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Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Posnanski: The Beauty of Belief [Royals win Wild Card, headed to ALDS]

The Royals really are the closest baseball thing to a Coen Brothers movie. With two outs, the Royals tried some sort of double-steal with Billy Butler at first and Eric Hosmer at third. If I got the play right, and can write this without breaking down in convulsions, Butler was supposed to get hung up between first and second, distracting the A’s long enough to allow Hosmer to steal home. This, of course, ended in humiliation, with Hosmer being thrown out at the plate by 800 million steps, but as is often the case the spectacular ineptitude of the play was doubled or trebled by the Ned Yost explanation, where he explained that Butler left early and Hosmer left late and, otherwise, the Royals would have score a run.

Any comedian will tell you that you can’t explain comedy, and every effort to do so will just dig you deeper into anti-comedy, and maybe that’s why the straight-laced Yost always comes across so absurdly in these situations. Eric Hosmer is a generally lumbering first baseman, and Billy Butler might be the slowest player in baseball, and any complicated running play with these two is destined to become a Will Ferrell movie. It would have made me feel so much better if Yost had not given a considered answer on how that madcap scheme might have worked but instead said, “Yeah, that was crazy, right? Woo hop! Brain cramp! Hey, it’s the first postseason for me too!”

Esoteric Posted: October 01, 2014 at 04:53 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, kansas city, oakland, playoffs, royals

Fangraphs (Sullivan): How Jarrod Dyson Stole The Biggest Base Of His Life

An absolute must-read from Jeff Sullivan, with illustrative .GIFs showing exactly how Jarrod Dyson, a veteran basestealer, marked his man in Sean Doolittle, learned his “tell,” and took advantage. There’s more explanatory insight into the in-game situational awareness required to be a great basestealer than anything else I’ve ever read.

I want to talk about the biggest steal of the game. Maybe the biggest steal of the season? When Jarrod Dyson stole third base in the bottom of the ninth, it was worth .133 WPA to the Royals. When Josh Willingham opened the frame with a single, it was worth .133 WPA. When Aoki brought Dyson home, it was worth .133 WPA. Stolen bases are usually incremental factors, but Dyson got himself to third with one out in a one-run game, and the numbers tell you how important that was. Now let’s look at how Dyson stole the base off Doolittle, leaving Norris almost helpless.

Dyson led the American League this year in swipes of third, with ten. He was topped in the majors only by Billy Hamilton, and Hamilton was caught one more time than Dyson was. Dyson was rather famously picked off at second by Joe Nathan just a few weeks ago, but that wasn’t representative of his skills. Also, Dyson had just been inserted into the game, for a rather obvious purpose. Also, it happened before Dyson could get a good read. When Dyson was caught stealing this year, it was within the first one or two pitches. When he moved up to third, it was always after observing multiple pitches, sometimes several of them. Dyson got to see a lot of Doolittle before he finally took off.

Again: read, read, read.

Esoteric Posted: October 01, 2014 at 04:17 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, kansas city, oakland, poker tell, royals

FOX (Rosenthal): Kansas City Royals exorcise city’s three decades’ worth of demons

Worth clicking on for nothing more than the video of a thoroughly endearing clubhouse interview with Cristian Colon and basestealing hero Jarrod Dyson:

Players and former players texted me that Yost should be fired after he pulled right-hander “Big Game” James Shields in favor of rookie righty Yordano Ventura in the sixth inning. Yost chose Ventura, a starting pitcher, over a bullpen full of accomplished relievers. Moss hit a three-run homer, his second of the game, triggering a five-run rally.

At that point, I started writing a column comparing Yost to former Red Sox manager Grady Little, who was fired after sticking too long with Pedro Martinez in Game 7 of the 2003 American League Championship Series.

Red Sox fans, who at that point were still waiting for the “Curse of the Bambino” to end, would not have tolerated Little’s return. And I’m not sure Royals fans would have tolerated Yost’s return if the night had ended in bitter defeat.

But it did not.

Esoteric Posted: October 01, 2014 at 10:45 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, kansas city, oakland, playoffs, royals

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Fangraphs/Cistulli: Post-trade WAR for deadline trades

What follows is a list of all those same players, sorted by their WAR totals from August and September combined — which is to say, the two-month period since the trade deadline:

Small sample sizes alert!

