Game notes from Sunday, 1968

Fourteen of the 52 starters with sub-3 ERAs took the hill Sunday, with five pairs squaring off; another was rained out. Most lived up to their billing.


@Braves 1, Reds 0 (10 inn.) — The mind boggles. Atlanta’s allowed 58 runs through 24 games, with 17 starts of one run or less — three more than any other team since at least 1914. Freddie Freeman was hitless in four trips against Johnny Cueto, but he came through in the end off a fresh-summoned lefty, after Heyward and B.J. kept the inning alive with 2-out hits. That’s his 7th game-ending RBI since 2011, tying teammate Justin Upton for the MLB lead in that time.


  • Cueto matched Julio Teheran with 8 scoreless innings on 3 hits, for a 1.15 ERA through six starts (no UER). He’s the first Red since Jim Maloney with three straight starts of 8+ IP and 3 hits or less.
  • Freeman’s biggest growth in the last year-plus has been hitting lefties. After a .240 BA in his first two full years, he hit .287 last year and 9 for 26 this year, with 2 HRs.
  • Atlanta’s played five 1-0 games, winning three. The three 1-0 wins ties the searchable record for 24 games, done by five other teams 1967 and earlier.
  • Granted, the modern trend of shorter starts favors such results as “one run or less.” But even with an added requirement of 7+ innings, Atlanta’s 10 such starts through 24 games have been topped only twice since 1969 — the ’85 Mets and the ’81 Indians both had 11.


@Yankees 3, Angels 2 — Masahiro Tanaka remains unbeaten in living memory. Mark Teixeira manhandled a high fastball from Garrett Richards, tying the game in the 7th and unhooking Tanaka, who left in the top half with 11 Ks but trailing 2-1. The winning run in the 8th was a 100% tax-deductible contribution: two walks, a passed ball on a textbook strike (see 0:23), and then a classic “55-footer.”

Tanaka fanned Trout and Pujols three times in six trips (one single, one walk), but he was pulled with one out in the 7th and that duo up next. Trout singled off Adam Warren, but Albert erased him with his 6th GDP, 4-4-3 into the shift.

  • All eyes turned to Jacoby Ellsbury after his leadoff walk in the 8th: How would his speed tilt the outcome? Would the Bombers “manufacture” a run? Michael Kohn holds runners well, and he threw over often; when Ellsbury did run, Jeter fouled off the pitch. But thanks to a self-assaulting battery, even Ernie Lombardi could have completed the circuit.
  • Three 10-K games in the first 5 career outings: Tanaka, and Mark Prior. Seven-plus Ks each of the first 5 games: Tanaka, Strasburg and Jose DeLeon. Strasburg had 48 Ks, 7 walks through 5 games; Tanaka, 46/6.
  • I know it’s petty, but the term “55-footer” bugs me. You could watch baseball all year and not see a pitch truly fit that description. Fifty-five feet from the slab is still grass in most parks; how many pitches have you ever seen hit grass? Either way, Nick Maronde’s 0-and-2 slider to Brian McCann was buried.
  • It’s not how many times you fall down, but how many times you hustle back up and fire a strike to the cutoff man. Ichiro’s 40, and far from the player he was. But he still honors the game every time out. Shushou.


@Cardinals 7, Pirates 0 — Adam Wainwright’s 3rd straight scoreless outing, summing to 9 hits in those 24 innings — but alas, his hitting streak ended at four games, one off his career best. Jhonny Peralta broke the Cards’ homerless string at 10 games with bombs in consecutive innings off Edinson Volquez.

Volquez had his first bad result for the Bucs, mainly due to Peralta, but his remarkable change in control continued, with just one walk. He’s walked two or less in all five starts, which he’s done just once before. Volquez has never walked less than 4 per 9 innings in any season, but he’s at 1.6 BB/9 so far with Pittsburgh.

  • The Pirates have scored 2 runs or less in 14 of 26 games, tied with the Padres for most in MLB. The Cards are next, with 13 such games.
  • Since Bob Gibson in ’68, only Wainwright and John Tudor have had 3 straight scoreless games of 7+ innings. Tudor did it in September ’85, capped by this memorable Mets crusher.


@Mets 4, Marlins 0 –Dillon Gee started the 8th inning near his 90-pitch expiration date, but he crashed past it to whiff the first two men on a combined 17 pitches, and complete 8 scoreless innings for the first time. David Wright backed him up with an RBI double, just his 4th extra-base hit, and some sweet “D”. Daniel Murphy also lent a hand.

Tom Koehler is no household name, yet the Miami righty came in at 2-1, 2.13, with four straight games of 6+ IP and 2 runs or less. But his command was off, with 4 walks and a plunk while slogging through 109 pitches in just 5 innings.

  • Chris Young missed a home run just foul, then nailed one fair later in the at-bat. I must have seen a Met do that before, but I can’t recall one.
  • Mets fans, if you had known in advance that the first 25 games would bring a .218 team BA, .149 from your two free-agent outfielders, .216 from Travis d’Arnaud, .200 from Ruben Tejada, one HR from Wright, Juan Lagares out with a hammy and Bobby Parnell lost for the year — could you have imagined this team being 14-11? They’ve been oddly efficient, averaging exactly 4 runs a game, but scoring at least 4 sixteen times — tied for the NL lead! — and winning twelve of those.


@Astros 5, Athletics 1 — Collin McHugh fell one batter short of a one-hit shutout, but he still led the ‘Stros to a split with their nemeses. McHugh had carved up the Mariners Tuesday in his season debut, but he scuffled early, loading the bags with two walks before escaping the 1st. Then he retired 24 of 25 A’s, before hitting Brandon Moss (who else?) with two outs in the 9th, a result of review. After Moss stole second, Alberto Callaspo singled him home with Oakland’s second hit, ending McHugh’s day at 114 pitches.

Keystone contributors: SS Jonathan Villar paced the offense from the #9 hole, scoring the first run after a 3rd-inning double, and plating the next pair on a three-bagger with two gone in the 7th. Jose Altuve crunched Dan Otero’s next pitch for his first HR, giving McHugh a cushion to work on his gem.

  • McHugh has pitched 17 times, 11 starts, three with a Game Score of 80+. Since 1999, only Tim Lincecum also has three 80s within his first 20 outings. This year, only Martin Perez also has back-to-back 80s.
  • He’s the first Houston starter to last more than 7 IP this year. Now, only the Rockies haven’t had any starter get an out in the 8th.


@White Sox 9, Rays 2 — A bright day for long-in-the-tooth rookies. Scott Carroll made his big-league debut at age 29, beating David Price with 7.1 innings and one earned run, while the 27-year-old emigre Jose Abreu smacked his 10th homer and drove in four.

  • With 31 RBI in his first 26 career games, Abreu trails only Mandy Brooks, who was also 27 when he plated 34 in his first 26 for the 1925 Cubs. (Brooks batted .390-9-34 in his first 26 games, but he finished at .281-14-72, and lasted just one more season.)
  • Abreu’s also the 5th player with 10 or more HRs in his first 26 games, joining George Scott, Chris Davis, Zeke Bonura and Kevin Maas. And he’s the first player known to have four games of 4+ RBI in his first 26.
  • FWIW, “most [whatever] in April” is a total crap stat. From 1916 through 1968, MLB teams averaged 13 games in April, with a high of 18. Since 1996, teams have averaged 25 April games.

Carroll is the first American-born player since 1986 to go 7+ IP on 2 runs or less in a debut at age 29 or older, and the first since 1954 to win such an outing. (That late-success story was Brooks Lawrence, who went 15-6 as a swingman for the ’54 Cards, and 35-23 for the 1956-57 Reds.)

Carroll had the first ChiSox debut of 7+ and 2- since the original Roberto Hernandez in 1991. Ironically, Hernandez got clocked in his next two starts, so they tried him in the bullpen. Hernandez had pitched in relief just once coming up through the minors, but the switch took; he logged a 1.98 ERA in his first two full seasons. Hernandez never started again after those first three, making his last 1,007 appearances in relief. (Oh, and we can’t miss a name-check of Little Dickey Kerr, who had the first such Sox debut in April 1919, and went on to much greater distinction that fall.)

