Andrew McCutchen’s Injury is a Huge Blow

In 2013, Andrew McCutchen was the best player in the National League, and he was rewarded with the NL Most Valuable Player award. In 2014, he and a few others are essentially even for the title of “best NL player,” non-pitcher division, at least among those who were healthy and not on awful teams. (Caveats included because Troy Tulowitzki has been outstanding, but doesn’t have much impact on the pennant race, is on the disabled list and has almost no chance of winning the MVP.) Combine the two years, and he’s easily been the best that the National League has to offer, and although the defensive metrics don’t seem to like him as much this year, he’s out-performing his 2013 on offense, thanks to some additional power.

On Sunday, he injured his left side, with scary statements like “he needed help from someone else to just zip up the travel bag at his feet” tossed around; he’s likely to be placed on the 15-day disabled list, and could miss several weeks in total. At the time this was all coming out before Tuesday’s loss to Miami (note: this was mostly written before the loss and not updated since the idea is to include McCutchen’s full absence, not one game into it), the Pirates were 1.5 games out of first place in the NL Central, but still only in third, since the Cardinals are in second ahead of them. They were a half-game behind the Giants for the second wild card spot, and just 1.5 games ahead of Atlanta in that chase.

Wins could not be more valuable to the Pirates than they are right now, and they just lost one of the five best players in the game. This is really, really bad.

But how bad? We’ll get to that in a second, because it’s clear that no one can write a story on McCutchen’s injury without at least touching on the events that led up to it. The short version, for those who spent their weekend not following the immature acts of tough guy ballplayers: On Friday, up 9-4 in the ninth inning, Pittsburgh’s Ernesto Frieri hit Paul Goldschmidt in the hand, fracturing a bone and likely ending Goldschmidt’s season. Frieri has been atrocious this season, and with no known bad blood between the teams, almost certainly did so unintentionally. The next night, in one of the more cowardly acts you’ll ever see, the Diamondbacks waited until a four-run deficit in the ninth and a 2-0 count — after an outside slider — to put a 95 mph Randall Delgado pitch into McCutchen’s spine.

On Sunday, McCutchen played into the eighth, hitting a game-tying sacrifice fly. He then immediately grabbed his side, to the point that Pedro Alvarez and a trainer had to help him down the stairs from the dugout:

mccutchen_injured

In the original draft of this post, this portion talked about how it was at least plausible that being hit in the back one night and coming up with a strained oblique (which is what this really looked like) the next night could be unrelated. We could infer, but not say for sure. Pirates fans could be angry at the Diamondbacks, but no one could be certain. Now, it’s come out that McCutchen actually fractured a rib — he has  *deep breath* “an avulsion fracture involving the costochondral cartilage of the left 11th rib” — and so what can I say other than: Have at it, Pittsburgh. It certainly seems like your season has been irreparably altered by a gutless act from a terrible team with a bad reputation, even if there’s at least some opinions that say otherwise.

Anyway, regardless of the cause, the Pirates now need to try to win without their best player for some amount of time, but this is where it gets complicated, because we don’t yet know how much time. The Pirates haven’t even placed him on the DL yet, instead activating Starling Marte and placing Pedro Alvarez on the bereavement list. Every rib injury is different, as is each player, so it’s a bit difficult to try to speculate here.

Tulowitzki missed nearly a month with a rib injury last year; Hanley Ramirez fractured his eighth rib on a Joe Kelly fastball in the first game of the NLCS last year, and still managed to play in five of the six games. (He was completely ineffective while doing so, and of course, the NLCS provides a different sort of time frame when your backup is Nick Punto.) David Wright missed three weeks last spring with a rib injury, but that’s the exact opposite of Ramirez, since there’s no reason at all to rush it in March. Jason Giambi missed a month earlier this year with a rib fracture. Ryan Sweeney missed two months last year. Jacoby Ellsbury had his entire 2010 ruined by rib injuries. Earlier this year, Juan Lagares missed three weeks with a strain, not a fracture.

Clearly, we don’t know what the outcome is going to be. Since I started writing this post, the characterization of his injury has changed three times, which isn’t really how you want things to go when you start writing, so let’s play with some pure speculation. The Pirates have 51 games remaining. Let’s say McCutchen misses half of them, which is in the 3-4 week range that sounds appropriate.

Before this, the Pirates were going to have Marte / McCutchen / Gregory Polanco in the outfield, left to right. Now, Marte slides to center, where he played in the minors, and where he probably would be in the majors if not for McCutchen. There’s not likely a defensive downgrade there; there might even be a small upgrade. There’s no change in right field. Left field, now, likely becomes something of a platoon between Josh Harrison and Travis Snider. (That’s what it’s been for the last two weeks with Marte out, but wouldn’t have remained that way if Marte wasn’t needed in center.)

Let’s do this the quick and dirty way, with projections, and the fact that ZiPS and Steamer’s rest-of-seasons projections work differently — Steamer is showing an update for projected playing time, but ZiPS, for the moment, is not — helps us.

ZiPS ROS (i.e., what would have been)

  • McCutchen: 2.0 WAR
  • Harrison: 0.7 WAR
  • Snider: 0.1 WAR

Steamer ROS (i.e., what may be now)

  • McCutchen: 1.0 WAR
  • Harrison: 0.7 WAR
  • Snider: 0.5 WAR

That makes a certain amount of sense. If we assume McCutchen is out for half the rest of the season, then half of his production goes away, cutting his ROS WAR from 2.0 to 1.0. Harrison doesn’t change much, since he was basically playing every day anyway; Snider gains slightly because of a gain in expected playing time, but he’s clearly not McCutchen’s equal or anything like it.

