Sunny days favor the pitchers

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If it truly is always sunny in Philadelphia the Phils are going to have a better year than we thought, because that stuff favors the pitchers:

It turns out that batting averages go up when the sun ducks behind a cloud, according to a new study that looked at thousands of major league baseball games played between 1987 and 2002.

And hitting isn’t the only thing – the presence or absence of clouds affects baseball in all sorts of ways, from strikeouts to errors to which team wins, Wes P. Kent and Scott C. Sheridan report in an analysis published by the American Meteorological Society.

There’s a lot more date in the linked story. Seems this was all part of Kent’s master’s thesis in climatology.

In other news, I always smile when I see that people have managed to shoehorn baseball research into non-sports academic studies. You can almost picture them laughing to themselves and rubbing their hands together when they realize that the convinced their adviser to let ’em get away with fun stuff like that.

Will Middlebrooks carted off field with injury

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Phillies third baseman Will Middlebrooks suffered a serious injury during Saturday’s Grapefruit League contest against the Orioles. The infielder was chasing down a pop fly in the eighth inning when he ran into left fielder Andrew Pullin, who inadvertently trapped Middlebrooks’ ankle under his leg. Middlebrooks was unable to put weight on his leg following the collision and was carted off the field and taken to a local hospital for X-rays.

Per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, not much is known yet about the severity of the ankle injury or the recovery time it will require, though it appears serious enough to set Middlebrooks back considerably as he seeks a backup/bench role with the team this spring.

The 29-year-old is currently seeking another opportunity to extend his six-year major-league career in 2018. He’s coming off of two down years with the Brewers and Rangers, during which he slashed a cumulative .169/.229/.262 with four extra bases through 70 plate appearances.