  • David Price: 6 straight games with 6+ Ks and one walk or less, longest of that kind in almost 4 years. He has 47 Ks, 5 walks, but a 4.75 ERA.


@Blue Jays 7, Red Sox 1 — A tight game turned in the 7th. Steve Delabar preserved a 2-1 lead by untangling R.A. Dickey’s 2nd-and-3rd, one-out mess, and doubles by Edwin Encarnacion and Brett Lawrie pushed the lead up to three against Jon Lester. Double-E tacked on a late 2-run double, for 12 RBI in his last 13 games after none in his first 12.

  • Lawrie’s double and 6th HR gave him 20 RBI and 16 hits. Just two players in MLB history have had more RBI than hits in a year of 50+ RBI — Paul Sorrento (1995), and Mark McGwire (four times). How’s Lawrie doing it? He’s only 5 for 50 with bases empty, but 5 for 12 with two or more on base, 3 HRs, 13 RBI.
  • Jose Bautista’s season-starting on-base streak reached 25 games,


Royals 9, @Orioles 3 — Omar Infante drove in the first two runs with outs, then added two 2-run long hits, tying his career-high 6 RBI set just last September, and pacing KC’s season-high output. James Shields won his third straight by blanking the O’s into the 6th. The Royals ripped open a close game with 4 runs in the 8th, all starting from Nori Aoki’s bunt single with two outs, none on.

  • I love all-out play in the outfield. But even more than the diving catch, I love David Lough’s read and break; ditto SD’s Wil Venable.
  • Can you name the seven players with 30+ steals each of the past two years? Answers below.


Padres 4, @Nationals 2 — Rookie reliever Aaron Barrett walked in two runs with 2 outs in the 6th, pushing SD’s lead to three. Through Saturday, there had been 45 bases-full walks in 647 plate appearances this year, 7.0%. The walk rate in other situations with first base occupied was 7.1%.

  • Huston Street has cashed 65 of 68 save tries since joining the Padres in 2012. He’s not the most durable or the most flashy, but game for game, he’s as effective as anyone.


@Mariners 6, Rangers 5 — Kyle Seager homered in his last two at-bats, the second a 3-run job with two outs in the 8th that completed Seattle’s comeback from a 5-0 deficit. Texas southpaw Matt Harrison made a strong return from a year lost to back surgeries, yielding 2 runs in 6 IP. Alexi Ogando started the home 8th ahead by 5-3, struck out the first two on six pitches, and pumped two strikes past Justin Smoak. But in just five more pitches, the lead vanished. Smoak doubled to the opposite field on 1-2, and pinch-hitter Dustin Ackley beat out a first-pitch grounder to short. Seager took a pitch, then socked his go-ahead homer deep down the right-field line. Fernando Rodney closed out with two three-pitch whiffs, capping a 5.1-IP, one-hit contribution by the Seattle ‘pen.


Cubs 4, @Brewers 0 — Seven scoreless by Jason Hammel for his 4th win, half the team’s total. Five straight quality starts, a personal best, and he’s had better support than their other starters.

  • With two on in the 2nd, Jason Hammel bunted into an inning-ending DP. It’s the 7th DP turned in about 150 sac attempts by pitchers this year, and the 4th in less than 30 tries with men on first and second.


@Giants 4, Cleveland 1 — The right move sometimes goes wrong. With two outs in the 9th, winning run on second, right-hander Cody Allen intentionally walked Brandon Crawford to face Brandon Hicks, a righty batter and .163 career hitter. But Allen’s 1-0 pitch was a chest-high fastball that Hicks hammered into the left-field stands, his second walk-off among five career homers.

Starters Ryan Vogelsong and Danny Salazar each came in with an ERA over 7.70, but they combined to allow just one run on 7 hits over 14 innings. Yan Gomes was the first man up after Vogelsong left, and he tied the game with a high-arcing home run off Santiago Casilla, Cleveland’s first blast in six games.

  • Hicks’s first-ever HR was a notable game-winner in 2012: He pinch-ran in the 7th, and scored the tying run from first base on a 2-out double. He stayed in at SS, and hit the walk-off in his only trip to the plate. That’s one of six known walk-off HRs by a player who scored as a pinch-runner and batted just once.
  • Hicks has just 23 career hits, but 5 HRs and 8 doubles.


