Here are several links from the past week that will make your Monday at the office a bit more bearable:
- C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that Cardinals first baseman Matt Adams claims he didn’t mean to give a shove to the Reds fan who, sporting a knee brace and crutches, snared a foul ball that Adams had attempted to catch. Hmmm.
- Who is Charlie Blackmon and how did he manage to go 6 for 6 in the Rockies’ third game of the season? ESPN SweetSpot’s David Schoenfield investigates.
- Meanwhile, Schoenfield takes issue with the decision of new Nats skipper Matt Willliams to bat Bryce Harper sixth last Wednesday against the Mets (and on Friday against the Braves):
The biggest flaw here is that [Denard] Span is hitting leadoff and he’s clearly one of the weakest hitters on the team. He’s not terrible, so it’s far from the worst lineups we’ve seen, but he doesn’t bring a high enough on-base percentage to offset his lack of power (.279/.327/.380) and he’s not a big enough base thief to create many extra runs that way (20 steals in 2013). He is, however, probably the fastest guy on the team and that’s why he’s hitting leadoff. So Williams has elected — for now — to give an inferior hitter more plate appearances.
- Two players were inked to six-year contract extensions last week: Chris Archer of the Rays and Jason Kipnis of the Indians. Cliff Corcoran of SI’s The Strike Zone gives the Kipnis signing a big thumbs-up for Cleveland, noting that “Kipnis has a very similar offensive profile to Dustin Pedroia and Ben Zobrist,” but is three and a half years and six years younger respectively. Similarly, Randy Holt of The Outside Corner notes that, by extending Archer, they “lock[ed] up a pitcher who’s just 25 with big upside, for a very nice price.”
- An unexpected overnight rainstorm ought not be a problem for teams playing the following evening . . . unless no tarp was covering the stadium infield. Janice Mccauley of the Associated Press provides the soggy details from Oakland.
- Neil Paine of FiveThirtyEight’s Data Lab explores the relative importance of having a top farm system.
- In the wake of a successful two-game exhibition series in Montreal — the first baseball games played in the city since the Expos departed after the 2004 season — the Hardball Times’ Blake Murphy looks back at the “10 best moments in the history of Olympic Stadium.” Among them:
Believer Fever: In 2003, with Death knocking at the Expos’ door, Montreal took the first three games of a four-game set from the Phillies. A win in the final game of the series would have created a tie for the Wild Card with a month to play. The crowd was electric, and while the team stumbled down the stretch (no September call-ups? C’mon son), it was a final sign that the city would support the team, even as the fans were getting crapped on.
- Murphy’s colleague Frank Jackson reviews the mostly refreshing relationship between beer and baseball.
- The 42,000+ fans who attended the Nats’ home opener may have wondered during and after the game whether Justin Upton should have made an effort to retrieve the ball, hit by Ian Desmond, that was hidden underneath the left-field wall’s padding. Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post responds that it doesn’t really matter, as the ball was “stuck,” at least in the strictest interpretation of the word.
That’s it. Have a walk-off week!