No more running for O-Dog: Padres place Hudson on DL

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It took only 28 games for Orlando Hudson to tie his career-high with 10 steals at age 33, but he won’t be doing any more running for a while after the Padres placed him on the disabled list with a strained right hamstring.

Hudson, who tweaked his hamstring in yesterday’s game, has scored just nine runs this season despite a .360 on-base percentage and 10 steals, which says a lot about how awful the Padres’ lineup has been.

San Diego called up 24-year-old Logan Forsythe from Triple-A to replace Hudson on the roster after the 2008 first-round pick hit .291 with a .410 on-base percentage and .488 slugging percentage in 22 games. Forsythe doesn’t bring much power the table, but draws a ton of walks and has a career OBP of .408.

No one pounds the zone anymore

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“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.