It’s the bottom of the eleventh inning. Your team is down by two runs with two out and a base runner on third base. You have just drawn a five pitch walk from a reliever who had already given up two singles this inning, and was only pitching with two outs thanks to a very fortunate double play. Your manager has brought in a pinch hitter that matches up quite well with said reliever.

Do you: A) Wait to see what happens with the battle of the Js: John Jaso vs. Jim Johnson; or B) Try to steal second base, something that you’ve done 20 times this season while only getting caught three times?

If you’re Seattle Mariners outfielder Michael Saunders, you get inspired by the opposition’s mantra, throw caution to the wind and accept the fact that you only live once as you try to steal second base.

Unfortunately for the Mariners, the result isn’t that good.

And while much blame will be heaped on Saunders’ shoulders this morning, his aggressiveness wasn’t nearly as detrimental to his team as the two-run homer that Adam Jones hit in the top half of the inning.

However, I suppose that in our feeble attempts to avoid accepting that the 2012 Baltimore YOLOrioles are a team of density, we’ll ignore the fact that the bottom third of the order was due up for Seattle and a perfect throw was needed from Taylor Teagarden (!) to get Saunders out and the attempted steal wasn’t as foolish as one might initially conclude, because it’s easier to accept that the Mariners lost 3-1, than it is to say that Baltimore won the game 3-1.

Oh yeah, and the two starters for last night’s tilt were Joe Saunders for the Orioles, and Felix Hernandez for Seattle. Team of density, indeed.

Meanwhile, the New York Yankees exhibited something of a show of determination in their attempts to alter fate in the American League East by winning the back-to-back games of a double header against the lowly Toronto Blue Jays. The Yankees sit a half-game in front of Baltimore in the division, while the Orioles now have sole possession of the first Wild Card spot, a half-game themselves up on the Oakland Athletics, who are 3.5 games up on the Los Angeles Angels and 5.5 games ahead of the Tampa Bay Rays for the final playoff spot.

And The Rest

The Baltimore Orioles and the most influential bullpen. [Fangraphs]

The call-up: Dylan Bundy. [Baseball Prospectus]

Cincinnati Reds manager Dusty Baker was taken to a Chicago hospital yesterday for for chest x-rays to rule out the possibility of pneumonia. [Redleg Nation]

Brandon Phillips, and maybe the best quote of the year. [Comcast Sportsnet Chicago]

Kris Medlen of the Atlanta Braves continues to display a somewhat unexpected dominance from the mound. [Talking Chop]

Television analyst Gregg Zaun rips the Toronto Blue Jays from top to bottom. [The Globe And Mail]

Ichiro’s future and Melky Cabrera’s batting title. [New York Post]

FOX, along with TBS, are closing in on new television deals with Major League Baseball. [New York Times]

Oakland Athletics starter Brett Anderson exited yesterday’s game with an oblique strain. [San Francisco Chornicle]

The NFL doesn’t take too kindly to San Francisco Giants fans. [San Jose Mercury News]

Three Blind Mice is an umpire’s least favorite song. [Slate]

Jim Leyland is making the MVP vote a sabermetrics vs. triple crown thing. [Detroit News]

Comments (20)

  1. Did anyone hear of any fallout from Zaun’s rant?

  2. I wonder – which force would win in a playoff series….
    Baltimore’s one run / extra inning magic or the Yankees’ playoff luck / officials who give them every call. (hope little Jeffrey isn’t in the building)

    Two forces coming together like that would even make a Trekie drool

  3. I assume you are referring to this quote from Phillips?
    /////So Phillips said he wishes Barney the best, but, no, he hadn’t heard about the streak.

    “Honestly, I don’t even know,” Phillips said. “What, he has one or something? … Oh, really, that’s cool. That’s nice. Honestly, I’ve been too busy winning./////

    Because that was aresome.

  4. I can’t tell if you’re purposely using “density” rather than “destiny”?

  5. Can someone speak a little more at length about this triple crown thing? As far as I’m concerned if Cabrera gets it its a done deal – any why shouldn’t it be? Even though it doesn’t necessarily ‘accurately project total contribution to team performance’ the feat is pretty rare and impressive.

