Delmon Young “accepting his walks, not expanding his strike zone”

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File this under stuff that makes predicting playoff baseball a fool’s errand. Because Joe Maddon gave the quote in the headline in Marc Topkin’s article noting Delmon Young’s contribution to the Rays since joining the team in August.

And your first impulse is to mock. But then you go look and realize that since joining the Rays Young has walked six times in 70 plate appearances, or once every 11.6 plate appearances. For his career he’s walked once every 28.3 plate appearances.

No, that doesn’t mean he’s a changed man. It’s 70 freaking plate appearances, and we know what best explains that. But it does go to show you that the relatively small number of plate appearances any guy gets in the playoffs mean very, very little. Which, in turn, makes the playoffs really exciting and makes predicting their outcome a somewhat insane and impossible endeavor.

The smart money has Delmon Young swinging at the first pitch in a bad moment. But the fact that he could, quite conceivably, work an eight pitch walk to load the bases for Sean Rodriguez or James Loney or something in the ninth inning of an elimination game is kinda awesome. It’s baseball without the long view that the regular season causes us to usually take.

Mike Trout has a torn thumb ligament, could require surgery

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Yesterday Mike Trout left the Marlins-Angels game after hurting his thumb while sliding head first into second base. After the game the Angels talked about it as if it were just a sprain. Trout had an MRI today, however, and the diagnosis is far worse: he has a torn thumb ligament.

While a treatment option has not yet been chosen, surgery is a possibility. A certainty is that he’ll miss, at the very least, several weeks of play. He has been placed on the disabled list for the first time in his career.

Trout, the reigning AL MVP and, without question, the best player in baseball, is batting .337/.461/.742 with 16 home runs, 36 RBI, 36 runs scored, and 10 stolen bases in 206 plate appearances this season. Even with the one of the weaker supporting casts in baseball, Trout had the Angels near .500 and in at least arguable contention in the AL West.

Without him, they are likely sunk. Without him, baseball is worse off.

Basebrawl! Harper, Strickland punch away, Nats-Giants fight

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SAN FRANCISCO — Nationals slugger Bryce Harper and San Francisco reliever Hunter Strickland both landed punches to the head during a wild brawl that erupted Monday after a hit by pitch.

Harper was hit in the right hip by Strickland’s 98 mph fastball in the eighth inning with Washington ahead 2-0.

Harper pointed the bat toward Strickland, charged the mound and fired his batting helmet wide of the pitcher. They started to swing away and they each connected as the benches and bullpens emptied.

At least two Giants players forcefully dragged Strickland from the middle of the brawl all the way into the dugout. Harper and Strickland were both ejected.

In the 2014 NL Division Series, Harper hit two home runs off Strickland. After the star’s second shot, in Game 4, he stared at Strickland as he rounded the bases.