Portland, OR: 60°/49°, rain | Vol 1, Issue 3

In this issue: Albers closes again… Ben & Jeff live show upcoming… News & previews… Mario Kart baseball


Matt Albers: Save at Home

WASHINGTON DC – Nationals’ finisher extraordinaire Matt Albers notched a save in front of the home crowd in the second half of a double-header vs Philadelphia. He faced three hitters, struck out one, and got the game-ender on a groundout to short.

“No drama,” said manager Dusty Baker, comparing the outcome to the team’s blown save in game one. “We like that. The manager loves that. We’ll get it straight.”

As not first reported in last week’s Gazette, Albers earned his first career save on May 5, after previously finishing 102 games without one. His second save was met with relatively less fanfare among Effectively Wild listeners, but Albers’ own reaction was noticeable more fiery. The final batter, Aaron Altherr, had led to a blown save for Albers last Monday with an 8th-inning three-run homer.

In the double-header’s first game, Albers faced three hitters, giving up a hit and no runs. On Wednesday, Albers got his second win of the year (and another game finished) with a scoreless 9th. In 14⅔ IP this year, Albers has a 0.61 ERA and a 704 ERA+.

Ben & Jeff: On the Road

As revealed on Effectively Wild episode 1057, hosts Ben Lindbergh and Jeff Sullivan will be appearing at Pitch Talks in Brooklyn on Monday, August 7 (Mike Trout’s 26th birthday). A live episode will also be recorded. “I would assume that it will be a friendly crowd,” Ben said on the episode. “Probably not a lot of people coming to heckle us and tell us they hate the show, but if you want to do that, you are able to buy a ticket for that purpose too.”

Baseball Bulletin

By Daniel R Epstein

MLB News:
  • Bryce Harper signs an extension for several dollars. The deal does not add any length to his rookie contract so he will still be a free agent after 2018.
  • Mets closer Jeurys Familia will have surgery and be out of action a long, long time.
  • Top prospect Ian Happ was called up to the majors because the Cubs need more good young players apparently.
  • An 8th-inning HR by Mike Trout on Friday, and a walk-off homer by Bryce Harper on Saturday, helped a Louisiana man set a new record in MLB’s Beat the Streak game at 51.
A very incomplete list of good baseball writing:

What’s Ahead

By Seth Moland-Kovash

Series to Watch:

  • Los Angeles at San Francisco (Monday-Wednesday). Does this rivalry still matter… given current injury and standings places? Does this rivalry still matter… without Vin Scully? Does this rivalry still matter… in an odd numbered year? Tune in to find out.
  • Cincinnati at Chicago (Lovable Winners) (Tuesday-Thursday). Could this be the rivalry for the NL Central this year? I don’t know and neither do you. But there will be baseball games played.
  • Cleveland at Houston (Friday-Sunday). Two teams who are primed for a run at the AL postseason face off early. Read that sentence again with ESPN voice-over guy’s voice in your mind. Carlos Correa and Francisco Lindor? Yes, please.

Notable Pitching Matchups:

  • Monday, 9:40p ET: NYM (Zack Wheeler, 2-2, 4.18 ERA) at ARI (Zack Godley, 1-0, 2.25 ERA). Most notable because this Zack matchup will determine who gets to take Kelly Kapowski to the big dance.
  • Tuesday, 10:15p ET: LAD (Rich Hill, 1-1, 3.38 ERA) at SFG (Ty Blach, 0-2, 5.09 ERA). This pitching matchup is probably notable only to listeners of Effectively Wild. No word yet on whom Kelly favors in this one.
  • Thursday, 10:10p ET: MIA (TBD) at LAD (Clayton Kershaw, 6-2, 2.45 ERA). I don’t care who this TBD kid is throwing for the Marlins. Clayton Kershaw is a notable matchup all by himself. And we all know where Kelly’s heart lies here.

Trailing 30

By Rob Mains
This entry lists the best and worst for the past 30 days of the 2017 regular season, through games of Sunday, May 14. Here is an explanation of this weekly feature.

Comment of the week: The American League pitcher with the lowest ERA over the past 30 days pitched 12 innings last season. The two National League pitchers with the lowest ERA over the past 30 days did not pitch in the majors last season… For the full list of stats, click here.

American League
   Team W-L              
1. Houston          19- 8
2. New York         16- 9
3. Cleveland        15-11
4. Toronto          16-12
5. Baltimore        15-12
   Batting Average       
1. Segura, Sea       .393
2. Cruz, Sea         .374
3. Trout, LA         .366
4. Carrera, Tor      .355
5. Dickerson, TB     .350
   On Base Plus Slugging 
1. Judge, NY        1.277
2. Trout, LA        1.231
3. Cruz, Sea        1.140
4. Alsonso, Oak     1.107
5. Sano, Min        1.066

   Home Runs             
1. Judge, NY           11
   Alonso, Oak         11
3. Gallo, Tex          10
4. Machado, Bal         8
   Trout, LA            8

1. Vargas, KC        1.16
2. Santana, Min      1.76
3. Carrasco, Cle     1.77
4. Bundy, Bal        2.11
5. Keuchel, Hou      2.15

1. Sale, Bos         1.69
2. Vargas, KC        2.49
3. Triggs, Oak       2.53
4. Estrada, Tor      2.67
5. Tomlin, Cle       2.70
National League
   Team W-L
1. St. Louis        18- 8
2. Washington       18- 9
3. Colorado         17-10
4. Los Angeles      16-11
5. Milwaukee        15-12

