Major League Baseball has announced its May award winners. They are as follows:
Players of the Month
Pitchers of the Month
Rookies of the Month
Relievers of the Month
Correa batted .386 (39-for-101) with 24 runs scored, eight doubles, seven home runs and 26 RBI in May. Blackmon hit .359 (42-for-117) with 24 runs scored, six doubles, five triples, six home runs, 29 RBI and stole three bases.
McCullers compiled a 4-0 record with a 0.99 ERA and 37 strikeouts over 36.1 innings pitched in six starts. Wood went 5-0 with a 1.27 ERA and K/BB ratio of 41/7 in 28.1 innings across six starts.
Judge batted .347 (33-for-95) with 17 runs scored, five doubles, a triple, seven home runs, 17 RBI, 15 walks and three stolen bases. This is his second straight Rookie of the Month Award. Bellinger hit .245 (26-for-106) with 22 runs scored, five doubles, a triple, nine home runs, 27 RBI, 11 walks and a stolen base.
Kimbrel was 7-for-7 in save opportunities in May, striking out 25 opposing batters in 12.2 innings of work. He has not allowed a hit to opposing batters over their last 31 plate appearances. Holland was 8-for-8 in save opportunities. It was his second consecutive NL Reliever of the Month Award.
You hear a lot about pitchers tipping pitches. It’s often offered up post-facto as an excuse for poor performance by the pitcher himself or his own team. It’s sort of like the “best shape of my life” thing being offered in the offseason to talk about why the player got injured or played badly the previous year. “Smitty’s stuff is still great, he was just tipping his pitches,” said a source close to the player whose stuff is not really great anymore.
Which isn’t to say that pitchers don’t tip pitches. Of course they do. Opposing teams look for it, pick up on it and take advantage of it whenever they can. It’s just that (a) the opposing team has an interest in not talking about it, lest the pitcher STOP tipping its pitches; and (b) the guy actually tipping his pitches doesn’t want to talk specifically about it lest he starts doing it again.
Which is what makes this article at Sports Illustrated so interesting. In it Tom Verducci talks to an anonymous Houston Astros player who explains how Dodgers starter Yu Darvish was tipping his pitches during the World Series, leading to him getting absolutely shellacked in Games 3 and 7. The upshot: the Astros knew when a slider or a cutter was coming, they waited for it and they teed off.
Darvish is a free agent now. I’m guessing, whoever signs him, knows exactly what they’ll gave him work on the first day of spring training.