Bill Baer

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 01:  Addison Russell #27 of the Chicago Cubs hits a grand slam home run during the third inning against the Cleveland Indians in Game Six of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 1, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Addison Russell hits grand slam, ties record for RBI in a World Series game

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Addison Russell put Game 6 of the World Series very nearly out of reach in the top of the third inning when he crushed a grand slam to center field off of Indians reliever Dan Otero.

That was on the heels of a two-run double he hit in the first inning, helping put the Cubs up 7-0.

Needing only three innings to do so, Russell has tied a single-game World Series record with six RBI. Three others knocked in six runs:

  • October 8, 1960, World Series Game 3: Bobby Richardson (Yankees) vs. Pirates
  • November 4, 2009, World Series Game 6: Hideki Matsui (Yankees) vs. Phillies
  • October 22, 2011, World Series Game 3: Albert Pujols (Cardinals) vs. Rangers

The last player to hit a grand slam in the World Series was Paul Konerko in Game 2 of the 2005 World Series against the Astros.

Giants sign Josh Johnson to a minor league deal

TORONTO, CANADA - JULY 3:  Josh Johnson #55 of the Toronto Blue Jays delivers a first inning pitch during MLB game action against the Detroit Tigers July 3, 2013 at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Brad White/Getty Images)
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The Giants have signed pitcher Josh Johnson to a minor league contract, MiLB Roster Tracker reported on Twitter on Tuesday night. MLB Trade Rumors confirmed the deal.

Johnson, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2013 due to injuries. He spent the last two years in the Padres’ organization and underwent Tommy John surgery last year that put him out of action for the entire 2016 season. Johnson, in fact, has undergone Tommy John surgery three times in his career.

When Johnson was healthy, he was menacing. His best season came in 2010 with the Marlins when he finished with a 2.30 ERA and a 186/48 K/BB ratio in 183 2/3 innings, finishing fifth in National League Cy Young Award balloting. But he has crossed the 100-inning plateau only four times over parts of nine seasons between 2005-13.

The Giants are taking a no-risk flier on Johnson. Even if he’s unable to stay healthy, the Giants will have lost nothing by giving him a chance.

The umpires have called the strike zone evenly during the World Series

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 30:  Manager Terry Francona of the Cleveland Indians talks with umpire Tony Randazzo in the third inning against the Chicago Cubs in Game Five of the 2016 World Series at Wrigley Field on October 30, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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During the postseason, umpires are scrutinized even more heavily because everyone — fans, players, coaches, front office personnel — are more heavily invested in the outcomes of games. It’s not a great time to be an umpire if you’re in the habit of name-searching yourself on social media.

Arguably the most controversial call came in the  top of the fifth inning in Game 5 of the World Series at Wrigley Field. Cubs starter Jon Lester had a runner on third base with one out in a game his team was leading 3-1. He was in a full count against Indians outfielder Brandon Guyer and threw a fastball that appeared to be a few inches off the plate, but home plate umpire Tony Randazzo thought it was a strike, so Guyer made the second out of the inning. Roberto Perez would ground out to shortstop to end the inning.

As Jeff Sullivan of FanGraphs pointed out, the missed call had huge implications. During the at-bat, the Indians’ odds of winning were at 29 percent. If the pitch had been called a ball and Guyer drew a walk, his team’s odds go up to 32 percent. Instead, the strikeout dropped their odds to 22 percent. As a result, the missed call was a 10 percent swing in win expectancy.

Needless to say, Indians fans were outraged and all kinds of Jose Bautista-esque conspiracy theories were bandied about. Sullivan, though, decided to dig into the numbers and found that missed calls have been distributed evenly. He found 73 total missed calls for a 91 percent accuracy rate for the umpires. Of those 73, 37 favored the Indians (50.7%) and 36 favored the Cubs (49.3%). Sullivan also found that the missed calls that favored the Cubs had an average Leverage Index of 1.05 with a median of 0.92; the Indians’ missed calls had an average LI of 1.01 with a median of 0.88. The differences are negligible.

(In case you’re not familiar: Leverage Index aims to measure the importance of a particular situation in a baseball game. Average is set at 1.00. A high-leverage, or important, situation is considered anything with an LI above 2.0. Low-leverage, or unimportant, situations are typically below 0.85.)

While there have been some non-strikezone-related calls that have been controversial, at least when it comes to calling balls and strikes, the umpires have done a pretty good job and neither side has benefited more than the other. Great research by Sullivan. Make sure to click through to the articles for a more in-depth explanation.