Skip to content

And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

Jun 21, 2011, 5:55 AM EDT

Clayton Kershaw

Braves 2, Blue Jays 0: Tim Hudson allowed only two hits in eight innings and provided all of the Braves’ offense with a two-run homer. That’s not helping one’s own cause, that’s being a one man force eh, like Charlton Heston in Omega Man. You ever see it? Beauty.

Dodgers 4, Tigers 0: Clayton Kershaw made the Tigers feel like their opponents usually feel when Justin Verlander is pitching (CG, SHO, 2 H, 11K). And like Tim Hudson, he had two RBI of his own.  Which is great, because I got into a little “the DH is awful” argument on Twitter yesterday, and every response back consisted of “yeah, because it’s soooo wonderful to watch pitchers strike out all the time” rebop.  Tell me that Hudson and Kershaw driving in runs on nights where they dominated hitters wasn’t nifty as all get-out. And if your response is “well, that rarely happens,” I’ll direct you to books which set forth arguments about how value is inherently a function of an item’s rarity.

Yankees 5, Reds 3: Given that the Yankees jumped out for four runs in the first off Travis Wood, it was not much of a contest. Until the ninth anyway, when Joe Girardi had to use three pitchers — including Mariano Rivera — to nail down what began as a 5-1 lead. Well, he went with three pitchers. Whether he really had to use three is doubtful, given that he pulled Luis Ayala after he faced one batter and gave up a single and then pulled Boone Logan after he faced one batter and hit him.  Neither of those guys could have rallied to protect a four-run lead? You had to use Mo there? Whatever, Joe.

Orioles 8, Pirates 3:  Nick Markakis had three hits and Jake Arrieta won his ninth. Arrieta got a hit too, so viva interleague play.  His counterpart, Charlie Morton, gave up six runs on eight hits in two innings (plus an unearned run). For the month of June he’s 2-2 with an 8.50 ERA, so yeah, I think we can drop those Roy Halladay comparisons any time now.

Rockies 8, Indians 7:  Jason Giambi just killed a ball off Fausto Carmona in the sixth inning. Reader Brandon Fischer tweeted me this during the game: “Is there a number one starting pitcher worst than Fausto Carmona in the Majors right now?”  Hurm. Hard to limit it to merely “number one starting pitchers,” as Fausto has the worst ERA among all qualifying starters in baseball at the moment.

Cubs 6, White Sox 3: Starlin Castro brought the Cubs back from a 3-0 deficit via an RBI single and a homer and then Carlos Pena iced it with a three run homer. Strong outing for Carlos Zambrano who was shaky in the first inning but then sucked it up and threw 115 pitches over eight innings.

Red Sox 14, Padres 5: Boston is just toying with people right now. It was tied 3-3 before the Sox broke out for a a ten run inning in the seventh. Adrian Gonzalez now has 67 RBI, knocking in three against his old mates. And he’s hitting .353. If you’re the Padres it’s like going to a party, seeing your ex-girlfriend there, noticing that she looks amazingly hot and then watching as she does a freakin’ poll dance in front of everyone, and then tells you that you need to leave the room now.

Rangers 8, Astros 3: It was 7-0 by the end of three and, with all due respect, this isn’t exactly a dangerous Astros team that will shut you down and then strike for the comeback, so that was that. Josh Hamilton hit a two-run triple and Adrian Beltre had two RBI singles. The Astros are 20 games under .500. At least that’s how we commonly refer to it. Fact is, though, that if the results of ten of their games were reversed, they’d be at .500, so how can they be “20 games under .500?”  Hmm. I’ll have to ponder that one a bit.

Rays 8, Brewers 4: Six scoreless innings for Jeff Niemann, who was later aided by a four-run seventh inning and an Evan Longoria three-run homer in the eighth.  It probably ended up not mattering, but Nyjer Morgan was hit by a pitch when it was a 1-0 game, but ordered back to the box by umpire Bob Davidson who claimed he stuck his elbow out, trying to force the contact. Which was total baloney-fueled God-complex stuff on Davidson’s part and which led to manager Ron Roenicke and hitting coach Dale Sveum getting ejected.

Angels 2, Marlins 1: The Jack McKeon era — Mark II — begins dubiously. Jered Weaver gave up the lone run in seven innings. So too did Anibal Sanchez, but his pen allowed a second run to score in the eighth. The benched Hanley Ramirez did manage a pinch hitting appearance. This was the 11th straight loss in a one-run game for the Feesh.

