And That Happened

Royals 9, Tigers 2: Five shutout innings by Greinke lowers his ERA to 2.14. No starter has been that low to finish the season since Clemens in 2005. No non-jackass starter has had one that low since Pedro in 2000. Someone please explain to me again the basis for not giving this man the Cy Young award.

Reds 3, Marlins 2: A first inning Darnell McDonald homer and a bases loaded single by Jay Bruce held up all night. Random game story goodness: “Reds RHP Aaron Harang bought a souped-up golf cart as a gift to clubhouse attendants, to help them transport equipment and players around the ballpark.” Word on the street is that it’s got a cop motor, a 440 cubic inch plant, it’s got cop tires, cop suspensions, cop shocks and it’s a model made before catalytic converters so it’ll run good on regular gas.

Brewers 7, Cubs 4: Prince Fielder hit a triple to lead off the fifth. I’m as shocked as you are, but it’s not like this sort of thing wasn’t predicted. Note: scroll down to read the lefthand column before reading the portion that appears at the top of the page.

Angels 4, Red Sox 3: Brian Fuentes bounces back and holds the lead in the ninth after his compadres break a tie in the top of the ninth. I guess the umps were timid or scared last night like they were on Wednesday.

Rays 3, Orioles 0: Wade Davis was destroyed by the Red Sox in his second career start, but dismantled Baltimore in his third (CG SHO 4 H 10K). He three 124 pitches, but struck out the side in the ninth, so either he wasn’t tired of the Orioles gave the hell up.

Phillies 4, Nationals 2: Cole Hamels was perfect into the sixth inning and finished with ten strikeouts and one earned run over eight innings. Manuel allowed Lidge to pitch in a save situation. He got the save, but still gave up a run on a triple and a fielder’s choice. If the Phillies bats are alive in the playoffs they’re my choice to win the NL. If they play a lot of close games that are decided late, well, forget it.

Mariners 4, White Sox 3: Jon Danks only gave up one run over eight innings, but ended up getting hosed out of the win after this baby went 14. A 14 inning game, by the way, that was eight minutes shorter than Wednesday night’s nine-inning Red Sox-Angels affair.

Braves 7, Mets 3: The Braves have won seven straight. The Mets have lost nine of their last 10. These are things that will keep me warm all winter even in the very likely event that the Braves fall short of the playoffs.

Athletics 5, Indians 2: “We’re going through a tough stretch right now,” Indians manager Eric Wedge said after the game. We know. It began in early April.


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Steve C
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Steve C

Pedro was (is?) a great pitcher, but he was certainly full of himself.  I’m not so sure Maddux is the guy either, he did enjoy taking a piss on rookies in the shower.

I think Soccia just likes getting his pitchers big save totals.  The better reliever Jespen was moving right along through the sox order, gives up ine hit and he goes to the “closer”.

Wooden U. Lykteneau
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Wooden U. Lykteneau

@Jeff – I guess that would make sense… if it were true:

1998 Rolando Arrojo 19 (8)
1999 Jeff Weaver 17 (9)
2000 Jeff Weaver 15 (14; Martinez +17IP)
2001 Tim Wakefield 18 (6)
2002 Chan Ho Park 17 (15; Martinez +44.2IP)
2003 Victor Zambrano 20 (9)
2004 Bronson Arroyo 20 (16; Martinez +38.1IP)

Nice try.

ecp
Guest
ecp
@Wade – I’ve only heard two arguments against giving the Cy to Greinke.  The first is he doesn’t have as many wins as some people would like.  The second, adroitly (?) espoused by Harold Reynolds on MLB Network last night, is he isn’t doing it in AL East. Now, I don’t know that either of these are the “substantive” argument you wanted to hear, but there you go.  The wins argument has already been debated to death and, we hope, debunked.  But the second argument in particular is amazingly ridiculous in that it implies that all AL pitchers are to… Read more »
MikeS
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MikeS
@Wade, @ecp – I think the wins argument is the one that will be made.  When was the last time a Cy Young award winner only had 14 wins (strike years and relievers not included).  I’m not saying it’s a good argument, just that it’s the argument. As for the whole AL East thing, does that mean that they simply should not have an NL MVP/Cy Young/RoY since none of them play in the only division that the Eastern Seaboard Programming Network knows about? And lets be honest, when some moron says “AL East” he reall means “Boston and New… Read more »
Michael Caragliano
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Michael Caragliano
Thanks, Jeff- couldn’t have said it better myself. I’ll be the first to say he earned the MVP in ‘99 and got screwed out of it, and he’s a first ballot HOF’er but, as a Mets fan, I’ll also be the first to admit how his “immaturity” in ‘04 suddenly turned “refreshing” in ‘05. Since seeing Gooden in ‘85, he the guy I’d give the ball to in a must-win game, but the “drill Babe Ruth in the ass” swagger was over the top. BTW, if Maddux now qualifies as borderline jack-ass, does that mean we have to do a… Read more »
Jack Marshall
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Jack Marshall
The wins argument will prevail, and Greinke will be denied. In this case, that’s clearly wrong; in general, I think if the current trend in sabermetrics reasoning continues, some pitcher in 2012 will be awarded the Cy with a 9-16 record and a 4.85 ERA, because the “really significant” stats show that he pitched great but was unlucky, the zone ratings of his fielders were bad,and the main competition, Dice-K Matsusaka, had “lousy stats” despite his 20-11 record and 2.89 ERA. Yes, my head is still spinning from being told in no uncertain terms that despite the evidence of eyes,… Read more »
Kevin S.
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Kevin S.

Isn’t there something in ethics about not setting up strawman arguments, then attacking that strawman as if it was an argument?  Or is that brand of bullshit only reserved for long-winded douchebaggery moralizing about how Barry Bonds ruined America, or whatever the #### it is you spouted.  People didn’t say Smoltz was great for Boston, they said he was better than his ERA indicated.  You eventually agreed on that point, if memory serves.

APBA Guy
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APBA Guy
@ Jack- You and I are on the same side of the Smoltz argument, although I seem to be the only one who believes Holliday was dogging it while he was with the the A’s. They are a different team without Holliday and Giambi. Now 7-2 in their last 9, people in the East Bay are talking (hallucinating?) about the A’s finishing at .500. To do that, they have to close the season at 13-3, meaning a 20-5 streak over their last 25. Considering they play the Indians again for 3, then host the now moribund Rangers for 3, they… Read more »
Jack Marshall
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Jack Marshall
Kevin…no straw man argument. I mean it—-I have read many comments from posters like you arguing that Dice-K had a lousy season last year, despite his W-L and ERA. I read people here say that Smoltz was pitching the same in Boston as in St. Louis, despite the obvious ERA and OBA discrepancy. There is a trend in sabermetrics to go beyond “wins and losses aren’t everything” to “wins and losses mean nothing.” And I think when it comes to a starter with a losing record getting the Cy Young, as it will if these people win the day, the… Read more »
Joe
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Joe

Unless being hit by a batted ball affects his performance, it’s plausable that Greinke could finish the year with 17 wins.  That might be enough.

Kevin S.
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Kevin S.
Slight distinction – I called your missive against Barry Bonds (the one Keith Law picked up on, not sure if there were others) douchebaggery; I’m sure you’re quite the upstanding fellow, and in no way a douchebag (other than, you know, being a Red Sox fan).  Now that we’ve got the assorted insults and past grievances aired and out of the way, let’s get down to the meat of the relevant discussion – whether or not “superficial” statistics such as wins/losses and ERA (superficial in the sense that they don’t measure underlying performance, no negative connotation implied) should even be… Read more »
Jack Marshall
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Jack Marshall
Well, good—-I’m glad you articulated that position—-which is reductio ad absurdum, and you apparently don’t even know it. Pitching isn’t just art; it’s a utilitarian job. The job is to win games for one’s team. To suggest that a pitcher whose net results of participation in his team’s games is negative—-that is, his team lost more than it won in his starts—-could be named a league’s outstanding pitcher reaffirms my slowly solidifying theory that a disturbing number of analysts no longer can distinguish Fantasy Baseball from the real thing. Success, measured by wins and losses, has to be a substantial… Read more »
Alan
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Alan

I’d put money on Greinke winning the Cy Young. A good chunk of the MSM pieces I’ve seen on the subject could be written off the same template: Statheads are narrow-minded, inflexible mom’s-basement-dwellers blah blah blah BUT Greinke maybe possibly perhaps deserves the Cy anyway despite the fact that I don’t know/care what a VORP is.

Jason
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Jason
To start an argument I’ve had with myself many times, and hopefully someone else will chime in this time.  Should the Cy Young award go to the best statistical pitcher (ie Grienke) or to the pitcher with the most wins (whomever that may be)?  I ask because Cy Young has the most wins in the history of the game, not because he’s the best pitcher the game has ever seen.  If that were the case the award would probably we called the Walter Johnson award or the Sandy Koufax award, etc.  It would be nice if the best pitcher won… Read more »
Kevin S.
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Kevin S.
Actually, Jack, I did know what I was doing, though I never took Latin, and can’t remember the formal names to the styles.  That sentence had way too many commas, ugh.  Anyhoo, I’m not quite sure what you’re saying here.  Are you arguing that pitchers can pitch to the score, the Jack Morris defense?  If so, there is ample evidence, both specifically in regards to Morris, and for pitchers in general, that this is not the case (too many commas again, damnit!).  Here are two Morris articles: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=1815 http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=1815 If you meant something else, I sincerely apologize for wasting my… Read more »
Jack Marshall
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Jack Marshall

I’d say always giving the Cy to the winningest pitcher would also be reductio ad absurdum, though that’s the only way to explain Cy winners like Bob Welch. Still, I believe that some pitchers do know how to win, and some more skilled pitchers don’t. Mike Mussina had great offenses behind him his whole career, had great stats, and didn’t win 20 until his last season. And I think at least some of the reason is that he was a weenie, something we have yet to measure statistically.

Kevin S.
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Kevin S.

Boo, I copied the BPro article twice.  Here’s Pos on the issue: http://joeposnanski.com/JoeBlog/2009/09/12/pitching-to-the-score/

Jack Marshall
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Jack Marshall

Kevin—pitching to the score, no. Pos nailed it. Not staying in games long enough to win. Not bearing down after errors. Not knowing how to pitch decently without your best stuff. Raising your game against a tough opposing pitcher or in a big game. Pitching well hurt. I think these and other things might affect 2-3 games a year for some pitchers, the difference between ending up 18-12 and 16-14.

MikeS
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MikeS
@Jason – Sorry, got a little carried away.  I know there are plenty of good fans out east, a few bad apples cause many to have a bad impression.  I have stopped watching ESPN because I can (and have) get enough of BoSox/Yanks and there are now other outlets. At a White/Red Sox game a few weeksago in Chicago.  There were lots of Red Sox fans (as usual) and I told my wife that at least Red Sox fans know baseball, unlike the Cubs fans we get during interleague play (there I go again).  Well, the woman behind me proceeded… Read more »
ecp
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ecp

@Mike S – In (admittedly reluctant) defense of ESPN, they have mostly been pushing Greinke for the award.

Kevin S.
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Kevin S.
“Raising your game against a tough opposing pitcher” Isn’t that the same theory as pitching to the score, though, in a proactive sense?  Regardless, if someone can raise his performance in a big game, doesn’t that mean that he’s performing sub-optimally 95% of the time, or however many non-big games he’s in?  Now, your other points: “Not staying in games long enough to win” – Wouldn’t this be reflected in a pitcher’s IP?  Innings are valuable, which is part of why Chris Carpenter doesn’t really deserve the NL CYA.  Also partially beyond a pitcher’s control, especially in the NL.  If… Read more »
Jack Marshall
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Jack Marshall

I don’t see how anyone can watch much baseball and convince himself that there is nothing to clutch ability. I do believe it is difficult to measure—-just because someone elevates his game doesn’t mean he will have good results every time, and the sample size is always small. And yes, it does mean that the player is at sub-optimum levels the rest of the time. There are employees like that in every profession. There is no reason baseball should be the exception.

Kevin S.
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Kevin S.

Agree to disagree, I guess.

Jason B
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Jason B

“And yes, it does mean that the player is at sub-optimum levels the rest of the time. There are employees like that in every profession.”

Like when I’m reading and posting on here instead of managing the credit risk of our bank?

christopher
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christopher

Can we all agree that Tim Wakefield should win the AL Cy Young?  He broke the Red Sox career record for most starts by a pitcher this year!

