MLB is interested enough to experiment with a 15-second pitch clock in the minors. In the majors there is an average of roughly 25 seconds between pitches. But the big league players aren't likely to buy into this rule -- they don't like being rushed out of their routines -- so I don't expect to see it implemented. Expect to see some more half-measures to speed up the game instead.
With Javonte Perkins leading a solid group of returning players, I'll go with the Billikens. I could also see Terrence Hargrove Jr. blowing up next season. I'm a Yuri Collins fan as well. Getting Jordan Nesbitt to come home was also large. I like Missouri to develop into a nice team with a good freshman group and a strong group of multi-year transfers. But that process could take a season.
Those decisions are made at the local government level, hence the different attendance levels from city to city.
Shildt has dropped players in the order in the past when he has options. You can ask Paul DeJong about that. That said, even with DeJong and Molina both out of the lineup I woud not bat Carpenter fifth. That puts even more pressure on a guy who is fighting to stay in the big leagues. It puts an even bigger spotlight on him for John Mozeliak. Carpenter did get on base a few times Thursday, so that may earn him more at bats with DeJong out. But Jose Rondon had a nice spring and drove the ball well at Memphis, so he could be ready to make a play for the utility job.
Berube's job was secure. Doug Armstrong has shown has been slow to put coaches on the hot seat in his career and Berube's Cup triumph earned him tons of equity. Size is not the whole deal here, as Robert Bortuzzo and Nikko Mikkola can tell you. Both sat for stretches this season behind smaller defensemen who were better with the puck. Players need to be strong on the puck defensively and smart with it offensively to stay in the lineup. The Chief's system, like most, relies on players getting to the right spot on time and making a strong play when they arrive. Brayden Schenn and Ivan Barbashev are not giants, but they are two examples of what Berube values up front. Faulk is no giant either and he's been great in this system.
It's way too early to worry about Gorman's place in the majors. Right now he's striking out every other at bat at the Double-A level. But if he learns to make enough contact to advance to the majors, then, yes, he will likely need to embrace the DH role to play here. Edman fills a key offense role on this team and he's been fine at second base. Forcing Gorman to play second base has always looked like a classic square peg/round hole deal.
Fans put Jeff Albert on the hot seat, but I don't know that Cardinals management saw it that way. Certainly Mike Shildt stood behind him. As for making the Cardinals less prone to strikeouts than the league norm, good luck seeing that goal achieved. The game has changed. Players want to do damage when they hit the ball and they are willing to hit the ball less often in pursuit of that goal.
They will stay in the lineup if they play well. They fell out of the lineup because they were not playing well. The Blues like defensemen with big wingspans, of course, but that reach has to result in good plays on the puck or it's useless.
Tarasenko worked with the taxi squad prior to the last two games, but obviously he didn't show enough progress from his lower-body injury to get scrape off some rust Thursday. You should be concerned about his shoulder, always, as well as his inability to rediscover his old form. It will be interesting to see how much ice times (if any) he sees in the playoffs.
Why would Buffalo do that? The Sabres need to get a big package of young veterans, prospects and high picks to make that trade. The franchise blew the Ryan O'Reilly trade and it can't certainly afford to blow this situation if Eichel forces his deal. Yes, Jack does come with some medical risk. But he is still relatively young and I imagine the biddng for him would be high despite his neck issue and his history of losing. True franchise centers are scarce.
Matt is a not an adept bunter. Also, the analytics crowd frowns on bunting. And the guys behind Matt Thursday did not look comfortable at the plate. And the Cardinals are into the analytics. And . . . Shildt keeps hoping against hope that Carpenter will magically revive his career.
The Blues did the NHL a solid and agreed to play in the West Division this season with the pandemic realignment. So these late made-for-TV starts came with that decision. There will be fewer late starts next season when the Blues go back to the Central.
That is exactly the issue. Programs that drive revenue don't have to worry about overly harsh NCAA punishment regardless of how brazenly they cheat. That has been the case since SMU got caught paying players and it will remain the case until there is meaningful reform in college sports.
The matchup of Ryan O'Reilly on Nathan MacKinnon will give the 'Lanche some pause. Colorado coach Jared Bednar will play the cat-and-mouse game with ROR with the last change in Denver. As great as O'Reilly is playing, though, expecting him to slow that top line is asking too much.
The 'Lanche rested Nathan MacKinnon at the end, but they have Grubauer back in goal and playing well. Brandon Saad was working his way back from his ankle injury as well. Expect the Blues to see the 'Lanche as close to full strength.
That said, you know that Shildt is itching to find Carpenter more opportunities to earn his keep . . .
Right now the Cardinals have to be pleased with their outielders. They are getting plus fielding and enough production to win with the young guys. Tyler O'Neill is the key guy to track because Bader's excellent range should keep him in the mix given this team's commitment to pitching and fielding.