[As I finished writing this, I came across Adam Kilgore's piece here, which also gets into the differences between regular season and playoff pitcher management.]
This post is not about the Nationals’ terrible, awful, no-good NLDS hitting, where the lineup (not including pitchers, pinch hitters, Rendon, or Harper) hit .112 with an OPS of .316. This post is about Matt Williams’ criticism for his management of the pitching staff.
The critics have missed the moves that were the biggest mistakes. Williams’ errors were related to being stuck in a regular season mindset and/or not thinking far enough ahead. Read the rest of this entry »
Game 5. All Washington Nationals fans remember. An epic collapse in the Nats’ first playoff series, losing a 6 run lead to the Cardinals including a 4-run swing, from from 2 up to 2 down, in one devastating, soul-crushing, monumental 9th inning meltdown.
I was in standing room, right up from 1st base, at the back of section 130. I was with my brother, back here in our hometown from Houston on business. My brother Jon.
The Cardinals fan. Read the rest of this entry »
Major League Baseball has a big problem, and it’s not that games are too long. It’s far more fundamental than that.
Human umpires are incapable of calling the strike zone accurately, and MLB must replace them with an automated system of computers calling balls and strikes.
I’m going to write a series of posts describing the strike zone, how poorly umpires call it, the reasons why humans are incapable of doing this job, why technology can do it better, the current PITCHf/x system, how it needs to be improved to take over for humans, and why MLB’s reluctance to do so is misguided and temporary, and how the change would improve baseball.
It might take me a while to write these things. I will not claim that the ideas I describe here are completely original, as much of it seems to be “intuitively obvious to the casual observer” (thanks Dr. Stageberg). I will note source material, or places where concepts have been previously discussed if I’ve read them. And I’ll add links to previous work if it’s brought to my attention.
Please send me a message or a comment. I’m happy to discuss any of these issues. And thanks for reading.
Feisty, eh? Background: F.P. Santangelo is the Nationals color guy on TV, an ex-MLB player who provides a nice mix of entertaining and knowledgeable. Some people don’t like his broadcasting, but that’s always going to be true; ask baseball fans about Tim McCarver and they’ll either love him or hate him. I think F.P. does a good job, and I’ve tweeted as much.
The Nats made two errors on one play in the 1st inning of the September 7 2014 game against the Phillies, resulting in one run scoring and Marlon Byrd ending up on third base. The umps had a tough call on this play; the second error was on Anthony Rendon, who threw the ball into the Nats’ dugout trying to throw a baserunner out at home. Byrd, the hitter at the start of the play, gets two bases as of the point Rendon threw the ball. So whether he had gotten to second base at that moment was the difference between Byrd scoring or stopping at third; turned out to be the margin of victory.
The Nationals’ broadcast on MASN very quickly put together a picture-in-picture video of the play, which F.P. said was synced. I was immediately skeptical, and looking quickly at their video, I judged that the two were not actually in perfect sync, and said so. Then I went apple picking. No really!
Checking in on my phone two hours later, I found F.P.’s snarky reply. He may be right, but I’m guessing I know a little more about it than he thinks.
With two outs in the 8th inning of the Reds’ 1-0 victory against the Nationals yesterday, Reds closer Aroldis Chapman was brought in to face Adam LaRoche with runners on first and second.
The matchup was good for the Reds; the flame-throwing lefty Chapman has a FIP (fielding-independent pitching) of 0.59 — far better than any other pitcher in baseball this year, and is particularly brutal on left-handed hitters, holding them to an OPS (on-base plus slugging) of just .344 this year. LaRoche was 0-2 against Chapman in his career, and has an OPS against lefties this year of .647, vs. .894 against righties.
Chapman missed with his first two two fastballs, at 101 and 99.5 mph. With his third, he throttled back a little more and got a called strike on the outside corner. But this pitch was clearly a ball, and was indeed the worst pitch call umpire Jeff Nelson made on this day.
I think these likely change from day to day.
North America – Antelope Canyon, Arizona
South America – Machu Pichu, Peru
Europe – St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome
Africa – Victoria Falls
Asia – The Treasury at Petra, Jordan
Australia – Great Barrier Reef
Antarctica – Nowhere. Nowhere at all.
“FYI: We already have a subsidized health care system. It just subsidizes Ted Cruz’s $40k
policy more than a family trying to get out of poverty.” — @LOLGOP
Ted Cruz has very publicly and proudly that he doesn’t take the health insurance offered to members of Congress by the United States government, with the clear implication that he doesn’t think it’s right for Congressmen to take such a lavish benefit at taxpayers’ cost. Then news came out that not only does Cruz have another option, as do many married 2-earner families, but his family rationally takes his wife’s employer-supported insurance, which is a far more expensive plan than the one Cruz would get through Congress. Read the rest of this entry »