Monday, August 31, 2015

How Stitious Is Joe Maddon?

After Jake Arrieta's masterful no-hitter* Sunday night, Joe Maddon channeled his inner Michael Scott, saying, "I'm not superstitious. I'm just a little stitious ... I watch The Office every night." The comment received chuckles from reporters, but it stuck out to me as a pattern.

*The phrase "masterful no-hitter" might seem redundant, but it's not. For instance, Andy Hawkins and the Yankees irreparably uglied up the game of baseball in 1990, but Hawkins still twirled a no-no. Of the six (six!) no-hitters this season, Arrieta's 98 tied for the highest Game Score.

Maddon's affinity for Michael Scott quotes shouldn't surprise us. Way back in February, upon his arrival at Spring Training, Maddon said, "Never permit the pressure to exceed the pleasure of the moment." At the time, I noted that the manager's comment was a great set-up for a "That's what she said" zinger.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

How Did John Sterling Call Greg Bird's First Homers?

I meant to put up a post about this as soon as the Yankees promoted Greg Bird to the big leagues, but a vacation to Cape Cod and my former traveling buddy Ken's wedding prevented me from writing it. Just as I've been doing all season, I was planning on predicting John Sterling's home run call for Bird. My post about Sterling's "uproarious" call of Didi Gregorius's dingers got a bunch of traffic, so obviously I'm not the only idiot who cares about Sterling's self-serving, obnoxious, entertaining verbal ejaculations. But alas, the 22-year-old Bird went deep twice last Wednesday, completely beating me to the punch.

Quite inconsiderate timing by Bird, I must say.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

How Surprising Are Each NL Team's Top Performers?

Last month, I examined the amount of surprise registered by the WAR leaders on each AL team. At the start of the season, how likely was it that each of those players would be his team's most valuable? Today, after a Mike Hargrove-length delay, let's finally swing around the Senior Circuit. Again, we'll examine each team's top hitter and pitcher as judged by WAR.

As always, feel free to scroll through and find your team or to read the whole post. All stats are current through August 5. For a refresher on the "Champion" scoring system, refer to the beginning of the AL post linked above.