On trying to find space between clutch performance and coin flips.
If you spend a lot of time behind the wheel, you might have satellite radio. If you spend a lot of time behind the wheel and you’re a baseball fan, you might have SiriusXM so you can listen to home radio broadcasts of games. (This is not a commercial. This is just a statement of facts.) If you spend a lot of time behind the wheel and you’re a baseball fan, though, you can’t listen to games all day, for the simple reason that baseball is not played around the clock. So when there isn’t a game on, you might listen to MLB Network Radio, a SiriusXM station.
I sometimes spend a lot of time behind the wheel, and when there isn’t a game on, I often listen to MLB Network Radio. I like some of the shows better than others. Some have strong elements of sportstalk radio, and like all sportstalk radio, you sometimes hear things that are, well, interesting.
A while ago one of the hosts—not a caller—was talking about Rougned Odor. Odor has had a pretty good start to his season. He’s also been better with runners in scoring position (.360/.407/.600 through Monday) than not (.283/.309/.528). The host said that some batters are consistently better with runners in scoring position (henceforth RISP) than they are otherwise.
There were home runs of every flavor this weekend, and none more savory than Bartolo Colon's first tater
The Weekend Takeaway
We laud pitchers for passing certain milestones: completing their first career shutout, notching 200 strikeouts in a season, and if they’re lucky even crafting a no-hitter. The one they never forget, however, is their first home run.
Or maybe he just ran into the Braves at the right time. Plus: Yay Rich Hill, Yay Andrew McCutchen, yay Billy Hamilton.
The Tuesday Takeaway David Price’s first few games in a Red Sox uniform have been rather up-and-down—and after the distinct “down” of eight runs in less than four innings in his last start, Tuesday was a definite “up.” It didn’t look that way at first, as Price kicked off the game by giving up a run on three quick singles. But with the bases loaded, he struck out Drew Stubbs to end the inning, and from there, the Ks kept coming.
Testing the belief that ninth-inning losses hurt more.
There’s nothing more thrilling in baseball than a ninth-inning comeback. Unless, of course, it’s your team being victimized by the comeback. Then, there’s nothing worse. To have fought for eight innings and held the lead, only to have the game snatched away in the ninth. It might leave the other team breathless, but it will leave you with a nasty scar.
The league throws harder now, but Craig Kimbrel throws even harder.
I was listening to the Red Sox home opener earlier this season, and after one of Craig Kimbrel’s fastballs reached its destination the voice of Joe Castiglione cracked through my radio: fastball in there for a strike . . . at 97. That’s fast. Sort of.
Jake Arrieta turns out another showstopper, the Braves and Twins finally beat their bad karma, and Felix Hernandez keeps company with Randy Johnson.
The Weekend Takeaway
Most baseball fans can probably remember the last time their team’s ace had a bad day on the mound. For Giants fans, it could be the day when Madison Bumgarner served up three home runs to the Dodgers, all while receiving zero runs of support in return. For Diamondbacks fans, perhaps it was the time Zack Greinke scattered seven earned runs over four innings in his 2016 season debut. For Cubs fans, however, pinpointing the exact date that Jake Arrieta failed to execute a pristine performance is a bit trickier.
The Juan Nicasio bubble popped, for one day at least. Meanwhile, Noah Syndergaard keeps getting better, and the Red Sox blow another lead.
The Tuesday Takeaway
What was once a minor miracle is now something of a trope: The broken pitcher comes to Pittsburgh for one more chance and he is saved, his career revived. But strong as the narrative may seem, the reality is far from a guarantee—as Juan Nicasio reminded everyone Tuesday afternoon.
After a strong spring and an impressive first outing, Nicasio looked more like his old self yesterday. It started with a Justin Upton solo shot in the first (his debut home run as a Tiger, and a 451-foot one at that), and it didn’t get any better from there. Nicasio took 94 pitches to make it through an ugly three innings, giving up four runs and setting the Pirates up for an 8-2 loss to Detroit.
I mean, there have been two of them, so there you go. Meanwhile, David Price and Craig Kimbrel couldn't get it done, and Taylor Jungmann really couldn't get it done,
The Monday Takeaway
We’re but a week and change into the 2016 campaign, and already, the Phillies have had a season’s worth of misadventures with the infield-fly rule. Last Friday, Cesar Hernandez seemed to forget what the rule means all together: