The Changeup: Tell Me This, Who’s Flyer Than a Ji-5 Airplane, Thu 10/15
AL: HOU beats TB 4-3 (TB Leads Series 3-2)
NL: ATL beats LAD 10-2 (ATL Leads Series 3-1)
Astros beat Rays
Today’s final score was exactly the same as yesterday’s, 4-3 Astros. The Astros won’t go down without a fight. 6 of the 7 runs total scored today were on solo home runs. How do you feel about juiced balls and home run gate?
Ice Bear Has 1.000 OBP Today. Ice Bear aka Ji-Money (Ji-Man Choi) got on base 4 out of 4 plate appearances today. He walked twice, singled once, and hit a solo homer in top 8 to tie the game 3-3. He doesn’t start every day, but when he does, he is clutch. Tell me this, who's flyer than a Ji-5 airplane, got bad-axx pitches roped in this game.
Both Bullpens Get Blown Out. The Rays started with an Opener, Curtiss, then brought in Starter Fleming for 3 innings. The postseason baseball concept of an “Opener” is new for me, but I like it, I feel like I’m at a concert. The Rays only used 4 pitchers in total today. On the other hand, the Astros strung together 7 pitchers each going 2 innings or less to finish this game. It’s an interesting use of their bullpen and I'm curious to see how this affects tomorrow’s pitching strategy.
Altuve Feels Lucky. In Bottom 6, Altuve hit a line drive that squarely hit the 3rd base bag and ricocheted upwards back towards left field. Altuve was feeling lucky and tried to leg it out to second. LF Arozarena fired it to second and Altuve gets tagged out by a long shot, getting tagged right on his knee as he's sliding in. I don’t think either of his base coaches told him to run because I saw the 3B coach giving him an earful on his way back to the dugout.
Special K is Back. Kevin K came back to pinch hit for Zunino in Top 9 even though his injured left hand was still fully wrapped up. In Bottom 9, he reclaimed his defensive spot at CF. Also in Bottom 9, HOU Correa hit the walk off homer to CF. Kevin K went back on the ball and set himself up to rob it over the CF wall, but it was hit too deep and was beyond saving. I wonder if Special K still does a team-wide rap recap in the clubhouse if the Rays lose.
Braves beat Dodgers
Strong Winds: Lights, Camera, Action. It was very windy tonight in Arlington with wind speeds reaching 21 mph. Kershaw’s hair and jersey were billowing the whole time, it looked like a magazine photoshoot.
Kershaw Was Pulled Too Early. Today was Kershaw’s first day back after feeling better from back spasms. He pitched 5 complete innings and only gave up 1 run. He started Bottom 6 and gave up 2 doubles in a row with no outs, then got pulled. It's true, he threw a lot of questionable pitches in those 2 ABs including many balls in the dirt and the hanging curveball that got roped. Even so, I think Roberts should’ve let Kershaw finish the inning. He was at 87 pitches and was good for at least 20 more pitches. By my calculation, that number is actually exact. Throughout his entire 13-year career, Kersh has pitched 107 pitches on average per start. If the Dodgers left Kersh in, I don’t think he would have given up the 4 more runs that the bullpen ended up allowing that inning. I estimate he would have given up 1 or 2 more runs maximum to close out Bottom 6.
Other Daily Musings
Jennie Finch is a Legend. Softball Hall of Fame Pitcher Jennie Finch was on MLB Network today to discuss her work for the Softball Development Program as a MLB Youth Ambassador. She presented a few young women with the “Jennie Finch Empowerment Award” which recognizes winners for their hard work and humility playing softball. It also grants them with a $10,000 scholarship. The two winners were Cheyenne DeGross and Diamond Smith.
Nothing Bunt Cake, Batting Against the Shift. This postseason, I’ve observed a defensive shift being used for about 1 in 3 batters. It’s being used much more than previous years. What would I do as a batter facing a deep shift, you ask? I’d bunt the ball to the defensive hole along the 1st base line every time (I bat right). These batters are simply not bunting even though there's a high likelihood of success getting on base if you do it correctly: I estimate over 80%. Therefore, I can only assume that players cannot (don’t know how) or will not bunt (Skipper won’t let them).
I guess I can understand if Tampa Bay fundamentally refuses to bunt because they are playing Moneyball, which disagrees with bunting as a batting strategy. However, if the opposing team keeps insisting on shifting the infield that severely, I think it's worth investing a few hours a week into bunting practice.
About the Author
Bonnie Young runs the Amplified blog. She shares her insights on market trends from US to Asia and interviews founders that are shaking up the tech scene. She has been passionate about baseball since the age of 13 and regularly attended A's games before the pandemic. Bonnie is currently looking for a growth equity or VC role in the Bay Area. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org
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