The new Nate Freiman, the improved Clayton Kershaw, the red-hot Jose Altuve, and more from the weekend, plus what to watch today.
The Weekend Takeaway
When the A’s boarded their flight to New York last Sunday, they’d lost back-to-back games just once since the end of May. But after the Mets served them their second losing streak of the month with a 10-1 beating in the first contest of a nine-game road trip, it seemed that Bob Melvin’s squad might take a small stumble as it reached the halfway mark of the regular season on the Atlantic seaboard.
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Clayton Kershaw's no-hitter had the second-highest Game Score ever. Is that as significant as it sounds?
In the wake of 26-year-old Clayton Kershaw’s dazzling no-hitter last Wednesday, a 26-year-old statistic got its own moment in the sun. When Bill James introduced Game Score in the 1988 Baseball Abstract, he called it “a kind of garbage stat that I present not because it helps us understand anything in particular but because it is fun to play around with.” Unlike Micro Machines and Dolly Surprise, Game Score remains one of our favorite toys in 2014, so it’s safe to say that James undersold it. Despite (or maybe because of) its lack of sophistication, it’s still one of the most intuitive methods we have to convey how effective a given outing is. Thus, it wasn’t long after Kershaw sealed the deal with his 15th strikeout that the internet noticed that his Game Score of 102 was the second-highest ever for an outing of no more than nine innings, behind only Kerry Wood’s 20-strikeout start in 1998, which got a Game Score of 105. (Remove the innings restriction, and Vern Law’s 18-inning effort in 1955 takes the cake.)
Jake Arrieta's breakout season continues, two games last beyond the 13th inning, plus more from a wild Tuesday and what to watch today.
The Tuesday Takeaway Jake Arrieta entered Tuesday coming off a trio of superb outings over which he allowed just one run and 10 hits with a shiny 27-to-2 K:BB ratio in 20 innings of work. The 28-year-old right-hander continued his breakout campaign by flirting with perfection and twirling seven outstanding innings against the Reds.
The best of times for Clayton Kershaw coincide with the worst of times for Justin Verlander.
Just 15 months ago, Clayton Kershaw and Justin Verlander were neck-and-neck in any discussion of the top pitchers in the game. The Motor City right-hander owned the American League, and the west coast southpaw ruled over the senior circuit, with each having finished first and second in their respective Cy Young races from 2011–12. They entered the 2013 campaign as the unquestioned aces of competitive clubs, poised to stage another season as kings of the mound, but their careers have taken dramatically different trajectories since then.
Six good fan videos of Clayton Kershaw's final out.
You might have noticed while watching Clayton Kershaw's final out last night that, in between shots of Kershaw's wife, there were shots of fan after fan after fan after fan holding up a cell phone. All those videos had to go somewhere, and these are five of them, shot from various parts of the ballpark, all posted to YouTube since last night and all giving you a pretty non-nauseating sense of what it was like in the stands last night.
Clayton Kershaw gives the Dodgers their second no-hitter of 2014, the Royals run their winning streak to 10, Bartolo finds his bat, and more.
The Wednesday Takeaway
When play began on Wednesday, the Dodgers—thanks to Josh Beckett—were the only major-league team that could boast about a no-hitter this year. That’s still true. Only now they have two of them, after Clayton Kershaw sliced through the Rockies in Chavez Ravine last night.
Justin Morneau goes deep again, plus news about Clayton Kershaw, Prince Fielder, and Cole Hamels, and what to watch today.
The Weekend Takeaway Troy Tulowitzki and Nolan Arenado have garnered most of the press surrounding the Rockies’ torrid start—and deservedly so, considering the shortstop’s otherworldly numbers and the third baseman’s league-best 28-game hitting streak and highlight-reel defense at the hot corner. But another member of Colorado’s infield was the man of the hour on Sunday, and he’s been flying under the radar all season.
The Dodgers' ace is the priciest player on Craig's Roto dream team.
On Friday, Mike Gianella released his latest mixed league Bid Limits, which spurred an idea from Bret Sayre called Model Portfolios, wherein the fantasy staff (and anyone else on the BP roster who wants to participate) will create their own team within the confines of a standard 23-man, $260 budget. The roster being constructed includes: C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, CI, MI, OFx5, UTx2, and Px9 along with the following standards issued by Sayre: