TCR Friday Notes
- The Hardball Times also looks at hitters with an affinity at swinging at first pitch fastballs - Gathright (in a bad way) and Soto (in a good way) are mentioned.
- Fantastic piece by Stats Inc. on newly acquird Aaron Heilman and his repertoire. There's some words of warning in there, but it's pretty clear he has filthy stuff.
More after the jump...
When ex-hitters become managers, some, like Lou Piniella of Seattle,
never develop an understanding for pitchers. Piniella has been able to
channel the manic competitiveness of his playing days into the dugout,
barking at umpires, screaming at his coaches, demanding accountability
for mistakes and sometimes just plain bullying his players. Hitters
like Ken Griffey Jr. and Edgar Martinez have responded to his
intensity. Pitchers have not. Piniella ''is the manager who hates
pitchers,'' says Jeff Nelson, a Yankees reliever who used to pitch for
Seattle. ''It's not hard to understand why that is.''
was a great hitter for 18 seasons; his professional responsibility was
to loathe pitchers. How could he just shut that off?
doesn't have patience,'' Nelson says. ''He doesn't understand pitchers.
He tells you, 'Throw the ball over the plate.' You feel like saying:
'Is that what I'm supposed to do? I didn't know that. I thought I was
supposed to come out here and walk everyone.' ''
To quote Jim Kaat from Sunday night's BBWAA dinner, about his old
Yankees teammate Lou Piniella: "I've always been amazed that a guy
could be such a successful manager even though he hates pitchers."
- A look at the potential mechanical flaws with Rich Hill. I have some issues with the article since it appears to be relying on stock photos from different time periods with no true reference point. For all we know, those could be at different points in his motion and nothing has changed. For the right way to do a pitching mechanics comparision, check out a Carlos Gomez or Chris O'Leary post (NSFMPH - Not Suited for Mark Prior Haters).
Also, the article points to a re-teaming with O's pitching coach Rick Kranitz, although Hill has often given more of the credit to Alan Dunn. Of course, Dunn is the bullpen coach for the Orioles, so same difference.
- Wild-ass speculation on my part, but let me weigh in on this Blanco vs. Bako debate that seems to be raging. When the first reports of Bako signing came out I recall a throwaway line about the Cubs wanting someone who would be comfortable with not playing much. Then last week there was another throwaway line from a radio report that the Cubs weren't too pleased with Blanco last year. This leads me to the conclusion that Blanco did a bit of behind the scenes sulking about not getting into more games and probably why they chose to go another route. And Bako is one of God's People, i.e. hits from the left side.
- To follow up recent top 50 announcers of all-time lists, Yahoo Sports does the bottom 50. I respectfully disagree on #13(Gus Johnson) and #29(Dick Enberg). If you don't like Gus Johnson, you watch sports for all the wrong reasons.
- The Heckler pokes fun at the Bleacher Stalkers.
- Wrigleyville23 and Out of Right Field have taken up our MVN spot after The View from the Bleachers left. Hope it goes better for you guys. (Bites lip...checks calendar to see when non-disclosure agreement expires).
Enjoy the weekend!
Some perspective (mostly for my own benefit): Dan Straily beat MadBum 2-1 today as the Reds took 2 of 3 in SF. Giants are 2-9 since the break and their lead over LA is down to 2.5 games. So, yeah...baseball. It'll drive ya nuts.
McNutt / Archer didn't work out well for us.
The floor is more valuable than the ceiling. It's the same reason we drafted Kris Bryant instead of Jon Gray.
Apparently the Yankees had the choice of either Gleyber Torres or Eloy Jimenez in the Chapman deal, and they chose Torres.
Chapman shouldn't be reserved anymore on 40 man.
Interesting split on Heyward according to ESPN. As a CF, his slash line .292/.363/.375/.738. At RF: .212/.204/.300/.604. 21/72 as a CF, 58/273 as a RF.
He's also been better when batting 2nd, but he had a nice start in the 6 hole, but has slumped ever since. He was heating up before the All Star break, but is only hitting .108 in the 2nd half.
When we played the Reds with Chapman, I always thought of it as an eight-inning game. So now other teams have eight innings to try to get a lead against the Cubs. Should be a challenge, assuming three or four Cubs ever start hitting again.
I don't really try to get to know and like these players personally. I'm rooting for laundry, for the most part. Exceptions might be when a player makes trouble in the clubhouse or in the dugout. (Zambrano and Bradley come to mind. Also Papelbon.) But I don't think Chapman is one of those jerks.
Unfortunately, a pretty good summary. It looks like next year Heyward will be getting yet another batting stance adjustment.
The recent good news has been Baez. I'm afraid about the next league adjustment on him, though, which is probably right around the corner.
Bryant I don't worry about too much. Just not seeing the ball well right now. He'll turn it around. Russell's been good with men in scoring position all year and he's 22ish. He'll be fine but next year is likely to be his breakout year.
If Travis' back-to-back-to-back walks cost Hendricks the ERA title, that would really suck.
Edit: "A lifeless loss to a lousy Sox team."
This place is a real downer after a loss to the Sox.
I expect they will go 5-9 games above .500 the rest of the year. 96-98 wins will win the Division.
They should have one more 2-3 week hot streak in them.
However, several players are just "average" for the last month: Zobrist, Ross, Russell, Ceasar. Montero is terrible, plus he cannot throw anyone out. -WAR. Heyward is abysmal at the plate, but a plus in the OF. Still with RISP he has been terrible. KB has not been driving in runs as of late. But Apparently the team is still above average with RISP according to S Sahadev.
I came to that realization tonight. I kept expecting them to play better, but now I realize they aren't going to. They are a .500 team now.
- They have one reliable starting pitcher. Jake's magic is gone, and it doesn't look like it's coming back. Lester has been lousy recently. Lackey's ERA goes up every time he pitches.
- Heyward has been dead weight all year. I can't remember a single series where he was a significant offensive contributor. Not one. Great defense, but but if he were hitting .270 with 10 HR and played average defense, the Cubs would be better off.
new rule...no one's allowed to throw k.bryant a changeup
Team is .500 since early May and is playing like a .500 team. Lack of offense seems to be putting a lot of pressure on the pitchers...and they aren't handling it terribly well.
.500 the rest of the way still may win the division though.
...i hate espn.
nothing like settling into a cubs game to get a few minutes cutaway for an ortiz AB in the 6th inning of the det/bos game.
oh, at least they're doing split screen now...i guess.