The Three Silliest Andrew Miller Swings of the Year

Andrew Miller made a batter look silly last night. Andrew Miller makes batters look silly most nights, but last night, a batter looked particularly silly. One surefire way to identify a batter who just got done looking silly is to check whether he’s laying down in dirt right after he swung. Let’s see.

Q: Was This Major Leaguer Laying Down in the Dirt Right After He Swung?

Screen Shot 2016-08-23 at 5.23.00 PM

A: Sure was

That there batter sure looked silly. The good news for Khris Davis is, he’s not alone. He didn’t even take the season’s most ill-advised swing against Miller. As our own Jeff Sullivan pointed out back in May, maybe the thing Miller does very best is force hitters to take ill-advised swings, at least certainly relative to the ones they don’t take. I’ll explain. When Jeff wrote his article in May, Miller’s O-Swing% against was higher than his Z-Swing% against, making him the only pitcher in baseball with such a distinction. To translate that into English: batters were swinging at would-be balls from Miller more frequently than they were swinging at would-be strikes. That’s not how hitting is supposed to work.

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FanGraphs After Dark Chat – 8/23/16

Paul Swydan: Hi everybody!
Paul Swydan: Sorry, was just talking with Jeff.
John Olerud: Start Danny Duffy @ BOS this week? I know it seems crazy to sit him given the roll he’s on, but his peripherals and dropping velocity are a little concerning. I’d probably start him in any other situation (except for an @ COL start), but based on the team and park factors for 2016 @ BOS is on par with an @ COL start. What say you guys?
Paul Swydan: I think Podhorzer made a compelling case to drop him last week at RotoGraphs. In my opinion, the Sox have been scoring less, so I’d rock Duffy til the wheels fell off. But you are right to be wary.
Paul Swydan: Hold on guys, Jeff is having issues.
OddBall Herrera: Did I get the poll questions right? You never publish answers to these things

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The A’s Have Made an Exciting Discovery

Here’s a little game for you to play: Try to name, off the top of your head, the current Oakland A’s starting rotation. It’s not so easy. It’s not even easy for me, and I’m the guy on staff in charge of the A’s team depth chart. Sonny Gray is sidelined. Rich Hill is gone. Henderson Alvarez never showed up. On and on it goes. The upside is that, at this point, the rotation doesn’t matter much, since Oakland’s games don’t matter much. The downside is that Oakland’s games don’t matter much, partly because a quality rotation never came together.

Yet in some ways it can be liberating when everything goes wrong. You get to experiment as an organization a little more, because you don’t have to put up with the burden of stakes. You can try things out, just to see, and for no other reason or reasons. Because of the way things have gone, the A’s have had to scramble for pitching help. Monday, they got six shutout innings from an unlikely starter against the Indians. That starter? Andrew Triggs.

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Mike Zunino Awoke From His Nightmare

Sandy Leon isn’t the best hitter in baseball, but if you set the plate-appearance minimum low enough, then he shows up as the big-league leader in wRC+. He steadfastly refuses to cool off, and so far he has saved the Red Sox behind the plate. It’s a heck of a story.

Mike Zunino isn’t the best hitter in baseball, but if you set the plate-appearance minimum even lower, then he shows up as the big-league leader in wRC+. Maybe that’s not fair to Leon, but then, lowering the threshold for Leon isn’t fair to everyone else. Zunino was brought up for good about a month ago in order to bump Chris Iannetta, and he’s helped to fuel a Mariner surge in the standings. Given what Zunino had been through before, it’s a heck of a story, as well. Zunino is but 25 years old, yet he’s already been to baseball hell.

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Jedd Gyorko and Brandon Moss Powering Cardinals

Last season, 64 players hit at least 20 home runs. It was 57 the year before. This year, there are already 68 players with 20 home runs and, with six weeks of the season remaining, there are another 40 players with at least 15 home runs who have at least a shot. Two of the players powering up this year, Jedd Gyorko and Brandon Moss, were relatively recent under-the-radar acquisitions for the Cardinals who’ve now helped the club to a National League-leading 173 homers. Their deals didn’t necessarily look great at the time they were made, but both players have helped put the Cardinals in position for a sixth straight playoff appearance.