But interesting.  The A’s acquisitions (Samardzija, Lester, Fuld, Hammel, Gomes) added 4.3 WAR so even if you deduct the full 1.3 WAR that Cespedes gave Boston, that’s a 3 win improvement.  The M’s acquisitions (Denorfia, Morales, Jackson) put up -1.1 WAR.  I wonder if they’d like that win back.

The Yanks also did very well despite Drew—he, Headley, Prado and McCarthy totaled 4 WAR.  Price was the other big prize and Peavy and Andrew Miller were good additions.

Walt Davis Posted: September 30, 2014 at 12:43 AM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, deadline trades, mariners, tigers, yankees

Friday, September 26, 2014

Josh Willingham plans to retire at season’s end, source says

The Ham is no longer Willing.

Josh Willingham insists he hasn’t made any decisions about his playing future.

However, an associate of the 35-year-old outfielder/designated hitter for the Kansas City Royals says he has told people close to him that he is “100 percent retiring” once this season ends.

Willingham, one of just three players in Twins history to hit at least 35 home runs in a season, disputed that version in a text message to the Pioneer Press.

“I haven’t made a decision yet and don’t know what I’m going to do,” Willingham wrote.

Slowed by a groin injury that has limited him to two starts since Sept. 11, Willingham is closing in on the first postseason appearance in his 11-year career.

Only seven active players have more career games than Willingham (1,146) without a postseason appearance.

Closing out a three-year, $21 million contract signed with the Twins after the 2011 season, Willingham was traded to Kansas City on Aug. 11 after the Royals claimed him on waivers. The Twins received Double-A right-hander Jason Adam in the deal, which saw the Royals pick up the remaining $1.836 million of the $7 million Willingham is owed this season.

A right-handed power hitter, Willingham hit 35 homers and drove in 110 runs in his 2012 Twins debut. Only Harmon Killebrew (eight times) has exceeded that homer total in Twins history.

Willingham was unable to follow that up due to nagging injuries to his knee (2013) and wrist (2014). He had a combined on-base/slugging percentage of .761 in 23 games (83 plate appearances) with the Royals.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 26, 2014 at 12:17 PM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, josh willingham, marlins, nationals, retirements, royals, twins

Friday, September 19, 2014

Athletics out of top wild-card spot, Texas sweeps

The latest loss to the team with the worst record in the majors dropped the A’s a half-game behind idle Kansas City for the first wild-spot slot. Oakland owned the best record in the big leagues as recently as Aug. 15.

The Phillies are up next which might be comforting if they had not just watched the Rangers eat their lunch. 

Royals/Tigers fans have to praying the A’s can right the ship.  A one game playoff against King Felix is a tall order.

Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: September 19, 2014 at 02:31 AM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, offense counts too

Monday, September 15, 2014

A’s lose Triple-A Sacramento affiliate

A source tells The Chronicle that Triple-A Sacramento has filed to end its longtime affiliation with the A’s, as I first reported was likely in May. That ends a fruitful 15-year relationship, and the River Cats could announce a new affiliation – overwhelmingly expected to be the Giants – as soon as tomorrow.

This move was entirely precipitated by the River Cats, not the A’s, who would prefer to keep their Triple-A affiliate 90 miles away.  Sacramento was the entity to file to end the agreement.

The A’s, meanwhile, have been eyeing Nashville, which has a brand-new stadium opening for the 2015 season.

Clearest sign yet the A’s are moving to Knoxville, home of the 1982 World’s Fair.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 15, 2014 at 05:27 PM | 93 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, minor league affiliations, sacramento

Friday, September 05, 2014

Oakland A’s’ Billy Beane talks wheeling and dealing and his team’s playoff hopes

Somehow, I get the feeling this article was basically finished at least a couple of weeks ago…

Twelve years after the Moneyball season of 2002, any move GM Billy Beane makes is viewed through a kaleidoscopic haze of fiction and fact. His life can sometimes feel as if it’s based on a true story. Perhaps that’s why Beane, the object of so many conspiratorial whisperings, has largely retreated from public view. He turns down most interview requests and often escapes, in season, to his home on Oregon’s Deschutes River, where he seeks Walden-like solitude, a hermit with a fly rod… I really don’t want to gyrate through every pitch over 162 games when those individual games may have nothing to do with what happens in the end [Beane said]. I don’t want to make decisions based on micro-events; that goes against what we try to do here. I try to remove myself and hopefully make rational decisions. We don’t take the small sample size. Do you think Warren Buffett sits around and watches Berkshire Hathaway stock every day?”...