Of course, there’s another aspect to this. If McCutchen were in center, and Marte were in left, then Harrison wouldn’t be on the bench. He’d probably be the starting third baseman, since Alvarez’ defensive issues had escalated to the point that a move to first base was seriously being considered, even before the personal issue that put him on the bereavement list.

The more time that Harrison plays in left, the less time he’s at third. That’s more time for Jayson Nix, who was signed on Sunday after being released by Tampa Bay, and went 0-3 against Miami on Tuesday. We’ll call him replacement-level. It’s more time for Brent Morel, who has made four recent starts at third; he is also, at best, replacement-level.

It’s a domino effect that takes plate appearances away from McCutchen and redistributes them to Snider, Morel and Nix, three guys who are about as close to replacement-level as you can find. If you buy into the projections and if McCutchen misses half of the rest of the season, maybe it only costs the Pirates a win. Of course, given how tight the Pittsburgh playoff situation is — their playoff odds headed into the first game without McCutchen were 51.8%, or essentially a coin-flip — that one single win could have massive repercussions. It could be the difference between the playoffs, and nothing.

Again, we’re speculating, because right now, it’s impossible to say for sure what McCutchen’s health outlook is. He could be back next week; he could miss the rest of the year. He could come back at full strength; he could rush it and be limited, like Ramirez was for the Dodgers, and the Pirates could try to make a waiver deal to compensate. No matter how it turns out, though, it’s hard to think of a more damaging situation for a playoff team. A club with no margin of error just lost the best player in the league. It’s not often that turns out well.



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Mike Petriello lives in New York and writes about the Dodgers daily at Dodgers Digest, as well as contributing to ESPN Insider. He wrote two chapters in the 2014 Hardball Times Annual as well as building The Hardball Times and TechGraphs, and was an editorial producer at Sports on Earth. Find him at @mike_petriello.


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cactusdave
Guest
cactusdave
1 year 10 months ago

I’m not an advocate for retaliation, but I think this line of reasoning that says hitting someone was “unintentional” misses the point very often.

The Cardinals “unintentionally” took Hanley Ramirez out of the NLCS last year. Then a week or so ago they plunked him twice and Puig once all “unintentionally”.

Well guess what. They INTENTIONALLY elected to pitch the Dodger players inside. If you’re going to have your pitchers pitch inside, they need to have some command and control of their inside pitches such that the result isn’t regularly putting the other teams players out of the game.

If a manager can’t recognize this and continues to insist that his pitchers who can’t control their stuff effectively, continue to pitch inside and risk the other team’s players, then it’s time to make friends with reality by way of a payback pitch that says enoguh is enough.

Rick James
Guest
Rick James
1 year 10 months ago

The onus here isn’t on the Pirates for accidentally hitting someone, the onus is on the DBacks for throwing a ball at someone on purpose. This eye for an eye bullshit needs to stop. They didn’t throw at McCutchen because the Pirates were pitching inside, they threw at McCutchen because they’re vindictive assholes.

Pirates Hurdles
Guest
Pirates Hurdles
1 year 10 months ago

This line of reasoning is nonsense. When you pitch inside the pitcher’s intent while holding the ball on the mound is to get the batter out. What Delgado did was take a lethal weapon to the mound and purposefully decide to try and hit/injure another player. There is a huge difference between pitching inside (which is a necessary part of the game) and purposefully committing assault. This is then compounded by the tactics that Gibson chose to use (not hitting Cutch early, setting him up with pitches away).

In this case its even more ridiculous to blame the Pirates for Goldy. He moved his hands forward and in at the pitch that hit him. The line of thinking that an accident should be repaid with purposeful assault in archaic nonsense. Its akin to someone accidentally hitting your car (because they aren’t a great driver) then you getting out and punching the guy.

arc
Guest
arc
1 year 10 months ago

“lethal weapon”; “committing assault”

I want to agree with you, but this kind of hyperbole doesn’t make it easy.

Pirates Hurdles
Guest
Pirates Hurdles
1 year 10 months ago

It is not hyperbole. A baseball at 95 mph is a lethal weapon, there are numerous instances. That ball hit him in the spine, he easily could have broken a vertebrae and been severely injured.

Hitting someone with a hard projectile at high velocity is assault, how else would you describe it? If I throw something at you really hard and hit you, I would be charged with assault. We have seen this “sports don’t count” get challenged legally in hockey recently, with several instances of assault being prosecuted.

Pirates Hurdles
Guest
Pirates Hurdles
1 year 10 months ago

BTW, the Pirates are not above criticism in this area, just last week the sent Justin Wilson up to retaliate against the Dodgers after they hit two Pirate batters (in that case he hit the 1st guy immediately). The practice as a whole is stupid and ineffective. If you want to get this stuff out of the game you need suspensions and fines.

bill
Guest
bill
1 year 10 months ago

It’s only hyperbole because of how you view it in a baseball game. It’s not part of the game so it is no different than if you hurled a rock at some stranger on the street. It’s assault. If your contention is that the threat of a retaliatory beaning will prevent deliberate beanings, I submit that sending Gibby to jail for a few months would be more effective.