While baseball has generally been homer-happy this season, St. Louis has spread its power around. No player on the club’s roster sits among the top 30 in the majors in homers. Moss’ 23 paces the team. That said, the Cardinals also have an MLB-leading nine players who’ve recorded double-digit home-run totals this year, with Tommy Pham (nine) knocking on the door right now and Jhonny Peralta, injured for most of the year, possessing an outside shot after having accumulated six homers so far. A roster with 10 players featuring double-digit homer totals would tie the National League record set by the Cincinnati Reds in both 1999 and 2000, per the Baseball Reference Play Index. Eleven players in double-digits would tie the MLB record set by the 2004 Detroit Tigers and matched by the Houston Astros last season.

After averaging 122 homers over the last three years, the Cardinals are on pace for 228, which would represent the most any National League team has hit since the Brewers hit 231 in the 2007 season. It’s not just Moss and Gyorko, either: Matt Holliday, currently on the DL, has 19; Stephen Piscotty has 18; and both Matt Carpenter and Randal Grichuk have recorded 15 homers this year. However, Moss and Gyorko are definitely the most efficient when it comes to the long ball. There are 179 players this season who’ve reached the 10-homer mark. By plate appearances per home run, two Cardinals appear prominently near the top of the list.

Most Prolific Home-Run Hitters in 2016
Mark Trumbo Orioles 518 38 13.6
Brandon Moss Cardinals 327 23 14.2
Khris Davis Athletics 469 32 14.7
Ryan Schimpf Padres 206 14 14.7
Jedd Gyorko Cardinals 298 20 14.9
Ryan Howard Phillies 286 19 15.1
Edwin Encarnacion Blue Jays 534 35 15.3
Pedro Alvarez Orioles 293 19 15.4
Trevor Story Rockies 415 27 15.4
Yoenis Cespedes Mets 389 25 15.6
Min. 10 HR

The Cardinals’ leading home run-hitters, Gyorko and Moss, have combined for 43 home runs in just 625 plate appearances on the season, even while finding the path to playing time a bit of a struggle. Moss came to the Cardinals last season in a deadline deal for pitching prospect Rob Kaminsky, a trade the present author panned given Moss’ struggles to regain his power after hip surgery in 2014. Moss was fine for the Cardinals last year, with a 108 wRC+, but he lacked power, hitting only four home runs in 151 plate appearances, leading to a .159 ISO.

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Robbie Ray: A Diamondback Discusses His Arsenal

Robbie Ray has a 7-11 win-loss record and a 4.31 ERA. Neither is impressive. Some of his other numbers are. The Arizona Diamondbacks left-hander has a 3.53 FIP and his walks and strikeouts per nine innings are 3.2 and 11.2, respectively. His velocity is also notable. Ray’s heater is averaging 93.9 mph and topping out at 97. Six weeks short of his 25th birthday, he’s never thrown harder.

There have been a few situational issues. Third time through the order has been the biggest problem — resulting in a .331/.373/.598 slash line — and he’s had trouble closing out innings. With two outs, opposing batters are hitting .286/.347/.432 against him. As August Fagerstrom wrote earlier in the month, despite his plus stuff, Ray is “something of an enigma.”

In his last start he was masterful. On Sunday, in San Diego, Ray allowed one hit — a home run by Patrick Kivlehan — and fanned 13 over seven innings of work. A week earlier, he sat down to discuss his repertoire and the reasons behind his not-without-flaws breakout.


Ray on his mechanics and velocity gain: “The velo on my fastball is up this year. I think a lot of that is just me understanding my body better and fine-tuning my mechanics to get maximum efficiency out of my body. It hasn’t been anything big. I did make a minor change with my initial step. I step back now, kind of at a 45-degree angle, whereas before I stepped a little horizontally.

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Revisiting Chris Davis’ Troubling Trend

Few players can heat up the way Chris Davis can. Baltimore’s left-handed slugger has homered five times in his last six games, and over the last two weeks has ran a .432 ISO and 183 wRC+. It’s a sufficient number of stretches like this one over the course of a season that leave Davis winding up among the league’s best hitters, as he did in 2013 and 2015.

Few players can get lost the way Davis sometimes can too, though, and certainly few are getting paid more. Before Davis’ current two-week hot stretch began, the $161-million man was barely a league-average hitter, posting a 103 wRC+ over his first 451 plate appearances in the first year of the seven-year contract he signed in the offseason. Even when Davis has struggled to make contact, he’s walked enough to maintain a respectable on-base percentage, and he moves well enough for a slugger to accrue base-running value and avoid being a liability in the field. So, the season as a whole hasn’t been a disaster: he’s projected to finish the year with roughly 3.5 WAR. But the bat’s what earns Davis his money, and when Dan Duquette handed out the largest free-agent contract in franchise history this January, he certainly wasn’t hoping to see it look like this so soon.

And just before Duquette handed out that very contract, our own Jeff Sullivan, writing for FOX Sports, pointed out a troubling trend within Davis’ game, regarding that very bat. Sullivan noted that Davis was on a five-year run of increasing his pull rate, pulling air balls more each year, and pulling ground balls more each year. The culmination of that five-year increase was Davis, last year, ranking in the 99th percentile in pull rate. In other words, he’d become the most pull-happy hitter in baseball. The extra pulled grounders resulted in more shifts, and more outs. The extra pulled air balls presented a potentially worrisome indicator, too. To quote directly from that article:

People say that, as hitters age, they try to become more pull-happy, to squeeze out as much power as possible. That’s not the only explanation, but this could be Davis adopting and embracing an old-player skill. Which isn’t what you want to think about a player who’s been offered a seven-year contract.

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August Fagerstrom FanGraphs Chat — 8/23/16

august fagerstrom: I am here!

august fagerstrom: Let’s chat!

august fagerstrom: This week’s soundtrack, is of course, all the new Frank Ocean material

august fagerstrom: All of it is great. I’m actually partial to Endless right now, though Blond is growing on me. Interested to hear y’alls thoughts

Bork: Hello, friend!

august fagerstrom: Hello, Bork!

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NERD Game Scores for Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Devised originally in response to a challenge issued by sabermetric nobleman Rob Neyer, and expanded at the request of nobody, NERD scores represent an attempt to summarize in one number (and on a scale of 0-10) the likely aesthetic appeal or watchability, for the learned fan, of a player or team or game. Read more about the components of and formulae for NERD scores here.


Most Highly Rated Game
San Francisco at Los Angeles NL | 20:10 ET
Bumgarner (175.2 IP, 86 xFIP-) vs. Maeda (136.2 IP, 91 xFIP-)
There are those who will tell you — on the subject of this sport about which we all care — there are those who’ll say that “the name of the game is getting wins.” Couriers of misinformation, is what this lot are. Look in any reference text of your choice, and you’ll see: the name of the game is baseball. So neither believe them, nor accept the ride they’ve offered, because it could very likely end in the abduction of your person.

This isn’t to say, of course, that wins aren’t important. They represent a sort of currency. Collect a sufficient number of them and you — you, in this case, being a major-league baseball team and not merely one who’s attempting to escape the woeful burdens of the workday for a moment — and you can exchange them for admission into the postseason.

What’s notable about the Giants and Dodgers at the moment is that they possess an almost identical number of wins, the former with 68, the latter with one more than 68. And if the Giants win tonight, both clubs will possess one more than 68 wins — and both sit atop the NL West. The consequences of the game are considerable, in other words. We watch, our breath teeming with bate.

Readers’ Preferred Broadcast: Los Angeles Television.

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Joe Musgrove’s Weird One-Seam Sinker

We first encountered Joe Musgrove‘s one-seam sinker around the All-Star break, when the Houston Astros right-hander was kind enough to show us the grip before his appearance in the Futures Game. I’d never seen a one-seam grip before, unless you count the one Zach Britton showed us. While we could spot glimpses of the sinker in the Futures Game and in his minor-league games, it wasn’t until Musgrove came up and started pitching in the big leagues that we could truly put his pitch in the context of other big-league sinkers. It’s weird.

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All Right, Adrian Gonzalez Is Back

The Reds are bad, and the Dodgers just clobbered them. As a part of that clobbering, Adrian Gonzalez socked three dingers. Here, you can watch them all! Each is impressive in its own way, I suppose. They’re most impressive as a group.

There was a time when Gonzalez’s power was absent. He hit three home runs in April. He hit three home runs, combined, in May and June. The fairly obvious culprit was a back injury, and it takes no imagination at all to figure out how an achy back could affect a swing. Gonzalez got some treatment. He insisted his back felt better. The numbers still didn’t quite show up.

Now they’re showing up. From the looks of things, Gonzalez is indeed healthy again, and it simply took him a short stretch to re-find what previously had made him successful. Adrian Gonzalez is looking like Adrian Gonzalez again. The most compelling evidence is probably what follows, as drawn from Baseball Savant. Here are nearly two years of Gonzalez’s batted balls, as tracked by Statcast. This plot shows rolling average launch angles.


