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McGon’s Picks: NFL Week 14

After a November full of favorites winning, there were plenty of underdogs who won to start December…

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…including my Cowboys, who I picked against.

I’ll be in attendance in the Meadowlands this weekend to see the Boys take on Eli’s team. Hopefully Eli Manning Day in Meadowlands before the game will remind fans why they have been hating on him for years by the end of the game.

To further comment on all of those upsets, I also saw a suffer in wins this in Week 13. While I still put up a solid 11-5 straight up, I went just 7-9 against the spread. Here’s a look back at the picks I made (winning team in red, spread winner in red):

Redskins (-1.5) at Cowboys

  • Cowboys 38, Redskins 14- After two weeks of feeling the Cowboys would play better after their poor performance the week before, I finally gave up on that. And then, they finally won. 10-6 is still not guaranteed to make the playoffs in the NFC, but if the Cowboys can get to full strength and win out to make it, that hypothetical hot streak would make them a dangerous team heading into the playoffs.

Vikings (+3) at Falcons

Lions (+3) at Ravens

  • Ravens 44, Lions 20- The Ravens have finally been able to put together consistent enough play to say that they are definitely a threat to go on a run to the playoffs. As for the Lions, they have completely fallen off after their impressive start to the season.

Patriots (-8.5) at Bills

49ers (+3) at Bears

Buccaneers (-1.5) at Packers

  • Packers 26, Buccaneers 20 (OT)- Are the Packers still a threat to make the playoffs? Almost everyone has written them off, but if they win week and Aaron Rodgers comes back, suddenly everything becomes a lot more interesting.

Colts at Jaguars (-9.5)

Broncos at Dolphins (+1.5)

Chiefs (-3.5) at Jets

  • Jets 38, Chiefs 31- I watched the majority of this, and what a game it was. The Chiefs had a chance to march down field and score a TD to win and cover, but a penalty on a Jets field goal led to a Jets TD, which led to one of the funniest things I have ever seen in a football game.

Texans (+6.5) at Titans

  • Titans 24, Texans 13- I would have nailed this spread and winner perfectly, had Derrick Henry not ran for a 75 yard touchdown on a play where the clock would have ran out had he been tackled.

Browns at Chargers (-14)

  • Chargers 19, Browns 10- The Browns came (somewhat) close to getting their 2nd win over the Chargers since the start of the 2016 season. They also came (somewhat) close to getting their second win overall since the start of the 2016 season.

Panthers at Saints (-4)

Rams (-7) at Cardinals

Giants at Raiders (-8.5)

  • Raiders 24, Giants 17- Geno Smith: 0-1 straight up as Giants QB, but 1-0 against the spread. Good teams win, great teams cover. Sign this man John Mara.

Eagles (-6) at Seahawks

  • Seahawks 24, Eagles 10-  GOD DAMMIT PHILLY! The one time the Cowboys need you to win all season, you let them down. The hot stat around the league this week is how the only win the Eagles have over a team currently above .500 is the Panthers. I won’t diminish what the Eagles have done this season, but keep note of this ahead of their matchup with the Rams, as well as going into the playoffs.

Steelers (-5) at Bengals

  • Steelers 23, Bengals 20- No one is talking about the actual game this week, only the violence that this game produced. But to stick to sports, this game was a great example of the vulnerability of the Steelers (down 17-0) as well as the dangers (23-3 run to finish).

2017 Straight-Up: 127-65, 2017 Vs. Spread: 95-91-6

Let the first quarter of the fourth quarter of the NFL season begin.

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Saints at Falcons (-2.5)

  • Huge matchup to start the week between the team leading the NFC South, and the team who was favored to be doing so coming into the season. While the Falcons took a step back last week, their defense found success against an improved Vikings offense. This matchup has been one over the years that has been won by the home team, especially when the visitor has been having the better year. I have the Falcons earning the win at home.

Cowboys (-4) at Giants

  • The Cowboys defense finally put together a great performance last week, holding the Redskins to 14 points and forcing four turnovers. Now, they get their defensive QB Sean Lee back. The Cowboys are definitely better with Zeke as to Alfred Morris, but the Cowboys are now as close to full strength as they will get without their star RB. Eli Manning day will only last so long as fans will be reminded “Oh wait, I forgot it’s not 2011 anymore”, and the Cowboys will win and cover in the Meadowlands.

