Alex Rodriguez is being pulled into the Tony Galea-HGH mini-scandal that ensnared Jose Reyes last week. Rodriguez acknowledged a few minutes ago that the feds want to talk to him and that he intends to cooperate with their investigation. While this suggests that A-Rod went up to Canada to have his blood spun Reyes-style last year, Rodriguez is saying that “this is about someone else.”
For his sake it better involve someone else, because if it doesn’t he kept the Yankees totally in the dark about it. The team’s statement:
“The Yankees never authorized Dr. Tony Galea to treat Alex
Rodriguez, nor do we have knowledge of any such treatment.”
Why A-Rod is being questioned about a doctor he suggests never treated him is something of a mystery, and we probably won’t know why, exactly, he’s being questioned until he tells us more.
Not that I imagine this will stop the Daily News and the Post from transforming A-Rod from the redeemed postseason hero figure they’ve taken to recently back into the A-Roid figure they so eagerly created this time last year. Indeed, no matter how tangential or benign A-Rod’s involvement with Dr. Galea was, I have faith that by the time the tabloids hit the streets tomorrow morning, A-Rod will be back in his familiar role as public enemy number one.
“Work fast and throw strikes” has long been the top conventional wisdom for those preaching pitching success. The “work fast” part of that has increasingly gone by the wayside, however, as pitchers take more and more time to throw pitches in an effort to max out their effort and, thus, their velocity with each pitch.
Now, as Ben Lindbergh of The Ringer reports, the “throw strikes” part of it is going out of style too:
Pitchers are throwing fewer pitches inside the strike zone than ever previously recorded . . . A decade ago, more than half of all pitches ended up in the strike zone. Today, that rate has fallen below 47 percent.
There are a couple of reasons for this. Most notable among them, Lindbergh says, being pitchers’ increasing reliance on curves, sliders and splitters as primary pitches, with said pitches not being in the zone by design. Lindbergh doesn’t mention it, but I’d guess that an increased emphasis on catchers’ framing plays a role too, with teams increasingly selecting for catchers who can turn balls that are actually out of the zone into strikes. If you have one of those beasts, why bother throwing something directly over the plate?
There is an unintended downside to all of this: a lack of action. As Lindbergh notes — and as you’ve not doubt noticed while watching games — there are more walks and strikeouts, there is more weak contact from guys chasing bad pitches and, as a result, games and at bats are going longer.
As always, such insights are interesting. As is so often the case these days, however, such insights serve as an unpleasant reminder of why the on-field product is so unsatisfying in so many ways in recent years.