That dip is impossible to miss, as an injured and compromised Gonzalez plummeted toward 0. He’s reversed that, again successfully putting batted balls in the air. And he’s once more hitting with authority. Here’s a rolling-average plot of hard-hit rate, and this doesn’t include Monday’s game, not that it would make a huge difference:


Gonzalez is getting his swing back, and he’s also showing a better ability to hit the ball hard to right. Of course, at his best, he’s been more of an all-fields threat — and Monday, he pulled two homers while sending another the other way. I know it was a day game in Cincinnati against the Reds, but big-league homers are big-league homers. Gonzalez can hit them again, and he can do other things, and suddenly he’s up to a 123 wRC+. That’s in line with where he’s been for a while.

The Dodgers are still playing without Clayton Kershaw. The Dodgers are still winning without Clayton Kershaw. The Dodgers, of course, would love Kershaw back, but since the All-Star break, Gonzalez has been a key part of what’s been the best offense in the National League. Kershaw’s important. He’s pretty far from being everything.

Noah Syndergaard Showed a Fix

The Giants faced Noah Syndergaard Sunday night, and they tried to steal two bases. Both times, they were unsuccessful. That’s notable because Syndergaard, this year, has been horrible about controlling the running game. It’s been his one drawback — before Sunday, runners in 2016 were 40-for-44 in their attempts. The Giants assumed they’d be able to take advantage of his vulnerability. Plans went awry and for those reasons, and others, the Giants lost.

The first runner to get thrown out was Trevor Brown. Brown, as you might know, is a catcher. Before Sunday in the majors this year, Brown was 0-for-0 in trying to steal. He doesn’t run. He was trying to test the limits of Syndergaard’s weakness, and Brown got himself out, after Rene Rivera made a strong throw to second.

There’s nothing too interesting about that. Syndergaard was slow to the plate. Rivera did his job well. Brown got a bad jump and he doesn’t sprint well to begin with. That caught steal is almost a direct result of other players not getting caught stealing. The weakness encourages non-runners to run. Just as Syndergaard is slow enough that any decent runner can advance, some runners are slow enough that even Syndergaard can’t be exploited.

I’m more interested in the second runner to get thrown out. That was Eduardo Nunez, and, unlike Brown, Nunez has had a big year in swiping. He’s an obvious running threat. Here’s Syndergaard’s first pitch after Nunez reached:

And now, here’s the second pitch:

You see that? Nunez had seen enough. He read Syndergaard and took off on the second delivery. Rivera was excellent here — he was quick to his feet and his throw was outstanding. So, Rivera absolutely played a role. But Syndergaard also showed Nunez a twist. The first pitch:


The second pitch:


Syndergaard lowered his leg lift. He mixed up his timing, and while for the first pitch I had him close to 1.7 seconds to the plate, on the second pitch he was at almost 1.4. He shaved roughly 15% off his time, and though he was still short of the 1.3 mark that most pitchers want to achieve, that’s a healthy leap forward. Syndergaard gave Nunez a different look, and he gave his own catcher a chance. Nunez easily could’ve wound up safe if Rivera’s throw were any worse, but what matters is just that there was a possibility he’d be out. This is something Syndergaard’s been working on, and getting Nunez out is an encouraging step.

It’s going to take more outs before runners stop trying. And it’s worth noting that, when Syndergaard lowered his leg lift, he threw his slowest fastball of the first five innings. The Mets don’t want for him to sacrifice too much, and they need to keep an eye on his mechanics. But for the time being, Syndergaard is coming off an outstanding start, and in that start, runners trying to steal went 0-for-2. One of those runners even knows how to run. It’s something to build on.

Rob Manfred and the Dangers of Unintended Consequences

Last week, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred declared in Houston that the problems most plaguing Major League Baseball’s current product are an excess of defensive shifts, an excess of relievers and the lack of a pitch clock. I’m not here to debate the specific merits of any of Manfred’s arguments. If you read this site on a regular basis, you likely know the arguments for each forwards and backwards. But I am troubled by the constant insistence that the game needs to be tinkered with in order to make it more appealing to new generations of fans.

No matter what is done to speed up the game, or make it more appealing, the core product is going to remain relatively unchanged. Games are still going to hover in the area of three hours. We’re not going to see a 30-minute reduction in game time. We often hear about the greatness of Game 7 of the 1991 World Series as a spectacle — a 10-inning, 1-0 affair that only featured two pitching changes. It took three hours and 23 minutes. The average game time for the World Series that year as a whole was three hours, 14 minutes. The game has lasted about three hours for roughly 30 years. We are not getting back to the days of two hour, 30 minute game times unless the league institutes a seven-inning game. Even then it might be dicey.

