Vin Scully and the Sword of Damocles

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Last night during the Padres-Dodgers game, Vin Scully casually — as if he were talking about the weather — wove the tale of the Sword of Damocles into the play-by-play of Chad Billingsley giving up a homer to Eric Stults. Here’s the verbatim play-by-play from the One-of-Five blog.

As someone who often tries way too damn hard to weave in cultural or literary references to baseball stuff, it’s both pleasing and mildly dispiriting to hear someone do it so damn easily.

Not that this is everyone’s cup of tea, of course. Some of you may rather hear a former ballplayer-turned-color man talk about how someone is a “competitor” or explain how so-and-so is looking for “his pitch to hit” or something. In which case I won’t judge you.  Much.

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.”