Tuesday, April 9, 2013
Thoughts: One strike closer to robot umps
By David Schoenfield
Quick thoughts on Monday's games ...
- Did you see the final pitch of the Rangers' 5-4 victory over the Rays? Ump Marty Foster rung up Ben Zobrist on a 3-2 curveball low and off the outside corner, a call so bad that even Rangers closer Joe Nathan was seen mouthing, "Wow." "That call can't be made in a Major League Baseball game," said Rays manager Joe Maddon. Foster admitted after seeing the replay that he made a bad call. Jeff Sullivan of FanGraphs has an in-depth breakdown of the pitch, with one takeaway being that Foster does have a weak spot for that location.
- Alexi Ogando had a solid second start in his return to the rotation, after blowing away the Astros in his first start. He walked three and fanned only two, but limited the hits and gave up just one run in 5.1 innings. Despite his strong performance as a starter in 2011, I was skeptical of Ogando matching the 3.51 ERA he put up that year. He was basically a two-pitch guy then and as a reliever, but he's added a changeup this year, which he's thrown 17 percent of the time and so far hitters are 1-for-6 on plate appearances ending on a change. It's early, of course, but if that pitch develops, Ogando could have a big year.
- Watched the Roy Halladay-Matt Harvey showdown that wasn't much of a showdown. Not much to say, other than Phillies fans should be very worried and Mets fans should be very happy. Halladay was bad again -- he allowed five earned runs in back-to-back starts for the first time since 2007 -- and Harvey was very good again. Here, the "Baseball Tonight" guys break down the game. Halladay talked with reporters at length after the game and says he feels fine. "Ninety-five percent is mental," he said. "It's simplifying and getting back to basics and not trying to force things." Here's Adam Rubin on Harvey's performance.
- The Reds erupted for nine runs against the Cardinals in the ninth inning to break open a tie game, with seven coming off Mitchell Boggs. The Reds scored their first four runs with only one hit out of the infield. Mike Matheny didn't help matters by issuing two intentional walks. Give away free passes and you do open yourself up for a big inning. Filling in for Jason Motte, Boggs now has a blown save and a loss in four appearances. But eighth-inning guy Trevor Rosenthal has blown two leads, so I don't think Matheny dumps Boggs just yet.
- Justin Upton hit another home run -- that's six in seven games. Maybe he did need to get out of Arizona. ESPN Stats & Info reports that four of Upton's six home runs have come off fastballs. He may not see another one until May.