(with apologies to Ogden Nash)
Hi, everyone! And welcome to Write-Up For Yesterday, BttP’s guide to what the heck happened yesterday in baseball. We’re not gonna just hand you some scores here, because we trust you know how to type the letters E-S-P-N into your internet machine. Instead, we hope to give you a fuller and richer understanding of important goings on from yesterday in baseball. The big stories, and the noteworthy performances-good and bad.
STORY LINES AND NEWS CYCLE EPHEMERA
Bryce Harper continued to destroy baseballs in a manner that suggests no baseball will ever be safe again, hitting his ninth and tenth homers on Friday and then adding his eleventh on Saturday for a walk-off win. He also punished one over 400 feet to dead center on Sunday which sadly didn’t go out and left him with a mere double, even though Cameron Maybin made a good effort at tipping it over the wall. The Nationals swept the Braves and now loom menacingly three-and-a-half games behind the Mets as the NL East starts to look more like everyone thought it would.
The Pirates turned the first 4-5-4 triple play in MLB history, a play that almost didn’t happen because Jung-Ho Kang thought there were three outs already:
Good thing the whole dugout was yelling at him in multiple languages.
Michael Pineda was absurd against the Orioles, striking out 16 over seven innings as those plucky underdog Yankees took yet another series victory to extend their lead in the AL East. Sadly, they wouldn’t leave him out there for two more innings so he could try for 21. Spoilsports. In any case, Johan Santana was the last pitcher to strike out at least sixteen without walking anyone, all the way back in 2007, so it was quite the night. If watching a string of baffled Baltimore hitters completely fail to get their bats anywhere near the ball is your thing, you’re in for a treat.
Kris Bryant got the silent treatment after his first major league home run, a milestone that took him 92 plate appearances and only came after Bryce Harper, 286 days his junior, had hit sixty-six major league home runs. Step it up, Kris.
In a sad reminder of how quickly players can decline, Allen Craig was sent down to Triple-A Pawtucket by the Red Sox, a move he is unable to do anything about as he still has just four years of service time. From 2011-2013, Craig hit .312/.364/.500 over almost 1300 PA, twice garnering MVP votes and playing a key role in the Cardinals lineup deep into the postseason.
Bartolo Colon, by contrast, refuses to let the passage of time have any impact on his career and thus far has been taking care of opposing hitters with ease. Surely he could do the same to Chad Billingsley? No chance.
TWEETS WE LIKED
— MLB GIFS (@MLBGIFs) May 11, 2015
— Ben Suissa (@bsuissa) May 10, 2015
@Ericdroseberry if you’re gonna do it do it well.
— Alex (@alexcards79) May 9, 2015
ARTICLES WE LIKED
Brandon Lee asked BttP contributors for their best mother-and-baseball memories, and Jesse Krailler, Ken Maeda and Andrew Dainoff obliged.
Ryan Sullivan, who abandoned us to do the podcast by ourselves so he could go and hobnob with the big-shot baseball names at BP’s Miller Park event, further rubbed our noses in it by writing all about it (sounds like it was pretty cool too, so that doesn’t help).
Beyond the Box Score’s Matt Goldman delved into Tim Lincecum’s surprisingly good start, and found some reasons for optimism.
Sean Dolinar visualised defensive metrics over at Fangraphs.
TODAY’S BEST PITCHING MATCHUPS
(Deserved Run Average included in brackets)
Jacob DeGrom (NYM, 4.40) vs. Jon Lester (CHC, 4.74) (8:05 ET)
Undeterred by any potential accusations of Cubs bias, I continue to include them here 1) because Jon Lester is good at pitching, 2) their collection of elite prospect talent plus Anthony Rizzo is undeniably interesting and 3) Jacob DeGrom is also good at pitching. When they face the Phillies I’ll take a few days off.
Max Scherzer (WAS, 3.51) vs. Josh Collmenter (ARI, 4.37) (9:40 ET)
Scherzer may not have had an awful lot of run support so far, but his ludicrous 49/5 K/BB ratio in 42 2/3 innings tells you everything you need to know about how his transition to the National League has gone. Aside from a few balls leaving the park at Coors Field last time out, Collmenter has pitched very well, including some excellent control (1.9% walk rate) and one of the season’s few complete games. He is currently on track for his fifth consecutive season of a mid-3 ERA, making him comfortably the most reliable pitcher in Arizona’s rotation, if not the flashiest.
Rick Porcello (BOS, 3.96) vs. Scott Kazmir (OAK, 3.50) (10:05 ET)
While the Boston rotation has been roundly mocked thus far (and I may or may not have suggested that a certain Star Wars character would be an upgrade), Porcello was a pitcher who possessed both a 3.43 ERA and a perfectly respectable 4.02 DRA last season. He also appears to be making hitters swing and miss more, and is striking out almost a batter per inning as a result. Unfortunately, the dip in his typically excellent groundball rate is not helping so much in Fenway. Kazmir has continued his surprising renaissance after a fine 2014, currently holding the 8th-best DRA in the league. Not what anyone expected after his 5.94 ERA in 2010 and subsequent two-year struggle to even get a major league team to give him a start.
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