The AL East has been really tough to winSince 2010, the most and fewest number of wins for the winner of each MLB division, with the average number of wins (per 162 games) required 2008Tampa Bay Rays1096673 2017Cleveland Indians937111 2019Tampa Bay Rays11611715 WAR Rankings by category YearTeamHittingRunningDefenseStartersBullpenOverall These Rays go to 11MLB teams who ranked among the top 11 in every subcategory of wins above replacement — across offense, defense and pitching — since 1995 NL Central1049095.3 1996Texas Rangers1039763 AL Central1028894.2 AL West1058896.6 2016L.A. Dodgers9951146 2002Anaheim Angels9211164 It’s tough to find a more successful baseball club over the past decade-plus than the Tampa Bay Rays, owners of a 1,035-901 record — fifth-best in MLB — ever since their stunning breakout in 2008. The Rays went to the World Series that season and made the playoffs in three of the five years that followed, creating a blueprint for other teams hoping to win on similarly microscopic budgets. Even this year, the Rays sit 10th in our Elo team rankings despite ranking 30th in payroll.But for all of those wins, Tampa Bay has had some lousy luck in actually getting to the playoffs. The Rays have made only three postseason appearances this decade — and none since 2013. Only three teams in the expanded wild-card era (since 2012) have won 90 games but failed to play in the postseason: One of those was the 2013 Texas Rangers; the other two were Rays clubs, in 2012 and 2018. And this year’s team, on pace for 95 wins, has just a 54 percent chance of making the playoffs, according to the FiveThirtyEight model. What do the Rays have to do to get some postseason love around here?Some of Tampa’s troubles simply have to do with playing in the cutthroat American League East, where the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox are together currently spending more than twice as much on players as the rest of the division combined. Whether in terms of the average victories necessary to win the division or even just the bare-minimum requirement, those numbers have consistently been higher for the AL East than any other division in baseball this decade: 2001Seattle Mariners111951 AL East1089397.3 DivisionMostFewestAverage NL East1029096.1 NL West1049194.8 Winner’s Wins (per 162 games) 2002Seattle Mariners3410856 Source: Baseball-Reference.com In every division except the AL East and NL West, a 90-win team has had at least had some chance to come out in first place this decade. But in the AL East, no fewer than 93 wins have been required to win the division, and seldom fewer than 91 have been needed to make the playoffs, period.1Two 89-win teams — the 2016 Blue Jays and Orioles — and one 87-win team — the 2015 Yankees — have made the wild card this decade out of the AL East. By my accounting,2Using a logistic regression on team data since 1995, with a dummy variable for the extra wild-card slot MLB added in 2012. being in the AL East makes it 8 percentage points tougher for a 90-win team to make the playoffs than being in another division would make it, 10 percentage points tougher for an 89-win team and 12 percentage points tougher for an 88-win team.That sweet spot around 90 wins happens to be where Tampa tends to often find itself, and it’s tough to make the playoffs from that zone when you’re in the AL East. Last year was a great example: The Rays went 90-72 but were precluded from winning the division (the Red Sox won 108 games) or even finishing in second place (the Yankees won 100 on the number). That left only one solitary playoff spot even up for the Rays to battle for, and it was snapped up by the 97-win Oakland Athletics. Baseball’s seventh-best team by wins above replacement,3Using our JEFFBAGWELL metric to blend WAR from Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs. sporting a record that would normally earn a playoff slot 81 percent of the time in the double-wild-card era,4Once again, according to the logistic regression I ran. ended up missing the playoffs by seven whole games.But the Rays have found ways to miss the playoffs even when the Yankee/Red Sox hegemony was partially broken. Back in 2012, New York was good (95 wins) but hardly dominant, and Boston deteriorated completely under the not-so-watchful eye of Bobby Valentine, going 69-93. Meanwhile Tampa Bay had the fourth-most WAR in baseball, led by star seasons from Ben Zobrist (5.7 WAR) and David Price (5.5), plus solid years via players ranging from the expected (James Shields, Evan Longoria) to the out-of-nowhere (Jeff Keppinger??). By WAR, that was one of the most talented teams the Rays have ever produced. But they underperformed relative to the record their underlying stats say they “should” have had — according to BaseRuns, they should have made the