Here are several go-to links to make your Monday a bit more bearable:
- Beating a dead horse, Stephen Strasburg shutdown edition: Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports and Joe Posnanski of Sports on Earth offer differing takes on the controversial decision by Nats general manager Mike Rizzo.
- Is the Marlins’ new ballpark really so unfriendly to home runs? SB Nation’s Wendy Thurm points out that, among NL venues, AT&T and Petco Parks are actually more hostile. She suggests that the lack of round-trippers in Miami may be tied to the retractable roof’s being closed in all but a handful of games.
- In an 8–5 loss to the Yankees on Friday, Orioles left fielder Nate McLouth just missed robbing an opposing batter of a home run, but later did bring one back.
- Here was umpire Jerry Meals’s less than finest hour in 2011. Via Mark Townsend of Big League Stew: Here is umpire Jerry Meals’s less than finest hour in 2012, a game that ended in a 5–4 victory for the Orioles on Saturday.
- Colin Wyers of Baseball Prospectus responds to a challenge from Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal on the issue of the new-look Dodgers and whether a lack of “chemistry” accounts for the team’s mediocre showing since the blockbuster deal with the Red Sox went down:
The reason we’re uncertain about Rosenthal’s theory is because we lack good ways to test it. We should, of course, try to seek out those ways and actually do that. But until then, his theory is of very little utility. It doesn’t help us predict what the Dodgers will do. (And let’s face it, the rest of the season is not so long that a poor performance out of the Dodgers would do much in confirming it.) And because the theory seeks to explain previously observed behavior, it has the uncomfortable feeling of being a post hoc rationalization, rather than predicting something (as J. Wheatley-Schaller of Vegas Watch pointed out, the article would be much more compelling had it been written BEFORE the poor run of performance). So while Rosenthal is not necessarily wrong (saying again, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence), he’s not contributing a lot of substance to the discussion with his theory, either.
- As MLB.com’s Hal Bodley points out, Julianna Zobrist sang the national anthem before the Rangers–Rays game on Friday. Later that evening, her husband, Ben, hit an 11th-inning, walk-off home run.
- Speaking of the Rays and that Friday night game, Inside the Book’s MGL does not understand manager Joe Maddon’s decision to call for a sacrifice bunt in the bottom of the ninth inning with a runner on first, no one out, and third baseman Adrian Beltre “breathing down the batter’s neck.”
- Brandon McCarthy remains in the critical-care unit of a Bay Area hospital after being stuck in the head with a line drive last Wednesday afternoon. Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle points out that the condition of the A’s pitcher’s has improved somewhat and that he has been Tweeting since Friday evening. Nevertheless, everyone should keep McCarthy in their thoughts and prayers.
That’s it. Have a walk-off week!