Did you see yesterday’s game?

If you didn’t, here’s the important, take home stuff you missed, that in most cases the Simpleton Summer Camp crew didn’t mention:  (With the normal caveat of “excluding David Cone” who was as usual, on point all game long yesterday.)

In no particular order…

In the top of the 3rd inning of a scoreless game, with one out and a runner on first, Indians’ CF Bradley Zimmer lined a hit into right center.  Zimmer, who busted it out of the box on contact, saw that Yankees’ CF Aaron Hicks had a long way to go to get to the ball, and was moving to his right which would make a good throw unlikely.  So Zimmer rounded 1st base with a hard turn and noticed that no Yankee infielders were covering 2nd base.  Gleyber Torres had gone into shallow right center in the event the ball found the gap and SS Ronald Torreyes was 6 to 8 feet off the 2nd base bag, doing a wonderful job of…nothing.  Zimmer noticed this and rightly decided what was already a tough play for Hicks became a very tough play with no one covering 2nd, and took 2nd base.

This was followed by a walk, which led to a bases loaded situation for Yankees’ starter Sonny Gray to deal with.  With one of the outs he needed to get being Jose Ramirez, this was a potential huge inning for Cleveland.

Fortunately, Gray got a strikeout and a fly out to end the inning and keep the game scoreless.

Later, in the bottom of the 5th, with the Yankees trailing 1-0, Neil Walker drew a walk with one out to bring Miguel Andujar to the plate.  With two strikes on him,   Andujar fouled two nasty pitches off that were on the black, then took ball four about an inch off the plate.  For a kid with about 6 weeks big league experience facing a plus pitcher who was dealing up to that point, it was an impressive at bat.  It turned out not only to be a great at bat, but probably the key one of the game.  Andujar’s at bat turned a situation with a run expectancy of .53 to one with a run expectancy of .94, and because of a subsequent single, walk, some bad fielding and a sacrifice fly, it was 4-1 Yankees.

Speaking of the 5th inning…with one out in the bottom of the 5th, Torreyes hit a weak grounder to short and somehow ended up on 2nd base, thanks to some out of character poor fielding from Cleveland’s Francisco Lindor.  With Torreyes on 2nd and Austin Romine on 3rd base (this is key – Romine – not Usain Bolt) Brett Gardner hit a fly ball to left.  With both runners tagging, Indians’ LF Michael Brantley takes the easier play and throws Torreyes out trying to advance to third, before Romine crosses the plate.  In a close game against a good team this is a massive base running mistake.  Fortunately, the 3rd base umpire blew the call and the Indians blew not challenging it.

Torreyes’ mental mistakes didn’t affect the outcome of this game.  But please stop telling me how fundamentally sound and valuable he is.  He is neither.  The hopefully soon return of Brandon Drury to action needs to be the end of the Torreyes era.

Baseball is hard

I say this at least once per week when people want to know what’s wrong with (insert team that just went 2-5) or with (insert player who’s underperformed for two weeks).

Baseball is hard.  Very hard.  The other team has very good players who make a lot of money too.  This is why small sample sizes are ridiculous.  Over the course of 162 games all players and teams will regress or progress to the expected mean far more often than not.  Not everybody is Rivera.  Not everybody is Trout.  All MLB players and teams struggle at points during a six month season.

I’m writing this now because Sonny Gray has been great his last two starts after a tough April.  Although the turn around shouldn’t be surprising to anyone, it is to many it seems. Sonny Gray has been a better than league average pitcher for 5 years.  There was no need to overreact to either his slow start or the past two very good ones (12 innings, 11K, opponents’ OBP of .265).

Again, it always seems like the people who hate numbers and projections are the same people who expect players to be automatons.  The people who employ data and analytics typically are the ones who realize these guys are human.  Ups and downs happen.

That’s baseball, Suzyn.


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