Just before the break at the end of the fifth inning, Bobby Valentine was talking about Andrew McCutchen’s All-Star snub. It went something like this: “He only has 45 RBIs, he’s not batting .300. His OPS — ”
And then he got cut off. And the inning ended. And we never got to hear what Bobby Valentine was going to say about Andrew McCutchen’s OPS. But we did hear how he pronounces OPS. He pronounces it “opes,” like it rhymes with “soaps.” I’ve heard it pronounced to rhyme with “mops” quite a bit, but never opes. I have to admit, it was a thrill to hear.
Anyway. Box score:
Actually, no box score. I’m sick as a dog right now, so instead of me staying up late to get the box score when it’s released, let’s imagine it. It has the Dodgers and Angels playing, and the Angels winning 3-1, and I’ve drawn some lines and letters on it. There’s an A, and there’s a B. If you came here for the box score itself, I’m sorry. Let’s do this:
Jeff Mathis is, as you know, not a good hitter. He’s so much not a good hitter that there is virtually no other major league hitter you would walk him in order to face. But in interleague play, he bats eighth, and you would rather face most pitchers* instead of Mathis. So we get this:
- Mathis’ walk rate in AL parks this year: Once every 34 plate appearances.
- Mathis walk rate in NL parks this year: Once every five plate appearances, including two intentional walks.
Ask most managers about interleague play, and they’ll tell you that baseball is baseball and it don’t make much difference what league them other guys are from. This is mostly true, but there are also some delightful oddities of interleague play. Here’s a quick rundown of players playing in situations they’re not used to playing in:
American League pitchers who got their first hits ever:
- C.J. Wison (off Jordan Lyles — triple)
- Ricky Romero (off Kyle McClellan)
- Jeff Niemann (off JA Happ)
- Michael Pineda (off Jason Marquis)
- Doug Fister (off Livan Hernandez)
- Jake Arrieta (off Charlie Morton)
- Zack Britton (off Jason Marquis)
- Tyler Chatwood (off Manny Acosta)
- Alexi Ogando (off Jair Jurrjens)
For the most part, those are exactly the pitchers I would expect to give up hits to pitchers who’ve never had a hit before.
Terrible National League players who DH’d:
- Brandon Wood (.576 OPS)
- Mark Hamilton (.447 OPS)
- Dioner Navarro (.494 OPS)
- Wilkin Ramirez (.495 OPS)
- Brian Bixler (.533 OPS)
- Gerald Laird (.659 career OPS)
- Willie Harris (.644 OPS)
- Eric Young (.484 OPS)
DHs who batted 9th:
DHs who batted 8th:
- Bill Hall
- Matt Stairs
- Mark Hamilton
- Brian Bixler
American League DHs who played in the field for the first time all season:
- David Ortiz, 1B
- Hideki Matsui, LF
Matsui’s UZR in a hysterically, uselessly small sample:
- 34.7 runs above average per 150 games
American Leaguers who were intentionally walked for the first time in their career:
- Hank Conger
- Mike McCoy
- Eduardo Nunez
- Michael Saunders
- Craig Gentry
AL pitchers who homered:
- Zack Britton, on the last day of interleague. AL pitchers had been homerless in 297 plate appearances. Britton went five for eight with a double and a homer, in his first time batting since he was a high school student in 2006.
AL pitchers who struck out in every at bat or nearly every at bat:
- Joel Pineiro (4 of 5)
- Tim Wakefield (4 of 4)
- Andrew Miller (4 of 4)
- Ivan Nova (4 of 4)
- James Shields (5 of 8)
- Carl Pavano (4 of 6)
- Matt Harrison (6 of 9)
Pitchers who walked American League pitchers:
- Aaron Cook (walked Jake Peavy to to load the bases)
- Jason Hammel (walked Gavin Floyd to put two runners on with nobody out)
- Jamie Garcia (walked Carlos Villanueva to lead off the inning)
- Yovani Gallardo (walked Francisco Liriano, to push a runner to second with two outs)
- Shaun Marcum (walked David Price to lead off the inning)
- Johnny Cueto (walked Brian Gordon, to lead off the inning)
At one point in an earlier game, the Dodgers walked Mathis with Dan Haren on deck. Haren is a pitcher. But he also has a slightly higher OPS than Mathis for his career. He got a hit, which was the reason the Angels won.
The Angels have had a lot of baseball’s bests and worsts lately. They have the best starting pitcher in the American League right now. They have the worst hitting catcher. They have the best defensive center fielder. They have the best (some would say) prospect in baseball. They just released the worst prospect flop of the century. They have the pitcher with the fastest average fastball in the American League, Jordan Walden. They have the youngest player in the American League, Tyler Chatwood. And, lately, they have the wtf-iest Twitter account in professional baseball.
His name is Chevy Clarke, and he was a first-round pick in 2010. His twitter account is @officialchevy, and it ticks off every possible breach of twitter etiquette. He blasts dozens of tweets in 10-minute sessions. He begs for followers. He ignores spelling. He brags about himself. And he tweets so obliquely that it’s virtually impossible to understand what he’s saying, what he means or what his references are, even with Google. He’s basically a genius.
Here are a few of my favorite Chevy sequences:
This is just the perfect expression of Chevy. Each individual tweet is inscrutable, as though he’s watching a TV show that none of us are watching and these tweets are what he is drunkenly yelling at the TV. But beyond that, the tweets themselves don’t know what the hell the others are doing. It’s like he’s watching TV show that none of us are watching and he keeps changing the channel.
“Look at me now. Hey everybody, are you looking? Look at me! Everybody, LOOOK AT ME! I’m doing something over here, look at me, ok. Ok? Everybody looking? Great. Ummmmmmm… I don’t. Really. Have anything.”
I mean. Two obvious questions, right?
2. What do I do if I’m a Leo?
And, a follow-up question to what I imagine his response to those questions would be:
3. What does “cash out if you Judy Jetson” have to do with anything? What does that even mean?
Let it go, Leos. Just let it go.
I don’t know why I picked this one. This is just good old-fashioned avocado talk.
In conclusion: Follow Chevy, obviously.