Tony A
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Tony A

may be a minority of one, it’s happened before, but I’ve always leaned toward the pitcher with the best combination of win-loss record and stats for the Cy…

Jack Marshall
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Jack Marshall

No, Tony, we’re a minority of TWO….

Jason B
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Jason B

That’s the same “lifetime achievement” argument that is being used for ol’ Cap’n Jetes!!  smile

Michael Caragliano
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Michael Caragliano

Not to nit-pick, but considering what Pedro was like with the Sox, and what Kevin Brown was like with… well, everybody, wouldn’t the last non-jackass starter before Greinke be Greg Maddux in ‘95?

Wooden U. Lykteneau
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Wooden U. Lykteneau

but considering what Pedro was like with the Sox

What would that be, exactly, besides win 117 games, two Cy Young Awards, four ERA titles, three strikeout titles, four All-Star appearances and a World Series title?

Joe Distelheim
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Joe Distelheim

How, in the name of Cap Anson, did you find an 1884 New York Times article on weight’s relationship to movement on the spur of a boxscore?  Now, that’s sportswriting!

Craig Calcaterra
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Craig Calcaterra

If I give away my secrets y’all will be writing your own recaps every day. I can’t have that. wink

John Willumsen
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John Willumsen
I don’t think I’ve ever read a 19th century NYTimes article before, and I suppose that I was vaguely conscious of the fact that articles would be written in that style, but honestly it’s kind of mind-boggling how stark the difference is between then and now. Yes, I realize 1884 was a LONG time ago, that the century and a quarter that have passed probably brought more changes than any other equivalent time period in the history of humanity, but it’s the realization that the Times represents one continuous entity throughout this time frame that’s so…well trippy for lack of… Read more »
Jeff
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Jeff

Wooden-I think Michael was inferring that Pedro was a jackass when he pitched for Boston.  A very good jackass, but a jackass nonetheless.  He had the best control in the league but somehow was always in the league leaders in hit batters.  It was nothing about performance, all about attitude and decorum.

Wade
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Wade

Will someone please give a substantive arguement denying Greinke the Cy?  I’m just curious as to what tenet(s) would support such an arguement outside of an emotional one.

Where are the downsides for his consideration?  Please help – I’m equally baffled.

Have a great Friday everybody.

YankeesfanLen
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YankeesfanLen

So what you’re saying is The Old Gray Lady predicted Prince Fielder rollerblading 125 years ago?  Where is Tyler, snoozing on this scoop? Maybe pondering how to work “apoplexy and deliquescence” into the report for a bad inning for CC.

Stevenell
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Stevenell

The problem, Jack, is that you are giving credit to one player the fate of a game decided by 9 or more.  Yes, the starting pitcher is the most important player in any particular game, but to give him sole credit for what the team doesn’t and doesn’t do is absolutely ridiculous.  How you can even start to compare the amount of Wins for a pitcher who pitches on the Yankees to one that pitches on the Royals is absolutely beyond me.  Greinke isn’t the best pitcher because his team sucks.  That makes perfect sense.

Jack Marshall
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Jack Marshall
Never said that. I said that the reasonable and logical argument—-that wins are not the best measurement of a pitcher’s performance—-can be carried to an absurd extreme. One cannot completely separate a skill from its purpose. A pitcher who pitches brilliantly but loses all of his games cannot and should not be designated the “best pitcher.” It reminds me of the pundits who kept saying that Bill Clinton was a “brilliant politician.” Well, brilliant politicians don’t get themselves impeached. The Best and “Not Good Enough to Win Enough” cannot be the same person, at least for award purposes…in my opinion.… Read more »
Jack Marshall
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Jack Marshall
I can’t explain to you “again” what I never said or even thought. Look at the posts. I SAID that Greinke should win the Cy Young, but probably won’t. I SAID that the valid arguments in his behalf could soon reach the absurd. We wouldn’t give “manager of the year” to a brilliant manager whose team lost every game. We wouldn’t give a batting championship to a great hitter who hit every ball on the nose yet lined out every time. A pitcher’s job is not run prevention; it is to pitch enough better than the opposing pitcher, in each… Read more »
Wooden U. Lykteneau
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Wooden U. Lykteneau

A
pitcher’s job is not run prevention; it is to pitch enough better than the
opposing pitcher, in each game he starts, to win the maximum number of games
for his team. That necessarily involves run prevention.

