Braves batter Jones hits a double scoring three runs off Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Lee in their home opening MLB baseball game in Atlanta

And That Happened Express: Friday’s Scores and Highlights

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I mentioned in the first “And That Happened” of the year that I may start doing weekend ATHs. ATH is a time-consuming endeavor, and I try to follow the normal social conventions in my personal life (i.e. Friday night is for girlfriends, Saturday night is for wives), so for now I think I’m going to make it an ATH Express. A few words here and there but mostly a list of scores and a thread for everyone to chat.  We’ll see how it goes.

And please: don’t kill me if I miss it on the weekends once in a while because, hey, sometimes even basement bloggers have a nice Friday night and need to recover on Saturday.

Braves 6, Phillies 3: Cliff Lee clearly didn’t have his best stuff. Chipper Jones gets his 2500th hit, though I’m not sure how number 2499 — the “double” off Victorinio’s glove — wasn’t scored an error. I mean, sure, it was nice getting to the ball, but you still gotta catch it when it smacks your glove.  Oh well, that stuff is arbitrary.  Anyway, the Phillies find that life is a bit trickier when they face an actual major league pitching staff.

Diamondbacks 13, Reds 2: Oh no, Ohio.

Indians 12, Mariners 3: Viva Ohio.

Cubs 7, Brewers 4: Viva Zambrano.

Blue Jays 3, Angels 2: “Hey everyone! It’s Vernon! How ya been, Vernon!”

Pirates 4, Rockies 3: The Pirates haven’t had a day off yet and won’t until they’ve played 10 games. They’re the only team stuck with that nonsense.

Rays 9, White Sox 7: Late rally and the Rays are off the schnide. Whatever the hell the schnide is.

Marlins 4, Astros 3: Hanley Ramirez got hurt in a collision. We’ll learn more today.

Giants 5, Cardinals 4: Return of the “torture” thing. You’d think that the Giants were the only team in baseball history to play crappy and then come back.

Twins 2, Athletics 1: You hear that Mr. Anderson?… That is the sound of inevitability… It is the sound of your death… Goodbye, Mr. Anderson.

Nationals 6, Mets 2: The flutterball didn’t flutter for R.A. Dickey.

Tigers 5, Royals 2: Prediction: by the end of April we will have forgotten that the Royals were frisky during that first week.

Red Sox 9, Yankees 6: Phil Hughes has had a batter swing and miss at a pitch three times in two starts.

Dodgers vs. Padres: SUSPENDED. It’s 2-2 in the ninth. They’ll resume it today before the regularly scheduled game. How many rain delays do you see in San Diego?

Rangers vs. Orioles: POSTPONED

Chase Headley doesn’t think Yankee Stadium is as hitter-friendly as advertised

New York Yankees Chase Headley (12) breaks his bat on a ground out to third during the third inning of a baseball game against the Texas Rangers on Monday, April 25, 2016, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Brandon Wade)
AP Photo/Brandon Wade
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Yankees third baseman Chase Headley finished April without registering an extra-base hit. Across 71 plate appearances, he registered only nine hits for an uninspiring .150/.268/.150 triple-slash line. Speaking to David Laurilia of FanGraphs, Headley said that Yankee Stadium isn’t as hitter-friendly as many people think it is, and added that the shift has helped to limit his offensive success.

“Everybody talks about how good of a ballpark Yankee Stadium is to hit in, but it’s pretty big with the exception of right field,” said Headley. “The rest of it plays as big, or bigger, than most yards. It’s maybe a better fit for guys who hit the ball high down the line than it for guys who hit the ball like I have for a lot of my career.”

[…]

“Because of the shifting that’s going on now, if you hit the ball on the ground, for the most part you’re out,” Headley told me. “I’m trying to get the ball elevated — I want to hit it hard in the air — and if I never hit another ball on the ground, I’ll be happy.”

According to StatCorner.com, Yankee Stadium is indeed better for left-handed hitters, and particularly so when it comes to extra-base hits. It lists park factors for handedness, setting 100 as average. A higher number means it’s more hitter-friendly. Here are the left-right numbers as of today’s writing:

  • Singles: 101 for left-handed hitters, 102 for right-handed hitters
  • Doubles and triples: 101 LH, 82 RH
  • Home runs: 137 LH, 127 RH

Headley’s hypothesis seems to have some merit. But his claim that shifts have been hurting him doesn’t seem to hold up to the numbers.

babip

Headley’s ground ball BABIP (batting average on balls in play) this season is only .022 behind his career average of .239. As he’s only hit 23 ground balls total this season, the difference between .239 and .217 is less than one hit.