Beane’s fear of the Angels is justified—“They have the best player who has ever walked on the planet” is how he describes Mike Trout. Still, it’s hard to escape the notion that [Jon] Lester was acquired for more than a late-September push to either hold off or overtake a division rival. After all, the regular season hasn’t been the problem. Over the past three seasons, the A’s have the best record in baseball.

The postseason, though, that’s a far different story… “Every time I make a move here, given our marketplace, it’s seen as risky and bold,” he says. “And depending on how you view bold, it could be seen as foolish. When I signed Ben Sheets for $10 million in 2010, everybody said, ‘Oh, they’re all-in.’

“Here’s the way it works: Just assume that every move we make in the front office means we’re all-in. We can’t afford a five-year plan, so every move means we’re trying to win every game we possibly can. All-in—I never liked that term. For one thing, I don’t have that many chips to throw into the middle of the table.”

The District Attorney Posted: September 05, 2014 at 11:44 AM | 26 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, billy beane

No No: A Dockumentary - Rotten Tomatoes

No No: A Dockumentary, a portrait of Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Dock Ellis and the no-hitter he threw while on acid, is at 100 percent.

Movie Info

On June 12, 1970, Dock Ellis threw a no-hitter for the Pittsburgh Pirates. In 137 years of organized professional baseball, it’s the only no-hitter tossed while the pitcher was on LSD. Dock was often embroiled in controversy on and off the field. While professional baseball hadn’t fully embraced racial equality, he was an outspoken leader who lived the expression ‘Black is Beautiful!’ His fearlessness enabled him to become one of the most intimidating pitchers of the 70’s and a trailblazer for a new wave of civil rights. (C) The Orchard

Unrated, 1 hr. 40 min.
Documentary, Special Interest
Directed By: Jeffrey Radice
In Theaters: Sep 5, 2014 Limited
The Orchard - Official Site

The District Attorney Posted: September 05, 2014 at 11:04 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, dock ellis, mets, movies, no no a dockumentary, pirates, rangers, yankees

Monday, September 01, 2014

Bob Melvin calls Athletics ‘pathetic’ after Angels sweep four-game set

Plus some #umpshow action!

Manager Bob Melvin verbally unloaded on his team Sunday — at least for Bob Melvin, it was unloading — after the Oakland Athletics were swept in a four-game series against the Los Angeles Angels. The Athletics fell 8-1 in the series finale, putting them five games back of the Angels in the American League West. Oakland didn’t score in 29 straight innings over the course of four games, from the sixth inning Thursday until the eighth inning Sunday, writes Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle...

What can you say? It was embarrassing. Pathetic. We don’t play like that. The last three games here are the worst I’ve seen this team play in… I can’t remember how long. I feel bad for our fans to have to watch that.

Melvin conducted a closed-door team meeting after the game, giving the players a more emotional version of what he told the media. Usually mild mannered, Melvin also was ejected in the second inning by umpire Gerry Davis. The A’s already had been at odds with Davis, who earlier in the series reportedly made a “crying baby gesture” to the A’s when they complained about another call or calls…

It was just frustrating. We can’t play like that. We’re not going to be able to play like that. The reason I’m upset is because that’s not who we are. That’s not who we’ve been for three years. And for the last… I don’t know how long, it’s mounted. It’s been frustrating. But that last three games for us is just not who we are. At all. And it’s embarrassing. They all should be embarrassed.

I’m done. Thank you.

The District Attorney Posted: September 01, 2014 at 01:23 AM | 22 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, athletics, bob melvin

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Athletics Acquire Adam Dunn

Woulda fit in better with the John Jaha/Matt Stairs crew, but oh well. Cue various “never been to the postseason” lists.