  1. camleck - Jun 21, 2011 at 6:29 AM

    I’ll help you out. It’s because they need to win 20 games without losing to be at .500.

  2. adenzeno - Jun 21, 2011 at 7:38 AM

    When the DH came out, Catfish Hunter had a great argument against it. It was that why should he, as a good hitting pitcher, be penalized for a skill he possessed. He worked at it and it gave him an advantage. Had CC Sabalthia stayed in the NL he would have been much like Zambrano is, ie his ablity to hit would be of benefit to himself and his team. In the AL it means nothing until the interleague crap. In case you cant tell, I hate the DH…..

    • gammagammahey - Jun 21, 2011 at 8:31 AM

      I hate the DH too but one of the big arguments for widening its implementation now is that fewer and fewer pitchers get to put in the time to work on their hitting because high school, college, and other amateur ball all use the DH, as do Rookie and A-level ball.

      • Old Gator - Jun 21, 2011 at 9:10 AM

        Great, so if the metastasis of the DH to adolescent levels of baseball is so widespread, why not make it a requirement for all major leaguers to use acne cream before on-camera interviews too?

      • Kevin S. - Jun 21, 2011 at 9:19 AM

        Hey, Bednarik, what’s your opinion on the lack of two-way football players?

      • buddaley - Jun 21, 2011 at 9:36 AM

        The antipathy to the DH is fueled, in many cases, by a maudlin and senile nostalgia for a style of baseball that was fundamentally dishonest.

        I can accept that someone does not like it as a matter of taste. Fine. No accounting for that, but at least it is an honest statement. But there is virtually no argument that it is better baseball or that it makes sense to have pitchers hit, and every year what argument once existed makes even less sense.

        Give it a rest folks. We are not going back to the dead ball or the 9 pitch walk or hitting (soaking) the runner to get him out. The DH provides baseball with more strategy, more legitimate competition and reflects the fundamental difference between expectations for pitchers and players. If it only eliminates the abhorrent one out sacrifice bunt it would be enough of an argument for it, but it provides many more benefits as well.

      • Jonny 5 - Jun 21, 2011 at 9:43 AM

        If there’s one thing that never cheapened up the game just to draw more crowds because chicks, and Men with questionable fortitude, love the long ball, it wasn’t the DH, oh nooo, not that……. pfft!

      • drmonkeyarmy - Jun 21, 2011 at 9:47 AM

        More strategy involved in using the DH? Would you please explain that statement?

      • Jonny 5 - Jun 21, 2011 at 9:51 AM

        DrMonkeyarmy, you may just become dumber if you read it though. I’d stay away from the whole “AL has more strategy because of the DH” explanation myself. It could hurt your brain.

      • indyralph - Jun 21, 2011 at 10:18 AM

        buddaley, I don’t have a problem with people preferring the DH. It is a matter of taste. But if you’re going to play the “virtually no argument in favor” of the pitcher hitting argument, you should present at least one argument (that is, a premise followed by facts to support it), somewhere, in favor of the DH. Otherwise we’ll all agree that it is simply a matter of taste and there are no arguments inf favor of either side.

        As to “fundamentally dishonest”: fundamentally baseball requires a team to choose its 9 players who best provide both run prevention and run creation. If it is a valid argument that changing that fundamental rule makes the game more exciting, well, then I’ll suggest we institute a rule where any single player on the roster can bat at any time during the game, as many times as the manager chooses, so long as he is not on base. That way we get to see the best hitters all the time. That’s exciting.

      • halladaysbicepts - Jun 21, 2011 at 10:48 AM

        Guys, I’ll make this DH debate really simple and it does not require a complicated explanation.

        The DH is not a real baseball position for the simple reason that the position doesn’t exist in the field. Period. From the 1860’s until 1972, the DH didn’t exist. Why? Because it wasn’t a position. It’s made up. Besides the National League being older than the AL, the AL is also known as the Jr. Circuit for the DH.

        Real, authentic baseball as it was meant to be played=pitcher hits.

        Fake, madeup baseball=having a player hit for a pitcher, the DH, who has no position in the field.

      • buddaley - Jun 21, 2011 at 10:52 AM

        I have explained it many times. Here is one example:

        http://baseballanalysts.com/archives/2008/04/real_fans_love.php

      • buddaley - Jun 21, 2011 at 11:25 AM

        I should add that one argument that was not addressed in the remarks on the DH article is the notion that the game was designed for 9 men, not 10. I think that is an example of a particularly weak argument.

