After Yasiel Puig was forced to make an early exit from the past two games due to a lingering injury to his left hip, Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Cuban sensation is not in the starting lineup for tonight’s game against the Rockies.
Puig originally injured his hip when he collided with the right-field fence while making a catch at Coors Field on July 3. Coincidence or not, he’s hitting .256 (10-for-39) with one double and a 13/3 K/BB ratio since. Per Pedro Moura of the Orange County Register, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly indicated that there has been some uncertainty about his ability to play in recent days.
It’s unclear when Puig will be ready to go, but it would hardly be surprising if he was held out the rest of the weekend. It’s best that he gets this thing under control in preparation for the second half of the season. Maybe him missing out on playing in the All-Star Game isn’t such a bad thing after all.
“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.