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Off-day Twitter Q&A

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There are zero games scheduled today and tomorrow, so to help pass the time, I’ve decided to take some questions on Twitter.

Justin Turner, Anthony Rendon, and Nolan Arenado are all having better seasons than Kris Bryant this year, but I still think it’s Bryant, assuming we’re taking a long-term view. Arenado is somewhat a product of Coors Field, as his career home OPS is .941 and his career road OPS is .775. That includes a 122-point gap in slugging percentage. And while Arenado is probably the best defensive third baseman in the National League, I don’t think he’s so much better than Bryant that it’d make up for the loss of offense when he’s not at Coors Field.

This is only Rendon’s second big season with the other having come in 2014. He’s only 27, so this can be par for the course for the next half-a-decade, but Bryant has shown far more consistency in his first three years to make his elite production seem sustainable. Turner is 32 years old and he only has maybe two or three more years of hitting the way he has before age catches up with him. His rate numbers are so much better than his peers right now, but he’s only played in 65 games and taken 274 trips to the plate. Most teams headed into the break having played around 90 games.

We haven’t even touched on Manny Machado or Jose Ramirez yet. Machado’s having a down year, which kinda drags his stock down, but he just turned 25 and already has three elite seasons under his belt. And despite having been made an All-Star starter, I still feel like we’re not respecting Jose Ramirez enough. He broke out last year, helping the Indians reach the World Series, and he’s followed it up by hitting .332/.388/.601 this season. Ramirez is 24 and could have plenty of years like this one ahead of him, but it’s hard to know if it’s sustainable since he’s only done it for a year and a half.

If I had to rank them right now, I’d go:

  1. Bryant
  2. Arenado
  3. Manny Machado
  4. Ramirez
  5. Turner
  6. Rendon

The remake of Final Fantasy VII. I’m completely blinded by nostalgia, but FF7 is my favorite video game of all time. I’m really excited to see what they do with the remake because, from what I understand, they’re changing the battle system. The game was released in 1997 and had turn-based combat, but the remake will be real-time action. I’m curious to see how that will work with the limit break system, which was one of the coolest parts of the original. People seem to either love or hate FF7, but I love it. I thought the storyline was brilliant and a player’s progression throughout the game felt rewarding without being too easy.

For those that aren’t complete nerds like me, EVO is short for Evolution Championship Series, which is a fighting games event held in Las Vegas every year. They have tournaments for a handful of games, including Injustice 2, Street Fighter V, Tekken 7, and Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3. Klay and I are huge fans of Super Smash Bros. Melee and Super Smash Bros for Wii U (aka Smash 4), hence the question. EVO will start on Friday and end on Sunday.

In Melee, I think it’s difficult to pick against Adam “Armada” Lindgren, a Swedish player. He’s the consensus No. 1 overall player and has taken first place in 10 of the last 12 tournaments in which he has entered. The two tournaments he lost: at Royal Flush to Joseph “Mango” Marquez, and Smash ‘n’ Splash 3 (third). As for who I’d like to see win, I’d like to see Jason “Mew2King” Zimmerman take first place.

For Smash 4, Gonzalo “Zero” Barrios is the odds-on favorite. He’s the Armada of Smash 4. He’s taken first place in nine of his last 11 tournaments and has overall 14 first-place finishes this year alone.

While I understand other people’s need to assign meaning to life, I personally don’t believe there is any meaning beyond passing on our genes. We’re a bunch of chemical processes in a bag of meat and bones floating through outer space.

You should get up in the morning because what else will you do? May as well make something of your time while you’re here.

I can’t tell you if she’ll ever love you, but I hope you find love. 🙂

Depends on your definition of worthwhile. Do you mean fulfilling? That can take a lot of people their entire lives. Do you mean productive? You can slither into the capitalist machine, comrade.

I have never tried it but I have watched it during the Olympics and it seems fun!

Call me a homer for this — I’m from the Philly area — but I think Bryce Harper is playing for the Phillies in a couple years. They have so much money to spend and they’re going to need an impact player to complement the cavalcade of average to slightly-above-average prospects they have already. Aside from Scott Kingery, right now there are no players I’d feel comfortable projecting as future stars.

Really depends on what the Red Sox do between now and July 31. If they get a third baseman like Martin Prado, then Devers stays down. If they can’t get a third baseman, they might have to call Rafael Devers up. If you ask me to bet, I’d say the Red Sox acquire a third baseman elsewhere, which makes Yoan Moncada more likely to get called up. Moncada had a brief cup of coffee with the Red Sox last year and struggled before being included in the offseason Chris Sale deal with the White Sox. He’s having a pretty good year at Triple-A Charlotte. The last-place White Sox aren’t going to the playoffs, so they may as well get Moncada some meaningful playing time in the big leagues.

Yep. Mike Trout has missed too much time and I’d wager at least two of Aaron Judge, Carlos Correa, Jose Altuve, Mookie Betts, George Springer, and Jose Ramirez will be able to finish out the year strong. Someone else could rise up in the final two and a half months as well. To be clear, there’s no playing time minimum for the MVP Award, but voters do factor in games played. If the Angels miss out on the playoffs — and at 45-47, that seems likely — that will only hurt Trout more because some voters still think an MVP needs to come from a playoff team.

I don’t think the pitching is crappier. I’d argue the pitching now is perhaps the best it has been since the Pedro/Schilling/Big Unit/Clemens era. Maybe even better on average. I think the evidence is indisputable at this time that the ball was altered and has contributed to the resurgence in power. But other factors include hitters focusing more on hitting fly balls and pitchers throwing harder than ever before.

Yeah, Amed Rosario will get called up. I understand fans’ insistence for his promotion since Asdrubal Cabrera got injured, but remember, this is Rosario’s first year at Triple-A and he isn’t a finished product yet. He’s only 21 years old. There are some things that teams are privy to that writers and fans are not, and there may be a very good reason the Mets haven’t promoted him yet. It could be their evaluation of his attitude. For instance, if he struggles, will he tilt or will he use it as motivation to improve? Additionally, Rosario isn’t likely to make such an impact on the Mets that he reverses the team’s course from eight games under .500 into playoff contender.

That being said, the Mets’ reluctance to go all-in on Conforto is puzzling. The dude has raked ever since getting called up in 2015. Prior to this season, he has struggled against lefties, but most left-handed hitters struggle against same-handed pitching. You only get better against them with exposure. He made the All-Star team this year, putting up a .945 OPS in 70 games. I’m not sure what more he has to do to earn a guaranteed starting spot in the outfield when everyone is healthy. He’s the kind of player for whom you trade Curtis Granderson or Jay Bruce to create room.

As for the medical staff, I could see the Mets cleaning slate in the offseason. It’s usually not something that teams do in the middle of a season. I think there’s definitely something going on and even SNY broadcaster Ron Darling has publicly criticized the medical staff. At the very least, cleaning house in that department shows a public commitment to improving in that area.

People were really uncreative in the 1800’s. To be fair, they’re not much more creative in modern time, as teams are just named after other animals (e.g. Rays, Diamondbacks).

I could see them going after another catcher, perhaps the Phillies’ Cameron Rupp or the Giants’ Nick Hundley. They’re pretty strong everywhere else and at their weaker positions, they have players who aren’t going anywhere (i.e. Jason Kipnis). Maybe they pick up a back-end starter and push Josh Tomlin or Trevor Bauer to the bullpen.

I think it’s up to the home plate umpire’s discretion. Sometimes the umpire will ask for a ball that was put in play to be switched out. And if it’s not, sometimes the pitcher will want it switched out anyway. They switch out balls in the dirt because if the pitcher doesn’t have the ability to get a good grip on the baseball, it could slip out of his hand and wind up hitting a player in the head. Or bouncing in the dirt and hitting the umpire in the cajones.

Yasiel Puig is the best heel in baseball. He knows his very existence pisses off some players and a certain segment of the baseball fan base, and he can deal with it. I wish he hadn’t toned down the enthusiasm with which he plays because he’s such a joy to watch, but he’s been talked to by teammates, coaches, front office personnel, and players on other teams.

Right now, Aaron Judge is the babyface of baseball. You saw how much positive press he was getting leading into the All-Star Game festivities and how much more he got after winning the Derby. If not for Judge, Francisco Lindor might have been my choice here.

And That Happened: Sunday’s Scores and Highlights

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Hope you had a nice weekend. Mine consisted of a lot of sniffling, sneezing, coughing, aching stuffy head, fever and, thus, NyQuil and bed rest which (a) meant I went to bed too early Saturday night to see Sean Manaea‘s no-hitter but which allowed me to (b) lay in bed most of yesterday afternoon and see a bunch of games. Not exactly a wash, but if you have to be sick thank God for day baseball. And thank God for NyQuill.

Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Phillies 3, Pirates 2: It was 2-2 from the fifth until the bottom of the 11th, and that’s when Aaron Knapp tripled and Aaron Altherr singled him in for the walkoff win. The Phillies completed a four-game sweep of the Pirates. It was their first four-game sweep of Pittsburgh in 24 years. There was a time when “in 24 years” seemed like a long time ago — like, that should be in the 1980s or something — but it was 1994 and I had just finished my junior year of college. You lose decades after a certain age. Oh well, the Phillies have won 13 of 16 since we all decided Gabe Kapler didn’t know what he was doing. Guess he figured it out.

Rays 8, Twins 6: The Rays had a 6-3 lead, blew it, and it was tied 6-6 in the bottom of the ninth when Carlos Gomez came up to bat and hit a two-run walkoff homer. Gomez said that he told his son that he’d hit a homer for him in this game. He was 0-for-his-first 4, though, with three strikeouts before the blast. Phew. For the Twins, Brian Dozier extended his hitting streak to 23 games, dating back to September 22 of last year. It’s weird that we count hitting streaks that way. Of course it’d be weird if we didn’t count them that way too, as everyone would still be talking about last year’s games, so I dunno. The world isn’t always perfect and there aren’t always satisfying answers. You may lose decades when you get older but you gain the ability to deal with ambiguity and even embrace a lack of cosmic resolution in things. That sort of zen is one of the best parts of getting older, even if people tend to fight it rather than accept it.

Athletics 4, Red Sox 1: A day after getting no-hit by Sean Manaea, Daniel Mengden and his twirly mustache held the Red Sox to one run on six hits in six and a third and the bullpen took it the rest of the way. I’d say who woulda thunk that the A’s of all teams would cool off the red hot Red Sox bats, but it’s not like any team is going to continue to score 7-10 runs a game ad inifinitum. Khris Davis knocked in all four of the A’s runs, the first one on a ground ball single in the first and the last three with a three-run homer in the eighth, both coming off of David Price. As for Mengden, I like him a lot, but not because of his mustache. I like the way he works from the full windup. This is from a game last year, but check this out:

I was watching him yesterday and he seems to have cut down a bit on that rocking motion, but he still goes both-arms-over-the-head like that. I love it because, even though I know not every pitcher did that back in the 1970s and 80s when I was beginning to watch baseball, it sort of felt like everyone did. It was how kids would pitch when emulating pitchers back then and it didn’t seem weird. I don’t know when that went out of style in favor of the bring-the-arms-in-towards-the-chest thing. I know Paul Byrd pitched like that his whole career and it didn’t feel weird when he did it. I don’t know, maybe I’m just remembering three random dudes who did that and I’m totally misrepresenting baseball history here. You misremember a lot of stuff when you get older too. Anyway: I’m on team Mengden.

Royals 8, Tigers 5: The Tigers took a 2-0 lead but Whit Merrifield hit a solo shot and Abraham Almonte hit a grand slam in the sixth inning to make it 5-2. Then the Tigers tied it up but Mike Moustakas hit a three-run shot in the seventh inning to make it 8-5. “And STAY down,” he said. Or thought. Maybe.

Yankees 5, Blue Jays 1: Top prosepct Gleyber Torres made his big league debut and went 0-for-4. He’ll have better days. Maybe days like Miguel Andujar, who went 4-for-4, had. Austin Romine doubled in a couple and Didi Gregorius smacked a dinger. Luis Severino didn’t need that much support, as allowed only one run on three hits over seven.

Indians 7, Orioles 3: Jose Ramirez hit two homers — a solo shot in the fourth inning and a two-run drive in the ninth — to help Corey Kluber get his third win of the season. Manny Machado homered twice in a losing cause. The O’s have lost nine of ten.

Astros 7, White Sox 1: Lance McCullers scattered a bunch of hits while allowing one run over six, while Marwin Gonzalez and Evan Gattis each drove in a couple. Houston sweeps the White Sox, outscoring Chicago 27-2 in the three-game series. The Sox have lost seven in a row, giving up 53 runs on those games.