        First of all, it is still a 9 man lineup. So if the magic of that number impresses you, it is still in place.

        Second, rarely does any team play just 9 men. If they did, there would be no pinch hitters or runners, no relief pitchers, no defensive replacements.

        Third, the game did not spring complete from Zeus’s forehead. It evolved, and in the process all the elements of the game we now know were in question. There were indeterminate numbers of players, fewer and more than 9 at various times. The distances to the pitcher’s mound and between bases were constantly changing. Equipment made the game significantly different over the years, and in fact continues to do so, albeit to a lesser extent than earlier. Rules have been changed often as have all sorts of game details.

        True, certain features have been in place for over 100 years now. But that does not make them inviolate, any more than the dramatic changes in the game after 1920 violated some fundamental truth about baseball or made it impossible to continue to enjoy the game. The DH is now 38 years old. Time to assess it rationally rather than through the misty eyes of nostalgia and phony aestheticism.

        I don’t deny that it is reasonable to like the non-DH version of the game. I often write provocatively to counter the smugness and arrogance of many who attack the DH and dredge up silly comments about purity to conceal their lack of true argument. If you like the game without the DH, fine. I can appreciate elements of the argument against it. But to assume it is an easy case or that those who support the DH lack appreciation of the essence of the game is nonsense.

    • halladaysbicepts - Jun 21, 2011 at 11:08 AM

      buddaley,

      I just finished reading the article. He states the obvious that pitchers are not good hitters. We all know this. This does not change the fact that this is not how the game is meant to be played. He says it’s because they should have noticed the flaw from the beginning and corrected it. I don’t agree with this. It’s not an inherent flaw just because you want to see more offense.

      I’ll go a step further. Let’s just increase every team’s roster to 50 players and have (2) different set of skilled players like football does it. We’ll have a group of the best defensive players just play in the field, and another group will hit. Sounds absurd? Of course it does. Just like the DH.

      If you love the DH, fine. I respect that. But, to me, it’s not real baseball and it was never intended to be played like that.

      • Kevin S. - Jun 21, 2011 at 11:14 AM

        How can you claim to have read the article when you make points he already covered and defeated?

      • halladaysbicepts - Jun 21, 2011 at 11:20 AM

        Kevin S.,

        He defeated my points? Not really. To sum up the article in a quick sentence, he states that the DH produces more offense. I didn’t disagree with him.

        I simply stated that my preference is that the pitcher must hit because that’s the way baseball is meant to be played. The author of the article cause this nostalgia. I call it real baseball.

        The author can’t defeat my opinion.

      • Kevin S. - Jun 21, 2011 at 11:27 AM

        Except you didn’t sum up the article accurately at all. You seem to be operating under the assumption that baseball was completely static until the DH rule rolled around. It wasn’t. He explained, quite clearly, how the evolution of the role of the pitcher took us from a time when it made perfect sense for the pitcher to hit to a time when it makes no sense for a pitcher to hit. Every time you say you want to see baseball “as it always was,” you’re referring to how it was in the 50s and 60s. When baseball was founded, the equipment was different (softer balls, no gloves), the rules were different (run clockwise, pegging, nine balls for a walk), the roles were different (no real defined positions), and the pitcher’s job was different. Hitting did not interfere with a pitcher’s job then. It does now. That point was made clearly, and you apparently just glazed over it, because what you posted indicates you didn’t comprehend the article in the slightest.

      • halladaysbicepts - Jun 21, 2011 at 11:37 AM

        Kevin S.,

        You lose all credibility when you start bringing up the evolution of the type of equipment used in baseball over the last 60 years as a comparison for the evolution of the pitcher being replaced with the DH. This comparison is absolutely ridiculous.

        Of course over the past 140 years of baseball there have been slight rule changes. But, nothing near as drastic as implementing the DH.

        I’m done with this lost battle. Join the DH lover’s club or something…

  3. uyf1950 - Jun 21, 2011 at 7:57 AM

    The 2 best teams in the American League Boston and the Yankees continue to win. Neither giving any ground to the other.

    BTW, Girardo had to pull Logan. You can’t have a lefty specialist come in and look the way Logan did and leave him in the game. He was a disaster waiting to happen. Ayala, was perhaps pulled a batter to early. But all’s well that ends well. There is a reason why people like Girardi, Francona and Maddon are managers and we’re not. We here on this and all these sites are just “arm chair quarterbacks” and have the benefit of hindsight it’s a wonderful thing, ain’t it.

