Sacrifice [Wednesday Morning Quarterback]
Aug 18th, 2010 by Dan

My friends have been talking about sacrifice and I’m feeling out of the loop. Today I’m gonna talk about sacrifice too.

The sacrifice hit and the sacrifice bunt.

IMGP4061 Conor Jackson Sacrifice bunt - Arizona Diamondbacks

These two stats are among my favorite because they represent something rarely seen in modern American baseball today: small ball. Today’s MLB player is much more concerned with blasting a home run than bringing in a run with a well-placed pop up. MLB pitchers focus more on their devastating fastball than being able to drop a simple bunt on a given day. It’s atrocious.

Sabrematricians will tell you (probably correctly, I haven’t run the math) that the sac bunt or sac hit is more statistically damaging than worthwhile. The probability of scoring, according to them, is not significantly increased enough by exchanging an out for a base. It’s now “Common Baseball Knowledge” that you shouldn’t play like this, yet you still see successful managers, like Joe Maddon of the Tampa Bay Rays, make great use of this antiquated play. In fact, that’s probably why it’s so useful.

Consider the state of the modern third baseman before the slight shift back into defense in baseball. His job was to be big, burly, a slightly better defender than the first baseman, and to hit home runs. The hits he gave up being bad at his job would be made up for with his bat. As the league accepted this as truth and third basemen became less defensively sound, the field of play was ripe for someone like Joe Maddon to exploit it. More bunts down the third base line mean more chances for the sac bunt to turn into a bunt hit instead because the third baseman is not a good defender, see what I mean?

Beyond the power of the sac play in today’s baseball, I’d also like to touch upon the feel-good nature of the sac hit or bunt. It’s not glamorous, but it’s one of the few moments in life you’ll have where you are rewarded for a good deed. See, in a sacrifice play you’re giving up your at bat to do what’s best for the team. You earn an out to move a runner. If you were strict about your statistics measuring, that would drop your batting average each time you did it. However, because baseball is a feel good sport, the sac hitter does not have an at bat counted against him and just gets an increase to his sac count. Happiness all around.

Another Fantastic Catch, This Time From 1981 [WMQ/ER]
Aug 13th, 2010 by Dan

Here’s another fantastic NPB catch from 1981 between the Marines and another team I can’t quite decipher.

Amazing Akamatsu Home Run Rob [WMQ/ER]
Aug 5th, 2010 by Dan

EMBED-Spiderman Style Baseball Catch – Watch more free videos

Guess what, readers? I love the Hiroshima Carp. This amazing catch against the BayStars makes me love them more.

The Marlins Need Some Work: The Weekend’s Scores That Matter [WMQ]
Jun 28th, 2010 by Dan

Ian's Bachelor Party 047

The Fish were involved in a sweep again and it definitely wasn’t the good time. I know the Padres are really strong this year, but this is pathetic. Someone needs to fix this. Maybe Bobby V?

25 June

Hiroshima Carp (1) at Chunichi Dragons (3). An off day from Maeda denies him his first 10-game win season of the year by another start (hopefully). It’s uncharacteristic for Kenta Maeda to allow even three runs, so let’s hope this was an aberration.

Softbank Hawks (6) at Rakuten Eagles (2). This one went into the tenth thanks to a strong start by Iwakuma, but the Golden Eagles blew it in the tenth, allowing four runs.

Washington Nationals (6) at Baltimore Orioles (7). This weekend didn’t go very well for Washington either. Tyler Clippard blows the hold/save/win and gives away the game to the Orioles on their home turf.

San Diego Padres (3) at Florida Marlins (0). The one all NL series of the weekend starts bad and gets worse. Volstad doesn’t have a terrible start at all, but where are the Marlins bats?!

Arizona Diamondbacks (1) at Tampa Bay Rays (0). ANOTHER EMBARRASSING NO-HITTER THROWN AGAINST A FLORIDA TEAM. Congrats Edwin Jackson, but I’m angry about your success.

26 June

Hawks (2) at Eagles (1). Everything about this weekend is frustrating for me. Seriously, I think I may only have one win among the teams I actually care about. Satoshi Nagai only gives up two, but the Eagles can’t make up for it and they go down yet again.

Carp (0) at Dragons (1). An optimist would be proud of Giancarlo Alvorado for pitching eight innings and only giving up one. Everyone else in the world is wondering when Kenta Kurihara will be back to get these bats swinging.

Nationals (5) at Orioles (6). Washington may have blown this one in the late stages, yet again, but the real question is how this game was so close when Baltimore outhit Washington by seven hits to fourteen.

Diamondbacks (3) at Rays (5). This one ends as it should for Arizona, one of the worst in the league, thanks to David Price’s fantastic pitching. Justin Upton did get to notch one against his brother’s team, but still lost.

Padres (2) at Marlins (1). Surely Josh Johnson can stop the bleeding? No? All it takes are a few mistakes and JJ’s sleeping offense can’t compensate.

27 June

Hawks (1) at Eagles (1). Rakuten takes its second tie of the season, but, would you believe it, their struggles have put them behind the god-awful Fighters with their 32-37-2 record. Shameful.

Carp (6) at Dragons (4). The Carp finally remember how to score runs and it’s thanks to Kurihara’s replacement, Justin Huber, remembering that he’s supposed to hit for power again. Those two runs prove to be pretty decisive as the Carp record improves to 27-39-2, still a long ways away from third.

Padres (4) at Marlins (2). The Fish aren’t playing terribly, but they’re not playing particularly spectacularly either. This game was lost by the bullpen (shocker), but it could have gone either way. Florida ends the weekend 35-40, still far from third too. We need something to change and quick. Maybe Bobby V will help?

Nationals (3) at Orioles (4). Clippard’s slipping a little. The guy wasn’t giving up anything at the start of the season, but it looks like the law of averages is catching up to him. Washington slips to 33-43 while Baltimore is looking good at 23-52.

Diamondbacks (2) at Rays (1). Another well pitched game by Wade Davis, but the inconsistent Rays bats can’t buoy him up. Tampa Bay ends the weekend in third with their 44-31 record. Time to turn the jets back on and catch up to the other AL powerhouses. The deficit is only three games at this point.

Orioles Actually Win One: Yesterday’s Scores That Matter [WMQ]
Jun 25th, 2010 by Dan


Which is great, except it was against my team. At least I got me another Adam Jones bobblehead.

24 June

Saitama Seibu Lions (2) at Rakuten Eagles (6). Ryohei Isaka tosses his first complete game win as the Eagles dominate Seibu for the win, improving their record to 32-35-1 in fifth. Getting close to fourth…

San Diego Padres (3) at Tampa Bay Rays (5). The Rays FINALLY snap their losing streak and prevent the sweep. Hopefully this is a sign that Tampa Bay is turning things around. They get to face the weak Diamondbacks this weekend allowing the Upton brothers to battle. Their record improves to 43-29, still tied for second.

Florida Marlins (5) at Baltimore Orioles (11). Kept forgetting that Baltimore scored 11 when I recounted the score. Oh well, the Fish were miserable. Nate Robertson only went two and one-thirds and the Fish lost their lead in the 3rd, never able to come back. At least Alex Sanabia’s debut went ok (not the best, but ok). The Orioles just kept POUNDING the outside corner and the Marlins kept swinging at those bad pitches. I swear I saw five straight strikeouts with that happening over and over again. Florida stays just shy of 0.500 at 35-37 while Baltimore improves to 0.278 with 20-52.

Marlins at Orioles: Yesterday’s Scores That Matter [WMQ]
Jun 23rd, 2010 by Dan

Hanley Ramirez Warming Up

Action shot!

I just can’t miss seeing the Fish when they’re in town. I let nothing stand in my way, even the dental surgery I had last night. It was with a sore jaw that I saw them rock Baltimore last night. New York got its chance to beat up on the Orioles and the Indians to improve their record. Now it’s time for Florida.

22 June

Hanshin Tigers (13) at Hiroshima Carp (7). A real brutal game for the pitchers. Kan Otake has a bad night, but my boy Higashide manages two RBIs. The Carp still hold on to fourth, but their record drops to 26-35-2.

Saitama Seibu Lions (5) at Rakuten Eagles (3). Could moving Ma-kun’s starts around have affected his rhythm? It’s odd for Tanaka to give up five. We’ll see if he’s this bad next week too. The Golden Eagles are now 30-34-1 in fifth.

Florida Marlins (10) at Baltimore Orioles (4). Not Anibal Sanchez’ best pitched game, but not a total wash either. I think I see Wieters homer most games I go to. The kid’s got some pop. Florida’s record improves to 34-36 in fourth while Baltimore drops to 19-51 in a historically bad last.

Kansas City Royals (3) at Washington Nationals (4). Atilano managed a decent start after a few miscues the last few times up. Facing the Royals can only be good for Washington and tonight’s matchup is bound to be yet another impressive Strasburg start. Washington is still in fifth with their 33-39 record.

San Diego Padres (2) at Tampa Bay Rays (1). This is as hard-luck as they get. Wade Davis has really been struggling, but this could have been turned around with a little more offense. The Rays retain their tie with Boston for second, 1.5 games back with a 42-28 record.

Only One Game: Yesterday’s Scores That Matter [WMQ]
Jun 22nd, 2010 by Dan

Wrigley Sign

Ok, so this doesn't totally prove I was there, but I took this.

Try not to be too disappointed Min, but there was only one game.

21 June


Kansas City Royals (1) at Washington Nationals (2). Liván Hernández returned to form against a weak Royals squad to end the losing streak. Washington’s win doesn’t take them out of last, but it puts them at 32-39, only eight back from first.

I Saw A Game At Wrigley: The Weekend’s Scores That Matter [WMQ]
Jun 21st, 2010 by Dan

The Chicago Bean

I wasn't at the Bean, but it's also in Chicago. My photos aren't uploaded yet.

Lots of action this weekend, including a game I attended in the Friendly Confines that will not be mentioned because I don’t cover the Cubs or the Angels.

18 June

Yakult Swallows at Hiroshima Carp. Rain delayed.

Rakuten Eagles at Chiba Lotte Marines. Rain delayed.

Chicago White Sox (2) at Washington Nationals (1). Strasburg went out for his second home outing and pitched another stellar game, allowing only one over seven innings and striking out another 10. This kid is insane. The game is lost on a bad throw in the 11th, and Strasburg gets his first no decision.

Tampa Bay Rays (4) at Florida Marlins (7). I turn off my Rays switch again to root for another great Marlins game. I’m super bummed I missed it, but this game had Mike Stanton’s first home run and boy was it a doozy. First homers don’t get any better than grand slams.

Baltimore Orioles (2) at San Diego Padres (3). The Padres are the biggest surprise this year. The Orioles, not so much.

19 June

Swallows (1) at Carp (5). The Carp have to wait a day to kick off non-interleague play, but they come out with a bang. It’s no surprise Yakult’s score is so low, it was a Kenta Maeda start. That guy is a monster.

Eagles (3) at Marines (0). Iwakuma returns to form against the PL as he blanks the hard-hitting Marines.

White Sox (1) at Nationals (0). Jake Peavy throws an incredible game and the Nats just keep on losing and sliding down.

Rays (9) at Marlins (8). A wild game that went into extras was blown by Jorge Sosa walking in two in the 11th. The Marlins came within one, but couldn’t tack that final one down.

Orioles (5) at Padres (4). Stop the presses, Kevin Milwood FINALLY got his first win of the season. Congrats, buddy, you didn’t deserve to go this long without one.

20 June

Eagles (1) at Marines (3). Rakuten went through with its plan to separate Tanaka and Iwakuma, but that means they won’t be winning back-to-back almost every Saturday and Sunday. Rakuten closes the weekend in fifth with a 30-34-1 record.

Swallows (4) at Carp (2). I hate losing to the Swallows. A lot. It’s especially bad when it’s all thanks to the bullpen. The Carp are now 26-35-2 in fourth

Rays (1) at Marlins (4). Price vs. Johnson was one of the best matchups of the weekend, but David was no match for the Fish while the Rays struggled against the Marlins ace. Way to go Florida, you’re now 33-36 in fourth while Tampa drops to 42-27, tied with Boston for second.

White Sox (6) at Nationals (3). The losing streak continues. It’s starting to get really ugly in Washington again. They are now 31-39 in last. Do they have any other rookie phenoms to call up?

Orioles (4) at Padres (9). 19-50. Yikes. Enough said.

Traveling: Yesterday’s Scores That Matter [WMQ]
Jun 18th, 2010 by Dan

Domo on a suitcase

Gonna see the Cubs this weekend!

17 June


Washington Nationals (3) at Detroit Tigers (8). Deja vu. Atilano loses again. Change of scenery tomorrow, but this sweep was ugly. 31-36 in last.

Texas Rangers (6) at Florida Marlins (4). Ricky Nolasco just hasn’t been the same in so long. Guy gets two earned, but the other unearned were on errors by him. 31-35 barely in fourth.

Tampa Bay Rays (1) at Atlanta Braves (3). Jason Heyward and the Bravos beat the struggling Shields. The Rays have not played well this month at all. They are still tied for first with their 41-25 record.

Everyone Loses: Yesterday’s Scores That Matter [WMQ]
Jun 17th, 2010 by Dan

Sad panda cookie

It may be blurry, but it's sad like I am.

The sad panda is sad like me because every team I follow lost last night.

16 June

Still chillin’

Baltimore Orioles (3) at San Francisco Giants (6). Lincecum only strikes out ten, which is a statement I heard one of my softball teammates utter yesterday. Guess what, buddy. 10 is GOOD. 10 > 1 K / Inning. The Orioles drop to 18-48.

Washington Nationals (3) at Detroit Tigers (8). The Tigers are a team no one seems to give much credit, but even I wouldn’t have expected them to crush Liván Hernández for eight runs in this game. The Nats drop to 31-35 in last.

Texas Rangers (6) at Florida Marlins (3). The Fish are killing me with their play. What’s wrong with the Marlins bullpen?! At least Cogz and Gaby are hitting well. Where’s Stanton’s power? The kid needs to relax, be patient, and start hitting! 31-34 in fourth.

Tampa Bay Rays (2) at Atlanta Braves (6). Tommy Hanson is an absolute stud. Wade Davis has been struggling. A lot. Thank god the Yankees lost too because the Rays are still tied for first at 41-24.

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