Phillies 2, @D-backs 0 — A.J. Burnett went 8 scoreless innings with no walks, and Chase Utley was the crux of both Philly runs, as they climbed over .500 for the second time this year. Brandon McCarthy was good on the mound — 12 Ks, 1 walk in 7 IP — but his shortfall in two key at-bats helped keep the Snakes off the board. McCarthy’s bunt attempt with two on in the 3rd got the lead man erased, and the next hit a DP grounder. Then he followed Chris Owings’s one-out triple in the 5th with a grounder back to Burnett, and that threat expired.

  • Sure, it’s harsh lay blame on McCarthy’s offense — after all, he’s the worst active hitter with at least 50 ABs (1 for 58) — but if he’s going to improve on his 0-5 start, he may well have to help himself. Arizona’s totaled 4 runs in his last four losses.
  • Burnett worked 8 shutout innings for the first time since his 2012 no-no bid.


Rockies 6, @Dodgers 1 — Since 2013, the Rox are 8-5 in Dodger Stadium, 27-55 in all other road venues.

Last of the 1st, no score, Dee Gordon on with a bunt hit. Yasiel Puig bunted the first pitch, bidding for a hit, the out going down as a sacrifice. It was a good bunt, something Puig does well, and he almost beat it. But I hate that play. Nolan Arenado is a spectacular third baseman. The pitcher was Jorge De La Rosa, a lefty; Puig’s hit .331/.944 against southpaws in his short career. And Gordon was leading the majors with 12 steals in 13 tries; De La Rosa doesn’t hold runners well, and catcher Jordan Pacheco had thrown out just one of 14 thieves in his 25 career games. At least give Gordon a couple of pitches to steal — as he did, in the next at-bat. Puig rarely hits into a DP. It’s just not how I’d play that first inning.

But game situations often escape Yasiel’s grasp. Saturday, he ran into an egregious out at third base, ending the 8th and nullifying a run that would have scored easily on the flyout — and with Adrian Gonzalez due up. The right fielder was clearly lined up for a throw to third, conceding the run. LA led by 6-2 at the time, so the run didn’t seem crucial; but Colorado loaded the bags with one out in the 9th. Point is, the value of advancing to third with two outs is so minimal, and the risk so great.

He’s still young, but it’s time to start cutting down on these mistakes.


Belatedly, from Saturday:

Rays 5, @White Sox 0 — 16 walks, 10 Ks so far for Ben Zobrist. Two active players have had a season with 100+ walks and and at least 50% more walks than strikeouts. I’ll bet you can guess one of them, but only one.

Welcome back, Juan Carlos Oviedo! Or, as we once knew you, ___ ____.


Answers — 30 SB in both 2012-13: Jose Altuve, Everth Cabrera, Rajai Davis, Jarrod Dyson, Carlos Gomez, Jason Kipnis and Mike Trout.

42 thoughts on “Game notes from Sunday, 1968

  1. 1
    Doug says:

    Jose Abreu smacked his 10th homer and drove in four.

    10 homers in the first 26 games of a career has been done only 4 times previously, by Zeke Bonura, Kevin Maas, Chris Davis and, leading with 11 HR, George Scott.

    Abreu’s 31 RBI moves him ahead of Zeke Bonura and Jim Greengrass, to now trail only Mandy Brooks’ total of 34.

  2. 4
    Doug says:

    Re: Kyle Seager

    Seager has swatted 5 big flies in the past 4 games, including two 2-HR games. Definitely streaky power – he now has four 2-HR games for his career and, of his 50 career HR, only 5 were not hit within 7 days of another HR, including only 1 isolated shot since May 2012.

  3. 5
    Doug says:

    Re: Brandon (enough already)

    The number of major league players with Brandon as a given name has now reached 46. Prior to 2000, that total was 2, both with Brandon as a middle name (likely a mother’s maiden name).

