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The Baseball Roundup (6/2/15)

June 2, 2015

Tony: 

Weird things going on…
1) Game of Thrones went World War Z on us… Complete my quiz:


Which is the zombie, which is the white walker?


Inline image 6

Zombie mass or white walker mass?

AA

Attack on Jerusalem or attack on Hardhome?

I know most people probably loved it. Needless to say, I hated that… I am OK with the white walkers potentially being shamans who can raise an army of the dead (I am also thinking they are connected to the Valyrians?), but the weird rage infected zombie mass didn’t feel quite right. Though, it was better than the “green cloud” of an undead army in Lord of the Rings: The Return of The King… SO, there’s that…

Shit, is that a white walker?!

I guess they’re different…

2) Bryce Harper might skip the home run derby because HIS FATHER, the BP pitcher, is nursing a shoulder injury. This would be an injustice to the American people. Nay, the people of the world.

The game is in Cinci this year. As of Sunday, 61 home runs had been hit there, tied for fifth among all MLB ballparks.

3) Astros prospect Derek Fisher (love it when athletes have the same name as other athletes), in his first game for Class A Advanced Lancaster, drove in 12 RBI, on 3 home runs, two of which were grand slams, and a triple… Fisher’s 12 RBIs broke a 61-year-old California League record. Videos in the link.

Some scores and notes:

Jacob deGrom took a perfect game into the sixth and allowed two hits over eight innings, leading the New York Mets to a 7-0 win over the San Diego Padres last night. deGrom has been smoke lately, he has allowed only three runs and struck out 34 over his last 29 1-3 innings while issuing one walk.

Daniel Murphy went 4/5 with a home run and the quality of the Mets line-up is shocking. Might they start hitting Bartolo higher in the order?

Jason Hammel struck out 11 in 6 and 2/3rds to lead teh Cubs over the Marlins 5 – 1. Hammel threw 117 pitches.Think he will need the knife now!?

The Cubs, who had scored only 13 runs in their previous seven games, showed a little offensive life with eight hits. Starlin Castro hit his fourth homer, and Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant each had an RBI double.

Kyle Seager (kind of) saved a kid with a running catch in foul territory last night (that likely wouldn’t have hit him anyway, but we love sensational headlines). He was also 2/4 at the plate in the losing effort to the Yankees. Mark Teixiera hit his 15th home run and Felix Hernandez allowed an uncharacteristic 7 runs in 4 and 2/3rds innings pitched. King Felix walked more guys (5) than he struck out (4).

Dodgers beat the Rockies 11 – 4. Kershaw had 3 hits, looking more and more like Maddy Bumgarner every day… Kershaw allowed five hits and two runs over seven innings. He hasn’t lost to the Rockies in his last 9 starts. Moser, YOUR BOY Joc Pederson hit one of LA’s 4 home runs. But so did our new guy – Nolan Arenado! Is 3rd in as many games.

Phillies released Grady Sizemore.

Read this article about Johan Santana’s no-no from Phil Taylor. He essentially says the 131 pitch night ended his career. This is why people think pitch counts are holy. Dude’s suggestion is that had he only thrown 115, perhaps he would still be pitching… Never mind the major reconstructive surgery he had before the start.

Joe Vasile wrote an interested article about Dee Gordon. Title is excellent: The Overrated, Underrated: Or, How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love Flash Jr. I bring it up because Vasile accepted the premise that Gordon can sustain a higher-than-average BABIP. So, in the article, he assumed that .342 is Gordon’s true BABIP skill. Which is exactly what you wrote about yesterday.

I don’t think .300 is the hard baseline. It operates as one until a player has sufficient sample size to determine their own. This makes sense. While it’s typically used to determine if a batter has been lucky or not “Batting Average on Balls in Play” is supposed to illustrate if some guys have a knack for dropping one in, running out out, or shooting one through… I mean, there is nothing lucky about Dee Gordon’s speed. OK, it’s really lucky that he was blessed with it. But my point is, his BABIP should be higher than most hitters because by virtue of speed alone he is going to leg out some extra singles…

An interesting fact from Steve Martano:

102.2 – Miles per hour on an Aroldis Chapman fastball that Bryce Harper hit for a single. Per Daren Wilman, this is the hardest pitch in the PITCHfx era for any base hit. This is your typical power versus power, and is a testament to Harper’s insane bat speed.

Handle the rest of the games for me, especially the Astros. Gotta get to class.

Kevin:

No Indians game to get into, so we’ve got a pretty open slate. Thought we would take a look back at some topics we had shelved for later discussion. First, a quick look around the league, and some insights on what teams are doing.

The Mets smacked the Padres 7-0.  DeGrom threw two hit, shutout baseball for eight innings.  This Mets team is scary as hell.  Which pitching staff would you rather have for the next 5 years, the Indians or the Mets?  The Mets lineup didn’t feature a single batter hitting over .300, but they seem undeterred, as they just continue to pound out victories.  The Mets struck out 16 times in that game!! This lends credence to the belief that, as we reach for three outcome players (see Pederson, Joc) we see higher and higher strikeout rates.  This is not good for baseball, in my opinion.  It sucks not having balls  in play.  As Crash Davis says, “Don’t try to strike everybody out. Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they’re fascist. Throw some ground balls – it’s more democratic.”