    • Old Gator - Jun 21, 2011 at 8:01 AM

      Uyf, the Borg yielded plenty of ground when the two teams last met. They resembled a bunch of kids who had wandered onto an artillery range.

    • yankeesfanlen - Jun 21, 2011 at 8:59 AM

      uyf-Let’s re-visit the pulling of Colon a few weeks back. Nova had a 105 pitch count and hadn’t returned to his usual 2 throw routine, Martin was guiding him effectively. In this case, leave the kid in.
      But Girardi won’t let go from his formulatic approach.
      And even though he did contribute an RBI, I wouldn’t have had Andruw Jones in the lineup with Gardner being so hot.

      • uyf1950 - Jun 21, 2011 at 9:12 AM

        My friend, we are in full agreement concerning Jones and Gardner. Obviously leaving Nova in or taking him out required a lot thought as those that watched the game saw the conference in the dugout after the 8th inning. I have to agree though with the decision to remove him. He started you could see in the 8th inning to lose it a bit. His pitchers did not seem as crisp among other things. Like you said he had already thrown 105 pitches. Even if the Yankees would have left him in the chances of him finishing the 9th inning were probably pretty slim. By the time he would have gotten up to the 3rd batter assuming he was able to get that far he probably would have throw about 120 plus pitches. In his case I think that would have been to much. Remember he hasn’t generally gone deep into games and he has NEVER thrown that many pitchers. That’s just my opinion.

      • uyf1950 - Jun 21, 2011 at 9:14 AM

        yankeesfanlen, btw my friend. About the reference to Colon. Remember Colon for all practical purposes is a rental “this year”. I believe the Yankees have plans for Nova. There was/is no reason to risk an undo injury to Nova just so he can finish out 9 innings at this stage of his career.

      • roadwearyaaron - Jun 21, 2011 at 10:39 AM

        The Reds offense was pathetic last night. Nova certainly pitched well but the Reds did him plenty of favors by hitting lazy popups on the first pitch they saw. I can see how you wouldn’t have known anyone other than Votto after that putrid display. But today’s another day and I predict the Redlegs to take the next two and then sweep the Yanks in their matchup this fall.

      • yankeesfanlen - Jun 21, 2011 at 11:06 AM

        aaron- Actually, I enjoyed last night’s game, although it didn’t make me as nervous as Girardi apparently was. The whole thing seemed to revolve around your man Travis in the first. And then, presto, he settled down better than many of our hurlers (AJ) would have.

        The thing (maybe the saving grace) is seeing how other ballparks play, because after Wrigley where nothing came off the bat, it looked like a half swing would make it to the warning tract at the GAP.But this set is the last we travel to NL country (except for the Metropolitans-we know what happens there).

  4. Old Gator - Jun 21, 2011 at 7:58 AM

    Anibal Sanchez must be counting the days, hours and minutes until free agency. For the third time in a month he has pitched his guts out only to watch his boolpen blow his win for him. Things started off well – the Feesh erupted for their signature single run in the second inning on a booming sac fly….uh… well, yeah, you take what you can get. Hanley was allowed off his sore tushy to pinch hit in the name of futility after a much-publicized virtual spanking by the Curmudgeonly Undead. The Macando Feeshwrapper reported that the CU “earned points in the locker room” for benching “the best player” on the team – but then the locker room couldn’t earn points on the field to show the CU their appreciation.

    Ah well. In the meantime, observers at the Mount Batista observatory west of Macondo report that light from the strange attractor reaches the earth within eleven days after being emitted, twelve in case of a rainout.

    • Jonny 5 - Jun 21, 2011 at 9:17 AM

      Seriously though, Hanley and Jack must be best buddies by now. I wonder if they play cards together?

      • Old Gator - Jun 21, 2011 at 9:21 AM

        Sure, and while the Curmudgeonly Undead blows smoke in his face, Hanley quietly pisses on his shoes under the table.

      • Jonny 5 - Jun 21, 2011 at 10:07 AM

        LOL!!! Awww man…. too funny.

        Alright who wants to bet on Jacks departure date? Not from the land of the living, from the team.

      • FC - Jun 21, 2011 at 12:03 PM

        It may be interesting (albeit morbid) to make a bet on what happens first. I’m pretty sure Ramirez will do something stupid to induce cardiac arrest.