    • 16
      Daniel Longmire says:

      The Giants currently have THREE Brandons in their starting eight (Belt, Crawford and Hicks), two Tims in the rotation (Hudson and Lincecum), and two Juans relieving/riding the pine (Gutierrez and Perez). As an added bonus, they also have Javier, Jean and Jeremy coming out of the bullpen and a middle infielder named Joaquin. The above list excludes the dreaded Madison/Matt/Michael Morse trifecta (quadfecta? tetrafecta??). My head hurts.

  4. 6
    RJ says:

    – B****** Hicks also has 19 career walks (only one intentional) to go with his 23 career hits.

    – Jason Kipnis is a 30-steal threat? This weekend’s series vs the Giants is the only time I’ve really seen him play, and although he seems fairly nifty, he doesn’t have a classic basestealer physique. Can’t argue with 66 SBs since 2012 though.

    -On the continuing theme of unique names, whilst searching for Yu Darvish I came across 2 PA veteran Yurendell Eithel de Caster: all of those names (treating “de Caster” as one name) are unique to MLB.

  5. 7
    David P says:

    Just noticed that Mike Trout is striking out at an Adam Dunn like rate of 28% of PAs (that’s Dunn’s career average). Trout is still putting up great number but it’s hard to see how those two things can go together over a full season.

    • 8
      David P says:

      Just did a quick PI search…only 8 players have a season with BA above .300 and striking out in 25% or more of their PAs. (not sure who they are since I don’t have a subscription). Trout is currently batting .320 while striking out 28% of the time.

      • 9
        Richard Chester says:

        Up until 2013 there have been three qualifying batters with .300+ BA and and K rate of greater than 0.25. They are Ryan Howard in 2006, Bobby Bonds in 1970 and B. J. Upton in 2007. If you run the PI through 2014 there are 8 names. The other 5 are Trout, Justin Upton, Napoli, Colabella and Kubel.

        • 10
          Richard Chester says:

          Ah, this is a good time for my semi-annual lecture on how to retrieve PI results without being a subscriber. Go to the Player Batting Season Finder, click on Single Season Totals,set the years from 1901 to 2013, click on qualified for batting title, sort by BA, set BA equal to or greater than .277, set SO equal to or greater than 0.25 times PA. Click on Get Report and up comes a results spreadsheet with 18 rows. The lower 9 rows have complete data and the upper 9 rows are (almost) blank. Go back to the search page and click on ascending order and click Get Report. The results spreadsheet shows the top 9 BA in reverse order and includes the three guys with the .300 BA.
          The .277 cutoff BA is arrived at by a trial and error process. Adjust the BA until you get a results spreadsheet with 18, 19 or 20 rows. If you can’t then this method does not work but there are ways to work around that but it’s complicated to explain.

          • 17
            RJ says:

            I should thank you for these Richard. It was one (or perhaps two or three) of these lectures that taught me how to retrieve info from the P-I.

            As you say, the trick is to aim for 20 results, then sort by ascending.

          • 18
            David P says:

            Thanks Richard! So what Trout is doing so far is historic. Of the others who did it over a full season, Upton was technically below .300 (his batting average rounds up to .300). And both Howard and Bonds had BAs and strikeout rates lower than Trout. And of the others who are doing it so far this year, only Kubel has ever hit .300 (though like Upton it’s a “rounded up” .300).

            Seems unlikely that Trout can maintain a high BA and a high K rate but if anyone can pull off the impossible, it’s him.

          • 19
            Richard Chester says:

            This is a you’re welcome to RJ and David P. Actually it pays to become a PI subscriber, you can do so much more.

  6. 11
    Tim Pea says:

    I like the Rockies. Tulowitzki is a special player. Justin Morneau is showing he has a lot left in the tank. Blackmon might be the real deal. Cuddyer is still hitting and he’s Irish. The great LaTroy Hawkins has 8 saves already. I like this team.

  7. 12
    John Autin says:

    Sonny Gray hurled the 10th shutout of 3 hits or less in Rangers Ballpark history, and the second this year.

  8. 13
    Tim Pea says:

    Speaking of LaTroy Hawkins, you might wonder how a guy with a 4.36 ERA has lasted so long in baseball. Since becoming a reliever he 2000 he has a very respectable 3.26 ERA over 862 innings. His last 3 or 4 years may have been his best. He was very good for the Mets last year as well.

