Here are several go-to links to make your Monday a bit more bearable:
- Congratulations to shorstop Barry Larkin and a posthumous shout-out to third baseman Ron Santo for their inductions into Cooperstown.
- Writing at The Score, Matt Klaassen digs deep into Adam Dunn’s historic three-true-outcomes (HR/BB/K) season. On a related note, check out the Baseball Prospectus / BrooksBaseball pitch F/X strikeout profile of Dunn for a good laugh.
- The Athletics finished the weekend with a four-game sweep of the Yankees and are now 25–9 over their last 34 games. Dayn Perry of CBSSports.com lists what the A’s need to do to keep winning. Among them:
Keep playing great infield defense. The A’s this season have allowed a .210 batting average on balls in play on grounders, while the AL as a whole has allowed a .234 mark. As well, the A’s lead the majors in double-place percentage. Maybe getting Cliff Pennington back from injury is more critical than you might think, given his lackluster offensive numbers? The safe assumption is that the Oakland infield defense is at its critical best when Pennington, Jemile Weeks and Brandon Inge are working together. . . .
Keep being stingy with home runs. In 2012, no pitching staff has done a better job of keeping the ball in the park. Despite giving up a fairly high percentage of fly balls, Oakland has allowed the fewest round-trippers in the AL. They also boast the lowest HR/fly-ball percentage in all of baseball. There may be some luck baked into those numbers, but there’s also some native skill. That needs to continue. . . .
Survive a tough remaining schedule. The bad news for the A’s is that they have a pretty challenging docket of games ahead of them. They’ll play the majority of their remaining games on the road, and the average winning percentage of their remaining opponents is .518. Of the 69 games left on the schedule, 50 come against teams with winning records, and seven more come against the not-half-bad Blue Jays. On the bright side, the A’s this season are 31–26 against teams with a .500 record or better.
- Via ChadMoriyama.com, just because Tim Lincecum is faring better of late with his pitches does not mean we cannot continue to have fun at his expense.
- SB Nation’s Jeff Sullivan has the lowdown on hitters with the most and the least favorable strike zones. Marco Scutaro (-37.6 extra strikes per 1,000 pitches) and Daniel Murphy (29 extra strikes per 1,000 pitches) top the respective charts.
- Writing at WGN-TV.com, Rob Neyer relates what he has learned about pitch framing, including how some catchers, such as Jose Molina, stand out from the crowd.
- Via Sarah Kogod at the Washington Post, not only does Michael Morse have pleasantly unconventional taste in walk-up music, he has got a bathroom-stall prank that Adam LaRoche finds pretty funny.
- Over the Monster’s Ben Buchanan breaks the news to Red Sox Nation: Clay Buchholz, who possessed a 9+ ERA six starts into the season, is now the club’s ace.
- Billy Butler did not get chosen for the All-Star Game home-run hitting contest, but above he capped off a great day against the Mariners with a game-winning blast.
That’s it. Have a walk-off week!