In the top of the sixth inning of last night’s Tigers-Nationals game Anthony Gose slid toward Danny Espinosa in an attempt to break up a double play. Espinosa’s throw to first was late and, as a result, a run scored. Gose never touched second base or even attempted to grab it with an outstretched arm.
The slide was reviewed and Gose was held not to have violated the rule, despite the fact that he didn’t, by any conceivable measure, make a “bona fide slide” as the rule requires. Why? Chris Iott of MLive spoke to an MLB official and this is what he was told:
“Even though the judgment was that runner failed to engage in a bona fide slide, the Replay Official must still find that the runner’s actions hindered and impeded the fielder’s ability to complete a double play. In the absence of the hindering/impeding element — which is a judgment call — the runner cannot be found to have violated 6.01 (j). The judgment on this one was that there was no hindering or impeding of the fielder.”
The “hindering/impeding” part is not in the new slide rule. It would appear that it’s an interpretive gloss placed on the rule by officials after the fact. Which is interesting because the whole point of the new rule seemed to be aimed at taking away any sort of subjective judgment and trying hard to make a “slide” an easily defined thing. Which was dumb, but that’s what it set out to do.
Here’s hoping judgment, rather than blind adherence to a rule and an effort to make that which requires some subjectivity into something purely objective, is allowed to come to to fore more often.
Dave O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports the Braves are trading starter Jhoulys Chacin to the Angels.
Chacin has a 5.40 ERA and 27/8 K/BB ratio in 26 and two-thirds innings over five starts this season for Atlanta, though that’s skewed a bit by his last start against the Mets. For his career he’s 41-51 with a respectable 3.82 ERA and a K/BB ration of 562/298 in 134 games, 118 of which were starts.
The Angels, of course, are in deep doo-doo starting pitching-wise, what with the loss of Garrett Richards to Tommy John surgery and the indefinite absence of Andrew Heaney due to ligament issues of his own.
O’Brien does not yet have word of what the Braves are getting in return. The Angels system is largely bereft of prospects, but Chacin is not exactly someone for whom one can expect a huge haul in return.
UPDATE: Jeff Fletcher of the OC Register reports that the Angels are sending lefty Adam McCreery to Atlanta. He’s a 22 and was a 22nd round pick in 2014. He has only pitched in rookie ball, where he has a 3.55 ERA in 31 relief appearances.
Ben Badler of Baseball America reports that Major League Baseball is investigating the Red Sox in relation to the team’s 2015-16 international signings, particularly in reference to its signings in Venezuela.
The upshot: the Red Sox had a very small amount of money left in their bonus pool due to previous signings yet were able to come away with a number of high-profile prospects despite spending very little money. The players include Albert Guaimaro, Simon Muzziotti, Antonio Pinero, and Eduardo Torrealba.
Badler recently wrote about how teams routinely circumvent bonus pools. That is done, he said, without MLB not really batting an eye. That an investigation is underway now suggests that something else is afoot.
Wednesday means day games and we’ve got seven of them this afternoon.
The Cubs and Padres day tilt is a makeup from the rainout the other night. They’ll go again at 8pm Eastern tonight. Beyond that there are some nice head-to-heads here, with the surprising Mat Latos taking on Cole Hamels. Chris Archer vs. Taijuan Walker is pretty spiffy as well. Maybe the best is Marcus Stroman vs. Madison Bumgarner. The Giants could use a stop from their stopper against a heating up Jays club.
Go home “sick” from work. Watch baseball.
San Diego Padres (Colin Rea) @ Chicago Cubs (Kyle Hendricks), 1:05 PM EDT, Wrigley Field
Baltimore Orioles (Tyler Wilson) @ Minnesota Twins (Phil Hughes), 1:10 PM EDT, Target Field
Chicago White Sox (Mat Latos) @ Texas Rangers (Cole Hamels), 2:05 PM EDT, Globe Life Park in Arlington
Cleveland Indians (Danny Salazar) @ Houston Astros (Doug Fister), 2:10 PM EDT, Minute Maid Park
Arizona Diamondbacks (Robbie Ray) @ Colorado Rockies (Chad Bettis), 3:10 PM EDT, Coors Field
Tampa Bay Rays (Chris Archer) @ Seattle Mariners (Taijuan Walker), 3:40 PM EDT, Safeco Field
Toronto Blue Jays (Marcus Stroman) @ San Francisco Giants (Madison Bumgarner), AT&T Park
Michael Salfino of The Wall Street Journal wrote a story about how sacrifice bunts have gone down dramatically over the pat decade and chalks it up, correctly, I think, to sabermetrics and clubs getting super sophisticated about analytics. Most of those analytics show that bunting, in the aggregate, is a bad play which reduces run-scoring rather than enhances it, ergo it’s on the outs.
This is another one of those things which will likely lead to people arguing the apples of analytics vs. the oranges of simply enjoying baseball and traditional strategy. I hope we can agree that we don’t have to have such arguments, however.
Personally speaking, I have been convinced of the lack of utility to bunting for as long as I’ve been reading the work of Bill James and his progeny and I’ll disagree with a manager’s choice to bunt far more than I’ll agree. But I still greatly enjoy watching a well-executed bunt play from time to time, or a great defensive play that results from a bunt. The thing is — and this is really hard for some sabermetrically-oriented fans to remember sometimes — is that we don’t have to consume the game from the perspective of an armchair manager or GM. We can just watch the spectacle. Bunts can be good spectacle sometimes.
When the Braves are in the World Series this fall and Fredi Gonzalez calls for a bunt, I’ll get mad. But if it works, heck, I’ll enjoy it.