Setting aside how old it makes me feel to hear that a team employee read Tom Tango’s “The Book” “while growing up,” these two stories — here and here — from Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post is a fascinating peek into how the Washington Nationals — a team always characterized as “scouting-first” use advanced metrics and analytics in their baseball operations department.
Shock of shocks: they use scouting and sabermetrics. It’s almost as if those two things can work together rather than be the zero-sum game some old school columnists would have you believe.
Sad part, though: the analyst intern Kilgore talks with says that, while they like to see third party predictive analysis and thus look at a lot of websites like FanGraphs and Baseball Prospectus, there is no mention whatsoever of the Nationals reading HardballTalk’s Best Shape of His Life reporting. I mean, what else do you need to know about how a guy is gonna do? Call me, dudes. I’ll totally hip you to that area of analysis.
The Mets rode a bloop hit and a fortuitous slide by Yoenis Cespedes into a four-run fifth inning against the Cardinals during Thursday night’s game.
After Cespedes drew a one-out walk, James Loney hit a weak pop-up into shallow left field. Left fielder Brandon Moss and shortstop Greg Garcia both gave chase but it dropped in. Cespedes, running the bases aggressively, sprinted towards third base. Moss scooped up the ball and threw to Adam Wainwright covering third base.
Cespedes appeared to have been tagged out by Wainwright, but as luck would have it, Cespedes’ cleats stuck on Wainwright’s glove and yanked it off. Cespedes was ruled safe and the Cardinals challenged the call, but it was ultimately upheld.
After that play, Curtis Granderson struck out, Wilmer Flores reached on a fielding error by Garcia, and Alejandro De Aza hit a three-run home run to right field, pushing the Mets’ lead to 7-0.
You may recall that, back in May, Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor got into a fight with Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista. Bautista slid late into second base, with which Odor took issue, so he punched Bautista in the face. That earned him a seven-game suspension.
With one out in the fifth inning of Thursday’s game against the Indians, Odor reached on a fielding error by first baseman Mike Napoli. Jonathan Lucroy then hit into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play. Odor slid hard into Jason Kipnis covering second base.
Kipnis, hearkening back to the Bautista fight, backed up as if he were afraid Odor would punch him. Odor got a good chuckle out of it, but it was the Rangers’ bench which perhaps enjoyed the joke most. The Rangers’ broadcast showing Adrian Beltre cracking up and telling his other teammates what had happened.