Here are several links from the past week that will make your Monday a bit more bearable:
- Yasiel Puig remains en fuego. After collecting four hits in Sunday’s victory, including a triple and a double, the “Wild Horse” owns a .436/.467/.713 slash line and .503 wOBA in 107 plate appearances.
- Meanwhile, the Dodgers learned that Josh Beckett needs season-ending surgery “in which a rib is expected to be removed to relieve pressure on a compressed nerve,” according to Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times. The pitcher described to Shaikin how he knew something was seriously wrong:
The numbness and tingling would come and go, usually in a day or two. For Josh Beckett, this went on for years, an uncomfortable side effect of pitching for a living.
The time, the condition persisted for six weeks, affecting his everyday life.
“I’d try to drive with my right hand,” Beckett said, “and my right hand would go numb.”
He could pitch, he said, but his arm would feel weak and heavy.
“I’d throw a bullpen, and I couldn’t feel my hand,” he said.
- David Schoenfield isn’t willing to say that the Pirates’ bullpen is being “overworked,” but does say that “it’s something to watch.”
- Speaking of the team with the best record in the bigs — yes, halfway through the season, the Bucs are 51–30 — Jeff Sullivan of Fangraphs did discover something “historically dreadful” about this season’s team: With a wRC+ of -63 (including Wednesday evening’s game), their pitchers can’t hit worth a lick.
- Derek Holland is now mastering the slider, according to Beyond the Boxscore’s Mike Mulvenna, which has enabled him to become one of the premier southpaws in the American League. He explains:
So Derek Holland has changed his release point, which may have something to do with his improved command, especially on his slider. He’s walking fewer batters than ever before (2.29 per nine) and hitting the zone at a 49% clip, confounding batters with a 62% first strike rate. With more precise movement, control and command, Holland’s slider has become a cornerstone of his pitch arsenal and has doubled in usage from last year to 25%. As a lefty pitcher, his slider is cutting across the zone and becoming a serious problem for left handed hitters.
- High Heat Stats’ David Hruska says of the Yankees team that Holland blanked last Wednesday, “Brian Cashman’s Contingency Plan Needs a Contingency Plan.”
- As Tyler Killian of the Arizona Republic points out, Gerardo Parra may be the most notable player absent from the All-Star Game fan ballot.
- “I will admit . . . it is not the most, wow, did you see that catch?!?”
That’s it. Have a walk-off week!