Monday, May 21, 2018

Notes from the weekend

I'm not a neurologist who has examined Joe Mauer. Even if I were a neurologist who has examined Joe Mauer, I doubt I would have a definitive opinion on what the return of "concussion-like symptoms" means for his future.

But clearly this is not a positive development for him, or for the team. He left Friday's game early and went on the disabled list Saturday. (Technical note: He went on the 10-day DL, and I wonder if they abolished the seven-day concussion DL when the 10-day DL came into being.) All we know for sure is he won't play for more than a week.


The Twins finally played a clean game Sunday. And they won. What a novelty.


I am amused by the reaction to Tampa Bay's newest pitching innovation: The one-inning starter.

The Ray's rotation had left-hander Ryan Yarbourgh scheduled for Saturday's game at Anaheim, but manager Kevin Cash announced earlier in the week that he would open the game with veteran reliever Sergio Romo, who once closed for a team that won the World Series and had never started a game in his career. The rationale: The Angels don't have a left-handed bat in the top half of their lineup, so the right-handed Romo can deal with the Mike Trouts and Justin Uptons in the first inning and Yarbourgh can have a slightly easier time of it when he came in in the second.

I heard somebody, I'm not sure who, on MLB Radio ranting about this. What sabermetrics, what analytics, tell you that a guy who's never started in his life is a better matchup?

Hey, it's one inning of pitching. One inning at a time is what Romo has done in the majors for 11 years. First inning, sixth inning, ninth inning -- it's all short stints for him.

He struck out the side in the first. Yarbourgh entered to start the second inning and went 6.1 innings, his longest outing of the season. (And got the W.)

And on Sunday, Romo started again. This time Cash stretched him out to 1.1 innings. The Angels won Sunday -- it was Shohei Ohtani's day to pitch, after all -- but Romo gave them another shutout inning at the start of the game.

After which Angels infielder Zach Cozart complained that using Romo this way was "bad for baseball." Seriously.


Cozart's may not have been the single silliest utterance of the weekend, however. I bow in this regard to the Dutch Master of old-school, Bert Blyleven, who complained mightly during Sunday's telecast about the pulling of Jake Odorizzi in the sixth inning. At one point he declared that Odorizzi is like Justin Verlander and capable of going 120 pitches.

What Odorizzi has in common with Verlander is that they're right-handed and have spent their entire major league careers in the American League. Verlander has 10 seasons with more innings than Odorizzi's career high. Odorizzi has thrown 120 pitches (his career high) exactly once, in 2016.

Odorizzi is a good major league starter. He's not Verlander. It insults the listeners' intelligence to pretend they are equivalent pitchers. We were all better off when Blyleven was on his extended break from the booth.

1 comment:

  1. I agree about Blyleven and I've had my fill of Gladden too. I enjoy Smalley when he's on TV but I think it's time to fill both of those rolls with someone younger and more in tune with the new way of thinking.