baseball, Beantown, Betts, Bradley, Bryce Harper, Castillo, Cherrington, Dombrowski, Don Orsillo, Hanley Ramirez, Jerry Remy, Mets, MillersTime Baseball Contests, MLB, Nats, NESN, New Rules, Orioles, Red Sox, Son Orsillo, Sox, Yankees, Yunkees
In no particular order, here are some comments, thoughts, observations, and perhaps even an occasional insight at this point in the 2015 baseball season: ** For those of you who can remember back to preseason, I wrote about the new baseball rules for shortening games and predicted they’d work (see: It’s Gonna Work – Betcha). At the All Star break this year, roughly the halfway mark of the season, the average length of the games was down almost exactly 10 minutes. The rule about batters having to keep one foot in the batter’s box accounted for half of the reduction in game time. Calling for a play challenge from the dugout and limiting the time between innings, probably make up the other half. Recently, however, the game time has crept up a bit. (It seems to me that batters are staying out of the box more now than they did at the beginning of the season, perhaps because MLB and the Players Union agreed not to use the financial penalties that were supposed to kick in in May?) ** If you think there are more no-hitters this year than last, you’re right (six already versus five for all of last year). And there were 33 no ‘hitters’ thru 6 innings (better than all of last year), 17 through 7 innings and 10 through 8 innings. But pitchers on the whole are doing worse than last year. The ERA of all the Major League teams is up over 2014, from 3.74 (full season) to 3.82 (thru 8/31/15). Batters are doing better (makes sense if ERA is up) in all categories: Ave. – 254/.251, OBP – .315/.314, SLG. – .402/.386, and OPS – .718/.700. Fielding PCT is virtually unchanged (.985/.984). ** What’s up with the Sox? They have been out of it for most of the season, largely because of weak pitching and weak hitting. (Outgoing GM Cherrington should’ve listened to me when I said stay away from Hanley Ramirez). They have done well over the past several weeks as they have settled into what is likely to be an outstanding outfield — Bradley, Betts, and Castillo (photo below) — for next year and beyond, tho it’s not clear yet which position each will play in that outfield. Their hitting is up and so is their starting pitching; relief pitching, however, has worsened, especially with the loss of Uehara for the remainder of the season. They have a modest chance of avoiding last place if they continue at their present pace. Everyone is on their toes trying to prove to their new president of baseball operations Dombrowski that they deserve to play next year.
Caylor Arnold/USA Today Sports
** Lots of upset in Beantown it appears over the ‘firing’ (not rehired for next year) of the Sox/NESN) play-by-play announcer Don Orsillo. My view is different. For me I think there is a need for a shakeup, ‘reenergizing’, in the booth (the supposed reason for his leaving). He spends too much time ‘fawning’ over Jerry Remy and too much time talking about irrelevant topics (himself and Remy). I rarely learn much about baseball from him, and when I switch to other teams’ announcers calling the same Sox game, I am struck by how much more I learn about the game, the teams, and baseball. Orsillo seems like a nice guy and is handling his loss of the job well. Remy’s job, I suspect, is in danger too, tho the NESN powers may not want to move him out just yet as he’s even more of a favorite than Orsillo with the Red Sox Nation.
**The Nats? Remember them? Virtually everyone, including those participating in the 2015 MillersTime Baseball Contests, had them winning their Division and likely going to and winning the World Series. As of this morning they are six and a half games behind the Mets (THE METS) in the NL East and unlikely to catch them or get one of the two wild card spots for postseason. They’re ‘lights out’ pitching staff has been anything but, and they’re hitting has been abysmal (11th out of 15 in the NL), and they seem unable to move runners from second and third to home. Some people are blaming their manager Matt Williams (NL Manger of the Year in 2014), but I don’t buy that. I think everyone bought the hype, except for that wise Brit, MillersTime reader David Price (who has long said the Nats are overrated tho he also has said that about Bryce Harper, who seems to have matured this year and is tied in the NL for HRs, 31, and AVE. .329. Harper leads in OPB with his 1.084). Fielding has been a weakness (11th out of the 15 NL teams). Injuries have been a problem for the Nats, but as we all know, teams have to plan for injuries and have back ups able to step in and up.
**The Os? Weren’t they in first place just not too long ago? Now, at their present rate, 1-9 over the last ten games, they will be fighting the Sox for last place.
**The Yunkees? Well they’ve done better than most thought they would, despite suspect pitching and whatshisname (that Rodriquez guy the Yankee brass wanted to get rid of who already has 26 HRs and 69 RBIs). But I think they will end up behind a rebuilt and strong Toronto team. Possible that they could get into the post season, but don’t hold your breath for them to go very far if they do.
What about my wife’s favorite team, the Royals?
BT – The guys with the Chicken Pox?
Edward Scholl said:
What I find interesting about this year is how thoroughly wrong most experts were in their pre-season predictions. ESPN’s panel of “experts” at the beginning of the season predicted these teams would win their divisions: Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Indians, Seattle Mariners, Washington Nationals, St. Louis Cardinals, and LA Dodgers. Of those six teams, only the Cardinals and Dodgers will likely make the playoffs. Just another reason I love baseball!
Chuck Shuford said:
Regarding Orsillo– for me as a viewer and fan, Orsillo’s biggest problem is Remy. 50,000 people seem to like the Abbot and Costello routines but I’m not one. Fortunately I watch on MLB.TV which allows me to overlay the WEEI audio with the NESN video and it’s seamless. So I’ve already been listening to O’Brien while watching NESN. I hope that he doesn’t lose his detail when switching to television.
Tim Malieckal said:
Was my April assessment of the Nats’ fortunes too opaque?
Allow me to reprise:
Not that the Mets will go far if they do edge the Nats.
I blame Matt Williams. Not clever enough for the job.
See you in DC next week!
When the BoSox are out of it I adopt another team because rooting against the Yankee’s is not enough. Go Blue Jays!
Land Wayland said:
For a while it appeared that the Dodgers and Angels might produce an West Coast series, but the Los Angeles Angels have faded with weakness in so many areas. The Dodgers continue to hang on in the NL West, but they would be in 2nd or 3rd in most of the other 5 divisions.
Nick Jacobs said:
Good assessment of the Nats. Not sure I would chalk it up to Matt Williams. He has made his mistakes, but pitching makes up the lion’s share of the problems. Though I do hold Williams accountable for bringing all the injured players too fast. There was a team that was working well with Robinson, Taylor, etc. Should have stuck with that.
Jim Cooke said:
Although the Nats are 6.5 games out of first place in the NL East, one game over .500, it’s remarkable they are still in the hunt, given that they’ve played a total of two games this season with the starting lineup. I’m not counting them out yet, especially now that Werth, Zimmerman, Rendon, Desmond and Ramos are hitting. Even if they are swept by the Cardinals tonight, they could pick up three games in a week and be 3.5 out with 24 to play.
Terry Collins has been in this position before. He’s lost a division lead in the final month of the season more than once. This could be his year, but I wouldn’t bet on it.
If the Nats come back to win the division, it will be in spite of the manager. I’ve been back and forth on this, one week defending the skipper’s moves, the next week tearing my hair out over his inability to make the right move. The most telling evidence is in his post-game press conferences, when he refuses to reflect on game experience and blindly obsesses over the importance of preparation for the next day. It’s as if he had nothing to do with the players’ positioning on the field and in the order. The Marine will not advance with that attitude.