Umpires shouldn't settle for "close enough" when it comes to perfection.
The Weekend Takeaway
Did he go? That was the question percolating through every baseball fan’s mind after the White Sox’ Philip Humber threw the 21st perfect game in major-league history against the Mariners on Saturday afternoon.
Brendan Ryan, who pinch-hit for Munenori Kawasaki, worked the count full, fouled off Humber’s first payoff pitch, and then either swung or did not swing at a slider that broke well off the plate outside. But did he go?
While fans may be fretting in Boston, nobody should be hasty in evaluating the job GM Ben Cherington has done in shoring up the Sox.
The 2012 Red Sox are a work in progress, Ben Cherington's unfinished symphony. When I set out to write this article, it was from the vantage point of looking back at the weekend's head-scratching swap, which sent shortstop Marco Scutaro to the Rockies for sinkerballer Clayton Mortensen. In isolation, it was a dismal return for a player who's been worth 5.5 WARP over the past two seasons, but by dumping Scutaro's salary, the Sox created room to fill other needs. As if on cue, they agreed to a one-year deal with outfielder Cody Ross on Monday night, consigning this article's brilliant original lede* to the dustbin of history and serving as a reminder that very few ballclubs are expected to win games in the dead of January.
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The Padres' double dose of injuries in a single inning shows a quality staff rising to a terrible challenge.
It's Carb Day here in Indy, so today my town is more about 225 mph Hondas and the reunion of Stone Temple Pilots than anything else. In racing, speed is everything, on the track and in the pits. One of the events of Carb Day is the Pit Crew contest, where they'll fuel up and change all four tires in under ten seconds. It would be nice if baseball worked like that, but quick for this game is fifteen days. That doesn't mean that the "pit crew"-the medical staff-isn't working just as feverishly. If you've ever seen the trainer run after a player into the clubhouse, you'll know that time does count. You don't see them re-taping an ankle, coming up with a finger splint on the fly, fixing a contact, or one of the hundred other tasks that might come up without warning, triggering a burst of creativity that would put Angus McGyver to shame. In Wednesday's game, you may have seen highlights of Chris Young and Josh Bard getting injured, but if you watched the game, you saw how quickly Todd Hutcheson and his staff were back out there to tend to Bard, despite having just taken Young into the clubhouse. Beyond the trainers, a team's medical staff extends to an associated list of doctors, dentists, massage therapists, rehab professionals, and chiropractors. Players may not need their tires changed or two turns of wing because they're loose in turn two, but everything else is fair game in the trainer's room. Powered by Wii Fit, on to the injuries:
Which players might struggle to match their PECOTA projections this year?
It's actually much more difficult to come up with an 'anti-' list than a 'pro-' list. Not only do I really feel like I have to bet against my own system, but it seems like I'm picking on individual players and teams. If it makes you feel any better, two of the eleven names you see below play prominent roles on one or another of my fantasy teams.
Everything you wanted to know about the BP Kings Charity Scoresheet Draft.
Peter Gammons' unfortunate incident focused the spotlight on cerebral aneurysms, but my connection is more personal. My mother had a cerebral aneurysm rupture way back in 1977 and was fortunate to survive.
Draft Strategy: Be strong at scarce positions offensively, avoided the dreaded Pitcher-AAA as always, and work on building a better bullpen to compensate for the lack of early starting pitchers. I sort of strayed from that strategy by taking John Lackey relatively early, and I might have a problem at second base if Jose Lopez doesn't pan out. I wanted to build a good core under the age of 30, and I did a fairly decent job of that. One of my harder decisions was my first one--Grady Sizemore vs. Joe Mauer. The consensus seems to be that I went the wrong with Sizemore--the consensus could be right, but I get the idea that three years from now Mauer won't be catching as often, to preserve his knees. Maybe that's too far forward to look, but at the same token, I see Sizemore as basically being risk-free.
I participated in the Mock Draft in the Scoresheet newsgroup, and because of that I expected the draft to be a little more prospect-heavy early-on. With the notable exception of Nate Silver, it wasn't, which suits me fine. I'm happy to have Brignac and Adam Miller among my top prospects.
Draft Strategy: Our only real strategy was to get big bats with the first few picks, then turn to pitching. Other than that, we basically reacted to the draft. We had the third pick, and in a league with an obvious top three, that made things easy. The one who's left is your guy, and that was Joe Mauer, whom we were happy to have. When Vernon Wells fell, we felt, to us at No. 22, we had our theme for the early part of the draft: Young, studly up-the-middle guys.