(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

April 15 marks “Jackie Robinson Day” in the MLB. C. Trent Rosencrans at the Cincinnati.com has a great quick recap of the history of this event, which began unofficially in 2007 when Ken Griffey Jr. and 6 members of the Chicago Cubs took Wrigley Field wearing number 42. 2 years later, every other player had started wearing 42 to the pride of the league and the chagrin of people trying to keep score at home.


The Royals win streak came to an end. They actually had a pretty good day and outplayed the Twins on paper. Volquez pitched 7 and 2/3 with one walk and 7 k’s, allowing 5 hits. The KC bats got 9 hits. Matt Trueblood briefly explored the change in the Royals’ playoff chances according to PECOTA, their hot streak to start the season doubled their chances. While the team got the loss, they still continued a run of good luck. 6 of their 9 hitters collected 9 hits total, and had a combined BABIP of .667 across them. Let’s take a second here to look at some of the wonderful hit f/x data we now have, courtesy Baseball Savant

Name At bats with Data Max batted ball velocity- MPH Min- MPH Avg- MPH Max Distance- ft Avg Distance- Feet
Alcides Escobar 4 91 70 82 279 127
Mike Moustakas 1 77 77 77 0 0
Lorenzo Cain 2 109 93 101 0 0
Alex Gordon 3 109 67 86 287 95.67
Omar Infante 3 98 41 73.33 295 98.33

 

We should start to see some pretty interesting research into BABIP based on Hit f/x data, but we’re talking about a team that didn’t hit the ball too hard and still got on base, and then still scored 1 run. Even when the 2015 Royals lose, it’s possible they’re still getting fairly lucky.


 

The Tigers might be getting pretty lucky too, but on the other end. They’ve allowed a total of 17 earned runs across 9 games. 11 of those are attributable to their starting pitching, and 3 of those are to something called a ‘Kyle Lobstein’ who you have never heard of. Alfredo Simon pitched 8 innings of shutout baseball and the Pirates couldn’t do anything about it.


 

Kevin Pillar happened.

Specifically, Pillar stole a home run from Tim Beckham of the Tampa Bay Rays. We all saw the gifs but anyway it’s a real good gif so here it is again

 

Pillar-ied

So that’s cool as a web gem but let’s think about this game for a minute.

Source: FanGraphs

That’s the Win Expectancy chart for this game. As you can see, the Rays weren’t exactly setting the world on fire. They scored a total of 7 runs, which would have won plenty of games, but they didn’t score that first run until the 5th at which point they were already down 9 and had gone through 3 pitchers.

So yeah, Kevin Pillar had a web gem. But there’s a more interesting performance on that win expectancy chart, and it’s Edwin Encarnacion.

In a game where Toronto scored 11 runs on 13 hits, Encarnacion went up to bat 5 times and struck out once in the 4 hole. His day was ‘Strikeout looking,’ ‘Lineout to Left’, ‘Flyball to Right,’ ‘Groundout to Third,’ ‘Groundout to short.’ Encarnacion and Danny Valencia were the only Jays without a hit or a walk in this game, but Encarnacion put up a -.027 WPA. To think about it another way, the Rays had effectively lost the game before the start of the 6th inning in terms of leverage index. And Encarnacion still had a worse game than all but 5 of them. There’s something beautiful about the amazing hitter whose team completely wipes the floor with the competition, and he still actively hurts their chances more than he helps.


The Dodgers faced the Mariners. Here’s the most interesting thing about that game, courtesy of David Klopfenstein at Best coast Ball

Today is the first time the Los Angeles Dodgers have faced an African-American manager on Jackie Robinson Day.

Today is the first time the Los Angeles Dodgers have faced an African-American starting pitcher on Jackie Robinson Day.

Today is the first time the Los Angeles Dodgers have faced an African-American skipper and an African-American starter on April 15th in the history of the franchise.

 

TWEETS WE LIKED

 

 

ARTICLES WE LIKED

 

CBS turns its baseball eye on the lack of managers of color in baseball 

Reason Magazine recalls a time that Jackie Robinson was too conservative

 

TODAY’S THREE SIX! BEST PITCHING MATCHUPS

There are only 6 games today so let’s just rank them arbitrarily. One of these teams will probably do the exact opposite of what I expect.

6. Jason Vargas and the Royals take on Tommy Milone and the Twins

If you want to know a list of reasons why the Royals are not the odds-on favorites to make it back to the playoffs out of their division, look at their pitching staff.

5. Mike Fiers and the Brewers v. John Lackey and the Cardinals

Nothing against these starters specifically but they probably won’t be anyone’s favorite part of this game

4. Jarred Cosart and the Marlins against Dillon Gee and the Mets

The Mets are 6-3 to start the season and, unlike the Atlanta Braves, didn’t spend the weeks leading up to the season actively sabotaging their team. They just swept the sad sad Phillies and look to jump ahead of the division against this series vs the Marlins, but this is not a pitching matchup.

3. Cole Hamels/Phillies versus Doug Fister/Nationals

This is a rematch of literally 5 days ago, when Hamels and Fister faced off in Philadelphia. The Phillies won on Saturday in extras, and both teams are starting the season 3-6. The Nationals have looked just brutal as a team, but not because of their pitching. Still, they’re the odds-on favorite to decimate the NL East.

2. Chris Archer and the Rays vs. Aaron Sanchez and the Blue Jays

Edwin Encarnacion hopes to come back and contribute to his team today. Anyway Archer and Sanchez are both swaggalicious.

1. Archie Bradley’s Venomous Snakes go head to head with Madison Bumgarner’s Giants

Madison Bumgarner is 3 years older than Archie Bradley. This is Archie Bradley’s 2nd Major League start of his career. By the time Madison Bumgarner was making his 2nd start at 22 (the same age Bradley is now), Bumgarner had 5.4 career bWAR.

Tyler Baber is an occasional contributor at Banished to the Pen and Web Manager at TheDynastyGuru.com. He lives in Philadelphia with his wife, two children, two cats, and seven fantasy teams.

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