playoffs with a 95-67 mark — wasting a red-hot 36-22 finish over the last two months of the season to end up three games shy of Texas and Baltimore for the wild card.The disappointing Red Sox will miss the playoffs this season as well, possibly finishing as many as 10 games behind the rival Rays. Although the Yankees have dominated this season, tracking for 105 wins, you would think 95 wins could at least buy the Rays a wild-card appearance, in a wide-open year with Boston out of the picture.And yet, here Tampa Bay is again, fighting for its playoff life on a nightly basis over the final few weeks of the season. Once again, the Oakland A’s — in many ways the West Coast mirror image of the Rays — are almost assured of one wild-card slot, putting themselves on pace for 97 wins by season’s end. And after the Minnesota Twins unexpectedly dominated the AL Central race, the Cleveland Indians’ only playoff hopes essentially rest on the same wild-card spot Tampa Bay has been eyeing all season. In the mega-top-heavy AL, one misfortunate team could win 95 games and still miss the playoffs entirely.5And the team that makes it would promptly haves to face a gauntlet of three hundred-win teams, and a 97-win one.If that team ends up being Tampa, it would obscure what has been maybe the most quintessentially Rays-y season of them all, in terms of doing more with less. The team’s best player by WAR (with 5.1) has been pitcher Charlie Morton, who had 1.5 career WAR to his name before joining the Astros in 2017; he is easily obliterating his previous career-best WAR (3.2 in 2018) this season at age 35. Left fielder Tommy Pham (3.9 WAR) had previously displayed his talent with 6.2 WAR in 2017, and shortstop Willy Adames had up-and-coming star potential. But the rest of Tampa Bay’s expected stars — such as pitcher Blake Snell and center fielder Kevin Kiermaier — have been merely OK, if also injured and/or underwhelming.Instead, the Rays have succeeded with a mishmash of acquired prospects (Austin Meadows, Tyler Glasnow), unheralded youngsters (Brandon Lowe), seemingly random pitchers (Ryan Yarbrough, Yonny Chirinos, Emilio Pagan), retread veterans (Travis d’Arnaud) and other spare parts. They still use the opener, still shift a ton and still play relievers in the field before putting them back on the mound. They’ve fought through key injuries to rank fifth in the league in WAR per game, and through Sunday they were tracking to become just the eighth team since the 1994 strike to rank among MLB’s top 11 in WAR from every phase of the game — hitting, fielding, base-running and pitching (both starting and relieving):6Yes, “top 11” is arbitrary. Who cares? This is an impressive all-around team season! 2019 Rays’ rankings are through Sept. 15.Source: Baseball-Reference.com, FanGraphs.com (Fittingly, the 2008 Rays — the team that started it all — are also in that club.)If Tampa Bay does end up missing the playoffs, it would go down as one of the best teams ever to fit that criteria. Its current Elo rating of 1543 would tie last year’s Rays for the second-best among nonplayoff teams of the double-wild-card era (trailing only the 2012 Rays), and its 0.303 WAR per game would easily be the highest of any nonplayoff team since 2012. The last team to miss the postseason with as many WAR per game was the 2011 Red Sox, who fumbled away their playoff hopes with one of the most infamous collapses in baseball history.But if the baseball gods know what they’re doing, they would maybe consider giving the Rays a break this time around. The franchise has already seen several of the hardest-luck nonplayoff seasons in recent history — and this year’s might be the cruelest postseason snub of all, given how many wins the Rays might rack up in vain. After so many years spent knocking on the door with records that usually belong in the postseason, it seems like it’s time Tampa finally gets in.Check out our latest MLB predictions.
$59 at eBay Tidal 3-month family subscription: $5.99 (save $54) 0 Mentioned Above Apple iPhone XS (64GB, space gray) $299 at Amazon Read DJI Osmo Action preview Though not technically a Labor Day sale, it’s happening during Labor Day sale season — and it’s too good not to share. Nationwide Distributors, via Google Express, has just about the best AirPods deal we’ve seen (when you apply promo code ZBEDWZ at checkout). This is for the second-gen AirPods with the wireless charging case. Can’t imagine these will last long at this price, so if you’re interested, act fast. Post a comment Rylo 5.8K 360 Video Camera: $250 (save $250) Best Buy Google Nest Hub: $59 (save $70) Spotify and most other streaming services rely on compressed audio, which robs the listener of full fidelity. Enter Tidal, the only “major” service that delivers lossless audio — meaning at least on par with CD quality, if not better. Want to see (er, hear) the difference for yourself? Grab this excellent extended trial while you can. It’s just $6 for three months, and it’s good for up to six listeners. Boost Mobile Amazon Sprint $999 Sarah Tew/CNET Panasonic Tesla,I’m shocked — shocked! — to learn that stores are turning Labor Day into an excuse to sell stuff. Wait — no, I’m not. As much as I respect the original intent of the holiday (which became official back in 1894), to most of us, it’s just a bonus day off — one that’s blissfully tacked onto a weekend. So, yeah, stores; go ahead, run your sales. I’m listening. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Labor Day doesn’t bring out bargains to compete with the likes of Black Friday (which will be here before you know it), but there are definitely some sales worth your time.For example:We’ve rounded up the best Labor Day mattress deals.We’ve also gathered the best Labor Day laptop deals at Best Buy.The 2019 Vizio P Series Quantum is back under $999.Be sure to check out Amazon’s roughly three dozen Labor Day deals on TVs and audio. Google Express is having a big sale as well, one that includes deals on game consoles, AirPods, iPhones, laptops and more.Below I’ve rounded up a handful of individual items I consider to be the cream of the crop, followed by a handy reference guide to other Labor Day sales. Keep in mind, of course, that products may sell out at any time, even if the sale itself is still running. Note that CNET may get a share of revenue from the sale of the products featured on this page. Rylo The Cheapskate An Echo Dot makes a fine match for any Fire edition TV, because you can use the latter to say things like, “Alexa, turn on the TV.” Right now, the 24-inch Insignia Fire TV Edition starts at just $100, while the 32-inch Toshiba Fire TV Editions is on sale for $130. Just add any Fire TV Edition to your cart, then add a third-gen Echo Dot, and presto: The latter is free. $6 at Tidal Apple AirPods with Wireless Charging Case: $155 (save $45) Comments HP Laptop 15t Value: $520 (save $780) $999 $90 at Daily Steals via Google Express Share your voice Angela Lang/CNET Share your voice Culture Car Tech Tech Industry Car Industry Car Culture Read Google Home Hub review $999 Sarah Tew/CNET $520 at HP $210 at Best Buy See at Amazon Read Lenovo Smart Clock review The Tesla-Panasonic solar cells are shipping mainly to a Singaporean-owned factory in the Philippines, a report says. Tim Stevens/Roadshow A majority of the Panasonic solar cells made at a Tesla plant in New York are reportedly being sent to a factory in the Philippines rather than staying in the US.The solar cells are being purchased by HRD Singapore, which supplies solar panels to Ichijo, a Japanese eco-home building company, according to a report Thursday from Reuters. Tesla and Panasonic teamed up to make solar cells and modules in 2016 following Tesla’s acquisition of SolarCity.However, Reuters said Panasonic’s plans to ship most of the cells to Tesla for its Solar Roof trademark have fallen through “because of low demand from Tesla and a trade loophole that had fired up new foreign interest.”Tesla didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. DJI’s answer to GoPro’s action cameras is rugged little model that’s shockproof, dustproof and waterproof down to 11 meters. It normally runs $350, but this deal drops it to $261 when you apply promo code 19LABOR10 at checkout. Sarah Tew/CNET Best laptops for college students: We’ve got an affordable laptop for every student. Best live TV streaming services: Ditch your cable company but keep the live channels and DVR. Turo DJI Osmo Action camera: $261 (save $89) Free Echo Dot with an Insignia or Toshiba TV (save $50) Turo is kind of like Uber meets Airbnb: You borrow someone’s car, but you do all the driving. I’ve used it many times and found it a great alternative to traditional car-rental services — in part because you get to choose exactly the vehicle you want (not just, say, “midsize”) and in part because you can often do pickup and dropoff right outside baggage claim.Between now and Sept. 1, the first 300 people to check out can get $30 off any Turo rental with promo code LDW30. What’s cooler: A snapshot of a firework exploding in front of you, or full 360-degree video of all the fireworks and all the reactions to seeing them? Oooh, ahhh, indeed. At $250, the compact Rylo dual-lens camera is selling for its lowest price yet. And for an extra $50, you can get the bundle that includes the waterproof housing.This deal runs through Sept. 3; it usually costs $500. Use promo code 19LABOR10 to get an unusually good deal on JBL’s interesting hybrid product — not quite headphones, and not quite a traditional speaker, but something you wear like neckphones