Ben Lindbergh and Jeff Sullivan banter about (and/or follow up on) Miguel Montero’s Cubs demise, philosophical Pirates quotes, Carter Capps, unusual ballpark constructions, jams and rallies, and target-based hitting competitions, then answer listener emails about extra-inning wins by wide margins, Jake Arrieta’s career vs. Brad Radke’s career, David Ortiz’s value, rampant base-stealing in single games, Theo Epstein’s workload, catcher interference, and the latest lexicon questions, including inside-the-park homering, working walks, comebacks, breaking the game wide open, and insurance runs.
- Email questions
- Miguel Montero released, after being applauded as a clubhouse leader.
- Is the the beginning of the end of the Cubs good clubhouse chemistry?
- Wimer Font is leading strikeout minus walk rate in AAA by 6%, and was a minor league free agent.
- Philosophical Pirates
- Follow up on Carter Capps
- Weird Stadium follow up.
- Tony in Albquerque (Patreon): I just listened to this Tuesday's podcast, which included a discussion of Carter Capps' ejection over the weekend. I thought you might like to hear from an eyewitness! I actually saw Carter and the Chihuahuas at an Isotopes game earlier in the month, and his appearance came and went without serious incident. Thus, when he came into the game Sunday night, I didn't have any suspicions that anything was going to go awry. He was coming on, I believe, to start the 8th inning of a game with the score Albuquerque 9, El Paso 5. The first warning came on the very first pitch! I hadn't noticed any significant differences between this pitch and the warm up pitches he had thrown, but it wasn't too difficult to figure what was going on. The second warning came two pitches later, and again, I couldn't spot anything significantly different in his delivery. Then again, I am neither a scout, nor a AAA umpire, so what do I know? Anyway, it was at this time that Barajas came out and got tossed. He was, as you might imagine, fairly animated with the first base umpire, who had been calling the illegal pitches. Capps didn't seem that upset at this point. The game continued, and he worked the count to 2-2 before uncorking a wild pitch that bounced in the dirt, and then bounced up, hitting the home plate ump in what appeared to be A Sensitive Area. Following the old baseball tradition of "wander around until play is ready to resume," the catcher walked in front of the plate to deliver a new ball to Capps, who joined them there. They chatted for a moment, then suddenly the home plate ump snapped to attention and marched up to join them. A brief bit of jawing ensued, and then Capps was tossed, whereupon he had to be physically restrained from going after the umpire! Needless to say, this was all highly entertaining to the hometown crowd. I was talking later with a friend, and found out that El Paso had had something of a beef with the home plate up of Saturday night's game, so Barajas' outburst, at least, may not have been as much about Capps' pitches as much as an eruption over the series as a whole.
- Tim: Your conversation on Friday about the unique field in Colorado hit a chord close to my heart. My high school alma mater, The Heights School, has a field that seemed perfectly normal to me as someone who practiced, played and coached there, but drew the ire of every opposing team. As you can see from the images attached, it looks like a somewhat normal baseball field with dirt and grass (albeit patchy) until you notice a few of the details that come with trying to fit a baseball field into a rectangular field in a highly populated suburb of D.C. 1) There is a 20 foot tall hill in right field which is only 180 feet away from home plate. The hill runs from the right field foul line to deep center and yes we assure every umpire that asks, the hill is in play. Balls over the fence are ground rule doubles depending on if they are to the right or left of a specific gate. 2) Conveniently the backstop is only a few feet away from home plate meaning that catchers who can block are optional and passed balls don't show up in the box score. 3) The left field line is only about 200 hundred feet away, but the angle of the fence means it quickly goes to over 400 feet. The most amusing would be to see how the poor freshman the opposition put in right field decided to play the hill. Would they stand at the base of the hill or stumble and fall as their stride was broken by an abrupt climb? It definitely gave us an advantage as popups would easily turn into doubles and 9-3 was a common scoring play we practiced often.
