Tag: Chicago Cubs

Carlos Gomez

Brewers activate Carlos Gomez from disabled list

1 Comment

The Brewers have activated center fielder Carlos Gomez from the 15-day disabled list for today’s game against the Cubs. He’s batting leadoff in his return against right-hander Jake Arrieta.

Gomez has been out since April 15 due to a strained right hamstring and he has been missed in a big way. The Brewers went 3-12 during his absence and own the worst record in the majors at 5-18. While his return is welcome sight, Jonathan Lucroy and Scooter Gennett are both still on the disabled list and Aramis Ramirez is sitting out for a second straight day due to hamstring tightness.

The Brewers designated infielder Luis Jimenez for assignment in order to clear the way for Gomez’s return.

Someone with the Yankees wonders if Cole Hamels is still an ace

Cole Hamels

There was an interesting snippet in Jon Heyman’s column for CBS Sports:

Yankees people shot down rumors that they are thinking more about Cole Hamels now that Tanaka’s out. “Not looking,” one Yankees person said. Another wondered if Hamels is still an ace, or merely a big name.

Before getting into the accuracy of Hamels’ designation as an ace, it is important to recognize two factors here. One, an anonymous team source wouldn’t be quoted for saying something obvious like, “Cole Hamels is good.” Secondly, this anonymous team source is not exactly the most impartial judge of talent, as the Yankees would like to pay as little as possible for Hamels. Talking him up in the media, even anonymously, works against that task.

Anyway. Hamels, 31, has four years and $96 million remaining on his contract with the Phillies. Comparing his level of talent with other elite pitchers, he is significantly cheaper. That’s even true if he requires an acquiring team to guarantee his $20 million option for the 2019 season, which would tack on an additional $14 million (since the $6 million buyout clause is already factored in), putting him at $110 million over five years.

Three of Hamels’ peers signed big contracts in the off-season. James Shields, 33, got a four-year, $75 million contract from the Padres. Jon Lester, 31, got $155 million over six years from the Cubs. Max Scherzer, 30, signed a seven-year, $210 million contract with the Nationals. Here’s how Hamels stacks up with the trio since the start of the 2012 season, per FanGraphs:

Cole Hamels 3.06 671.0 23.7% 6.5% 44.5% 10.5% 3.32
Max Scherzer 3.15 651.0 28.5% 6.9% 36.5% 8.3% 3.18
James Shields 3.28 714.1 21.6% 6.1% 46.2% 10.5% 3.48
Jon Lester 3.74 660.0 21.3% 6.8% 45.4% 9.5% 3.56

By ERA, Hamels is the best of the group and it isn’t particularly close after Scherzer. However, prior to 2015, Hamels is the only one who benefited from throwing against opposing pitchers instead of a designated hitter. That’s why ERA retrodictors like xFIP are useful. But even there, Hamels is a peer of Scherzer’s and a superior to Lester and Shields. If one considers Scherzer to be an ace — and his contract would seem to indicate that — then it would seem one would also have to consider Hamels an ace. That’s certainly the case if such a designation is given to Shields and Lester.

Let’s expand the scope a bit. Since the beginning of the 2012 season, Hamels is one of 12 pitchers (min. 500 innings) to have an adjusted ERA (a.k.a. ERA+) of 125 or better. ERA+ adjusts for league and park effects and sets average at 100. A pitcher would be penalized a bit for pitching at Petco Park and given extra credit for pitching at Coors Field. Hamels is tied at 125 with Adam Wainwright and David Price. Zack Greinke, Yu Darvish, Jordan Zimmermann, and Doug Fister are only a point or two above the trio at 125. All of them, perhaps with the exception of Fister, would be considered aces. Therefore, one might conclude, Hamels too is an ace.

For a number of reasons, including his struggles in 2009 and the Phillies’ inability to provide him with run support, Hamels has been underappreciated for most of his career. It’s a strange case considering how dominant Hamels has been in the playoffs. He earned World Series MVP honors in 2008 to help the Phillies overcome the Rays in five games. He also has a career 3.09 ERA with a 77/21 K/BB ratio in 81 2/3 post-season innings. It is interesting to note Hamels hasn’t gotten nearly the amount of adulation other players — Derek Jeter, for instance — got for being productive when it mattered most.

Video: Andrew McCutchen’s 1,000th career hit

Screenshot 2015-04-29 at 9.58.43 PM

Watch as Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen collects the 1,000th hit of his career on a sharply-struck infield single Wednesday night against Cubs reliever Edwin Jackson …

1,000 hits isn’t really a notable milestone — over 1,200 players have done it — but it’s impressive how quickly the 28-year-old McCutchen got there. He made his major league debut for the Pirates on June 4, 2009.

Gregory Polanco returns to Pirates’ lineup Wednesday

polanco getty

Pirates right fielder Gregory Polanco was held out the starting lineup both Monday and Tuesday after tweaking a muscle in his groin over the weekend, but he was able to pinch hit on Tuesday night and he is leading off for the Bucs in Wednesday night’s game against Cubs right-hander Kyle Hendricks.

The groin problem was obviously pretty minor.

Polanco, 23, is batting .284/.303/.419 with a homer, seven doubles, and seven stolen bases in 19 games this season for Pittsburgh. He was a consensus top-25 prospect heading into the 2014 season but posted a disappointing .650 OPS in 89 games as a rookie.

And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

Dan Uggla

Nationals 13, Braves 12: You’d think that all of the money the Braves are paying Dan Uggla that he’d treat them with more respect than to hit a clutch three-run homer to complete a huge comeback against them. The nerve.

Seriously, though: while I don’t much care for Uggla and he was frustrating when he played for my team, I don’t hold him sucking while in Atlanta against him personally. Some do. Many do. Many in Atlanta these past two days booed him and felt bile. Why? Do they think he enjoyed sucking? Enjoyed losing his job and then being released? Of course he didn’t. He probably felt way worse about it than y’all did. Glad he’s gone, but he hasn’t deserved the sort of hatred you see of him among some Braves fans.

I’d rather Uggla hit this homer in a losing cause because, again, he’s playing my team. But if the Braves had to lose this game — and don’t even get me started about their crap defense and bullpen which caused them to — good for him for having a great moment in the ballpark that has been a house of horrors for him. I don’t believe it will turn him back into an All-Star or anything, but even so, he’ll remember this all of his life and have at least one good memory of the past few years of his career instead of nothing but bad ones. We should want human beings who have experienced some challenges to have good moments like that on the other side.

Blue Jays 11, Red Sox 8: Like a mini-Nats-Braves game, with the home team jumping out to a lead — here it was just 4-0 — and the road team roaring back against a bad pitching staff. Marco Estrada was the hero here for the Jays, entering the game in the fifth inning with nobody out and the bases loaded — walking in one guy but otherwise limiting the damage — and then going on to pitch three innings of hitless ball. The Sox can take solace in the fact that the Jays have beat the heck out of every pitching staff — they lead the league in runs per game — but it’s hard to imagine how Boston’s pitching could be much worse.

Royals 11, Indians 5: Yet another come-from-behind, big offense game. Kendry Morales hit a three-run homer capped a six-run seventh inning. Alex Gordon homered and drove in two. The Indians have lost 8 of 11 and possess the worst record in the AL.

Mariners 2, Rangers 1: In one of the more nerdy/embarrassing things I’ll ever admit to on this blog, I have had, ever since I was a kid . . . Thomas Jefferson fantasies. No, it’s not a sex thing. And I don’t know why it’s Thomas Jefferson over any other historical figure, but it is. Anyway, here’s the thing: I imagine that Thomas Jefferson was suddenly zapped to the present and is hanging out with me. My job is to attempt to explain the present to him and show him things like air travel and computers and modern cities and stuff like that. He asks me questions about them and I try to answer. I assume that I started doing this as some sort of means of challenging myself to explain my world in terms that do not assume prior knowledge. An intellectual, pedagogical game or whatever. And, again, I have no idea why it’s Thomas Jefferson, but it is. Anyway, I’ve done this since I was ten or eleven years old and still catch myself doing it sometimes.

The whole point of that is to say that, if we swapped out Thomas Jefferson for Walter Johnson or someone, we could play that game with baseball and try to explain to him how it took six pitchers for the Mariners to win a game in which they allowed only one run to the Rangers.

Cubs 6, Pirates 2: The Cubs have won their fourth in a row. Dexter Fowler had three hits and two RBIs, Travis Wood tossed seven strong innings. Conversation had after this game. One of these comments actually happened, as reported in the game story:

Mongol General: Hao! Dai ye! We won again! This is good, but what is best in life?

Mongol: The open steppe, fleet horse, falcons at your wrist, and the wind in your hair!

Mongol General: Wrong! Conan! What is best in life?

Conan: Crush your enemies! See them driven before you! Hear the lamentations of their women!

Mongol General: Wrong! Joe Maddon! What is best in life?

Joe Maddon: I love two-out runs, man. They really hurt the other side badly. When you get ’em, there’s nothing more glorious than that.

Mongol General: That is good! That is good!


Yankees 4, Rays 2: A win, but one overshadowed by the news that today’s scheduled starter, Masahiro Tanaka, has to go on the DL. Chase Whitley started here — it was just supposed to be a spot start — but it turned out to be an audition for a regular slot in the rotation. It went well, with Whitley allowing six hits and one run in five innings. That’s 10 of 12 for New York.

Reds 4, Brewers 2: This Brewers loss allowed MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince to offer up the joke/factoid of the night:

Johnny Cueto allowed two runs in eight innings, needing only 85 pitches. Joey Votto homered. He’s hitting .316/.429/.645 on the year and is on a 50+ home rune, 130+ RBI pace.

Marlins 4, Mets 3: The Marlins have won six of seven, this one thanks to Michael Morse’s tiebreaking RBI single in the eighth. Dee Gordon got two more hits. He’s batting .400 on the year.

Twins 3, Tigers 2: My girlfriend, a Tigers fan, hasn’t been able to see a lot of games yet this year because (a) the Tigers have played a lot of day games; and (b) they’ve played the Indians a lot and they’re blacked out on her MLB.tv here in Ohio. But she watched the game last night and offered this observation to me over Gchat: “I cant be the only one that finds it hilarious that Mike Pelfrey is good now that he’s with the Twins of all teams.” It is kind of hilarious, even if it may not last. Here he allowed one earned run in seven innings and the Twins won a back and forth affair. Kurt Suzuki had two hits and the go-ahead single in the seventh inning.

Cardinals 11, Phillies 5: Welcome to the big leagues, Severino Gonzalez. The Phillies starter allowed seven runs on ten hits and didn’t make it out of the third inning. Matt Carpenter tripled and doubled and scored three times. Mike Matheny juggled the batting order for this one and I imagine people will credit the offensive outburst for that, but really, I feel like this was more of a Severino-driven kind of thing.

Diamondbacks 12, Rockies 5: The Archie Bradley ball-to-the-face thing was the big story here, but thank goodness he walked off under his own power. They’ll make an assessment of him today, but he’s probably going on the DL. Offensively, things went much better: Mark Trumbo went 4 for 4 with a two-run homer and a two-run triple. Paul Goldschmidt went 3-for-3 with three RBI.

Athletics 6, Angels 2: The Angels jumped out to a 2-0 lead but the A’s took it right back with five in the bottom of the first. After that it was the Sonny Gray show. The A’s ace went eight innings, striking out six and allowing only those two first inning runs. Jered Weaver endured that bad first inning himself to last seven innings, but he’s having himself a terrible start to the year.

Giants 2, Dodgers 1: Kershaw vs. Bumgarner. Advantage: Bumgarner. The Giants notched two early runs off of the reigning MVP, but that’s all they’d need as the reigning World Series MVP allowed only one run and struck out nine in eight innings. Buster Posey did all of the damage here, with a solo homer and an RBI single. So yeah, the outcome here was determined by star power.

Astros 14, Padres 3: George Springer homered and drove in five runs. Jose Altuve had four hits. The Astros won again. Time to take them seriously, folks.

White Sox vs. Orioles: POSTPONED:  After two postponements, these two teams will play today at 2:05 Eastern. Except the game will be closed to the public. No fans. Empty seats. I put the over/under on guys describing this as “surreal” at 15, because that’s the go-to word these days for odd or different. Or, in some cases “too real,” but that’s another rant. And while all of this is occasioned by some really unfortunate events in Baltimore, let us look on the bright side. If one brave person can manage to sneak into the stands at Camden Yards undetected, and can sit in an empty, cavernous stadium for even a moment before he is caught, he will have the opportunity to offer the greatest “YOU SUCK!” in baseball history. Please, God, make this happen.