    • I think that shouldn’t be a guarantee precisely because it doesn’t ‘accurately project total contribution to team performance’

      Getting the triple crown would be pretty cool, no doubt. Because it’s done so rarely. But It’s pretty well proven that the triple crown stats are not entirely individual stats, in that it takes some contributions from your team (getting on base ahead of you for example) for it to happen. the MVP is an individual award and we should do our best to evaluate the individual… And there are some really good ways to do that, which are better than RBIs.

    • The part that people don’t like is that it relies on BA and RBIs, neither of which are great indicators of one’s overall production. Also, the triple crown take no account of defense for which Cabrera has not been good. Take those together with the fact that every advanced metric shows Trout as having made a much bigger contribution (than anybody else in the league).

      • Average is a fine stat…at least for guys that aren’t Juan Pierre and can actually walk too. Which is why, even though we say to kids that “a walk is as good as a hit” no one has ever recieved an rbi by walking with someone on second base. rbis are opportunity stats, yes, but if Cabrera wins the triple crown it is significant because it means the best slugger in the league wasn’t a “three true outcome” guy. It’s a crude way of measuring that, sure, but it isn’t exactly CRAZY to think that it is a significant achievement…in the same way, if trout hits 30 HRs, pointing out that he’s a 30/30 or 30/50 guy is interesting, despite multiples of ten being arbitrary benchmarks.

        hate to say it, but…when you factor out trout’s defense in WAR calculations, the MVP race is closer than many Trout fanboys would like to admit.. they aren’t the same player. i hate to say this, but if detroit makes the playoffs and cabrera wins, i wouldn’t see that as idiocy on the part of BBWAA voters. likewise, when the angels make the playoffs, if anyone other than trout wins the award…riot

        • Why would you even take out defensive metrics in the first place? Trout’s job is not only offense BUT defense too.

          With the inclusion of the wildcard (especially 2 of them now) saying making the playoffs is the deciding point is stupid. The schedule is unbalanced and there will probably be better teams that don’t make the playoffs over some that do (Tampa, LAA etc.)

          • because they’re pretty worthless imo. they say mccutcheon is a bad cf…even their creators admit they’re deeply flawed, and then to include them in the supposed be-all, end-all metric to determine “value” (WAR) is sort of begging for that to be removed.

            Trout is a much better defender at a premium position. there is no doubt about that. but 3b isn’t that far off cf on the defensive spectrum, and Cabrera played non-terrible defense at a position he hasn’t played in years in order to accomodate a new teammate. even if it might not translate on the scoresheet, it says something about the kind of guy cabrera is when he isn’t busy risking the lives of everyone that shares the road with him.

            also, cabrera has been better in the batter’s box this year. he has like 70 more TB than trout. last year people argued that bautista was the mvp. i don’t really see this as much different than people that voted for bautista over ellsbury last year.

            • What makes your say Cabrera’s played “non-terrible” defense at third? Everyone who watches him has a very different story. Could you be referring to the defensive metrics which you cast out a paragraph earlier?

          • watching edwin encarnacion field the position in 2010 and 2011.

    • Two words: Ted. Williams.

  6. Dustin: You may need a whole new category for this piece… “Poorly formed thoughts” might not be enough to cover it:

    http://www.torontosun.com/2012/09/19/an-unconventional-look-at-jays-prospects

  7. Zaun’s a raving idiot. Does he really need to incite more of the negativity bandwagoners. Of course the young players are going to make mistakes, most of them should be in AAA. What are you supposed to do, castigate them? Zaun probably thinks this a travesty to “old-school baseball.” Youngens shouldn’t get to play for their first 2 years in the league. They need to carry the vets shit while they watch and learn. I like how Zaun doesn’t really mention how their were a world of injuries to this team. Maybe there would be more leadership if their team leader wasn’t missing with an injury.

    • i hate watching adam lind walk back to the dugout after striking out…JUST TO REALISE that the pitch got away from teh catcher…or him saunter to first base…he’s not even 30, for fuck’s sake.

      it’s pretty simple to run when you’re supposed to. i don’t think one good season “earned” anyone the right to act like they’re chipper jones on a farewell tour.

      also, i think the people that are disappointed this year are the people who expected better results than last year, when last year there were so many instances of them being fortunate that were unlikely to be repeatable…not the least of which was jose bautista hitting over .300 (deaspite the justifications that flew around about his invincible plate approach…except elite backfoot sliders…or whatever the mantra was).

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