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  #51  
Old 07-09-2019, 06:05 AM
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People have said this stuff about juiced balls about every 5 to 10 years since I've been alive. AFAIK, there has never been verification. It cannot be that big of a conspiracy as they are hit in the stands every game. Someone can analyze them.
Actually, if you read the ESPN article linked above, the commissioner says there is something different with the balls this year that's causing an upswing in homers, and it's being investigated.
  #52  
Old 07-09-2019, 09:47 AM
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People have said this stuff about juiced balls about every 5 to 10 years since I've been alive. AFAIK, there has never been verification. It cannot be that big of a conspiracy as they are hit in the stands every game. Someone can analyze them.
They've been analyzed. They're different. Here's an article about it:

https://theathletic.com/1044790/2019...n-the-changes/

ETA: Sorry, kayT's post appeared on a different page and I didn;t see it. Oh well, another source never hurt anyone...

Last edited by Ulf the Unwashed; 07-09-2019 at 09:48 AM.
  #53  
Old 07-09-2019, 10:30 AM
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The ball is unquestionably different, and it's 99 percent likely to be the laces.

The home runs are just stupid.

The 1961 Yankees hit 240 home runs, which was, famously, the most homers ever hit by a team at the time, and that record help for a really long time. Hitting 200 homers used to be an astounding thing, a very rare accomplishment.

This year, the AVERAGE TEAM is on pace to hit 225 home runs. The record for homers in a season by a team, set just last year y the Yankees, will lat this rate be broken by three teams. The Twins are on pace to hit 302 homers, previously the stuff only of video games when you cheat and make the computer trade everyone to your team. The Blue Jays, an objectively terrible team that couldn't hit water falling from a boat, are on pace to hit as many as they did in 2015, when they fielded one of the best offenses in the modern history of baseball. The number of home runs being hit is just completely unprecedented, way higher than in the steroid years. To be honest it's boring. I don't like watching slo pitch. Jorge Soler is on pace for a 40-bomb season. Who the hell is Jorge Soler? 22 different guys just in the NL have hit 20 homers already.

The ball isn't everything, but it's responsible for AT LEAST a ten percent jump from last year.
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  #54  
Old 07-09-2019, 10:32 AM
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Cervelli is effectively announcing his retirement. He's nowhere near good enough offensively to be a starting 1B or DH. It's a shame, but probably the smart move.
If concussions are that serious a problem he absolutely should not be playing any position at all. Sucks, but you have to live with your brain for a lot longer yet.
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  #55  
Old 07-09-2019, 12:13 PM
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The ball is unquestionably different, and it's 99 percent likely to be the laces.

The home runs are just stupid. ...

....The ball isn't everything, but it's responsible for AT LEAST a ten percent jump from last year.
When you write, "the laces," do you mean the windings around the core as well? Or just the exterior laces?

I think the coefficient of restitution has been monkeyed with, and I don't know if it would show up on once-hit baseballs. I agree that the home run deluge is dumb, and not entertaining.

I sympathize with Verlander. Not a great deal (See, multi-millionaire married to Kate Upton) but still, "having to miss bats instead of trying to miss barrels" has to be a giant pain in the ass.

Last edited by Gray Ghost; 07-09-2019 at 12:15 PM. Reason: Auto correct and its apostrophes...
  #56  
Old 07-09-2019, 01:09 PM
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The external stitching.
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  #57  
Old 07-09-2019, 04:38 PM
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I sympathize with Verlander. Not a great deal (See, multi-millionaire married to Kate Upton) but still, "having to miss bats instead of trying to miss barrels" has to be a giant pain in the ass.
It's easy to see the source of his frustration since he leads the league in home runs surrendered with 26. He also gives up the fewest hits (H9)in the AL and has the lowest WHIP in MLB. If those trends carry on through to the end of the season, I bet it will be a first.
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Old 07-10-2019, 08:24 AM
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The Verlander thing is really quite amazing. There have been great pitchers before who gave up a lot of home runs; Bert Blyleven famously once gave up 50 bombs in 1986 and then 46 the year after, but he struck out a lot of guys and never walked anyone so he was still a good pitcher (though not as great as when he was younger.) Robin Roberts gave up a lot of homers, but he never walked anyone and induced a lot of outs so he was giving up a lot of solo shots. The ultimate Robin Roberts game was eight or nine innings and two homers but only three runs.

