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In regards to expanded playoff, Lincecum doesn’t know where Selig’s “head is at”

San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Tim Lincecum smiles during a news conference before practice for the NLCS MLB baseball series in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, October 15, 2010. REUTERS/Tim Shaffer (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)

Not everyone is on board with baseball commissioner Bud Selig’s idea of expanding the current playoff format.

“It doesn’t seem very fair, and personally, I don’t know where his head is at,” said Giants’ ace Tim Lincecum in an interview last week. “Players like it the way it is. It’s dog-eat-dog. People know they need to win 11 games to win the World Series.”

I for one like the idea of an expanding the current playoff pool, although not if it’s going to be a one-game format like some have suggested. Anything can happen in one game and as Lincecum points out, it’s not fair that a team goes through a 162-game jaunt to make the playoffs, only to be knocked out in one game because its pitcher had an off day. That’s not right.

But I can’t be alone in the thinking that adding two more teams (one from each league) to the current playoff pool is a bad thing. It’s good for the game for several reasons, none bigger in that it’ll keep fans interested (and stadiums packed) through August because they know their team has a shot at making the postseason. (This is assuming of course that their team isn’t 15 games out of first place.)

Lincecum isn’t alone in criticizing Selig’s idea, as Yankees’ first baseman Mark Teixeira has sounded off about the news as well.

From the New York Daily News:

“For a team like us, I don’t like it,” Mark Teixeira said. “We battle all year long in a very tough division; if you win the division and have to have five or six days off before the start of the playoffs, or you win the wild card and still have to play another one- or three-game series just to get into the playoffs, it doesn’t make much sense.”

Hey, I get why this would upset the players. They don’t want to have to win more games in order to reach/win the World Series and they don’t want extra days off. They like the current format and want to see it left alone, which I get.

But from a fan’s perspective, if Selig figures out a way to add two more teams and a new five-game series (not just a one-game series), then I’m all for it. Maybe I’m in the minority though.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @TheScoresReport. You can also follow TSR editor Gerardo Orlando @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom, and you can follow TSR editor Anthony Stalter @AnthonyStalter.

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Are the Yankees finished?

Mark Teixeira (L), Robinson Cano, second left, Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter (R) of the New York Yankees stand around as a new relief pitcher is brought in in the ninth inning during game three of the ALCS at Yankee Stadium on October 18, 2010 in New York.   UPI/Monika Graff Photo via Newscom

Things don’t look good in the Bronx.

A.J. Burnett retired the fist six batters he faced Tuesday night, but then remembered he was A.J. Burnett pitching in 2010 and the wheels started to fall off. The end result was disastrous, which is what most pundits figured when Joe Girardi appointed him his Game 4 starter.

Burnett allowed five runs on six hits in six innings of work as the Rangers crushed the Yankees 10-3 in Game 4 of the ALCS. Texas’ catcher Bengie Molina (a great midseason pickup from the Giants) went 3-for-4 with a go-ahead three run homer in the sixth off Burnett, while the eventual ALCS MVP Josh Hamilton also hit a pair of dingers and Nelson Cruz added a two-run shot in the ninth.

Compounding issues for the Yankees is that Mark Teixeira is now done for the season with a strain in his right hamstring. Twenty-three-year-old Eduardo Nunez hit .280 this year in 50 at bats with one home run, but he’s not going to keep pitchers awake at night like Teixeira will.

The Bombers face elimination this afternoon at 4:00PM ET. The good news is that they have their ace on the hill; the bad news is that CC Sabathia has a 7.20 ERA in this year’s postseason. C.J. Wilson will start for the Rangers and his ERA is a tad better (2.03), plus he flustered New York hitters for most of Game 1 before they got to him in the 7th inning. And even if the Rangers lose today, they’ll be at home for the final two games of the series and Cliff Lee (who’s pretty good in the postseason) would start Game 7 if necessary.

The Red Sox have proved this decade that being down 3-1 doesn’t mean a club can’t pull off a comeback. But the Yankees look old, tired and dare I say completely overmatched in this series. They look finished.

Yankees’ postseason experience shines in Game 1 of ALDS

New York Yankees' Mark Teixeira hits a two-run home run against the Minnesota Twins during the seventh inning of Game 1 of their MLB American League Divison Series baseball playoffs in Minneapolis, Minnesota, October 6, 2010. REUTERS/Andy King (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)

The Yankees entered the playoffs losers of eight of their last 11 games. But no matter how much they’ve struggled or how many chinks in the armor they may have shown, this is still their time of year.

