two on and nobody out, Chase Utley stepped into the box. Burnett started him with a slider that simply didn’t slide very much, and what did slid right over the heart of the plate.
Utley crushed the pitch deep into the right-center field stands for a three-run home run, his fourth of the series to that point, and the Phillies and Lee had themselves a 3-1 lead.
Lee would shut the Yankees down without a hit over the next three innings. Meanwhile, the Phillies kept coming against Burnett.
In the bottom of the 3rd inning, Utley led off with a walk and stole 2nd base. Ryan Howard then also worked a walk.
With two on and nobody out, the Phils then proceeded to knock Burnett out of the game. Jayson Werth and Raul Ibanez produced back-to-back RBI singles, and the Phillies had a 5-1 lead.
Jun 29, 2016; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Philadelphia Phillies catcher Ruiz against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. “Chooch” was the Phillies primary catcher for a decade, from 2006-15. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Girardi had seen enough, and lifted Burnett in favor of David Robertson, who retired the first two batters that he faced.
But the second of those outs was a productive RBI grounder by Carlos Ruiz that had scored Werth to up the Phillies lead to a 6-1 margin.
In the top of the 5th, the Yankees parlayed a walk, a base hit, and an RBI ground out against Lee to make it a 6-2 ball game.
Lee would retire eight of nine New York hitters into the 8th inning, while his offense would again produce runs to extend the lead.
With Utley and Howard due to start the bottom of the 7th, Girardi brought in lefty Phil Coke, who had previous success in the series against the pair.
Not this time, as the red-hot Utley went deep on a full count offering from Coke, tying Reggie Jackson for the most home runs in a World Series with his fifth long ball. More importantly, the Phillies now had a 7-2 lead.

Coke retired Howard, and though the right-handed Werth was due up, he was left in with the lefty Ibanez on deck.
Werth was retired on an easy fly ball to center field for the 2nd out, bringing Ibanez to the plate. For the second time in the inning, a left-handed bat tagged Coke, with Ibanez drilling a solo shot to up the lead to 8-2.
The Yankees finally knocked Lee out of the game in the top of the 8th, scoring three times on a two-run double by ARod that scored Damon and Mark Teixeira, and a sac fly from Robinson Cano to score Rodriguez.
With an 8-5 lead, Manuel turned to Ryan Madson to close it out in the top of the 9th inning. However, the Yankees wouldn’t go quietly.
Jorge Posada led off with a double to center field and Hideki Matsui followed with a pinch-hit ground single, Posada rolling over the 3rd base. The Yankees would be bringing the tying run to the plate with nobody out.
August 13, 2016; Bronx, NY, USA; Jeter is introduced as the New York Yankees honor the 1996 World Series team at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Munson-Pool Photo via USA TODAY Sports
Who else would New York want up in this situation than their Captain, number two in your program, future Hall of Fame shortstop Derek Jeter?
Jeter got himself into a 2-1 hitter’s count against Madson, then knocked in a run. But it was not in the way that the Yankees for their fans had hoped.
Madson got Jeter to bounce into a 6-4-3 double play. Though Posada had scored on the play, the Phillies happily traded the run for the two outs.
With two outs and nobody on base, the Phillies lead was down to 8-6 as Damon stepped in against Madson.
Damon kept the game alive, grounding a single to center field. He would advance to 2nd base on defensive indifference with Teixeira at the plate as the tying run.
Oct 2, 2016; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees first baseman Teixeira (25) waves to the crowd during a retirement ceremony before a game against the Baltimore Orioles at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports
The 29-year old first baseman was the 3-hole hitter for the Yankees, and would finish as the runner-up in that year’s AL MVP voting.
Teixeira would also win a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger for his first season in pinstripes after signing as a free agent the previous off-season.
“Tex” had 39 home runs, 85 extra-base hits, and 122 RBI during the regular season and had added to those totals with two more postseason home runs.
Add all of his accomplishments as one of the game’s most dangerous hitters to the fact that he was facing the right-handed Madson as a lefty, and this matchup seemed to favor the visitors.
But Madson was himself a 29-year old veteran in his seventh season, and he was known as a fierce competitor.
Madson worked himself in front with a 1-2 count, and then got Teixeira to chase a low slider for strike three swinging as TV announcer Joe Buck exclaimed “Back to the Bronx!”
If New York wanted to dethrone the champs, well, it wasn’t going to happen on the Phillies home field.
History shows that the Yankees would indeed take Game Six to win the World Series. But for one more night at Citizens Bank Park, the Fightin’ Phils had fought to victory.
This remains the most recent winning game in a World Series for the Phillies franchise, and thus the final entry in my 14-part “Phillies Fall Classics” series. I hope you have enjoyed reading and reliving as much as I have in writing them.

