I watched the NL yesterday…

Not that I don’t ever see National League baseball.  But I do try to make my allotment of baseball watching hours Yankee, and therefore mostly American League, centric.

So although far from an expert I can confidently say that what I saw yesterday confirmed many of my season long, longer in some cases, beliefs.

In no particular order of importance:

I have strong suspicions that Ryan Braun is an ass.

I recall him stealing 30 bases a year while batting in front of Prince Fielder.  Generally, if a guy with a SLG% in the mid .500s is up, running is a bad idea.  Then the whole PED thing.  I don’t really care that he used, but throwing an innocent lab tech under the bus was pretty shitty.  Yesterday he was thrown out at home by 8 feet early in the game (rubs temples) then later decided to gesticulate demonstratively and yell at teammate Christian Yelich for Yelich’s base running blunder which it must be said, was nowhere near as bad as Braun’s.  Later, with Yelich on the bases again, Braun did a look at me eye roll, palms up to heaven reaction to Yelich not scoring on another Braun single.  To be fair, Yelich seemed cool with it in the dugout, but showing up your teammates is never a good look, especially when you were a baserunning imbecile an hour ago.

Speaking of Braun’s single and imbeciles…

A.J. Pierzynski is commentator to whom it is very difficult to listen.  Just prior to Braun ripping a single down the left field line with Yelich on 2nd base, referenced above, Yelich had advanced from 1st to 2nd on a passed ball.  Pierzynski, in full “hey kids, get off my lawn” voice, proclaimed that Braun’s thinking now had to change – he needed to be thinking about hitting the ball to the right side to “get the runner over”.

(Sighs…)  Run expectancy, runner on 2nd, no out: 1.08.  Run expectancy, runner on 3rd, 1 out: .91.  Yup.  Decreasing your teams run expectancy by about 20% is always a good baseball play, say the old-timey “real” baseball men.

But in fairness, when Braun decided hitting the ball hard anywhere was better than hitting it softly to the right and succeeded, Pierzynski did say “Wow, good thing he didn’t tap the ball to second because that hit was better for the team.”  HaHaHa!  Just kidding – he didn’t say that.  Luddite broadcasters never do.  Never.

Earlier in the game, when the topic of the NL MVP came up with Pierzynski and David Cone (who must have been thinking, “Awesome, I’m away from Leiter and O’Neill finally!  Oh…AJ…hi…”), Cone mentioned, as many do who’ve thought this through, that Jacob deGrom is the NL MVP.  Pierzynski proclaimed that deGrom is a pitcher.  When “…he has to play the field, let me know.”

Cone assuredly sipped his bourbon at that point.  Wonder if anyone told A.J. or if they just let it go…?

Quadruple A

The Brewers were the best team in the NL this season.  They would have finished 4th in the AL East.

Christian Yelich is the likely NL MVP.  He might, MIGHT, crack the top 10 among AL players.  And he’s an Aaron Judge homerun away from the top 5 AL players.

Strategy, LOL

In the 2nd game last night, Atlanta trailed 4-0 when batting in the top of the 3rd inning.  With one out and no one on, Atlanta manager Brian Snitker sent Braves starting pitcher Mike Foltynewicz to the plate to bat.  As anyone who played a few thousand Strat-O-Matic games as a kid can tell you, you never – NEVER – send your pitcher up to hit when trailing by four runs.  Never.

Snitker, sitting in frying pan, sees fire…

Foltynewicz was then removed from the game.  Sean Newcomb replaced him on the mound in the bottom of the 3rd for the Braves.  By the power of Greg Maddux’s two-seamer, I declare you a crazy person, Mr. Snitker.

And while we’re at it: No – the pitcher batting doesn’t add strategical intrigue to the game.  When there’s a runner on first base and less than two outs and the pitcher is up, none of us slide to the edge of our seat wondering what’s going to happen.  We all know what’s going to happen.  There’s going to be an amateurish attempt at an ancient relic of a baseball play.  That’s not a strategy, it’s nonsense.

My amateur pop psychology opinion says that people who are anti-DH are anti-change, not DH.

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