Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Small sample size theater

"Small sample size theater." That's a phrase I heard Monday afternoon on MLB Network in discussing Shohei Ohtani. I like it, amd I'm stealing it.

Scene I

A regular reader of these posts dislikes the Twins decision to play Eduardo Escobar at shortstop during the suspension of Jorge Polanco. Shortstop, he opines, should prioritze defense, and Escobar is not as good with the the glove as Ehire Adrianza.

I agree with the second point, but think the first is something of a sliding scale. You can sacrifice some defense at any position to get more offense. (See the second half career of Jeter, Derek.)

And then there's this:

Small sample size theater, yes. But so far, Escobar isn't killing the Twins infield defense.

Scene II

I watched Justin Verlander and Bartolo Colon duel on "Sunday Night Baseball" the other night. Wow. Verlander allowed one hit -- a homer -- in seven innings, and Colon threw seven PERFECT innings before cracking in the eighth. 

The game went 10 innings, and the Texas Rangers eventually won, 3-1 in 10, so neither starter got a decision. (I thought this during the recent Astros-Twins series and tweeted it Sunday night: If the Astros have a weakness, it's their bullpen.)

Colon, who finished 2017 filling out the Twins rotation, has started twice and relieved twice for the Rangers this year. He has a 1.45 ERA in 18.2 innings. Still throwing almost nothing but fastballs, still surviving on location.

Scene III

The Twins have played 11 games so far this season, the fewest in the majors, and will have another off day Thursday after the Puerto Rico series. They're going to pay, eventually, for such sporadic play.

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