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Jim Furtado
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Editor - Baseball Primer


Not Thurman Newsbeat

Friday, October 09, 2015

MLB Division Series set for 4 games in one day |

I’m really looking forward to watching some playoff baseball today.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 09, 2015 at 12:05 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: playoffs

Mariners reportedly dismiss Lloyd McClendon |

The purge in Seattle continues.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 09, 2015 at 12:04 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: lloyd mcclendon, managers, mariners

Johnny Cueto must reclaim his ace title in Game 2 | The Kansas City Star

“We didn’t do what we did as a team all year,” Alex Gordon said.

“Tomorrow is another day,” Alcides Escobar said.

“We have to come back out tomorrow, even it up and go back to their place,” Eric Hosmer said.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 09, 2015 at 11:26 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: johnny cueto, playoffs, royals

MLB not enforcing new pace-of-play rules during playoffs

Time is a construct. Its ALWAYS OCTOBER

Major League Baseball’s attempt to speed up the pace of play shaved, on average, six minutes off the length of regular-season games. But don’t expect the time of games to drop well into the playoffs.

MLB has elected not to warn players for any pace-of-play violations for the postseason due to the importance of the games.

MORE: Lessons from KC vs HOU | 12 players with dubious postseason distinctions

Even as commercial breaks in the postseason have increased, certain pitchers in the wild-card games still weren’t ready to pitch within the recommended time frame.

For example, Pirates reliever Antonio Bastardo’s discussion with catcher Francisco Cervelli in Wednesday’s NL wild-card game lengthened the break between innings to nearly four minutes. But since it is the playoffs, MLB will look the other way.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 09, 2015 at 11:26 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: commercials, pace of play, rob manfred, television

Star-Studded All-Rookie Team Offers Immense Upside -

BA’s All-Rookie Team.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 09, 2015 at 10:50 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: rookies

The Curious Case Of The Extra .2 Seconds -

How does this impact companies which do a lot of analysis based on video?

Look at Arrieta’s front foot and his glove in this progression. Yes, Jake Arrieta is an amazing pitcher. He combines a plus-plus fastball with a wear-you-out slider and impeccable command. But even more impressively, Arrieta has managed to figure out a way to bend the laws of time and space. How do you hit a pitcher who manages to reverse time in the middle of his delivery?

OK, maybe that’s not the best explanation. There has to be another explanation that doesn’t refute Albert Einstein.

A call to TBS this morning offered something that doesn’t violate the laws of physics: that live broadcast you’re watching, well, it’s a little less live than you think.

The technology MLB uses to serve those virtual ads behind home plate? They require a little pause that refreshes when switching to the center field camera. This is true no matter if it’s ESPN, TBS, MLB Network or Fox Sports 1 broadcasting the game. The Sportvision technology requires the shot to back up .18 seconds to put the ads in the right place. That Bleacher Report ad isn’t actually there. It only exists in bits and bytes and the tech needs a little time to get it served up properly, apparently.

I’m not saying I fully understand why the technology needs a delay. I’m not sure the person explaining it could have explained it any better. But we know enough.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 09, 2015 at 09:08 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, scouting, technology

Yoenis Cespedes’ Cuba: Mets star came from humble beginnings - NY Daily News

Home plate used to be located right behind the roadside bus stop in this tiny town more than 400 miles southeast of Havana. This is where a young Yoenis Cespedes would step into the batter’s box (cajon del bateador) across the street from a vast mango tree grove and routinely blast baseballs into the distant thick grass, earning him the nickname La Potencia — The Power — from his neighborhood peers.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 09, 2015 at 08:29 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: mets, playoffs, yoenis cespedes

Jon Lester’s former teammates say postseason his time to shine - Chicago Tribune

If only more players wanted to win.

“They didn’t make a mistake when we signed him to be our leader of our staff,” said Dempster, a 2013 teammate of Lester who recruited him to the Cubs after becoming a special assistant to general manager Jed Hoyer.

“He has pushed Jake Arrieta to be better. He has pushed other guys in the rotation to be better. I just watched him (with the Red Sox) and saw how much he wanted it, how hard he worked for it. It’s so much fun to see a guy work that hard and see everything he gets.

“For him to be back in the playoffs is so awesome.”

Jim Furtado Posted: October 09, 2015 at 08:27 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, john lester, playoffs, will to win

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 10-9-2015

Grand Forks Daily Herald, October 9, 1915:

The Boston Americans evened things up today by winning the second game of the world’s series from the Philadelphia Nationals by the score of 2 to 1.

Foster, in addition to pitching a masterly game for the visitors, allowing but three hits, won his own game in the ninth inning by driving out a single that sent Gardner home with the winning run. It was Foster’s third hit of the day, having previously gotten a double.

Mayer pitched well for Philadelphia, but was a bit unsteady at critical moments.

President Wilson and the first lady of the land-to-be, watched the game and cheered unusual plays.

