I don't think they have the pieces to come back if Felix isn't sharp.
Dr. D is going to use the Baseball Shout Box, rather than the Lobby Shout Box, for a few weeks. Try and get several up a day. We'll see where you guys go with the traffic. As y'know, we live to serve.
Current playoff situation, after the M's scraped the Angels scrubs off the wall with a spatula Monday: for the M's to force a 1-game playoff, the Rangers would have to play badly. That's 7-and-12 badly. While the Mariners would have to play goodly, like 13-and-4 goodly. Also, the Twinkies have won this week, so the Twins would have to fade too.
Baseball Prospectus calculates that as a 0.3% chance of making the playoffs, or 3 playoff berths in 1,000 seasons. Sounds easy enough.
Funny thing is, comebacks like this have occurred 15 times in baseball history. The M's magic comeback in 1995, which saved baseball in Seattle, ranks a measly #72 on the comeback scale. We'll list a few:
1. The 1914 Boston Red Sox, er, Braves, were 26-and-40 on July 4th. John McGraw's New York Baseball Giants were 24-and-40, hence +15 games up on Independence Day.
The Braves had less than an 0.1% chance at the playoffs. Nevertheless the Braves, led by Johnny Evers, Rabbit Maranville, Johnny Connolly and a 150 ERA+ pitcher named Bill James, went 68-and-19 (!!) to run down the Christy Mathewson / Rube Marquard Giants. The Beaneaters also ran down the Cubs and Cardinals, no slouches in those days. Boston finished off the Home Run Baker / Eddie Collins / Connie Mack A's by 4-0 in the World Serious.
2. A little more recently, the 2005 Houston Astros faced an 0.2% playoff probability on June 7th, 2005. (Note that 0.2% is lower than 0.3%.) They had started the season 21-35, putting them -16 games out of the division Real Quick. But Biggio, Berkman and the Big Three of Clemens-Pettitte-Oswalt pulled off a 68-38 finish. Does this seem less probable, to you, than the M's charging from -7 back with 18 games to play?
3. When I was a kid, the legendary collapse was by Gene Mauch's Phillies in 1964. (I started following baseball in 1972, but the echoes of that humiliation were still reverberating all over the TV airwaves.) Sure enough, the St. Louis Cardinals had been down to a 0.2% chance of making the playoffs as of July 24th.
But it wasn't July 24th that anybody remembered; it was that the Phils had a +6.5 game lead on Sept. 20th (twelve games left in the season). Note that Sept. 20th is later than Sept. 15th. On Sept. 21, the Phils lost, and they lost again the next day, and they started panicking. Later, Gene Mauch was crucified for some "desperation" rotation switches that didn't pan out.
4. The 1973 New York Mets ("the Amazin' Mets" or "the lovable Mets") were also down to 0.2% on August 5th. They wound up winning the NL East with a mere 82-79 record. The Mets didn't win it; the Cardinals blew it (81-81 after being 61-50), and the Mets backed in. That Cards team had Bob Gibson, Ted Simmons, Joe Torre, Ted Sizemore, Lou Brock, Al Hrabosky and a buncha others.
5. We mentioned about the 2005 Astros stomping back from a 1-in-500 shot at the playoffs. Unfairly, the 2004 Astros ALSO charged back from an 0.6% shot at the playoffs.
6. The 2007 Rockies came back from 1.0%; the 2009 Rockies came back from 2.0%. That's kinda weird.
7. The 2002 A's were -9 games to the Mariners, who had won 116 games the year before, and who were a blistering 37-21 to start the season. As of June 5, the Mariners looked like they might win the next four Super Bowls in a row. Didn't happen that way. June 5, 2002 was the last meaningful moment in Mariners history. :- )
Fully 50 teams in MLB history have been odds of 1-in-20 or better to make the playoffs. It ain't Strat-O-Matic. If you can get the leaders feeling the pressure, you can force an implosion.
Point A: feel free to watch the next two Angels game with Dr. D's blessing. And scoreboard-watch the Rangers and Twins while you're at it. It will be a long winter; savor your last two days of the "pennant race."
Point B: Mather says McClendon is "fine" and it says here that the Committee will (1) decide whether to hand McClendon to the incoming GM -- following open, frank discussion with him/her -- and that (2) there is not a thing wrong with this. Honestly, most of what Lloyd says technically, I feel like he's way ahead of me. This is how we fans expect to feel about managers, but it isn't true as often as we'd like.
Case in point: Erasmo and his horse hockey fastball just lost a no-hitter in the 8th yesterday. He's 10-and-5 for the Rays, with a 7.1/2.4/0.9 three true outcomes. All his ratios are the same, except he now throws 4-seamers rather than sinking two-seamers. He used to throw 12% four-seamers (up) for the M's, and 40% two-seamers (down). For the Rays it's just 42% four-seamers and a measly 12% four-seamers. Meaning, the new org does not throw hissy fits about keeping the ball down. This is a Dr. D axiom: attack UP, change the eye level, but cross them up with your good change or curve.
This is a real problem for the M's. A single elevated pitch gets hit, and they want to pitch to contact again.
Most-similar TTO for the Tampa version of Erasmo: Dallas Keuchel.
No, we were serious. McClendon actually does point out a lot of stuff that you hadn't noticed. Got a lot of similarities to Lou. I wouldn't sell him as a gold standard, though.