Verlander is threatening that 50-dinger mark - still the record - but is a MUCH better pitcher overall than Blyleven was in 1986-1987. His K/9 rate is 10.9, which is extremely high, and he gives up an incredibly small number of hits and walks. Verlander is objectively as dominant a pitcher as Bob Gibson was in 1968, or as dominant, really, as anyone has ever been (this is visibly obvious when watching him; he is just terrifyingly good.) The only reason he doesn't have an ERA of like 1.50 is that the fly balls he gives up fly an incredible distance.

Of the 43 runs he has surrendered, 26 are the guy hitting a home run - which is just an unbelievable number. There is no historical precedent for that, none at all. That is a combination of numbers that has never happened before and that I would never have believed could happen.

Verlander's complaint is understandable. He's pitching brilliantly but he's giving up home runs because... why? How the hell do you give up 26 homers in 126 innings when you're pitching as well as you ever have and you've never given up homers like that? To him, it would be as if he showed up to work one day and they moved all the fences in to 250 feet; it's fair in the sense that his opponents have to pitch to that too, but it means he's going to give up homers that really seem random, arbitrary dingers on pitchesw where quite honestly he beat the hitter.
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Old 07-10-2019, 09:57 AM
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What, I'm on ignore.

He gives up mostly solo shots, but if you factor in the guys on base, 33 of the 42 earned runs he's given up this season have come from the long ball.
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Old 07-10-2019, 11:21 AM
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Huh? Who, me? I can't ignore posters, I'm a moderator.

33 of 42 is a slightly different number from 26 of 43 but either is demonstrative of an INCREDIBLE glut in home runs even against a dominant pitcher.

Verlander has now given up sixty percent of his runs to the specific batters who homered off him (e.g. not counting the runners they drove in besides themselves.) I cannot find anyone, ever, who has even approached a number like that before. Robin Roberts never even got to 40%. Fergie Jenkins was a classic example of a pitcher willing to give up homers in exchange for doing everything else well but he never got to 40%, either. Curt Schilling got to 43% once, in 2001, but that was was higher than any other season. Bery Blyleven came close to 40% but never got there, even the year he gave up 50 bombs.

And Verlander, while the most extreme example, is not alone. JA Happ has given up 40% of his runs to the home run hitter. Hyun-Jun Ryu is at 40% - Ryu has given up as many home runs as he has walks; Bret Saberhagen and Curt Schilling are the only other guys I can think of who've done that in a full season.

I love baseball but this is the least exciting KIND of baseball played in my lifetime.
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Last edited by RickJay; 07-10-2019 at 11:32 AM.
  #61  
Old 07-10-2019, 12:18 PM
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The external stitching.
Is the difference in the external stitching then affecting the tightness of the ball's construction then? The hypothesized stitching difference isn't causing pitchers to complain the ball isn't breaking like before. Nor is it causing greater drag and slowing pitches. At least, not that I've heard.

For Verlander and his HR rate: he's getting shelled independent of park, right? Because Minute Maid has a ridiculously short left field porch, but I haven't heard complaints that he was only getting hit hard there.

When did hitting instruction begin to emphasize higher launch angles for players' swings?
  #62  
Old 07-10-2019, 12:19 PM
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I love baseball but this is the least exciting KIND of baseball played in my lifetime.
Amen to that. I'm starting to blame the balls. My theory is that the stitches are too low and don't let curves bite enough and cause balls to carry farther. My solution: use fatter thread on the baseballs. Pitchers will be able to throw sharper breaks and the ball won't go as far. And when did we start having to take the ball out of play the instant it contacts bat or ground?
  #63  
Old 07-10-2019, 01:07 PM
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When did hitting instruction begin to emphasize higher launch angles for players' swings?
It looks like it's really only become a "thing" in the past three to five seasons (since around 2015). A few supporting articles:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/graph...=.20bc390af2c2

https://www.espn.com/blog/buster-oln...ing-their-game
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Old 07-10-2019, 01:13 PM
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For Verlander and his HR rate: he's getting shelled independent of park, right? Because Minute Maid has a ridiculously short left field porch, but I haven't heard complaints that he was only getting hit hard there.
Too late to add to the previous post:

