Dennis Lawson

Last night the Phillies somehow managed to put the Cardinals in position to win, and the Cardinals found a way to take the loss anyway.  When Mike Matheny retires as manager of the team 30 years from now having won zero World Series titles, this game summary should scroll across the bottom of the screen.

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Remember that time Anthony Rizzo went out of his way to initiate contact with Padres catcher Austin Hedges on a play at the plate last year?  Maybe not, but perhaps you should freshen up on that incident.  Rizzo absolutely leveled Hedges, and MLB determined that his slide had violated rule 6.01(i).  No fine.  No suspension.  No reason not to do it again to some defenseless catcher.

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When the Orioles shop Manny Machado, any destination in the AL works great.  Sending him to the NL West?  Splendid.  NL East?  Could be worse.  The NL Central?  That sounds like a positively dreadful idea.  If that somehow happens, then please don’t let it be the Cubs.  Just not the Cubs.  Anybody but the Cubs.  That’s the entirety of plausible outcomes on the Murphy’s law Mt. Rushmore of awful end points.

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Closing Time

If I learned anything at all from watching “Friends With Benefits”, it’s that Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake were genetically engineered perfect beings presented to humanity as gifts from a higher power.  If I learned anything else, it’s that Semisonic and not Third Eye Blind released “Closing Time” – a catchy little bop with lyrics that provide the inspiration for the words about Adam Wainwright yet to come.

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Do you know what player under the age of 24 years, 4 months has the most XBH prior to May 17th in an even numbered calendar year while playing exactly 53% of his games at an infield position?

No, you don’t.  Nor should you.  That’s just a slightly exaggerated example of how ridiculously arbitrary and overly granular statistics are now, and I despise it.

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FIP or “fielding independent pitching” provides a type of at-a-glance reference to measure a pitcher’s effectiveness at controlling that which the pitcher can theoretically control.  I’d explain exactly what it is, but it’s easier if you just get off your lazy butt and Google it yourselves.  Or not. Just know that in a general sense, I find it (and xFIP) useful for comparing what a pitcher has done versus what could’ve happened in an alternate timeline.

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Matt Carpenter hasn’t been within shouting distance of the infamous Mendoza line since April 7th, and to say he hasn’t made a strong accurate throw from third base since the Obama administration isn’t nearly as much of an exaggeration as it should be.  He’s sporting a wRC+ of 69, and he appears dangerously close to passing Wainwright on the list of salary ballast offenders.  The only thing stopping Matheny from penciling Carpenter into the lead-off spot today is the lack of a game on the schedule.

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Rather than risk burying the lede, here is one “truth” that I hope you hold to be self-evident – You don’t need a moronic blogger, loudmouth with a podcast, or a professional journalist to tell you how to fan for your favorite sports ball team.  Too many leverage their social media following into a bully pulpit to spread a particularly vile brand of nonsense as fact.  There is a not-so-fine line between presenting opinion as opinion and presenting opinion as fact.

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If you listen to enough MLB broadcasts with the sound actually on, at some point you’ll hear a talking head with a mediocre hairpiece bemoan the lack of minority representation in the sport.  In keeping with that narrative, they are obligated to mention baseball is losing many such athletes to other sports.  If the sport suffers as a result, then it’s worth investigating, but it really shouldn’t be too difficult to understand, because the premise seems reasonable enough.  If someone (minority or not) excels at another sport in addition to baseball, why on Earth would they choose to pursue a career in baseball?

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Path Of Most Resistance

Admission:  When Joe Mauer was about to step into the box for the at-bat that ended with him picking up his 2,000th career hit, I was angrily mashing portions of my iPhone screen in a fruitless attempt to make MLBtv load faster.  I didn’t make it, and my phone almost didn’t either.  Shame.  Despite recent efforts to discount the value of any and all “counting stats”, 2,000 hits is still 2,000 hits, and not many players reach that benchmark.

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After Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo triggered Yadier Molina by directing a rather distasteful obscenity at him during yesterday’s game, the rush to judgment was predictably swift and brutal.  Lovullo earned an ejection the moment he started arguing balls and strikes with the home plate umpire, and he earned the wrath of Yadi as well as Cardinal Nation when he called Yadi a “motherf—–” while airing a complaint about pitch framing.

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If you haven’t read Jack Dickey’s article in Sports Illustrated about Tommy Pham, then I highly recommend you click here and check it out.  To some, Pham probably comes across as refreshingly honest, bold, and confident in himself.  To others, he probably comes across as arrogant, foul-mouthed, and brazen.  Two reasonably good debate teams could pick sides and probably end up with a stalemate for half of eternity.

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