Back to baseball today, as the Cubs enter a stretch of 10 games against the Brewers, White Sox, and Mariners. While it’s nice to see them facing .500ish or worse teams, it would have been even nicer if this stretch came 10 days from now … when each of those teams might have sold off even more. Who knows, maybe they’ll drop some pieces before they play the Cubs anyway? Or maybe during the games? Hug Watch, in effect.
- Commissioner Rob Manfred apparently said he would consider, among other pace of play changes, limiting the total number of pitching changes in a game. An obligatory caveat up front: part of Manfred’s MO is to say he’d consider almost anything. So don’t take this to mean it’s a change on the way. In fact, it’s very unlikely. Because it’s a really bad, dangerous idea. Imagine artificially limiting the number of pitchers in a game, and how that would not only restrict the manager’s options, but also could lead to pitchers throwing far more pitches than they safely should. This idea is a non-starter for me.
- Instead, if you want to look at the interplay between pace of play and pitching changes, I’ve got a simple rule change, which I think might have been suggested originally, a long time ago, by Theo Epstein (though don’t hold me to that, because I could be misremembering): every pitcher who enters the game must face at least two batters (unless there’s an injury). That’s it. A simple change, but it will have the effect of reducing pitching changes without artificially restricting managers.
- (Also: a pitch clock. Just do it. It’s already in the minor leagues. It’s already the rule in MLB. Just put up a clock so the rule can actually be enforced.)
- Paul Sullivan writes about the brewing MVP race on the Cubs’ own team, with both Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant very much deserving candidates for that discussion (at least right now). Interestingly, although Rizzo’s got Bryant on the offensive side pretty much across the board, Bryant’s significantly greater defensive value boosts his current WAR to 5.1 (holy smokes), as compared to Rizzo’s 3.6.
- I don’t know how I don’t remember this, though I suppose it was a long time ago: Michael threw back to when MLB teams tried to “throw ahead” with futuristic jerseys … yikes.
- Daren Willman is one of MLB’s Statcast gurus, and he tweeted out a Statcast search of the difference between a pitcher’s recorded velocity and the perceived velocity (i.e., how fast the pitch is perceived by the batter to be, based on the actual velocity and the release point of the pitch (despite the language in the search, this appears to be slightly different than the concept of “Effective Velocity”, which has to do with pitch placement)). Up near the very top of that list? Carl Edwards Jr., whose fastball appears to be 1.4mph faster than it actually is. Considering that Edwards already sits at 95-97mph with his fastball, with natural cutting movement … oh my. I start to get pretty tingly when I think about how impactful he could become if he can just consistently command that pitch (which is to say nothing of his excellent curveball). It’s pretty rare that a pitcher can dominate with a single killer pitch, but a near-100mph cutting fastball? Yeah, that could do it …
- Last Night’s Highlights, over at Baseball is Fun.
- If you missed it earlier, today’s series of expected roster moves appears to have begun with Spencer Patton heading back to Iowa.
- You could go a lot of directions with this one:
"And the receiver's wide open … HE OVERTHREW IT!" pic.twitter.com/B0UHTyfBwr
— Baseball is Fun (@flippingbats) July 22, 2016
- We’re getting really close to the full 39 hour Blogathon (which will take place from near Wrigley Field this year):
— Brett Taylor (@BleacherNation) July 22, 2016