Dan's Dugout: Lessons We Learned from the Playoffs • Latino Sports

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Dan’s Dugout: Lessons We Learned from the Playoffs

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Even though postseason play still has weeks to run, the games thus far have taught us several lessons. Here are just a few:

• If you’re in a late-innings tie in the wild-card game, don’t leave the world’s best closer sitting in the bullpen (yes, we’re talking to you, Buck Showalter)
• If you’re in a scoreless tie and your starter is pitching better than the other guy, don’t take him out (what say you, Terry Collins?)
• Even though a team scores 100 fewer runs than its playoff rival, that’s no guarantee of defeat (see Cleveland 3, Boston 0 in AL Division Series)

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• Pitchers can hit home runs too (home runs by Jake Arrieta, Trevor Wood)
• After producing the worst record in baseball over the second half, the San Francisco Giants suddenly remembered they’re supposed to be world champs in even-numbered years (2010, 2012, 2014, 2016?)
• Now that the Curse of the Bambino is history, the Goat Curse could follow into the dustbin of history (Cubs have no pennant since 1945, no world championship since ‘08)
• Somebody nobody ever heard of will become a hero (Conor Gillaspie)
• The teams with the best records rarely reach the World Series anymore
• Terry Francona was Cleveland’s secret weapon in sweeping the favored Red Sox
• Thirty teams were idiots to let Dusty Baker idle in enforced retirement for two years
• Selling beer at all is a bad idea but selling it in cans is even worse (right, Blue Jays?)
• Yoenis Cespedes is the personification of a streak hitter (he finished cold)
• Overconfidence killed the Red Sox, who followed an 11-game winning streak with a 1-5 finish and 0-3 performance in the playoffs
• Prospective free agents often make a big push in the playoffs (i.e. Jose Bautista)

Jose Bautista's bat is boosting the Blue Jays Credit: Frank Hyatt

Jose Bautista’s bat is boosting the Blue Jays
Credit: Frank Hyatt

• Texas ace Cole Hamels let his cold September continue into the ALDS
• Even after two straight AL West titles, the Rangers won’t return to the playoffs unless they can re-sign Ian Desmond, Jonathan Lucroy, Carlos Beltran, and Mitch Moreland
• Aroldis Chapman, virtually untouchable after his trade from the Yankees to the Cubs, was a bust when the Cubs needed him most (NLDS Game 3 in San Francisco)
• The Cleveland Indians missed a chance to tie Texas for most wins in the AL by virtue of a last-week rainout that was never made up (Texas went 95-67, Cleveland 94-67)
• Even without injured starters Danny Salazar and Carlos Carrasco, the Indians are still strong enough to ambush all comers
• Dave Roberts, whose career milestone was a stolen base in the playoffs, can still steal games as a manager

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About Dan Schlossberg

Former AP sportswriter Dan Schlossberg of Fair Lawn, NJ has produced 35 baseball books, including autobiographies of Ron Blomberg, Al Clark, and Milo Hamilton. Also a broadcaster, he is the host and executive producer of Braves Banter and Travel Itch Radio and a contributor to Sirius XM.

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