This week’s questions…
1) To be clear this question is not about when a pitcher like Max Scherzer pitches a complete game shutout against the Mets and strikes out 17 (10/3/15), or when he strikes out 20 in a complete game win against Detroit (5/11/16). Rather, it is when the Red Sox strikeout 20 but do it with 5 different pitchers or when the Yanks and Cubs (5/7/17) combine to strikeout 48 times in one game.
Are the rising number of strikeouts by players hurting the game of baseball by making it boring?
Dan: No, I don’t think so because for the same amount of strikeout heavy games there are also high run-scoring games. I don’t think strikeouts are hurting anything.
I’m a huge fan of pitching duels and I feel like strikeouts are helping the game because it’s not just an offensive powerhouse showing every time you turn on a baseball game. Also, from what I’ve realized, low-scoring, high-strikeout games actually are quicker than high run-scoring games in appearance (how it views to me).
So, no, I don’t think strikeouts are hurting anything. They’ve always been a part of the game.
Steve: Not really, it adds more excitement, especially when you are in extra innings, with runners on, and a pitcher strikes out the batter. Now, if is for the team I am not for, then I am pissed off, but overall I enjoy watching strikeouts, but I am biased because I am a pitcher at trade.
2) NYDN sports writer Bill Maddon was with Tom Seaver at his vineyard in California and the talk eventually tuned to the Mets pitchers, and Noah Syndergaard and his “torn lat muscle.”
When Seaver asked how it happened, Maddon said, “the general opinion is it’s a result of the extensive weight-lifting program he underwent over the winter in an effort to increase his velocity.” Seaver asked what was he throwing and Maddon said about “100.”
Seaver replied, “What’s with these guys and this obsession today with velocity? How about just pitch! Learn how to pitch! Because eventually that velocity will be harder and harder to maintain on a consistent basis.”
Is Seaver’s observation/criticism valid? Why or why not?
Dan: His criticism is certainly valid. Look at Greg Maddux. He didn’t have high velocity but he was able to pinpoint any spot he wanted with precision. Tom Seaver used precision. Most of the Hall of Fame pitchers, or soon to be Hall of Fame pitchers, didn’t rely on heavy velocity but rather location, transitions, etc…
Players in the majors can hit 100-mph fastballs and when they do, it increases the velocity off the bat and increases chances for long-flying balls along with HRs/RBIs, etc…
Accuracy/precision is a lot more important than trying to throw the hardest.
Steve: He has a truly valid point. As a pitcher myself, I could gun the ball close to the high 90’s, but elected to keep my velocity down and work on finesse. That is how you can get players out consistently. This is what I teach my kids as I am teaching them how to pitch. I say the velocity will come, but work on pin point control, and when you need a 98 MPH fastball it will be there. However, you don’t want to throw it all the time because you will end up throwing your arm out quickly.
Look at Syndergaard, look at Strasburg, these guys are throwing their arm out and ending up on the DL. Now that Strasburg has toned it down a bit, he is starting to become more of a finesse pitcher, and so far its working.
3) Since he debuted with the Angels in 2011 Mike Trout has been a 2-time MVP (2014, 2016), 5-time All-Star, 5-time Silver Slugger, Rookie of the year (2012), won an RBI title and a stolen base title. And the Angels have only been to the playoffs once (2014.) Add is the fact that for the most part the Angels have had relatively poor support for Mike Trout up and down their batting order, and especially so since their playoff appearance.
Do you think Trout will ever get to a point where says (probably, as politely as possible) “Please, trade me”? Why or why not?
Dan: I believe so. Every player gets tired of continuing to not compete for a ring and will eventually want to try to win a World Series ring. Every players’ goal is to win a ring. He won’t stick around forever and let Los Angeles just run him around with the same non-support production season after season.
Steve: No, he will simply wait until he is a free agent and cash in. He will continue to quietly put up monster numbers, be the face of the American League, if not all of baseball, and then make the most money anyone has ever made before.
I’m calling it.
4) Joe Girardi, Yankees manager, has recently joined a MLB advisory group that will make proposals for changes in how MLB operates as well as possible rule changes. One of Girardi’s ideas is that players and managers/coaches can use electronic methods to communicate back and forth (most likely installed in helmets or caps) which he says will eliminate the need for signals as well possible multiple trips to the mound, which he says will result in games being completed in faster times.
What is your opinion on this idea from Girardi?
Dan: I think this will speed it up and is definitely a good idea. Only problem is that you will still need to run signs just in case if you have a feeling the opponent can hear the microphone. Plus, how would pitchers/coaches/position players wear it? It seems like it’d be a lot of extra work and extra equipment to save a couple of minutes a game.
Steve: I guess it depends on the technology and if it will cause any sort of distraction or discomfort for the player. I like the idea because it really puts the game into the 21st century and will allow managers to manage the game more effectively and like the question said, it will eliminate mound trips and the conspiracy of sign stealing.
As long as it will not take away from the performance of a player, I would be all for it.
5) David Price is scheduled to pitch this week for the Boston Red Sox after appearing in a final MiLB rehab start and hopes are high with Bostonians that he will help jumpstart a lackluster start to the Sox’ 2017 season so far. Regardless, Price, he of the 0-8 postseason record, has expressed frustration with the “negativity” of fans and media in Boston. He has an opt-out clause (2018) in his 7-year contract that began in 2016.
What are the odds he leaves the remainder of his $217 million contract on the table and shops himself around, regardless of his record in the regular season or the playoffs?
Dan: I doubt it. If, he has a great season, great post-season for a change, and stays healthy the rest of the season, I can see him pondering the idea of opting out. But, that’s a lot of money on a very good team that he’ll be giving up.
I think he stays for the rest of his seven years in Boston and takes the money and chance for a ring.
Steve: After seeing what Price has ultimately become so far in Boston, another season laced with injuries. There is no team, and I repeat NO TEAM that will pay him that kind of money. He should just keep his paycheck and attempt to continue to perform the best that he can. His best hope is to try and win the fans back by getting back on the field and performing like his CY Young caliber season that he has done before.
Honestly though, it will be up to the managers to see how far they let him push himself, because Price is the kind of pitcher who will be a work horse if you let him.
On June 1, 1925 Lou Gehrig, makes the only appearance as a pinch-hitter in his 17-year career and begins his streak of playing in 2,130 straight games when he comes off the Yankee bench to hit for rookie infielder Pee-Wee Wanninger.
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