to listen to music on the go. $60 at Best Buy $155 at Google Express Lenovo 130-15AST 15.6-inch laptop: $210 (save $90) Read the Rylo camera preview I thought this might be a mistake, but, no, the weirdly named HP Laptop 15t Value is indeed quite the value at this price. Specs include an Intel Core i7 processor, 12GB of RAM, a 256GB solid-state drive and a 15.6-inch display. However, I strongly recommend paying an extra $50 to upgrade that display to FHD (1,920×1,080), because you’re not likely to be happy with the native 1,366×768 resolution. Other Labor Day sales you should check out Best Buy: In addition to some pretty solid MacBook deals that have been running for about a week already, Best Buy is offering up to 40% off major appliances like washers, dryers and stoves. There are also gift cards available with the purchase of select appliances. See it at Best BuyDell: Through Aug. 28, Dell is offering an extra 12% off various laptops, desktops and electronics. And check back starting Aug. 29 for a big batch of Labor Day doorbusters. See it at DellGlassesUSA: Aug. 29 – Sept. 3 only, you can save 65% on all frames with promo code labor65. See it at GlassesUSALenovo: The tech company is offering a large assortment of deals and doorbusters through Labor Day, with the promise of up to 56% off certain items — including, at this writing, the IdeaPad 730S laptop for $700 (save $300).See it at LenovoLensabl: Want to keep the frames you already love and paid for? Lensabl lets you mail them in for new lenses, based on your prescription. From now through Sept. 2 only, you can save 20% on the blue light-blocking lens option with promo code BLOCKBLUE. See it at LensablSears: Between now and Sept. 7, you can save up to 40% on appliances (plus an additional 10% if you shop online), up to 60% on mattresses, up to 50% on Craftsman products and more. The store is also offering some fairly hefty cashback bonuses. See it at SearsNote: This post was published previously and is continuously updated with new information.CNET’s Cheapskate scours the web for great deals on tech products and much more. For the latest deals and updates, follow the Cheapskate on Facebook and Twitter. Questions about the Cheapskate blog? Find the answers on our FAQ page, and find more great buys on the CNET Deals page. Turo: Save $30 on any car rental Chris Monroe/CNET Preview • iPhone XS is the new $1,000 iPhone X Tags $999 See It Read the AirPods review Tags See It See at Turo JBL Soundgear wearable speaker: $90 (save $160) Recently updated to include digital-photo-frame capabilities, the Lenovo Smart Clock brings Google Assistant goodness to your nightstand. It’s a little smaller than the Amazon Echo Show 5, but also a full $30 less (and tied with Prime Day pricing) during this Best Buy Labor Day sale. CNET may get a commission from retail offers. 7 Review • iPhone XS review, updated: A few luxury upgrades over the XR Sarah Tew/CNET $261 at Daily Steals via Google Express Formerly known as the Google Home Hub, Google’s Nest Hub packs a wealth of Google Assistant goodness into a 7-inch screen. At $59, this is within a buck of the best price we’ve seen. It lists for $129 and sells elsewhere in the $89-to-$99 range.This is one item of many available as part of eBay’s Labor Day Sale (which, at this writing, doesn’t specifically mention Labor Day, but that’s how it was pitched to us). See It Lenovo Smart Clock: $59.99 (save $20) See it Apple iPhone XS TVs Speakers Mobile Accessories Cameras Laptops Automobiles Smart Speakers & Displays The problem with most entry-level laptops: They come with mechanical hard drives. That makes for a mighty slow Windows experience. This Lenovo model features a 128GB solid-state drive, so it should be pretty quick to boot and load software, even with its basic processor. Plus, it has a DVD-burner! That’s not something you see in many modern laptops, especially at this price.
Photo via Twitter @OfficialWebzineThe latest judicial ruling on the termination of the Obama-era DACA program is just one part in a bigger legal puzzle that has been building up since the Trump administration announced its termination last September.DACA stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and allowed immigrants brought to the United States illegally as children, known as ‘dreamers,’ to stay and work legally under renewable permits.Tuesday’s ruling from federal judge John Bates categorized the government’s plan to terminate the program as “arbitrary and capricious” and gave the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) 90 days to “better explain its view” that DACA is illegal.If the government fails to produce a more convincing argument in the three-month timeframe, the DHS “must accept and process new as well as renewal DACA applications,” the judge said.So far, Bates is the third judge that has ruled against the Trump administration’s plan to end the program.Here are some thoughts on last night’s big victory for DACA in the federal district court in D.C.