For five innings Wednesday night, the Yankees were making Twins’ starter Francisco Liriano look like Cy Young. They trailed 3-0 in the top of the sixth, but after Nick Swisher struck out swinging to start the inning, Mark Teixeira doubled to deep left, Alex Rodriguez walked and then Teixeira scored on a Robinson Cano single to right.

After Marcus Thames struck out, Jorge Posada lined a single to right to score A-Rod and move Cano to second. Curtis Granderson delivered the big blow by tripling off the wall in deep right center to score Cano and Posada to give the Yankees a 4-3 lead.

They never trailed after that.

The Twins scratched across a run in their half of the inning, but Teixeira blasted a 355-foot home run in the top of 7th to give the Yankees a 6-4 lead. After allowing two base runners to reach in the ninth, Mariano Rivera got Jim Thome to pop out to third to end the game and give New York a 6-4 victory.

This is the time of year when the Yankees are never out of any game. They may have showed their age throughout the regular season, but there’s no replacement for postseason experience. When the stakes are high, this is when the Bombers are at their best.

Of course, this is still a team that’s going to struggle to win it all. Their pitching is a major concern and Joe Girardi’s stomach must have been in knots watching his ace C.C. Sabathia struggle in the early innings last night before finally settling in. He’s supposed to be the rock of the rotation and if he struggles, then the Yanks are doomed.

Game 2 is set for tonight at 6:07PM ET, as Andy Pettitte will take on former Yankee Carl Pavano.

Adrian Gonzalez wants Mark Teixeira money

Tim Sullivan of the San Diego Union-Tribune writes that Adrian Gonzalez is looking for a contract similar to the one Mark Teixeira signed with the Yankees last offseason.

“This is a premium ballplayer,” said John Boggs, Gonzalez’s agent. “If you think you can get it done, he’s obviously somebody who’s moveable …

“I never try to dissolve the possibility (of a deal with the Padres), but I don’t see any signs.”

Boggs said his preliminary discussion with Padres General Manager Jed Hoyer was so superficial that “you couldn’t characterize it as a negotiation.” Boggs said Hoyer inquired as to Gonzalez’s expectations; that Boggs cited the eight-year, $180 million deal of New York Yankees’ first baseman Mark Teixeira, and that that comment effectively ended Hoyer’s exploration.

Gonzalez still has two years remaining on the four-year, $9.5 million contract he signed in April of 2007. He’s owed $4.75 million this year and there’s a $5.5 million club option for 2011.

If the report is true and Gonzo is looking for Teixeira-type money, then he won’t get it from the Padres. The more likely scenario is San Diego acquiring a package similar to the one the Rangers got from the Braves when they traded Teixeira to Atlanta in July of 2007.

It’s likely that the Padres would look to trade Gonzo by the deadline this year, so they’re not on the hook for any of the $5.5 million in 2011. After all, if they know they can’t pay him then there’s no sense in delaying the process another year, unless they think they can get more in return if they wait until 2011.


Photo from fOTOGLIF

2010 Fantasy Baseball Rankings: First Basemen

All 2010 Fantasy Articles | 2010 Position Rankings

Before the onset of a draft, many fantasy owners believe that they better select their first baseman in one of the first three rounds. If they don’t land Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder, Miguel Cabrera, Mark Teixeira or Ryan Howard early, then their entire draft could be ruined.

There’s certainly nothing wrong in subscribing to this theory. Making first base a top priority is a wise decision given the production you’ll get across the board from someone like Cabrera, Teixeira and of course, Pujols. That said, there are many owners that don’t mind waiting to address first base, instead choosing to stockpile players at more scarce fantasy positions. That’s not a bad way to go either, especially if other owners are focusing on first base in the first couple rounds.

We don’t need to re-hash how good guys like Pujols and Fielder are. Instead, here are seven first basemen that you can nab in the middle rounds if you choose to address other positions early. You won’t get the same out-of-this-world numbers that you would from a Pujols, Fielder or Cabrera from these seven, but chances are you’ll be quite satisfied by your first base production by the end of the season.

Mark Reynolds, Diamondbacks
We don’t have to sell you on Reynolds given his breakout 2009 campaign. He hit 44 dingers and drove in 102 runs while hitting .260 last year and while he may not duplicate those numbers, if he keeps his steals up (he swiped 24 bags last season) then he’ll be extremely valuable. You’d be in good shape if you grabbed premier players at other positions and then nabbed Reynolds after the top seven or eight first basemen come off the board.

Read the rest of this entry »

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