Brewers 4, Marlins 2: Junior Guerra allowed one run — unearned — in five innings and the bullpen allowed one more run — also unearned — in the final four frames. Both of the unearned runs were attributable to the catcher, as the guy who scored in the first inning reached on a catcher’s interference and the runner who scored in the eighth got into scoring position on a passed ball. Of course, it still took hits in both cases for the runs to come in, so it’s not like the pitcher wasn’t at least partly responsible. I am fairly fascinated with blame apportionment when it comes to unearned runs. It makes me wonder which pitcher benefitted most from runs which, while technically unearned because of an error, were really on him anyway because he gave up a bunch of hits later, failing to limit the damage. Or which were unearned because of his own error. Like, I know Bob Gibson’s ERA in 1968 would not have risen to 3.68 if you analyzed things that way, but I’m sure someone, somewhere, got just under 3.00 to 2.98 or something due to the unearned run rules, thereby changing the way he was viewed in a given year as a result. Someone give me a $250,000 advance on a book to study this, please.

Cardinals 9, Reds 2: Close until the seventh when the Cards put up three thanks to a Paul DeJong three-run homer and then added three more in the eighth. Miles Mikolas allowed two runs — one earned — over seven. I’m too lazy to analyze the unearned run situation in this game, though, and no one has given me the advance I mentioned above just yet. Not doing it for free, folks.  Anyway, the Reds got swept and now they go home to play the Braves today. Maybe. I have tickets to that game so, of course, the forecast calls for a lot of rain. Maybe the Reds need a rainout, but I sort of hope Mother Nature doesn’t let them have one. It’s like 100 miles in the car each way for me and I don’t wanna waste the trip.

Diamondbacks 4, Padres 2: The Snakes scored all four of their runs in the fourth, two on a Nick Ahmed homer, one on Patrick Corbin single and one on a delayed steal thingie in which Padres pitcher Joey Lucchesi threw the ball away. In addition to knocking in that run, Corbin dominated the Padres, winning his fourth game of the year with 11-strikeouts over six two-hit, two-run innings.

Rangers 7, Mariners 4: Nomar Mazara and Joey Gallo each hit dongs in the fourth inning as the Rangers avoid a sweep at the hands of the M’s. Rangers starter Martin Perez allowed two over six innings, lowering his ERA from 13.14 to 9.82. Yay, progress!

Cubs 9, Rockies 7: Chicago built up a 6-0 lead after three innings, let the Rockies back in it and then added three more later and held on. In other words, just another afternoon at Coors Field. Javier Baez homered and later doubled in two. He also got cute and blocked D.J. LeMahieu when the latter was trying, it seemed, to steal signs. LeMahieu didn’t like that, but well, tough:

Kris Bryant left this one in the first inning after getting beaned — the ball hit the bill of his helmet and spun the dang thing around without it even falling off his head — but he passed his initial concussion tests, so here’s hoping it’s not serious.

Giants 4, Angels 2: There was some history here as Brandon Belt and Jaime Barria faced off in a 21-pitch at bat, which was the longest since they began keeping track of such things 30 years ago. Barria ended up winning that battle when Belt lined up to right field for the game’s first out. Here you go if you like foul balls and/or building tension:

The Giants won the war, however, as Barria couldn’t make it out of the third inning, having tossed 77 pitches. As soon as he left Evan Longoria hit a two-run homer and Belt would add a solo shot later. Johnny Cueto, meanwhile, was more economical and shut the Angels down for six innings.

Dodgers 4, Nationals 3: Washington took a 3-0 lead over Alex Wood and the Dodgers by the top of the sixth but L.A. came back when Yasmani Grandal and Cody Bellinger hit RBI doubles of the two-run and one-run variety, respectively. Corey Seager put the Dodgers up for good with a sac fly in the seventh and the bullpen held on. The Dodgers won their sixth in seven games and climbed back to .500 after a slow start to the season.

Mets vs. Braves — POSTPONED:

Tried to get your attention all night long
Asked you once, I asked you twice, asked you four times
If you’d like to dance to that song
Front crawled the crowd down the stairs
And I followed you out in the rain, nowhere to be found
Never mind, you’ll probably never look that pretty again

You’re not nineteen forever, pull yourself together
I know it seems strange but things, they change
Older woman and an ever so slightly younger man
God bless the band, they’re doing all they can

You’re not nineteen forever
You’re not nineteen forever
You’re not nineteen forever
It’s not big, it’s definitely not clever