Kram
Guest
Kram
1 year 10 months ago

Not seeing why this would be hyperbole… seems like pretty accurate descriptions to me

arc
Guest
arc
1 year 10 months ago

Ok, awesome. Not hyperbole then. So since I’m just crazy and the fact that it happens in the course of a professional sports game is in no way different, the lot of you want to see the pitcher arrested & prosecuted under state and and/or federal law to be imprisoned for between 5 and 20 years, correct?

Certainly you wouldn’t tell me that you are *not* being hyperbolic but then tell me that this is also not as serious as the terms you are using to describe it, which come with said penalties.

Pirates Hurdles
Guest
Pirates Hurdles
1 year 10 months ago

I’m unclear on why the context of sport matters so much in your opinion? Context rarely matters in other regards when it comes down to purposefully attempting to injure another person. For example, if I intend to hurt another person by hitting them because they slept with my girlfriend I don’t get out of the consequence of the action. There is no “he had it coming” defense.

arc
Guest
arc
1 year 10 months ago

Could you answer me directly, please? Are you advocating that the pitcher be arrested and prosecuted for assault with a deadly weapon?

If yes, that’s fine. Your position makes sense to me.

If no, then why are you pretending not to understand how the sport makes a difference? You literally are the one telling me it makes a difference, since you think it is assault with a deadly weapon but don’t think it should be handled the way assault with a deadly weapon is handled.

Bobby Ayala
Member
Member
1 year 10 months ago

The context matters because throwing a baseball 95 mph in the general direction of a guy is a regular and natural part of a baseball game, and if someone gets hit one would have to prove intent to prove it a criminal act. But if I went out to the mall and started throwing 95 mph baseballs in the general direction of TJ Maxx shoppers, it’s not a regular and natural part of their shopping experience, therefore the act itself is criminal and intentions are irrelevant.

If sports context didn’t matter, every time someone tackled someone in football it could be viewed as assault. Heck, you could file a civil case claiming emotional damages whenever an opponent beats you. Context always matters.

Diogenes
Guest
Diogenes
1 year 10 months ago

“I want to agree with you, but this kind of hyperbole doesn’t make it easy.” I call BS. Your subsequent response makes it clear that you don’t want to agree and, in fact, disagree. Which is fine. That’s your position. And I didn’t hear anyone calling for prosecution, they just said that throwing a projectile at 95mph is potentially lethal (or do you disagree?) and that doing something potentially lethal is certainly part of the definition of assault. Prosecution is your paper tiger.

Moonwatcher
Guest
Moonwatcher
1 year 10 months ago

Baseball not a lethal weapon? Tell that to Ray Chapman.

arc
Guest
arc
1 year 10 months ago

“I call BS. Your subsequent response makes it clear that you don’t want to agree”

No it doesn’t. I agreed with the central point he made, but not with the way he made it.

“I didn’t hear anyone calling for prosecution”

Of course not. The fact that I asked if they would presupposes that none of them had already said they would. What do you imagine you’re clarifying here?

I called his language hyperbolic and that characterization was challenged. But if it is *not* hyperbole to refer to a hit batsman as assault with a deadly weapon, then it’s very clear that an arrest & prosecution are warranted.

The onus is on anyone who says it is those things to explain why we should not then act as if it is those things.

Alternately, any of you could simply concede that, as most of the rest of the world understands, it’s very obviously different and the use of those terms was hyperbolic.

Diogenes
Guest
Diogenes
1 year 10 months ago

So you’re saying that a baseball traveling at 95mph is not lethal?

arc
Guest
arc
1 year 10 months ago

Like hundreds of other things that aren’t lethal weapons, it can be. Meeting that criteria isn’t a sufficient condition for the status of *lethal weapon*, which is the term actually in question.

Your commitment to sidestepping the things I actually say in favor of this rhetorical game is amusing.

What’s clear is that none of you really believe that this is assault with a deadly weapon. You don’t want it treated that way. You just want to be able to *talk* about it that way when you feel it might help to make your point.

Hyperbole.

Pirates Hurdles
Guest
Pirates Hurdles
1 year 10 months ago

Arc, I never said it shouldn’t be handled as such. In an earlier post I mentioned that we have seen sports rules and the legal system intersect in hockey in recent years. It is assault plain and simple, if you want to stop it let people prosecute. Like any crime, the burden of proof will be difficult, but civil courts have been very friendly to plaintiffs.

Pirates Hurdles
Guest
Pirates Hurdles
1 year 10 months ago

Bobby, you are trying to mix the very two types of events that has led to this situation. Event 1 – Goldy getting hurt, a clear accident that comes with normal risk of sports. Event 2 – an intentional event that has no place in sports.

This is not unlike the hockey goon who is sent out to physically attack a guy because he legally checked a team’s star player. Its the same neanderthal mentality.

Diogenes
Guest
Diogenes
1 year 10 months ago

Just like Mike Tyson’s fists, right?

I mean, come on, what’s your point. “Like hundreds of other things that aren’t lethal weapons, it can be.” Well, no weapon is lethal 100% of the time, not even a gun. Does that mean that there aren’t lethal weapons?

Agreed, a baseball, generally speaking, is not a lethal weapon. A baseball aimed at someone and thrown at 95mph at someone is. Just like a bullet thrown at someone is not a lethal weapon, but one shot through a gun is. Context matters.

But at this point, it seems to me that you just want to debate some minutiae about the definition of hyperbole, not understanding the difference between hyperbole and being provocative. In other words, this is pretty pointless.

