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The Baseball roundup (6/4/15)

June 4, 2015

Kevin:

Figured I’d get us started with some quick hitters.  First, the Marlins took down the Cubs last night. Junior Lake hit a homerun that put the Cubs down 4, he stared at it for a while, then talked shit to the Marlins dugout while running around the bases. Check out the full video. The first guy out of the Marlins dugout was injured ace Jose Fernandez.  Can we just agree both of these guys are colossal assholes?  First, don’t talk garbage when down 4 runs.  Second, don’t run out of the dugout when you’ve had Tommy John surgery, and could probably reinjure it very, very easily (that’s why hes on the DL).  Drew has said he wants to get into this idea of “home run pimping” so I’ll let him really delve into it, but it had to be at least mentioned.

Tony: 

Great start. Lots for me to work off of there…

Let’s start with the obvious lead: TEN CENT BEER NIGHT* IS BACK!

*One 10c beer per ticket bought, available before the game only, 5 oz beers.

The Lake Erie Crushers are hosting it tonight! Stipulation should ensure we don’t see anything crazy, but it is a good deal. Especially when you consider beers on Thursday night during the game are only 1 dollar anyway.

Since that’s the blog’s namesake, it deserved a mention.

Entourage movie… I need it! Grantland wrote up a “should you see it” article. Dumb article. The answer is just, “yes.” Couple quick thoughts though:

1) Cadillac made an Ari Gould extended commercial:

but it’s just a poor version of Johnny Walker’s Jude Law commercial, “The Gentleman’s Wager”:

2) The Jeremy Piven – Kid Cudi spread in Complex, featuring the two of them playing chess in high contrast black and white, is awesome.

3) The thing that is going to annoy me about the movie? E. He is womanizing (COME ON…) so much that his failed (shocker!) relationship with Sloan is constantly strained (shocker!)?

4) The cameo list is fantastic. Check out the article.

It Must Be June: The Pirates are Good Again. Jonah Keri notes that Marte, McCutchen, and Cole are performing well again, but it was the organization’s ability to replace Russell Martin with Francisco Cerveli and the additions of AJ Burnett and Jung-Ho Kang that set the Pirates up for a repeat playoff run. What’s with their poor play in May? Just luck? Seems like some guys do just start slow (see: Adam LaRoche). Can some teams start slow?

After his two bombs in Colorado, Joc Pederson is the man of the hour. Rob Neyer wonders if he is better than Kris Bryant. He currently has a higher OPS, is better defensively, and his 16 homers lead the league in average true distance. Eno Saris included his thoughts on “hitting with the top hand” alongside Bryce Harper’s and Mike Trout’s. Thats good company. He hits the ball harder than almost everyone else. Right now, overall, Pederson ranks second in average batted-ball velocity. He had the highest exit velocity off a bat this year (it was a line out), and his batted balls are most often within 10mph of peak exit velocity. Very stong man. Funny we track these things now too, eh?

Bryant is having a bad week. Ben Reiter also wonders if you’d rather have him or Astros prospect Carlos Carrea. Dude has to be wondering what he has to do to just be left alone.

Kyle Seager is in a bit of a slump. He was 1/4 last night with 3 Ks. His recent struggles at the plate weren’t mentioned as motivation for his “weaponized bunt” against CC Sabathia the other day. Thoughts on more aggressive bunting? The Ned Yost sac-bunt-extravaganza was frustrating to watch, but I do like the aggressive bunts meant to be hits, or to score runs. Thoughts about Kyle Seager, one of the team’s best batters, laying one down? The Mariners lost to the Yankees 3 – 1 yesterday. Mark Teixeira hit his 16th home run and Mariners rookie Taijuan Walker had a second nice outing in a row. Kid went 8, giving up 3 runs and allowing 6 base runners while striking out 7.

Seattle traded for Arizona’s Mark Trumbo to give the lineup some more pop. He’s on my team, so I’m trying to decide if I care. Safeco isn’t supposed to be a great place to hit, but Nelson Cruz sure doesn’t care about that… Deal was another big one: 6 players. Lefthanded pitcher Vidal Nuno is headed to the Pacific Northwest alongside Trumbo, with catcher Welington Castillo, righty Dominic Leone, minor league infielder Jack Reinheimer and minor league outfielder Gabby Guerrero going to Arizona.