The A’s have acquired Adam Dunn from the White Sox in exchange for minor league pitcher Nolan Sanburn, the team announced. Though the A’s were on his limited no-trade clause, word broke this morning that Dunn, who has never played in the postseason, was willing to waive that clause in order for a chance to win.

Dunn, 34, is hitting .220/.340/.433 with 20 homers on the season… The hope for the A’s is that adding some left-handed pop can help to spark an offense that has gone dormant in the month of August… John Jaso has served as Oakland’s left-handed DH quite a bit this season, but the A’s recently placed Jaso on the seven-day disabled list due to concussion-like symptoms, and they’ve been mixing and matching with Brandon Moss, Coco Crisp, Derek Norris and Gomes of late. Crisp, however, has recently re-strained his neck, which could lead to more outfield time for Moss, especially if Crisp is out for a significant amount of time.

Dunn is in the final season of a four-year, $56MM pact with the White Sox, meaning he is owed about $2.54MM for the month of September.

The District Attorney Posted: August 31, 2014 at 11:42 AM | 44 comment(s)
  Beats: adam dunn, athletics, trades, transactions, white sox

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Sullivan: Why Mike Trout—and the rest of the league—is having trouble with the high stuff

Pitchers, by and large, are working lower. The called strike zone has followed them... Hitters are… swinging at more pitches in the lower third… Contact rates on pitches up have declined. Contact rates on pitches down have very slightly improved… here’s what this has led to: in 2008, hitters slugged 30 points better against high strikes than they did against low strikes. The next season, they slugged 51 points better. Fast-forward now to 2014, and you’ll observe that now hitters are slugging 10 points worse against those same high strikes…

Yet, pitchers continue to work down. It’s how they’ve long been instructed, and it’s where offspeed pitches are usually supposed to go… From a recent Business Week Astros profile:

advanced data yielded a useful insight: Major league hitters had become so adept at hitting low pitches that they were vulnerable to high ones. [Billy] Beane had discovered a particularly clever countermove. “€œBeane stayed ahead of the curve,”€ says [Astros pitching coach Brent] Strom, “€œby finding hitters with a steep upward swing path to counter the sinking action of pitchers trying to induce ground balls.”

Billy Beane put together a baseball team constructed to fight those low pitches… The Astros had Collin McHugh start to throw more elevated four-seam fastballs… McHugh is having an outstanding season out of nowhere…

So this is how we proceed in the league’s hunt for equilibrium. For years, pitchers worked to throw down more and more often… The league has started to respond… [and] now the league will eventually respond to the response, re-establishing the upper parts of the zone. McHugh is one example… And then, in time, there [will] just be a response to the response to the response. Look closely enough and there’s no such thing as equilibrium at all.


FG: The A’s and Hitting With Men On Base

The “guess the A’s new inefficiency!” game is easily caricatured, but I do think they’ve got something. Here’s one theory…

Earlier this month I wrote about how the A’s front office is currently outpacing their competition when it comes to roster construction.  I focused primarily on how they’ve taken the platoon advantage to another level, loading up on defensively versatile players to allow for day-to-day lineup construction that maximizes the number of plate appearances where their hitters have the platoon advantage.  As a result of this, they get 70% of their PAs with the platoon advantage, as compared to the league average of 55%.  As part of my investigation into the platoon splits of A’s players, I also noticed another split of interest: offensive performance with runners on base as compared to with the bases empty.  After investigation, I’ve concluded that the A’s have identified and targeted players that have higher offensive production with runners on base…

taking [the A’s] players’ careers in aggregate gives us 27,000 plate appearances; across these, the players show in an increase of 14 points of BABIP and 53 points of OPS with runners aboard.  When compared to league average (6 points of BABIP and 38 points of OPS), it really looks like the A’s are targeting players that have some inherent, non-random ability to perform better with runners on base (to a greater extent than average).

The District Attorney Posted: August 30, 2014 at 03:21 PM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, sabermetrics

Friday, August 29, 2014

Angels beat Athletics, Oakland protests game after obstruction call

The really weird play was the one where Gordon Beckham got a hit.

The Angels beat the Athletics 4-3 in 10 innings Thursday night on a walk-off sacrifice fly by Howie Kendrick, giving the Halos a two-game lead over Oakland in the American League West. But the A’s played the game under protest thanks to a controversial obstruction call in the ninth inning… Angels shortstop Erick Aybar led off the ninth inning of a 3-3 tie with a bouncer up the first base line, then collided with A’s pitcher Dan Otero.

The District Attorney Posted: August 29, 2014 at 11:39 AM | 30 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, athletics, rules

Monday, August 25, 2014

FG: Joe Maddon’s Bunting Identity Crisis

I also thought the graph of “league wide WPA on sac bunts” was extremely interesting.

Since he began leading the Rays in 2006, Joe Maddon has been known as one of the more progressive MLB managers… He’s even spoke out publicly against sac bunting in the past… [yet] The Tampa Bay Rays have attempted 58 non-pitcher sacrifice bunts this season, by far the highest mark in the major leagues. No other team has even 50… Just 35 of those 58 attempts have turned into “successful” sacrifice bunts… 35-of-58 yields a 60% success rate. That’s bad. The league average success rate for a sacrifice bunt is 71%. Only five teams have lower success rates on bunts than the Rays this year…

the Rays, despite having attempted more sac bunts than anyone, have not executed more sac bunts than anyone. Instead, that title goes to Terry Francona’s Indians, with a league-leading 38 successful sacrifice bunts. The Indians, like the Rays, are known as one of the most progressive organizations in baseball and Francona has a reputation as a progressive manager from his time with the Theo Epstein-led Red Sox who didn’t bunt at all…  both the Indians (104 wRC+) and Rays (102 wRC+) have top-1o offenses in baseball this season… The Indians have at least bunted well, which is more than the Rays can say, with an 82% success rate that is topped only by the Rangers’ 86%...

To be honest, I really can’t think of a good explanation as to why Maddon and Francona have fallen in love with the sacrifice bunt this year. Both have proven to be anti-bunt in the past and have strong lineups, yet rely on the bunt more than any other manager in baseball seemingly to a fault.

Just for fun, since we’re talking about the Rays and the Indians, what do the bunting habits of the Moneyball A’s look like? Fewest in the league, with just 12. Part of that is due in part to their league-worst 44% success rate, but they’ve also attempted just 24, the sixth-fewest in the MLB.

 

The District Attorney Posted: August 25, 2014 at 06:31 PM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, indians, joe maddon, rays, strategy, terry francona

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Athletics Acquire Geovany Soto

TIL Geovany Soto has played okay at times in the past six years.

The Athletics have acquired catcher Geovany Soto from the Rangers, Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish tweets, confirming a tweet from Mark Madson. The Rangers will receive cash considerations for Soto, Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Passan tweets... Soto is making $3.05MM and will be a free agent this winter.

The Athletics already have two good catchers in Derek Norris and John Jaso on their active roster, but Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets that Jaso has recently experienced worsening concussion symptoms and will likely need a stay on the disabled list. And as ESPN’s Buster Olney tweets, Stephen Vogt, another catcher on the active roster, is currently dealing with a foot issue that makes catching difficult.

The District Attorney Posted: August 24, 2014 at 05:01 PM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, geovany soto, rangers, trades, transactions

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Jerry Lumpe Dies

RIP, Jerry Lumpe, KC A’s stalwart.

Vrhovnik Posted: August 17, 2014 at 12:56 PM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, history, kansas city, tigers, yankees

Saturday, August 16, 2014

There’s cause for concern with A’s, but let’s not go overboard

So is it time to worry? Probably. Panic? Nah.
...
Here are the slash lines, followed by runs per game by month:

March/April: .261/.351/.412; 5.26 RPG
May: .239/.326/.421; 5.07
June: .261/.326/.383; 5.08
July: .251/.307/.403; 4.52
August: .229/.301/.333; 3.73

In this age of screaming clickbate at every turn, I admire an article that has the courage to announce: ‘Y’know, it’s probably nothing’.

The Angels are within one.  Their game with the Rangers tonight was a good example of what’s wrong with baseball.  The eighth and ninth innings saw seven pitchers used to get 12 outs.  Blah.

Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: August 16, 2014 at 03:47 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, offense counts too

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Buschmann: The real reason why pitchers get injured (INSIDER)

The writer, Matt Buschmann, is currently a starting pitcher for the Athletics top minor league affiliate.

I’ve been in professional baseball since 2006 and every year there seems to be a rash of injuries that plague pitchers. This inevitably leads to an eclectic mix of baseball people comprising a panel trying to explain the injury epidemic on local and national baseball television shows. Each time I catch one—and there were several in 2014 due to a slew of spring training injuries—I’m left shaking my head in frustration….

This sudden realization that locating pitches is paramount leads to a lot of young pitchers making mechanical changes. Their once athletic motion built around throwing fastballs with some giddy-up morphs into whatever motion that allows them to throw the ball where they want. As a result, the built-in mechanisms of an athletic motion to protect the arm (for instance, take stress off the elbow and shoulder) slowly disappear. The shoulders begin to level out and the head has less movement and begins to take a more linear path down to the glove. Instead of the hips leading the head, it starts to become the other way around. While these little adjustments will lead to more consistent command down in the zone, they also hang the arm out to dry.

It is at this intersection of velocity and control where the highest risk for injury seems to occur. The pitchers whom have the best of both worlds seem to be the ones breaking down. It’s also no secret that these pitchers are the highest paid and most successful, therefore creating more high-profile injuries. When promising phenoms like Matt Harvey, Jose Fernandez and Stephen Strasburg go down with injuries, people want explanations. They talk about factors like pitch count and overuse, but I don’t think that’s the root of the problem. It masks the underlying issues.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 13, 2014 at 11:48 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, mechanics, pitch counts, pitcher injuries, velocity

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Sean Doolittle: Life as a player for the Oakland ‘Mathletics’

The 1940s Yankees had good wOPS…

Baseball is a game of numbers, and we at the Oakland Athletics keep track of everything… So exactly which metrics do the A’s value most when assessing potential players? I think I’ve finally figured it out…

wOPS (weighted overhead press): This gem calculates how strong a player is to determine whether he can carry a team. In Oakland, no one player carries our team. We all have very similar wOPS numbers.

BABIP: That’s batting average on balls in play, right? Wrong. It’s baseball averages compared to Bip Roberts. According to Baseball-Reference.com, over 12 seasons, Bip Roberts held a .294 batting average and a .358 on-base percentage and had a 162-game average of 36 stolen bases per year. Roberts played his final season for the A’s in 1998, but sabermetricians still use his stats when evaluating players…

Contact percentage: This metric is out of this world—literally. This number indicates how often a player is able to successfully decode messages received from outer space (just like Jodie Foster’s character in the 1997 film “Contact”). Although this is an interesting metric, it has nothing to do with baseball, so it’s not a great indicator of future performance. But it is a great movie…

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m about to be shoved into my locker.

 

The District Attorney Posted: August 12, 2014 at 12:49 PM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, sabermetrics, sean doolittle

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Coco Crisp’s New Haircut is Interesting

Oakland A’s centerfield Coco Crisp’s afro is famous. Why it even has its own blog.

We regret to inform you that Coco Crisp no longer has an afro. Instead, he has this:

The District Attorney Posted: August 09, 2014 at 10:01 PM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, coco crisp, fashion

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Mets Latch On to Cupping Therapy, and Have the Marks to Prove It

The millennia-old art of cupping traditionally involves using a flame to create a vacuum inside a glass bulb, which is then applied to the skin for as long as 15 minutes. Blood is pulled to the area, causing bruising and, ostensibly, relief of tight, sore muscles. Some believe that cupping can also help with arthritis, eczema and migraine headaches, among other ailments.

Today, teams like the Mets and others that practice cupping use a mechanical suction pump to create the vacuum. Nick Paparesta, the trainer for the Oakland Athletics, said in an interview that virtually the entire A’s roster has undergone cupping therapy at some point this season. Paparesta called it a “twofold solution” because it can provide both immediate and long-term relief of lower back or oblique tightness, and can be done post-surgery to help reduce scarring….

Medical studies, however, don’t back up these claims, according to a doctor who has researched alternative treatments.

“There’s absolutely zero evidence that cupping has any kind of positive role in medicine,” said Barrie Cassileth, the chief of integrative medicine service at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. She said the post-cupping bruises result simply from the suction on the skin, which may be more harmful to circulation than helpful.

“I cannot conceive of any benefit except a psychological benefit,” said Cassileth, who has written books on alternative treatments and noted that, unlike cupping, holistic therapies such as acupuncture have been proved effective in medical tests….

Though [players] insist that cupping does have a physical effect, they also recognize the mental aspect. [Vic] Black, one of the [Mets’] most ardent supporters of the treatment, said, “The placebo effect is a lot more powerful than people realize.”

That’s why multiple players said that even if a doctor told them definitively that cupping has no benefit, they would continue doing it anyway.

“There’s more belief in it, and that’s why I feel comfortable doing it,” Black said. “That’s why everything works.”

Whatever the upside, physical or mental, it’s all part of athletes’ unending quest to stay fit. They will try almost anything, especially if it comes recommended from one of their peers.

Said [Matt] Harvey, “If I went in and did it and just saw a bunch of circles on my back and it didn’t actually feel better after I did it, then I wouldn’t do it.”

The District Attorney Posted: August 06, 2014 at 10:21 AM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, injuries, mets

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Rays’ road win streak ends in a weird 3-2 loss to A’s

Its a shame about Rays.

“What am I going to say right now?” Balfour asked aloud. “All the things I’m not supposed to say, or the things you want to hear? … What do you want out of me? You want the truth? Or just want hear whatever you (expletive deleted) want to hear?”

Balfour had just blown another game, allowing the winning run on an 0-2 single by Derek Norris with two outs and the bases loaded, scoring former Ray Sam Fuld, who reached on an 0-2 single, with two walks in between.

But there also was a checked swing called on what would have been strike three on Josh Donaldson that wasn’t called the Rays’ way — leading to manager Joe Maddon’s ejection, and blasting of the umps — and a popup that dropped in foul territory between Rays first baseman Sean Rodriguez and rightfielder Kevin Kiermaier, both extending the at-bat that led to the bases-loading walk….

The Rays still had runners at first and third with one out, and Maddon sent up one of his best bunters, Brandon Guyer, to take one swing then try their signature safety squeeze play. Guyer reached for a Sean Doolittle pitch that was too high and bunted it right back to the mound, and Doolittle flipped to Norris to get Rodriguez.

Though Guyer’s effort was admirable, his decision was bad. “The point is to take it,” Maddon said. “You don’t have to bunt it. That’s part of the play.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 05, 2014 at 09:26 AM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, grant balfour, rays, safety squeeze

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Athletics, Twins Swap Tommy Milone, Sam Fuld

Is “guys who read Moneyball” the new market inefficiency?

The Twins have acquired lefty Tommy Milone from the A’s in exchange for outfielder Sam Fuld, the teams have announced.

Milone… lost his rotation spot with the Athletics earlier this month when the team acquired Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel… Milone had pitched to a solid 3.55 ERA with 5.7 K/9, 2.4 BB/9 and a 38.4 percent fly-ball rate in 96 1/3 innings this season. He owns a 3.84 ERA with 6.5 K/9, 2.0 BB/9 and 36.8 percent ground-ball rate in 468 2/3 innings for the Nationals and Athletics. He is eligible for arbitration for the first time this offseason and can be controlled through the 2017 campaign…

The 32-year-old Fuld has been excellent for the Twins in 2014, slashing .274/.370/.354 with a homer, a dozen steals (in 15 attempts) and standout defense in both left and center field. In addition to platooning with [Jonny] Gomes, he can serve as a center field option for the A’s with Craig Gentry on the disabled list and Coco Crisp currently ailing. Fuld is a career .240/.323/.337 hitter and can be controlled via arbitration through the 2016 campaign.

The District Attorney Posted: July 31, 2014 at 11:45 AM | 23 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, sam fuld, tommy milone, trades, transactions, twins

A’s Acquire Lester, Gomes For Cespedes

Cespedes for Mabry???

The Athletics have acquired Jon Lester from the Red Sox, according to Alex Speier of WEEI.com (Twitter links). In what will be a blockbuster deal, Jonny Gomes and Yoenis Cespedes will head to Boston. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports first reported that Lester had been traded to an unknown club.

Passan tweets that Oakland is also sending a competitive balance draft pick to the Red Sox in the trade, and Boston is sending cash to Oakland. The A’s landed the second pick in Comp Round B in last week’s lottery.


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