I saw the new Stephen Spielberg movie, “Ready: Player One” over the weekend, and it was pretty good. Having read the book, though, I didn’t love how much was left out, but I get it. They could’ve either made it a trilogy and annoyed movie-goers who are sick of franchises, or made it a one-off (like they did) and annoy the book-readers.
Maybe there really is no winning – just like the Cubs. (OH BURN!).
Elsewhere from around the league …
- Twitter has renewed its streaming deal with Major League Baseball, which means the @MLB handle will host a Twitter Game of the Week, every week, with out-of-market live streaming of daytime games. Facebook, you’ll recall, signed a deal of their own, where 25 weekday games will be streamed on the social media platform. And on top of everything, MLB intends on making real-time game highlights available for fans immediately on Twitter. Although there are some obvious issues to still work out (like in-market streaming (eventually w/out cable packages)), I like the direction this is heading. Good on MLB for loosening up and continuing to try to stay ahead of the curve.
- I drafted Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen in my fantasy baseball league last week, so naturally his fastball velocity has been down this season and he has an 18.00 ERA and a blown save through his first 2.0 IP. According to Jansen, he’s perfectly healthy, but is working through some mechanical stuff. Given the long playoff stretch last year (and what we saw happen to the Cubs in the first half of 2017), and the fact that he’s always pitching into the playoffs, it’s not too surprising to see Jansen struggle with his mechanics/velocity/results. Let’s just hope his then-Dodgers bullpen-mate (and current Cubs closer), Brandon Morrow, doesn’t follow suit.
- Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy ran on the field for the first time since his microfracture knee surgery last October, but his return to the team is still a ways off. If you recall, Murphy had fielded some grounders and hit off a tee in Spring Training, but was ultimately slowed way down and hung back in Florida to continue his rehab, as the Nationals started their season. According to the Washington Post, Murphy won’t be ready to play until late-April at the earliest, and even if he is ready by then, he’ll need a significant rehab assignment, given that he missed Spring Training, too. The Nationals are sufficiently loaded that missing a month-plus of Murphy probably won’t dent their NL East chances, though.
- You know, I thought the Cubs were going to end up with Tyson Ross as a reclamation project one of these winters, but they went with Brett Anderson last year after Ross chose the Rangers, and then went with Drew Smyly this time around, while Ross returned to the Padres on a Minor League contract. And it’s probably a fine thing, because Ross would’ve been back too early for the Cubs:
Tyson Ross is here, which means he'll be activated tomorrow to start.
— AJ Cassavell (@AJCassavell) April 2, 2018
- Ross is trying to come back from thoracic outlet syndrome surgery, a rarity. Best of luck to him, and maybe being back with his original team will help.
- This was a fantastic and meaningful moment – I love when baseball gives us those:
What a moment. Astros coach Rich Dauer was given a 3% chance to survive after suffering an acute subdural hematoma during the team's World Series parade.
He beat the odds and threw out the first pitch tonight after getting his ring. pic.twitter.com/rWn1qYN9Q1
— ESPN (@espn) April 3, 2018
- From Deadspin: “When Dauer initially felt unwell during the parade, team trainers thought that he was likely simply dehydrated. While he was being transported to the hospital, things began to look more serious, and the coach was ultimately diagnosed with an acute subdural hematoma. Doctors estimated that Dauer, who is now retired, had just a 3 percent chance of surviving the surgery. But he pulled through and has since recovered nicely.”
- At FiveThirtyEight, Michael Salfino writes about the nearly unbelievable increase in above average fastballs (124% increase in fastballs traveling over 95 MPH since 2011!) … and the equally unbelievable improvement hitters have shown against those pitches. I suppose some of that can be player improvement that comes with experience, but you have to wonder if smart front offices saw the fastball velocity ticking up and increasingly targeted players who could already better handle the heat.
- Speaking of which, do you know who’s throwing the hardest this season? It’s not Aroldis Chapman or Luis Severino … it’s Jordan Hicks. According to FanGraphs, the young Cardinals righty has thrown the five fastest pitches this season, and six of the top ten. So far, his top speed has been 101.6 MPH. I wonder if Chapman will catch up.
- Miss Dexter Fowler? Well, this won’t help. After starting his season with an 0-13 skid, Fowler tweeted, “I will get a hit.” thirteen times in a row on Twitter … and immediately broke the hitless streak in his second at-bat of the Cardinals’ next game. Naturally, given Fowler’s success, other hitless players followed suit:
I will get a hit. I will get a hit. I will get a hit. I will get a hit. I will get a hit. I will get a hit. I will get a hit. I will get a hit. I will get a hit. I will get a hit. I will get a hit. I will get a hit. I will get a hit. I will get a hit.
— Josh Reddick (@RealJoshReddick) April 2, 2018
My turn: I will get a hit. I will get a hit. I will get a hit. I will get a hit. I will get a hit. I will get a hit. I will get a hit. I will get a hit. I will get a hit. I will get a hit. I will get a hit. I will get a hit. I will get a hit. https://t.co/tKVzv9SSM5
— Jose Ramirez (@MrLapara) April 2, 2018
- Jose Ramirez went 0-3 last night, but did wind up walking twice, and Josh Reddick went 1-2 with two walks!
- So … The Cubs will win tonight. The Cubs will win tonight. The Cubs will win tonight. The Cubs will win tonight. The Cubs will win tonight. The Cubs will win tonight. The Cubs will win tonight. The Cubs will win tonight. The Cubs will win tonight. The Cubs will win tonight. The Cubs will win tonight. The Cubs will win tonight. The Cubs will win tonight.
- Or at least this:
Cubs with RISP: “I will get a hit. I will get a hit. I will get a hit. I will get a hit. I will get a hit. I will get a hit. I will get a hit. I will get a hit. I will get a hit. I will get a hit. I will get a hit. I will get a hit. I will get a hit.”
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) April 2, 2018
- I’m sorry, what?! This movement, man:
— Baseball is Fun (@flippingbats) April 3, 2018
- Bill Baer followed up on the Twins’ whining that Orioles catcher Chance Sisco laid down a bunt in the 9th inning of a shutout (the Orioles were *losing* mind you), and Brian Dozier doubled down on his complaints. You can read all about it at NBC Sports. I don’t mean to dismiss this story, because it’s obviously interesting, but I’m not using any more fake computer ink on such a bad opinion. If your team is losing in the ninth and there’s not a no-hitter or perfect game going on, then you get on base HOWEVER you can. Period. If the game is close enough for the other team to shift on you, then bunt all you want.
- Jared Diamond had some fun with the Royals/Tigers unusually short game today:
Best day of Rob Manfred's life. pic.twitter.com/t6W0CuqbCN
— Jared Diamond (@jareddiamond) April 3, 2018
- But I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that Manfred is probably hoping that games *do* go long this year, like they have been for the past half-decade or however long, so that he can more easily impose his more robust pace-of-play initiatives next season. Remember, he walked back A LOT of those desired changes just before the season, effectively giving the Players Association one more chance to prove they can self-police the pace. I’m not sure that they will, but we’ll see. Obviously, fewer changes to the game is better than the alternative, but if they’re needed, they’re needed.
- Edwin Encarnacion is *not* a fast man … but he scored standing on an inside the park homer last night. Always finish the play, friends.
- Remember when Bryce Harper homered earlier this year just after someone shouted “OVERRATED!”? Well, yesterday, the Braves played the Darth Vader/Imperial March theme song from Star Wars as he walked to the plate, and I think you already know what he did next:
— Baseball is Fun (@flippingbats) April 3, 2018