Byrd Remains Phils Elder Statesman

Numerous rumors surround the Phillies oldest player
At various times in recent weeks, trade rumors involving the Chicago Cubs, Baltimore Orioles and other teams have swirled, but for now, Marlon Byrd remains the Philadelphia Phillies elder statesman on a roster still full of them.
Even with the trade of Jimmy Rollins to the Los Angeles Dodgers (still not finalized as of this morning, by the way) the Phils remain one of only two N.L. East teams with any players born in the 1970’s, and they have 5 of them.
The Mets have two such players,
  Bartolo Colon and recent free agent signee Michael Cuddyer. The Nationals, Braves, and Marlins have no players born in the 70’s.
Among the most likely National League contenders, the number of players born in the 70’s comes out in single-digits. John Lackey and Randy Choate with the Cardinals and A.J. Burnett with the Pirates are in the Central. 
Out in the West, adding JRoll would give the Dodgers 3 such players along with Juan Uribe and Joel Peralta. The defending champion Giants have 4 such players: Tim Hudson, Marco Scutaro, Javier Lopez, and Jeremy Affeldt.
As you can see, the vast majority of those aging players on the other N.L. rosters are pitchers. The Phillies quintet is made up of starting pitcher Cliff Lee (36) and 4 everyday position players: 2B Chase Utley (36), 1B Ryan Howard (35), C Carlos Ruiz (36), and Byrd (37).
In what truly is a new era in Major League Baseball, with drug testing limiting players to a more normal pace in the aging process, it has become more and more of a young man’s game. The Phillies are trying to get younger, but they still have much work to do.
The three oldest players in MLB in the 2015 season are expected to be free agent 1B/DH Jason Giambi who turns 45 in January, Mets pitcher Colon who turns 42 in May,  and free agent outfielder Ichiro Suzuki who turned 41 in October.
Three members of the over-40 club in the 2014 season have either retired or are expected to retire: Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, Rockies reliever LaTroy Hawkins, and Angels outfielder Raul Ibanez.
The oldest living former Major Leaguer, baseball’s current all-time elder statesman, is ex-Boston Braves, Brooklyn Dodgers, and Pittsburgh Pirates utility man Mike Sandlock, who turned 99 years old back in mid-October.

World Series 2014: These Wildcards Are No Jokers

Greg Holland and the KC bullpen should emerge victorious

A year ago when I made my prediction of the Boston Red Sox defeating the Saint Louis Cardinals in the 2013 World Series, it wasn’t a difficult prediction to make.

Despite the fact that the 2013 Series featured the best teams by record in both the NL and AL for the first time in 14 years, I felt that Boston was clearly the better team. This time around, I found it much more difficult.

In 2014, we don’t have the best regular season teams involved in the World Series from either league. Not only that, but we also don’t have a division winner. Both the Kansas City Royals, who finished a game behind the Detroit Tigers in the AL Central, and San Francisco Giants, who finished 6 back of the LA Dodgers in the NL West, were Wildcard teams.

This marks just the 2nd time since the concept was introduced for the 1995 season that two Wildcard teams will faceoff in the World Series. In the only other such meeting, the then-Anaheim Angels defeated the San Francisco Giants in a dramatic 7-game series in 2002.

It’s my call here that these current San Francisco Giants will again fall short in the Fall Classic to their AL Wildcard counterparts. I am going to call it Kansas City in 6 games.

The Giants have overcome more than the Royals to get this far. Back at the beginning of October, in the final 2014 MLB Power Ranking, San Fran was ranked just 17th of the 30 teams in baseball. Poor pitching and mediocre defense were the main reasons.

