The player you (irrationally) love to hate

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I’ll admit it: my hangups about Jeff Francoeur aren’t entirely rational.

OK, you probably knew that already.

But I’m not alone! Fans of every team have a guy they simply can’t be rational about. The guy who sticks in their craw no matter what his case is as a ballplayer on the merits. Just ask any Mets fan to assess Carlos Beltran’s contributions and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

Today, over at the Platoon Advantage, Bill takes a stab at identifying the guy on each team whose fanbase simply can’t deal with him on rational terms.

Good stuff! I’m proud to say that my Francoeur Derangement Syndrome helped inspire it.

Alex Wood to try pitching out of the stretch

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Pedro Moura of The Athletic reports that Dodgers starter Alex Wood plans to pitch out of the stretch throughout the 2018 season. Wood got the idea when he watched Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg pitch against the Dodgers.

Wood, 27, finished last season 16-3 with a 2.72 ERA and a 151/38 K/BB ratio in 152 1/3 innings. That’s a mighty fine season, one in which many pitchers would not dare to mess with something that isn’t broken.

Interestingly, Wood indeed has had better results with runners on base — when he would pitch out of the stretch — as opposed to the bases being empty, with a respective OPS allowed of .523 versus .684, respectively. Over his career, he has allowed a .617 OPS with runners on and .706 with the bases empty.

In response to Moura’s tweet about Wood, retired pitchers Dan Haren and Jered Weaver took the opportunity to burn themselves. Haren tweeted, “I pitched a few seasons completely out of the stretch actually, just not by choice.” Weaver responded, “Sometimes I would just step off and throw the ball in the gap myself because I knew the hitter would do it anyways.”