Justin Verlander leaves spring start early, will undergo testing

The Houston Astros may have a Justin Verlander problem as the regular season approaches.

Verlander was slated to throw four innings in Sunday’s spring start, but the ace pitcher was lifted after two innings with no immediate explanation. The team was only willing to state that Verlander would undergo tests.

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Originally posted on Larry Brown Sports | By Grey Papke | Last updated 3/8/20

A’s fans show support for Mike Fiers ahead of spring training debut

Oakland Athletics hurler and former Houston Astros starter Mike Fiers has been a lightning rod for controversy since he blew the whistle on his old team stealing signs.

Most around the baseball world have supported Fiers. Though, there’s been some who believe that he broke an unwritten rule in outing his former team. It’s somewhat ironic given that the Astros broke a written rule and have been penalized to a great extent for it.

Fiers is making his Spring Training debut in Arizona on Sunday against the San Francisco Giants.

A’s fans on hand at Hohokam Stadium were more than supportive of Fiers as he took the mound.

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Originally posted on Sportsnaut | By Vincent Frank | Last updated 2/23/2

Dusty Baker Expected To Be Named Manager Of Astros

The Houston Astros will have more than a few distractions to deal with as they head into spring training and the 2020 season, and they are reportedly hiring an experienced manager to help navigate them through it.

Dusty Baker is expected to be named the next manager of the Astros, a person familiar with the hiring told USA Today’s Bob Nightengale. The deal had not been finalized as of Tuesday morning, but an agreement was in place.

Baker is a three-time National League Manager of the Year who is widely respected throughout baseball. He won three division titles in the last five years he managed with the Washington Nationals and Cincinnati Reds. The 70-year-old has plenty of experience dealing with scandals, as well.

Baker was the manager of the San Francisco Giants when Barry Bonds set the single-season home run record with 73 moonshots. Bonds, of course, was wrapped up in the BALCO scandal at the time. Nightengale also reminds us that Bonds and Jeff Kent did not get along and once fought in the dugout, and Baker was able to keep the team together despite that.

If the Astros are going to contend in 2020, they will need to lean Baker’s experience. Baker recently spoke highly of the team and sounded like his interview went well, and apparently Houston executives are confident he is the man to lead the team during the most tumultuous time in franchise history.

Baker has a regular-season record of 1,863-1,636 and a playoff record of 23-32 in stints with the Nationals, Reds, Giants and Chicago Cubs.

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Originally posted on Larry Brown Sports
By Steve DelVecchio  |  Last updated 1/28/20

Brawls And Pain: Potential Ripple Effects Of Astros’ Sign-Stealing Scandal

The Astros’ sign-stealing scandal has shaken Major League Baseball to its core. 

After a lengthy investigation, MLB came down hard on Houston, suspending manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow for a season, taking away first- and second-round draft picks over the next two years, and fining the team $5 million. Subsequently, Astros owner Jim Crane fired Hinch and Luhnow. The fallout wasn’t limited to Houston: Managers Alex Cora of the Red Sox and Carlos Beltran of the Mets were fired. Both were with the Astros in 2017 — Cora as a bench coach and Beltran as a player — and each was implicated in MLB’s investigation.

The Astros’ illegal scheme raises numerous questions, among them:

What’s next?

Here are potential ripple effects:

Veterans Buck Showalter, Dusty Baker may get managing jobs

In today’s age of analytics, with more game-day decisions coming from upstairs in the front office rather than in the dugout, the job of Major League manager has evolved. Baseball lifers are being phased out, replaced by advocates for analytics. Four rookie managers were hired over the winter:  Jayce Tingler (Padres), David Ross (Cubs), Derek Shelton (Pirates) and Beltran (Mets). Showalter and Baker have impressive resumes, but neither has landed another MLB position since recent exits from the game. More than ever, the Astros, Red Sox and Mets need the calming influence of an experienced manager. Either Showalter or Baker would be ideal. Showalter has interviewed with the Astros; Baker will soon. 

