Reveille 9/4/12

Good morning!

Here are several go-to links to make your Monday Tuesday a bit more bearable:

  • And down the stretch they come: The Yankees cling to a one-game lead over the Orioles in the AL East, the White Sox hold the top spot in the Central by one game over the Tigers, and the West features the Rangers up four over the surging A’s. Meanwhile, the Nationals lead the East by 6.5 over the Braves, the Reds are 8.5 games in front of the Cardinals in the Central, and the Giants are up by 4.5 over the Dodgers in the West. If the season ended today, Oakland, Baltimore, Atlanta, and St. Louis would grab the wildcard spots.

  • On this date in 1928, the Boston Braves got swept in a doubleheader by the Brooklyn Robins, losing 3–2 and 9–2. To add insult to injury, the Braves’ next 16 games — played over a mere 10 days — were all part of doubleheaders, in which the club went 4–12.

  • Jeff Sullivan of Fangraphs is enthralled with Rafael Betancourt’s pitch locations when facing left-handed batters:

Betancourt is not a one-pitch pitcher. Against lefties, he throws a fastball, a change, and a slider. But while Betancourt is able to mix up his pitches, he doesn’t exactly mix up his pitch locations. While he does vary height, everything — almost literally everything — is away. Nearly every single pitch he’s thrown to a lefty this year has been over or beyond the outer half. Some pitchers try to live on both the edges. Against lefties, Betancourt lives on just one of them. . . .

I haven’t checked, but I can’t imagine there are many pitchers who leave areas of the zone as unexplored as Betancourt does, if there are any of them. Strangely, Betancourt still shows absurdly large career platoon splits. Betancourt has held righties to a .243 wOBA, while he’s allowed a .313 wOBA to lefties. Against lefties, his strikeout rate has gone down and his walk rate has nearly tripled. But he’s also generated grounders and done just as good a job of limiting dingers, and maybe that’s the idea. Lefties have had success against Rafael Betancourt, but they haven’t had success knocking him out of the park.

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  • On this foul ball in Minute Maid Park, Pablo Sandoval shows how hacky sack may be played using a third-baseman’s glove.

  • The Astros hired Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus and ESPN to be the team’s pro scouting coordinator. In a good-bye piece, the prospect guru informs his readers:

I’m going to miss that, all of that, and I’m very sad about it. But this is the opportunity to go beyond just trying to analyze prospects and talking about their future. This is the opportunity to actually see if I’m right. It’s both terrifying and exhilarating and brings back weird and wonderful feelings in the back of my brain that haven’t been triggered since my technology days working for start-ups. I’m going to take some time off, recharge the batteries, and get going with Houston just in time for the offseason. I’m not going away, as I’ll still be reading Baseball Prospectus every day, and watching and learning from and laughing at all of your tweets. I’ll just be doing it silently while putting everything I have into this new and thrilling endeavor.

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That’s it. Have a walk-off week!

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