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Rain, MLB Incompetence, and Jack Zduriencik Will Decide ALDS

By Mike Silva ~ October 1st, 2011. Filed under: New York Yankees.

MLB worries about how a one-game Wild Card playoff will impact the integrity of a 162 game schedule. What I worry about more is how the suits at MLB impact the integrity of the 162 game schedule.

Last night’s Game 1 between the Tigers and Yankees should never have taken place. You can’t tell me there wasn’t a weather report the league didn’t have which indicated the short window of opportunity there was to play the game. It was an odd weather night, for sure, as it was bone dry throughout parts of New York, but pouring heavily in the Bronx. I have seen games get called at 2pm only to bask in sunshine the rest of the day. That is the regular season, this is the playoffs.

MLB botched the integrity of the World Series three years ago when they had Tampa and Philadelphia slosh through a windy and rainy Game 5 until umpiring crew chief Tim  Tschida stopped the absurdity and suspended the game. They would not complete the contest until 48 hours later when the Phillies wrapped up a 4-3 victory and a World Series championship. How was that game impacted? Hard to quantify numerically, but maybe the Phils leave Cole Hamels in the game longer. Maybe Hamels gets lit up. Maybe the layoff hurt the Rays more than the Phils. We don’t know if any of those statements are true, but it’s possible. That’s all I need in order to question the validity of the final score. A team and its fan spend an enormous amount of time and energy throughout nine months only to have Bud Selig’s incompetence play a major part in the final result. Both Yankees and Tigers fans will experience that over the next week.

The decision to start Game 1 of the ALDS now has thrown the rotations into flux. Justin Verlander, scheduled to start Game 1 and 5, probably will now only pitch Game 3. One of the best pitching seasons we have seen in a decade  will result in the Tigers being able to use him for one measly game. Advantage Yankees. CC Sabathia might pitch on 3-days rest in Game 2 and 5. He’s done it before, but you just never know how short rest will impact a starter. Advantage Tigers. The series was most likely going to be decided by which team’s bats and bullpen was better due to the shaky middle of the rotation arms. Freddy GarciaA.J. BurnettRick Porcello, and Max Scherzer take on more importance. The Yankees need to muddle through two games with questionable starters versus the one Game 3 they originally thought. Even worse, if tonight’s game is postponed, which is possible, you will have a five game series with no days off from Sunday to Thursday. I can’t blame Selig for the weather, but if they postponed Game 1 at least both the Yankees and Tigers would have a better chance to align their rotation versus dealing with their aces having thrown unnecessary pitches last night. Isn’t that the fairest way to handle this difficult scenario? Wouldn’t a conservative approach to the rain would be the intelligent way to decide on a postponement?

On the surface, the Tigers seem to be the team that will take the biggest hit. Verlander is the fabric of this team as his +19 record is the difference between a .500 club and a division winner. I picked Detroit to win the series based on Verlander starting Game 1 and 5 at the Stadium. That honor will now go to Doug Fister, who spent the first-half of the season in obscurity with Jack Zduriencik’s Punch and Judy Seattle Mariners.

Fister is one of those great baseball stories. A seventh round pick in 2006 who really doesn’t light up the radar gun, and was a late bloomer since he didn’t make his debut until the age of 27. He owns a career minor league ERA of 4.38, so it’s safe to say he never made it on any of the top prospect lists we like to cite.

But Fister is a command a control guy, someone that doesn’t impress with the radar gun and many experts consider a strike-throwing no-stuff guy. The pitching version of kissing your sister for prospect junkies. The thing about Fister is he actually knows how to pitch. I am always a guy that prefers pitchers that know how to use the tools at their disposable versus one’s that have tools, but don’t have the least bit of an idea on how to use it or grow as a player (see Bobby Parnell).

Every year since his debut in 2009 Fister has improved. He gave Seattle quality innings despite a 3-12 record when he was dealt to the Tigers on July 31st. All Fister did was go 8-1 with a 1.79 ERA and walk only 5 batters in 70 innings. The only pitcher that probably could pull that off these days is the lefty that resides in Philadelphia. If he pitched for a winning team, or at least a team that could score more than 1 run a game, he probably joins Verlander in the 20 win club.

Here is the kicker. Zduriencik gave Fister to the Tigers, along with lefty reliever David Pauley, for Casper WellsCharlie Furbush and C+ prospects Chance Ruffin and Francisco Martinez. From what I understand, the Yankees were interested in Fister, but were asked to give up top prospects. It seems the Killer B’s are always in the conversation when Brian Cashman inquires about a player. Imagine the Yanks rotation with Sabathia, Nova, and Fister? I would give them a better chance to get through the American League, and maybe beat the Phillies in the World Series.

Doug Fister isn’t Justin Verlander, but he actually had more success against the Yankees this year. He pitched 7 solid innings against them in a 4-1 loss as a member of the Mariners on July 26th. If he gives Jim Leyland 7 innings of 3 run ball in his two ALDS starts, then the Tigers have a shot at this series.

Right now, it appears the “non-prospect” who throws nothing more than strikes is standing between the Yankees and the ALCS. Last year Zduriencik decided to take Justin Smoak instead of Jesus Montero during the Cliff League saga. Smoak continue to disappoint as a big leaguer with his .234/15/55 season as the M’s starting first baseman. Lee was the difference for the Rangers during the 2010 playoffs. Will Fister be the difference for the 2011 Tigers? If so, that makes two pennant winners courtesy of Jack Z. Only problem is neither one of them would reside in the city of Seattle.


Adam Rubin gives us the insane amount of rain both New York teams had to contend with throughout this season. I always admire how Rubin is the first to reports stats like this - good job!

The #Mets spent 21 hours, 19 minutes in rain delays in 2011, most in baseball. #Yankees ranked second at 17 hr, 55 mn.Sat Oct 01 01:20:03 via TweetDeck

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4 Responses to Rain, MLB Incompetence, and Jack Zduriencik Will Decide ALDS

  1. tnt1528

    well mlb has this thing that the yankees play every single game in prime time, even tho there are games in different time zones.for some reason the central coast teams had to play earlier..this is why the nfl is ruling the sports world..i bet every single team is on mnf,snf and thursday night this yr……..if mlb did it right th eyanks would have been on at 5 or 6 ,then the texas/tampa game……just a side note but werent you mets fans pissed when they had to play arizona 2 times at 11 at night ny time?

  2. Ralph C

    The NFL/football, while it is my favorite sport, is so dominant because of the once a week nature and the gambling angle. A mediocre matchup-iincluding preseason-will have a great rating.
    The Yankees are often put in prime time because they are baseball’s only decent chance of getting a good rating due to the hate-love relationship with the team and the brand. If the Brewers and D-backs game was started at 8:30 the ratings would be a disaster because nobody, except the diehards and those in Pheonix or Milwaukee, would watch.
    And the NFL is just as corrupt with their scheduling. Other than ratings, what was the logic behind starting the Bears-Sehawks divisional playoff last year at 1 PM ET (noon central and 10 AM in Seattle!) and the Jets-Pats later that day at 4:30?

  3. tnt1528

    youll never know if its a disaster until you put them on..wasnt last yrs giants/rangers better rated then yanks /phils?

  4. Ralph C

    Phillies-Yankees had a better rating than Rangers-Giants.

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