Ryan Vogelsong is falling apart, “not really happy about it”

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Ryan Vogelsong was one of the most consistently excellent pitchers in baseball through the first four months of the season, throwing 143 innings with a league-leading 2.27 ERA through August 8 while allowing more than four runs zero times in 21 starts.

Since then he’s been a mess and after another poor outing against the Rockies last night Vogelsong has allowed 28 runs in his last 26 innings. By comparison he allowed 38 total runs in his first 143 innings.

The good news is that his 32/7 K/BB ratio during this 26-inning stretch suggests he’s still pitching much better than the ugly 9.57 ERA would suggest. The bad news is that he’s served up six homers in 125 plate appearances after giving up a grand total of 10 homers in his first 580 plate appearances.

“I’m costing us games right now and I’m not really happy about it,” Vogelsong said, via Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com. However, he added that there’s nothing wrong with him physically and “I’ve been through way too much in this game to let six not good starts keep me from where I want to get with this team.”

Baggarly also asked Buster Posey if he noticed anything different with Vogelsong, but the All-Star catcher explained that “the stuff is there, velocity is there … he’s throwing the ball as well as ever, I feel like.”

Vogelsong is scheduled to make his next start Sunday at home against the Diamondbacks, who knocked him out of the game in the fourth inning two starts ago.

Theo Epstein named The World’s Greatest Leader

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Fortune Magazine has put out a list of The World’s Greatest Leaders. Not the greatest business leaders, not the greatest leaders in a given industry, but the Greatest Leaders, full stop. The greatest according to Fortune: The Cubs’ Theo Epstein.

For some context, Pope Francis was third. Angela Merkel was 10th. Lebron James was the next greatest sports leader, ranked 11th. Take Fortune’s methodology with a grain of salt, however, given that it has John McCain above Merkel — what, exactly, does he lead now? — and Samantha Bee in the top 20.

So what makes Theo the world’s best leader according to Fortune?

The Cubs owe their success to a five-year rebuilding program that featured a concatenation of different leadership styles. The team thrived under the affable patience of owner Tom Ricketts, and, later, under the innovative eccentricity of manager Joe Maddon. But most important of all was the evolution of the club’s president for baseball operations, Theo Epstein, the wunderkind executive who realized he would need to grow as a leader in order to replicate in Chicago the success he’d had with the Boston Red Sox.

I don’t want to take anything away from what Theo has done — he’s a Hall of Fame executive already in my view — but I feel like maybe one needs to adjust for the fact that this is a baseball team we’re talking about. They’re the whole world to us and their brands are nationally and even world famous, but as an organization, sports teams are rather small. There are guys who run reasonably-sized HVAC companies with more employees than a baseball team and they don’t get the benefit of an antitrust exemption and a rule which allows them to get their pick of the best new employees if they had a bad year the year before.

Really, not trying to throw shade here, just thinking that being the spiritual father for 1.2 billion Catholics or running a foundation that serves 55 million needy children — like the woman who comes in at number 14 — is a bit of a tougher trick.

But this will make a great framed magazine article on Theo’s wall in Wrigley Field.

 

 

Marcus Stroman named World Baseball Classic MVP

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United States starter Marcus Stroman was named Most Valuable Player of the World Baseball Classic after helping lead the U.S. to its first ever WBC title on Wednesday night in an 8-0 victory over Puerto Rico. Stroman flirted with a no-hitter through six innings, but gave up a double to lead off the seventh before being relieved by Sam Dyson.

Stroman also pitched 4 2/3 scoreless innings against the Dominican Republic in Pool C play on March 11. He struggled in Pool F play against Puerto Rico last Friday, surrendering four runs in 4 2/3 innings.

The WBC MVP award understandably goes to a player of the winning team. However, Wladimir Balentien of the Netherlands deserves special mention. In 26 at-bats during the WBC, he hit a double and had a WBC-high four home runs, 12 RBI, and 12 runs scored while putting up a .615/.677/.1.115 batting line. That’s MVP-esque as far as this tournament is concerned.