Arc Your Back
Guest
Arc Your Back
1 year 10 months ago

Yeah, I’m guessing the easiest way to convince you that you might be wrong about that is to go ahead and have you stand in there and take one in the spine.

And then get back to us, no pun intended.

Diogenes
Guest
Diogenes
1 year 10 months ago

I thought that, but didn’t think I should be the one to go there.

Arc
Guest
Arc
1 year 10 months ago

“It’s not hyperbole; it’s just being provocative”. Yeah, and *I’m* the one pointlessly equivocating.

Let’s see if you will dodge this question for a third time: do you want to see pitchers prosecuted for assault with a deadly weapon, which carries a sentence of 5 to 20 years? It’s an extremely simple question if the issue is as clear as you say.

The reason the lot of you avoid this is that you’re caught in your own bullshit. You refuse to concede that a beanball is very obviously different (and this that calling it such is hyperbole) but you also want to be able to jerk yourselves off with that alarmist language to make your points.

If you don’t want prosecutions, you’re conceding that your “provocative” language is exactly what I said it was: hyperbole.

If you do want prosecutions with 5-20 year prison sentences for MLB pitchers, you are laughable but logically consistent and I stand corrected.

KG
Guest
KG
1 year 10 months ago

Silliest hyperbole argument ever.

Bobby Ayala
Member
Member
1 year 10 months ago

This argument seems based on the idea that you all “know” that throwing at McCutchen was intentional. No matter what you believe, you don’t “know” anything unless you’re Delgado, or Gibson, or whoever the D’Backs catcher is these days– the difference between a strike and a beaned batter could be 6 inches, could be a ball slipping a millimeter out of pitchers hand as he releases. You’re inferring a lot based on your opinion, but you don’t know anything. The point is when you start saying “let’s prosecute” you’re really saying “anyone who might accidentally hit a batter might get prosecuted if we deem it was intentional,” which isn’t right. Who’s going to decide intent and put some pitcher who may have made a mistake in jail? This is a silly argument and anyone who believe pitchers should be prosecuted probably shouldn’t watch sports.

J.Henry Waugh
Guest
J.Henry Waugh
1 year 10 months ago

Why, your car thinking statmenet is about as “American as apple pie” …..perhaps nowadays less fisticuffs are more legal lawsuits.

MLB Rainmaker
Member
Member
MLB Rainmaker
1 year 10 months ago

For a stats website, its alarming that no one bothered to look at the Pirates stats for Hit Batters. Hint they LEAD THE LEAGUE with 61(!) Hit Batters this season, a whopping 12 Hit Batters above the next team, and well above the league median of ~35.

It seems pretty clear that the Pirates advocate a strategy of pitching inside, which can be argued to the extent they’re beaning people so far this season, is likely to lead to injury. So the Pirates pitch inside and hit the Diamondbacks best player, ending his season, what other avenue would the Diamondbacks have to combat that strategy? The only effective method I can think of is showing the Pirates you’ll retaliate for that strategy.

In a vacuum, I agree, if a guy lets one slip, there shouldn’t be payback; in context, with a team that leads the league in Hit Batters and is actively risking player safety, there should be payback. I kindly ask you get off your high horse…

TWNDAI
Guest
1 year 10 months ago

So what, if a team doesn’t have great control they should willfully sacrifice the inside part of the plate to avoid accidents? How about if they have a number of pitchers who throw really fast? Should they do the same? There’s no logical stopping point.

This situation’s pretty simple: the big, flashing, GLOWING line of demarcation and human decency is whether or not the team is trying to pitch inside to win the game, or whether or not they’re out for petty revenge. He should stay right on that high horse.

MLB Rainmaker
Member
Member
MLB Rainmaker
1 year 10 months ago

“avoid accident”? When you’re that many standard deviations from the mean, they are no longer accidents….you are actively trying to hit people. You’re “GLOWING” line gets much fuzzier then.

TWNDAI
Guest
1 year 10 months ago

The raw numbers are small enough (we’re talking dozens, not hundreds) that I find the gap a lot less compelling. But the question is the same: why not apply the logic to teams with faster throwers, too? I don’t see any sensible delineation other than the most obvious one: one team’s trying to win, the other team’s trying to hurt people.

In other words, one of the teams here isn’t even playing baseball any more.

John Elway
Member
1 year 10 months ago

TWNDAI – this Mile High horse agrees completely.

Just neighing.

#KeepNotGraphs

Kevin
Guest
Kevin
1 year 10 months ago

For a guy appealing to stats, your comment is lacking in the “proof that they intentionally hit people” department.

Pirates Hurdles
Guest
Pirates Hurdles
1 year 10 months ago

There is a huge difference between hitting a guy with a curveball that doesn’t break and hitting a guy with preconceived intent. I have no issue with pitching inside, its a valid approach to achieve the goal of getting hitters out.

SprayingMantis
Guest
SprayingMantis
1 year 10 months ago

18 of those are Charlie Morton curveballs (well, not all of those were breaking balls, but it seems like a good deal). If the DBacks wanted to hit Cutch with changeups it would be different.

Pirates Hurdles
Guest
Pirates Hurdles
1 year 10 months ago

BTW, the Pirates lead the league in being hit by pitches too.

MLB Rainmaker
Member
Member
MLB Rainmaker
1 year 10 months ago

Great article from Peter Gammon from more than a month ago: http://www.gammonsdaily.com/pirates-hit-by-pitch-mlb/

Short version — Pirates actively pitch inside more than any team in baseball, Clint Hurdle is quoted as saying he’s wants his pitchers to intimidate batter by throwin inside.