  5. dink53 - Jun 21, 2011 at 8:30 AM

    So either Kershaw or Hudson is more valuable offensively than Ryan Rayburn, who’s just plain offensive.

  6. droogleeddie - Jun 21, 2011 at 8:40 AM

    “value is inherently a function of an item’s rarity.”

    Well, think how valuable it would be if you only saw a pitcher hit when his manager lost the designated hitter!

    • kopy - Jun 21, 2011 at 9:12 AM

      Touche. I still remember where I was when I saw Bobby Korecky become the first Twins pitcher to ever get a hit in an American League game about 3 years ago.

  7. noozehound - Jun 21, 2011 at 8:43 AM

    Yes, because I would much rather see Jordan Zimmerman dribble a ball to the 2nd baseman then watch Jim Thome destroy a ball 500 feet. DH makes things more exciting. Pitchers pitch, hitters hit.

    • Old Gator - Jun 21, 2011 at 9:08 AM

      Value, I don’t know, but interest – and certainly pathos, a quality the designatedhitterball fan Trailer Park Network set has never been known to appreciate much – would be higher than watching yet another gimpy one-tool player with stone hands slouch to the plate dragging his club behind him.

    • bigxrob - Jun 21, 2011 at 9:11 AM

      You should be able to use as many DH’s in your line up as you want. A great fielding short stop that can’t hit…use a DH, that would be more exciting.
      Why discriminate?

      • Old Gator - Jun 21, 2011 at 9:32 AM

        Because discrimination is the American way.

  8. dnc6 - Jun 21, 2011 at 8:44 AM

    But it’s not like pitchers hitting has a neutral value when they don’t have those rare good nights. You can sit here and say that its totally awesome to watch Orlando Cabrera or Scott Podsednik swing the bat, because when they finally do hit that home run, its incredibly rare. Or you can realize its utterly painful to watch the vast majority of the time. I honestly don’t have a horse in this race, I just want to see better baseball. If a pitcher is going to at least put a couple decent swings at the ball, like last night, I’m down with the pitcher batting, but way too often do see a pitcher go up there with a swing that never has a chance to get the ball out of the infield.

  9. Kevin S. - Jun 21, 2011 at 9:18 AM

    Tim Hudson is a one-eyed king in the land of the blind. I’ll always appreciate games like last night’s gem – the Braves, as the winning team, had a +.500 WPA. Huddy had a +.601 WPA. We often hear about how so-and-so won the game by themselves, but last night that actually happened.

    Now back to your regularly-scheduled flail-fests from the nine-hole.

    • Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Jun 21, 2011 at 10:30 AM

      Huddy is nasty!!!!! Nasty I tells ya! Beachy is back today too…a nice pick-me-up after losing Hanson for a bit. This rotation produces, kind of like another rotation in the division. They get all the looks and publicity though, while the Bravos keep pace with good baseball. I’m liking the season so far, but as usual, more bats needed along with CF.

      • Kevin S. - Jun 21, 2011 at 10:39 AM

        I think the offense will pick up just with some positive regression – Uggla and Heyward are going to hit better, and Prado will be an improvement once he returns from the DL. Of course, if a certain debt-ridden team decides to hold a fire sale, there is a quality CF bat the Braves have the farm talent to acquire.

        I have to say, last night was one of the few times I’ve ever had sports envy of my girlfriend – her office went to that game.

  10. drmonkeyarmy - Jun 21, 2011 at 9:30 AM

    I don’t like the DH. Never have, never will. I like double switches and the “pitcher helping his own cause”. It is not all about the pitcher “flailing away”, it is about the ability to lay down a sacrifice bunt, the importance of the 8 hole hitter being able to turn the line-up over, managing your bullpen, etc. It is baseball. Furthermore, a league wide DH would have robbed Joe Blanton of his one great moment in the Majors… a World Series homer.

    • Old Gator - Jun 21, 2011 at 9:34 AM

      Doc, you’re arguing the case for sophistication, metaphorical richness and artfulness with the TPN crowd. Think about that for a minute.

    • Kevin S. - Jun 21, 2011 at 9:45 AM

      What sophistication? The ability to lay down a sacrifice bunt is only a positive if one is such an atrocious hitter that not even attempting to reach base can somehow be a positive. Not sure how the 8-hole hitter is supposed to be able to turn over a lineup when he’s facing an IBB every time he comes up with two outs. Seriously, 8-hole NL hitters were intentionally walked five times as often as their AL counterparts last season – but yeah, facing the professional flailer instead of the professional hitter is real strategic, right? I’m pretty sure managing one’s bullpen is an important skill in the American League as well.

