Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com has a story up that will warm the hearts of analytically-minded Cubs fans:
Bloomberg Sports, a leader in analytics, announced a partnership with the team on Thursday to design a new player-evaluation system for the baseball operations department.
It will include video and a statistical database and have mobile capabilities. It will presumably be the central place where Cubs personnel will file reports – scouting, background, medical – on their own players, opponents and potential draft picks and international signings.
Patrick goes on to talk about how that all fits in the overall organization, with some insight from Theo Epstein about how it’s not just about the numbers. All of which I imagine will be forgotten when some of the crankier elements of the Cubs press corps look for some easy criticisms of the club if things go poorly in the next couple of years, but we’ve seen that lots of places.
Anyway, pretty good for an organization that, rightly or wrongly, was seen as one of the worst in terms of utilizing statistical analysis and modern methods in recent years.
The Astros walked off 3-2 winners in the bottom of the 11th inning of ALCS Game 2 against the Yankees. Carlos Correa struck the winning blow, sending a first-pitch fastball from J.A. Happ over the fence in right field at Minute Maid Park, ending nearly five hours of baseball on Sunday night.
Correa’s heroics were precipitated by two highly questionable calls by home plate umpire Cory Blaser in the top half of the 11th.
Astros reliever Joe Smith walked Edwin Encarnación with two outs, prompting manager A.J. Hinch to bring in Ryan Pressly. Pressly, however, served up a single to left field to Brett Gardner, putting runners on first and second with two outs. Hinch again came out to the mound, this time bringing Josh James to face power-hitting catcher Gary Sánchez.
James and Sánchez had an epic battle. Sánchez fell behind 0-2 on a couple of foul balls, proceeded to foul off five of the next six pitches. On the ninth pitch of the at-bat, Sánchez appeared to swing and miss at an 87 MPH slider in the dirt for strike three and the final out of the inning. However, Blaser ruled that Sánchez tipped the ball, extending the at-bat. Replays showed clearly that Sánchez did not make contact at all with the pitch. James then threw a 99 MPH fastball several inches off the plate outside that Blaser called for strike three. Sánchez, who shouldn’t have seen a 10th pitch, was upset at what appeared to be a make-up call.
The rest, as they say, is history. One pitch later, the Astros evened up the ALCS at one game apiece. Obviously, Blaser’s mistakes in a way cancel each other out, and neither of them caused Happ to throw a poorly located fastball to Correa. It is postseason baseball, however, and umpires are as much under the microscope as the players and managers. Those were two particularly atrocious judgments by Blaser.