Here's his home and away stats for 2019, from ESPN.com:

Home: 55 IP, .173 BA, 12 HR allowed (average of 0.22 HR per inning pitched)
Away: 71 2/3 IP, .164 BA, 14 HR allowed (average of 0.20 HR per inning pitched)

Not huge sample sizes, but Minute Maid Park doesn't appear to be a major contributing factor.
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Old 07-10-2019, 01:24 PM
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Too late to add to the previous post:

Here's his home and away stats for 2019, from ESPN.com:

Home: 55 IP, .173 BA, 12 HR allowed (average of 0.22 HR per inning pitched)
Away: 71 2/3 IP, .164 BA, 14 HR allowed (average of 0.20 HR per inning pitched)

Not huge sample sizes, but Minute Maid Park doesn't appear to be a major contributing factor.
Thanks for the stats and the post.

It's a bit of a factor in his 2018 campaign. but it's a bit weird to suss out.

Home: 19 G, 117.1 IP, 429 AB, .193/.226/.380, with a SO/W ratio of 11.33, and an .835 WHIP. 2.84 ERA. 19 HR.

Away: 15 G, 96.2 IP, 352 AB, .207/.261/.335, with a SO/W of 5.45, and a .983 WHIP. 2.14 ERA. 9 HR.

It looks like he pitched better at home in many ways, but gave up enough extra home runs to screw with his ERA. Either way, an outstanding campaign, but I can see Minute Maid hurting him in 2018.
  #66  
Old 07-10-2019, 03:12 PM
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And when did we start having to take the ball out of play the instant it contacts bat or ground?
I have the same question. Growing up watching baseball, if the ball hit the dirt the pitcher would get it back to pitch it again, and it was to the pitcher's advantage. (Or at least perceived that way). Get a scuff on it and maybe get a better grip or it breaks an extra inch or something. The batter would have to specifically request the ball be inspected, and the ump would look it over and either toss it out of play (if really scuffed), or shake his head and give it back to the catcher to throw back to the pitcher.

Pitchers would tell stories of throwing a breaking ball in the dirt intentionally to get a good scuff for the next couple of pitches.

Nowdays, if the ball even nicks the dirt, it is tossed. And much of this is requested by the pitchers! I've seen pitchers point to the ball and make sure it is tossed. Catchers immediately toss it w/o even trying to game the system a bit to give their pitchers an advantage.

So either it's become a hard and fast rule (no discretion on anyone's part); OR, what was thought as an advantage all these years has been turned upside down.
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Old 07-10-2019, 03:33 PM
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When did hitting instruction begin to emphasize higher launch angles for players' swings?
Josh Donaldson's 2015 MVP season is the first time I noticed so much analysis on launch angle.
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Old 07-11-2019, 08:36 AM
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Amen to that. I'm starting to blame the balls. My theory is that the stitches are too low and don't let curves bite enough and cause balls to carry farther. My solution: use fatter thread on the baseballs. Pitchers will be able to throw sharper breaks and the ball won't go as far. And when did we start having to take the ball out of play the instant it contacts bat or ground?
I strongly suggest reading the Athletic article. It's not a suspicion. It's fact.

Changing the baseball is a dangerous solution, though. Changing the thread might return things to a more balanced kind of baseball, or it might wildly change things.

It's not just home runs; it's strikeouts. Strikeouts are incredibly high, high without any sort of precedent. The average pitcher now strikes out 8.6 men per nine innings; BOB GIBSON never once in his entire career had a season when he struck out that many men per nine innings. The aforementioned Mr. Verlander is putting up a season of strikeouts and few hits allowed that no Hall of Fame pitcher before this era has even come close to. If you increase the break on the ball you might cause the likes of Justin Verlander to basically break baseball. Baseball does not need fewer balls hit into play. It needs more.
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  #69  
Old 07-11-2019, 09:00 AM
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https://www.baseball-reference.com/l.../MLB/bat.shtml