Remember how Collin McHugh was targeted by the Astros because his curveball spun a lot and induced more ground balls? I brought this up the other day. Well, Jonah Pemstein really broke down the “effects of spin on pitch outcomes.” Not breaking new ground on a lot of things baseball folk have known for a long time, but it’s interesting to look at and further point out that PitchFx could be valuable.

More on the future of baseball technology, Moser. I think you will have a lot to say about that: health, prepping for games with virtual reality, wearables, sensors that steal signs, enhanced vision… all game changing issues that are right up your instigative alley… Give me some thoughts.

You brought up Joey Gallo and his debut the other day. Lot being written about the beauty of his swing, and for good reason:

Dude looks like Griffey a little bit:

Gallo might be more Dunn than Griffey though:

Gallo has some of the best raw power many have ever seen, which has enabled him to hit a remarkable 114 homers in his 331 games as a pro — more than one dinger every three games. However, he pairs that power with an alarming amount of swing-and-miss. He struck out in a league-leading 34% of his Double-A plate appearances this year, which was actually a sizable improvement from the 40% clip he posted in his three months at the level in 2014.

Here is a closer numerical look at the prospect and his potential in the MLB.

I got to go to school, but there is a start for you. Lots of games to catch us up on and some other newsworthy stuff…

Kevin: 

Ten cent beer night!!! Our namesake.  I’m surprised they’re even having a game.  Given that Game 1 of the Lebron Finals Experience begins tonight, I can’t imagine many people headed over to see the crushers.  I love baseball, and I’ll still be all basketball the rest of the day.

As for Entourage, I’ll see it. Obviously.  But given the way the series ended, I have real concerns.  It’s funny that you hate on E, mainly because you are E.  I just hope there’s plenty of Johnny Drama, and a minimum of ‘the guys’ trying to make something of themselves and not just ride Vinny’s coattails.  They all have the dream, and they throw it away because they feel the need to earn it themselves.  The hell is the matter with them?  Given the coattail opportunity, I will have absolutely no qualms about enjoying the ride, and getting really good at hanging out with my superstar.

I buy into slow starting teams.  I think baseball is a sport filled with the placebo effect.  Guys convince themselves something is true, and so it is.  This goes for superstitions, streaks, etc.  Even if there’s no evidence it’s true, I will still choose to believe it, because it makes sports more fun.  (side note: we need to write our ‘great sports moments hall of fame’ article at some point).

Trumbo trade…I’m not sold.  He hits a lot of dingers, but that wasn’t Seattle’s problem.  This article explains that they needed more guys getting on base. He Billy Mays’ed them, solving problems for them that they didn’t actually have.

Pederson is interesting. The guy is hitting long balls and smashing velocity the same way Bryant and Harper are.  The difference: those guys look like freaks.  Tall, jacked, potentially roided.  Joc looks like the wiry kid who got picked late for teams. Damn near scrawny.  And yet the ball is jumping off his bat like a cat out of a bag (an analogy you’re personally familiar with). Fun group of young guys.  It will be interesting watching them take over the game and become superstars, though I hate now rooting for superstars notably younger than me; another reason I’m rooting hard for Lebron tonight.  Joc homered in his 5th straight last night, but it wasn’t quite enough, as the recently discussed Arenado hit a sacfly in the bottom of the 9th to help the Rockies pull of the comeback, 9-8.

The weaponized bunt was an interesting read.  Could that be the next revolution in baseball?  As teams implement more and more shifts, and teams fall out of the practice of bunting, it could be a market inefficiency (MONEYBALL!!!).  It’s now likely not happening enough.  Curious to see if anyone takes it to an extreme.  I know that if I went against Lester I would be bunting every inning, right at the pitcher.  See if that asshole has learned how to throw to first yet.  If not, bunts away!