      Did you have any actually arguments, or just the usual flotsam?

      • drmonkeyarmy - Jun 21, 2011 at 9:54 AM

        Why are you being a defensive ass about this topic? So, in your reply I can assume you are belittling the ability to lay down a sacrifice bunt, don’t see the importance of moving the batting order along, and don’t understand the concept of double switching. You are acting like the 8 hole hitter gets intentionally walked 50% of the time. It is an important skill to have an 8 hole hitter be able to reach base, particularly with 2 outs. The opposing team, in fact, does not routinely pitch around said player because it is beneficial to start the next inning with the pitcher rather then the lead off hitter. Seems like common sense to me. Sacrifice bunting is beneficial because, obviously, it gets the base runner into scoring position. Managing the line-up and bullpen is more difficult because you have to account for the pitchers spot. Furthermore, one would have to manage the bench because additional pinch hitters would be needed. I’m sorry that I am not of the steroid dinger mindset.

      • Kevin S. - Jun 21, 2011 at 10:09 AM

        Not your fault – I let Gator’s comments rile me a little bit. I should know better than that. My apologies. For the record, I think sacrifice bunting is an abomination that decreases run expectancy unless one has a batter so thoroughly devoid of offensive ability that one gives up trying to make a positive play and settles for less of a negative play. That’s not strategy, that’s defeatism. In the entire history of baseball, no league has every scored more runs for the season from the runner on second/one out scenario than the runner on first/no out situation. Ever.

        The AL has the same issues for turning the lineup over – they just do it with the ninth hitter. The eighth hitter is IBB’d more often than any other NL lineup position. That is a fact. I have the numbers, if you’re interested.

        I understand the concept of double-switching just fine. I just think it’s an unnecessary waste of time, and can’t understand why anybody would want to deliberately see inferior play on the field because the situation might dictate it.

        Managers have a hard enough problem getting simple baseball strategy correct. Why would I want to watch them fumble around with more complex situations. I don’t go to baseball games to watch Tony LaRussa prove to the world how smart he is.

      • Kevin S. - Jun 21, 2011 at 10:10 AM

        Oh, and that “steroid dinger mindset” claptrap you threw out there? Remind me what league Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa were in when they were slaughtering the HR record books.

      • Jonny 5 - Jun 21, 2011 at 10:16 AM

        How about something as simple as. All players playing offense and defense. All players to use a bat and a glove. How about the fact that some pitchers are good hitters and have that talent as an advantage over some of their counterparts. It’s a great part of the game. Pitchers are “players” too. This is one good reason why Lee came to Philly after all. He looks like my kid does when he gets on base.

      • Kevin S. - Jun 21, 2011 at 10:23 AM

        Because a couple pitchers being able to hit well doesn’t make up for the abomination of them OPS+ing -1 as a collective unit.

      • indyralph - Jun 21, 2011 at 10:29 AM

        Kevin S., there is very little logical difference between allowing a single player to be substituted on the offensive side and all players being substituted on offense. If the argument is for seeing “better” baseball, well you’d see the best baseball if a team could have 18 players, 9 DH-types on offense and 9 Adam Everett types on defense. If you don’t want that, the logical break point is to only allow the same 9 players on both offense and defense.

      • Kevin S. - Jun 21, 2011 at 10:36 AM

        Sure, there’s all the logical difference in the world. The OPS+ gap between the worst class of hitters (pitchers) and the second-worst class of hitters (catchers) is three times the size of the OPS+ gap between catchers and the best class of hitters (first basemen). The pitcher has such a fundamentally different job from everybody else on the baseball diamond that it’s naive to act like he’s just one of the nine fielders. This has been recognized, both by traditionalists (pitchers judged primarily by their pitching line, position players by their offensive contributions) and by advanced metrics such as WAR, which show us that the vast majority of a position player’s contribution to winning is on the offensive side of the ledger, while the vast majority of a pitcher’s contribution is on the defensive side.

      • indyralph - Jun 21, 2011 at 10:45 AM

        That’s a fine argument, and also where it becomes a matter of taste. My point was that if I accept your “it is inferior play” and “it reduces run expectancy arguments” on their own, then there are a whole boatload of other possibilities that become logical “improvements” which make baseball look absolutely nothing like it does now.

