Here are several links from the past week that will make your Monday at the office a bit more bearable:
- The Royals remain in first place in the AL Central. In an article that includes references to the disastrous Howard the Duck film, Tom and Jerry cartoons, the Treaty of Versailles, and the short-lived Carpatho-Ukraine republic (no, really, it’s in there), SB Nation’s Steven Goldman explains why the good times are unlikely to last.
- David Brown of Yahoo’s Big League Stew recaps Thursday evening’s ninth-inning replay controversy at home plate featuring A. J. Pierzynski of the Cardinals and Alexi Amarista of the visiting Padres.
- Drew Smyly has pitched quite well since being dealt to the Rays. However, Fangraphs’ Jeff Sullivan has found that the southpaw’s changeup has been positively dreadful all season long, going so far as to label it “baseball’s least-effective pitch“:
Most of Smyly’s changeups have gone for balls. That’s bad for the run value. Many others have gone for hits — some of those for extra bases. That’s worse for the run value. Smyly, like a lot of lefties, has a pretty pronounced platoon split, and it’s something he’ll need to improve on if he wants to become a more reliable starting pitcher down the road. To get better, Smyly doesn’t need to get a better changeup, but that would be the most direct path, which is why he’s still working on the pitch. Perhaps the Rays figure they can help him out, either with the change or by turning his change into a splitter. The good news for Smyly is his changeup isn’t a finished product. The bad news is right now all he has is a scattered assortment of parts without instructions.
- David Golebiewski of Gammons Daily documents how former first-round amateur-draft pick Anthony Rendon has thrived in 2014 even as two other top-ten picks on the Nats, Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman, have been bitten with the injury bug.
- Yasiel Puig’s ”heartwarming gesture” to former Brooklyn Dodger Carl Erskine and his adult son caught the attention of Dodger Insider’s Cary Osborne.
- Had Nolan Ryan been born in 1987, not 1947, would he have been given an opportunity to start big-league games? Oh, and is there reason to suspect that Ryan took steroids? Radical Baseball’s Kevin Matinale responds to both questions.
- What does Red Sox chairman and vanquished MLB-commissioner candidate Tom Werner have against Gettysburg, The Ten Commandments, Gone With The Wind, and Once Upon a Time in America? NESN’s Nick Solari has the details.
- Speaking of our friends in Boston, isn’t this play from Thursday evening fairly representative of what the Fenway faithful have endured this season? Not surprisingly, the Astros won the game in extras.
That’s it. Have a walk-off week!