The wonderful Carson Cistulli has been asking various baseball writers why they do what they do and is posting the results in a series over at FanGraphs. I’m up today, so if you want to know what motivates a guy to throw away a high-paying, high-powered legal career in order to sit around in his pajamas all day, annoying his wife, damaging his median nerves and straining his eyesight — apart from the obvious joys of those things — you may be interested in reading it.
If it seems a bit long, that’s just because I was trying really hard not to tell the truth and say “because math is hard” when answering the question.
Pedro Moura of The Athletic reports that Dodgers starter Alex Wood plans to pitch out of the stretch throughout the 2018 season. Wood got the idea when he watched Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg pitch against the Dodgers.
Wood, 27, finished last season 16-3 with a 2.72 ERA and a 151/38 K/BB ratio in 152 1/3 innings. That’s a mighty fine season, one in which many pitchers would not dare to mess with something that isn’t broken.
Interestingly, Wood indeed has had better results with runners on base — when he would pitch out of the stretch — as opposed to the bases being empty, with a respective OPS allowed of .523 versus .684, respectively. Over his career, he has allowed a .617 OPS with runners on and .706 with the bases empty.
In response to Moura’s tweet about Wood, retired pitchers Dan Haren and Jered Weaver took the opportunity to burn themselves. Haren tweeted, “I pitched a few seasons completely out of the stretch actually, just not by choice.” Weaver responded, “Sometimes I would just step off and throw the ball in the gap myself because I knew the hitter would do it anyways.”