Instead of fretting over the game’s minor details, the game should be out marketing what makes its sport best — its players. This is something baseball does precious little of. Instead, the league is more worried about what I call the NFL Rules Committee-ification of the game. The NFL continuously churns out new rules, designed to make its game more appealing. Sometimes, they do. But the unintended consequences can be significant. Perhaps you remember the Dez Bryant catch? If you don’t, go ahead and watch it again at that link, I’ll wait.

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How to Solve a Problem Like the Diamondbacks

Despite internally high hopes after some notable acquisitions over the winter, the Diamondbacks season has simply been an unmitigated disaster. As we head towards September, they have a 51-73 record, second-worst in the National League, and they’ve played every bit as poorly as their record indicates; they also have baseball’s second-worst run differential (-129) and third-worst BaseRuns expected run differential (-138). Basically every single thing that could have gone wrong did go wrong, and instead of becoming a contender, the team has fallen apart.

The lousy results might end up costing many of the high-ranking front office personnel their jobs. The team has yet to exercise their 2017 options on GM Dave Stewart or AGM De Jon Watson. Tony LaRussa‘s contract also expires at the end of the year, and reports suggest that the team is considering another front office overhaul. Unsurprisingly, Stewart and LaRussa feel that they deserve more than just two years on the job and don’t think basing an evaluation of their job performance on the team’s 2016 record is fair.

“We had one good year, and if you look at what’s happened on the field this year, then one bad year,” Stewart said. “I think we deserve a tiebreaker.”

“I think our group has earned the benefit of the doubt,” La Russa told USA TODAY Sports, “but it’s their decision. The way I look at it, if you get an opportunity, you don’t complain about the length of the opportunity. So I don’t complain about that.

“This is a game based on results. There was good improvement in ’15, and in ’16, was the opposite of that. It’s disappointing. We’re all upset about it.

“If somebody in charge is upset enough, they’ll make a change.”

In a rare case of agreement, I’m actually with LaRussa and Stewart on the idea that they shouldn’t be fired simply because the team performed badly in 2016. The results of one season, whether positive or negative, don’t provide enough information about the quality of the decisions made, and especially not the quality of the decision makers.

But I think the Diamondbacks should clean house anyway.

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All Aboard the Keon Broxton Bandwagon

Sometimes things don’t work out. For example, this morning, I dropped my bagel when I was climbing the stairs. Had things gone according to plan, I would have not dropped my bagel when I was climbing the stairs. Unfortunate for me. Arguably unfortunate for the bagel.

And then, sometimes, things do work out. For example, last Friday, I chatted a little bit about Keon Broxton. Then while I was away for the weekend, Broxton came through with five hits, including three dingers. It can be hard to know what to write about on the other side of a weekend. Broxton is making it easy. Now I have all the excuse I need to urge you to jump on the Keon Broxton bandwagon. Before too long this train could pull away from the station.

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Eric Longenhagen Prospects Chat 8/22


Eric A Longenhagen: What’s up, everyone? I published the first of an obviously multi-part series on the prep summer showcase stuff I’ve been seeing. Part 1 is here:


Eric A Longenhagen: And time to chat…


Julio Pepper: How would the top of the 2015 draft go today? Bregman/Benintendi/Swanson?


Eric A Longenhagen: Too early to go back and re-do that sort of thing and definitely too early to imply that mistake up top were made. Like I wouldn’t fault the Rockies for taking Brendan Rodgers at 3 if he’s there, even with Benintendi on the board.


Great 8: What’s your future value for Yohander Mendez?


Eric A Longenhagen: Stuff is really good, has a chance to be an above average Major League starter, maybe make an All Star team or two at peak.

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An Early Look at the Left-Handed Pitchers in 2017 Draft

The time has come for me to start spitting out scouting notes from the summer showcases I’ve been attending for the last several weeks. During that time I’ve seen a few hundred high-school players who are eligible for next year’s MLB draft. While a handful of prospects who did not participate in any of these events will inevitably pop up next spring, the lion’s share of next year’s high-profile prep draftees are already immortalized somewhere in my notes. I’ve sifted through them and will begin to churn out my thoughts on those I found most relevant or interesting, starting today with left-handed pitchers.

Players in the primary section of this article are listed in my current order of preference while those in the “honorable mention” paragraphs below are in alphabetical order. Keep in mind (as I do during my own evaluations) that most of what I saw from these prospects came in abbreviated looks and in an atypical competitive environment.