Houston will face extreme pressure

The scandal will be an epic distraction all season for the defending American League champion Astros, who lost ace Gerrit Cole to the Yankees in free agency in the off-season. His defection tilted the balance of power in the American League toward New York. Houston still may be the best team in the West, but it will face a stiff challenge from the Angels, who have added superstar third baseman Anthony Rendon and get back pitcher/DH Shohei Ohtani and outfielder Justin Upton from injuries. Allegations the Astros were stealing signs last season opens up even more issues. What happens if Houston stars  Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Carlos Correa, George Springer and Yuli Gurriel regress? Accusations they benefited from sign-stealing will be omnipresent.

Bench-clearing brawls

Opposing players, particularly pitchers, are pissed. When Houston was alleged to have transitioned from trash can banging to the use of buzzers in 2019 to signal pitches, the league collectively lost its mind. The outrage will manifest itself with pitchers throwing at Astros hitters. Prediction: This will get very ugly.

Cora won’t get a baseball job

According to the commissioner’s report on the scandal, the sign-stealing camera in center field in Houston was Cora’s idea. He allegedly came up with trash can banging as a way to communicate pitches to Houston hitters. Following the 2017 season, he became Red Sox manager, and Boston won the World Series in 2018. Now the league is in the midst of an investigation into whether Boston was sign stealing then. Hinch got a year’s suspension; what will the ringleader face? Cora could go down as one of the greatest cheaters in the sport’s history. No matter the length of his suspension, he’ll be radioactive.

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Originally Posted on Yardbarker | By Justin Mears  |  Last updated 1/22/20

Red Sox Fire Alex Cora Amid Sign-Stealing Scandal Fallout

The Red Sox announced Tuesday evening that manager Alex Cora will not return as their manager in 2020. The news comes one day after MLB commissioner Rob Manfred announced the results of his investigation into the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal, wherein Cora was revealed to be one of the architects of Houston’s trash-can system. The Red Sox organization issued the following statement:

Today we met to discuss the Commissioner’s report related to the Houston Astros investigation.  Given the findings and the Commissioner’s ruling, we collectively decided that it would not be possible for Alex to effectively lead the club going forward and we mutually agreed to part ways.

The Red Sox’ usage of “mutually agreed to part ways” notwithstanding, there’s no way that Cora would’ve been ousted as manager were it not for his role in the sign-stealing scandal. It’s been extraordinarily difficult to fathom a scenario in which Cora would’ve stayed on as manager after Houston GM Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch were fired by the Astros yesterday, given his involvement in the Astros’ scandal as well as the current investigation of the Red Sox’ 2018. The now-former manager issued a statement of his own:

“I want to thank John, Tom, Sam, the players, our coaching staff and the entire Red Sox organization.  I especially want to thank my family for their love and support. We agreed today that parting ways was the best thing for the organization. I do not want to be a distraction to the Red Sox as they move forward.  My two years as manager were the best years of my life. It was an honor to manage these teams and help bring a World Series Championship back to Boston. I will forever be indebted to the organization and the fans who supported me as a player, a manager and in my efforts to help Puerto Rico. This is a special place. There is nothing like it in all of baseball, and I will miss it dearly.”

As was the case when Houston let go of its GM-manager tandem, this represents a stunning turn of mid-winter events for Boston. In terms of wins and losses, the two-year Cora era was especially fruitful for the Red Sox. As Cora mentioned, he helped the club to a championship in 2018 – his first year on the job and one in which it piled up a whopping 108 regular-season victories before steamrolling the Yankees, Astros and Dodgers in the playoffs. Of course, now that the league’s investigating Cora, there are perhaps questions about the legitimacy of that title.

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Originally posted on MLB Trade Rumors  |  By Steve Adams  |  Last updated 1/14/20

The 25 biggest MLB stories of the 2010s

The 2010s for Major League Baseball were full of many moments that moved the sport ahead in ways that were previously unimaginable. The way the game was played and managed changed more than it had in decades prior. Championship droughts were ended with regularity, and new management introduced previously unimaginable elements to the game. Between it all, some amazing players made their debuts, while others had the signature moments of their already legendary careers. It was a busy decade for the national pastime; here’s a look at the signature events that defined it. 1 of 25