  9. 14
    Albanate says:

    Wainwright’s five hits this season are five more than the entire Mets pitching staff, who have no hits yet.

  10. 15
    Albanate says:

    Glad to see that Collin McHugh is finally having some success. He had that one great start for the Mets, but could never seem to do much at the major league level after that. For those unfamiliar with McHugh, he’s got an interesting blog:

  11. 20
    Paul E says:

    At some point in July 2007 BJ Upton was leading then AL in bating average and strikeouts. He was the first guy to be doing both that late in the season since 1965…..

    I think Trout will become less aggressive and return to his more “normalized” K rate….and win an MVP award if the Angels make the playoffs (since it’s not good enough to merely be the best player in the league).

    • 21
      Richard Chester says:

      Leading the league in SO and BA:
      George Stone, 1906, 89 SO, .358 BA
      Babe Ruth, 1924, 81 SO, .378 BA
      Jimmie Foxx, 1933, 93 SO, .356 BA

  12. 23
    John Autin says:


  13. 27
    PaulE says:

    Richard Chester,
    Re strikeouts and batting average, Bossman Jr was leading the AL with 38 K (Sizemore 33, Gordon 32) and a .366 BA (A-rod .358 Jetes .354 Posada .354) on May 8, 2007. Apparently, this was as late in the season as anyone since July 7, 1965 when Dick Allen .338 (Mays .336 Clemente .334 Aaron .327) and 78 K (Mathews 63 Clendenon 62 Mac Jones 62) paced the NL.
    Probably not going to happen for 162 games again, but 200 K and a .350 batting average would be pretty impressive 🙂

    • 29
      John Autin says:

      Top batting averages with high strikeout totals:

      150 Ks — .328, Sammy Sosa, 2001
      160 Ks — .320, Sammy Sosa, 2000
      170 Ks — .308, Sammy Sosa, 1998
      180 Ks — .302, Bobby Bonds, 1970
      190 Ks — .286, Chris Davis, 2013
      200 Ks — .260, Mark Reynolds, 2009

      • 30
        Paul E says:


        Top batting averages with high strikeout totals:

        150 Ks — .328, Sammy Sosa, 2001 versus Walker .350
        160 Ks — .320, Sammy Sosa, 2000 ” Helton .372
        170 Ks — .308, Sammy Sosa, 1998 ” Walker .363
        180 Ks — .302, Bobby Bonds, 1970 ” Carty .366
        190 Ks — .286, Chris Davis, 2013 ” Miggy .348
        200 Ks — .260, Mark Reynolds, 2009 ” Hanley .342

        Sosa comes closest – missing by a mere/approximate 14 base hits. Interestingly enough, Sosa struck out 680+ times in the prior 4 years.
        Swing and miss rates are probably going to increase unless all these guys change their approach. The ability to hit the ball 425′ while on steroids and playing the middle infield was a real asset to a ball club. I remember the hit and run; the stolen base; take two and go to right field. Maybe, it will all come back?

        • 32
          David P says:

          In response to Paul E. – Something I’ve been thinking about recently.

          Maybe the current hitting approach of “swinging for the fences” makes sense given the concurrent emphasis on defensive shifts and positioning. If the defense is taking away the spaces where you might normally try to hit a single or double, then doesn’t it make sense to hit the ball where the defense can’t catch it?

          Not sure that’s what hitters are actually thinking. Just something that occurred to me.

          • 38
            birtelcom says:

            It’s been my operating theory as well that improved defense on balls in play over the years has encouraged strategies that emphasize walks and homers (and a willingness to accept Ks), rather than trying to get balls in play. But if that were the case, wouldn’t we be seeing historic declines in batting average on balls in play (BABIP)? The current MLB BABIP for 2014 is .297, same as it was each of the last two seasons. That’s down a little from a few years ago, but it’s actually pretty high in the context of baseball history as a whole (over the 1914-2014 period as a whole, BABIP has averaged .288). That relatively high level for BABIP, in the context of baseball history as a whole, seems like it challenges the notion that it has gotten harder to get a base hit on a ball in play.