   Batting Average     
1. Harper, Was       .404
2. Zimmerman, Was    .387
3. Posey, SF         .379
4. Gyorko, SL        .360
5. Turner, LA        .358
   On Base Plus Slugging
1. Harper, Was      1.341
2. Zimmerman, Was   1.249
3. Freeman, Atl     1.215
4. Altherr, Phi     1.168
5. Votto, Cin       1.122

   Home Runs
1. Harper, Was         10
   Thames, Mil         10
   Zimmerman, Was      10
4. Freeman, Atl         9
   Stanton, Mia         9

1. Freeland, Col     1.84
2. Lynn, SL          1.86
3. Cole, Pit         1.91
4. Greinke, Ari      2.06
5. Kershaw, LA       2.36

1. Wood, LA          1.08
2. Samardzija, SF    2.42
3. Cahill, SD        2.53
4. Kershaw, LA       2.72
5. Cole, Pit         2.95

Out of the Park 18 on Sale

The latest edition of a series popular with EW listeners, Out of the Park 18, is currently 20% off at the Humble Store. For more on the game, read our review by Mark Sands.

Mother’s Day 2017

In 2015, BttP contributors shared some stories of the role their moms played in the baseball fandom growing up.

The Lineup Card: Mario Kart

By Darius Austin

Yes, there are already Mario baseball games. However, while Nintendo has made the effort to transfer over some of the attributes that the characters have in games like Mario Kart, it doesn’t really seem like they’ve really tried to put them in appropriate roles to succeed, instead foolishly allowing gamers to pick whoever they want at any position they want. Here, then, is the correct lineup for the most prominent Mario Kart characters, based primarily on Mario Kart 64 attributes (because it’s the best), with Waluigi added for excellent reasons, as we’ll see.

1. CF: Yoshi – Because who wouldn’t enjoy Yoshi racing around the outfield, scooping up all the fly balls with his tongue, like a tiny green dinosaur version of Billy Hamilton (albeit with a better bat). Like Eddie Gaedel, he’ll also have a tiny strikezone, allowing him to take tons of walks atop the lineup.

2. SS: Mario – As the star of the series, it’s inevitable that Mario would end up at the most important defensive position and get to bat high in the lineup. He is consistently given solid all-around stats, and he possesses the kind of impeccable Jeter-esque reputation that ensures he gets to stick at the position even if he isn’t the best candidate for the job. He can also throw fireballs over to first when he really needs to be quick to catch a runner.

3. 1B: Bowser – A defensive liability with monstrous power, Bowser is the classic first baseman. Like Anthony Rizzo, he’s not afraid to crowd the plate even if it means getting hit by a few pitches, and unlike Anthony Rizzo, he has a hard shell that balls bounce harmlessly off. This alignment also means that Mario is often throwing to – or at – him.

4. 3B: Wario – In a parallel to a recent iteration of the Detroit Tigers, this Mario Kart team has three guys who don’t have great range, and only two places to put them. Being the lightest of the three heavyweights, Wario is forced to play at the hot corner, providing the kind of power long associated with third base. He also shows us what Mario would be like if he really let himself go, echoing the shift down the defensive spectrum that many shortstops inevitably go through at some point in our careers, and reminding us all of this horrible slog towards rigor mortis.

5. LF: Peach – In the model of the 2014-15 Royals, we’re attempting to create the best defense by putting all of the speedy lightweight characters with good acceleration in the outfield. Peach is also taller than most of the more mobile characters, allowing her to rob a few home runs, and the fact that she doesn’t have tiny arms ought to give her the advantage over the rest of the team when it comes to plate coverage.

6. 2B: Luigi – With basically the same skills as his brother, Luigi is relegated to second base and sixth in the lineup purely on the basis that he’s the sidekick.

7. C: Donkey Kong – DK has the kind of frame that can stand up to the wear and tear of catching, with a plus-plus arm, strengthened from years of throwing barrels. His framing still needs work but there’s no chance anyone will take him out in a close play at the plate.

8. RF: Toad – Completing Mario Kart’s own Gordon-Cain-Dyson outfield, Toad looks like the kind of enthusiastic, scrappy competitor who would hustle his way around right field and bat at the bottom of the lineup.

9. P: Waluigi – Luigi’s counterpart clearly has the kind of lanky build that would push him straight into pitching. In fact, when pictured as a lefty in his classic purple outfit, it’s obvious that Waluigi is essentially Randy Johnson:

Happy Birthday, Lt Commander October

By Ken Maeda

On May 18, Reggie Jackson turns 71. You may know him from his work in the baseball comedy The Naked Gun, as the would-be assassin ballplayer “Jackson”:



But did you know he was reportedly in the running for a role on Star Trek: The Next Generation? Not as the charismatic first officer, or as the empathic counselor. Instead, he was a leading contender for Geordi LaForge. If LeVar Burton had been too busy telling kids about the wonders of reading, it might’ve been Reggie who inspired Data to grow a beard, or Reggie who got caught with a holo-Dr Brahms by Dr Brahms. What might he have looked like with the VISOR? Maybe something like this:


Fun Fact of the Week

“Fun” Fact of the Week

“On Monday, the Yankees became just the fourth team in major league history to score 10 or more runs in a game the day after playing a game that went 18 or more innings in a different city, joining the 2008 Rockies, 1993 Dodgers and 1905 Cubs.” From ESPN/Elias, courtesy of Scott Ross in the EW Facebook Group.

Hype Video of the Week

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