Arc Your Back
Guest
Arc Your Back
1 year 10 months ago

If Charlie Morton is skilled enough to ROUTINELY AND INTENTIONALLY drop a curveball on top of someone’s shoe, then he’s the greatest pitcher in baseball.

Otherwise, you need to have a better understanding of the distinction between intentional and unintentional.

Scott
Guest
Scott
1 year 10 months ago

Plenty of those hit batters have been 70 mph Charlie Morton curves.

Kevin
Guest
Kevin
1 year 10 months ago

Do you not see the difference between intentionally throwing inside and intentionally throwing at someone?
Intent has been included in jurisprudence for centuries. It’s why premeditated murder is judged worse than killing someone in an auto accident. And you will note there are punishments for both.
Why do advocate the same punishment for two actions that are different at their core?

MLB Rainmaker
Member
Member
MLB Rainmaker
1 year 10 months ago

You apparently don’t understand jurisprudence very well. If you point a gun 15 degrees away from someone, pull the trigger, and the bullet somehow still kills them, you are still guilty of murder, whether you intended to kill them or not. You willfully engaged in an act that was likely to cause harm, the act caused harm, you are responsible for the consequences of that harm.

Actively employing the strategy to pitch inside, to the point that you lead the league by a wide margin in HBP, is endangering player safety. I fully agree that is part of the game, but also believe its the DBacks right to push back against it.

AC of DC
Guest
AC of DC
1 year 10 months ago

But it wouldn’t be premeditated, so the law would treat it differently, which is what he just said . . .

TWNDAI
Guest
1 year 10 months ago

Person A rushes home and accidentally hits someone with his car.

Person B, who knew the person who was hit, actively plans to track down a relative of person A and murder them to teach people not to hurry.

In this analogy, what Person B has done is *fundamentally different*. All rational moral agents understand this. I’m shocked this is even a discussion.

TWNDAI
Guest
1 year 10 months ago

Sports carry with them an inherent lack of safety. Everyone accepts this so long as the lack of safety overlaps with the stated purpose of the game. The issue is when people go outside of that purpose, and the harm is its own end.

This is why it’s perfectly fine to tackle someone very hard in the NFL, but not to step on their ankle while they lay on the ground. One is a part of the game that all participants understood when they agreed to play. The other exists outside of the game, and is not an immutable part of it.

It’s super discouraging that this explanation is necessary.

DavePomerantz
Member
DavePomerantz
1 year 10 months ago

MLB Rainmaker, it’s a matter of degree. What the Pirates do is bad – employing a strategy that is likely to injure your opponents, even if that injury is not the intention, is not cool. But intentionally injuring your opponent is a whole lot worse.

MLB Rainmaker
Member
Member
MLB Rainmaker
1 year 10 months ago

DaveP — I agree, it is just degrees. And I’m 100% OK with a 3-game suspension and normal fines. But its absurd to say this is anything but a normal, albeit ugly, part of the game. Its not the huge deal its made out to be, its not “gutless”, and it shouldn’t result in season-long suspensions for the player or coaches involved, as I’ve seen written about. Its a bummer Cutch got hurt, but it not a crime.

Doug Lampert
Guest
Doug Lampert
1 year 10 months ago

Actually no. If I’m at a gun range or out hunting and I shoot someone by accident it is NOT murder because pulling the trigger was not by itself a crime.

If I’m in an area where shooting at all would be criminal or have no legal reason to shoot, then if I kill someone it’s felony murder. If I shoot at someone intentionally, and kill them, it’s also murder. If I shoot as part of a legal activity and it happens to kill someone that’s an accident and not prosecutable.

The parallel should be obvious, but I’ll spell it out anyway. You don’t get to throw AT someone as part of baseball, that’s not allowed, if you intend to hit someone that’s assault. If you hit them by accident that’s an accident in the course of a legal activity and not assault.

Sean C
Guest
1 year 10 months ago

Those venomous snakes are the worst.

Lemmer
Guest
Lemmer
1 year 10 months ago

Not a Pirates fan (Braves) but have really enjoyed McCutchen since I was lucky enough to see him as a 20 year old in AA. I hate this for the Pirates org and their fans after the momentum of last year.

As for the Dbags, if the Cubs are Loveable Losers then I am throwing out Loathsome Losers for this group. I hope for everyone’s sake that KT and Gibson are consigned to scrap heap (in the grittiest fashion possible) the day after the season ends.

King Buzzo's Fro
Guest
King Buzzo's Fro
1 year 10 months ago

sorry but the barves already took loathesome losers

Rich Dubee
Guest
Rich Dubee
1 year 10 months ago

It’s not like McCann took all the ill will with him to New York.

TKDC
Guest
TKDC
1 year 10 months ago

loathsome is subjective, but I have a hard time seeing how the Braves, considering all their success, can be labeled as losers. They have made the playoffs the last 2 years (tied with the As for most wins 2012-13), they are at least in it this year, they are one of the 2-3 winningest teams over the last 20 years (at least top 10 if you only consider the last 10 years), and while they haven’t won a WS since 1995, 22 of the 30 other teams have gone longer.

Lemmer
Guest
Lemmer
1 year 10 months ago

Show me on the doll where the Braves touched you.

matt w
Guest
matt w
1 year 10 months ago

:large

craigtyle
Member
Member
craigtyle
1 year 10 months ago

Gibson should be suspended for the rest of the season. I’m only torn because that would probably improve the Diamondbacks.

They should keep Towers, however. Since Goldschmidt appeared surprised at the retaliatory beanball, I can assume that he will be labeled “gutless” by KT and dispatched for a grittier sort. Thus justice will be served.

Bottom line, however, is that this is a clown organization with a clown GM and a clown manager.

Bozo the Clown
Guest
Bozo the Clown
1 year 10 months ago

Come on, dude. That is a hurtful comparison.

Pirates Hurdles
Guest
Pirates Hurdles
1 year 10 months ago

Nothing will happen here, LaRussa condones the behavior and he just left the MLB offices for the spot in Arizona.

Tony LaRussa
Guest
Tony LaRussa
1 year 10 months ago

The MLB brass loved my mini-feature film “Forgetting Evan Marshall”

King Buzzo's Fro
Guest
King Buzzo's Fro
1 year 10 months ago

It all starts at the top and I don’t mean the GM. Of the few things I’ve heard about their owner, none are good.

Johnston
Guest
1 year 10 months ago

“Bottom line, however, is that this is a clown organization with a clown GM and a clown manager.”

Pretty much, yeah.

Ted Brogan
Guest
Ted Brogan
1 year 10 months ago

That’s a clown comparison, bro.

Phillies113
Member
Member
1 year 10 months ago

Clearly, the most rational course of action here is to contract the Diamondbacks.

King Buzzo's Fro
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King Buzzo's Fro
1 year 10 months ago

Then move the Devil Rays there and realign the divisions? Sun Devil Rays

Jenju
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Jenju
1 year 10 months ago

Sun Rays? (didn’t they officially drop devil?)

Clayton Kershaw
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Clayton Kershaw
1 year 10 months ago

So the NL MVP’s mine, right?

Adam Wainwright
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Adam Wainwright
1 year 10 months ago

Who says you’re even beating me out for the Cy Young after missing the first 6 weeks of the season?

Jon L.
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Jon L.
1 year 10 months ago

2 of your last 3 starts?

LHPSU
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LHPSU
1 year 10 months ago

Some are saying that the HBP probably didn’t cause the injury in and of itself, but might have contributed to motions that would lead to the injury. Anyway if there are unwritten rules about paybacks, there are also unwritten rules governing them – you get one chance, not two, and you don’t choose your timing based on the score.

In a way I do have to say that I felt the Pirates dodged a bullet, because it was feared that it might have been a nerve or spinal issue. This is a huge blow to the Pirates’ season, but is less likely to have long term effects on McCutchen’s career.

Juan Rivera
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Juan Rivera
1 year 10 months ago

Petriello is a big fan of Kershaw, and Kershaw retaliated earlier this year for Hanley/Puig HBPs.

But Petriello believes Kershaw to be awesome because he aimed lower, and hit his spot. Still retaliation.

Just a guess, but likely Petriello has never experienced a high hard one that breaks hands, ribs, or threatened his life / career. Good guess?

Derek Jeter
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Derek Jeter
1 year 10 months ago

Also, Juan Rivera keeps stealing stuff outta my locker. Get out of there!

King Felix
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King Felix
1 year 10 months ago

Don’t even get me going on klepto teammates.

Johnston
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1 year 10 months ago

“It certainly seems like your season has been irreparably altered by a gutless act from a terrible team with a bad reputation.”

Given that Frieri could not have hit Goldy on the wrist if he had been aiming for it, the response was totally gutless.

LHPSU
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LHPSU
1 year 10 months ago

If Frieri aimed for the batter all the time, he will throw nothing but strikes.

david
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david
1 year 10 months ago

The Diamondbacks lost pretty much the only positive reason to go and watch the team for the rest of the season on an inside pitch by a guy without control, in the 9th inning of a 9-4 game. I’m not going to play judge and jury with baseball’s crazy rules but they had a reason to be baffled for sure.
This is ‘hyperbole’ anyhow as that was a pitch in the back. He is dealing with a rib and cartilage issue. All signs point to it being a coincidence.

Kevin
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Kevin
1 year 10 months ago

Is the Montero middle finger sign a coincidence?
Was setting him up to be hit with outside pitches a coincidence?

Also, I think using Frieri in garbage-ish time makes a ton of sense. Why would you use someone so volatile in close game? On what grounds are you angry about the Pirates using a bad pitcher in the 9th inning of a 5-run game? Isn’t that the best time to let him see if he can get back on track?

steex
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steex
1 year 10 months ago

“This is ‘hyperbole’ anyhow as that was a pitch in the back. He is dealing with a rib and cartilage issue. All signs point to it being a coincidence.”

Good point – being hit in the back couldn’t impact your ribs. There are no ribs back there, especially not all of them connecting to the spine…

Calogero
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Calogero
1 year 10 months ago

“especially not all of them” made me lol

GTB
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GTB
1 year 10 months ago

Another ROS option (quite likely IMHO) is that McClutchen, like Ramirez in last year’s NLCS, comes back and is basically ineffective for the ROS. Even assuming that to be a replacement player, it would be a loss of 2.0 WAR.

D
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D
1 year 10 months ago

In other words, Ernesto Frieri sucks.

pitnick
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pitnick
1 year 10 months ago

Next time the DBacks hit a player intentionally, I hope the opposing team retaliates by shitting in the outfield pool.

Matthew Murphy
Member
1 year 10 months ago

Interesting aside:

Diamondbacks rank in the middle of the pack by batter HBP (39, in a 4-way tie for 11th most), but near the bottom of pitcher HBPs (32, tied for 23rd most).
Meanwhile, the Pirates lead the league in both batter and pitcher HBPs.

Unsurprisingly, there’s a decent correlation between a team’s pitcher walk rate (BB%) and how frequently they hit batters (R = 0.47). Theres also a correlation, although not as strong, between a team’s pitcher and batter HBP rate (R = 0.39).

So, teams who walk more batters (and presumably have pitchers with worse control) are more likely to hit pitchers.
Also, teams who hit more opposing batters are more likely to have their own batters hit as well (this likely works both ways).

MLB Rainmaker
Member
Member
MLB Rainmaker
1 year 10 months ago

See there is some nice stats work!

Given those correlations, you’d expect that the team leading the league by a wide margin in Pitcher HBP would also have a high BB%, except the Pirates are middle of the pack in BB%. So it would seem, it could be possible that a strategy to pitch inside is causing the disconnect between control and HBP.

Also, could the Pirate lead the league in Batter HBP, because other teams are retaliating against the Pirates?

Both total conjecture, but seems to be at least circumstantial evidence.

Scott Skink
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Scott Skink
1 year 10 months ago

Bucs also have the league leader in HBP, Charlie Morton. He will hit you with a curve ball, not a fastball. And usually to LH batters on the back foot, not middle of the back.

bill
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bill
1 year 10 months ago

The correlation between pitcher hit batters and hitters hit batters is not in and of itself conclusive. Lets take Starling Marte, last season he led baseball in HBP, and I am pretty sure that he is close to the top this season….without looking I can’t say for sure. The one thing I do know is that he does not draw a lot of walks, because his pitch recognition and plate patience suck. The one thing he is very good at is that when he gets two strikes, he moves closer to the plate and becomes very slow reacting to inside pitches leading to him being hit a lot.

As for McCutchen getting hit, if you want to argue that it is part of the game then fine, I can agree with that. However, in almost any other instance he would have been hit in the 1st inning, not the 9th. The only way it could have been any more cowardly in how it was handled is if the D-Backs had been winning by 5. I would also like to add that if the ass-clown umpires hadn’t already warned both teams BEFORE the fricking game, it would have been handled in the first inning and no one at all would be saying a word about it.

Lastly, LaRussa and Gibson, stop trying to defend this, admit, hell yes we hit him, they took out our best player so we took out theirs. I am fine with that. Stop trying to justify the actions to make yourselves feel better.

As for Delgado, my personal opinion is that he was just a pawn. I believe that he tried to hit Cutch with his first pitch, missed and thought it to be over, until Montero called for the old middle finger inside pitch. If you watch Delgado leaving the field, he stops to look at Cutch, puts his head down and walks off the field…..he didn’t even look at his teamates or coaches.

Now that is a lot of rambling to say nothing at all.

MLB Rainmaker
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Member
MLB Rainmaker
1 year 10 months ago

Yup, agree 100% that it should have happened in the first inning, the umpires set that 9th inning crap up by warning before the game.

Lambo
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Lambo
1 year 10 months ago

The reports after the game were that the United did NOT issue pre game warnings. Delgado was tossed because they perceived intent, just as Justin Wilson was tossed in LA.

Scott Skink
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Scott Skink
1 year 10 months ago

I am so tired of D’Backs fans trying to rationalize the bush league throwing at McCutchen.

1. Frieri has sucked all year. The biggest complaint about him is lack of control.
2. It was in the 9th inning of a game the Bucs had all but won by a decent margin – which was the only reason Frieri was in and not Melancon.
3. Most importantly, Martin called for a fastball belt high inside half of the plate. Frieri missed that spot by a foot and half inside and another foot high. Go look at the video you ignorant morons.

Starling Marte has an annoying habit of getting hit in the hands. He lost time last year on the DL because of it and has missed a couple of other games due to his penchant for getting his hands out towards the plate.

Guess what, Bucs fans don’t call for retaliation on those. Rather, they criticize Marte for being an idiot and not getting his hands out of the way.

cactusdave
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cactusdave
1 year 10 months ago

Fans don’t call for retaliation. This is a street thing and part of the game. In the old days, guys like Drysdale and Gibson were the ones called upon to deliver the hard core stuff because with their ability to control their pitch location, they could send a message without sending somebody to the hospital.

But with these wild buffoons occupying slots in the rotation nowadays and these head hunting happy manager types, we’re seeing some of the best players get sidelined with serious injuries. That injury to Ramirez changed the whole freakin’ post season last year.

And Matheny’s response to an entire Dodger season down the drain was what? OOPS? Then he turns around and starts it up again in St Louis two weeks ago, by going after Ramirez again and this time also including Puig, in the guise of “pitching inside”.

Nonsense! If your crappy pitchers can’t pitch inside any better then that than take a different tact. if Cutch wants to be pissed off at someone, be pissed off at his own crappy pitchers for setting this whole thing in motion in the first place.

Darkstone42
Member
Darkstone42
1 year 10 months ago

Pitching inside is a big part of what the Pirates do as an organization. Their top five minor league levels lead their leagues in HBP. They throw inside, focusing on fastball command, and have, overall, average command through their system.

Hurdle thinks it’s for intimidation. Whatever. The reason is actually (as I’m sure their analytics division extensively elucidated) that pitching inside is simply an effective strategy. The high and tight corner generates swings about half the time, and not very good contact on average. It is the single most effective location to pitch to. So the Pirates as an organization pitch there.

Even beyond the single location effectiveness, there are obvious advantages to making the hitter think about the entire strike zone. It leads to more balls off the end of the bat or rolled over on pitches on the outer half just because the hitter’s worried about getting jammed. And then there’s the obvious benefit of inducing contact on the handle of the bat. Plus the extra whiffs from chasing on both sides of the strike zone.

The tradeoff for the pitcher, though, is more hit batters, which are, of course, free baserunners. The Pirates have determined that the soft-contact benefits outweigh the free baserunners cost, and I tend to intuitively agree with them. Most of these HBPs, also, will be on the elbow (which is usually protected with a shield), the thigh, or the foot, depending on pitch selection, with some on the hands mixed in when hitters are fooled and start them forward into the path of the ball. Only the last of these is especially likely to cause an injury, and the hitter has some control over it, at least.

In any case, the Bucs are not innocent entirely of retaliation, and every time I do it, it bugs me. Not just because I think retaliation is an unnecessary danger, that it’s tactless, cheap, and dirty, but also strategically, because I see no reason to intentionally give my opponent a free baserunner.

But to claim that the Pirates strategically throwing inside in order to help them record outs is an invitation for retaliation is stupid. More teams should throw inside more often. It’s why the Pirates have overachieved as a pitching staff for the past three years.

Darkstone42
Member
Darkstone42
1 year 10 months ago

Holy (base)balls, that was a long comment. I apologize for the tl;dr.

MLB Rainmaker
Member
Member
MLB Rainmaker
1 year 10 months ago

This whole statement is just nonsense and conjecture:

“Most of these HBPs, also, will be on the elbow (which is usually protected with a shield), the thigh, or the foot, depending on pitch selection, with some on the hands mixed in when hitters are fooled and start them forward into the path of the ball. Only the last of these is especially likely to cause an injury, and the hitter has some control over it, at least.”

Throwing inside as an organizational practice, logically leads to more HBP (as the HBP data supports). Unless you have data to prove otherwise, injuries due to HBP seem to be (and we should assume are) random, hence, more HBP will results in more injuries across a broad data set. There is no other logical conclusion — The Pirates employ a strategy that will result in more injured opponent batters.

cactusdave
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cactusdave
1 year 10 months ago

“But to claim that the Pirates strategically throwing inside in order to help them record outs is an invitation for retaliation is stupid. More teams should throw inside more often. It’s why the Pirates have overachieved as a pitching staff for the past three years”.

Pitch inside as much as you like but stop hitting the batters when you do it. How much plainer can it possibly be? Refusing to modify a practice that results in your opponents getting injured because your crappy pitchers can’t execute your so-called “strategy” properly and safely can only be viewed one way — RECKLESS.

Clearly you don’t like it when your players are sent to the DL, how do you imagine it to be okay when you’re “strategy” causes it to happen to the other team? Whether it’s damned hard to avoid hitting batters when you pitch inside or a lead pipe cinch — knock it off or accept the probability of retaliation

Darkstone42
Member
Darkstone42
1 year 10 months ago

Well, I don’t get mad at an opposing pitcher when Starling Marte goes on the DL after an unintentional hit-by-pitch. When it’s his hands, I tend to blame him. The head shot was a clear accident, and I don’t fault a pitcher for going inside on a guy who tends to get jammed.

I’ve been looking for injury data for hit-by-pitches, but I can’t find any. In any case, Goldschmidt is the only injury I can remember from a Pirate hitting a player with a pitch. It seems like a lot of them are to the thigh, Morton especially hits guys almost exclusively with the curveball, mostly lefties, mostly in the thigh or in the foot or off the bounce. These don’t often turn into injuries because curveballs are slower, and because the thighs are pretty meaty. The ones to the foot, however, could be more dangerous, but since so many bounce and lose momentum to the ground, that danger is at least somewhat mitigated.

The fact of the matter is that pitching inside is a strategy, it has a purpose of getting guys out. Throwing at people is not a strategy. It carries an intention to at least hurt, at worst injure, the opponent. We can talk all day about the ethics of pitching inside, but retaliation is an open-and-shut no-no. You just don’t throw at a guy. It’s not something which should be done.

I would love to find actual injury data, but my intuition tells me curveballs are less likely to cause injury than fastballs, that the thighs are the least likely location to suffer an injury, followed by the upper arm, then the elbow (because of just how many people wear those guards). The most likely locations to suffer an injury are the hands (and the hitter has some control here), the head (due to the sensitivity of the brain, even having a helmet doesn’t guarantee safety), and the back, due to the reduced density of fat and muscle for most players compared to other commonly-hit body parts, in that order, with the feet not far behind, but probably the least likely spot to suffer a direct hit from a fastball.

I really would like to see the data to compare what’s actually happened to my intuition, but in any case, I’m not so certain that the Pirates pitching inside so much necessarily makes them that much more dangerous a team, especially given how many of them are sinkerballers and their propensity to keep the ball down in the zone as a result.

As it turns out, Frieri was supposed to be aiming below the belt on his pitch, inside edge, but low. He missed his spot by about as much as a guy can miss his spot by. Heck, he might have hit Goldy with an outside target on that pitch. I don’t know if that injury can even be directly attributed to the Pirates’ pitching philosophy.

matt w
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matt w
1 year 10 months ago

Jason Giambi is still playing?

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