25. The extension of safety nets

While the chance at grabbing a foul ball has long been one of the most enticing parts of the live MLB experience, at the same time the chance of injury became far too frequent of an occurrence. An increasingly alarming number of fans — including some young ones — were being injured by foul balls, and the vast majority of Major League Baseball teams began taking action. By 2018 all teams had extended netting completely around the home plate area, but in coming years, there is the possibility that netting will be extended foul pole to foul pole, which the Chicago White Sox have already done. 2 of 25

24. Clayton Kershaw dominates for Dodgers

Although his postseason struggles continue to haunt him, there is no disputing that Kershaw had one of the greatest pitching runs of all time. An eight-time All-Star with three NL Cy Young Awards and league MVP honors in 2014, Kershaw was the most decorated hurler of the decade. He had the lowest ERA in the majors five times, becoming the first player to ever do so in four consecutive seasons, from 2011 to 2014. His 2.44 career ERA since 2011 is 1.63 runs below the league-wide ERA for the decade. 3 of 25

23. Indians 22-game winning streak

Already in first place with a 5.5 game cushion on Aug. 24, following their 13-6 victory over the Boston Red Sox, the 2017 Indians wouldn’t lose again for nearly a month. Over the next three weeks, the Indians would win 22 straight games, a run that included seven shutouts and was capped by a thrilling 10-inning victory to clinch the second-longest streak of all time, outright. It was the longest winning streak in 82 years and pulled Cleveland 13.5 games up in the AL Central en route to a second consecutive AL Central title.

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22. Shohei Ohtani does double duty

He seemed too good to be true: a two-way talent with a 98-mph fastball who can hit home runs with ease and can do both full time? But Shohei Ohtani showed as advertised upon his arrival in America in 2018, becoming the first player since Babe Ruth to hit at least 15 home runs and pitch at least 50 innings in the same season. On his way to the AL Rookie of the Year Award, Ohtani hit 22 home runs and went 4-2 on the mound while averaging 11 strikeouts per nine innings on the mound. 5 of 25

21. The improbable run of the Washington Nationals

After being 12 games under .500 in late May, the Nationals won 65 percent of their games from June on and advanced to the World Series from the wild-card game. In the postseason they defied the odds to extraordinary levels, sandwiching an NLCS sweep of the Cardinals by beating two of the best teams in the NL and AL respectively, the Dodgers and Astros. Riding the potent rotation of Max Scherzer, Patrick Corbin and eventual 2019 World Series MVP Stephen Strasburg, Washington became the first team in history to win all of its World Series games on the road. 6 of 25

20. Decade of the prodigy

The youth was indisputably served in the 2010s, as there was a huge uptick in ready-to-play prospects reaching the majors. The single-season rookie home run record was broken twice in three years’ time, with Aaron Judge hitting 52 in 2017…before Pete Alonso hit 53 in 2019. Mike Trout became the youngest player to have a WAR of 9.0 or greater, in 2012, and Bryce Harper became the third-youngest MVP of all time, in 2015. Add in Ronald Acuna, Juan Soto, Jose Fernandez, Mookie Betts, Nolan Arenado, Corey Seager and Kris Bryant, and it was as potent of an early-career impact era as ever.

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19. The death of Roy Halladay

A two-time Cy Young Award winner and one of the two pitchers in history with a postseason no-hitter, Halladay was one of the greatest players of his era. Just shy of four years after his retirement, Halladay tragically crashed a plane he had recently purchased off the Florida coast. He was only 40 years old. In 2019, Halladay would go on to become the first posthumous first-ballot Hall of Fame selection since Roberto Clemente in 1973. 8 of 25

18. The end of the All-Star Game/World Series advantage

The controversial decision to award home-field advantage to the victorious league in the All-Star Game came to an end heading into the 2017 season. It also ushered in an era in which regular-season merit meant more than ever for the first time. The 2017 World Series was the first one ever to be hosted outright by the winningest regular-season team. From 1903 to 2002, home-field advantage was determined via a mixture of coin flips and alternating between leagues, and, as mentioned, from 2003 to 2016, the All-Star Game winner earned the rights. 9 of 25

17. The Giants win three World Series

In the first half of the decade, the Giants made capturing World Series championships a bi-annual event. Buster Posey, Madison Bumgarner and manager Bruce Bochy were the mainstays for the franchise, as they captured the pennant in 2010, 2012 and 2014, their first since moving to San Francisco in 1958. Built around strong starting pitching, bullpen depth and defense, the Giants never won more than 94 games in any of their championship seasons but rose to the occasion in the postseason, going 12-4 in World Series play.

