Reader Tim’s Neighbor is someone I’ve corresponded with a bit, as he worked for the Braves until recently. No, he wasn’t executive vice president of baseball operations or anything, but when it comes to the issue of Jose Reyes and the curiously wet Turner Field infield, he has some special insight and expertise.
Here’s what Tim’s Neighbor had to say about it in the comments thread a few minutes ago. While it may work to defuse conspiracy theories — and who among us doesn’t love a good conspiracy theory — it probably describes the situation more accurately all the same:
I just left the Braves Ground crew. I was full time this season up until a few weeks ago. No way it was intentional. The crew are creatures of habit who don’t divert from what they are supposed to do every day. And they do a damn fine job. I actually texted my buddy on the crew still still and he confirmed that there was nothing sinister. He said it looked fine even when they dragged both times.
It was crazy hot here yesterday. You have to throw a little extra water down so the field doesn’t crack over the three hours of heat. Sometimes, you throw a little extra down. The Braves Field Director is a lot of things that I won’t go into, but the dude knows is stuff and is widely regarded as one of the best in the biz (he also does the Super Bowl every year).
I’m guessing that Reyes doesn’t know the least bit about field and turf management. He should stick to getting on base and being speedy.
The Cubs wrapped up a four-game series against the Reds at Wrigley Field on Thursday afternoon, suffering a 13-10 loss to split the set. They’ll match up again against the Reds next week for a three-game series in Cincinnati. That’s good news for Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant, because that means he’ll get to see Reds first baseman Joey Votto some more.
As CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney reports, Bryant has grown quite fond of Votto. Bryant has already won a World Series ring, a Rookie of the Year Award, and an MVP Award, but he still looks up to Votto. According to Bryant, Votto is “the best player ever.” He added, ““He’s my favorite player. I love watching him. I love talking to him, just picking his brain. He gets a lot of (heat) about his walks and working at-bats and some people want him to swing at more pitches. But, gosh, I mean, he does an unbelievable job. You know that he’s going to give you a great at-bat every time he goes up there. It’s definitely a guy that I look up to and I can learn from.”
Bryant said that Votto is “a future Hall of Famer, that’s for sure.”
Bryant also explained how his approach changed by watching Votto. He said that in his rookie season, he was “swinging at everything.” Votto, however, is “aggressive, but he’s not going to swing at a pitch until he wants it.”
Indeed, in Bryant’s rookie season, he struck out in nearly 31 percent of his 650 plate appearances. This season, he has struck out in only 19 percent of his PA. His walk rate has also increased by more than 2.5 percent since his rookie campaign. Compared to last year, Bryant is down in HR and RBI, but his average is the same, his on-base percentage is markedly better, and his slugging percentage is only down by a minute amount.
Diamondbacks second baseman Daniel Descalso hit his team’s third inside-the-park home run of the season during Thursday’s 4-0 win over the Astros. In the top of the fourth inning, with the score 1-0 and the bases empty, Descalso ripped a 1-0, 83 MPH change-up to right-center field. The ball caromed off the wall, heading towards left field, which sent center Jake Marisnick on the chase. Marisnick tried to pick up the ball with his glove, but dropped it, which sealed Descalso’s destiny for an inside-the-parker.
It had only been five days since the Diamondbacks’ last inside-the-park home run. David Peralta hit one against the Cubs on August 12. Ketel Marte legged out his club’s first ITPHR on July 26 against the Braves.
As ESPN Stats & Info notes, the Diamondbacks have three as a team, which is amazing because the other 29 teams have hit seven combined.