— Josh Dorner (@JoshDorner) April 25, 2018The National Immigration Law Center (NILC), which is headquartered in Los Angeles, is one of the organizations that are closely monitoring the ongoing litigation around DACA.NILC is counsel in one of the cases, specifically one that was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York and that is currently on appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.According to a document compiled by NILC, more than ten lawsuits have been filed challenging the government’s termination of DACA and the plaintiffs in the cases that have gained the most traction brought claims which are primarily based on the Administrative Procedure Act and the U.S. Constitution’s Due Process and Equal Protection clauses.Besides the case in which NILC is a counsel, which is ‘Batalla Vidal v. Nielsen,’ another lawsuit which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California is currently on appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.Additionally, two nationwide injunctions that were issued earlier this year applied only to renewal requests for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.SkepticismJudge Bates’ ruling has been welcomed by the ‘dreamer’ community but, at the same time, some of its members are skeptical about how helpful it will be for their future.Daniel Candelaria, advocacy organizer for United We Dream (UWD) in Texas, said they are being “cautious.”“We know how long these court decisions, these situations from the court, take given our previous experience,” noted Candelaria, who added that such decisions “can go in either direction.”Also on behalf of UWD, Sanaa Abrar –who works as advocacy and policy manager for the organization—, underscored in a written statement that “DACA has transformed the lives of hundreds of thousands of youth and their families.”“We will not stop fighting until every single person in our community is able to live with safety and dignity,” Abrar added.Houston-based Immigrant Families and Students in the Struggle (commonly known as FIEL, by its Spanish acronym) categorized Bates’ ruling as a “victorious decision for undocumented youth.”In a statement and referring to the 90-day period the government has provide Bates with the explanation he has requested, FIEL added the organization hopes that “in the end the Trump administration either waits out the allotted time or does not respond,” which, the statement adds, would allow DACA “to move forward.”The Texas Democratic Party also reacted to the latest ruling.Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa said in a statement that “the judicial branch has rejected Trump’s cruel and unconstitutional actions.”Call for clean DREAM ActNonetheless, Hinojosa added that “the fight for DACA is not over,” and that Congress should pass a so-called clean DREAM Act.The Trump administration, which contends DACA is a misuse of executive power, reacted negatively to Bates’ ruling and White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Wednesday it is “good news” for smuggling organizations and criminal networks and “horrible news for our national security.”You can read the National Immigration Law Center’s document on litigation regarding the termination of DACA here: Share
In recognition of May Lupus Awareness Month, Marva’s Grand Hands of Love, Inc. will host “A Line Dance for Lupus Party” to raise funds to fight lupus and to help amplify the voice of the lupus community, 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., May 18, at Diamondz Events Hall, 9980 Liberty Road in Randallstown, Md. Local radio personality and line dance instructor Randy Dennis will teach supporters new line dance moves and call out traditional line dances. “Not only will supporters benefit a wonderful cause, but they also benefit themselves because line dancing is a healthy and fun way to get in some exercise,” said Marva Williams, event organizer. Proceeds support the Lupus Foundation of America (LFA) DC-Maryland-Virginia Chapter. A LFA representative will be present to accept the donation. LFA estimates that at least 1.5 million Americans have the autoimmune disease. “I recently lost a 27 year old cousin to complications from lupus and my best friend has it. I’m determined to help the women, men and children living with lupus,” Williams said. Catering will be provided by Chef Mookie Hicks. Tanya’s Bling Tees has created a custom lupus awareness t-shirt for the event. Informational materials will be available. Tickets are $30 in advance. For more information, contact Marva Williams at 410-599-9159.