The Question

People asked me questions on Twitter, so I shall answer them

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Oh, and you’ll really want to watch me do the questions on HBT Daily today because I make an extended “Watchmen” analogy that totally loses Tiffany. But for now, the rejects. No, not you, just the questions I didn’t use:

Q: Why do the Yankees refuse to score runs?

It’s a test of Joe Girardi’s aptitude. If they scored ten runs last night, he never would have been faced with that Colon/Rivera decision and we’d have no way of knowing how he handles such tough spots.  I think the whole thing was set up by Hank Steinbrenner. He got a grant for the study and everything.

Q: What was your favorite class in law school?

Snarky answer: Tax law, because I used to stay up late in law school and I could always catch up on my Zs in tax.

Less snarky answer: Law and Accounting. Really: there was a visiting professor at GW that year — who now seems to be permanent — named Lawrence Cunningham, who actually made what could have been a boring topic — the legal aspects of corporate accounting — really interesting and fun.  While it could have easily been a rote crash course on LIFO and FIFO accounting for laywers, he focused on the little sneaky accounting tricks that business tries to use in order to portray liabilities as assets and other such devious things.  While we’re well aware of all of that in this post-Enron, post-AIG world, this was 1997, and no one was talking about this in polite circles.  Let’s just say that his class, more than any other class I took, has stuck with me these past 14 years, enabling me to understand the nature of big business and, because of that, to be skeptical when anyone proposes “fixing” schools, governments or baseball teams by using good old entrepreneurial know-how.

Q: Wanna get a beer?

You buyin’?

Q: What gives you the right?

It’s my blog, dude.

Q: Red Sox had a walkoff win on Monday after trailing the entire game till the last at-bat. Should that have a special name?

I think you intended to send that to Bill Simmons, who likely has a 26-part “levels of walkoff wins” column in the chamber, ready to fire if he ever wants for content.

Q: We know New York and Boston plyers are overrated and guys from small markets and west coast teams are underrated. What team’s players are rated exactly right?

As we all know, this is a function of the dreaded east coast bias. The answer, then: players who play for any team located 2.7 miles northeast of Plato, Missouri are rated exactly correctly, because that location is the precise geographic center of the U.S. population as of the 2010 census.

Q: Serious question: Do you think fantasy average draft positions will be used for HoF consideration? Insight to fans’ view.

Never. It’s a worst-of-both-worlds kind of thing.  The more traditional voters would dismiss it out of hand because it’s rather nuts on the surface. The more progressive, stats-oriented voters would likewise dismiss it because most fantasy leagues focus on counting stats like steals, wins and saves and thus where someone is taken in a fantasy draft is misleading with respect to their actual value as players. So, points for creativity, but nah.

Q: I’m managing my co-ed softball team this summer. Because I’m in Atlanta, how often am I required by Fredi Law to bunt?

Ah, Fredi Law. That new area of scholarly inquiry that tries to explain the inexplicable moves of new Braves’ manager Fredi Gonzalez.  Because of my Braves fandom and legal background I was recently asked by West Publishing to write a treatise on it, but I declined due to the toll it would have on my mental health. And it’s only May.

As for the bunts: it’s not really a quota. It’s more about making sure you do it at exactly the wrong time and/or burn a perfectly good bench player for the express purpose of bunting when you could have used a pitcher to do it.  Oh, and you get bonus points for doing this, which is a rare instance when Charles Shultz used his well-known but seldom-discussed powers of foretelling the future of Braves’ managers’ decisions.

Q: What is the biggest home run hit in the history of each franchise?

Great question!  It’s one I’m going to turn into a post later today!

Thanks all. I love doing this. Follow me on Twitter and be on the lookout for the next time I go jonesin’ for your questions. Usually Wednesday evenings.

Collins worried David Wright might go on disabled list

Washington Nationals v New York Mets
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NEW YORK — Mets manager Terry Collins is worried David Wright may wind up on the disabled list because of a neck injury.

New York’s captain and third baseman was out of the starting lineup for the third straight day Monday because of his neck. He was given anti-inflammatory medicine over the weekend.

Now 33, Wright was on the disabled list from April 15 to Aug. 24 last year when he strained his right hamstring and then developed spinal stenosis. He has a lengthy physical therapy routine he must go through before each game.

“With the condition he’s been playing in and the condition he’s in right now, yeah, I’m concerned about it,” Collins said Monday. “Is it going to happen? I can’t tell you. I don’t know. I’m not a doctor. I know this guy plays with a lot of discomfort. He always has. And when he can’t play, he’s hurt.”

Wright homered in three straight games last week before getting hurt. He is batting .226 with seven homers, 14 RBIs and 55 strikeouts in 137 at-bats.

Settling the Scores: Memorial Day edition

ARLINGTON, VA - MAY 21:  American flags are shown after being placed by members of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment at the graves of U.S. soldiers buried at Arlington National Cemetery, in preparation for Memorial Day May 21, 2015 in Arlington, Virginia. "Flags-In" has become an annual ceremony since the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) was designated to be an Army's official ceremonial unit in 1948  (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Getty Images
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Memorial Day commemorates the men and women who died in military service. At some point in the past couple of decades, however, it has become an all-purpose flag-waving, patriotism-declaring, civilians-in-camouflage holiday. It’s understandable why this is the case. We, as a country, haven’t always done mourning well. I think it’s part of our national cultural DNA that we don’t and it’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it does make days like this difficult.