Colts at Bills (-4)

  • After playing some okay football under Jacoby Brissett, the Colts have fallen off and have dropped 6 of 7. The Bills are clearly no threat in the AFC, but I like them to win and cover in this matchup. The Bills have been beaten up on inferior opponents at home this season, and the only win the Colts have on the road was in Houston in the Texans’ first game without DeShaun Watson. Bills Mafia will get this win on Sunday.

Vikings at Panthers (+2.5)

  • I think the Vikings are the better team here, but I like the Panthers to get the upset win at home to end the Vikings’ winning streak. Earning two straight road wins against good NFC teams is tough. The Vikings beat the Rams at home, then the Rams beat the Saints at home, and then the Saints beat the Panthers at home. Things will come full circle, and the Panthers will beat the Vikings in Charlotte.

Bears (+6.5) at Bengals

  • The Bengals are coming off a hard fought home performance against a good Steelers team. So while they played well, they got pretty banged up in the process. I think that this will show this week, and the Bears will keep it close and cover. However, the Bengals are the better team, and they will get the win at home.

Packers (-3) at Browns

  • The Packers have finally been playing some good football under Brett Hundley. They should have no problem beating the Browns, but Cleveland know that this may be their best chance to win in their four remaining games. The Browns will keep in close, but the Packers will win by less than a score, and enough to cover.

49ers at Texans (-3)

  • The 49ers got the win in Jimmy Garoppolo’s first start and he played well, but it is easy to forget that all 15 points came from the right foot of Robbie Gould. The Texans have played a little better of late under Tom Savage, winning at home before losing two close ones on the road. The Texans will return home and win by one score, and enough to cover.

Raiders at Chiefs (-4)

  • This game is very tough to pick, as the Chiefs have completely fallen apart, and while the Raiders have put together some wins, they have not exactly given anyone the feeling that they are a threat in the AFC. While it was their second loss, much of the Chiefs downfall began on that last second loss to the Raiders in October. I think they will get revenge this time winning at home. This one will be close, but I’ll give the Chiefs the cover as well.

Lions at Buccaneers

  • Note: This spread has not been announced yet due to the status of Matt Stafford. I will choose this game once his status is announced, and reveal what my pick was next week.

Titans (-3) at Cardinals

  • I think this game will be very similar to when the Jaguars went to Arizona a few weeks ago. Just like the Jaguar game, the Cardinals will play well at home against a better AFC South opponent. Except this time, they won’t get out to a 13-0 lead. The Cardinals will keep it close, but the Titans will ultimately win by less than a score, but enough to cover.

Jets (-1) at Broncos

  • Will the Broncos finally find their way this weekend? Nope! While I picked the Dolphins last week, I thought it would be a boring and low scoring game, not a blowout at the hands of the lowly Dolphins. The Broncos are hopeless on offense, and the Jets will continue their surprisingly good play and win in Denver.

Redskins (+6) at Chargers

  • The Redskins looked awful last week, but they will come into this one on extra rest. While the Chargers won yet again last week, they looked less dominant against the Browns than they have in past weeks. I think the Chargers win again, but the Redskins keep it close to cover, and lose it in a Redskins way.

Seahawks (+2.5) at Jaguars

  • Even week Jaguars, underdog Seahawks, and Seahawks coming off a great win. Do you see a trend here? Russell Wilson and the Seahawks will go into Jacksonville and take care of business yet again.

Eagles at Rams (-2.5)

  • I’m not completely buying into the Eagles wins being degraded due to the lack of wins over good teams, but I think the Eagles will come up short on the West Coast yet again this week. In the first matchup of Jared Goff vs. Carson Wentz, I think Goff shows why he was the No. 1 pick, and the Rams win and cover at home.

Ravens (+5) at Steelers

  • You can throw out the record books when these teams match up. The Ravens have put together a few good wins lately, and just like the Bengals, the Steelers are banged up and missing a few key players. I’m expecting a great game on Sunday night, with the Ravens covering, but the Steelers getting the win.

Patriots (-11.5) at Dolphins

  • A division leader traveling to a division rival while shorthanded is bad for almost any team. Except for the Patriots. Tom Brady and Co. thrive in the face of adversity, and I expect nothing different this weekend without Gronk. The Patriots will win and cover over the Dolphins for the second time in three weeks.

That’s it for this week, be back for Week 15. Can the Steelers edge out the Ravens once again?

I Feel Like I’m Taking Crazy Pills Here!!!