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16. The video game baseball of the 2017 World Series

The Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers squared off in one of the biggest thrill rides the Fall Classic has ever seen. Over the course of the seven-game showdown, a record 25 home runs were hit, including a record-tying five by George Springer. The Astros hit a single-game record of eight in Game 2. The signature game of the series came in Game 5, a 13-12 thriller that featured five lead changes from the seventh inning on and had six game-tying home runs before a walk-off Alex Bregman single in the 10th inning. 11 of 25

15. Albert Pujols signs with the Anaheim Angels

Shortly after winning the 2011 World Series in St. Louis, Pujols headed into free agency for the first time in his career. Interest was obviously high in the three-time National League MVP, but it was hard to imagine him leaving the franchise he was synonymous with. But when negotiations with the Cardinals stalled, Angels owner Arte Moreno swooped in with a record 10-year, $254 million contract to bring Pujols west in one of the most stunning free agent coups of all time. 12 of 25

14. The deaths of Jose Fernandez, Oscar Taveras, Yordano Ventura and Tyler Skaggs

The decade also saw a string of tragic deaths to promising young talents still well shy of their 30th birthdays. Promising Cardinals outfielder Oscar Taveras died in a car accident in the Dominican Republic at 22 years old in 2014. Three years later, promising Kansas City pitcher Yordano Ventura suffered the same fate. In 2016 Jose Fernandez, already a two-time All-Star at age 24, died via a boating crash in Miami Beach. Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs died suddenly in July due to complications from an accidental drug overdose.

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13. Tanking a regular event

Over the course of the decade, it became more prevalent than ever for non-competitive teams to sell off to extents never seen before. “Tanking” led to teams that struggled at times to resemble minor league rosters, as down-and-out teams broke up and jockeyed for draft pick positioning harder than trying for real-time wins. In the process parity hit all-time lows, as records were set for number of 100-win and 100-loss teams co-existing in 2018 and again in 2019. 14 of 25

12. Miguel Cabrera completes the Triple Crown

Since Carl Yastrzemski last completed the Triple Crown in 1967, many had accomplished two legs of the pursuit but none had finished it. That was until Miguel Cabrera did so in 2012, completing what was becoming believed to be impossible in the contemporary game. In claiming the crown, the Detroit Tigers slugger hit for a .330 batting average, with 44 home runs and 130 RBI en route to the American League MVP Award as well. 15 of 25

11. Bryce Harper and Manny Machado cash in

The dual free agency of Harper and Machado was a spectacle that was over a year in the making, as the two precocious talents reached free agency together in the winter of 2019. While neither reached the rumored $400 million level during their time on the open market, both did set new records for free agent pacts. Machado struck first, getting 10 years and $300 million from the San Diego Padres, followed by Harper’s $330 million over 13 years from the Philadelphia Phillies.


By: Matt Whitener

Yordan Alvarez, Pete Alonso win Rookie of the Year awards

Astros outfielder Yordan Alvarez and Mets first baseman Pete Alonso won the Rookie of the Year awards for the American and National Leagues, respectively. The former was a unanimous choice, while the latter received top placement from all but one of the ROY voters from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.

It’s a power-packed duo, to say the least. While slugging numbers were up around the game, these two still stood out.

Alvarez, 22, didn’t force his way onto a loaded Astros roster until midseason. But he still swatted 27 long balls in his 369 plate appearances. And his half-season offensive numbers were … well, astronomical. Among players with at least 300 attempts, he came in a close second in all of baseball in wRC+ (his 178 just lagged Mike Trout) and slugging percentage (.655, just trailing Christian Yelich).

The 24-year-old Alonso did damage all year long, on both sides of a memorable Home Run Derby victory. He appeared in all but one of the Mets’ games, slugging a league-leading 53 dingers while topping the century mark in runs and ribbies. It wasn’t just counting stats; Alonso wrapped up his debut season with an excellent .260/.358/.583 batting line.

