The Pirates and the Yankees haven’t had this much in common since 1960.
Here they are staring into September, and the view from the Bronx is very much like the view from Pittsburgh: Both teams are in second place in their divisions and both teams are clinging to a Wild Card spot.
This week’s games – like all the games that follow them (and all the ones that came before) – matter. It’s a long season. But the narratives that surround those games change with the standings.
Normally, the matchup between the Yankees and the Red Sox has its own meaning, and maybe it still... Read More
When MLB instituted the Wild Card, many baseball purists gasped and wagged fingers. It will diminish the excitement that’s earned from teams trying to win the pennant during six months of baseball and 162 games, they said.
In some ways – and in some cities – they might have a point. But don’t try to make that argument in Chicago or San Francisco right about now.
The Wild Card is presenting the Cubs and the Giants with both sides of what proponents of the expanded playoff system argue makes the system so great.
The Cubs are third in the extremely tough N.L. Central but, barring a... Read More
The Giants won their third World Series in five years in 2014 but entered this season with some serious questions as to whether they could do it again.
Who would replace Pablo Sandoval at third base? Who’s going to turn double plays with shortstop Brandon Crawford? Will former ace Tim Lincecum ever be the same? Will Matt Cain, for that matter? They even lost outfielder Hunter Pence at the start of the season.
The answers to some of these questions came in the form of third baseman Matt Duffy, second baseman Joe Panik, both of whom were unheralded prospects but have more than made up for the... Read More
Footage of the last championships for Kansas City and Pittsburgh is grainy enough to make anyone who remembers it feel very old.
The Pirates last won the World Series in 1979, led by Willie Stargell, and the Royals won in 1985, led by George Brett. Both players are in the Hall of Fame now, and the game has changed a great deal.
Since those last championships, many observers began to worry that large-market teams such as the Yankees, with their ever-thick wallet, had an unfair advantage in free agency. However, baseball’s leadership has made some adjustments to address the issue and, perhaps more importantly, small-market teams have... Read More
This team has been hit hard by injuries to ace Adam Wainwright and sluggers Matt Adams and Matt Holliday, among many others, and yet here they are nearing the All-Star break with the best record in baseball, 53-28, which is also good for the best record after 81 games since 1944.
The Cardinals play three times this week on Sling TV, twice against the division rival Chicago Cubs. Entering Monday’s games, St. Louis has an 8.5-game lead over Chicago in the N.L. Central.
The Cardinals lost Wainwright after just four starts but the pitching staff is talented... Read More
There are several amazing pitchers taking the mound this week on Sling TV, but seeing the Metropolitans’ Matt Harvey smoke an inside fastball past hitters might not surprise you quite as much as a pitch the Tigers’ Alfredo Simon has hidden up his sleeve.
The Eephus pitch might sound like baseball’s equivalent of the Yeti or Big Foot because not many fans have ever actually seen it live in a game. But every few years a video will surface of the pitch freezing a batter for a strikeout on a toss that usually doesn’t register more than 60 m.p.h. or so.
Every game on Sling TV this week features preseason favorites for the World Series title.
The Washington Nationals and Boston Red spent a lot of money in the offseason to fortify their chances while St. Louis made some deft trades and the Yankees… well, the Yankees must think quite a bit of the team they already had because they didn’t go after any big names.
In fact, some pundits don’t consider the Yankees contenders at all. The A.L. East is loaded with talent, as always, and New York is relying on many aging stars and also have some serious question marks in the rotation.
Meanwhile, the Nats assembled one of the best pitching staffs in modern memory with the addition of Max Scherzer. But somehow they’ve gotten... Read More
It’s tempting to say that there are four teams playing this week on Sling TV who could win the World Series but there might really only be three.
There are certainly four cities that have that expectation but —- sorry, New York —- things don’t look so good in the Bronx despite what seems to be a renaissance for Alex Rodriguez.
The Yankees travel to Detroit on Monday to face a Tigers team that is managing to find its way in what is increasingly seeming like the post-Justin Verlander era–and Detroit is doing it in part thanks to an off-season trade with New York. The Yankees sent starting pitcher Shane Greene to them as part of a three-team trade that landed Didi Gregorious in pinstripes.
The first week of the season is a tempting mirage. It’s easy to believe that whatever happened the first week is what will happen the rest of the season, good or bad.
Adrian Gonzalez might really hit 135 homers this year! And he’ll need to because Clayton Kershaw stinks!
Maybe there really is a fantasy league where someone dropped Kerhsaw, who had two rocky starts for the Dodgers while his teammate mashed homer after homer, but most sane people know that there is a lot of baseball to be played and that Kershaw is a special arm. An arm you only see every few generations.
This week, there are three other special arms to watch: the Yankees’ Michael Pineda, the Mariners’ Taijuan Walker, and the Cardinals’ Adam... Read More
The Cardinals have had so much success in recent years that the phrase “The Cardinal Way” is now a thing. It’s a thing most people had never heard of until a book by that name was published.
But there is no disputing the truth: the Cardinals really do have a “way.”
This provides important context for Sunday’s MLB season-opener, context that was not lost on whoever makes the schedule.
The Cubs have never had a “way,” unless you count disappointing fans decade after decade—until now. Sure, that may sound premature. The Cubs still haven’t won a World Series since 1908 and last made the playoffs in 2008.
But GM Theo Epstein has given Chicago fans more hope than they have ever had thanks to a heap... Read More