I saw ‘IT’, and I have many thoughts – many more than I actually can (or, rather, will (or rather, am allowed to)) fit into this space.
But in short: it was a ton of fun and definitely worth seeing. I don’t think it quite escaped the ‘Stranger Things’ mystique, both because of the shared actor and the 1980s face-lift, but, I mean, I love ‘Stranger Things’, so that was fine – I think.
The biggest downfall is that the horror wasn’t quite up to snuff for an R-rated feature. I think I get why they held back – making it a huge blockbuster likely required some restraint – but I think they could’ve hit the gas a little more. Overall, though, it was good.
Alright, news from around the league …
- The Cleveland Indians have won 18 consecutive games, which leaves them just two short of the 20 consecutive wins posted by the Oakland A’s in 2002 (which you may remember from the movie/book ‘Moneyball’, or being old like Brett). The record, however, is actually held by the 1935 Chicago Cubs at 21 consecutive Ws. With Carlos Carrasco and Corey Kluber up next against the Tigers (60-82), their chances of catching Oakland remain reasonably high. (Though they did just lose center fielder Brad Zimmer for the rest of the season.)
- At FanGraphs, Jeff Sullivan wonders whether the Indians have the best pitching staff ever. Which, before reading I thought nah, there’s no way. But now, well, maybe he’s onto something. There’s a bit of subjectivity baked in here, depending on which statistics you want to use and how you think the last few weeks will go for the Tribe, but finishing as one of the top ten pitching staffs of all times seems pretty much unavoidable at this point. (Something, something, they blew a 3-1 lead.)
- The Los Angeles Dodgers have lost ten consecutive games and 15 of their past 16. Which, wow. I want to LOL at them, but I was pretty excited to see someone hit 110+ wins for the second time this millenium. Now, they’ll have to go 18-1 the rest of the way to do it. Which, not happening.
- At FanGraphs, Dave Cameron suggests that the Dodgers look beyond terrible right now, and, yikes, it really has been that bad (they were outscored 42-10 during this last stretch). Consider that since August 26, the Dodgers collective 56 wRC+ is not only dead last in baseball, it’s 20 points worse than the 29th ranked Miami Marlins. Basically, they’ve been hitting for no power, have struck out a ton, are barely walking, and, because when it rains it pours, their BABIP is second to last. But it’s not just the offense, it’s the pitching, too. I couldn’t possibly capture everything Cameron has to say here, so be sure to check it out. The Dodgers will be in the postseason, but, as of now, they’ll be limping in.
- And speaking of that, how funny is it that the Nationals have clinched their division before the Dodgers? I know the NL West is vastly superior, and three teams will likely be headed to the postseason, but I don’t think I saw that coming. The Dodgers magic number currently sits at 11.
- Tommy Pham was out of the Cardinals lineup on Sunday due to some vision issues. Apparently, he’s struggled to see the ball during day games for a while now, but recently the issue has picked up at night, too. Given that he’s hitting a phenomenal .306/.406/.509 this season, losing him for any prolonged stretch of time will really hurt the Cardinals’ chances in the NL Central. All three Cubs games against St. Louis this weekend are during the day. [Brett: I totally read that line as if Michael were twisting a villainous mustache as he said it.]
- Worse, the Cardinals are still without Dexter Fowler, who crashed into the center-field wall at Busch Stadium on Saturday night, but the early news is good news: Fowler received a clean MRI scan and negative X-rays, showing no structural damage or broken bones in his left knee. The swelling, however, is supposedly quite significant, so it’s not entirely clear if and when he’ll be ready to rejoin the team. For now, he is not on the disabled list (not altogether necessary in September anyway) and is hitting .255/.356/.470 on the season (.393 OBP in the second half).
- Yesterday, Aaron Judge, 25 years old, hit his 40th and 41st home run, which put him in some elite company:
List of Yankees who reached 40 HR in their age-25 seasons or younger:
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) September 10, 2017
- It also made Judge the only rookie other than Mark McGwire to hit the 40 homer mark.
- Speaking of hitting a lot of homers, Giancarlo Stanton is just seven long balls shy of 61, which was the Roger Maris’ record (1961) that has since been beaten only by suspected steroid users: Barry Bonds (73 HRs, 2001), Mark McGwire (70 HRs, 1998 and 65 HRs, 1999), and Sammy Sosa (66 HRs, 1998, 63 HRs, 1999, 64 HRs in 2001). At the NY Times, Tyler Kepner has a fantastic piece on Stanton’s home run chase, featuring a discussion about his past, his batting stance, his pre and post-game routines, and interactions with the media (among other stuff). If you have some time, it’s worth a read.
- It looks like the Red Sox and Rays will be able to play their game at Tropicana Field this weekend, as the stadium should make it through Hurricane Irma without any major damage or serious flooding. That’s notable in and of itself, of course, but also because the Cubs are headed there a week from tomorrow.
- At Baseball is Fun, Fernando Abad struck out Adeiny Hechavarria on a 55 MPH eephus, and, like all of them, it’s just too funny to watch.
— Baseball is Fun (@flippingbats) September 11, 2017
- And finally, I found this pretty fascinating:
Aroldis Chapman has thrown the 27 fastest pitches of 2017.
Only 2 landed for hits (1B, HR). 16 strikes, 3 balls, 1 sac-fly, 5 field outs. pic.twitter.com/WrkTaQ54j3
— Baseball is Fun (@flippingbats) September 11, 2017