Here's to a great week!
Murphy stays hot; Mets win again (Oz)
The New York Mets are two wins away from the World Series. Their hero, so far, has been Daniel Murphy, who has homered in four straight postseason games. Even more impressive is who's he's hit those home runs off of, a who's who's list of starting pitchers named Arrieta, Kershaw, Greinke, and Lester.
Noah Syndergaard earned the win, going 5 and 2/3 innings and allowing just one earned run on three hits. The young right-hander struck out nine.
Historic rookie seasons by Lindor and Correa (Werner)
A glowing look at the top candidates for the American League Rookie of the Year Award. From Werner:
But perhaps the most intriguing connection - one in which ties the rookies to two Hall of Famers - between the 21-year-old Lindor and the 20-year-old Correa is the rarefied company each is keeping following their dominant rookie performances. Lindor, in fact, has averaged the most wins above replacement last season than any other 21-year-old rookie with at least 80 games played, 100 OPS+, and 3.5 WAR since 1920.
Would the Nationals trade Stephen Strasburg this winter? (Reddington)
Changes are certainly coming to Washington, but would the Nats seriously consider moving their former number one pick? With Strasburg entering his walk year and a gigantic Bryce Harper free agency soap opera on the horizon, it might just happen.
Statcast could change the game for pitchers (Chaturvedi)
Pitching coaches could certainly dig deep to make changes to their pitchers' stride lengths, spin rates, arm slots, and more.
Marcus Stroman reinvents himself (Bastian)
The Blue Jays Stroman is scheduled to start game three on Monday and has featured an oddly gripped sinker for the last year and a half. The right-hander used to rely just on a traditional, hard and fast four-seam fastball, but now prefers his hard sinker. From Bastian:
A traditional sinker hold positions the index and middle finger between the seams, creating the most common two-seam spin out of the hand. Stroman never liked the feel of that, so he never used a sinker. He always wanted one, though, and plenty of pitching coaches had suggested trying to add the pitch.
On this particular night, Stroman found the traditional sinker grip, and then slightly turned the ball in his hand. The top knuckle of his middle finger rested on the seams. He stopped, squeezed the ball, examined the grip and, for the first time, what looked and felt like a variation of a sinker was comfortable in his hand.
Stroman shows off his sinker grip. Slight turn from conventional grip. Knuckle of middle finger on the seams. pic.twitter.com/sjJ62e4f1k— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) October 18, 2015
What Indians pitcher could benefit from a hard sinker like Stroman's?
"Ball Four's" characters revisted (Markusen)
Jim Bouton's Ball Four is a fantastic read and here we've got an update on all those zany players.