When news broke on Tuesday, that Eli Manning would no longer be the Giants’ starting quarterback, I planned not to write a post about the matter.  I figured that my lengthy Eli post from two weeks ago allowed me to say what I need to say (John Mayer).  However, after the past four days, I need to make another post.

I feel like I’m taking crazy pills!!!  Nearly every person I know or have heard is ready to tar and feather the Mara family, Jerry Reese, and Ben McAdoo for what has gone down this week with Eli.  I, however, am fine with what the Giants have done.  Hard-core football fans, casual football fans, Giants fans, Jets fans, Patriots fans, adults, children, Mike Francesa, Michael Kay, Don LaGreca, Bill Simmons, Bill Barnwell, friends of mine, family members of mine, current Giants, former Giants, and lastly Michael Rapaport are all mortified by the Giants’ handling this week of Eli Manning.  Like when I told the world that I enjoyed Dumb and Dumber To, I am a man on an island, and that is ok with me.

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Business Insider Photo of Eli Manning press conference after the Giants announced his benching

That said, I am writing this post to express my shock at the level of outrage over the Giants’ decision.  I had hoped for several weeks that the Giants would eventually move to see what they have in their other quarterbacks, but I did not think they would have the courage to do it.  Eli Manning is likely the best human being in the NFL, and it takes a lot of courage to tell such a wonderful person that he has to ride the pine.  I figured that, if McAdoo/Reese/Mara could find the courage to make the decision, most people would react similarly to my view of “I feel terrible for Eli.  He has played his heart out as a Giant and has never missed a start.  The team around him this year was bad.  However, this is the right move for the future of the team.”  Wow was I wrong!

Obviously, all Giants fans will forever look fondly upon Eli’s work in leading the Giants to two Super Bowl Championships.  Much less obviously, apparently 99% of the world seems to look back fondly on his 32-43 regular-season record over the past five seasons and his 2-9 record this season.

Here are some common refrains I have heard this week and my rebuttals:

  • “How can you tarnish a man’s legacy like this?” I am sorry, but the 2-9 season and 4-of-5 seasons below .500 are tarnishing the legacy, not the benching.  QBs who go 2-9 and 32-43 tend to get benched.
  • “Joe Montana, Dan Marino, Jim Kelly, etc. (fill in the blank with any great QB here) never got treated like this.” Again, those quarterbacks never went had years this bad or five-year stretches this bad.
  • “But the team around Eli is terrible!!!” This is true, but Eli has made a bad situation worse, not better.
  • “But the Giants will be even worse without Eli at QB!” They are 2-9.  Mathematically speaking, it is tough to get worse.
  • “How could they ask him to play just one half? That makes a mockery of the game.”  Oh yeah, I am sure you would feel sooooooo much better if the Giants had just flat-out benched him without at least giving him this option.
  • “How could they go to Geno, not Webb?” True story, there were multiple games this season when I texted people that “Giants would be better using Geno right now”.  I said this because a quarterback with at least some mobility would fare much better than Eli behind a porous offensive O-Line.
  • “But we saw Geno with the Jets, and he was terrible and a bad leader. He even got punched in the face, and nobody came to his defense.”  First of all, he did have some great games as a Jet, including wins over the Patriots and Falcons.  He was a second-round pick who has plenty of talent.  Yes, he was immature…very immature.  However, people can mature.  Is it possible that getting clocked in the face and then spending three years backing up class acts like Eli and Ryan Fitzpatrick can make him a better person, leader, and player?    I am not saying it is likely, but it could happen.
  • “If the Giants were gonna do this, how could they not have Webb ready?” This setup works just fine.  If Geno does well, the Giants can roll with him.  If he does badly, they can go to Webb.  If either one of them ends up looking awesome, the Giants will feel less compelled to draft a quarterback in the first round.  Drafting Saquon Barkley or an offensive lineman would not be a bad thing.
  • “If the Giants released him today, he would hardly last a second on the open market.” I disagree.

 

Anyway, among the many who have condemned the Giants this week, Bill Barnwell of ESPN is the only person who has an idea that would have made sense.  He says the Giants should have announced that next week’s home game against Dallas would be Eli’s last start.  That way, the Giants fans could have bid him farewell in a more respectable manner.  I like the idea, but I would have done that in the Chiefs game, so that the Giants could have gotten 6 games to look at their young quarterbacks.  However, I am not losing sleep that the Giants did not do this.  The Giants will give Eli his due when they put him in the Ring of Honor as soon as his career ends.