      • Kevin S. - Jun 21, 2011 at 10:49 AM

        Except I really doubt the marginal gains from further diversifying the offensive and defensive roles would fly past any cost justification standard. It’s not really a slippery slope situation when there’s a gulf between where you are and what the next stopping point is. “Why not have nine DHs” isn’t a logical rebuttal to the desire to have one.

      • Jonny 5 - Jun 21, 2011 at 11:17 AM

        Kevin, your argument is basically that the DH needs to exist because you don’t like to see inferior hitters. That’s a personal opinion that I don’t, and many others will never agree with. I like when the opponent pulls his pitcher to try to eek out 1 more run in a tie game, does so, just to have his bull pen give it right back, or not. This is the kind of excitement the NL has as opposed to your DH. This is 10 times better to me than the almost scripted version of baseball in the AL where pitchers are only pulled when they’re gassed because some hired bat fills in for their part of the offensive side of the ball game. I think it’s lame.

      • Kevin S. - Jun 21, 2011 at 11:22 AM

        As opposed to the almost scripted version where the pitcher always sacrifices with runners on base and is always pinch hit for late in the game? The AL has the exact same ebb and flow you seem to enjoy – I just don’t see how making a substitution improves it.

      • Jonny 5 - Jun 21, 2011 at 11:54 AM

        Always? I think not sir. A sac bunt isn’t easy to lay down. Not only that but many times the pitcher does try to get a hit. Or hit a sac fly if there’s less than 2 out, And when they do? it’s special. To me anyway.

  11. cur68 - Jun 21, 2011 at 9:40 AM

    No point writing about the Jays; they did NOTHING. Text book helping your own cause is a 2 run homer by Tim Hudson in a scoreless game that were the game’s only runs. He not only helped his own cause, Hudson WAS the cause; he had a 1 hitter through 8 complete. Hudson looked like Greg Maddux out there; one grounder after another.

    Handed over to Kimbrel, the closer, and that really had me worried. Nothing worse than a baby faced, ginger haired closer IMO. Kimbrel was, of course, dominant.

    Jason Heyward looked good in this game. In a blow for irony it was Larry ‘Chipper’ Jones on the bench nursing a sore groin or something. Man up Larry; there’s some baseball to play here.

  12. RickyB - Jun 21, 2011 at 9:56 AM

    I have no problem with umpires calling hitters back when they lean into a pitch. Big pet peeve of mine when players stick an elbow out or whatever to get hit by a pitch. That being said, while Morgan’s intent was pretty clear that he wanted to get hit (being down 0-2 in the count), what he did wasn’t obvious enough to warrant calling him back. But from behind home plate, it might have appeared a bit different. I can’t believe I’m giving Bullet Bob some benefit of the doubt …

    • cur68 - Jun 21, 2011 at 10:39 AM

      Hey Ricky; why “Bullet Bob”?

  13. icanspeel - Jun 21, 2011 at 10:48 AM

    As a Padres fan (Yes I admit it) I am glad to see Adrian having an awesome year. It wasn’t a bad deal for the team, but basically they admitted they were trying to win for the future and not now.

    • psousa1 - Jun 21, 2011 at 11:09 AM

      Within 2 years it is going to be a great deal for SD. They weren’t going to keep him and two of those kids – Kelley and Rizzo will be top of line players.

      Count me as a fan of the DH. Could care less about watching a pitcher hit. You have pitchers in the NL, who have been in the NL for 5 years, and they look disinterested at the plate.

      AL teams go into the NL park, drop the DH, and still kick the NL teams around.

  14. spudchukar - Jun 21, 2011 at 12:09 PM

    More DH buffoonery today I see. On top of the myriad of reasons why the game loses so much once it is reduced to knuckle-dragging behemoths vs dim-witted Goliaths, is the lessons it teaches would-be youths. No longer will coaches be able to emphasize the importance of the variety of skills a developing youngster needs to acquire. Nope, I can hear the evermore disrespectful teen proclaim, “I don’t need to learn how to field, cause like David Ortiz, I can mash a ball 400 feet. I just wanna be a DH.” Or, “Screw learning how to bunt, when I can throw the ball threw a brick wall like Aroldis Chapman, I’ll play for a team with the DH.” It is similar to what the “dunk” did to basketball.

