And That Happened: Monday's scores and recaps

Leave a comment

Braves 2, Cubs 0:
Javier Vazquez somehow managed to allow no runs despite giving up nine
hits and two walks in six and two-thirds. Behold! In these Cubs we have
found a team more feeble when it matters most than the Braves!

Rockies 11, Angels 1:
Aaron Cook now has the most wins in Rockies’ franchise history at 59,
which is pretty neat, actually. Colorado has now won 17 of 18.

Athletics 5, Giants 1:
I thought Jonathan Sanchez was supposed to be, like, good. He’s 2-9,
has lost four in a row and has an ERA of five and a half. Meanwhile,
Trevor Cahill hasn’t allowed more than three runs in an outing in over
a month.

Mets 6, Cardinals 4:
I know it’s great sport to make fun of announcers, and it’s even more
fun to try to out-funny one another when we do it. But when I say this,
please understand that there is no snark intended. There is no joke to
follow. I do not offer this as a means of piling on. Really, I am being
very, very serious, and I hope this is taken seriously by someone in a
position to do something about it: Rick Sutcliffe and Steve Phillips —
who were together on the same ESPN broadcast team for some reason —
are truly wretched and should not be allowed in a broadcast booth.

I am among the biggest baseball fans on the planet. I have devoted
thousands of hours over the past few years writing about it and
thousands more over the course of my life watching it. I am among those
who will watch baseball under almost any circumstances. Scandal.
National emergency. Family emergency. You name it, and I’m still
wondering when the game starts. Yet after only an inning or two of
listening to these men do their best to distract me from the game with
their pointless, showy commentary, I changed the channel. I watched a
nine year-old “Family Guy” rerun because I could not bear to listen to
these disgraces argue about how they’d pitch to Albert Pujols in such a
way as to actually interfere in an Albert Pujols at bat. I could not
bear to listen to them talk about the legacy of Donald Fehr with an
incoherence that was surprising, even for them. I could not stand the
cascading cliches, the super-hyped, super-throaty wannabe radio
announcer voices, and the seeming unwillingness to let a moment pass
without their voices drowning out the sounds of the ballpark and even,
on occasion, the play-by-play itself. And before you say “well, I guess
we won’t pair them up again,” know that they do it on their own
respective broadcasts too. If these men were next to you at the
ballpark or sitting on the next bar stool over going on like they do,
you’d yell at them to shut up, and if they didn’t, you’d ask them to be
shown the door.

ESPN, for all of your faults, you remain the premier venue of
broadcast sports. How, then, you allow Major League Baseball, one of
your most valuable properties, to be massacred so thoroughly by the
likes of Sutcliffe and Phillips I will never know. You are actively
driving fans way, ESPN. You are turning off an entire generation to a
product that should, by all rights, be bulletproof. Having Sutcliffe
and Phillips broadcasting baseball is the equivalent of giving away
water in the desert via infomercial. Why bother? People are begging for
your product, yet you seem to almost revel in assaulting them in order
to get it. The only possible explanation is sadism.

I know many people who work for ESPN. Every single one of them is
bright, amiable, and above all else, passionate about sports. How,
then, you allow guys like Sutcliffe and Phillips to sully their efforts
with their terrible, terrible work is beyond me.

ESPN: dare to give your sport, your viewers, and your employees the
respect they deserve. Remove Sutcliffe and Phillips from the booth.
Replace them with someone who understands that the game, and not their
own mindless prattle, is the product people turn in to see and hear.

Chase Headley doesn’t think Yankee Stadium is as hitter-friendly as advertised

New York Yankees Chase Headley (12) breaks his bat on a ground out to third during the third inning of a baseball game against the Texas Rangers on Monday, April 25, 2016, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Brandon Wade)
AP Photo/Brandon Wade
1 Comment

Yankees third baseman Chase Headley finished April without registering an extra-base hit. Across 71 plate appearances, he registered only nine hits for an uninspiring .150/.268/.150 triple-slash line. Speaking to David Laurilia of FanGraphs, Headley said that Yankee Stadium isn’t as hitter-friendly as many people think it is, and added that the shift has helped to limit his offensive success.

“Everybody talks about how good of a ballpark Yankee Stadium is to hit in, but it’s pretty big with the exception of right field,” said Headley. “The rest of it plays as big, or bigger, than most yards. It’s maybe a better fit for guys who hit the ball high down the line than it for guys who hit the ball like I have for a lot of my career.”

[…]

“Because of the shifting that’s going on now, if you hit the ball on the ground, for the most part you’re out,” Headley told me. “I’m trying to get the ball elevated — I want to hit it hard in the air — and if I never hit another ball on the ground, I’ll be happy.”