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Washington Post Photo

Lastly, I have not generally been a big fan of Ben McAdoo.  Some of that is because I did not love his play-calling as offensive coordinator.  (Whereas I was one of the few who was fine with Kevin Gilbride)  Some of that is because, when I look at his face, I cannot help but think of PC Principal.  That said, McAdoo has shown me something positive this week.  While everyone else is dumping on him, I praise him (and Reese and the Maras) for making a courageous decision.

 

I should add that I am not writing this post because I hate Eli.  I simply have been down this block before.  I have said goodbye to Martin Brodeur, Scott Stevens, and Mike Piazza.  I am stuck in what seems to be a 4-year-long goodbye to David Wright.  These things happen; it is inevitable.  Eli, you have been a delight to watch on the field.  Your humanitarian work is second to none.  As Bill Simmons often discusses, I would love to have you marry my hypothetical daughter or hypothetical sister.  In an era with many NFL scandals, you represent everything that is right with football.  However, Giants fans, it is time to look to the future.

McGon’s Picks: NFL Week 5

Week 4 was a crazy one in the NFL…

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…and games are becoming unpredictable. This is both good and bad. It’s bad for betting and making picks, as the team who looked great or bad last week may have a complete reversal of fortune the following week(s). But it’s great because the NFL has become even more exciting to watch. This could be that year where two completely random teams end up meeting in the Super Bowl, it’s been that unpredictable. I knew going into last week nothing was going to be any different, as 9 of the 16 games had spreads that were 3.5 points or less. Anything can happen in those kinds of games, and that did not work well for me. Last week was my worst to date, and the craziness continued as I actually did better against the spread (7-9) than straight up (6-10). In addition, this week could not have ended any crazier for betting, as this play not only helped the Chiefs cover, but also pushed the game to cover the over.

Let’s just say thank God I had no wagers involved on this one. Here’s a look back at the picks I made (winning team in red, spread winner in red):

 

Bears at Packers (-7)

Saints at Dolphins (+3) (London)

Rams at Cowboys (-6.5)

Bills at Falcons (-8)

Bengals at Browns (+3)

Lions at Vikings (EVEN)

Panthers (+9) at Patriots

Jaguars (-3.5) at Jets

Steelers at Ravens (+3)

Titans at Texans (+1.5)

49ers (+7) at Cardinals

Eagles at Chargers (+1.5)

Giants (+3) at Buccaneers

Raiders at Broncos (-2.5)

Colts (+13) at Seahawks

Redskins (+7) at Chiefs

2017 Straight Up: 40-23, 2017 vs. Spread: 30-32-1

Onto the craziness of Week 5.

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Patriots (-6) at Buccaneers

  • Honestly, I’m shocked this spread is this big based on how the Patriots have played, but I think they will cover it anyway. The Patriots last responded to a home loss with an easy road win against an NFC South opponent, so I think Brady and Co. will do the same this week. Even if they end up being not as good this year, is there anyone who does not think the Patriots will at the very least win the AFC East?

Bills at Bengals (-3)

  • The Bills have had a great start to the season, and are coming off a very impressive road win against a Falcons team that is definitely better than the Bengals. However, the Bengals have found their stride the last two games, and this is their first home game since. I expect that this time the Bills will not have as much success on the road, and the Bengals will win and cover.

Jets (+1) at Browns

  • Through two weeks, it looked as if the Browns would be a much more competitive team this year. However, they could not have taken a larger downfall than they have the last two weeks. The exact opposite can be said about the Jets, who are now 2-2. Myles Garrett may be making his debut, but I like the Jets to continue this little streak and get the upset win in Cleveland.

Panthers at Lions (-2.5)

  • Outside of the Rams, the Lions have had the most surprising and impressive start to this season, and they were a yard away from still being undefeated. The Panthers had a very impressive win last week at New England, but their season has been up and down so far. I like the Lions to continue to dominate this season, winning and covering at home.

49ers at Colts (-1.5)

  • The Colts have looked much better offensively since naming Jacoby Brissett their starting QB. The 49ers have lost each of their last 3 games by 3 points or less, but every week, their opponent is just slightly better. I think the same trend will continue this week, and the Colts will win a one score game, but enough to cover.

Titans at Dolphins

Note: The spread has not been released yet due to the Titans QB situation, but I’m going to assume Matt Cassel will be starting.