That would be funny if it weren’t so sad. I’m not lying, I’m just not telling the truth, your honor.

Jack Marshall
Guest
Jack Marshall

THAT’S certainly a cogent rebuttal. Can’t top that!

If you want to “unbundle” team tasks to the extent that a pitcher would be honored as the “best” despite a losing record and, conceivably,a higher ERA than some competitors, fine. The rest of the world doesn’t work that way, and for good reason. Such an award would quickly be discounted by the general public, lose prestige, and become irrelevant. I understand the point; always have. But the Cy Young will NEVER go to a losing pitcher, because the game will always honor winning rather than losing with finesse.

Wooden U. Lykteneau
Guest
Wooden U. Lykteneau

Nobody but you is arguing that a losing pitcher with a high ERA will ever conceivably win the Cy Young award. The rest of us are arguing that it *is* possible for a pitcher to be the best pitcher in the league and have a losing record. In fact, it has already happened:

http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/gl.cgi?n1=ryanno01&t=p&year=1987

Jack Marshall
Guest
Jack Marshall
Wooden: Well, obviously I can’t communicate clearly enough to discuss this with you. There is more than one definition of “best.” The pitcher who wins the most games while maintaining a respectable ERA is a legitimate “best.” So is the pitcher who does the best job preventing runs. The Cy Young award, as indicated by its title (pointed out above), has historically tended toward the first definition. Given that there is some wisdom in that,and given that the “best” so defined will almost always be a deserving recipient,I think declaring that wins are irrelevant to the award is unwise…and not… Read more »
Wooden U. Lykteneau
Guest
Wooden U. Lykteneau

Wooden: Well, obviously I can’t communicate clearly enough to discuss this with you.

Nope, not with your current level of understanding. But when you finally grasp the concept that a pitcher can only control half of the equation of what it takes to win a ballgame, please get back to us.

Jack Marshall
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Jack Marshall

If by “us” you mean the Association of Arrogant and Obtuse Jackasses, as I assume you do, please don’t hold your breath.

Wooden U. Lykteneau
Guest
Wooden U. Lykteneau

One cannot completely separate a skill from its purpose.

The purpose of pitching is run prevention, i.e. preventing the opposing team’s offense from scoring.

Zack Greinke is the very best in baseball at this task at the current moment—lowest ERA, fewest runs allowed for qualified pitches, lowest WHIP, most shutouts, #2 in strikeouts, quality starts, and complete games. Furthermore, he has done this despite having a terrible defense (2nd-most errors in A.L., #14 in DER) behind him.

Explain to us again how Greinke is not worthy of an award that celebrates the skill of run prevention.

Michael G
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Michael G
Agree Grienke deserves the CY this year but he doesn’t pitch on the east coast (don’t anyone EVER try to tell me there’s no bias)so who knows. Ok you caught me, i’m from So. Cal. Most of the time stats will tell the tale of the tape but only a few are most important. Any starter can get a “W” by going only 5 inn. and having the lead. Too much relies on the offense on this one. So for me wins ranks a notch below ERA, K’s, BB’s, CG’s, SO’s and BA & H’s against. These are all strictly… Read more »
Kevin S.
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Kevin S.
“If by “us” you mean the Association of Arrogant and Obtuse Jackasses” Hey, if I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a hundred times, it’s the Arrogant and Obtuse Jackass Society.  No respect. I do disagree with your notion of what a pitcher’s job is, though.  Baseball is such a compartmentalized game, each player can only do his part, and hope for the best from the other contributors.  A baseball team, more than any other type of team, is only as good as the sum of its parts.  Thus, since a pitcher can’t control what his offense or defense or… Read more »
Michael G
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Michael G

Hi Kevin, I was initially trying to point out only that wins should be much less of a factor when determining the CY winner. So I wasn’t eluding to what a pitcher’s job is just most of the things he has some control of while he’s on the bump. Grienke meets all the required criteria for a CY winner. Amusing to read a stranger lecturing me on baseball theory. It’s cool though…. nothin’ personal.

Kevin S.
Guest
Kevin S.

Sorry, I thought it was clear I was talking to Jack, with the turn on his Association thing and a direct response to his stance.  Guess it could be confusing, since I didn’t directly address him and posted right after you.

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