The rest of the American League field fell well shy of Alvarez in output. But that’s not to say there weren’t nice performances. Surprise Orioles hurler John Means landed in second place, another nice bit of recognition for one of the least likely All-Stars in the history of baseball. Brandon Lowe of the Rays, Eloy Jimenez of the White Sox and Cavan Biggio of the Blue Jays finished 3-4-5.

There was certainly stiffer competition on the N.L. side. Third-place finisher Fernando Tatis Jr. may well have commanded the award (or at least forced a photo finish) had his season not been cut short. And the man in second, Braves hurler Mike Soroka, had his own strong claim to the award. He picked up one first-place vote after turning in 174 2/3 innings of 2.68 ERA pitching — no minor accomplishment in a season filled with the offensive exploits of so many. Pirates standout Bryan Reynolds landed fourth with his own excellent campaign, while Cardinals hurler Dakota Hudson and Nationals outfielder Victor Robles each also received down-ballot votes.


By: Jeff Todd

MLB world reacts to horrendous call by umpires in critical World Series moment

In an extremely competitive World Series with the Washington Nationals fighting to stay alive, a horrendous call by an umpire could have nearly cost Washington its entire season.

As the Nationals held a 3-2 lead in the seventh inning with Yan Gomes on first, shortstop Trea Turner hit a soft bouncer short of the mound. When Houston Astros pitcher Brad Peacock finally picked it up and fired it to first base, the throw was off the mark and forced Turner into first baseman Yuli Gurriel’s glove.

A play that should have been ruled an error with both runners advancing down the base paths, the umpires called Turner out for interference with the play and made Gomes return to first base.

After Turner and Washington’s skipper Dave Martinez lit into umpire Sam Holbrook for the horrendous call, fans and players watched as the umpires put on headsets as the play was reviewed in New York.

Following an excruciating wait that stalled the game and left everyone feeling restless, the umpires finally took off the headsets and announced the call stood.

Washington’s dugout and the entire baseball world exploded with shock and rage after learning the league’s replay officials stood by the horrendous call.

By: Matt Johnson


Astros, Nationals take very different paths to the 2019 World Series

Well, you guys, this is it. The 2019 World Series is finally set in stone with the Houston Astros taking on the Washington Nationals. Houston will be looking to win its second title in three years, while Washington is looking for its first-ever championship.

Now that we know who will be representing both the American and National Leagues, it’s fun to look at the similarities and differences between each squad. The biggest similarity they share is having star-studded and dominant starting rotations.

Official probable starters haven’t yet been announced, but it’s not inconceivable for the first three games to look like this:

  • Game 1: Gerrit Cole vs. Max Scherzer
  • Game 2: Justin Verlander vs. Stephen Strasburg
  • Game 3: Zack Greinke vs. Patrick Corbin

That in itself is just mouthwatering for any baseball fan. When looking at season-long fWAR produced in 2019, each of these six ranked within the top 15 among qualified starters. Corbin was the only one not in the top 10 with his measly 4.8 fWAR. (Insert sarcasm here.) Interestingly enough, both Houston and Washington looked outside their respective organizations to build these fearsome three-headed monsters — Strasburg is the sole homegrown hurler of the bunch.

If we continue using fWAR as the benchmark, the Nationals (21.4) and Astros (19.4) led the National and American League, respectively, with regard to rotation production. The similarities don’t just stop at fWAR, though.

Houston did lead all of baseball with a 125 team wRC+ throughout the regular season. However, Washington did end up in the top 10 on a season-long basis and within the top-five if when considering just second-half production. So they’re not slouches with the bat, either.

The most striking difference between these two Fall Classic opponents, though, is what they did to reach this point. The Astros spent the majority of regular-season play atop the American League West, while the Nationals’ slow start prevented them from being a first-place team at any point in 2019.


The best way to display the difference in expectations for these clubs is to see their odds of winning their respective league pennants throughout the year (via FanGraphs). As the below graph shows, the Astros are supposed to be here, but not many were expecting the Nats to do the same.

For the Astros, the chances of them becoming American League champs started out just above 25.0 percent and didn’t crest below 40.0 percent after the beginning of August. Washington didn’t start the year much worse, but its odds didn’t even reach 20.0 percent until September 30 — the day after the final regular-season games.

This should be a fun series to watch. The Astros likely have the overall advantage when looking at the entirety of their roster, and they’ve also been a little more battle-tested. The Nats have looked impressive while defeating the Milwaukee Brewers, Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals. However, sweeping St. Louis has given Washington a full week off before Game 1 of the World Series. That’s probably good for their pitchers, but who knows what kind of rust needs to get kicked off as they take the field again.

Two teams with some similar strengths, but much different roads taken en route to reaching the same place and chasing after the same goal. This is what baseball is all about.


By: Matt Musico

Great MLB players who struggled in the postseason

For every Derek Jeter, Reggie Jackson, Madison Bumgarner or Jack Morris, there are a handful of greats throughout MLB history whose regular-season light fails to shine in October. From some of the most notable shortcomings of today, back to legends who came out short decades ago, here is a look at a handful of baseball’s best regular-season performers…who failed to live up to expectations in the postseason. 1 of 25

Jeff Bagwell

Bagwell stands as one of the most decorated Astros of all time, winner of 1991 NL Rookie of the Year and 1994 NL MVP honors. He helped the Astros to the postseason six different times; however he often left his best performances behind by October. Bagwell hit .226 with a .685 OPS over 33 postseason games. In his lone World Series appearance, he went 1-for-8 over 10 plate appearances, only able to DH due to an elbow injury. 2 of 25

Craig Biggio

Biggio spent his entire 20-year career with the Astros, becoming the club’s career leader in seven different categories, including hits, runs scored and games played. Alongside Jeff Bagwell as one of the famed “Killer B’s” of Houston, he played in nine postseason series in his career. But like his Hall of Fame teammate, Biggio struggled in October, hitting only .234 overall for his career and failing to drive in a run or steal a base over his first 14 postseason games. 3 of 25

Barry Bonds

The most decorated player to never capture a championship in his career, Bonds lived on the brink of postseason greatness throughout his career. He reached the National League Championship Series on four different occasions but hit only .203 (16-for-79) once there. He did thrive once finally breaking through to the World Series, hitting .471 with four home runs in 2002, but subpar overall play caused his teams to come up short too many times. 4 of 25

Roy Campanella

Campy was a three-time MVP and helped the Brooklyn Dodgers reach the World Series five times between 1949 and 1956. But after owning a career split of .276/.360/.500 in regular-season play, the Dodger catcher’s performance tailed off in the Fall Classic. Campanella hit .237 with four home runs in 32 World Series games. However, two of those homers came in the 1955 Series, which the Dodgers won. 5 of 25

Robinson Cano

Cano reached the postseason in seven of his nine seasons with the Yankees and even assisted on the final out of the 2009 World Series. Otherwise, his postseason career has featured some craterous performances, including a .133 mark in 2006 and .136 in the 2009 Series. In his most recent postseason appearances to date, Cano hit a combined .075 (3-for-40) over two rounds in 2012 playoff action. 6 of 25

Prince Fielder

Fielder was one of the premier sluggers of his era, averaging 35 homers a season between 2006 and 2015. Yet during that same time span, he suffered some significant power outages by the fall. Fielder hit just five homers over 185 postseason at-bats while hitting just .189. This was lowlighted by three series of averages of .150 or worst. 7 of 25

Tom Glavine

At his best, Glavine produced one of the dominant postseason performances of all time, allowing one hit over eight shutout innings to close out the 1995 World Series. His excellent World Series career — a 2.16 ERA, 4-3 record over eight starts — masks some significant struggles in others. In 1992, he allowed 13 hits and 10 runs over seven innings in two NLCS starts. In four other series, Glavine had an ERA of over 5.00. Overall, his 87 career walks are the most in postseason history. 8 of 25