Where Headley’s BABIP is notably lower is line drives. His career average line drive BABIP is .698, but it’s only .333 on nine line drives in 2016. This could be simple bad luck or it could mean Headley is making worse contact. FanGraphs’ batted ball data suggests Headley has been pulling significantly fewer balls (36 percent to his 45 percent career average), and he’s making “hard” contact less often (21 percent versus his 31 percent career average). Overall, there’s been very little change in his ground ball rate versus his fly ball rate.

Headley mentioned to Laurila that if he could, he would try to hit fly balls to the pull side more often. “I’m working on that,” he said.

Carlos Martinez sued for battery, negligent transmission of STDs, and more

St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Carlos Martinez throws against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the fourth inning of a baseball game, Tuesday, April 26, 2016, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)
AP Photo/Matt York
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Cardinals starter Carlos Martinez was given permission to leave the team on Friday in order to travel to Miami. Martinez was named in a lawsuit filed by a woman who claimed he knowingly trasmitted mutliple sexually trasmitted diseasese to her. She is seeking $1.5 million in damages for battery, negligent transmission of sexually transmitted diseases, fraud, and more, TMZ reported on Saturday.

Martinez rejoined the team and started on Sunday afternoon against the Nationals. His attorney called the allegations “100% false”.

The Cardinals are waiting for more information to find out if the league will investigate the matter under its domestic violence policy. Via Dan O’Neill of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, GM John Mozeliak said, “We wait. And once we learn more, then we’ll have more of an idea. These are things you just learn as you go.”

Should obstruction have been called on Ryan Webb?

Toronto Blue Jays' Kevin Pillar gestures to the dugout after hitting a triple against the Boston Red Sox during the first inning of a baseball game Friday, April 8, 2016, in Toronto. (Fred Thornhill/The Canadian Press via AP)
Fred Thornhill/The Canadian Press via AP
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The Blue Jays had a comfortable 5-1 lead in the top of the ninth inning of Sunday afternoon’s game against the Rays, but one never knows when a base runner might be crucial. Kevin Pillar was on first base when reliever Ryan Webb threw over to first on a pickoff attempt and got him in a rundown.

First baseman Logan Morrison chased Pillar towards second base, lobbing the ball to shortstop Brad Miller. Miller sent Pillar back to first base, throwing to Webb covering the bag. Webb chased Pillar back towards second base and threw to second baseman Logan Forsythe. Forsythe chased Pillar back again, but Webb wasn’t able to get out of Pillar’s way. Second base umpire Mark Ripperger immediately signaled “no obstruction” and Pillar was easily tagged out after he was essentially bear hugged by Webb.

Here’s the MLB.com video.

Major League Baseball defines obstruction as “the act of a fielder who, while not in possession of the ball and not in the act of fielding the ball, impedes the progress of any runner.” Webb had already thrown the ball and Forsythe was in possession of it, so he couldn’t have been considered “in the act of fielding.”

At any rate, the Jays still won 5-1, giving them the series win over the Rays.

Reds place Raisel Iglesias on the 15-day disabled list

Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Raisel Iglesias throws in the first inning of their opening day baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies, Monday, April 4, 2016, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
AP Photo/John Minchillo
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Reds starter Raisel Iglesias has been placed on the 15-day disabled list due to an impingement in his right shoulder, the club announced on Sunday. The right-hander said he felt a “pinch” in his shoulder during a bullpen session on Friday.

The club also moved catcher Kyle Skipworth to the 60-day disabled list and recalled pitcher Tim Adleman from Triple-A Louisville.

Iglesias, 26, pitched well over his first five starts to begin the 2016 season. He compiled a 3.49 ERA with a 29/7 K/BB ratio in 28 1/3 innings.

The Reds can’t seem to catch a break when it comes to pitcher health. Anthony DeSclafani, Homer Bailey, John Lamb, and Michael Lorenzen are already on the disabled list.