- Nick: I knew that the talk about there being a hill that slopes downward in the outfield seemed familiar to me and I finally found where I heard it before. Willie Keeler, of "hit them where they ain't" fame, played OF for Baltimore in the 1890s and the outfield there had a down slope to it: https://books.google.com/books?id=F-BuebE4VsUC&pg=PA174&lpg=PA174&dq=down+slope+in+baltimore+baseball+field+1890s&source=bl&ots=kY8BXz76AL&sig=5am_fdumgUjZO8G71zySJioKGU8&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiX6Nzf3N7UAhVBxoMKHRO6C5UQ6AEIRTAG#v=onepage&q=down%20slope%20in%20baltimore%20baseball%20field%201890s&f=false The passage here makes a reference to how he would hide balls on the down slope, so that if the ball got hit down the hill, he could simply grab a ball hidden in the grass and throw it in quickly. I couldn't find where I read this story, but I remember reading in a book once that this ruse was discovered when he and another outfield both chased a ball down the slope and to the shock of everyone, two balls ended up being thrown towards the infield.
- Andrew (Patreon): A couple of minor follow-ups from last week's email show: 1) I don't think the Venn diagram of Jams & Rallies completely overlap. The easiest example is the team that is down by 3 but hits back-to-back-to-back-to-back solo HRs to take the lead
- Jeff: I disagree that a “rally” must come when a team is behind. If nothing else, we have to include a tie game, don’t we? If a team goes into the bottom of the ninth in a tie game and strings together three or four straight hits to win the game, that’s going to be called a “game-winning rally,” isn’t it? But even beyond that, I think the definition of a rally is really tied more to the tennis definition than anything else: it’s a sustained series of hits. If a team has has fourteen hits in an inning, that’s a rally no matter what the score was when the inning began. I think part of the reason referring to a home run as a “rally killer” became a thing is because a home run kind of lets the pitcher reset — okay, no runners on, let’s just pretend this is a new inning and put the unpleasantness behind us. Obviously, it gets taken too far when people think a home run is actually a bad thing because it killed a rally, because by definition a rally-killing homer scored you at least two runs. But in the sense that a rally is a constant series of baserunners moving around the bases, yes, a homer can “kill” a rally (although the things you would have had to do to continue the previous rally will now just serve to start another one).
- Tom Pringle UK listener http://mlb.mlb.com/social/mlb-battlegrounds/bst/
- Tom: As a Red Sox fan, it's my duty to think up ways to further inflate David Ortiz legacy. We always say that the DH gets "penalized" by WAR for not playing the field, but I present this argument: Ortiz, a comically bad fielder, was providing value by *not* being a liability the field. Is this valid? Or is it a faulty premise?
- Jeff: If you could be a player, whose MLB career would you rather have? Your options are Jake Arrieta or Brad Radke. Radke had nearly three times the career value, but Arrieta has a World Series ring and was the best pitcher in baseball for a brief time. Radke never reached the heights that Arrieta has and played for a worse team, but it looks like his time as a good pitcher might end up being significantly longer than Arrieta’s.
- Andy (Patreon), 7-run margin has happened 36 times, 23 bigger margins: The Cards just won 8-1 in the 11th. As hard as it is to break a tie in that fashion, it got me to thinking: How lopsided can an extra-inning game get, historically? This seems like it could be one of Jeff's lists where the top may be WAY ahead of 2nd place.
- Eric: If Theo Epstein decided that his job with the Cubs was too strenuous for him and took a GM job that promised him he would only work a 40 hour work week, and he would be disconnected at all other times would he be the worst GM in baseball?
- David: I saw a headline this morning on Rotoworld that said "Gallo Goes 3-4 With a Bomb vs Blue Jays." As I am sure you are aware, Gallo's HR was of the inside-the-park variety. Can this still be considered a bomb? Are here are other HR nicknames that only apply to the inside-the-park variety that could have been pulled out on this occasion?
- Tyler: I have another entry to add to the Baseball Semantics Pantheon. I was watching a game the other day and after the batter took four straight balls, the announcer praised him for "working a walk." That didn't sit right with me. I feel like "working a walk" is fouling off a few pitches in a 3-2 count before taking a close pitch outside. What say you?
- Adam: In keeping with two recent Effectively Wild trends, I have a question that involves both the Reds and unnecessarily detailed discussions of baseball terminology. On the Nationals broadcast tonight Bob Carpenter commented that the Reds have twice given up a four run lead. The Nats trailed 4-0 after the top of the first, then 5-1 in the third. Doesn't giving up a lead imply that you are either now tied or behind? So for his comment to be true, the Nats would have needed to trail 4-0, tie it at 4-4, then come back to tie it after an 8-4 deficit. On the other side of this, does saying a team has 'come back' from a deficit require that they have tied the game or taken the lead? If they trim a 5-0 to 5-3, can you say that they have come back, or does it need an additional qualifier (ie almost come back, staging a comeback, etc.)?
- Kellen: During the Cardinals/Reds telecast the commentator mentions the Cardinals had a chance to break the game wide open. It was the 6th inning, bases loaded with Cardinals already carrying a 7-1 lead. At what point in a game would a team be considered to have broken the game wide open? And by how many runs? Also can you briefly describe the parameters of insurance runs.
- Russell: This thought just occurred to me while listening to Jacoby Ellsbury reach on yet another catcher's interference. It seems like this happens every week with him. If you limit the scope of this question to things that actually help your team, is drawing a catcher's interference the weirdest thing you can be good at in baseball?
- The Cubs allowed the Nationals to steal 7 bases against last night.
- There were 2 games with 10 stolen bases in 9 innings, in 1996 the Dodgers lost to the Rockies and the Rockies stole 10 bases, in 200 the Marlins stole 10 bases against the Padres and the Padres still won, the Marlins scored 2 runs.
- The 2001 Boston Red Sox allowed 223 stolen bases, which is most since 1974.
- The 2007 Padres caught only 20 runners and allowed 189 steals, that's a 90.4 % steals against success.
- Between the years 2006-2008 by stolen bases allowed the Cubs 321, the Yankees 341, the Blue Jays 350 ,the White Sox 353, and the Padres allowed 507, the Padres also ranked 3rd worst in stolen bases allowed.
- In 2007 Chris Young allowed 44 stolen bases on 44 attempts for the Padres.
- Miguel Montero said it was Jake Arrieta’s slow delivery that let the 7 runners from last night steal, but it would go against his stats.
- Miguel Montero ranks last in pop time.
- Victor Caratini is coming up to replace Miguel Montero.
- Trevor Williams said such is life about baseball and the guys talked about a similar quote by John Jaso in Episode 1048.
- Someone who went to game that Carter Capps and received 2 warnings, before a ball got away and hit him in a sensitive area, then got tossed. He got the warnings seemingly randomly.
- There was once a ballplayer that would hide a ball on a downslope so if a ball got behind him he would pick up the other ball and throw it back.
- Ben thinks the case that David Ortiz should not be a hall of famer because he was only a DH is a bad case.
- Alex Rodriguez once grabbed a kid away from getting hit by a car.
- Jeff and Ben picked to have Jake Arrieta’s career, but Ben would have picked Tommy John over Jake Arrieta’s.
- On August 1st, 1976 the Twins allowed 12 stolen bases to the A’s, and won.
- That game was caught by Glenn Borgman was a good defensive catcher and didn't often allow many steals.
- A 7 run differential in an extra inning game is actually pretty common, there have been 23 larger margins of victory, the largest margin of victory in an extra inning game is 12.
- Theo Epstein reportedly works 18 hour days.
- Pat Gillick once went on vacation so he would not make a move.
- Inside the park can really just be called as a round tripper or shot.
- 7 - 1 lead is already blown wide open, Ben says a 5% win probably and expectancy based.
- The concept of an insurance run is anything that extends the lead past 1.
- Reaching on drop third strikes may be weirdest thing to be best at.