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2016 MLB thread. Baseball is upon us! Royals are the champs - Page 227

post #6781 of 73568
Perez came in throwing nothing but strikes and all 3 Miami hitters got caught looking at strike 3. That's HORRIBLE.

In fact...Of all 9 strikes Perez threw, only one was fouled off. The remaining 8 just stared like dummies. Things like that annoy me.
post #6782 of 73568
We traded Chris Perez for mark derosa.......things like that annoy me.

Cards with the injury bug hitting HARD.....but this looks exactly like last year....(shrugs)
post #6783 of 73568
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by jdcurt2

Originally Posted by do work son

why isnt aroldis at least the closer? sean marshall is booty. i think they should treat aroldis like neftali, let him close to keep his innings down and eventually move him into the starters role

Sounds pretty logical and simple, doesn't it? smiley: laugh

I despise Girardi.  I have no idea how they don't riot in Cincy over Dusty still being in charge laugh.gif
post #6784 of 73568
Adam Jones, Andrew McCutchen and Joey Votto have killed the Nats this season.
post #6785 of 73568
O's...let's get it!!

Brooms today!!!


Didn't have time to post much over the weekend, but in reference to Friday's game, I have NO clue why Davey Johnson would even try to test Matt Wieters' arm...especially with Harper/Flores on the basepath. Idiotic managing, IMO.
post #6786 of 73568
I know it's still early, with a TON of ball left to go, but i'm pleasantly surprised by the way these Dodgers are playing even with guys falling to the DL. Starting to question whether or not they're for real laugh.gif

As long as the idiot in the avatar doesn't make his annual dumb %%# trade, i'll be content.
post #6787 of 73568
Scherzer is dealin' right now. 12 K's through 5. Filthy!
post #6788 of 73568
Eastbay released this years Stars and Stripes hats already here
post #6789 of 73568
A few friends and I are going a Ballpark Tour in mid-June....

6/20 - CIN@CLE
6/21 - MIN@PIT
6/22 - MIN@CIN

We're going to be in Pittsburgh for two nights... any recommendations for fun things to do there? Maybe any food spots to hit in Cleveland, Pittsburgh, or Cincy? Anything else we should know?
post #6790 of 73568
Originally Posted by daheadbanda

Eastbay released this years Stars and Stripes hats already here

pimp.gif A's and Giants wil be copped
post #6791 of 73568
What the hell are those?

JPZ, message me at some point in the next month and I'll help you out. You reminded me that Pro told me he was coming here in August for the Yankees series and I never responded to him. My bad.
post #6792 of 73568
post #6793 of 73568
I dig those hats man, love camo smiley: pimp
post #6794 of 73568
Cardinals looked like trash all weekend against the Dodgers. !*+@@%% sweep 30t6p3b.gif

One again...Lord Stanley Resides In The Windy City.


One again...Lord Stanley Resides In The Windy City.

post #6795 of 73568
post #6796 of 73568
Thread Starter 
The next step for Matt Kemp.

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LOS ANGELES -- Matt Kemp has told Magic Johnson he could beat him in basketball. "He doesn't believe I can," Kemp said Saturday, sitting in front of his locker at Dodger Stadium.

Kemp paused.

"But I can," he said knowingly, confidently.

There will not be any showdown between the Dodgers' center fielder and his new boss during the season, and there couldn't be one now, anyway. Kemp is on the disabled list with a hamstring strain.

But he continues to make progress in his rehabilitation. On Saturday afternoon, he was on the field at Dodger Stadium working out under the guise of a trainer, doing exercises across the outfield. He still has not run -- and is not close to full speed.

Kemp is confident, however, that he'll be ready when he's eligible to come off the disabled list on May 29, and he took batting practice Saturday.

After the season is over, he indicated he'll follow up with Magic Johnson about their grudge match. Kemp was a standout basketball player in high school in Oklahoma, and when he heard that Magic had joined a group bidding to buy the team, he was ecstatic. "We wanted him to win [the bidding]," Kemp said. "None of us could say that out loud, but we wanted him to be the owner."

There won't be any one-on-one game with Magic, he said. But there will be a game of H-O-R-S-E. And Kemp will be ready.

Jerry Hairston worked out aggressively before the Dodgers' game Saturday and said he expects to return from the disabled list Tuesday -- and that's a good thing, because Mark Ellis just went on the DL with a knee injury that will sideline him for six weeks. Ellis had an urgent procedure to reduce pressure in his leg.

But because of their pitching, the Dodgers just keep on winning. Kemp watched Saturday as Clayton Kershaw dominated the St. Louis Cardinals.

From ESPN Stats and Information, how Kershaw shut out the Cardinals:

A. Kershaw had an even mix between fastball and off-speed (50 percent of both), but it was each of Kershaw's three off-speed pitches (slider, curveball, changeup) that made the difference.
B. Kershaw's slider was down (21 of 37 pitches), but he mixed up the horizontal location. Kershaw worked inside and outside to Cardinals hitters, and they went 1-for-9 with two strikeouts against the slider.
C. Kershaw threw a season-high 14 percent curveballs, mostly staying in the middle of the zone. The Cardinals were retired five times against the curveball, four by groundout.
D. Kershaw went to the off-speed pitch with two strikes to get outs, throwing 25 of 39 off-speed pitches with two strikes. The Cardinals went 1-for-17 with four strikeouts in at-bats ending with a two-strike count.

The Cardinals aren't going to feel sorry for the Dodgers in regard to their injuries: Lance Berkman hurt his knee on what appeared to be a routine play and is headed back to St. Louis for an MRI.


Manny Ramirez has started on his road back to the big leagues.

• The best record in the NL belongs to the Dodgers. In the AL? The Baltimore Orioles, who beat the Washington Nationals again with even more help from Adam Jones, who probably would rank No. 2 on many AL MVP ballots behind Josh Hamilton right now.

Jason Hammel is dealing with knee trouble, however, Dan Connelly writes.

Moves, deals and decisions

1. The Miami Marlins sent Gaby Sanchez to the minors, and they're taking a look at Adam Lind, writes Juan Rodriguez.

2. It's doubtful anyone would claim Lind on waivers.

3. Danny Espinosa was benched.

4. Chien-Ming Wang will likely be in the bullpen when he comes back, says Davey Johnson.

5. The Chicago White Sox are adding the O-Dog.

Dings and dents

1. Jorge De La Rosa was shut down.

2. Mark Kotsay became the 13th Padres player to land on the disabled list.

3. Ryan Howard's workouts are top secret, writes Bob Brookover. Paranoia, the destroyer.

Saturday's games

1. Brandon Morrow has climbed into the next tier of pitchers, and he showed it again Saturday.

From ESPN Stats and Information, how Morrow shut out the Mets:

A. Morrow went upstairs with his fastball on Saturday, throwing 29 heaters up in the zone or above. Seventy-six percent of those pitches were strikes, and the Mets went 1-for-9 with two strikeouts on those pitches.
B. Throwing the fastball up allowed Morrow to change levels and pitch types by throwing his slider down. Morrow threw 13 sliders down, and the Mets went 1-for-10 with three strikeouts on sliders.
C. Morrow threw first-pitch strikes to 70 percent of hitters (21-of-30). Getting ahead in counts allowed Morrow to control at-bats, getting the Mets out on 16 of 17 at-bats ending with Morrow ahead (eight strikeouts).