      • 31
        Lawrence Azrin says:

        @29, 30;

        Tying this to one of our current COG candidates – Duke Snider got a lot of criticism during his career for striking out a lot. He did finish in the Top-10 in K’s nine straight years, 1949-1957, leading in K’s three times. These happen to be his nine seasons with the most PA’s and AB’s.

        But – his totals would be nondescript by today’s standards, topping 100 K’s just twice, and 90 four other times. Shows you how much the game has changed over 55-65 years.

  14. 28
    PaulE says:

    John Autin,
    That’s one more homer than Ben Revere has hit in 1,500 career PA’s…..

  15. 33
    Voomo Zanzibar says:

    Tulowitski on pace for 18 WAR


    Regarding Puig’s bunt:

    Your strategic argument is sound.
    I would not place a see-it-and-hit-it batter in the 2-hole with an elite base stealer leading off.

    Thing is, Mattingly certainly knows this, too.
    When he drove in 145 back in ’85, he had 220 opportunities with RISP.

    (amazingly, in 78 PA with a runner on 2nd………. .172 .321 .250 -.571
    -he made up for it in every other base-situation)


    My point is, that if Puig’s role is to give Gordon a chance to steal,
    he can be informed of this by his 3rd base coach.

    I propose that a bunt-for-hit there is, in fact, a play with great positive potential, with a new statistic called pWPA

    This is psychological win probability added.

    This statistic cannot be computed with numbers, unfortunately.
    It exists purely in argument form.

    First two batters get on by bunt?
    I say that rattles a pitcher.
    Enough to where the game could get away from him right there.
    He’s got a cheetah behind him, an unpredictable thoroughbred to his left, and a batter who will square up dead-red, but who will take the bases-loading walk if you nibble. Because of a pair of snooker shots.

    I say Puig’s if bunt succeeds, his pWPA number would be super-primo!

    • 34
      John Autin says:

      Voomo, thanks for your perspective. I could see the bunt as you do, if I viewed it in isolation. And I’m certainly impressed by his bunting ability.

      But taken in context with the rest of Puig’s oeuvre, the play reinforces my view that, when he comes up in a key spot in a big game, Donnie had better tell him explicitly what is and is not acceptable.

      • 35
        Voomo Zanzibar says:

        Yes, JA, your point is valid, but I feel like it “goes without saying.”

        Doesn’t every batter get instructions while in the box?
        No, the 3rd base coach isn’t signaling:

        with this runner on second
        and no outs
        shorten up with two strikes and
        hit the ball to the right side.”

        But as a batter, no doubt Puig is getting real-time instructions.
        Where his youver gets spotty is the impulsive moments:

        heaving the ball and
        running into outs

        (I think that when we assimilate a French word into our vernacular we should americanize it with a southern accent. Hence, ‘youver’

        Also, onomatopoeia should be utilized whenever it is appropriate.
        For example, the word “fatigue.”
        Yes, it comes from the latin ‘fatigare’.

        But it you pronounce it Fat-ih-Gooey
        it Sounds so much more like what it means.

    • 36
      David P says:

      Re: Tulowitski on pace for 18 WAR. Meh, that’s nothing! Jason Heyward’s on pace for 85 rfield! As a righfielder no less. Previous high by a rightfielder is 30 by Ichiro in 2004.

      • 37
        RJ says:

        How are you defining “rightfielder”? Gerardo Parra had 41 Rfield last year, playing 123 games in right.

        • 40
          David P says:

          RJ – I think I used 80% of games in RF which is why Parro (78%)wasn’t on my list. Looks like 36 of his 41 Rfield came from playing right field. So he’s ahead of Ichiro but way behind Heyward’s projected pace.

      • 39
        bstar says:

        Heyward has made a ton of diving plays thus far this year. Part great performance, part good circumstances that he’s just able to make these plays right on the edge of his zone. Maybe in the coming weeks those balls will fall just out of his reach.

        It sure is fun to watch that Rfield number climb, though. It means about as much as a one-month hitting sample. Nothing more.

      • 41
        mosc says:

        God I hate RFIELD. Utter nonsense.

  16. 42

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