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04-21

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13

Baseball Therapy: Should They Pitch to the Eighth Hitter?
by
Russell A. Carleton

04-14

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38

Baseball Therapy: Hit the Pitcher Eighth?
by
Russell A. Carleton

04-07

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0

Baseball Therapy: Chopping Up the Credit
by
Russell A. Carleton

03-31

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11

Baseball Therapy: The Most Important Player on the Field
by
Russell A. Carleton

03-25

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8

Baseball Therapy: On the High Five
by
Russell A. Carleton

03-17

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3

Baseball Therapy: Can a Manager 'Win' Spring Training?
by
Russell A. Carleton

03-11

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25

Baseball Therapy: Understanding Josh Hamilton
by
Russell A. Carleton

03-03

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26

Baseball Therapy: The Thirty-Run Manager
by
Russell A. Carleton

02-24

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15

Baseball Therapy: The 10th Man in the Lineup
by
Russell A. Carleton

02-18

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15

Baseball Therapy: The Clock is Ticking...
by
Russell A. Carleton

02-03

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9

Baseball Therapy: The Power of Changing Speeds
by
Russell A. Carleton

01-27

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13

Baseball Therapy: Why Saber-Savvy Teams Might Want a Shift Ban
by
Russell A. Carleton

01-20

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10

Baseball Therapy: Rick Ankiel's Third Act
by
Russell A. Carleton

01-08

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7

Baseball Therapy: The Trouble With Velocity
by
Russell A. Carleton

12-30

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34

Baseball Therapy: How to Vote Strategically for the Hall of Fame
by
Russell A. Carleton

12-23

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17

Baseball Therapy: Do Stars and Scrubs Lineups Actually Work?
by
Russell A. Carleton

12-16

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5

Baseball Therapy: Should Teams Worry About Lineup Balance?
by
Russell A. Carleton

12-02

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4

Baseball Therapy: Mining the Meaning in Matchups
by
Russell A. Carleton

11-25

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3

Baseball Therapy: The Timeshare DH
by
Russell A. Carleton

11-18

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8

Baseball Therapy: Against the Grind
by
Russell A. Carleton

11-11

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14

Baseball Therapy: It's Not a Phase
by
Russell A. Carleton

11-04

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11

Baseball Therapy: Why Joe Maddon Matters
by
Russell A. Carleton

10-29

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7

Baseball Therapy: The Problem With Lists
by
Russell A. Carleton

10-21

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5

Baseball Therapy: The Truth About Butterflies
by
Russell A. Carleton

10-14

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8

Baseball Therapy: The Other Playoff Myths
by
Russell A. Carleton

10-07

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3

Baseball Therapy: Sure As Day Follows Night...
by
Russell A. Carleton

10-07

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9

Baseball Therapy: The Cardinals Do Not Own Clayton Kershaw
by
Russell A. Carleton

09-30

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8

Baseball Therapy: The Wild Card Penalty
by
Russell A. Carleton

09-29

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8

Baseball Therapy: There Is No Derek Jeter Conspiracy
by
Russell A. Carleton

09-23

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21

Baseball Therapy: Will StatCast Cure Our Defensive Metric Blues?
by
Russell A. Carleton

09-16

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4

Baseball Therapy: Starving Young Royals, Battle-Tested Tigers, and an Unsquarable Circle
by
Russell A. Carleton

09-09

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24

Baseball Therapy: Poisoned by Losing?
by
Russell A. Carleton

09-04

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10

Baseball Therapy: I Guess You Just Throw The Next Pitch
by
Russell A. Carleton

08-26

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18

Baseball Therapy: How Billy Beane Built the Royals
by
Russell A. Carleton

08-19

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13

Baseball Therapy: Becoming An Adult f/x
by
Russell A. Carleton

08-12

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28

Baseball Therapy: I Believe In Clutch Hitting
by
Russell A. Carleton

08-05

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6

Baseball Therapy: Big Extension, Big Mistake?
by
Russell A. Carleton

07-29

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15

Baseball Therapy: Trading Ryan Howard For Nothing and Winning
by
Russell A. Carleton

07-15

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51

Baseball Therapy: Why Are We Playing Hunger Games with Minor Leaguers?
by
Russell A. Carleton

07-08

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7

Baseball Therapy: What is a Fast Runner Worth?
by
Russell A. Carleton

07-01

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4

Baseball Therapy: Do Some Pitches Do More Damage Than Others?
by
Russell A. Carleton

06-24

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17

Baseball Therapy: Is it Really Harder to Scout in New England?
by
Russell A. Carleton

06-19

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12

Baseball Therapy: Should You Trust the Projections?
by
Russell A. Carleton

06-17

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7

Baseball Therapy: What High School Has to Do with Tommy John
by
Russell A. Carleton

06-13

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3

Baseball Therapy: What You Can Do With Your Old Baseball Cards
by
Russell A. Carleton

06-10

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4

Baseball Therapy: Can Draft Lightning Be Bottled?
by
Russell A. Carleton

06-03

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19

Baseball Therapy: Introducing My Daughter to Baseball
by
Russell A. Carleton

05-30

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16

Baseball Therapy: The Hard Part About Preventing Tommy John Surgeries
by
Russell A. Carleton

05-27

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13

Baseball Therapy: The Annual Amateur Draft Guessing Game
by
Russell A. Carleton

05-20

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7

Baseball Therapy: Beware the Genius Tag for Coaches
by
Russell A. Carleton

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Runner on third, two outs, pitcher on deck. Walk him, right?

Last week, we talked about National League strategy. Because the Senior Circuit still hasn’t figured out the whole DH thing, teams have to ask questions like where should the pitcher bat in the lineup? The gambit of hitting him in the eighth spot, a strategy that’s been tried on and off, actually doesn’t end up helping a team. All the advantages that you get from having a “second leadoff hitter” are cancelled out by the occasions when you have to either let a pitcher hit in a key situation too early or sacrifice him for a pinch-hitter.

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April 14, 2015 6:00 am

Baseball Therapy: Hit the Pitcher Eighth?

38

Russell A. Carleton

The fallout from Joe Maddon's lineup choice.

Every season has its Sabermetric bellwether issue. Trout vs. Cabrera. The infield shift. Catcher framing. Joey Votto in the two-hole. But before all that, there was Tony La Russa hitting the pitcher in the eighth spot in the lineup. La Russa, when he managed the Cardinals, was known to be willing to experiment a bit to gain an edge. Then again, during his A’s days, La Russa was credited with “inventing” the modern bullpen and Dennis Eckersley. In 1993, he even tried a pitching strategy which had three groups of three pitchers each that worked a three-day rotation. The experiment lasted a week, but he gave it a shot. But now, the La Russa gambit of hitting the pitcher eighth is back.

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DIPS was half right. Which half?

Last week, we talked a little bit about how we might assign credit and blame for different outcomes on a baseball diamond. For the most part, it came up that the batter actually has much more control over the outcome of an at-bat than does the pitcher. Last week, I only looked at six possible outcomes of a plate appearance: strikeout, walk, HBP, ground ball, line drive, and fly ball. For the three balls in play, I didn’t go any further beyond the fact that the batter hit a ground ball. It might have made its way through the infield. It might have been scooped up and thrown to first for an out.

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Did you know that a pitcher is responsible for 35.3 percent of an individual strikeout?

In any one baseball game, there are 50 players who are eligible to play. Which of them is the most important? On any single play, there can be up to 13 players who can directly impact the outcome (the nine fielders, the batter, and potentially, three runners). Which one of them will have the biggest effect on what happens? Even if we zoom in on the batter and pitcher (because the answer is probably going to be one of them), should we worry more about what the batter brings to the at bat or the pitcher?

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March 25, 2015 6:00 am

Baseball Therapy: On the High Five

8

Russell A. Carleton

Why teams touch.

Last week, ESPN’s Buster Olney wrote a rather curious column in which he asked a very simple question. Why do Major Leaguers high five each other so much? The issue came to light after the Milwaukee Brewers had to ban high fives for a little bit after an outbreak of pink eye in the clubhouse. (Makes sense, since pink eye is very transmissible.)

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March 17, 2015 6:00 am

Baseball Therapy: Can a Manager 'Win' Spring Training?

3

Russell A. Carleton

Trying to find a reason to believe some managers get their players ready better.

It’s officially the dog days of spring training. The pitcher and catchers finally reported. They started playing games. The Will Ferrell thing happened. Everyone is wearing green today, even though that doesn’t make any sense for some teams whose name starts with “Red”. But a funny thing will happen in these next few weeks. Gone are the days when guys play every other day for four innings. Oh, they’re not up to every-single-day mode yet, but this is the part of spring training where you have to get up to full speed. Opening Day will be here before you know it!

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Dealing with addiction in a sport that wants to punish drug use.

As I write this, Major League Baseball hasn’t quite decided what to do about Josh Hamilton. Reports have suggested that Hamilton has met with league officials to discuss an incident during the offseason in which he used drugs, reportedly including cocaine and alcohol. Hamilton, who has had well-documented battles with substance use in his past, brought the incident to the attention of league officials himself. Now MLB is trying to figure out what the punishment should be for Mr. Hamilton.

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Another way of looking for the hidden geniuses in the dugouts.

What is a good manager worth? More to the point, how do we tell who the good ones are? We can measure what a manager does during the game, but that’s only a small part of his job description. A manager does decide who pinch-hits when, but he’s also in charge of making sure that everything is cool in the locker room. He manages the men as well as the game. We’re pretty sure that the answer isn’t zero, but what is it?

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Beating The Grind, and valuing the men who do it.

“There are two things in the world that every man thinks he can do better than anyone else: cook a steak and manage a baseball team.” –former Cleveland Indians owner Dick Jacobs

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February 18, 2015 6:00 am

Baseball Therapy: The Clock is Ticking...

15

Russell A. Carleton

Assessing the stress of the countdown.

Fast forward five years or so. And 17 seconds. MLB has entered the brave new world of the pitch clock. Ryan Webb is standing on the mound, finishing out yet another 8-3 game in which he will not get a save, a fact which will be discussed at length on Effectively Wild #1595 (a Friday episode, naturally). Webb looks in for the sign, but he’s having trouble coming to an agreement with his catcher. Webb wants to go fastball here, but his catcher is thinking a changeup would do the trick. Webb relents and nods to the changeup and gets himself mentally ready to throw the pitch. He feels a little twinge in his upper arm. Nothing major. A tiny cramp. It’s August. He wiggles his arm and the twinge goes away. Then he starts to wonder, why is it that I never get to pitch in the save situations? Why anything? Why am I here in the middle of this field? “Save.” What a funny word when you say it over and over again.

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February 3, 2015 6:00 am

Baseball Therapy: The Power of Changing Speeds

9

Russell A. Carleton

In search of the unsequenceable hitter.

“Hitting is timing. Pitching is upsetting timing.” – Warren Spahn.

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Maybe stathead teams don't love their favorite strategy as much as you'd think.

Well, congrats go out to Rob Manfred on assuming the post of Commissioner of Major League Baseball. And congratulations go out to Rob Manfred on igniting his first Twitter controversy about three hours into his lifetime term. In an interview that he gave to ESPN’s Karl Ravech, Manfred spoke of his desire to introduce “the clock” into the game, but then continued on to this tasty nugget:

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