Here are several links from the past week that will make your Monday a bit more bearable:
After scrutinizing future Hall of Famer Warren Spahn’s 1954–57 seasons, Joe Posnanski asks Bill James why, despite pitching 1,081 innings over those four years, the Milwaukee Braves southpaw threw a mere 2 2/3 innings against the Brooklyn Doddgers.
Grantland’s Jonah Keri looks at another southpaw, Clayton Kershaw, and the moment when a 19-year-old’s breaking ball got the normally unflappable Vin Scully to lapse into hyperbole.
A third lefty, Scott Kazmir, is profiled by Beyond the Boxscore’s Lee Trocinski, who observes what the 29-year-old is doing right in his comeback with the Indians and what he could do better.
Matt Snyder of CBS Sports’ Eye on Baseball explains why an umpire-crew chief was suspended for screwing up a rules interpretation about a pitching change but another umpire was not, even though he blew an obvious home-run ball:
While it was obviously an egregious error, [Angel] Hernandez’s mistake was technically a judgment call – just like when Jim Joyce botched Armando Galarraga’s perfect game, just like the famous Don Denkinger call, just like Ron Kulpa’s botched call in Game 3 of the 2011 World Series and thousands of others.
Though Hernandez’s mistake was awful and pretty much everyone with a working set of eyes knows it, it was still under the umbrella of judgment calls. And Major League Baseball cannot — as much as we might emotionally want it to — get into the business of suspending umpires for making poor judgment calls. That’s a slippery slope from which the league would never recover. . . .
As an umpire, you cannot just pick and choose which rules to enforce.
That is why [Fieldin] Culbreth was suspended. His crew neglected to enforce a rule that is set in stone.
Citing the Jordany Valdespin incident over the weekend, Dustin Parkes of The Score explains on his Twitter feed why unwritten rules remain unwritten: “The Jordany Valdespin kerfuffle reminds us unwritten rules go unwritten because if they were written out, they’d seem really f***ing stupid.”
Three-true-outcome fans have never been happier: According to Andy of High Heat Stats, fewer balls are being put into play than ever before.
Baseball Nation’s Rob Neyer takes Boston Globe columnist Dave Shaughnessy to task for the latter’s PED-related comments about David Ortiz.
Alex Cobb (above) struck out 13 batters in 4 2/3 innings, the first time in the live-vall era that a pitcher has struck out that many batters without completing five innings. Meanwhile, rookie Shelby Miller (27) and veteran Adam Wainwright (13) combined over two games to retire 40 consecutive batters, tying a MLB record.
That’s it. Have a walk-off week!