I like that a lot: Cheering unusual plays. Anyway, that’s an impressive performance from Foster. “World Series MVP” wasn’t a thing in 1915, but it almost certainly would have been Rube Foster: 2-0 record, two complete games, 5 runs (4 earned) allowed in 18 innings, .500 batting average (4 for 8), a double, and a game-winning hit.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: October 09, 2015 at 08:23 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, rube foster, world series

Cal Ripken might be biggest risk for Nats, but he also offers biggest rewards - The Washington Post

This idea is insane. The same worst/best case can be used to support any person on the planet.

What’s the worst case for hiring Urkel as the next Nationals’ manager? The team stinks. The best case is the Nationals win World Series after World Series. As an added benefit we’d get to hear him explain away every mistake with “Did I do that?” How wouldn’t that endear him to the fans and players?

And look, the team wouldn’t even have to buy him a shirt!

What’s the worst case? You hire Ripken and, for a couple of years, he resembles another shaved-headed, home-run-hitting Gold Glove stoic: Matt Williams. But other fears are legitimate. Poor chemistry between Ripken and also-stubborn General Manager Mike Rizzo could have longer-term repercussions. That’s the key relationship to analyze.

What’s the best case? Ripken is the manager of outstanding teams in Washington — as a bonus at a time when the Nats and Orioles are brawling in court over mega-millions in cable-TV money. That’s fannies in seats, eyeballs on TVs and even an image remake for a Washington team now seen as just a little too full of Natitude. Ripken does modesty and kick-your-rear (simultaneously) as well as anyone.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 09, 2015 at 08:18 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: cal ripken jr, manager, nationals

A Short(-ish) Introduction to Using R Packages for Baseball Research – The Hardball Times

If you are a budding sabermetrician, this is a must-read article. Great job, Bill Petti!

Jim Furtado Posted: October 09, 2015 at 06:51 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics

Molina is ‘ready to go’ : Sports

All hands on deck!

Jim Furtado Posted: October 09, 2015 at 06:49 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, playoffs, yadier molina

Brewers David Stearns set for first offseason |

What’s he going to do differently than other GMs?

“Having a specified plan going into an offseason is always a little bit challenging because the dynamics of the offseason change consistently,” Stearns said. “With every trade, every team’s needs change somewhat. With every signing, the market can change a little bit. But heading into the GM Meetings [in Boca Raton, Fla., from Nov. 9-12] we should have a rough outline of what we’re looking to do as an organization. And then the period between the GM Meetings and the Winter Meetings [in Nashville, Tenn., from Dec. 7-10], as the market begins to take shape, we should begin to really target specific areas.

“So we’ll have a plan. That doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m going to share the specifics of it publicly. But we’ll certainly have a plan formulated by then.”

Jim Furtado Posted: October 09, 2015 at 06:46 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: brewers, david stearns, general managers

Harry Caray forever linked to both Cardinals and Cubs - Chicago Tribune

Holy cow!

“Boy, oh boy,” Caray would cackle with that slight gargle in his voice. “The Cubs and Cardinals playing meaningful games in October? This must be heaven, right?”

Jim Furtado Posted: October 09, 2015 at 06:38 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, cubs

Dodgers the Focus for Kershaw, Not Personal Redemption - The New York Times

Kershaw, the National League’s most valuable player in 2014, felt he did not lack for extra motivation after the Dodgers’ early exit from the playoffs in 2013 and again last year.

“I think I’ll have enough,” said the five-time All-Star. “I don’t need to be fueled by too much. I definitely remember, but it’s a new team, new season, and hopefully for me a new outcome.”

Jim Furtado Posted: October 09, 2015 at 06:36 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: clayton kershaw, dodgers, mets, playoffs



12:30 ALDS Game 2 TEX at TOR (TEX leads 1-0): Hamels vs. Stroman (MLB Network)

3:30 ALDS Game 2 HOU at KC (HOU leads 1-0): Kazmir vs. Cueto (FS1)

6:30 NLDS Game 1 CHC at STL: Lester vs. Lackey (TBS)

9:30 NLDS Game 1 NYM at LAD: deGrom vs. Kershaw (TBS)

We might have 12 or more hours of baseball coming up… so CHATTER UP!

Gamingboy Posted: October 09, 2015 at 06:34 AM | 25 comment(s)
  Beats: mlb, omnichatter

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Cubs fan gets Jake Arrieta’s face shaved into his head

If tattoos ever go out of fashion, I suppose this is where we’re headed.

Spahn Insane is enjoying a peaty potation Posted: October 08, 2015 at 11:45 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, jake arrieta

Steven Matz, Marcus Stroman met in high school |

The date was April 16, 2009, and when those Long Islanders talk about it, a few details remain ambiguous. Some, like Stroman’s coach Anthony Frascogna, recall it being an “overcast day, one of those early-spring baseball days,” that call for windbreakers and enough luck that the skies don’t open. Lou Petrucci, Matz’ coach at Ward Melville High, recounts it as “a beautiful day for baseball.” Unsurprisingly, Petrucci is the one that shortly afterwards adds, “and it was even more beautiful that we won.”

This is how legends work, growing and permutating with the stature of their protagonists. Six years later, Stroman and Matz have been important pieces for Major League teams looking to squash significant October demons. But when they met that day, they were former teammates opposing one another for the first time.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 08, 2015 at 03:03 PM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: blue jays, marcus stroman, mets, steven matz

Cubs will challenge John Lackey in NLDS |

We can use Statcast™ exit velocity to show how important getting ahead of the hitter is for Lackey. For example, the overall MLB average when hitting a 1-0 pitch was 89.9 mph. For Lackey, that was 93.1 mph, a sizable difference. When he was down 2-1, his 91.7 mph was higher than the MLB average of 90.3. He is so much better off not getting down in the count, hence the increasing number of first-pitch strikes.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 08, 2015 at 02:49 PM | 36 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, john lackey, sabermetrics, statcast

Cubs Edge toward Destiny as WS Fave Jays Open ALDS

Rational Pastime’s playoff simulator now projects the Cubs as 34% favorites to represent the Senior Circuit in the Fall Classic, and 5:1 to win it all… Among today’s American League contenders, the Toronto Blue Jays remain big favorites at 2:1…

Summary of projections:

TOR 3:1
CHC 5:1
HOU 5:1
LAD 8:1
KCR 11:1
NYM 12:1
STL 13:1
TEX 16:1

J-Doug Posted: October 08, 2015 at 01:41 PM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: alds, astros, blue jays, cardinals, cubs, dodgers, mets, nlds, playoffs, projections, rangers, royals, world series

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 10-8-2015

United Press via the Pittsburgh Press, October 8, 1915:

Phillies and Redsox began the first game of the world’s premier baseball struggle this afternoon on as rotten a playing field as the annual classic was ever contested.

The infield was covered with a slimy, treacherous blanket of muck, which a small army of ground keepers labored feverishly but vainly to make firm under foot.

Shortly before 1 o’clock the diamond was flooded with gasoline and a match applied. The conflagration dried off the surface, but scarcely touched the real seat of the trouble. Sawdust, crushed brick—everything—was thrown onto the playing plat, but still it threatened to make the infielders crazy with grief and consternation.

“Hey Charlie, the field’s too wet to play. What should we do?”
“Heck, I don’t know, Bill. Maybe flood it with gasoline and throw a match on it.”
“Great idea. You get the matches, I’ll get the gasoline. Meet me back here in five minutes.”

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: October 08, 2015 at 10:14 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: bad ideas, dugout, gasoline, history, world series

Red Sox hope Brian Bannister can help identify overlooked pitching stars of the future - Sports - - Providence, RI

Everything old is new again. Read the article.

“There are a lot of guys in the minor leagues with perfect mechanics, a lot of guys with very healthy arms, that can’t get anybody out,” he said. “Pitching coaches and people on Twitter are always in search of the perfect pitching mechanics, but to me, perfect pitching mechanics are the perfect mechanics for that person that leads to the best statistical results. They might not be like everybody else. You might look different. Tom Seaver didn’t pitch in any way like Randy Johnson, but they were both successful.

“For me, the best part of studying pitching is identifying the characteristics that make some guys get people out all the time while other guys, who throw just as hard or who are generally perceived to have better mechanics or arm action, can’t get people out. That’s part of the mystery and the joy of pitching—identifying those characteristics.”

Jim Furtado Posted: October 08, 2015 at 09:53 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: brian bannister, red sox

Theo Epstein rewards baseball department for job well done - Chicago Tribune

“I love numbers,” manager Joe Maddon said. “God, I love numbers, though I was horrible in math. Algebra III. Second semester of Algebra II was my Waterloo, to be honest with you. Algebra III and Trig could have been Latin or Greek, it wouldn’t matter to me. But I do love numbers.

“Beyond that I really like people and humans and what makes this guy tick? And I don’t think that because you can’t necessarily quantify it, it’s not as popular of a way to acquire a player, but it really matters. It really matters right now in our clubhouse. But I guess my point is it’s a combination of skillful young players that everybody saw coming along. But I don’t believe we would be here without the appropriate seasoning among the veterans.”

Jim Furtado Posted: October 08, 2015 at 08:00 AM | 43 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, joe maddon, playoffs, theo epstein

How the Mets plan to attack Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke | New York Post

So, there is no plan.

Long, who was a regular visitor to the postseason as the Yankees’ hitting coach, said this kind of competition is business as usual in October.
“It’s the playoffs and in the playoffs you expect to face the best pitchers in baseball,” Long said. “The [Justin] Verlanders, [Anibal] Sanchezes, [Max] Scherzers, I remember facing a very good, talented pitcher every time.”

Jim Furtado Posted: October 08, 2015 at 06:23 AM | 31 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers, mets, playoffs

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