Dwight Gooden

The “Doctor” was out by the time October rolled around. Over 12 appearances and 59 innings, Gooden went winless in his postseason career, going 0-4. He posted an 8.22 ERA over three ALDS appearances, which came later in his bumpy career, but he didn’t fare much better before his problems with substance abuse derailed his career. At his peak form in 1986, Gooden went 0-2 with a 8.00 ERA against the Red Sox in World Series play, allowing 17 hits and walking four. 9 of 25

Clayton Kershaw

Kershaw has played an irreplaceable role in the Dodgers’ run of success over the decade but has often been at the center of their postseason letdowns as well. He owns a sub-.500 (9-10) postseason record despite owning the third-best winning percentage in regular-season history. He has allowed five or more runs eight times in his playoff career, the most in history, and is also one of two players ever to allow seven runs in consecutive postseason starts (2013-2014). 10 of 25

Willie Mays

Mays made five trips to the postseason during his dazzling career and left without a memorable moment to his credit. He hit just one home run during 99 plate appearances and contributed just six extra-base hits. In 1951, he hit into a record three double plays in Game 4 of the World Series while hitting just .182 in a losing effort against the Yankees. 11 of 25

Mark McGwire

McGwire staked his reputation by hitting tape measure homers for the A’s and Cardinals. However, he didn’t test the dimensions of many ballparks in October, hitting just five postseason homers in 42 games. After hitting .389 in the 1989 ALCS, McGwire hit just .189 over his next seven playoff series (79 at-bats). 12 of 25

Joe Morgan

Morgan was a central part of Cincinnati’s “Big Red Machine” of the 1970s, helping the club to consecutive World Series wins in 1975 and ’76. However, he was often missing in action by the time the playoffs had come around. The two-time MVP hit just .182 over 50 postseason games. In the Cincinnati’s World Series loss in 1972, Morgan hit .125 (3-for-24) and hit underneath .200 in six of his 11 career playoff series. 13 of 25

Jake Peavy

The 2007 NL Cy Young Award winner stands as one of the most horrid postseason hurlers of all time. Over nine playoff starts, Peavy was owned to the tone of a 7.98 ERA and 1-5 record. He worked to a 1.82 WHIP, letting up 53 hits over 38 innings and walking 17 in the process. Over three World Series starts, Peavy had a 9.58 ERA, including a 12.79 showing amid two losses in the 2014 Series with the Giants. 14 of 25

Tony Perez

One of the most feared run producers in history, Perez surprisingly contributed little to the scoreboard in postseason play. Over 47 career playoff games, he drove in 25 runs, most of which came during a three home run, seven RBI effort during 1975 series (in which he still hit just .179). Take away that ’75 showing, and Perez never homered in 26 other World Series games and hit underneath .100 in two separate NLCS appearances. 15 of 25

David Price

Baseball’s first $30 million per year pitcher, Price has performed well south of that in postseason value. Although he won a pair of games in relief, it took Price 10 years to win his first postseason start, which came in the 2018 ALCS. Up to that point, Price had routinely been shellacked in October, owning a 5.44 ERA between 2010 and 2017, offset by a 1-8 record and 11 home runs over 12 games. 16 of 25

Jorge Posada

Posada played in a whopping 125 postseason games in his career, the second most in history. While he played in six World Series and won five, Posada’s playoff performances weren’t particularly memorable on an individual level. Over 492 trips to the plate, he hit just .248 and contributed a -2.33 win probability added. Posada’s average in ALCS play sat at .224 before lowering to .219 lifetime in the World Series. 17 of 25

Jackie Robinson

The Dodgers reached the World Series in six of Robinson’s 10 years with the club, an outcome that was far from happenstance. But while Jackie’s dynamic play regularly launched Brooklyn to the top of the National League, his playoff struggles often were an Achilles’ heel between more titles coming to Ebbets Field. Robinson hit under .200 in three of his six Series appearances and managed just six stolen bases in the process. 18 of 25

Alex Rodriguez

Carrying all of the substantial expectations that come with being $250 million superstar with the New York Yankees, the spotlight was especially bright on A-Rod by October. However more often than not, it was for the wrong reasons. Rodriguez hit under .200 in eight separate Series with the Yankees, tallying 33 strikeouts against just five RBI in those series.


By: Matt Whitener