I feel like the flag-waving and troop-supporting stuff is some sort of subconscious reaction to death. It’s our way of instantly trying to justify those deaths or to explain how they were not in vain, much the same way we might tell someone upon the death of a loved one that they’re in a better place or that they had a full life. Feeling the pain of loss is hard. We want to soften it in any way we can and make our pain serve a larger, better purpose. And so we get today, when Major League Baseball puts its players in camouflage caps and in jerseys with camouflage logos. They’ll sell them too, with proceeds going to good and noble veterans charities. The intent is noble and the ultimate effect of it all is beneficial. But it’s also a little beside the point. Maybe not beside the point as much as mattress sales or big celebratory barbecues which have come to characterize Memorial Day for so many, but still not exactly the purpose of the holiday.

I don’t condemn it. As I wrote last year, the men and women who actually fought and died in wars were hoping that they were, ultimately, making a better and happier world for those they left behind. And they no doubt hoped, among everything else they hoped, that others didn’t have to face what they were facing. They wanted our lives to be happy and our country to be safe and part of a happy and safe country involves 300 million people doing whatever it is they damn please, even if it’s just having barbecues and wearing camo at the ballpark.

I won’t say have a happy Memorial Day because that seems odd. Have any kind of Memorial Day you want, really, even if it includes barbecuing, drinking beer and wearing a cam ballcap. But as you do, please make sure you take some time to think about those who died in military service. And remember that they didn’t get to have as many days like the one you’re having as they were meant to have. And make at least some effort to offset your happy, patriotic or silly pursuits with some mourning and reflectiveness. It’s OK for that to stand on its own.

The scores:

Red Sox 5, Blue Jays 3
Orioles 6, Indians 4
Yankees 2, Rays 1
Nationals 10, Cardinals 2
Brewers 5, Reds 4
Royals 5, White Sox 4
Cubs 7, Phillies 2
Rangers 6, Pirates 2
Astros 8, Angels 6
Athletics 4, Tigers 2
Twins 5, Mariners 4
Giants 8, Rockies 3
Diamondbacks 6, Padres 3
Marlins 7, Braves 3
Dodgers 4, Mets 2

 

Should Dave Roberts have taken Clayton Kershaw out of Sunday’s game?

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 29:  Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers delivers a pitch in the first inning against the New York Mets at Citi Field on May 29, 2016 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images
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Dodgers manager Dave Roberts will likely be second-guessed heavily during Monday’s news cycle. Starter Clayton Kershaw had pitched a terrific ballgame, as is his tendency, but with 114 pitches to his name, Roberts decided to pull him from the game in the eighth inning with two outs and a runner on first base.

Roberts opted not for closer Kenley Jansen, who hasn’t pitched since Wednesday, but for another lefty in Adam Liberatore. He was playing the numbers, with the left-handed-hitting Curtis Granderson coming up. Liberatore, much to Roberts’ chagrin, served up what turned out to be a game-tying triple to Granderson, hitting a rocket to right-center just out of the reach of a leaping Yasiel Puig.

Jansen has, for six years, been one of the game’s elite relievers. Kershaw, though at a high pitch count, doesn’t seem to suffer from the times through the order penalty like most pitchers. Kershaw’s opponents’ OPS facing him for the first time was .525 coming into Sunday. Twice, .597. Three times, .587. Four times, .526 (but this suffers from survivorship bias so it’s not exactly representative).

Furthermore, Kershaw held lefties to a .546 OPS over his career. Liberatore, in 99 plate appearances against lefty hitters, gave up a .575 OPS. Jansen? .560. It seems that, faced with three decisions, Roberts arguably made the worst one. Playing conservative with Kershaw at 114 pitches is defensible, but only if Jansen comes in. If Roberts wanted the platoon advantage, Kershaw should have stayed in.

Luckily for the Dodgers, Mets closer Jeurys Familia didn’t have his best stuff. He loaded the bases with one out in the top of the ninth on a single and two walks, then gave up a two-run single to Adrian Gonzalez, giving the Dodgers a 4-2 lead. Jansen came on in the bottom half of the ninth and retired the side in order to pick up his 15th save of the season.

Royals sweep White Sox over the weekend on three late rallies

KANSAS CITY, MO - MAY 28:  Brett Eibner #12 of the Kansas City Royals celebrates his game-winning RBI single with teammates in the ninth inning against the Chicago White Sox at Kauffman Stadium on May 28, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. The Royals won 8-7. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
Ed Zurga/Getty Images
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The Royals had themselves a pretty good weekend. The quickly fading White Sox, not so much.

On Friday, the Royals fell behind 5-1 after the top of the sixth. They would score once in the bottom of the sixth, four times in the seventh, and once in the eighth to steal a 7-5 win facing pitchers Miguel Gonzalez Dan Jennings, Matt Albers, Zach Duke and Nate Jones.

On Saturday, the Royals entered the bottom of the ninth down 7-1. They scored seven runs on closer David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle to win 8-7.

On Sunday, the Royals were down 4-2 after the top of the eighth. They plated three runs in the bottom half of the eighth against Jones and Albers, going on to win 5-4.

Coming into the weekend, the Royals were 24-22 in third place. The White Sox were 27-21, a half-game up in first place. Now the Royals are in first place by a game and a half, and the White Sox are in third place, two games out of first.

Here’s video of the Royals’ comeback on Saturday, since it was so unlikely: