Joe Strauss slams "spreadsheet voters"

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Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Dispatch was asked in a chat yesterday about last year’s Cy Young Vote and whether he thought Keith law and “others in the sabermetric crowd” had undue influence in awards outcomes. His response:

There increasingly appears a
campaign to discredit pitcher wins as a consideration. They are
considered by some as a derivative of “luck,” much like RBI, in the
estimation of some spreadsheet voters. Law didn’t give the vote to
Lincecum. However, there is an increasingly strong
smartest-guy-in-the-room element that frowns on more traditional
numbers now assigned the pejorative “peripherals.” Personally, I
thought Wainwright the NL’s best pitcher in 2009 only to later be
informed he was merely “luckier” than Lincecum. Who’da thunk?

I’m guessing that, in the past, there have been other writers who are not named Keith Law and who aren’t “spreadsheet voters” who voted differently than Strauss, with such differences changing the outcome of an awards vote. I don’t recall people responding so defensively to those legitimate differences of opinion, or those voters being called out like Strauss calls out Law and others here.

Likewise, I know of no other field besides sports writing where ignoring relevant data, scoffing disdainfully at advancements in analysis and belittling those who seek to broaden knowledge and understanding of the subject at hand is thought of as a positive thing. 

Pirates looking for outside outfield help

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Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Pirates GM Neal Huntington is looking for outside outfield help in the wake of Starling Marte‘s 80-game suspension for using performance-enhancing drugs. With Marte out of the picture, the club moved Andrew McCutchen back to center field and have played Adam Frazier, John Jaso, and Jose Osuna in right field. But, as Brink points out, Osuna and Jaso — neither an outfielder by trade — misplayed balls over the weekend against the Yankees.

Among available free agents, the pickings are slim. There’s Coco Crisp, Jeff Francoeur, Cole Gillespie, Kelly Johnson, and Nolan Reimold (who is currently in independent baseball). The Pirates may have to find themselves a trade partner. They could also try to talk Angel Pagan back into action, as the veteran outfielder recently said he’s taking the year off. The Pirates could also look at Leonys Martin, who was recently designated for assignment by the Mariners.

Matt Barnes ejected after throwing at Manny Machado’s head

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On Friday, tension between the Orioles and Red Sox rose when Manny Machado spiked Dustin Pedroia sliding into second base. Although the umpires found no fault with Machado’s slide, third base coach Brian Butterfield was later ejected, still feeling like Machado wronged the Red Sox. Pedroia exited the game and was not in the lineup on Saturday or Sunday. He’ll undergo an MRI for his left knee and ankle in Boston on Monday.

For what it’s worth, Pedroia didn’t seem to feel any bitterness towards Machado for his slide. As MLB.com’s Jeff Seidel reported, Pedroia said, “I don’t even know what the rule is. I’ve turned the best double play in the Major Leagues for 11 years. I don’t need a … rule. The rule’s irrelevant. The rule’s for people with bad footwork.”

Tempers flared between the Red Sox and Orioles again on Sunday. In the bottom of the eighth inning with a runner on first base and one out with the Red Sox leading 6-0, reliever Matt Barnes threw a first-pitch fastball up-and-in to Machado. The ball actually hit Machado’s bat, so it counted as a foul ball. Home plate umpire Andy Fletcher ejected Barnes and the Red Sox brought in Joe Kelly. Machado doubled on the first pitch Kelly threw to put the Orioles on the board, but the Orioles ultimately lost 6-2.

MASN’s broadcast later showed Pedroia talking to Machado, seemingly clarifying that Barnes acted of his own volition without encouragement from Pedroia. “You know that,” Pedroia appeared to say. “It wasn’t me. It’s them.”

Update: Pedroia even apologized to Machado and the Orioles, per Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal.

Commissioner Rob Manfred will likely look into Sunday’s incident. He could fine and/or suspend Barnes.

The Orioles and Red Sox meet again in Boston for a four-game series May 1-4. It will be interesting to see if the tension still remains then.