Happy Thanksgiving, HBT citizens

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I’m sitting in the Nashville airport, leg one of my flight to San Antonio down and an hour or so until leg two takes off.  ProTip: flying on Thanksgiving — as opposed to the day before — is the way to go. It’s possible that there are more chill airport experiences than on a big holiday, but I’m not sure I’ve ever experienced one.

Thanksgiving for me: Texas-style. Which means that in addition to the turkey and stuff, we get ribs courtesy of Allison’s uncle and his insanely huge, hand-built grill, situated on property that is nothing short of a compound in an undisclosed location in Texas Hill Country. Life, as they say, does not suck.

I hope your life doesn’t suck on this holiday. And if it does, I hope you survive it and it gets better. I’m pretty sure there won’t be much in the way of baseball news to take your mind off of sucky things today, but if anything does happen we’ll get to it.  In the meantime, feel free to use this as an open thread to wish one another well.  Or troll the hell out of each other like usual. I don’t care. I’m gonna be eating ribs.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

No one pounds the zone anymore

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“Work fast and throw strikes” has long been the top conventional wisdom for those preaching pitching success. The “work fast” part of that has increasingly gone by the wayside, however, as pitchers take more and more time to throw pitches in an effort to max out their effort and, thus, their velocity with each pitch.

Now, as Ben Lindbergh of The Ringer reports, the “throw strikes” part of it is going out of style too:

Pitchers are throwing fewer pitches inside the strike zone than ever previously recorded . . . A decade ago, more than half of all pitches ended up in the strike zone. Today, that rate has fallen below 47 percent.

There are a couple of reasons for this. Most notable among them, Lindbergh says, being pitchers’ increasing reliance on curves, sliders and splitters as primary pitches, with said pitches not being in the zone by design. Lindbergh doesn’t mention it, but I’d guess that an increased emphasis on catchers’ framing plays a role too, with teams increasingly selecting for catchers who can turn balls that are actually out of the zone into strikes. If you have one of those beasts, why bother throwing something directly over the plate?

There is an unintended downside to all of this: a lack of action. As Lindbergh notes — and as you’ve not doubt noticed while watching games — there are more walks and strikeouts, there is more weak contact from guys chasing bad pitches and, as a result, games and at bats are going longer.

As always, such insights are interesting. As is so often the case these days, however, such insights serve as an unpleasant reminder of why the on-field product is so unsatisfying in so many ways in recent years.