Link-O-Rama: Maddon says Ed Hardy was so 2008

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* Earlier this week I made a joke about Joe Maddon dying his hair black to go with his trademark hipster glasses, noting that “earrings, Ed Hardy t-shirts, and a tribal tattoo could be next for the 55-year-old Rays manager.” Turns out, he already went through the Ed Hardy t-shirt phase last year!
* Shockingly, a retired former major leaguer thinks that things were better when he played. In related news, elderly people don’t like children playing on their lawns and most people who’re older than you had to walk five miles in the snow to school every morning when they were kids.
* After being designated for assignment by the Mets yesterday Livan Hernandez has now played for five teams in four seasons while posting ERAs of 4.83, 4.93, 6.05, and 5.47. He also turns 35 years old soon. Odds that he’ll sign with another team and end up in their rotation? Probably not as bad as you’d think, at least judging from the last half-dozen years of Sidney Ponson’s career.
* It’s been quite a fall for Chris Duncan, who was released yesterday by the Red Sox just a month after they acquired him in the Julio Lugo trade. Duncan had a .952 OPS as a 25-year-old rookie in 2006, but since then his yearly OPS totals are .834, .711, and .687. And that doesn’t even count his horrible .549 mark at Triple-A following the trade.
* Stephen Strasburg met his public this afternoon. They liked him.

How Yu Darvish tipped his pitches during the World Series

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You hear a lot about pitchers tipping pitches. It’s often offered up post-facto as an excuse for poor performance by the pitcher himself or his own team. It’s sort of like the “best shape of my life” thing being offered in the offseason to talk about why the player got injured or played badly the previous year. “Smitty’s stuff is still great, he was just tipping his pitches,” said a source close to the player whose stuff is not really great anymore.

Which isn’t to say that pitchers don’t tip pitches. Of course they do. Opposing teams look for it, pick up on it and take advantage of it whenever they can. It’s just that (a) the opposing team has an interest in not talking about it, lest the pitcher STOP tipping its pitches; and (b) the guy actually tipping his pitches doesn’t want to talk specifically about it lest he starts doing it again.

Which is what makes this article at Sports Illustrated so interesting. In it Tom Verducci talks to an anonymous Houston Astros player who explains how Dodgers starter Yu Darvish was tipping his pitches during the World Series, leading to him getting absolutely shellacked in Games 3 and 7. The upshot: the Astros knew when a slider or a cutter was coming, they waited for it and they teed off.

Darvish is a free agent now. I’m guessing, whoever signs him, knows exactly what they’ll gave him work on the first day of spring training.