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Depending on the kind of weather that Minnesota gets this weekend — Friday night through Saturday night is supposed to be a wintry mess — we may have a lot of time to microanalyze two weeks’ worth of data.
That said, I want to clear the decks of a few things I’d meant to share, one way or another, starting with my Monday column for The Athletic, which marvels at the way Rick Renteria sustained his honeymoon period through a 95-loss season, but also wonders whether some of the shine will wear off this season due to factors out of his control.
[The serial-position effect] is the name for the tendency to remember the beginnings and ends of lists while getting foggy about the details in the middle. The White Sox posted a winning record in April and a .500 record in September. The middle was a mess, especially after they turned over a quarter of the roster with deadline trades, but “Ricky’s Boys Don’t Quit” papers over a lot of the memory hole.
Renteria’s team cleared a low bar by plenty, and aside from an excessive amount of bunting, nobody could pin the reasons for the losing record on the manager himself. That’s why Renteria went 67-95 in his first season and still had fans thanking him.
With Renteria now being graded less against Robin Ventura and more against himself, he’ll have expectations creep to contend with, and a worse bullpen to fight it.
Dayn Perry does a deep dive into the Armour Field project, talking to principal players on both sides of the plan. It’s a little on the long side — in terms of readability, not mere length — but it does a good job of inserting some realities into what has always hovered as a regrettable, unrealized dream.
Grant Brisbee shares a memo that was leaked to him three years ago from a Major League Baseball powerpoint slide. He couldn’t verify it at the time, but it appears to have been legit based on the proposals on it (asterisks denoting plans implemented in minors):
- Pitch timer*
- Limitation on pickoffs
- Starting extra innings with a runner on base*
- Mercy rule
- Raise strike zone to top of knee
- Require relievers to face a minimum number of batters
- Limit number of relievers on a roster
- Limit defensive shifts
- Allow managers to reset the batting order in the 9th inning
Thank goodness a mercy rule has never been seriously floated. Come on.
- Ty Van Burkleo on Cleveland Indians’ poor April hitting: It’s going to change” — Cleveland Plain-Dealer
- Corey Kluber is the best pitcher in baseball — FanGraphs
The White Sox offense isn’t a whole lot of fun to watch right now, but the Indians are hitting .170/.262/.290 as a team. Their pitching is the reason they have a winning record, and Craig Edwards says Corey Kluber has overtaken Clayton Kershaw as baseball’s best starter.
- Nolan Arenado, Luis Perdomo spark eventful bases-clearing brawl between Padres and Rockies — CBS Sports
- Benches clear twice in Red Sox-Yankees; 3 players, 1 coach ejected — ESPN
Wednesday’s action featured the first two basebrawls. During the afternoon, Nolan Arenado charged San Diego’s Luis Perdomo after Perdomo threw behind him. At night, the Yankees’ Tyler Austin spiked Brock Holt on a slide into second, then charged the mound when Joe Kelly drilled him.
Brandon McCarthy separated his non-throwing shoulder reaching behind him to catch a flip to first on a grounder to the right side. The trainer popped it back in on the field. Between the fights and this, if somebody just started following baseball on Wednesday, they’d be battling one bizarre set of expectations.