As Rick notes, home runs and Ks are beyond ridiculous levels. But runs, hits and batting average are not at historic levels. They're really not that far out of line. So if you mess with the ball to make it pitcher friendly, it stands to reason Ks will go even higher while offensive numbers decrease. MLB does not want that. Most fans probably don't, either. The fact is, and for a number of reasons, we're never going back to 1985 baseball.
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Old 07-11-2019, 10:43 AM
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I’ve read and heard that Sabermetrics advocates slugging as a path to winning games, and I could see an emphasis on that leading to more home runs and more strikeouts. Is that at all a factor in this scenario or is it purely a physical change in the balls they are using? Am I wrong in thinking that slugging is at a premium because of analytics?
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Old 07-11-2019, 11:21 AM
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I have been reading sabermetric research and articles for longer than that word has existed, and no, the general thrust of sabermetric thought has never been that slugging wins ballgames (well, not any more than traditional thought has held that. People have always seen the value of the long ball, at least since Babe Ruth.)

By a wide, wide margin, the central thrust of sabermetrics about how to score runs has always been about getting on base. And players don't get on base any more than they used to, because of course analytics works both ways; if getting on base is the most important thing your offense can do, preventing guys from getting on base is the most important thing your pitchers and fielders can do.

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So if you mess with the ball to make it pitcher friendly, it stands to reason Ks will go even higher while offensive numbers decrease. MLB does not want that. Most fans probably don't, either.
My fear would be that you might end up with a situation where teams hit fewer (but still a lot of) home runs - say, 175 a season instead of 230 - but batting averages drop to .220 or something, and runs scored per game drops below 4/team. If you change stitching to make breaking balls break more, that might happen, along with an increase in strikeouts to the point that everyone is Randy Johnson.

That would be an even duller kind of baseball. It would suck so bad.

The incredible strikeout totals also mean that fielding is less important than it used to be, which I also dislike.
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Old 07-11-2019, 01:25 PM
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Sabermetrics like OBP and slugging. That's why we have OPS, which is fairly new. OPS wasn't really widely known until about the early 2000's. Before that people just cared about batting average.
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Old 07-11-2019, 01:53 PM
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I'm late but wow that makes what 6 all-stars in a row for that other league in baseball......
  #74  
Old 07-11-2019, 02:57 PM
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Astros’ Marisnick suspended for 2 games for plate collision with Lucroy:
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The suspension was announced Thursday before the AL West-leading Astros played a series opener at Texas in their first game after the All-Star break. Marisnick also was fined.

Lucroy was carted off the field last Sunday after the collision at the end of the eighth inning of a game at Houston the Astros won 11-10 in 10 innings. The Angels catcher sustained a concussion and broken nose. Marisnick was called out for colliding with Lucroy and the call was upheld after a crew chief review.

Marisnick said afterward that it was a “bad play” and that he hoped Lucroy was OK. He also posted on his Twitter later that he “made a split second decision at full speed” and he felt awful that another player got hurt.
I watched the video of this the other night and I could see that Marisnick was upset and worried immediately after the collision. He knew he had fucked up, IMO and was instantly contrite.

If I was him, tho, I'd prolly be asking "wouldn't a 4 game suspension be a better idea? You know, to send a stronger message?"
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Old 07-11-2019, 07:21 PM
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I think you totally misread Marisnick's expression, Bo. At least one of the videos I saw several times shows Jake choosing his path and Lucroy stepping into it deliberately, leaving Jake no way to miss him. Of course Jake was upset that someone got hurt, but I'm pretty sure he knew who "fucked up" and it wasn't him. (BTW he is appealing the suspension.)

The call was ridiculous and the suspension is political and has nothing to do with what really happened. The rules are pretty clear and Jake did not violate them, but the catcher had a bloody nose, so...
  #76  
Old 07-11-2019, 07:31 PM
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I think you totally misread Marisnick's expression, Bo. At least one of the videos I saw several times shows Jake choosing his path and Lucroy stepping into it deliberately, leaving Jake no way to miss him. Of course Jake was upset that someone got hurt, but I'm pretty sure he knew who "fucked up" and it wasn't him. (BTW he is appealing the suspension.)

The call was ridiculous and the suspension is political and has nothing to do with what really happened. The rules are pretty clear and Jake did not violate them, but the catcher had a bloody nose, so...
You have got to be kidding. Marisnick had a path straight to home plate and he veered off straight into Lucroy, who wasn't even blocking the plate.

Slo-mo replay.
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Old 07-11-2019, 08:03 PM
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you know its funny the juiced ball controversy reminds me of the steroid thing in the 90s and 00s
the casual fans who go to watch a few games year and a few on tv are like "who cares it makes baseball exciting " they dont wanna see pitcher duels with no one on base .... they want the live version of MLB hitz (a baseball version of nba jam )


And the hardcore fans who pour over stats replays and watch as many games are possible perdict "the end of baseball as we know it ".....
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Old 07-11-2019, 08:57 PM
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you know its funny the juiced ball controversy reminds me of the steroid thing in the 90s and 00s
the casual fans who go to watch a few games year and a few on tv are like "who cares it makes baseball exciting " they dont wanna see pitcher duels with no one on base .... they want the live version of MLB hitz (a baseball version of nba jam )


And the hardcore fans who pour over stats replays and watch as many games are possible perdict "the end of baseball as we know it ".....
There's research that a lot of the steroid issue w respect to offense in 94-06 ish, was due to the ball being monkeyed with then as well. Not that steroids weren't flowing like water.
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Old 07-11-2019, 10:32 PM
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I think you totally misread Marisnick's expression, Bo. At least one of the videos I saw several times shows Jake choosing his path and Lucroy stepping into it deliberately, leaving Jake no way to miss him. Of course Jake was upset that someone got hurt, but I'm pretty sure he knew who "fucked up" and it wasn't him. (BTW he is appealing the suspension.)

The call was ridiculous and the suspension is political and has nothing to do with what really happened. The rules are pretty clear and Jake did not violate them, but the catcher had a bloody nose, so...
I don't know what you can be looking at. That was about the most blatant hit I've ever seen. No attempt at all to touch home plate.
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Old 07-12-2019, 09:29 PM
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You have got to be kidding. Marisnick had a path straight to home plate and he veered off straight into Lucroy, who wasn't even blocking the plate.

Slo-mo replay.
Yeah, I'm with you there. Marisnick is running pretty much straight down the foul line, takes a step into foul territory, and then veers abruptly and awkwardly into fair territory on a trajectory that takes him directly into Lucroy.

Lucroy in the meantime stays in fair territory throughout, with the exception of one foot that doesn't cross the foul line.

I suppose you can make the argument that Marisnick really did think that Lucroy was moving into his path and didn't intend to run over him. But as I read the rule it's not about intent, so that's immaterial, and the video doesn't seem to support that interpretation anyway.

Should be pointed out that the catcher received a concussion and a broken nose, not just a "bloody nose." Not sure where that came from!
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Old 07-13-2019, 06:35 AM
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The Royals are undefeated in the Bubba Starling era.
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Old 07-13-2019, 08:17 AM
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Germán has pitched 2 outstanding games now since coming off the DL. The kid is really impressing me. It's a shame he is not eligible for the ROY.
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Old 07-13-2019, 10:42 AM
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After a "disappointing" first couple months of the season, the Giants seem to have collectively remembered how to play baseball, and are now only 4.5 games out of the wildcard and coming on strong.

Of course, the rumor mill has them trading away half the team before the end of the month...it's going to be interesting to see what the front office decides to do if they keep playing the way they have the last couple weeks.
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Old 07-13-2019, 07:55 PM
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Red Sox acquire Andrew Cashner. Baseball analysts are still trying to figure out why.
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Old 07-13-2019, 11:35 PM
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I consider myself a huge baseball fan but never would have thought the LA Angels had 11 no hitters in their history. Cost me a pitcher of beer, but oh well.
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Old 07-14-2019, 01:06 AM
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I consider myself a huge baseball fan but never would have thought the LA Angels had 11 no hitters in their history. Cost me a pitcher of beer, but oh well.
Given that four of them were by Nolan Ryan, it doesn't surprise me that much.

More surprising is that the Mets have only one in nearly the same time span.

Last edited by Colibri; 07-14-2019 at 01:09 AM.
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Old 07-14-2019, 01:18 PM
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Red Sox acquire Andrew Cashner. Baseball analysts are still trying to figure out why.
You've never seen a Hector Velazquez outing, have you?
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Old 07-14-2019, 01:56 PM
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You've never seen a Hector Velazquez outing, have you?
Not that I remember off the top of my head. But I've watched Cashner since his debut with the Cubs, and haven't been impressed by any particular pitch I've seen him throw.
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Old 07-14-2019, 01:58 PM
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Per report during the Cubs game, Oakland acquires Homer Bailey from Kansas City
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Old 07-14-2019, 02:14 PM
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Per report during the Cubs game, Oakland acquires Homer Bailey from Kansas City
Underwhelming but cheap as the Dodgers are paying the bulk of his salary.
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Old 07-14-2019, 02:36 PM
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Meanwhile in Baltimore, they are attempting the incredibly rare feat of being Perfect Gamed at home with more than one pitcher used by Tampa. Bottom of the 9th as we speak.

Never mind, single to lead off the 9th.

Last edited by What Exit?; 07-14-2019 at 02:39 PM.
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Old 07-14-2019, 03:57 PM
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Not that I remember off the top of my head. But I've watched Cashner since his debut with the Cubs, and haven't been impressed by any particular pitch I've seen him throw.
He'll still be an improvement in the 5 hole. Now, if only Sale and Porcello could get back in gear, and the Sox get a good reliever or two ...
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Old 07-15-2019, 02:29 AM
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Really wanted to watch LAD, BOSTON OT game.

MLB. TV said that I was in the black out zone. I was in Northern Utah.
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Old 07-15-2019, 06:44 AM
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It's an ESPN the whole US is the blackout zone. Just like the playoffs they get stingier the more people want to watch the game. Hopefully, they can get a change to their broadcast rights soon they have the best streaming of any sport which can help bring in new fans if they focus and market it right.
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Old 07-15-2019, 07:36 AM
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Thank you Oredigger77 for your reply.

I was thinking I had some rights after paying 120USD for a year subscription to MLB.TV. And that they may overlook the fact that I was 1,200 miles from Dodger Stadium.
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Old 07-15-2019, 10:22 AM
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Thank you Oredigger77 for your reply.

I was thinking I had some rights after paying 120USD for a year subscription to MLB.TV. And that they may overlook the fact that I was 1,200 miles from Dodger Stadium.
It is bullshit because the game was also advertised as a "Free Game of the Day." I also paid for MLB TV and was frustrated by the ESPN blackout.
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Old 07-15-2019, 12:22 PM
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I don't get the skepticism about Andrew Cashner. He's not Walter Johnson but he's a good pitcher and he's having a strong season. He's going to be an upgrade over whomever he replaces, and he didn't cost much.
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Old 07-15-2019, 03:42 PM
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Surprise: The Red Sox DFA Eduardo Nunez, one of last October's heroes.
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Old 07-15-2019, 06:56 PM
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More strikeout/home run weirdness: Josh Hader has 82 strikeouts in 45 innings (16.4 SO9) and has only given up 17 hits. A 0.667 WHIP. Dominant stuff, so it's a little surprising his ERA is 2.40. He's given up 12 runs...all via the home run, of course.

In other news, the Atlantic league is experimenting with stealing first base. On any count, if the ball gets away from the catcher, the runner can "chose" to steal first. I haven't been able to figure out if the hitter can change his mind and run back. Does the batter's box become a base?
This sounds like another dumb idea, like putting a guy on second in extra innings. Pitchers fearing balls in the dirt on all counts would probably lead to even more home runs.
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Old 07-15-2019, 07:14 PM
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In other news, the Atlantic league is experimenting with stealing first base. On any count, if the ball gets away from the catcher, the runner can "chose" to steal first. I haven't been able to figure out if the hitter can change his mind and run back. Does the batter's box become a base?
This sounds like another dumb idea, like putting a guy on second in extra innings. Pitchers fearing balls in the dirt on all counts would probably lead to even more home runs.
I like some of the proposed rules (like the pitch clock and letting balls and strikes be called by technology) but this one seems dumb and way too dramatic a change to the game.
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