  • As a Cowboys fan, I know what having Matt Cassel as your QB means. It means a lot of bad passes, a lot of trips to the Red Zone that end with a field goal, and a lot of close losses, regardless of the skill of the opponent. In addition, they got absolutely embarrassed in Houston last weekend. The Dolphins have only scored 6 point the last two games, but I still like them to win their first game in Miami against a Titans team starting Matt Cassel (if you’re going to watch any of the videos I’ve posted, this is the one).

Chargers at Giants (-3.5)

  • Talk about a shit show heading to the Meadowlands. A matchup between two teams that should be better than 0-4 going for their first wins should actually be decently entertaining. Throw in the Eli Manning-Phillip Rivers connection, it makes it even more interesting. This game is gonna have a great mix of great plays and complete bonehead plays, but ultimately I think the Giants win a close one, and enough to cover.

Cardinals (+6.5) at Eagles

  • The Cardinals describe the perfect .500 team. Plays down to their worst opponents, yet stays competitive with the best ones. The latter is what we have this weekend, and with the Eagles tendency to play close games as well, I think the Eagles get the win at home, but the Cardinals cover.

Jaguars (+8) at Steelers

  • Do odd numbered weeks favor the Jags? They have won two blowouts outside of Jacksonville in Weeks 1 and 3, while getting crushed at home against the Titans and losing on the road to the Jets in Weeks 2 and 4, respectively. I think the odd-week Jaguars continue as they will cover, but not have enough to win in Pittsburgh.

Ravens (+2.5) at Raiders

  • Really tough matchup to pick here. On one hand you hand the Ravens who have looked awful the last two weeks. On the other, the Raiders looked awful at the end of last season without Derek Carr. The Raiders may have some trouble scoring, and I think Flacco and the Ravens do enough to get an ugly upset in Oakland.

Seahawks at Rams (-1.5)

  • Before the season, I picked the Rams to win this matchup because the Seahawks have lost on the road against them each of the last two seasons. But now, the Rams offense may be for real. They will face a very big test against Seattle’s D and their offense which may finally be finding its groove. But I like the Rams to get a get a big win at home and prove they are finally for real this year.

Packers at Cowboys (-2)

  • For the second straight week, the Cowboys will face a team coming off extended rest from a Thursday night game. However, the Packers got pretty banged up against the Bears. The last time these teams met, the Packers won by 3 as an extremely hot team. Right now, the Packers are not as good as that team was, and the Cowboys will be looking to avenge a team that has bounced them in each of their last two playoff appearances. I like the Cowboys to win and cover at home.

Chiefs at Texans (+1)

  • The Chiefs have undoubtedly been the strongest team in the NFL so far this season. However, the Texans have been a significantly different team since starting DeShaun Watson as QB. The team who put up less than 10 in Week 1 put up over 50 last week. I think the Chiefs unbeaten run ends and the Texans pick up the upset win at home.

Vikings at Bears

Note: The spread has not been released due to the Vikings QB situation.

  • The highest drafted QB from the last draft, Mitchell Trubisky, makes his debut for the Bears. As a QB who only played one year in college, has a rough team around him, and is playing an elite defense I don’t like his chances in his debut. No matter who is playing QB, I like the Vikings to win a low scoring game.

Be back for Week 6. Will the Giants and Chargers BOTH still be winless?

This Rutgers Football Banner Makes No Sense

Real head-scratcher here. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huuuuge spraypainted banner fan. Some of the ones we had for the Penn State game last year were classic.

But this banner? Makes absolutely no sense. First of all, Zeke doesn’t even go to Ohio State anymore and hasn’t for 2 years. We also happen to know that Ray Rice, arguably the greatest Rutgers football player ever, had a video of him hitting his wife go viral (I still think he got the short end of the stick with his complete exile from football after that, considering there are certainly other guys in the league who have done as bad/worse things and just weren’t caught on camera, but domestic violence is still inexcusable). So there’s really two options for what happened here.

On the one hand, they completely forgot about the most high-profile domestic violence case in recent NFL history, which just so happened to involve our best player ever. Or, it’s just a really bad sarcastic joke. And take it from me, I make AWFUL sarcastic jokes multiple times every day, I know a bad one when I see one. But “hey guys, get it? We had a star running back beat his significant other too!” isn’t exactly a knee slapper. And yes, I know the Penn State ones are pretty awful too, considering the acts that took place. But that’s something they did and we didn’t; saying “our former player hit a girl too” doesn’t exactly make us look good.

Overall, I respect the effort. I love banners like this, and getting on Barstool is dope. But in a classic Rutgers move, the banner makes absolutely no fucking sense. At the end of the day, we could have the most savage banners ever created hanging all over College Ave and we’re still probably going to lose by 40. But every time my brain tells me there’s no chance, my heart (and my drunk brain) tells me maybe there is a chance. Saturday can’t get here fast enough, RU Rah Rah baby.

P.S. Anyone who ever tells you at a tailgate that “it’s a marathon not a sprint” is probably an undercover cop. Who says you can’t sprint the whole marathon?

This Post is Long, but Baseball Needs to Shorten Its Season and Change Its Playoff Structure

Last week, I wrote about a “short” column about an easy baseball fix with which all fans should agree.  This post is going to be different.  I am going to propose two more drastic changes to baseball.  These changes are likely to be more controversial than simply limiting the number of relievers per game, and this post is guaranteed to be much longer than last week’s.  Let’s dive right in:

Change #1: The MLB season should be cut to 144 games.

There is only one good reason to have a 162-game season.  That reason is, “We have no playoffs, just a World Series.  Therefore, we want a big enough sample size to ensure that the best AL team and the best NL team make the World Series.”  That reason did exist from 1961 through 1968.  I will add that, prior to 1961, there were also no playoffs, just a World Series; but the season was 154 games long.  Frankly, I would personally love to eliminate divisions and return to the 1961-1968 “162 games, no playoffs” format, but I realize that this country is no longer equipped to handle a scenario in which half the league is eliminated from World Series contention by Memorial Day.  Therefore, I am not proposing that.  Moving on… Continue reading This Post is Long, but Baseball Needs to Shorten Its Season and Change Its Playoff Structure

An Easy Fix That All Baseball Fans Should Agree On

Everyone knows that Judd Apatow’s movies are always 15 minutes too long.  Similarly, you loyal readers of BTB probably realize that my posts are always 2-3 paragraphs too long.  I am going to try to compensate for that with a quick little post about an easy fix to something all baseball fans hate.

Every baseball fan hates the expanded September rosters.  Nobody wants to see a 6-5 9-inning game with 16 total pitchers used.  You shouldn’t be able to drive from North Jersey to Montreal over the length of a 9-inning game.  The signature moment of the 2016 Mets season was a walkoff homerun by Asdrubal Cabrera.…but that was still the end of a 9-8 11-inning victory in which 19 pitchers were used!  The game lasted 4.5 hours, the last three of which occurred during Jacoby Brissett’s first NFL win (27-0 shutout over Houston).  Therefore, the signature moment of the Mets’ 2016 season occurred well after many fans had tuned out.

I have heard smart people like Howie Rose and influential people like Mike Francesa come up with clever solutions.  Howie has suggested that teams continue to be able to expand to 40-man rosters in September, with the caveat that teams can only “dress” 25 players per game.  Francesa says that teams should be able to have a 30-man roster all year, with 25 people “dressing” each game.  This all sounds well and good, but there is one major flaw.  In both situations, teams will not dress starting pitchers unless they are starting that night.  For example, in a mythical world where the Mets’ five young starters are healthy and dominating; if it’s deGrom’s night to pitch, the team would deactivate Syndergaard, Harvey, Matz, and Wheeler.  Since NL teams typically carry 7 relievers while AL teams typically carry 8, this loophole would essentially cause NL teams to have 11 active relievers and AL teams to have 12.  Problem not solved.  Joe Girardi and Terry Collins would definitely try to use a double-digit number of relievers every night.  What a nightmare.

Therefore, the best solution is this.  No team should be able to use more than 7 pitchers in a 9-inning game.  If you make that change, all the other proposals are rendered unnecessary.  Really, an MLB team should be able to get through every game with no more than 5 pitchers, so I’m being nice.  I know that purists hate rule changes, but purists also long for the days where starters usually went 9, while relievers pitched until they were no longer effective.  Non-purists are fine with rule changes.  Everyone should like this change. Plus, by capping a team at 7 pitchers per 9-inning game, managers would be forced to try to stick it out with pitchers a little longer.  Managers would want to “keep pitching changes in their pocket” for later in the game when the biggest at-bats arise.

Let’s do it, Rob Manfred.  Save these overthinking managers from themselves and cap teams at 7 pitchers per 9-inning game.