Jason Hammel disappointed with the A's, but seems to have returned to his winning ways with the Cubs
If you’re a follower of the Cubs, you’re aware that this season has been a bit of an up-and-down experience. After a six-game winning streak in mid-May, which took them to a season-high six games over .500, the Cubs have gone 7–9, with the offense being the biggest culprit for their struggles. In seven of those nine losses they’ve scored three or fewer runs, and actually did so in five of their seven victories, too. To get those seven wins, it’s clear the Cubs have had some nice pitching performances, and for the most part, that’s come from the starters.
When most hear that the Cubs' starting pitching is leading the way of late, they're likely to point to Jon Lester, he of the seven-year, $155 million contract signed last December. His spiffy 1.76 ERA in May certainly has helped the Cubs stay afloat during this last month, but he also is the owner of essentially 0 pitcher WARP (the new version, based on DRA), dead last for this current rotation group. Jake Arrieta has a 3.04 ERA, a 26.6 percent strikeout rate, a 5 percent walk rate, and a strong 1.2 PWARP. Tsuyoshi Wada has been impressive since joining the rotation (while not much of an innings-eater, he’s put up a 2.30 ERA with 19 strikeouts in 15 2/3 innings in his three starts) and Kyle Hendricks has been better of late.
The Orioles and Tigers announcers give a clinic in how to determine intent and stick up for the good guys in 15 seconds.
After the Tigers hit back-to-back-to-back home runs in the fourth inning this afternoon Jason Hammel hit Matt Tuiasosopo with a high breaking ball on the first pitch of the subsequent at-bat and Hammel was ejected.
The Game 1 starters match up again, this time with the series on the line.
With a pitching matchup of two no. 4 starters in a hitter-friendly ballpark, Game Four had the ingredients to become a slugfest. Instead, the Orioles and Yankees combined for only three runs in a 2-1, 13-inning Baltimore win that set the stage for Game Five this afternoon. To get you ready before first pitch, here are the PECOTA odds and projected starting lineups for the winner-take-all Game Five:
Sometimes I write about serious things. Today, for instance, I wrote about umpires. Umpires are usually pretty serious, because they know that if they smile they might look vulnerable, and then someone might throw a helmet at them. And yesterday, I wrote about the Astros, who are more serious than we thought they’d be.
Can Gameday's newest feature teach us anything about the game?
Those of you who follow baseball via the computer—and unless your secretary printed this piece out for you I assume that description fits everyone reading—have probably encountered MLB.com’s Gameday feature. It’s the ingenious little program that tracks each pitch in real time and allows you to follow the action without actually seeing the action.
I’m not sure exactly when Gameday was launched, but I remember using it back in 2000. Gameday has made a lot of improvements since then. When it started, Gameday was a very simple application that wasn’t much more than a moving box score. It looked like this:
Some of this year's great starts are tied to dramatically changed approaches.
Looking at leaderboards in April is a lot like looking at a familiar face reflected in a funhouse mirror: some features are clearly recognizable, but others are badly distorted. Matt Kemp leads the league in almost everything, which makes sense. Look a little harder, though, and oddities start to appear. Jack Hannahan, a career .235 hitter, is batting .308. If Jack Hannahan is still batting .308 at the All-Star break, we’ll have to start paying attention (and possibly packing away survival supplies). Until then, it’s safe to dismiss Hannahan’s hot streak as a small-sample fluke.*
*Very, very safe. When I first wrote that sentence, Hannahan was hitting .364.