Jeffrey Flanagan reports that umps are maybe having as much trouble picking up Tim Hill’s pitches as hitters are:
According to Statcast™ charts of the strike zone, umpires already perhaps have missed 12 Hill pitches that were called balls but likely were strikes. Some were blatantly obvious, like the time in Cleveland when Hill issued a four-pitch walk although two of his two-seam fastballs clearly were inside the grid.
The Royals believe part of the problem is that Hill’s effective and unique sidearm motion has caught umpires a little off-guard.
”All three of us, hitters, catchers and umpires are used to seeing pitches coming over the top,” Royals catcher Drew Butera said. “Something that unique and different from Timmy may take some time to get used to.
Ned Yost weighs in on the Laurel or Yanny debate.
Dodd Dodding (sub required):
Blaine Boyer says he can be "an absolute force." Danny Duffy calls him a "damn stud."— Rustin Dodd (@rustindodd) May 16, 2018
The story of Brad Keller, barely recruited, hardly scouted, and unprotected in the Rule 5 draft. "I really shouldn’t even be here,” he says. https://t.co/RZcuyLmTtV
Know Hitter takes stock of the woeful AL Central:
The Royals’ bullpen ranked fifth in the league in fWAR from 2014 to 2017.
This year, things have been a bit different.
Kansas City’s relief corps currently sit dead-last in fWAR with a collective -0.8 number. The unit is also missing bats an alarmingly-low rate, with just 6.43 strikeouts per nine frames and a 9.2 swinging strike percentage. Both are the worst metrics in the league by a significant margin.
BP KC’s Darin Watson revisits Jim Sundberg’s place on the 1985 Royals:
In his 12th major-league season, Sundberg was finally in the playoffs. Although he hit just .167/.200/.417 in the ALCS against Toronto, he had a couple of highlight moments. In Game Three, with Kansas City facing a 2-0 deficit in the series, he hit a solo home run in the fifth inning of the Royals’ 6-5 win. And in Game Seven, Sundberg came to bat in the sixth inning against Toronto ace Dave Stieb. With the bases loaded and the Royals clinging to a 2-1 lead, Sundberg hit a triple, missing a grand slam by inches. That gave the Royals all the cushion they needed to win and advance to the World Series.
In that Series, Sundberg hit .250/.400/.333, but is mostly remembered for one of the key plays in Royals history. As Kansas City came to bat in the ninth inning of Game Six, they faced a 1-0 deficit. With only three outs left in their season, the pressure was on. You know the start of the inning: Jorge Orta safe on a controversial call at first. Steve Balboni singled, and Sundberg stepped up, looking to bunt. It wasn’t a great bunt, and Orta was forced out at third. After a passed ball, Sundberg wound up at second, representing the winning run. Dane Iorg dumped a single into right field. Pinch-runner Onix Concepcion scored easily to tie the game, and here came Sundberg, chugging around third. As the throw came in from right field, Sundberg dove headfirst into the right-handed batter’s box, reaching his left hand across home plate just before catcher Darrell Porter could tag him. Sundberg leaped to his feet and was mobbed by several teammates while many more Royals surrounded Iorg between first and second base. The celebration lasted all through the night, all through Game Seven, and into the winter.
Clubhouse Conversation has an interview with Richard Lovelady.
Russell Martin: shortstop?
- Craig Edwards notes that Jordan Lyles is doing new things.
- Jake Mailhot looks at how Sean Manaea is slowing everything down.
- Jeff Sullivan weighs the idea that Francisco Lindor wants to be baseball’s best player.
At Baseball Prospectus:
- Matthew Trueblood looks at the rise of the sinker in the new juiced-ball era.
- Aaron Gleeman goes back to the trade that sent A.J. Pierzynski to the Giants and looks at how it still affects the Twins’ roster today.
Though the plug will still probably get pulled next month, the Senate has kept net neutrality on life support by passing a measure that would preserve Obama era regulations, though it’s viewed as highly unlikely that the House will vote to pass the measure.
Yahoo! Lifestyle warns us that we shouldn’t be fooled, Meghan Markle is “actually very normal.”
When should we ditch our favorite outdated art?
Jason Isbell explains why it’s important to criticize bad music.
The first song of the day is “I Never (Shed a Tear)” by Joshua Hadley from his debut record Mr. Jukebox:
The second song of the day is “I’ll Be Your Ladder” from former Majical Cloudz frontman Devon Welsh: