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06-30

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19

Baseball Therapy: Better Playing Through Chemistry
by
Russell A. Carleton

06-23

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12

Baseball Therapy: The Wonderful World of Throwing to First
by
Russell A. Carleton

06-16

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3

Baseball Therapy: Paul Molitor is the Twinspiration
by
Russell A. Carleton

06-10

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7

Baseball Therapy: Who Really Won Game 6 of the 2011 World Series?
by
Russell A. Carleton

06-03

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5

Baseball Therapy: The Credit Card Game
by
Russell A. Carleton

05-26

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16

Baseball Therapy: When Was the Sabermetric Revolution?
by
Russell A. Carleton

05-19

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20

Baseball Therapy: The Left-Fielder Behind The Catcher Shift
by
Russell A. Carleton

05-12

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16

Baseball Therapy: Are You Over 18?
by
Russell A. Carleton

05-08

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3

Baseball Therapy: Chemical Equations
by
Russell A. Carleton

04-28

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7

Baseball Therapy: Death of the Renaissance Man
by
Russell A. Carleton

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

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June 30, 2015 6:00 am

Baseball Therapy: Better Playing Through Chemistry

19

Russell A. Carleton

It's unlikely that chemistry is worth nothing, so how much is it worth?

I'm going to be a bad scientist and accept something without proper proof. I'm going to assume that "the clubhouse guy" exists and is a real phenomenon. I say that I don't have proper proof only in the numerical sense. I don't have a measure called ENZYME to tell me which players are chemically enhanced and I can't tell you how many WARs it's worth. At least not yet.

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Everything you could ever want to know about the causes and effects of a pitcher's pickoff throws

Remember earlier in the spring when everyone was all abuzz over the fact that Jon Lester hadn’t thrown to first base since the Carter Administration? Lester’s nonexistent pickoff move became a story for a few reasons, not the least of which was the fact that he had signed a contract with nine digits in it over the offseason. But for the most part, it was just strange. Throws to first aren’t anyone’s favorite part of a baseball game, since they generally accomplish “nothing” and they take up time. Still, everyone understands that there’s a certain sense to those throws. If they were outlawed, then runners would be at liberty to take as large a lead as they wanted. They could walk halfway to second base with no consequence. A throw to first isn’t likely to actually pick the runner off, but it does keep him a few feet closer to the base. Even the fact that a throw to first is a legal play is enough in some cases to keep the runner close. It’s probably the one thing that Lester had going in his favor. He hadn’t thrown over in a year… but he could.

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June 16, 2015 6:00 am

Baseball Therapy: Paul Molitor is the Twinspiration

3

Russell A. Carleton

Or is he?

We now pause for a moment to ponder the mystery of the Minnesota Twins. Up until last week, they were in first place in the AL Central. In the offseason, some made the case that the defending AL champion Royals would win the division. Others argued for the defending division-champion Tigers. A few picked the up-and-coming Indians or the White Sox after they signed Zach Duke. No one expected the Spanish Inquisition the Twins to be in first place for any of 2015. This is the team that has specialized in losing 90 games over the last four seasons.

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Our resident gory math expert takes us play-by-play for science.

I remember October 27, 2011. It was right before my wife and I finally just got rid of our TV, mostly because we realized we never watched it. But that night, it was on, as it looked like the Rangers were about to beat the Cardinals in Game 6 of the 2011 World Series and claim their first ever World* Championship. In the ninth inning, Neftali Feliz took the hill against the Cardinals, armed with a 7-5 lead. And then… David Freese happened. And Lance Berkman happened. And David Freese happened again.

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June 3, 2015 6:00 am

Baseball Therapy: The Credit Card Game

5

Russell A. Carleton

Who gets the credit/blame for fielding and baserunning events?

You’re at a restaurant with some friends. It’s been a fun meal, rehashing the good old days from Whassamatta U. Somewhere in there, you ordered a couple of pitchers of potent beverage, an order or two of cheese fries, Larry and Tom split an order of whatever that was, and Tom ... the other Tom ... wasn’t really hungry and didn’t order anything, but he did steal some of your chicken fingers. And now, the bill has come and everyone pulls out their credit cards.

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Did Bill James revolutionize baseball? Did we? Did Michael Lewis?

According to the usual narrative, sabermetrics was invented by Bill James in the late '70s. Or possibly by Baseball Prospectus in the mid-'90s. Or maybe by Michael Lewis in 2002. Or whenever teams started to hire bloggers. For the longest time, those teams toiled under a veil of ignorance until, thankfully, Al Gore invented the internet and then they were able to see the light.

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Is the craziest thing we saw this week actually a darned defensible strategy?

Last week (or because this gets weird with time zones, three weeks ago) in Korea, the Kia Tigers of KBO (the professional baseball league in Korea) employed a rather interesting shift. It’s not entirely clear why from the footage released, but Deadspin documented that the Tigers tried to play their third baseman behind the catcher. The Tigers were tied with the KT Wiz 5-5 in the top of the ninth. Apparently, with two out and runners at second and third, they tried the rather unorthodox shift only to have the third baseman be told to go back to his home at the hot corner by the umpire.

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May 12, 2015 6:00 am

Baseball Therapy: Are You Over 18?

16

Russell A. Carleton

Do pitchers do worse the third time through the order because they're gassed or familiar? The Rays seem intent on finding out.

It’s the 2015 trend that no one is talking about. The Rays are at it again. Even with Joe Maddon in Chicago, they’re still getting all inventive on us. It’s easy to miss if you don’t watch Rays games every night (indeed, Tommy Rancel of Rays blog The Process Report tipped me off to this one) but the Rays have apparently figured their #NewMoneyball. It used to be signing Evan Longoria, or turning Ben Zobrist into a resonance structure, or trading for Wil Myers, or trading Wil Myers, but this year, the Rays are trying something different.

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May 8, 2015 12:09 am

Baseball Therapy: Chemical Equations

3

Russell A. Carleton

On measuring chemistry with what we have.

I want to try something a little different this week. Oddly enough, I have to confess that it was inspired by Yordano Ventura. Ventura and his Kansas City Royals, who apparently think that they’ve won an American League Championship recently, have gone from the feel-good story of October 2014 to the feel-kinda-creepy-when-you-watch-them story of April 2015. Ventura is now serving a seven-game suspension for his role in a brawl with the White Sox and earlier was involved in a beanball war with the A’s.

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April 28, 2015 6:00 am

Baseball Therapy: Death of the Renaissance Man

7

Russell A. Carleton

Who should bunt?

Last week, I did a quick survey on that newfangled “social media.” I asked the allegedly real people out there to answer a common question: “Who is the greatest baseball player of all time and why?” But then I asked them to censor the “Who?” part. (He was busy at first base anyway.) So don't tell me the name; just tell me the rationale. Of course, there are plenty of “right” answers for “Who?” Yes, we could look to see who has the Most. WAR. Ever. like this allegedly real person did:

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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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