After Domonic Brown hit a solo home run in the top of the second inning to tie the game at 1-1, Marlins starter Alex Sanabia received a new baseball from home plate umpire Sam Holbrook and promptly glazed it with spit as seen here:
The first week of May is over. It’s a little weird to think we’re almost 1/4 of the way through the season already, and frankly, given how slowly the offseason crawls by, I’m inclined to deem it “unfair.”
Anyway, dive in, the water’s (not quite) warm (but it’s getting there)!
We discussed Jeremy Horst‘s bad luck two and a half weeks ago and it looked like things were starting to turn around. In his next four appearances, he allowed just one earned run over five innings and held the opposition to a .176 average on balls in play. Last night against the Indians, Horst’s bad luck returned. The lefty allowed one run, which was considered fortunate since he allowed four base runners, three of which were infield singles and the other was a bloop into shallow left field.
When people talk about a pitcher’s bad luck on balls in play, we are referring essentially to anything that happens after contact. So many variables come into play beyond the pitcher’s ability to hit his location and fool the opposing hitter. The ball may be hit hard, but right at a fielder. Or it may be hit three feet to his side for a hit. The ball may be hit softly, but slowly enough down the line that the third baseman can’t make a play on it. Or it can be hit softly but right to the pitcher, who throws to first for an easy out. The batter can pop the ball right over the shortstop’s head, or it can go a few feet further out where a play is unable to be made. Despite the pitcher’s lack of control, a run of bad luck on balls in play still gets counted against his ERA and thus he is judged for it throughout the year, long after the circumstances have been forgotten.
Let’s take a look at the hits Horst allowed last night after the jump.
The Phillies swept the Mets! That’s really cool! Even in a season that’s been tinged with a bit of malaise out of the gate, taking a series like that in New York is pleasing, without fail. Some players – Halladay, Hamels, Brown – are showing some signs of turnaround, albeit conditional turnarounds. Chase Utley is still slugging over .500. Carlos Ruiz is back! Maybe things are looking up!
Or maybe I’m just getting ahead of myself. Whatever, this was a good week if you pretend that Pittsburgh series never happened.
To the 10!
Ben Revere is known for having a weak bat, but as we have seen during this series with the Pittsburgh Pirates (which mercifully ends this afternoon), his weak arm is often a detriment as well. In parsing the game logs, I was able to pull out three plays where opposing runners greedily advanced from second to third on a ball hit to Revere in center, something those runners certainly wouldn’t have done against, say, Shane Victorino.
Another April week, another seven days elapsed where it’s Too Early to Really Judge Anything. Except for Jesse Biddle‘s bonkers 7 IP, 16 K, 2 BB, 0 R outing for Double-A Reading Monday. That one I judge to be “pretty damn awesome.”
It’s very difficult to go back through Minor League games to crosscheck, but I wager a Phils farmhand hasn’t put together an outing like that since Cole Hamels was tearing his way through the pipeline (not to make a direct comparison). To stay grounded: it is just one outing. But for the second-youngest pitcher in the entire Eastern League to do that, well, I’m sure plenty of people will take notice. It sure gave me the tingles.
Okay, on to the 10.
A brief aside before I get to the new feature: Yesterday’s events in Boston were obviously horrid, and those in the area could use your help. If you can spare it, you can donate monetarily to the victims through the Red Cross here. Now, back to baseball.
Bill’s begun to introduce you to a neat, concise weekly round-up of the most important plays of the past week with his Week In Review series. As something of a supplement, here’s something a touch more long-form about the week that was around the Phillies and the league at-large, with 10 points that caught our attention.