Cliff Lee

And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

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Phillies 5, Red Sox 0: Cliff Lee.  Cliff Phifer Lee.  Cliff effin’ Phifer Lee throws his third straight shutout and completes his 32nd straight scoreless inning. Some may downplay this by claiming that this was against a weak Red Sox lineup, but a weak Red Sox lineup is still better than a great many other major league lineups at full strength. Either way, Lee is entering seldomly-navigated waters now, approaching the Hershiser Zone.

Mets 14, Tigers 3: Jose Reyes was 4 for 4 with a walk, a stolen base and three runs scored and Carlos Beltran drove in four. Clearly both should be traded.

Rays 4, Reds 3: Evan Longoria hits the walkoff jack. Which the Associated Press likes to call a “game-ending homer” for reasons that are unclear but are likely rooted in a love of buzz-killing bore-speak. Johnny Damon homered and drove in three. The Rays are on fire, having won nine of 11 and now stand a single game behind the Red Sox for second place in the East.

Pirates 7, Blue Jays 6: The Pirates roughed up Jo-Jo Reyes to take a 6-1 lead and then just held on as the Jays clawed back with the help of two homers from Edwin Encarnacion.  Kevin Correia gets his 10th win, though, becoming the first Pirate to win 10 games before the All-Star break since Bob Walk did it back in 1993. No one knows who did it before that because no one except some random scientists and academics had the Internet before then.

Cardinals 6, Orioles 2: St. Louis gets back on the winning track, helped by five shutout innings from Kyle Lohse. He had to leave a bit early due to a half-hour rain delay, but by then things were under control.

Giants 13, Cubs 7, Giants 6, Cubs 3: It’s not often that the Giants’ bats carry the day, but they did in this twin bill. They broke out for a baker’s dozen in the first game, saving Ryan Volgelsong from an uncharacteristically meh start. In the nightcap, two RBI a piece from the fearsome duo of Nate Schierholtz and Brandon Crawford made it more or less the same story.

Yankees 12, Brewers 2: I toyed with the idea of writing this one up as “a possible World Series preview!” because everyone else was saying that about the Red Sox-Phillies, ignoring the fact that, unlike the series going on down in Philly, at least both of these teams were in first place. But really, my heart wasn’t in it, because I’m not sure I take Milwaukee 100% seriously yet. Certainly the Yankees don’t, as they smacked Zack Greinke around. Mark Teixeira and Nick Swisher each drove in four.

Rangers 7, Astros 2: C.J. Wilson didn’t allow the Astros’ offense to do much and, given how bad the Astros’ pitching is, a two-run game from their bats is basically a death sentence.

Twins 6, Dodgers 4: Yesterday, one of the Dodgers’ lawyers actually said, in open court, that the bankruptcy can’t possibly be affecting the Dodgers seeing as though they won 15-0 on Monday night.  If I were the judge I’d call his office this morning and demand that he file a supplemental brief explaining the result of last night’s game.  Don’t get cute with the baseball, Mr. Lawyer Man. That’s my gig.

Rockies 3, White Sox 2: Ty Wigginton hit the game-winner — a bloop single — in the 13th. Again, AP goes with “game-winning hit.” Maybe ESPN or someone copyrighted “walkoff” and that’s why AP style won’t allow for it. I kind of hope that’s it and that every time I use it I’m offending some ESPN lawyer or something.  And that the cease and desist letters keep getting lost in the mail.

Diamondbacks 6, Indians 4: Cerrano hit the curve! Wily Mo Pena with a pinch-hit, two-run homer with two outs in the ninth inning for yet another walkoff (walkoff, walkoff, walkoff) win last night. Necessitated, however, by a rocky outing for J.J. Putz, so it’s not all Skittles and beer in Dback land.

Padres 4, Royals 2: The Padres stay hot, winning their sixth game in seven tries. Kansas City, in contrast, has lost eight of 10.

Braves 5, Mariners 4: Brian McCann may be the hottest hitter in baseball right now. Four hits for the Braves’ catcher, including a two-run single that put Atlanta up for good. He also threw out Adam Kennedy on an attempted double steal, blowing a hole in the middle of what could have and should have been a Mariners rally.

Athletics 1, Marlins 0: Gio Gonzalez and Javier Vazquez were both on point, but Gonzalez was pointier, allowing only one hit over eight innings while striking out nine.

Angels 11, Nationals 5: Vernon Wells went 4 for 5 with a homer and a couple of RBI on a rare night of big offense at home for the Halos. Davey Johnson just doesn’t know how to win.

Chase Headley doesn’t think Yankee Stadium is as hitter-friendly as advertised

New York Yankees Chase Headley (12) breaks his bat on a ground out to third during the third inning of a baseball game against the Texas Rangers on Monday, April 25, 2016, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Brandon Wade)
AP Photo/Brandon Wade
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Yankees third baseman Chase Headley finished April without registering an extra-base hit. Across 71 plate appearances, he registered only nine hits for an uninspiring .150/.268/.150 triple-slash line. Speaking to David Laurilia of FanGraphs, Headley said that Yankee Stadium isn’t as hitter-friendly as many people think it is, and added that the shift has helped to limit his offensive success.

“Everybody talks about how good of a ballpark Yankee Stadium is to hit in, but it’s pretty big with the exception of right field,” said Headley. “The rest of it plays as big, or bigger, than most yards. It’s maybe a better fit for guys who hit the ball high down the line than it for guys who hit the ball like I have for a lot of my career.”

[…]

“Because of the shifting that’s going on now, if you hit the ball on the ground, for the most part you’re out,” Headley told me. “I’m trying to get the ball elevated — I want to hit it hard in the air — and if I never hit another ball on the ground, I’ll be happy.”

According to StatCorner.com, Yankee Stadium is indeed better for left-handed hitters, and particularly so when it comes to extra-base hits. It lists park factors for handedness, setting 100 as average. A higher number means it’s more hitter-friendly. Here are the left-right numbers as of today’s writing:

  • Singles: 101 for left-handed hitters, 102 for right-handed hitters
  • Doubles and triples: 101 LH, 82 RH
  • Home runs: 137 LH, 127 RH

Headley’s hypothesis seems to have some merit. But his claim that shifts have been hurting him doesn’t seem to hold up to the numbers.

babip

Headley’s ground ball BABIP (batting average on balls in play) this season is only .022 behind his career average of .239. As he’s only hit 23 ground balls total this season, the difference between .239 and .217 is less than one hit.

Where Headley’s BABIP is notably lower is line drives. His career average line drive BABIP is .698, but it’s only .333 on nine line drives in 2016. This could be simple bad luck or it could mean Headley is making worse contact. FanGraphs’ batted ball data suggests Headley has been pulling significantly fewer balls (36 percent to his 45 percent career average), and he’s making “hard” contact less often (21 percent versus his 31 percent career average). Overall, there’s been very little change in his ground ball rate versus his fly ball rate.

Headley mentioned to Laurila that if he could, he would try to hit fly balls to the pull side more often. “I’m working on that,” he said.

Carlos Martinez sued for battery, negligent transmission of STDs, and more

St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Carlos Martinez throws against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the fourth inning of a baseball game, Tuesday, April 26, 2016, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)
AP Photo/Matt York
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Cardinals starter Carlos Martinez was given permission to leave the team on Friday in order to travel to Miami. Martinez was named in a lawsuit filed by a woman who claimed he knowingly trasmitted mutliple sexually trasmitted diseasese to her. She is seeking $1.5 million in damages for battery, negligent transmission of sexually transmitted diseases, fraud, and more, TMZ reported on Saturday.

Martinez rejoined the team and started on Sunday afternoon against the Nationals. His attorney called the allegations “100% false”.

The Cardinals are waiting for more information to find out if the league will investigate the matter under its domestic violence policy. Via Dan O’Neill of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, GM John Mozeliak said, “We wait. And once we learn more, then we’ll have more of an idea. These are things you just learn as you go.”

Should obstruction have been called on Ryan Webb?

Toronto Blue Jays' Kevin Pillar gestures to the dugout after hitting a triple against the Boston Red Sox during the first inning of a baseball game Friday, April 8, 2016, in Toronto. (Fred Thornhill/The Canadian Press via AP)
Fred Thornhill/The Canadian Press via AP
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The Blue Jays had a comfortable 5-1 lead in the top of the ninth inning of Sunday afternoon’s game against the Rays, but one never knows when a base runner might be crucial. Kevin Pillar was on first base when reliever Ryan Webb threw over to first on a pickoff attempt and got him in a rundown.

First baseman Logan Morrison chased Pillar towards second base, lobbing the ball to shortstop Brad Miller. Miller sent Pillar back to first base, throwing to Webb covering the bag. Webb chased Pillar back towards second base and threw to second baseman Logan Forsythe. Forsythe chased Pillar back again, but Webb wasn’t able to get out of Pillar’s way. Second base umpire Mark Ripperger immediately signaled “no obstruction” and Pillar was easily tagged out after he was essentially bear hugged by Webb.

Here’s the MLB.com video.

Major League Baseball defines obstruction as “the act of a fielder who, while not in possession of the ball and not in the act of fielding the ball, impedes the progress of any runner.” Webb had already thrown the ball and Forsythe was in possession of it, so he couldn’t have been considered “in the act of fielding.”

At any rate, the Jays still won 5-1, giving them the series win over the Rays.

Reds place Raisel Iglesias on the 15-day disabled list

Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Raisel Iglesias throws in the first inning of their opening day baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies, Monday, April 4, 2016, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
AP Photo/John Minchillo
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Reds starter Raisel Iglesias has been placed on the 15-day disabled list due to an impingement in his right shoulder, the club announced on Sunday. The right-hander said he felt a “pinch” in his shoulder during a bullpen session on Friday.

The club also moved catcher Kyle Skipworth to the 60-day disabled list and recalled pitcher Tim Adleman from Triple-A Louisville.

Iglesias, 26, pitched well over his first five starts to begin the 2016 season. He compiled a 3.49 ERA with a 29/7 K/BB ratio in 28 1/3 innings.

The Reds can’t seem to catch a break when it comes to pitcher health. Anthony DeSclafani, Homer Bailey, John Lamb, and Michael Lorenzen are already on the disabled list.