Morrow threw his second shutout of the season in the Blue Jays' 41st game. The only other pitchers in franchise history with multiple shutouts this early in the season? Pat Hentgen (1997, 1994) and Dave Stieb (1983, 1982).

2. The White Sox took down the Chicago Cubs, again; the White Sox are 13-4 in their past 17 games against the Cubs, including nine wins in their past nine at Wrigley Field.

From the Elias Sports Bureau: Adam Dunn came to the plate five times, hitting a home run and walking four times, in the White Sox's 7-4 win against the Cubs at Wrigley Field. Dunn is the first White Sox player with a homer and four walks in a game since Chicago's current manager, Robin Ventura, did it against the Yankees on May 26, 1998.

3. Alex Cobb stepped into the Tampa Bay rotation and got it done, writes Roger Mooney.

4. Ryan Vogelsong was The Man.

5. Erick Aybar had a good day, but the other Los Angeles Angels did not, Marcia Smith writes.

6. Brandon Lyon made some big pitches.

7. Derek Holland was spotted a 4-0 lead but floundered.

8. Andrew McCutchen is killing the ball these days, Michael Sanserino writes.

9. Ivan Nova struck out a bunch of guys but gave up a bunch of runs.

10. The New York Mets were shut down.

11. The Milwaukee Brewers have fallen, and they can't get up.

12. Joey Votto mashed a home run.

By The Numbers, from ESPN Stats and Information:

4: Ivan Nova became the fourth Yankees starter since 1920 to strike out at least 12 in six innings or fewer.
26: Combined letters in Middlebrooks (Will) and Saltalamacchia (Jarrod), marking the longest-named set of teammates to hit home runs in the same game (much less back-to-back) in major league history.
377: Distance of David Murphy's inside-the-park home run against the Astros.

Filling Lance Berkman's void.

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LOS ANGELES -- Lance Berkman limped into the lobby of the hotel where the St. Louis Cardinals stayed here early Sunday afternoon, ready to check out. He was cheerful, as always, but he was direct in expressing concern about the condition of his right knee: Yes, he is worried that doctors will tell him, after his MRI today, that he has a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

The best-case scenario is that his injury -- he said the knee has felt loose since spring training -- is just a torn meniscus. If that's the case, Berkman will have cleanup surgery and be out a few weeks.

But if, in fact, Berkman has a torn ACL, well, he knows all too well about that. He tore his ACL before, making a benign cut playing flag football. "You might have heard about that," Berkman said drolly.

If Berkman has a torn ACL, the injury would end his season and maybe his career. Berkman is 36 years old, he's playing with a one-year deal, and he's reached the stage of his life when he would have to decide if he wants to go through the rigors of a lengthy rehabilitation to try to resume his career. Berkman is a smart and talented guy, and he would be a natural on television or radio. Or maybe he'd want to coach somewhere or begin a path that would take him into managing.

When Berkman got hurt on Saturday on a simple-looking play -- reaching for a throw at first base -- Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said he could sense the players in his dugout getting down. Berkman has been a terrific hitter for St. Louis, and the Cardinals would not have won the World Series without him, but his impact on the team goes far beyond that, because of his humor and perspective and sense of others.

But the Cardinals have more depth among their position players than any other National League team to withstand a major injury like this. Allen Craig could take over at first base after he comes off the disabled list, or maybe it would be newcomer Matt Adams, who looked good in his first major league at-bats Sunday. We saw last year, too, that GM John Mozeliak will be aggressive in the trade market when needed.

Berkman and the Cardinals will know by the end of the day what they might get out of the slugger for the rest of 2012.

Berkman is circumspect about his future, Joe Strauss writes.

Adams, who stepped into the lineup for Berkman, was a hit in his debut. David Freese went 0-for-4 and flailed repeatedly in his at-bats. He was hit by a line drive during batting practice and seemed to shrug that off -- but he had been struggling, anyway. He finished the road trip 3-for-18.

There won't be a pity party for the Cardinals, writes Bernie Miklasz.

Van Slyke's moment

Before Sunday's game, Scott Van Slyke talked about how his father -- Andy, a 13-year major leaguer -- had been at Friday's game and then Saturday's. And Andy was in Dodger Stadium in the seventh inning on Sunday, when Scott was sent up as a pinch hitter against Marc Rzepczynski with L.A. trailing 5-3. The count ran to 3-0, and Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly gave the green light to the rookie; he could swing, if he wanted.

Van Slyke reached for a low fastball and crushed the ball deep into the left-field stands, for his first career homer. And at that moment, the Dodgers' dugout erupted in celebration, with players jumping and screaming and shouting. There are times when a rookie hits his first homer and all the other players will intentionally sit as if nothing special happened, but they couldn't bring themselves to do that after Van Slyke's home run; he got hammered with high-fives and shouts on his way back into the dugout.

Van Slyke was born in Missouri and went to high school in St. Louis, and for him, there was something deeply felt and personal about this home run, he explained after the game -- right after Matt Kemp mashed him in the face with a celebratory pie.

The Dodgers got a scare on Saturday, when fast action may have saved the leg of Mark Ellis.

Strasburg's fatigue

Stephen Strasburg left Sunday's game with what the Washington Nationals termed a tired arm, and for me, the words from rival executives last week echoed: This is a perfect time for the Nationals to pull back the reins on the right-hander.

He's already got 53 innings in a season in which Washington will limit him to something in the range of 160 innings. Chien-Ming Wang is ready to come off the disabled list, Washington has a surplus of starting pitching right now, and if the Nationals limited Strasburg to bullpen sessions for the next month or six weeks, they'll be in great position to let Strasburg loose in August and September.

Davey Johnson doesn't think this is a big deal and doesn't expect Strasburg to miss a start.


• The Dr. Jekyll version of Max Scherzer took the mound Sunday, and he was awesome.

From ESPN Stats and Information, how Scherzer dominated the Pittsburgh Pirates:

A. Missed bats: All 15 of Scherzer's strikeouts were swinging. It's the 34th time since 2000 that a pitcher struck out at least 15 batters in a game but the first that all the strikeouts were swinging. Scherzer induced 26 swings and misses, the most by any starter this season and tied for the most since 2009.
B. Scherzer induced a career-best 10 misses on just 15 swings against his changeup. Righties missed on all five of their swings against the pitch, the first time that's happened in Scherzer's career (minimum three swings). He had six strikeouts on his changeup, tied for the most in his career.
C. Scherzer stayed ahead of hitters. He started 18 of 26 hitters (69.2 percent) with a first-pitch strike (season average 59 percent). Of the eight hitters he fell behind 1-0 to, he went to a 2-0 count just once. Not a single at-bat ended with Scherzer behind in the count.
D. Scherzer's fastball averaged 94.6 mph, his highest in a start since June 2010. He averaged 95.8 mph on his seven fastball strikeouts and 94.5 on all others.

Scherzer matches the Detroit Tigers in potential and the way he induces frustration, writes Drew Sharp. Alex Avila has picked the right time to get hot.

Aroldis Chapman did not allow a run in one inning Sunday and has still not allowed an earned run this season. Of the pitchers to not yet allow an earned run, Chapman has thrown the most innings with 22.1. Oakland Athletics reliever Ryan Cook is second with 20.2 innings.

It looks like Chapman's the closer, writes Hal McCoy. Chapman should be a starter, writes Paul Daugherty. I think he will be by season's end. The Reds rallied Saturday.

Chris Perez met with front office officials after criticizing Cleveland Indians fans on Saturday for the way they support the team.

In general, I don't think it's ever a good idea to suggest how other people should spend their money.

Dings and dents

1. The Royals' Salvy Perez is ready for the next stage of his rehabilitation, as mentioned in this Rustin Dodd notebook.

2. Daisuke Matsuzaka had a setback, Peter Abraham writes.

3. The Miami Marlins' roster got a shake-up after two players were sidelined.

Moves, deals and decisions

1. The Chicago Cubs could shake up their lineup after their latest loss. Anthony Rizzo may be called up.

2. Jason Marquis' spot in the rotation might be in jeopardy after he got hit hard again Sunday.

Sunday's games

1. Josh Beckett had another strong start.

From ESPN Stats and Info, how Beckett beat the Philadelphia Phillies:

A. Beckett threw 48 of his 103 pitches down in the zone (46.6 percent), his highest percentage in a start this season. He recorded a season-high 10 ground-ball outs, including two double plays. He didn't have a single double play in his first seven starts this season.
B. Not a single plate appearance against Beckett lasted longer than five pitches, the first time that's happened in a start in his career. He went to just two three-ball counts among his 30 batters faced.
C. Beckett relied on his off-speed stuff to put hitters away. He threw just seven fastballs among his 24 two-strike pitches (29.2 percent), his third-lowest percentage since 2010. He threw nine curveballs with two strikes, eight of which were down in the zone. He recorded a season-high four strikeouts on those nine curveballs.

2. Jake Peavy finished off the Cubs with some help from Adam Dunn.

3. The Milwaukee Brewers went off. Finally, they made changes, writes Michael Hunt.

4. The Marlins continue to make a mad rush toward the front of the NL East.

5. Tim Hudson and the Atlanta Braves took advantage of a Tampa Bay blunder, David O'Brien writes.

6. The Royals had another rough homestand.

By The Numbers, from ESPN Stats and Info:

1: The number of American League pitchers, besides Max Scherzer, to strike out at least 15 batters in seven or fewer innings pitched, per the Elias Sports Bureau (Mike Mussina is the other).
7: Jonathan Lucroy's RBI total Sunday, tying the most in Brewers franchise history.
41: Strikeouts by Tigers pitchers in their three-game series against the Pirates, their most in a three-game series in franchise history, per Elias.

The lasting legacy of Kerry Wood.

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It was just time, Kerry Wood explained, in announcing his retirement. Time to spend more time with his family, because he can. Time for relief from the day-to-day grind of preparing to pitch. Time to walk away from a sport he loved -- a sport which presumably broke his heart more than a few times.

Wood won 86 games in his career and lost 75, and pitched fewer than 1,500 innings. According to, some pitchers he compares with -- statistically -- are Moe Drabowsky, Kelvim Escobar and Don Larsen.

But his legacy is far more complex than his numbers indicate, and his impact is much more lasting.

A lot of baseball fans will forever view Wood as someone who could've or should've been better. For most of us, our first real glimpse of him came in his fifth game in the big leagues, in 1998, when he struck out 20 and walked none against the Houston Astros. Because it was an afternoon game for the Cubs, I can remember standing in the visiting clubhouse in Texas, as a beat reporter assigned to the Yankees, and watching the reaction from the New York Yankees each time that Wood threw his slider. Wood's breaking ball had so much movement that it seemed unnatural, and completely unfair, and the Yankees guffawed with empathy and astonishment as the Astros hitters flailed at it.

But Wood pitched only 21 more games before blowing out his elbow, a victim of the dangerous mechanics he had used since his youth, and he missed the entire 1999 season. He came back to have good seasons in 2001, 2002 and 2003, but he'd never win more than 14 games in a season. He was the Stephen Strasburg of his time, yet never again had consistent dominance.

His legacy among folks who knew him along the way is that of a great teammate, which is why Yankees GM Brian Cashman was tuned into Wood's last appearance on Friday afternoon, and why he was moved to look up the numbers that the right-hander posted with the Yankees in his brief stay with them late in 2010. "A great guy," Cashman said. "Just a normal person. Zero maintenance. A good guy to talk to."

But Wood's lasting legacy -- and that of teammate Mark Prior -- may be in how they served to change the way teams scout and handle young pitchers. There was great concern about how much Wood had pitched as a Texas high schooler, and about his mechanics, which caused him to place high stress on his elbow. He threw 122 pitches in his 20-strikeout game, and later that season, he threw as many as 129.

As Wood and Prior broke down, their regression led to far more discussion within the industry about the workload of amateur players and the resulting red flags, and about the best way to develop and protect young pitchers as they transitioned into professionals. Wood and Prior are the cautionary tales that executives sometimes cite in explaining the pitch counts and innings limits they place on prospects and first- and second-year players.

On Friday, however, none of that concerned Kerry Wood. He had been talking with the Cubs about walking away, and he got to do it on his terms, stepping into the arms of his son. It was time.

It was a perfect ending, writes Paul Sullivan. This time, he found perfection, writes Barry Rozner. According to Elias, Wood is one of three pitchers in MLB history with at least 1,000 innings and a career rate of 10 or more strikeouts per nine innings (Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez).

Here's what Baseball America had on Wood in the past, when he was an amateur.

Wood's career was a disappointment, writes Joe Cowley. He had unreal promise and painful setbacks, writes Rick Telander.

Before Wood walked off, Paul Konerko was hit in the eye.


• Chili Davis, the hitting coach for the Oakland Athletics, stands outside the batting cage and talks to the hitters as they take their swings, sounding almost like a boxing trainer during a round. He offers reminders and observations, phrases designed to help them in their swing maintenance, positive reinforcement.

"Stay short," Davis has been saying to Josh Reddick, over and over.

"It's gotten to a point where it's a broken record -- but it works," Reddick said over the phone on Friday evening.

Reddick, acquired in the offseason from Boston in the Andrew Bailey trade, has 10 homers, eight doubles, a triple and a slugging percentage of .532. A left-handed hitter, Reddick has hit well against left-handers and right-handers; he's hit well at home and on the road; and he's hit well early in the count and deep in the count: Six of his 10 homers have come in two-strike counts.

When the Athletics acquired Reddick, they liked the consistent power that he had shown in the minors, and they felt that during the 2011 season he had seemed to progress as a hitter and figured something out about himself.

Reddick believes he hasn't missed as many mistake pitches this season and has done better at grinding through an at-bat -- fighting off a tough pitch, fouling it off or taking it, to give himself another pitch to have a chance to attack. And this stems from his batting practice work with Davis.

"If I don't feel good in batting practice," Reddick said, "it's going to be an ugly body response [in games]."

Reddick worries less about where he's driving the ball in batting practice and more about the mechanics of his swing, of keeping his hands inside the ball, and preventing his swing from getting too long.

Stay short, Davis tells him, and will continue to tell him.

Justin Verlander's childhood hero was Nolan Ryan, and in a conversation this winter, Verlander mentioned to me that he loved Ryan's been-there, done-that reaction to his final no-hitter. This was the genesis of Verlander's understated fist pump after his second no-hitter in Toronto last year.

Verlander has such deep confidence that I'd be willing to bet that before the ninth inning started Friday night, he had thought about what his reaction might be if he closed out his third no-hitter against the Pirates. Would it be a subtle fist pump? A turn to catcher Alex Avila and a big smile? A small grin?

But after the Pirates' Josh Harrison looked like he couldn't even see Verlander's breaking ball on the first two pitches of his at-bat in the ninth, Harrison got the thick part of the bat on another breaking ball and dumped it into center field with one out. And Verlander looked nothing less than stunned, as if it hadn't occurred to him that he wouldn't get the last two outs.

From Drew Sharp's column, Verlander's postgame reaction:

"God, it sucks," Verlander said when realizing again how teasingly close he came to becoming the sixth pitcher with three no-hitters. "It was a decent pitch. It wasn't out over the plate. Obviously, you want it, but what are you going to do? That's why it's so hard getting no-hitters. It doesn't take a hard one. It just takes the right placement."

This is part of the reason why Verlander is so great. He will never think about how lucky he needs to be to throw a no-hitter; he absolutely believes greatness is something he can achieve.

It's only a matter of time before Verlander throws his third no-hitter, writes Sharp. Verlander shrugged off the near-miss, writes John Niyo.

Harrison had been gearing up for a 100 mph fastball, as Lynn Henning writes. For awhile, it appeared that the Pirates were destined to be no-hit, writes Michael Sanserino.

From ESPN Stats & Information:

As usual, Verlander got stronger as the game went on. His fastball averaged just 91.4 mph in the first three innings, the lowest it has been through three in the last four seasons. From the seventh inning on, Verlander didn't throw a single fastball below 97. Only two Pirates hitters put a fastball in play after the fifth inning.

Average fastball velocity in innings 1-3: 91.4
Innings 4-6: 93.5
Innings 7-9: 97.9

NEXT LEVEL: Verlander had Harrison down in the count 0-2 before Harrison singled. Prior to Harrison's base hit, hitters were 3-for-36 (.083) with 21 strikeouts this season after being down 0-2 to Verlander.

Andy Pettitte was "the man" for the Yankees, shutting down the Reds. From ESPN Stats & Info, how Pettitte won:

A. Pettitte worked both sides of the plate to neutralize the seven righties in the lineup. He threw 74 percent of his cutters and 56 percent of his sliders inside, and 66 percent of his fastballs and 94 percent of his curveballs and changeups away.

B. Pettitte threw 11 curveballs, all for strikes. It's the first time in his 55 starts since 2009 that he threw all his curveballs for strikes (minimum five).

C. Pettitte used his curveball to get ahead, throwing eight of 11 on the first pitch. Only one hitter put the ball in play, meaning Pettitte got seven 0-1 counts off his curveball. He would strike out four of those seven hitters, all on sliders.

D. Only three of Pettitte's eight air outs reached the outfield. He induced four infield popups and another line drive to second base.

Pettitte made his 50th career interleague start Friday. Since interleague play began in 1997, only Livan Hernandez has made more interleague starts.

• Umpire Bob Davidson was suspended for one game, as was Phillies manager Charlie Manuel.

• Nolan Ryan downplayed the chances of the Rangers signing Josh Hamilton during the season. Look, Texas is not going to reach beyond its comfort level, as it designs offers, because of Hamilton's off-field history -- and that means that if Hamilton wants to max out his payday, he likely needs free agency to create leverage.

Moves, deals and decisions

1. Eric Hosmer will go back into the Kansas City lineup today, and views his slump as crazy.

2. A slumping Jesus Montero was benched for a day.

3. Chris Young returned to the Arizona lineup.

4. Aubrey Huff is waiting for a chance to contribute.

A Houston developer is pursuing the Padres, writes Tim Sullivan.

Ron Roenicke shook up the Brewers' lineup, dropping Rickie Weeks to the No. 6 spot.

Dings and dents

1. Two Royals pitchers are now scheduled for Tommy John surgery.

2. Kyle McClellan might be able to avoid surgery.

3. Two Boston regulars went down with injuries.

4. Josh Tomlin had a pain-free throwing session.

5. Mike Morse is getting better.

6. It feels like the Padres are averaging about two injuries a day, and they had two players go down in their loss Friday.

Friday's games

1. The Mets used a catcher in relief.

2. Cole Hamels appears unstoppable these days, and so do the Phillies, who have won six straight.

3. Nick Markakis and the Orioles got to frolic.

4. Daniel Bard was wild. Bobby Valentine seemed more bothered by his pitcher's wildness than the umpire who ejected him, writes Scott Lauber.

5. The Braves continue to be road warriors.

6. Heath Bell had Carlos Zambrano's back.

7. Barry Zito picked up a victory.

8. A.J. Ellis knows how to work a count, and he drew a walk-off walk.

9. The Rockies had another rough night. They have a feel right now of a team headed for change.

10. J.P. Arencibia and the Jays beat up on the Mets. Jose Bautista is heating up with the weather, writes Richard Griffin.

11. The Twins have a win streak.

By The Numbers, from ESPN Stats & Info:
6: Tigers pitchers since 1961 to lose a no-hitter in the ninth inning.
10.3: Wood's strikeouts per nine innings, second-highest by a pitcher with 1,000 innings.
19: Home runs by Konerko against the Cubs, passing Barry Bonds for the most against a single opponent in interleague play.
1951: Last time a Cardinals player hit a game-tying HR with two outs in the ninth inning (or later) against the Dodgers, prior to Lance Berkman Friday.

A turning point for Jason Heyward.

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After being voted Baseball America's top prospect, Jason Heyward's 18 home runs and .277 BA/.393 OBP/.456 SLG in 2010 were certainly impressive for a 20-year-old. However, his career hasn't taken off the way we might have expected following his impressive first season.

Heyward's rookie campaign was unusual for a young power hitter due to his high ground ball rate: 55 percent of his balls in play were on the ground. The list of batters who hit ground balls as often as Heyward over 2010-11 is littered with singles hitters Ichiro Suzuki, Juan Pierre, Yunel Escobar, Denard Span and Brett Gardner, among others. In fact, only three hitters over the past decade have posted a higher a combination of power and ground balls in a single season: Jacque Jones (2004, 2005, 2006), Derek Jeter (2005, 2009) and Adam Jones (2009).

Heyward, however, ascended through the Braves' farm system with the expectation that he'll develop into more than a Jacque Jones in his prime. Though Heyward hasn't fully broken out yet, he has shown the first signs of evolving into a more dangerous hitter by lofting the ball in the air substantially more often this year. The increased elevation on his batted balls is reminiscent of Adam Jones' last two seasons. Jones cut his ground ball rate 10 percent since 2009 and set a career high with 25 home runs in 2011, and has 13 more already this season.

Heyward is not the only hitter lofting the ball more in 2012. Like Heyward, Pedro Alvarez has posted high ground ball rates while failing to live up to his power potential, but he has driven the ball higher and farther so far in 2012. With six doubles and seven home runs in just 123 plate appearances this year, Alvarez is showing signs of the power potential the Pirates saw in him when they drafted him with the second pick of the 2008 draft.

Ichiro Suzuki has made a Hall of Fame career out of pounding the ball into the ground and beating out base hits. However, the Mariners veteran has slid to the third spot in the batting order and has been lofting the ball more. He hasn't been any more productive at the plate, however, as his batting average and slugging percentage both sit well below his career numbers. Given his skill set as a speedy singles hitter, an increase in fly balls may not benefit his game the way it does Heyward's or Alvarez's.

David Wright's last few seasons have been a roller coaster in a number of ways. After a consistent first four full seasons with the Mets, Wright lost his 30-homer power in 2009, knocking just 10 out of the park while still hitting over .300. The following season, the Mets slugger regained his power but dropped his batting average below .300 for the first time since his rookie 2004 season. He followed up with a very disappointing 2011 season in which he missed significant time and started grounding the ball more often. Not coincidentally, his power and average both dropped off again.

Wright has gotten off to a scorching start to 2012 with another subtle change in approach. He's still hitting the ball on the ground, but he's also stopped hitting the ball in the air, turning his fly balls into line drives. The result is a league-leading batting average north of .400, with 12 doubles and just four home runs.

Of course, Wright is not likely to finish with a .400 average, but he has sustained high line-drive rates in the past, so we have reason to believe Wright could be in line for his first batting title. However, Wright is unlikely to maintain more than doubles power without elevating the ball more often.

Houston Astros outfielder J.D. Martinez surprised many by making the jump from Double-A to the majors and succeeding, with 19 extra-base hits in just over 200 at-bats. However, the 24-year-old outfielder has struggled this season despite better plate discipline. Part of the problem has been a newfound affinity for ground balls; he has put the ball on the ground nearly as often as Jeter this year.

Similar statements can be made about Eric Thames and Alex Presley. Both excelled in limited time last year by driving a number of extra-base hits in the gaps. Like Martinez, both Thames and Presley have pounded the ball into the ground this year, and their production has suffered as a result.

All of these hitters are getting dramatically different results on their balls in play this year. While small-sample warnings are still appropriate, batted ball rates tend to stabilize much faster than statistics like batting average and slugging percentage. Even though we're only a month and a half into the season, it's very likely that each of these players has evolved into a different hitter than he was a season ago, and we should not expect the same results.

Ben Jedlovec is a research analyst with Baseball Info Solutions and co-author of The Fielding Bible -- Volume III. You can follow him on Twitter (@BenJedlovec).

Call up profile: Matt Adams.

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Spoiler [+]

The situation: With /">')" content="tabs#ppc" cache="true" fpopheight="357px" fpopwidth="490px" gameroot="flb" playeridtype="sportsId" playerid="4118" instance="_ppc" tab="null">Lance Berkman going down with a knee injury in Saturday's game against the Dodgers, the Cardinals called on their top hitting prospect at Triple-A to replace him. Last year's Texas League MVP, Matt Adams was hitting .340/.375/.603 in 37 games, including a 13-for-28 (.464) mark in his past seven games with three doubles, three home runs and 12 RBIs.

Background: It took some time for Adams to be taken seriously as a prospect. A 23rd-round pick in 2009 out of Slippery Rock University (and now the first player from that school to reach the majors), Adams hit .310/.355/.541 in his full-season debut at Low-A Quad Cities, but barely registered a blip on the prospect radar as he was seen as a bad-bodied, first base-only type with no résumé, beating up on inferior competition. That all changed in 2011, when bumped up two levels to Double-A, as he slugged .300/.357/.566 at Double-A Springfield with 32 home runs in 101 games, leaving scouts saying that despite his background and concerns about his size, Adams' bat is very much for real.

What he can do: While he has plus power and is a good 30 or more pounds heavier than his listed weight of 230, Adams looks like an all-or-nothing one-dimensional slugger, but he's actually a pure hitter with power. His strikeout rate is surprisingly manageable for a player of his type, as he has excellent hand-eye coordination and a knack for hard contact, while simply letting his size and massive strength work for him as opposed to muscling up his swing. He is an aggressive hitter who could use a more patient approach, as he looks early in the count for fastballs to drive, and big league pitchers could take advantage of that tendency. He'll never win a Gold Glove award, but he's a decent first baseman for his size, and needless to say, a well-below-average runner.

Immediate big league future: Adams will likely become the Cardinals' regular first baseman, at least against right-handed pitching, but it's hard to say how long this will last until the results of Berkman's MRI reveal the severity of his injury. Scouts believe he could hit for average and power right away, provided he can avoid expanding his strike zone.

Long-term: Adams is the Cardinals' first baseman of the future, and while he was expected to assume everyday duties in 2013, his timetable may have just gotten accelerated. He has a good chance to be a middle-of-the-order run producer, and an outside shot at turning into an occasional All-Star.

Scouting Red Sox and Indians prospects.

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I took a brief break from draft work to drop in on a high Class A game between Salem and Carolina in Zebulon, N.C., on Wednesday night, getting looks at a number of Boston Red Sox and Cleveland Indians prospects.

• Salem's Jackie Bradley Jr. (Red Sox) looked good, finally healthy after a lost 2011, although his stat line probably overstates where he really is in terms of mechanics and approach. His swing is back to where it was in 2010 before the hand injury; he gets his front foot down late but has his old bat speed back and enough rotational action for gap power. His approach has improved both in differentiating pitches and, more important, in greater willingness to use the whole field instead of just trying to pull the ball, since power will likely never be a large part of his game. He showed plus range in center as well. He's 22 in high-A and came from the best conference in college baseball; that resume, combined with his performance, should have him on the fast track for a promotion to Double-A Portland in the next month or so.

Xander Bogaerts (Red Sox) doesn't share Bradley's performance, but he's a much more exciting prospect, holding his own at age 19 in that same league, with substantial power to come down the road. His BP was extremely impressive, with huge power out to left-center; his game swings weren't quite as loose and easy, but the path is there for big power when he starts to square up more balls. The one negative was his recognition of off-speed stuff; he's right on the better velocity, but the breaking ball moving away from him had him way out in front.

Bogaerts plays shortstop now but has no chance to remain there in the majors, as he's already big for the position and is going to outgrow it quite soon; he'll profile as a potential impact bat at third base with 25-30 home run power.

Brandon Jacobs (Red Sox) can square up a fastball and put a charge into it, although his plate discipline leaves a lot to be desired for a player who'll be limited to left field. Jacobs sets up with a wide base and doesn't stride, staying very upright and balanced, driving the ball to all fields, and he has the best hand acceleration of all the prospects on that Salem club. But his approach at the plate, both ball-strike differentiation and recognition of breaking stuff, remains weak, so even if he reaches his power potential of 20-odd homers a year, he'll have a hard time producing enough overall to profile as an everyday corner outfielder.

Sean Coyle (Red Sox) also seemed to struggle with picking up pitch types, getting out in front in the game when his swing in BP was much more balanced. He'll play the whole year at 20, young for high-A, but as a 5-foot-8 second baseman who's not a great defender, his only path to the majors is by improving his contact rates. He does have the raw bat speed and short-enough swing path to do this in time.

• Salem starter Ryan Pressly (Red Sox) was a pleasant surprise, especially since the starter would have been Matt Barnes were it not for some rainouts over the previous week. Pressley was 91-96, still hitting 95 late in the outing, and showed three off-speed pitches but nothing above average. The curveball was less consistent than the slider but at times had two-plane break at 78-82, while he threw a very flat slider at 82-86 that only showed good tilt two or three times over the course of the night. He barely used his changeup, but the last one he threw had some fade to it.

• The Carolina (Indians) lineup included a few names of note. Shortstop Ronny Rodriguez is the best prospect on the team, overmatched so far but showing the strong, simple swing that put him on the prospect map in the first place -- as well as surprising power in BP. Second baseman Tony Wolters' bat looked surprisingly slow, and even on his one hard-hit ball -- a double down the line -- he was behind a 93 mph fastball and just managed to shoot it the other way. Tyler Holt also struggled with velocity, and while his OBP is solid, he isn't going to drive the ball and is old for this level.

• Carolina starter Will Roberts -- of perfect game and buried the lede fame -- was very ordinary, 89-91 with no average second pitch. But reliever Trey Haley, a right-hander with a history of control problems as a starter, was 93-95 with crazy life (technical term) in two innings, and after hitting the first batter actually settled down and stayed around the zone, pairing it with a very hard, big, two-plane curveball at 78-80. Whether he's got enough control (never mind command) to start is unclear, but there's at least a relief prospect here, and at 21 he could mature into a potential starter after all.

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Cant remember what I said to get warned. laugh.gif
post #6798 of 73568
The hats must have been offended by your criticism and reported you.
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Oh yeah thats right. I commented on the hats being hideous.
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Stanton just crushed a grandslam to left, off of the scoreboard. Sick
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Lol @ Stanton breaking the scoreboard...
post #6802 of 73568
Originally Posted by dland24

Oh yeah thats right. I commented on the hats being hideous.

They are not that bad. Better than last years hats
post #6803 of 73568
Mets making Little League mistakes. laugh.gif Embarrassing.
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Just saw Stanton's Grand Slam sick.gifeek.gifpimp.gif
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Gio looking good in Washington. 6-1 with an ERA below 2. pimp.gif
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King Felixsmiley: pimp

top 3 pitcher in the majors IMO
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Thread Starter 

How the League Adjusts to Hitters Over Time.

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Spoiler [+]

Mets first baseman Ike Davis has seen the number of fastballs thrown to him drop significantly since his rookie season in 2010. In that year, 57% of the pitches thrown to Davis were some type of fastball. So far in 2012? Only 51%. There have been only 30 seasons between 2007 and 2011 where a hitter with more than 100 plate appearances saw a lower percentage of fastballs in a season than Ike this year — and only five where a player accumulated more than 500 plate appearances.

Clearly pitchers are adjusting to Davis, altering their approach based upon Davis’ perceived offensive strengths and weaknesses. This got me thinking about the extent to which major league pitchers adjust to hitters from year to year. Was this change significant, or more common based on the normal adjustments hitters can expect to see from year to year.

As a first cut, I decided to look at changes in the pitch types that batters faced in consecutive years. Throwing hitters a different mix of pitches (i.e. fastballs, curveballs, sliders, etc.) is just one way the league can adjust. Pitchers can alter location, sequence and speed. However, the data was more readily available for pitch types, so the choice was made to focus there first. I decided to use the pitch-type distributions that are based off of PITCHf/x data. This allowed me to collect data on hitters with 100 at least plate appearances each year from 2007 through 2011. For reference, here are pitches as classified by PITCHf/x:

Abbreviation Description
FA Four-seam Fastball
FT Two-seam Fastball
FC Cutter
FS/SI/SF Sinker, Split-fingered Fastball
SL Slider
CH Changeup
CU Curveball
KC Knuckle-curve

Now, there are obviously some coding issues that come into play. PITCHf/x and the classification algorithms that it uses aren’t perfect and have changed a bit over the years. For example, it isn’t uncommon for sliders and cutters to be mistaken for each other. This is a problem, but not a fatal one as long as we acknowledge it up front. To get a first look I decided to group all fastballs together as this might alleviate some of the potential coding issues within the fastball category. The table below shows the results for all hitters with at least year-two data and for those with year-two and year-three data:

Sample N Fastball% YR1 to YR2 Fastball% YR1 to YR3
All hitters with only two years of data 142 .620** NA
All hitters with at least three years of data 367 .586** .519**
**Sig at the .01 level

For hitters with only two years worth of data, we see a highly significant correlation between the percent of fastballs seen (.620). The correlation drops a bit, to .586, for hitters with three years of data. Additionally — for hitters with three years of data — we see that the relationship decreases further once we get to that third year. This likely reflects the fact that hitters who only managed to accumulate at least 100 plate appearances in two consecutive years were lesser hitters and, therefore, required less adjustment from the league. These hitters eventually drop out of the sample and we’re left with hitters who perform well enough to require additional approach changes from opposing pitchers. The sample above includes all hitters, but is there a difference between established hitters who have major league track records and rookies who haven’t accumulated a significant number of plate appearances? My initial hypothesis was, yes, we should see a greater adjustment by the league in terms of rookies versus players who have already established their habits and tendencies. To test this I calculated separate correlations for hitters whose first season in the sample was their first with at least 100 plate appearances. Here are the results for hitters with two years of data, compared to those with three years:

