THE PALLILOG

Let's examine how a 60-game season could impact the Astros

Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

So there's going to be a Major League Baseball season of sorts after all. We think so anyway. COVID-19 could weigh in further. After a pathetic and damaging negotiation between the owners and players, we wind up with a 60 game blink of a season. 37 percent of a 162 game schedule is not a legitimate season. That equates to a six game NFL regular season or a 30 game NBA regular season. No one would find either of those legit. But 60 is what we have. If you like baseball (or at least the Astros) it can be exciting, and it will do if for no other reason than it has to. The postseason format will be legitimate, but whatever team wins the World Series will not be a champion worthy of the same regard of any full season champ. That won't make winning worthless, but it will make it different and discounted in value.

If last season knocked off after 60 games, the eventual World Series winning Washington Nationals would not have made the playoffs. 60 games into the 2018 season the Dodgers would have been on the outside looking in. They wound up winning the National League pennant. A 60 game regular season in 2018 would have relegated the Astros to having to play in the American League Wild Card game, on the road at the Yankees.

Great teams can play mediocre ball over a 60 game stretch. In 2017 the Astros roared out of the gate destroying their competition. They started the season 42-17. They would wind up winning 101 games and the World Series. Yet, over a 60 game stretch from early July into mid-September the Astros went 29-31. Over 162 games baseball water nearly always finds its level. 60? A different animal.

Amidst all the fallout of a truncated season, the Astros lost their shot at becoming the first team to ever win at least 100 games for four consecutive seasons. The .617 winning percentage that yields 100 wins over 162 games translates to a 37-23 record over 60 games. Las Vegas has the scaled down Astros win total over/under number at 34 ½. That's two behind the Yankees, tied with the Twins, just one half game more than the Rays, one ahead of the Athletics. Using the Vegas numbers, if the Astros dipped to 31 wins (which is not a free fall from 34 ½) they'd miss the playoffs. The separation that occurs among teams over 162 games simply cannot happen over 60. It introduces a greater component of chance though not outright randomness.

With design of reducing travel, interleague play becomes a much larger element of the schedule. In a normal season teams play 20 games vs. the opposite league. They'll still play 20 this year, now that's one third of the schedule as opposed to 12 percent.

NBA

While baseball plans to play at all home stadia with the possible exception of Toronto, the NBA bubble plan marches toward a July 30 resumption of play. The Atlanta Hawks aren't among the 22 teams heading to Orlando, so Vince Carter formalized his retirement announcement Thursday. Carter was much more than a dunker though I think he's the best in game dunker I've ever seen. Yes including Michael Jordan and Dominique Wilkins. I didn't see enough early Dr J. Carter generated two different cool nicknames: "Air Canada" during his early Toronto Raptor seasons, and "Half Man, Half Amazing" courtesy of Kenny Smith. "Vinsanity" wasn't bad either. The surefire future Hall of Famer played in a record 22 NBA seasons. That's one more than Kevin Garnett, Dirk Nowitzki, Robert Parish, and Kevin Willis. Think LeBron James has five more seasons in him? LeBron is 35 years old and in his 17th season. Carter retires at age 43. Carter finishes up 19th on the NBA career scoring list. No player eligible for the Hall in the current top 40 all-time has failed to make the Hall. Most prolific scorer eligible for the Hall not elected? Tom Chambers.

Off the field

Quick hop up on a soapbox. Politely (or impolitely if it works better) guilt trip/shame those you know who are not wearing masks in public places. The Republican Governor of Texas and the Democrat Mayor of Houston agree masks are a must. Isn't that enough? The uptick in positive test percentages and hospitalizations is a saddening, angering, and pathetic testament to irresponsibility.

Buzzer Beaters:

1. Is Major League Baseball possible with no spitting allowed? That's part of the health protocol. No saliva, tobacco, seeds, or shells permitted. Gum is ok though.

2. Cheers for Liverpool! Where The Beatles came from you know. And for the first time ever, home of the English Premier League champs.

3. Most memorable masked movie characters: Bronze-Michael Myers/Jason Voorhees Silver-Batman Gold-Hannibal Lecter

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

Photo via: WikiCommons.

This week the NASCAR cup series heads to the world center of racing, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, for the inaugural fourth of July version of the Brickyard 400. This is unprecedented for NASCAR considering over the course of 50 years they are usually in Daytona around this time. While this move was met with a lot of criticism from fans, there is a positive to come from this move though, as the sport will hold their first doubleheader with Indycar. This has been talked about for many years and now it has finally come to fruition. Another new facet of this weekend will be the Xfinity Series running on the road course configuration. This could very well lead to the cup series transitioning from the oval to the road course next season should everything go well when the Xfinity series does it. It will definitely be an interesting weekend.

Last week, Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin dominated the first-ever doubleheader at Pocono. The two drivers finished first and second in both races with Harvick taking race one and Hamlin winning race two. Both of these races came down to pit-road strategy as Harvick was able to eke out a victory by taking two tires and fuel while his teammate Aric Almirola took four. The next day Denny Hamlin pretty much had the whole field covered as he went on to claim his fourth victory of the season. Overall, the idea of two races in a weekend went over well but for the racing itself, it was hard to watch. One of the main issues I had was how the drivers didn't have to shift this week. In my opinion, that was what made this track so unique. It was an oval that had road course characteristics and it usually produced some pretty good finishes. Hopefully this will be addressed when the new car makes its debut in 2022.

One of the big stories going into this week is the announcement a couple of weeks ago that NASCAR will be moving their all-star event to Bristol Motor Speedway. Over the past couple of weeks, there has been a whirlwind of news from the Bubba Wallace story at Talladega, to the doubleheader races last week. A lot of this has put this announcement on the back burner but this is a huge story. The race will be held on Wednesday, July 15th as NASCAR continues with midweek races. This is the first time since 1986 that the race will not be run at NASCAR's home track in Charlotte back when it took place at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The format will be pretty much the same as all the winners from 2019 and 2020 will all have an automatic birth into the race while the rest of the field will run in the open event the day before. The main event will feature four stages including a 15 lap closer around one of NASCAR's most popular race tracks. I think this move was long overdue and I hope that they continue with it in the future. Don't get me wrong, there isn't anything wrong with the race at Charlotte but I think a change of pace would be welcomed. I look forward to seeing how this turns out.

As we move on to Indy this weekend, the driver I have winning is Kurt Busch. This weekend will be the 2004 Cup Series champion's 700th career start, and he's won just about every race that there is to be won except this one here at the Brickyard. This week, that is going to change. It hasn't been the most consistent season for the Vegas native, but he still sits tenth in points and right in the thick of the playoff battle. This track isn't his best as he currently has a 19.42 average finish, including a dismal 30th place finish last year. But this week, I think he gets back on track with a victory as he starts second. The veteran has flown under the radar this year, but he has definitely shown spurts where we think he is going to break-out. He also has runs where it seems like him and his team are mid-pack, but there aren't many drivers out there that have the experience he has. And a talented driver like him always finds a way to bounce back. Look for Kurt Busch to take the #1 Monster Energy Camaro to victory lane.

All stats and information used in this article are brought to you by the good folks at driveraverages.com and Racing-Reference.com, the best websites for all NASCAR stats.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome