Ten Stray Thoughts On A Friday

As you may have heard, the world will be coming to an end tomorrow. I’m not sure what that means for people on the other side of the International Date Line, but just to be safe, I’m now following @Jesus_Christ. With my eternity in heaven assured, I can now enjoy my last few moments on earth thinking about the greatest game of all time ever.

The Two Sides Of Kyle Drabek

A couple of days ago, I took a look into Kyle Drabek’s pitch selection to find that he is throwing his curveball far less than one would expect after hearing so much about it while he was a prospect last year in New Hampshire. Today, I looked at how his pitch selection is affected by the handedness of the batter he’s facing. It basically boils down to this: versus right handed batters Drabek throws his curveball, versus left handed batters he uses his changeup. He’s also much more likely to use his cutter against a right handed batter than a lefty. As is probably to be expected for a young right handed pitcher, Drabek is much more successful against right handed batters than guys hitting from the left side.

Can The Indians Do It?

Right now, the Cleveland Indians have a 26-15 record. Last season the Minnesota Twins won the American League Central with a 94-68 record. In order to duplicate that, the Indians would have to go 68-53 for the rest of the season. That’s still a .561 winning percentage. Only seven teams in all of baseball finished with a higher winning percentage than that last year. Of course the four teams below Cleveland in the Central would have to do even better to match the Twins, but there’s a rub.

I know BABIP doesn’t measure luck in quite the same fashion for batters as it does for pitchers, however, like batting average, it can rely a lot on luck, especially with a smaller sample size like the 41 games that the Indians have played to date. At this moment, Cleveland hitters have the fifth highest combined BABIP in the league. Their pitchers have the fifth lowest BABIP in the league. Despite their Pythagorean winning percentage matching their actual record, I can’t help but feel that they’ve definitely had luck on their side so far this season.

The Benefit/Harm Of Long Tossing

Jeff Passan informs us of two pitchers, both potential top five draft picks, who have warned the Kansas City Royals and Pittsburgh Pirates to stay away because they enjoy long tossing and the two organizations, as a rule, don’t allow their young pitchers to do it. Can you imagine any other point in MLB history where two players who haven’t even been drafted would try to dictate the policies of their prospective teams? Passan lays out the points of both sides of the long toss debate, but in the long run I think I’ll side with Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus who is rather dismissive of the teams avoiding the pitchers because of their preferred throwing programs.

Interleague Games

This weekend will mark the first time this season that American League teams will face National League teams. As much as I think the gimmick is useless, it does act as a reminder that the MLB schedule is completely unfair and unbalanced. Of course, when you look at other professional sports leagues in North America, there isn’t a problem in inter-conference mingling, so why does it leave such a bad taste in the mouths of baseball fans?

First of all, I don’t like that teams competing against each other in overall record have to play different schedules. Interleague play further complicates this preexisting condition. Mainly though, I liked it when there were not only separate rules for each league, but also separate games. It made it unique, something special. And it added something to its bigger showcases in the All-Star Game and the World Series.

As Jim Leyland said, he understands why they first introduced it, but now it just seems far too gimmicky. One idea that I kind of liked was that if MLB continues with interleague games they should switch the rules so that pitchers hit in AL parks, and DHs get put in the lineup in NL parks. This way the hometown fans can see a little bit of variety.

The Look

This is exactly how a pitcher should look after giving up a home run to Juan Rivera.

Glovely Delivery

I ordered a Mizuno GMP 10 Pro Series baseball glove online on the cheap, and it arrived this week. I’ve only played with it once, but it was like there was a magnetic pull in the pocket that brought every baseball straight into its cowhide cradle. I’ve been so happy with my purchase that its resting place is on the mantle in my living room. It sits there, with a softball inside and a broccoli band wrapped around it. What gloves are you guys using this summer? Anyone with a new piece of leather?

Podcasting Glory

I’m not sure how these things work, but this morning, The Getting Blanked Podcast was the #1 sports podcast in Canada. I’m sure that the rankings must weigh new subscribers heavily or something, but I’m totally prepared to remain blissfully ignorant for now. If you so choose, you can keep the momentum going by subscribing to The Getting Blanked Podcast through iTunes right now.

On a similar note, I just wanted to thank everyone for clicking into our goofy webcasts. We had a great response to our pregame show last night and I’m really grateful for the support. I think Stoeten and I are both kind of blown away by the interaction from you guys and some of the tweets including ones that don’t make it on the air, are absolutely hilarious.

Shameless Self Promotion

And while we’re being all introspective, I suppose I should mention that you can also follow Getting Blanked’s facebook page by clicking here, and “liking” us.  I promise you it’s not just a dumping ground for links like a lot of other facebook pages, we include exclusive videos and post a ton of tumblr style pics and clips each week.

And don’t forget to check out Getting Blanked over the weekend. We’ve got the boys from The Platoon Advantage putting up some great content every Saturday and Sunday.

Charlie Morton

Much was written about Charlie Morton after his last start in which he threw a complete game, five hit shutout against the Cincinnati Reds in Cincinnati. It was a great result. But here’s why everyone is watching his every start like it’s the suspenseful moments just before someone gets killed in a horror movie:

  • His percentage of players left on base is higher than average;
  • His BABIP is far lower than average;
  • His ground ball rate is astronomically high;
  • 75.7% of his pitches are two seamers;
  • He’s only faced 80 left handed batters so far this year; and
  • Lyle Overbay basically cursed him, by claiming he has better stuff than Roy Halladay.

I Told You So

Hey Baltimore, what happened to the Buck Showalter Showalter magic? What happened to the free agent acquisitions that were going to spur you back to mediocrity in the AL East? It’s almost as though your team made horrible, horrible offseason decisions this past winter. At least you can take solace in the fact that Kevin Gregg will be around for another year after this one. Enjoy!