Why pitchers need to work more quickly

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Buehrle pitching.jpgI had no idea that former Royals catcher Brent Mayne even had a blog, but Buster Olney points it out this morning with a link to a great post.  Brent Mayne on why pitchers need to pick up the pace:

Here’s a question for you. From 2003 to 2009, can you guess who the five quickest working pitchers were? Just five schleprocks named Greg Maddux, Mark Buehrle, Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Jake Peavy. I’m might be crazy, but I’ll take that starting staff.

Once again, let me reiterate that working quickly works . . . Pitchers who work quickly are more effective. The defensive players behind a fast working pitcher are more consistent. Hitters facing a quick pitcher are less effective. Girlfriends of pitchers who pitch quickly are happier. Short games are a thing of beauty.

He’s so, so right. As a fan, I certainly want the game to move more quickly. Not lighting fast, of course — I want some time to soak it all in — but at least back to the pace we used to see as recently as the 80s when guys would get the ball and fire it back in there in less than a minute or eight.

But as a manager, I’d definitely want my guys working faster too.  Sure, not everyone is Greg Maddux or Roy Halladay, but as Mayne points out in the rest of his post, hitters benefit way more than pitchers do from all that extra time.  Whaddaya need all that time for anyway? To think?  Don’t think, for God’s sake. It can only hurt the ball club.

The Cubs have been baseball’s unluckiest team

1908 Cubs
Library of Congress
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If you throw the word “luck” into a sports conversation you’re gonna anger some people because people don’t like to ever chalk up their own success or their team’s success to anything apart from their own skill, worthiness and merit. What we usually refer to as “luck,” however, is not meant to detract from one’s merit. It’s more about outcomes that were not necessarily predictable or expected given all of the known variables.

Thing is, we really don’t have a concise and compact word that captures the notion of “unreasonably underperforming or unreasonably outperforming one’s statistical expectations,” so the word “luck” is about as good as we can do. Sorry if that offends, but focus more on what we’re getting at when we talk about sports luck and less about how you feel about the concept of luck in general, OK?

With that in mind, know that, according to Rob Arthur of FiveThirtyEight, the Cubs have been the unluckiest franchise in baseball history in terms of turning success into championships. Given how much they’ve won over the years, they should have had six or seven championships and not the two they have (with none for 108 years, of course).

The luckiest? The Yankees. While they have obviously been immensely talented throughout their history, the numbers suggest that they should “only” have 19 or 20 World Series titles. They have 27. They’d still have the most if everyone performed at their level of statistical expectations, but their 16-title lead over the next most successful World Series team — the Cardinals — should not be as great as it is.


Kyle Schwarber is in The Best Shape of His Life

CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 16:  Injured player Kyle Schwarber #12 of the Chicago Cubs is seen in the dugout before a game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Wrigley Field on August 16, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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Kyle Schwarber made a quicker-than-expected recovery from ACL surgery and then, after an Arizona Fall League rehab assignment, was shuttled up to Cleveland for the World Series. But that’s not all he has done.

Schwarber is now the latest ever Best Shape of His Life All-Star. Or so says Kris Bryant, talking to Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com:

“We’ve seen first-hand the work that he’s putting in and how hard he’s been going . . . Honestly, I saw him out — maybe a couple weeks after his surgery — and he’s moving around, walking. And I’m like: ‘Dang, this guy’s not human. How? I saw your leg bend in half, and you’re walking around. This is unbelievable . . .(It’s) watching him dripping with sweat every single day. Every single day, this guy is drenched. I feel like he’s in the best shape of his life (now). There was no doubt in my mind that he could do it. It was just a matter of if they let him.”

May as well just forfeit now, Indians. No way you can deal with an October BSOHL guy.