wasn’t supposed to be like this anymore. Relief pitchers are supposed to be invincible strikeout machines, mowing through opposing hitters with no regard for human life. The game is lower scoring now and bullpens are to blame.
If you want to score runs, you better do it early. Pretend like every pitcher is Josh Johnson and just jump down his throat before he realizes the game even started. Simple enough to say, tougher to do.
Last night, despite having just nine games on the schedule, we saw the home team win in their last at bat four times – three via the long ball and once via the rare walkoff triple. According to Elias Sports Bureau (via Dave Brown of Big League Stew), last night was the first time three walkoff homers and a walkoff triple occurred on the same night. Baseball!
In order of WPA:
Chris Denorfia took Aroldis Chapman deep with a runner on
thirdfirst, bringing the Padres back from one run down to give San Diego a 2-1 win over the Reds. Denorfia joins esteemed sluggers Freddy Galvis and Asdrubal Cabrera as the only players to walk it off against the Cuban Missle.
The Angels are truly useless. After putting two runners on the corners with nobody out in the top of the eighth inning (Mike Trout, hitting third with Albert Pujols on the DL, and Josh Hamilton), the rest of the Angels lineup could not push ahead an insurance run. The Rangers got one back in the bottom of the inning, making the score 2-1 headed to the ninth.
Which left closer Ernesto Freiri with just a one-run, aka a bad idea. The sometimes good but usually bad Angel reliever promptly coughed up that lead, serving one up to A.J. Pierzynski for a long, game-tying home run to right field.
Jason Giambi aka Trashy Thome aka Big Chief aka an old dude still kicking around hitting bombs and winnin’ games. The Tribe is now just 2.5 games behind the Tigers in the Central division, one game ahead of the Rangers in the loss column in the wild card standings. Fun times in Cleveland again!
Not a home run but Andrelton Simmons made winners of the Braves by smacking a game-winning triple off Some Rockies Reliever. The Braves tried their hardest to give this game away in the home half of the nineth but their newest acquisition Scott Downs came in with the bases loaded and two out, determined to save the day.
Downs threw one pitch, caught a line drive off the bat of Todd Helton, and then went to sit down. After the Braves failed to score in the bottom of the ninth, Downs came back out to stand tall in the top of the tenth, giving way for Simmons to be the hero
Four walkoff wins, three of which directly benefited playoff aspirant teams. The Reds playoff dreams took a hit, as not only did they lose but they lost ground in the NL Central thanks to the Pirates beating down the Cardinals. What a world, man.
There was very nearly another walkoff last night, as Giancarlo Stanton came to the plate with two runners on base in the bottom of the ninth. Only well-shopped Mets closer Bobby Parnell stood between the #2015 Miami Marlins and their destiny. Sadly, Parnell got Stanton to bounce out to second to end the game.
Not for nothing, but Giancarlo Stanton is quickly becoming one of the better hitters in baseball right before our eyes. With little in the way of support in the Marlins lineup (it’s coming! #2015!), Stanton has become an incredibly selective hitter.
Giancarlo Stanton drew 28 unintentional walks in his rookie season of 2010. He's drawn 25 unintentional walks in July.
— David Cameron (@DCameronFG) July 30, 2013
That gives Stanton a 23% walk rate in July, highest in baseball. It brings his walk rate over 15% for the season, by far the highest total of his career. Thanks to all those walks, his strikeout rate is also at the lowest rate of his career. Look out, world. 2015 is just around the corner.
And the rest
ANOTHER example of “relief pitchers aren’t quite as valuable on the trade market as you think” came in the form of Jesse Crain moving from the Chicago White Sox to the Tampa Bay Rays for a player to be named later and cash. Because Crain is injured at the moment, the compensation headed back to the Windy City is contingent on how much Crain pitches for the Rays. Weird but smart.
Those very same Rays bested the Red Sox in a makeup game last night, thanks in no small part to home plate umpire Jerry Meals. After the makeup game was delayed (weee!), Meals blew a call at home plate that would have made all the difference. Check out his positioning on this frame.
— Jesse Spector (@jessespector) July 30, 2013
Meals admitted he blew the call later in the evening, which is little consolation for Red Sox fans. The Rays are good and will be quite the test for Boston down the stretch, Cliff Lee or otherwise.
At least their twitter accounts are sniping back and forth like angry teens!
Don't worry @raysbaseball we look forward to seeing you in Tampa in September for our home games at the Trop.
— Boston Red Sox (@RedSox) July 30, 2013
The Barves go all Tiger Woods at Citi Field. Andrelton is the king!
Bud Selig, not screwing around AT ALL. Or, as Jay Jaffe called him on twitter (to great effect), Kennesaw Molehill Selig [New York Daily News]
Ken Rosenthal gets Tino Martinez to open up about the incidents leading to his resignation as the Marlins hitting coach. [Fox Sports]
Trade deadline is the time for key insight
#Angels have had internal discussions about how to improve their team via trade.
— Jeff Fletcher (@JeffFletcherOCR) July 29, 2013
Marlins and Orioles discussing scenarios.
— Nick Cafardo (@nickcafardo) July 24, 2012
Supernerd Ken Jennings on the intersection between baseball and Big Data.