Speaking of baseball technology, watch a game with google glass. You look like the biggest nob in the world wearing/owning them, but it looks like a fun way to watch a game.  I loved the idea of technology changing the game, and virtual reality sports games seem like they could occupy weeks of my life at a time.  I can only imagine myself VR’ing to Chapman until I finally make contact on one.  Can’t wait for VR video games.  I think for baseball the technology could be simpler though.  Sunglasses that track the ball and make it stand out in a different color could be hugely helpful; would these be legal?  How much of an edge would they provide?  The injury tracking stuff is legit, and some teams are already using it.  This could be the next big edge to be gained by organizations while some lag behind.

Gallo is stepping up just in time as my boy Hamilton is out 3-4 weeks. Gallo is going to strike out a lot, but homer a lot too. And give us plenty of opportunities for Gallo’s humor.  That’s just what he did last night.  3 strikeouts, one homerun to redeem himself.  The three strikeouts are understandable when coming against Chris Sale, who threw 13 K’s in another stellar outing. Sale, despite all the press he keeps getting, might still be underrated.  The guy has been lights out this year, and is my pick for the AL Cy Young (really going out on a limb).

Before moving on to the rest of yesterday’s game, one older thing of note: Lance Lynn threw 117 of his 118 pitches as fastballs the other night!!! That seems incredible, erroneous, or like a bad idea.  It points out that this included cutters, 4 seams, and varying speeds, but still seems loco.

Indians lose to the Royals.  Royals apparently play their best against Cy Young candidates, as their bats finally woke up.  RBI’s by Moustakas and Morales helped drive them to victory.  Not a terrible outing by Kluber Lang, as he gave up 4 runs over 8 innings.  Does a losing pitcher get credit for a complete game when only pitching 8 innings?  Also, if a losing pitcher throws an 8 inning no-hitter, do they similarly receive credit for the no-hitter?  Has this ever happened?

Eduardo Rodriguez does what no pitcher has done in the last 115 years, by starting his career with 2 straight games with at least 7 innings, less than 3 hits, and less than 1 run in each.  The Red Sox beat the Twins 6-3. Incredible.  The guy is here to stay with the Sox. He was brought to Boston last year in the Andrew Miller trade, and at the moment is looking like a steal.  How many starts before you’re willing to view him as legit? 5? That’s kind of the number I would go with.  For the Twins, Phil Hughes was pitching. Hughes sticks out as another potential worst pitcher.  He’s been around a while, and has some really bad years to his name.  Thoughts?

Offense finally picked up in the Brewers and Cardinals series.  Lackey continues to pitch like an ace.  Which former Red Sock would you want the rest of the year, Lackey or Lester?  Weirdly, I think I’d go Lackey, despite his advanced age.  Cards knocked in 7 and did it early against the Brewers, who’s pitching staff is really struggling. Hector Gomez got hurt chasing a Heyward fly ball in the game and had to leave.  Perhaps this is the most aggressive and effective play from Heyward thus far this season?

Tanaka was back for the Yankees.  He pitches 7 innings with only 78 pitches, yielding only one run.  Mark Texiera seems to be heating up, as he hit his 16th homer of the season.

You mentioned the Pirate heating up.  Francisco Liriano got the win last night.  He’s had a really weird career, though perhaps not quite 30 for 30 worthy yet.He gave up one run over 7 innings last night.  Not much else of note in this one.

Mark Buehrle threw a 93 pitch complete game as the Blue Jays took apart the Nationals 8-0.  Bryce Harper said afterwards, “He knows how to pitch,” though Harper did have 2 hits in the game.  Buehrle is also having a late career reawakening, and will be fun to dissect going forward.

Astros win 3-1, behind 2 homers from Carter, and another from Springer.  The Astros are now 21-0 when hitting multiple homers, which is a fun stat for a team that goes deep so often.  In other Stros news, there are talks of removing the hill and flagpoles in center field. This saddens me.  I’m in favor of any weird peculiarities that make ballparks different, and getting rid of them diminishes the game.  Given that baseball’s biggest strength, television wise, is in regional ratings, we should be pushing for more regionalized differences, not eliminating them.

That’s all I got for today.  Let’s plan on publishing the Red Carpet Hollywood Awards tomorrow?  Keep being French

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