D.L. Hall, LHP, Houston County High School (GA)

Height: 6’1, Weight: 180, Commitment: Florida State

I think Hall is a lock for the first round if he stays healthy. Lefties who touch 95 mph with this kind of curveball feel are rare and I’m not scared off by Hall’s height. He sat 90-94 in each of my showcase looks and touched 95 (some guns had him at 96 in San Diego). Hall’s arm is quick and the ball jumps on hitters. His curveball has bent in anywhere between 76 and 80 mph for me with sharp, two-plane movement and precocious depth. I have a future 60 on it. He has shown the ability to locate it both on the outer edge of the strike zone and down in the dirt, albeit inconsistently.

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The Ridiculousness of Aaron Sanchez’s Sinker

Aaron Sanchez was optioned to High-A Dunedin over the weekend, though of course that’s not indicative of his performance at work. Sanchez is a legitimate Cy Young contender this year, maybe even the frontrunner in the eyes of some, and while players typically get sent down to the minors because their organization doesn’t care much for what they’ve done on the field, Sanchez was optioned because the Blue Jays care too much. He just turned 24, and he’s a massive part of the organization’s future, and the move was simply made to skip one of his turns in the rotation in an effort to limit the workload of Toronto’s prized, young arm.

That workload requires monitoring, of course, because no one expected Sanchez to do what he’s done this year. You likely know the Aaron Sanchez story by now. You know he spent the majority of his first two seasons in the majors working out of relief, and now that he suddenly looks like an ace, that he’s already exceeded his previous season-high in innings by more than 20. And if you know about that, then you know about the sinker that leads Sanchez’s arsenal.

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Stephen Strasburg Has a Problem

There ought to be no shame in a pitcher struggling at Coors Field. Many of the greatest pitchers on the planet have been humbled in that stadium and, last week, Stephen Strasburg became merely the latest among them. Allowing nine runs before being pulled in just the second inning, Strasburg posted what was far and away the worst performance of his career. He’d never previously given up more than seven runs in a game and his game score of 1 was not only his lowest mark ever, but is tied for seventh worst in baseball this season. Ideally, this could be written off as a Coors fluke for one of the game’s best pitchers, but instead it’s served to illuminate the frustrating reality that Strasburg has struggled mightily of late.

Over his last six outings, Strasburg has given up 26 runs in 30.2 innings pitched. Crunch the numbers and you’ll find that works out to a decidedly un-ace-like 7.63 ERA. These six outings have caused his season ERA to rise more than one full run, from 2.51 to 3.59. The good news is that there’s more than a little hope to be found in his peripheral stats. Over this awful stretch, his FIP is a massively more palatable 3.25, largely on the strength of a solid 29.1% strikeout rate and a roughly league-average 7.8% walk rate. It also likely won’t surprise you to learn that he’s posted an inflated .388 BABIP during this rough patch. Unfortunately, this is not to say Strasburg’s swoon has been entirely devoid of red flags.

In mid-June, Strasburg hit the disabled list with a back injury. Considering a back injury was the primary culprit in Strasburg’s first-half struggles last season, this latest DL stint was an unavoidably alarming development. Fortunately, he made a swift return to the mound. Any hopes that he’d escape the performance struggles which plagued him a year ago, however, have been derailed by his recent stretch. Whether those struggles are directly related to the injury is unknowable, but there are observable things about Strasburg which have changed since his return.

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NERD Game Scores for Monday, August 22, 2016

Devised originally in response to a challenge issued by sabermetric nobleman Rob Neyer, and expanded at the request of nobody, NERD scores represent an attempt to summarize in one number (and on a scale of 0-10) the likely aesthetic appeal or watchability, for the learned fan, of a player or team or game. Read more about the components of and formulae for NERD scores here.


Most Highly Rated Game
Washington at Baltimore | 19:05 ET
Strasburg (145.1 IP, 79 xFIP-) vs. Bundy (75.0 IP, 104 xFIP-)
The Baltimore Catechism, a Catholic text used for relating the tenets of that religion to (predominantly) children, was introduced (according to no fewer than one internet sources) in 1885 at a gathering of American bishops known as the Third Council of Baltimore. Tonight, one finds a different council of Baltimore, involving not a collection of ecclesiastics, but rather two of the league’s most compelling starters and also one club (the Orioles) facing real consequences with every win and loss. A catechism is unlikely to be authored during the course of tonight’s proceedings, except in the broadest sense — and then maybe in even a slightly broader sense than that.

Readers’ Preferred Broadcast: Washington Radio.

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