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
Bartolo Colon both reached first base on a ball hit to the infield and issued a walk, which presumably means the apocalypse is coming. It was sadly ruled a Yadier Molina error rather than an infield single, but it’s still fun to watch Colon actually checking over his shoulder when he should be hustling to first:
Amidst this insanity, the Mets lost again, the Nationals won again and the NL East is moving inexorably closer to the walk in the park that everyone thought it would be for the Nats. There was some drama in Washington with Bryce Harper getting ejected again, but Denard Span helped them to a 3-2 win against A-Rod and company anyway.
From one Washington to another, the 14-28 Athletics are hiring Ron Washington for defensive coaching purposes. Susan Slusser of the SF Chronicle suggests there that Washington is likely to assure himself of a job next season if he can figure out a way to improve Marcus Semien’s defence, although the keen observer could be forgiven for speculating that the A’s problem may have been allowing Semien to play shortstop in the first place when he wasn’t a particularly good second or third baseman for the White Sox last year. This move has already paid off for baseball fans, who have been granted licence to quote Wash’s finest pearls of wisdom from Moneyball, particularly regarding Scott Hatteberg’s ability to play first base. The A’s, of course, lost again, this time to increasingly plausible Cy Young contender Dallas Keuchel and the home-run-or-bust Astros.
Alex Gordon is still excellent in left field (see below for proof), and the Royals won again to maintain their lead in the AL Central. Kansas City has the best run differential and the best first, second and third order winning percentages in the AL.
In other unusual baserunning escapades, there was both a steal of home and a steal by catcher Tuffy Gosewisch in Arizona’s six-steal romp over the Marlins. Albert Pujols seems to have escaped any fractures after a nasty-looking HBP during the Angels’ win against the Blue Jays, while Tim Lincecum continued to baffle both opposing hitters and Giants fans who have been lamenting his demise for the past three years (guilty!) in helping the Giants to a shutout of the Dodgers. Joe Mauer hit his first (!) home run of the year in an extra-innings win over the Pirates, Seattle beat Baltimore despite a Dirty Fuentes by Fernando Rodney, and the Phillies continued to make the case that the Rockies’ pitching is even worse than their hitting with another victory in Coors.
TWEETS WE LIKED
— Carson Cistulli (@cistulli) May 20, 2015
Alex Gordon’s four-year-old son, Max, likes to imitate his dad. He yells “Here goes Alex Gordon!” and runs face-first into walls. — Andy McCullough (@McCulloughStar) May 21, 2015
David Letterman was so surprised by Joe Mauer hitting a home run that he’s quitting his show effective immediately.
— Aaron Gleeman (@AaronGleeman) May 21, 2015
— Banished to the Pen (@BanishedToPen) May 21, 2015
ARTICLES WE LIKED
Ryan Sullivan spoke to Washington radio host Grant Paulsen about appearing on The Late Show with David Letterman, as well as those streaking Nationals, plus he scouted Nats prospect Reynaldo Lopez and was impressed by what he saw.
David Manel of Bucs Dugout explained how instant replay is affecting baserunning approaches.
Fangraphs’ Kiley McDaniel proposed an alternative way of evaluating draft prospects based on Nassim Taleb’s Black Swan theory.
BttP’s Julien Assouline crunched the numbers to examine the relationship between velocity and Tommy John surgery.
Speaking of pitching injuries, Doctors Douoguih, Dolce and Lincoln debunked the old ‘inverted-W’ theory, but early trunk rotation is far from ideal. Find out more in this Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine article on pitching mechanics (published April 2015).
Beyond the Box Score’s Matt Jackson says Danny Salazar is a step away from being elite; now, if he can just stop allowing those pesky home runs…
TODAY’S BEST PITCHING MATCHUPS
(Deserved Run Average included in brackets)
If one were entirely devoid of other commitments, or perhaps so uncommitted to any existing commitments that watching baseball during them would not pose a problem, today’s matchups have the advantage of being almost perfectly consecutive, providing around nine straight hours of baseball.
Jaime Garcia (STL, N/A) vs. Jacob DeGrom (NYM, 4.46) (1:10 ET)
Garcia has shown that he can be pretty good when he has pitched in the major leagues. The problem, of course, is that he hasn’t managed to do that all that often, with just one season of over 30 starts and fewer than 600 innings pitched since his debut in 2008. At 28, he is just two years older than DeGrom, who made his major league debut last year, so there’s still time to have many productive years if he can ever figure out a way to stay on the field. This will be his 2015 debut after spending the first six weeks on the DL with shoulder trouble.
Clayton Kershaw (LAD, 3.54) vs. Madison Bumgarner (SFG, 4.05) (3:45 ET)
It isn’t the end of May yet and somehow this is the third time Kershaw and Bumgarner have faced off. The first two meetings didn’t disappoint, so hopefully this is Return of the King and not Godfather III.
Wandy Rodriguez (TEX, 3.69) vs. Clay Buchholz (BOS, 3.67) (7:10 ET)
Literally anything could happen here. I would not be at all surprised if both starters matched zeroes through seven or were both knocked out in the second inning. Buchholz appears to be getting back on track after some truly brutal early starts, throwing a three-hitter over eight innings and striking out 11 Mariners in his last outing. Rodriguez’s low home run rate and low BABIP aren’t both likely to continue, especially making half his starts in Texas, but his ERA, FIP and DRA are almost identical, so there’s reason to believe he can at least be a respectable contributor for the Rangers after a horrible 2014 in Pittsburgh.Next post: Up & In Memoriam: Fans and Friends Remember Baseball Prospectus’ First Podcast
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