Sample N Fastball% YR1 to YR2 Fastball% YR1 to YR3
Non-rookies with only two years of data 88 .569** NA
Rookies with at least two years of data 54 .710** NA
Non-rookies with at least three years of data 291 .575** .527**
Rookies with at least three years of data 76 .633** .508**
**Sig at the .01 level

Contrary to what I expected, the league feeds rookies a similar percentage of fastballs between year one and year two than for non-rookies, regardless of which sample we look at. But the adjustment from the first year to the third year is much larger for those who were rookie hitters. My guess here is that pitchers need more than the first year’s worth of plate appearances to update their approaches. The average number of plate appearances in players’ rookie years was 359, compared to 418 in the second season and 450 in the third. For non-rookies, the average plate appearances were 404, 405 and 438. And if we assume that year one in the data set for non-rookies is at least their second year in the league, we can assume that the league as on average 763 plate appearances to refer to for non-rookies going into year two, 112% more than for rookies. (Remember, year one in my data set isn’t the first season in the league for non-rookies, just the first season in the data set. That means pitchers have had a longer look at those hitters than rookies.)

I should also note, though, that the differences observed rookies and non-rookies were not clearly significant. If you compare the correlations for each category, the closest we come is between rookies and non-rookies with only two years of data (p-value of .087). For rookies and non-rookies with three years worth of data the p-value was .24. And what about off-speed offerings? Obviously, if the fastball percentages are fluctuating yearly, we should see changes in off-speed percentages. For that, I decided to use the specific pitch-type categories — rather than a composite. The table below shows correlations for sliders, curveballs and changeups for all hitters with data for only years one and two, as well as those with data for all three years:

N YR1 to YR2 YR1 to YR3
SL% (pfx) – two years only 142 .499** NA
SL% (pfx) – three years 367 .673** .663**
CU% (pfx) – two years only 142 .335** NA
CU% (pfx) – three years 366 .363** .240**
CH% (pfx) – two years only 142 .650** NA
CH% (pfx) – three years 367 .595** .541**
**Sig at the .01 level

At first glance, sliders and changeups pop as the most consistent off-speed offerings that hitters face each year. Sliders in years one and two have a .673 correlation, and the correlation between years one and three is only slightly different (.663). Changeups also show a fairly strong consistency, even three years out. Curveballs, however, start with a low correlation (.363) and get even less consistent by year three (.240). As with fastballs, I wondered whether there would be a difference between rookies and non-rookies. Here are the results:

N YR1 to YR2 YR1 to YR3
SL% (pfx) – Rookies 76 .726** .650**
SL% (pfx) – Non-rookies 291 .660** .669**
CU% (pfx) – Rookies 76 .216 .343**
CU% (pfx) – Non-rookies 290 .405** .215**
CH% (pfx) – Rookies 76 .577** .600**
CH% (pfx) – Non-rookies 291 .599** .531**
**Sig at the .01 level

Outside of sliders, non-rookies showed a higher correlation between the off-speed pitches they faced between years one and two. Sliders were highly correlated for rookies between years one and two (.726); the relationship between year one sliders and year three sliders for non-rookies was nearly identical (.669 vs. .660). Curveballs were inconsistent regardless of hitter type. Rookies also saw their year-three correlations increase for both curves and changeups, versus year-two. Both were higher than non-rookies.

As with fastballs, I wanted to see if the difference between the rookie and non-rookie correlations was significant. It was but only in the case of curveballs between years one and two (p-vale of .05).

There are a factors that likely impact the data and patterns we see. One of those factors is age. The percent of fastballs faced increases in a fairly linear fashion as batters age. This increase corresponds somewhat to hitters’ run-creation ability as they age. Take a look at the graph below:

The percent of fastballs faced increases slightly until about age 26. Pitchers then throw hitters fewer fastballs until about age 30. The rate then increases dramatically as hitters age. If we think about a hitter’s productivity through time then this makes sense. Hitters who last until age 30 are likely better-than-average and will have hit their offensive peak during their age-25 through age-29 seasons. As these hitters begin to age, they’re likely losing bat speed and making pitchers throw them more fastballs. There are obviously exceptions, but the pattern passes the initial sniff test.

As an example, here is Justin Upton‘s fastball percentage versus his wRC+ since 2007:

The pattern resembles the story above. As Justin Upton entered his peak offensive year, he saw a decrease in the percentage of fastballs thrown to him. So far this season, he’s seen fewer fastballs — and while his wRC+ is currently below average, my guess is he’ll finish his age-27 season north of 100.

So back to my original question about Ike Davis: Is the change in the percentage of fastballs he’s seeing that uncommon? The answer appears to be no.

While the low rate of fastballs is rather unique, the way in which the league adjusted to him between years one, two and three is in line with what we see in general. Rookies see a higher correlation between their year-one and year-two fastballs and less of a correlation between years one and three. Davis’ percent of fastballs seen has been 56.8%, 56.7% and 51.4%. Also, the 5%+ decline in fastballs seen is far from an outlier, as there have been 69 seasons where hitters saw the same or greater decline in fastball percentage since 2007, not including Davis.

Obviously, there is more to adjustments than pitch-type distributions. I’ll eventually get a chance to look at location and velocity, but if PITCHf/x and database-savvy readers want to tackle this, please jump in.

Injuries Mounting for the Red Sox.

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The injuries keep coming for the Boston Red Sox. The most recent victim is off-season acquisition Cody Ross, who is out indefinitely with a fractured bone in his foot. With Ross now on the disabled list, all three of the Red Sox projected starters in the outfield are currently injured. While the Red Sox have struggled this season, they are only 6.5 games out of first place. But the injuries will make it difficult to close the gap.

The fact that the Red Sox are only 6.5 games out is truly amazing considering all the injuries they’ve already been dealt. Carl Crawford has yet to play a single game for the team this season, and Jacoby Ellsbury lasted just seven games before injuring his shoulder. With Ross now injured, the team will have to get by with some combination of Ryan Sweeney, Daniel Nava, Marlon Byrd and Che-Hsuan Lin in the outfield.

While an injury to Ross wouldn’t typically be reason for panic, the Red Sox had high expectations for him this season. Even though Ross came in with a spotty track record, he got off to a pretty good start. With the Red Sox already experiencing injuries to other players, Ross kept the team afloat. Before his injury, Ross rated as the fourth best offensive player on the team.

His performance was somewhat surprising, considering Ross has been a useful — but never great — player throughout his career. Over the past five seasons, Ross has accumulated 11.1 WAR, putting him in the same category as Aaron Rowand, Mike Cameron and Kevin Kouzmanoff. That’s hardly the type of player who should become a premier acquisition for a club. But it was a strange off-season for the Red Sox, and Ross looked like the team’s best offensive addition this year.

Ross’ injury only complicates how we should look at the Red Sox’s off-season. Many of the players they acquired — Ross, Andrew Bailey and Mark Melancon — have disappointed this year. Bailey has yet to play a game for the team, and Melancon gave up 11 runs in 2.0 innings before being sent down to Triple-A. But while the more heralded players have failed to contribute, the team is being held together by some of their more shrewd moves this off-season.

The decision to trade away both Marco Scutaro and Jed Lowrie was met with a lot of criticism, but Mike Aviles has filled in admirably in their absence. Aviles’ 1.7 WAR leads the team this year, and while it’s highly unlikely that he’ll keep up the pace, the decision to go with Aviles has paid off early on.

The same can be said of Ryan Sweeney, who wasn’t expected to play as big a role after he was acquired. But injuries have forced Sweeney into a more prominent role, and he’s responded well. While his offensive production is unsustainable going forward, he should be able to provide solid defense in any spot while Crawford, Ellsbury, Ross and Ryan Kalish recover.

With Ross out, Sweeney and Aviles will have to step up even more. Unfortunately, neither player is capable of performing at a much higher rate. For all the grief the team has received about their less-than-stellar off-season, they’ve also made some shrewd acquisitions that have kept them within striking distance. But without a major signing this year, the team doesn’t have the depth to handle all of their injuries. But with another significant injury, the team is quickly running out of depth. Ross’ injury wouldn’t normally be viewed as such a big deal, but the Red Sox couldn’t afford to lose anyone else. Unless Crawford and Ellsbury can make miraculous recoveries, the team is going to need a lot of luck if they want to get back in the race.

Max Scherzer Strikes Out 15, All Swinging.

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It’s been a strange season for Detroit Tigers stater Max Scherzer and its only the third week of May. Well, maybe strange is too strong of a word. Perhaps interesting is a better choice. And it certainly has been interesting.

Scherzer’s first start of the season, on April 8 against the Boston Red Sox, ended after only 2 2/3 innings. The righty gave up seven runs on eight hits and two walks and was pulled before the end of the third inning. Of his 80 pitches, there were 51 strikes — 16 called strikes and four swing-throughs. The other 31 strikes were either hits or foul balls. Velocity didn’t appear to be an issue. His fastball averaged 93.5 mph, his two-seamer averaged 94.6, his slider averaged 86.6 and his change-up averaged 85.1 — all faster speeds than he recorded on average in 2011.  But he threw too many pitches over the heart of the plate, resulting in hits and runs.

Fast forward to Sunday’s game between the Tigers and the Pittsburgh Pirates at Comerica Park. Scherzer was on the mound for the Tigers for his ninth start of the season — sporting a 2-3 record and a 4.37 FIP. At the same time, Scherzer had a 10.1 K/9 rate, the highest of his career. It was a sign of things to come.

Scherzer threw nine pitches in the first inning, all strikes. Jose Tabata led off the game with a fly ball to right field. Then Neil Walker and Andrew McCutchen struck out, both swinging. Pedro Alvarez saw the first ball thrown by Scherzer, in the second inning, but struck out on four pitches, swinging. Garrett Jones hit a double, but Scherzer stranded him with a foul pop fly and a strikeout of Rod Barajas, swinging.

There were two more swinging strikeouts in the third inning, three more in the fourth and three more in the fifth. Through five innings, the only blemish for Scherzer was a solo home run from Rod Barajas. Jhonny Peralta tied the score for the Tigers with a solo shot of his own in the bottom of the fifth, but Scherzer gave back the lead again, giving up a solo homer to Neil Walker in the sixth. Oh, and two more swinging strikeouts — for a total of 14 strikeouts in six innings. That tied his career best.

But the pitch count was rising, hitting 102 at the end of the sixth inning. Still, Scherzer was back on the mound for the 7th, recording his 15th strikeout of the day off Josh Harrison and then getting Rod Barajas and Nate McLouth to fly out. The strikeout of Harrison was swinging, of course.

After the Tigers rallied to take a 4-2 lead in the bottom of the seventh, Scherzer’s day was done: 115 pitches and 80 strikes. Forty-two strikes were by contact, 21 by swing-throughs and 17 as called by the home-plate umpire. Like his first start of the year in early April, Scherzer had excellent velocity on all four of his pitches. He averaged 94.6 mph on his four-seam fastball, 94.2 on his two-seamer, 86.3 on his slider and 86.7 on his change-up. But unlike his first start, Scherzer did a much better job locating his pitches up in the zone, down in the zone and on the corners.

Scherzer is the first pitcher in the majors this season to record 15 strikeouts in a game. Cliff Lee struck out 16 in a game last season. Jered Weaver struck out 15, also last season. According to STATS LLC, the last pitcher to record 15 strikeouts in a game, all by swinging, was Mike Scott of the Houston Astros, which came against the Cincinnati Reds on June 8, 1990.

Scherzer’s current 11.65 K/9 leads all major league pitchers this season. His next best season was 2009 — when he posted a 9.19 K/9 rate — which was good for 10th best in the league. If he keeps this up, perhaps he can hit 17 in game, which Brandon Morrow accomplished in 2010; or Scherzer could reach 18, which Ben Sheets did in 2004.

Aroldis Chapman, Official Closer.

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Spoiler [+]

Yesterday, the transformation from setup man to closer came full circle for Aroldis Chapman, as he protected a three-run lead for the Reds in earning his second career save. With the move, Sean Marshall has been consigned back to his former role of setup man. Marshall’s early failures however, don’t mean that he doesn’t have closer’s stuff.

The last straw for Marshall came on Saturday. Brought on to protect a similar three-run lead against the Bombers, Marshall allowed four of the five batters he faced to reach base, and allowed the potential tying and winning runs to reach base. Since Chapman had already pitched at this point, Jose Arredondo was brought in to clean up for Marshall, and clean up he did, as the Reds won. Still, the meltdown led Reds manager Dusty Baker to make the switch on Sunday. Yet, while Marshall did not serve in the closer’s role on Sunday, he was inserted for the Reds’ highest-leverage plate appearance of the game when he struck out Robinson Cano in the bottom of the eighth, proof that Baker still has faith in him. And really, there isn’t any reason not to.

Marshall’s Saturday meltdown was his fourth of the season, which may seem like a high number, but really isn’t when you scan the leaderboards. Marshall is just one of 22 relievers to suffer four meltdowns this season, and 18 pitchers have had more than four. Is it on the low end of the spectrum? Sure, but it’d be a stretch to say that those four meltdowns preclude Marshall from ever succeeding as a closer in the future. The pitcher that the Reds signed to close this season — Ryan Madson — had between seven and 16 meltdowns every season from 2004-2010 before adorning the scarlet “C

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What's 1.21 gigawatts to a McFly like me. Can you please remind me?
What's 1.21 gigawatts to a McFly like me. Can you please remind me?
post #6809 of 73568
Ryan Zimmerman might be more fragile than David Wright, scratched from the lineup 45 minutes before first pitch..
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Bryce pimp.gif
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