But that was the regular season, and frankly, that matters little right now. The Giants are a battle-tested group that has a number of key players still around who won the World Series in both 2010 and 2012. In the increased pressure of the postseason, winning experience can make a difference.

The case for the Giants begins with their bats. Buster Posey at catcher is one of the best and most valuable players in the game today. He is joined by 3rd baseman Pablo ‘Kung Fu Panda’ Sandoval and right fielder Hunter Pence in a dynamic, clutch middle-of-the-order.

Posey, Pence, and Panda pace the Giants offense

While those three are the engine that drives the Giants offense, the club must get production from supporting players if they want to win this series. In Mike Morse, they will have a true DH-type option when the series opens in KC. Guys like Gregor Blanco, Joe Panik, Brandon Belt, Brandon Hicks, and NLCS walkoff hero Travis Ishikawa are going to have to step up.

On the mound, Madison Bumgarner will start Game 1, and he is a true legit shutdown ace. He has the ability to win at least two games all by himself. Behind him, the Giants must continue to receive fountain-of-youth performances from veterans Jake Peavy and Tim Hudson. Ryan Vogelsong, likely in his last hurrah with the team, will start Game 4.

The Giants bullpen has been coming through in the postseason where it was a bit inconsistent in the regular season. Starters Yusmeiro Petit and Tim Lincecum lengthen that pen now, and the back end will feature the combination of Sergio Romo, Santiago Casilla, Jean Machi, Jeremy Affeldt, Javier Lopez, and J.C. Guiterrez.

Trout’s July All-Star MVP performance gave Royals home field 

Meanwhile, the Royals will have home field advantage thanks to Mike Trout. Back in July, Trout was the MVP of the All-Star Game, leading the American League to a 5-3 victory and giving it’s representative the home field. So baseball’s best player has had an effect on the World Series without even playing in it.

They Royals have hitting, but let’s face it, talk about their dominance begins with their pitching, defense, and speed. Kansas City finished at the very top of the final MLB Power Ranking thanks to the game’s #5 pitching staff, and with the top defense in all of baseball by a wide margin. That defense has been electric so far in the postseason.

On the pitching front, the bullpen back-end of closer Greg Holland setup by Wade Davis and Kelvin Herrera has been as impenetrable as the “Massey pre-nup”, and been just as intolerably cruel to opposing hitters in the postseason as they were in the regular season. These guys just don’t allow anything, meaning you had best do something with the Royals starting pitchers if you want to beat them.

Those starters are no slouches themselves. It all starts with lead man “Big Game” James Shields. While he has been a bit up and down this postseason, he has the experience and repertoire to match Bumgarner pitch-for-pitch, at least for the 6 innings that he needs to last. Yordano Ventura is a power option in the #2 spot, while both Jason Vargas and Jeremy Guthrie are reliable workmanlike 3-4 starters.

On offense, the Royals have emerging star Lorenzo Cain in the outfield, an All-Star catcher of their own in Salvador Perez, and a quartet of organizational veterans in leftfielder Alex Gordon, DH Billy Butler, 1B Eric Hosmer, and 3B Mike Moustakas. They also have solid contributors in Omar Infante, Nori Aoki and Alcides Escobar. Perez is a star in-the-making, and my choice to emerge as the World Series MVP.

Catcher Salvador Perez: my choice to emerge as MVP

Perhaps the most interesting decision for manager Ned Yost will come right up front. Does he continue to carry the blazing speed of Terrance Gore, perfect for an AL series but limited for 3 possible NL-city games, or does he turn to veteran Raul Ibanez off his bench?

That managerial matchup again appears on paper to be a significant advantage for the Giants, who have the highly respected, 2-time World Series-winning skipper Bruce Bochy calling the shots. Some of Yost’s calls this postseason have been so unorthodox that he has received extreme criticism. Unfortunately for all his critics, his way has resulted in a World Series appearance.

Ned Yost continues to confound his critics, every single one of whom I trust will talk about how Kansas City won despite, not because of, the decisions made by their manager. Their defense remains air-tight, their bullpen remains impenetrable, and their offense and starting pitching remain competitive. The Kansas City Royals give their fans a treat, winning at home in the 6th game.