Are imbalanced interleague schedules really so bad?

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Yesterday I linked a Ron Roenicke complaint — with which I agreed — about how having teams from the same division playing interleague schedules of differing strengths was unfair.  And it is unfair in the plainest sense of the term in that, without questions, teams have to face challenges of varying strength while vying for the same prize.

But has it resulted in unjust results in practice?  Not so much, says Wendy Thurm of Hanging Sliders who, last March, looked at the varying schedules in the interleague era and concluded thusly:

I have concluded that only two National League divisional races and only one National League wild card race between teams in the same division may have been affected by an unbalanced interleague schedule.

She then followed that up the next week and felt comfortable taking the “may” off of it, saying that “neither the unbalanced interleague schedules nor the unbalanced National League schedules tipped the scales in favor of the team that won each race.”

Check out Wendy’s work.  And then let’s ask ourselves how many things we get worked up about — even if there’s a legitimate, theoretical reason to get worked up about them — actually don’t matter all that damn much.

 

Cardinals move Luke Weaver to the bullpen

Luke Weaver
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Cardinals right-hander Luke Weaver has been reassigned to the bullpen, manager Mike Shildt announced Sunday. Fellow righty Daniel Poncedeleon will take his spot in the rotation for the time being, though it’s still unclear whether Weaver’s demotion is a permanent one or not.

Still, it’s not the most surprising of moves, especially as the club advances toward a potential playoff berth in October. Weaver, 24, has struggled to find his groove this season after putting up a 6-11 record in 24 starts and a 4.67 ERA, 3.2 BB/9 and 8.0 SO/9 over 125 1/3 innings in 2018. During two of his last three outings in August, he was pulled before the fifth inning, citing mechanical issues with his delivery that may be impacting his fastball location and delivery and having an adverse effect on his results — and those of the team — as well.

Poncedeleon, on the other hand, appears primed to take on more responsibility following an impressive run with the Cardinals this summer. He maintained a sub-3.00 ERA through his first six appearances, issuing four runs, nine walks, and 10 strikeouts over 17 2/3 innings. While he hasn’t handled more than one start in the big leagues, his track record in the minors speaks to his ability to get consistent results on the mound: he went 9-3 in 17 starts at Triple-A Memphis with a 2.15 ERA, 4.7 BB/9 and 10.1 SO/9 across 92 innings. He’s scheduled to cover for Weaver on Tuesday against the Pirates and will presumably continue to pitch out of the rotation for the remaining six weeks of the season.