    The argument that watching lesser hitters is boring is troubling for a number of reasons. First it is remarkably inconsistent. Followed to its natural conclusion, all action that is not performed by the most qualified would be disallowed. Soon we would see designated fielders, and runners, to be followed by players who are good catching the ball, and then stopping play inserting one with a better arm, and restarting the runner at the designated spot by a faster player.

    The specialization of America has already haunted our schools and workplaces. As Liberal Arts knowledge fade into obscurity and Jack-of-all-trades craftsmen are ridiculed for their waste of time for inefficiency, DH proponents want to alter the make-up of a baseball player, creating robotic, single-minded, lone skilled Brobdingnagians for their titilating pleasure. They want to make it Football.

    • Jonny 5 - Jun 21, 2011 at 12:32 PM

      Amen!, potato chicken. I see you can make sense at times. ;)

      No, really, I’m already having problems with my kid who feels he’s a pitcher so he doesn’t need to practice batting as much. It’s going to suck for him when he’s eclipsed by other pitchers (which happens so often),and has trouble at the plate huh?

    • kingmaniii - Jun 23, 2011 at 3:18 PM

      “Traditionalists” can keep regurgitating the same slippery-slope arguments, ad nauseam, but the simple truth has been borne out in just about every statistical measure possible, be it WAR, OPS+, wOBA, or what have you: the gap between pitchers and the next-weakest-hitting positions (catchers and shortstops) is greater than the gap between those positions and first basemen. If a catcher or shortstop can’t hit for at least an OPS of ~.650, chances are he’s not long for the majors, regardless of how solid a fielder he happens to be.

      At catcher you have Mauer, Posey, Victor Martinez, McCann, Varitek, Posada, Piazza, Pudge, Bench, Campanella, Torre, Yogi, Carter, Fisk, and so on and so forth. At shortstop there’s A-Rod, Ripken, Tulo, J-Roll, Tejada, Jeter, Honus Wagner, and the like. What kind of pitcher can even lay claim to being a remotely decent hitter on a consistent basis (100+ OPS+) since Babe Ruth? Wes Ferrell, maybe? Okay, but he was a fairly mediocre pitcher (117 ERA+). Micah Owings? Career ERA of 5.00. Even after that, the pickings are extremely slim. Brooks Kieschnick? Spent only two years as a mediocre middle reliever. Rick Ankiel? Converted to a position player after he could no longer get the ball over the plate. Dontrelle Willis? Mike Hampton? Carlos Zambrano? Good hitters for their position but not even replacement-level at any other spot on the field. For pitchers, even mediocre batting ability is a novelty; for everyone else, it’s a necessity.

      However, I want to make it clear that I, myself, am not a big supporter of the manner that some teams are able to utilize the “position.” I am a fan of a small-market AL club (KC) who simply cannot afford to drop that much money on a full-time DH like David Ortiz or Edgar Martinez (we tried with Mike Sweeney which failed miserably), putting us at a competitive disadvantage against the big-money clubs who can. Hell, that goes for just about everyone in the AL except the Yanks and the Sox. For many teams, the DH is a semi-regular position player that can still field competently enough to not be a severe detriment to his team — essentially a pinch hitter that just happens to get 2 or 3 more at-bats over the course of a game.

      I, personally, advocate the addition of a rule requiring that every time a team pulls a pitcher, they must also substitute a new DH the next time that spot comes to bat in the lineup, and vice versa; such a rule would encourage starters to pitch into later innings, plus introduce some intriguing strategic dilemmas in certain situations. For example, let’s say you’re in the field in the midst of a 6-5 slugfest in the bottom of the 5th — do you stick with your starting pitcher and hope that he can pull himself together or do you pull both him and your starting DH who’s 3-3 with a homer, 3 RBI and 2 runs scored? Do you pull your starter who’s thrown six shutout innings in a scoreless to replace a struggling DH who’s 0-3 with 2 strikeouts, in order to give your offense a shot in the arm, or do you hope he pulls through?

  15. nyetjones - Jun 21, 2011 at 10:41 PM

    I was seriously disappointed to learn that your hot ex-girlfriend’s poll dance only involved a show of hands. :(

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

Featured video

Patience finally paying off for Royals fans
Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. R. Castillo (3223)
  2. C. Kershaw (2349)
  3. G. Stanton (2348)
  4. D. Ortiz (2338)
  5. J. Hamilton (2230)
  1. N. Arenado (2227)
  2. A. Rizzo (2172)
  3. M. Trout (2100)
  4. A. Pujols (1899)
  5. H. Ryu (1831)