According to StatCorner.com, Yankee Stadium is indeed better for left-handed hitters, and particularly so when it comes to extra-base hits. It lists park factors for handedness, setting 100 as average. A higher number means it’s more hitter-friendly. Here are the left-right numbers as of today’s writing:

  • Singles: 101 for left-handed hitters, 102 for right-handed hitters
  • Doubles and triples: 101 LH, 82 RH
  • Home runs: 137 LH, 127 RH

Headley’s hypothesis seems to have some merit. But his claim that shifts have been hurting him doesn’t seem to hold up to the numbers.

babip

Headley’s ground ball BABIP (batting average on balls in play) this season is only .022 behind his career average of .239. As he’s only hit 23 ground balls total this season, the difference between .239 and .217 is less than one hit.

Where Headley’s BABIP is notably lower is line drives. His career average line drive BABIP is .698, but it’s only .333 on nine line drives in 2016. This could be simple bad luck or it could mean Headley is making worse contact. FanGraphs’ batted ball data suggests Headley has been pulling significantly fewer balls (36 percent to his 45 percent career average), and he’s making “hard” contact less often (21 percent versus his 31 percent career average). Overall, there’s been very little change in his ground ball rate versus his fly ball rate.

Headley mentioned to Laurila that if he could, he would try to hit fly balls to the pull side more often. “I’m working on that,” he said.

Carlos Martinez sued for battery, negligent transmission of STDs, and more

St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Carlos Martinez throws against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the fourth inning of a baseball game, Tuesday, April 26, 2016, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)
AP Photo/Matt York
5 Comments

Cardinals starter Carlos Martinez was given permission to leave the team on Friday in order to travel to Miami. Martinez was named in a lawsuit filed by a woman who claimed he knowingly trasmitted mutliple sexually trasmitted diseasese to her. She is seeking $1.5 million in damages for battery, negligent transmission of sexually transmitted diseases, fraud, and more, TMZ reported on Saturday.

Martinez rejoined the team and started on Sunday afternoon against the Nationals. His attorney called the allegations “100% false”.

The Cardinals are waiting for more information to find out if the league will investigate the matter under its domestic violence policy. Via Dan O’Neill of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, GM John Mozeliak said, “We wait. And once we learn more, then we’ll have more of an idea. These are things you just learn as you go.”

Should obstruction have been called on Ryan Webb?

Toronto Blue Jays' Kevin Pillar gestures to the dugout after hitting a triple against the Boston Red Sox during the first inning of a baseball game Friday, April 8, 2016, in Toronto. (Fred Thornhill/The Canadian Press via AP)
Fred Thornhill/The Canadian Press via AP
8 Comments

The Blue Jays had a comfortable 5-1 lead in the top of the ninth inning of Sunday afternoon’s game against the Rays, but one never knows when a base runner might be crucial. Kevin Pillar was on first base when reliever Ryan Webb threw over to first on a pickoff attempt and got him in a rundown.

First baseman Logan Morrison chased Pillar towards second base, lobbing the ball to shortstop Brad Miller. Miller sent Pillar back to first base, throwing to Webb covering the bag. Webb chased Pillar back towards second base and threw to second baseman Logan Forsythe. Forsythe chased Pillar back again, but Webb wasn’t able to get out of Pillar’s way. Second base umpire Mark Ripperger immediately signaled “no obstruction” and Pillar was easily tagged out after he was essentially bear hugged by Webb.

Here’s the MLB.com video.

Major League Baseball defines obstruction as “the act of a fielder who, while not in possession of the ball and not in the act of fielding the ball, impedes the progress of any runner.” Webb had already thrown the ball and Forsythe was in possession of it, so he couldn’t have been considered “in the act of fielding.”

At any rate, the Jays still won 5-1, giving them the series win over the Rays.

Reds place Raisel Iglesias on the 15-day disabled list

Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Raisel Iglesias throws in the first inning of their opening day baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies, Monday, April 4, 2016, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
AP Photo/John Minchillo
Leave a comment

Reds starter Raisel Iglesias has been placed on the 15-day disabled list due to an impingement in his right shoulder, the club announced on Sunday. The right-hander said he felt a “pinch” in his shoulder during a bullpen session on Friday.

The club also moved catcher Kyle Skipworth to the 60-day disabled list and recalled pitcher Tim Adleman from Triple-A Louisville.

Iglesias, 26, pitched well over his first five starts to begin the 2016 season. He compiled a 3.49 ERA with a 29/7 K/BB ratio in 28 1/3 innings.

The Reds can’t seem to catch a break when it comes to pitcher health. Anthony DeSclafani, Homer Bailey, John Lamb, and Michael Lorenzen are already on the disabled list.