The Question

You asked me questions on Twitter. So I shall answer them.


The video version is coming later — you’ll want to watch it because I drop some Mormon theology on you, brotha — but for now, here are the ones that didn’t make the video cut:

Q: Bruins or Canucks?

Charlestown Chiefs. I’m pretty big into the Federal League.

Q: On the hipster scale, how much more hip do you feel now than in your old glasses?

I could give you an actual number on that scale, but it’s an obscure number that you’ve probably never heard of.

Q: What’s the best meal you’ve ever eaten?

In 2001, my wife and I traveled to Italy. While there, we had the freshest pesto imaginable at a cafe in Portofino, dined in no less then three fantastic restaurants in Tuscany and ate a home cooked meal made by my wife’s sister and her husband in their little Veneto village featuring polenta that God Almighty would praise as divine. But in the immortal words of the sadly mortal Humphrey Bogart, a hot dog at the ball park is better than steak at the Ritz.

Q: Bigger popularity contest: “most overrated player” or “All Star Game”?

Hard to say. We’ll see which one Derek Jeter has a better showing in before we decide.

Q: Has Bobby Cox been thrown out of anywhere lately? I miss him.

I’ve heard rumors that things got rowdy at the Stone Mountain Old Country Buffet last week. Fairly even odds that Cox used the magic words on the guy restocking the hot scalloped apples.

Q: Does anyone besides MLB Network Countdown think Jack Buck’s call of Kirk Gibson’s 1988 HR was better than Vin Scully’s?

I’ve actually heard a fair amount of reasonable disagreement about this. I preferred Scully’s simply because I was watching it on TV and that’s the call I heard in real time. But in replays, Buck’s is pretty solid too.  Scully, due to the ability to be silent for a bit and let the crowd react, had more time to compose his in his mind. Buck’s was more spontaneous and captured the excitement a bit more.  I like ’em both.

Q: Al Alburquerque. Discuss.

We’ve covered this before. With that name, his future lies in either professional gambling, organized crime or unpainted furniture sales.

Q: Should reached on error count towards OBP?


Q: If you were to drop wOBA or FIP in a typical post, what percentage of your readers would know what you were saying?

More than you think because the readers around here are smart. That is, if I didn’t mangle the reference to wOBA or FIP in such a way as to totally confuse everyone. I’m a fellow traveler of the statheads, but really, I’m a statistical dilettante and anything specific I say in that area should be triple checked before you rely on it and then probably best ignored.

Q: If you had to pick one of the Braves’ post-Andruw center fielders, which one would you choose?

Depends what I’m picking them for. If I need someone to draw gunfire while I escape in the other direction any of them would do and I likely wouldn’t miss them. If I needed them to play actual baseball games I’d probably take Gregor Blanco because at least he knows how to take a friggin’ walk now and again.

Q: Paper or plastic?

The former for airplanes, the latter for Ono Bands.

Q: How much are you supposed to tip the guys who walk the food to your car when you order curbside?

Um, we’re supposed to tip those guys?

Q: Do you fear the possibility of Brian Wilson’s beard becoming so dark that light cannot escape its surface?

I fear no such thing, for I am Doctor Hans Reinhardt, commander of the USS Cygnus.

Q: What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?

African or European?

Q: My car broke down again today. Do they have stem cell treatments like Bartolo’s for Nissans?

Yes, but there is probably some automotive reporter who doesn’t understand how such treatments work and thus casts aspersions on them.

Q: You were watching Oceans Eleven too last night, weren’t you?

No. But in December 2003 and January 2004, there was a great convergence of forces in my life: (a) a newborn daughter; and (b) a free trial of HBO. The daughter did not sleep. Ever. And in those two months HBO did not stop showing “Ocean’s Eleven,” ever. Mookie and I went on a streak of something like 15 nights when she cried, I held her and we both watched “Ocean’s Eleven” while we tried to give my wife a couple hours of sleep. Of course, sometimes I cried too, but that was either due to sleep deprivation-induced delirium or the fact that the scene where the gang all gathers and watches the Bellagio fountains is somewhat touching compared to the previous two hours of cooler-than-thou ersatz Rat Pack irony.

OK, I forgot what we were talking about.  Oh well. We’ll pick up the thread next week.  Thanks for the questions everyone.

Jacob deGrom outduels Clayton Kershaw, Mets take 1-0 NLDS lead

Jacob de Grom
AP Photo/Kathy Willens

Jacob deGrom put together one of the best post-season starts in Mets history, outdueling three-time Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw to pitch his team into a 1-0 NLDS lead. The right-hander fanned 13 over seven shutout innings, holding the Dodgers to five hits and a walk as the Mets won 3-1.

deGrom’s game score of 79 is the fifth-best by a Mets starter in the playoffs, behind Jon Matlack, Mike Hampton, Bobby Jones, and Tom Seaver, according to Baseball Reference. As Katie Sharp notes on Twitter, deGrom is one of three pitchers to hold the opposition scoreless on 13 or more strikeouts and one or fewer walks. The other two are Tim Lincecum and Mike Scott.

In the eighth inning, reliever Tyler Clippard allowed a one-out double to Howie Kendrick followed by an RBI single to Adrian Gonzalez as the Dodgers finally got on the board. Closer Jeurys Familia entered and recorded the final out of the eighth inning by inducing a weak line out from Justin Turner. In the ninth, Familia worked a 1-2-3 frame to wrap up the game.

Kershaw remains winless in the post-season since Game 1 of the 2013 NLDS, a span of seven starts. He gave up a solo home run to Daniel Murphy in the fourth inning, then walked the bases loaded in the seventh inning before departing with two outs. Reliever Pedro Baez entered and allowed two of his inherited runners to score when David Wright lined a single to center field. On the evening, Kershaw was on the hook for three runs on four hits and four walks with 11 strikeouts. Though he lost his command a bit towards the end of his start, the lefty pitched quite well and will be on the receiving end of some unnecessary criticism as a result of taking another post-season loss.

deGrom and Kershaw both struck out 11 batters, the first time that has happened in a major league post-season game.

Michael Cuddyer didn’t look too good out in left field for the Mets.

Game 2 of the NLDS will continue on Saturday at 9:00 PM EDT. Noah Syndergaard will start for the Mets opposite Zack Greinke of the Dodgers.

Clayton Kershaw, Jacob deGrom create MLB first with 11 strikeouts each in the playoffs

Jacob deGrom
AP Photo/Alex Brandon

For the first time in major league history, both pitchers in a playoff game have struck out at least 11 batters, per’s Paul Casella. Mets starter Jacob deGrom has pitched just a hair better than Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw overall. deGrom has blanked the Dodgers over six frames on five hits and a walk. Kershaw made one mistake, resulting in a solo home run to Daniel Murphy in the fourth inning. He’s allowed four hits and four walks total in 6 2/3 innings.

The last time opposing starters each struck out 10 in a post-season game was back in 1944 in Game 5 of the World Series when Mort Cooper of the St. Louis Cardinals struck out 12 and Denny Galehouse of the St. Louis Browns struck out 10.

Michael Cuddyer not shining in left field early in NLDS Game 1

Michael Cuddyer
AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek

Mets outfielder Michael Cuddyer has already made a pair of mistakes in left field and he’s only four innings into the first game of the best-of-five NLDS against the Dodgers.

Leading off the second inning, Justin Turner sent a well-struck liner to Cuddyer which was quite catchable, but the ball clanked off of the veteran’s glove. Turner was credited with a double. Mets starter Jacob deGrom was able to work around the misplay, striking out Andre Ethier, A.J. Ellis, and Clayton Kershaw to close out the frame.

With two outs in the third inning, Corey Seager sent a fly ball down the left field line. Cuddyer took an inefficient route and the ball bounced about a foot inside the foul line, then into the stands, giving Seager a ground-rule double. To add insult to injury, Cuddyer ended up tumbling over the fence. deGrom, again, worked around Cuddyer’s mistake, striking out Adrian Gonzalez to end the inning.

Because he bats right-handed, Cuddyer got the start in left field over the left-handed-hitting rookie Michael Conforto against Kershaw, a southpaw. Conforto mustered only a .481 OPS against lefties this season compared to Cuddyer’s .698. Despite the batting disparity, one wonders how short a leash manager Terry Collins has on Cuddyer given his defense.