Vlad Guerrero has been hitting the ball well lately, leading the charge as the Orioles have done a damn fine job of playing spoiler in the American League wild card race. Also, as Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun points out, he’s three hits behind Julio Franco for the record of most hits for a player from the Dominican Republic.
It’s enough to make the guy want to play a couple more years:
“I feel I can play two or three more years,” he said. “And I just need to work a little harder this offseason when I go to the Dominican and see what happens.”
He’s on a one-year deal with Baltimore. Overall he’s hitting .292/.320/.421 with 13 homers. The recent surge notwithstanding, it’s hard for anyone to justify giving a guy like that with no defensive value whatsoever a contract. I’m sure someone will because of the name, the fact that he’s well-liked within the game and the chance, however slight, that he still has a productive year in him. But it’s certainly not a given.
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.”