Some of you may be wondering why I didn’t drop off and disappear at 11AM like I usually do. The reason: I have nowhere to drop off to. I quit my legal job last week. I also retired ShysterBall, the baseball blog I’ve written since 2007, most recently for the Hardball Times. Starting today I am full time with Circling the Bases, and will be posting more or less all day. One fewer practicing lawyer in the world + more baseball blogging = a very, very good thing indeed, wouldn’t you agree? If you’re looking to give me a gift congratulating the move, I have some ideas. Though to be honest, I have no idea what I’d do with a briefcase given that I’ll be writing from my couch while wearing pajamas all day.
Anyway, the plan going forward: Aaron, Matthew, Bob, D.J. and I will be combining to ramp up and improve the Circling the Bases experience. The goal: to make CTB the place for all of your baseball news and analysis needs. One stop shopping, as it were. The place where you usually hear things first, and even if you don’t, the place where you come to get an enlightened, provocative or at the very least humorous take on the day’s doings. And if none of that works for you, the place where you can yell at us as we try to do it.
There will be fun stuff ahead. In the short term: more posts. Next week: I’m going to the Winter Meetings, where I’m going to do my best to try and find out one-tenth of the stuff Rosenthal does and run up a hotel bar tab one-tenth the size of Billy Martin’s record from 1982. Even then I’m probably flirting with death.
Long term: we’re going to continue to build CTB into the best baseball blog on the web. I hope you come along for the ride.
Angels’ right-handed reliever Bud Norris made his 23rd appearance of the season on Friday, and after just three pitches, he was done for the night. He worked a 2-1 count to Marlins’ Dee Gordon in the eighth inning, then promptly exited the field after experiencing some tightness in his right knee. Neither Norris nor manager Mike Scioscia believe the injury is cause for major concern, and the 32-year-old right-hander admitted that it may have had something to do with his lack of stretching before he took the mound. For now, he’s day-to-day with right knee soreness, with the hope that the issue doesn’t escalate over the next few days.
While the Angels are lucky to have avoided serious injury, they’ll need Norris to pitch at 100% if they want to stay competitive within the AL West. They currently sit a full nine games behind the league-leading Astros, and haven’t been helping their cause after taking five losses in their last eight games. Friday’s 8-5 finale marked their third consecutive loss of the week.
When healthy, Norris has been one of the better arms in the Angels’ bullpen. Through 23 2/3 innings, he’s pitched to a 2.66 ERA, 3.4 BB/9 and an outstanding 11.8 SO/9 in 23 outings. The righty hasn’t allowed a single run in four straight appearances, recording three saves and helping the club clinch four wins in that span. This is his second setback of the year after sustaining a partial fingernail tear on his pitching hand during spring training.
Max Scherzer is a force to be reckoned with. The Nationals’ right-hander delivered a season-high 13 strikeouts against the Padres on Friday, locking down his fifth win and his fourth double-digit strikeout performance of the year.
More remarkably, it was also the 53rd double-digit strikeout performance of Scherzer’s career, tying Clayton Kershaw for the most 10+ strikeout appearances by an active major league pitcher. Chris Sale is a distant third, with 43 to his name, though he’s been making considerable strides to catch up so far this spring.
Scherzer took the Padres to task on Friday night, whiffing 13 of 31 batters during his 108-pitch outing. He started strong, catching Allen Cordoba swinging on a 1-2 count to start the game and keeping the game scoreless until Ryan Schimpf unleashed a home run in the fourth inning. That was the first and final run the Padres managed off of Scherzer, who retired 14 consecutive batters following the blast and came one out shy of a complete game in the ninth inning. (Fittingly, Koda Glover polished off the win with a final strikeout, bringing the total to 14 on the night.)
It’ll take more than one stellar start to advance Scherzer and Kershaw on the all-time list, however. Their 53-game record ranks 13th, about 159 games behind second-place Hall of Fame hurler Randy Johnson and a full 162 games shy of the inimitable Nolan Ryan.