What else could be contributing to this?  It certainly seems like the widening strike zone has a hand in it.  Do you think we should ever go to ‘robot’ umps?  Once this technology is available, do we just embrace it, or do we continue to love some of the antiquated aspects of the game?  As a frequent baseball purist, I’m curious as to what you would say.  Anything you mention I will automatically hear in the voice of Bob Ryan.

The Astros pulled off another late inning miracle.  It had all the ingredients of a typical Astros win: scoring in the 7th inning, Altuve doing the little things (a sac fly to start the scoring run), a home run by Valbuenas, and, of course, GAATTTIIIISSS! This team is fun to watch.  Despite their proclivity for K’s and HR’s, the worst to first turnaround, combined with their late inning heroics, has made them a fairly interesting team.

The Cards lose 1-0 to the Brewers.  Felbs pointed out: Jason Heyward sucks.  Would you do the trade again if you’re Saint Louis?  I know we’ve touched on this before, but it’s worth continuing to look at.  More importantly, Matt Holliday has a 45 game on base streak to start the season.  What’s the all-time record?  Ted Williams reached base safely in 84 straight game, so Matt is more than halfway there,

When dissecting the Indians lack of success in the free agent market, you pointed out that big name free agents don’t usually work in baseball.  Perhaps 2015 is the outlier then, cause check out this list:

Scherzer, Lester, Shields, Hanley Ramirez, Nelson Cruz, Jason Hammel, Rasmus, Morales, Delmon Young, Tori Hunter, and many more

Pretty damn impressive.  And very likely to have an effect on the pennant race.

Things to watch for today: Among active pitchers, Miami LHP Brad Hand (0-1, 4.50) has the worst record in the majors as a starter with at least 20 decisions, according to STATS. He’s 4-18 in 32 career starts with an ERA of 4.45 heading into Tuesday’s start against the Cubs. Hand pitched five shutout innings but received no decision in his only start this year. Any other nominees for current worst pitcher in baseball?  Must actually be playing consistently, as that is the real trick, being terrible but playable.

Another quick hit: Josh Hamilton is only getting paid 2 million per year from the Rangers.  This seemed like a great gamble at the time, and an even better gamble now.  Crazy the Angels couldn’t get more for him, given that they are absorbing almost his entire salary.

Finally, we’ve done some throwing around of the baseball movie bracket.  I’ve done a quick mock up, what do you think?  Any seeding changes needed?

bracket 1

bracket 2

Get back at me

Tony: 

Let me start by qualifying one  thing about Game of Thrones, that I think you already know. I didn’t hate last night’s episode. In fact, Tyrion meeting D-Money was what I’ve been craving and I just loved it. Also really enjoyed the next installment of Arya. I am just not necessarily taken but the CGI battles scenes, but particularly so when they are completely ripped off (The Watchers on The Wall = Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, Hard Home = The Walking Dead…). I also don’t need them to last 20 minutes if A) I know no major characters can/will die, B) you’re big kill off is some lady chieftain I just met, but am supposed to feel remorse for because she had two kids. Noooooope. Pretty worried that this Sunday is just Gladiator, without Russell Crowe…

When Game of Thrones gets away from the… well, “game” of throne sitting: the plots, the backstabbing, the armies marching TOWARD King’s Landing, etc. It reminds me a lot of House of Cards. I don’t need Frank Underwood killing people himself, and I don’t need zombies. Zombies!? That’s as original as vampires right now.

As for robot umps… I don’t like the idea of going to them completely. I like them helping, but umping, to me, is part of the game. An example of this is the fact that the strike zone changes WITH EVERY BATTER. Baseball says the strikezone is not the umpires. I’m not suggesting that – it changes independently of the ump! It’s biology. Guys are different sizes. So beyond the difficulty of setting the system up to adapt to batters, since the zone is inherently malleable and subjective, at least it should be a human in control of it. If you are heading this in the voice of Bob Ryan, I should ass: “plus ça change plus c’est la même chose” (HE LOVES THAT LINE). But I actually think it applies. At least when it comes to strikezones, I think we would be having a lot of the same discussions, and likely new ones. How “deep” is the strikezone? What if a player tries to game the sensors with a super crouch? Here’s another one. The strike zone has expanded (particularly on low strikes). It’s still not as big as the rule book says it should be. I think umps particularly struggle with the corners. If we had perfect computer, what would be the consequence. MORE strikeouts, not less… Then we would be debating what the NEW strikezone should be…

Let’s do the bracket, I’m in. Seeding is messed up though. Little Big League and Angels in the Outfield is not a first round match-up… Also, where is 61*? BILLY CRYSTAL DIRECTED AND IT HAS BERRY PEPPER! Summer Catch? We need some Freddie and J-Biel! What about Sugar? ALL of these movies are better than Air Bud… Otherwise, I really think you did a great job.

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One Comment leave one →
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