NY Sports Day
Matt Mankiewich

Karpin’s Korner: ‘Stros Plunder Blunder, Zack Attack, Playoffs-Play-On

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Unless the Yankees can climb into a 1985 “DeLorean” to travel back in time to October 2017 and “Turn the Cheat Around,” there is no way to change what happened when they were beaten by the “Houston Cheat-ens” in the ALCS.

The word, impact, is defined as “have a strong effect on someone or something.”

There is no questioning the fact that the Astros “sign stealing scandal” had some kind of an impact on the 2017 American League Championship Series. How much of an impact it had remains a mystery.

The only way we can make an educated guess of how the 2017 post-season was impacted by the Astros is to examine what went on in those seven games. I believe the Astros employed their devious system at different times throughout the series, but games 6 and 7 is when you could argue that their cheating ways had an impact on the series.

Yankee pitcher Luis Severino’s performance should be one of the focal points. In game 2 of the 2017 ALCS, Severino pitched four solid innings and gave up one run, a home run to Carlos Correa. The right hander, who features a nasty slider, got four swings and misses and did not strike out a batter during his outing. At the time, then Yankee Mgr. Joe Girardi was employing his quick hook and took Severino out after 62 pitches.

In game 6, the Astros lit up Severino and seemed to be on every pitch, including his off speed stuff. I remember commenting that “I couldn’t believe how the Astros hitters were laying off Severino’s off speed pitches.” Severino lasted 4.1 and was charged with three earned runs on three hits with four walks and three strikeouts. Those numbers may not look that bad, but the Houston hitters were on every pitch as if they knew what was coming.

A year later, Severino was again accused of tipping pitches when he got lit up by the Red Sox in game 3 of the ALDS. Those same Red Sox who are also under investigation by MLB for allegedly using technological methods to gain a competitive edge.

The Astros are like the players who cheated at one of those old Wild West card tables. You know what happened to them. You can expect a similar sentiment when Houston starts playing exhibition and real games, but instead of dodging bullets, they’ll likely be ducking baseballs.

Very interesting exchange between former Met Zack Wheeler and GM Brodie Van Wagenen. Wheeler said he went back to the Mets, before he signed his 5-year, $118 million dollar deal with the Phillies, and got no answer whatsoever.

Wheeler was quoted as saying, “That’s how they roll,” meaning the way he perceives how the Mets organization conducts their business. Van Wagenen tweeted back that the Mets helped Wheeler, “Parlay two good half-seasons over the last five years into $118 million.” BVW didn’t need to go there but I would not have given Wheeler the deal he got from Philadelphia.

There are some fickle folks out there who felt the Mets should’ve re-signed Wheeler and traded Noah Syndergaard. That would’ve been a mistake.

As far as the proposed playoff expansion, To me, where does it end?

Under MLB’s proposal, (that was first reported by NY Post Columnist Joel Sherman) seven teams in each league would make the playoffs. There would be the three division winners and four Wild Card teams. The top team in each league would get a bye until the Division series, while the other two Division winners would get to choose and play two of the Wild Card teams with the remaining two playing each other.

Baseball’s motive is to keep fans’ interest in the regular season. (Not to mention the additional revenue) We heard the same refrain when the Wild Card was first introduced in 1995 and when the Wild Card was expanded in 2012. It is said that having more teams in the mix would sustain interest in the regular season, yet they keep coming back to that excuse and keep coming up with additional expansion proposals.

Baseball could expand the playoffs without such a radical change.

How about (and this is not an original thought) making the Wild Card teams play a best-of-three series and then expand the Divisional Series to a full seven games. The Division winners would only play at home while the two Wild Card teams could go to a 1-2 format. Of the two Wild Card teams that are left, the one with the better record would get game 2 and a potential game three at home.

The Red Sox finally got around to choosing a manager, although on an interim basis. Ron Roenicke, who was Alex Cora’s bench coach last season, was Boston’s pick to steer their ship that is on rocky waters.

Roenicke’s status will be dependent on two things. The first thing is what MLB will reveal as a result of their investigation of the 2018 team. The other, of course, is the won-loss record.

Roenicke managed the Milwaukee Brewers for parts of five seasons from 2011-2015. During his tenure, there were rumblings about his communication skills and how the players were relieved when Roenicke was let go in May 2015 and replaced by Craig Counsell.

In 1985, Yogi Berra was fired as Yankee Manager just 16 games into the season. If Roenicke is still the manager after MLB reveals their findings, he’ll last more than 16 games but will have an extremely short leash.

Karpin’s Korner appears every Friday on nysportsday.com


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