Recently on Effectively Wild, listener Andrew emailed: “How many runs need to be scored in a game in order for it to be considered a slugfest? Is it strictly a runs thing? Do a certain amount of home runs need to be hit? Do both teams need to be doing the slugging?”
Hosts Ben Lindbergh and Jeff Sullivan kicked around the definition of a slugfest. They didn’t come up with a firm definition, though Lindbergh thought that both teams had to score double-digit runs.
Balls hit in the air are one of the big stories of the 2017 season. A record number of them are going over the fence, but the larger narrative has been about how players are seeking to hit more balls in the air—elevate is the term of choice—with improved results. Ryan Zimmerman—nearly stick-a-fork-in-him done last year, MVP contender this year—is the poster child, but greater launch angles have been a theme throughout the game.
The Tigers' bullpen allowed a 5.71 ERA through Saturday. That’s bad. It blew eight saves. That’s bad too. It allowed 38 percent of inherited runners to score, which is bad, particularly since it inherited 56 of them (the MLB average is 49). It allowed an .819 OPS, 5.19 FIP, and 5.64 DRA. Let me go through those figures one at a time. They are bad, bad, and bad, respectively.
Eric Roseberry, who writes for our fantasy team, hosts a podcast called On Baseball Writing. Counterintuitively, the topic is writing about baseball. I’m not writing this to plug the podcast (though it’s really good!), but to point out that in January, Eric interviewed Carson Cistulli of FanGraphs. He asked Carson one of his standard questions about how to get started in baseball writing, to which Carson replied: “Start your own dumb blog.”
Baseball has an affinity for awards with names, dating back to the Chalmers Award. The predecessor of the Most Valuable Player Award, the Chalmers Award was named after a car company, Chalmers Automobile, and was given annually from 1910 to 1914, with the inaugural award fomenting one of the biggest controversies in the game’s history.
There have been a number of other awards named after prominent players. The Cy Young Award dates back to 1956 and, true to its namesake, has often been awarded to the pitcher with the most wins and the 60th-best ERA. The Roberto Clemente Award, named after the Pirates outfielder and humanitarian, honors the player “that shows the most sportsmanship and kindness,” including Pete Rose (1976), Steve Garvey (1981), Sammy Sosa (1998), and Curt Schilling (2001).
The Yankees rookie isn't just about dingers and dives.
The Yankees have been a pleasant surprise so far this year. Yes, I know, I’m the guy who has written, more than once, that April numbers shouldn’t be trusted. And they shouldn’t. But they’re also irreversible. The Bombers ended the month 15-8, tied with the Orioles for the best record in the American League. Going into play Sunday, our Playoff Odds Report gave the Yankees a 51 percent chance of making the postseason. Only Houston, Cleveland, and Boston currently sport higher odds in the American League. That’s not bad for a team PECOTA expected to finish below .500 and in fourth place.
Last week, I looked at teams that are charged with two or more blown saves in a game. The conclusion was that the number of games with multiple blown saves is increasing, and that increase is largely due to more relievers per game (currently averaging over three per team), creating more opportunities for blown saves. (There, I just spared you reading 1,300 words).
Those four words seem sadly lacking in many aspects of contemporary life. You’ve said them, right? You try out something new, it fails, you realize your error, go back to what you were doing before, and move on. A new diet. A new workout. A new morning routine. Once I tried to remove a spot on my jeans with bleach. Once I tried washing my hair with dishwashing liquid. Once I crawled under my car, armed with a socket wrench and the intent to change the oil myself. They all ended with the recitation of those four words.
Starters are lasting fewer innings, but the reasons may surprise you.
I’m going to show you a lot of charts in this post. So if you don’t like charts, read one of the other articles on the site today. They’re good!
I’m going to start out by showing you a chart and ask you to guess what it is. The x axis is the years from 1920 to 2016. The y axis is a familiar baseball metric. It’s not something obscure like my article on Monday about multiple blown saves. Here it is:
Something odd happened during the Giants-Diamondbacks season opener. No, not Madison Bumgarner hitting two home runs. And not the Giants losing a game they led entering the ninth inning, making Bruce Bochy think he’s living out Groundhog Day or something.
Rather, it’s something related to the scoring of the game. Here is the MLB.com box score for Giants pitchers in the game: