13) Umpire Joe West worked in his 5,376th major league game last night, breaking the all-time record. He first umpired in the big leagues at age 24, which is pretty amazing.
12) Speaking of umpires, saw something I don’t think I ever saw before. Sunday night in St Louis, Adam Wainwright is pitching to Kris Bryant in the 4th inning— first two pitches of the at-bat are both marginal, are both called strikes.
Cubs manager David Ross comes out of the dugout and gets in the face of the home plate ump, who throws him out of the game- his guy didn’t strike out, he just took two pitches, and the manager gets tossed. Game was scoreless at the time.
Maybe Ross bet the over, I don’t know, or maybe the ump had the under; Wainwright wound up having 31 of his pitches called strikes, which is a really, really high number. Cubs starter Davies only had 12 strikes called, but he is more of a pitch-to-contact guy.
Anyway, it struck me as odd. Erich Bacchus was the ump, a new umpire.
11) Then there is Houston P Cristian Javier, who threw 94 pitches in his start at Texas Sunday; only 8 of those 94 pitches were put into play. 50 strikes, 44 balls; six walks, five strikeouts- he gave up only one hit, but lasted only 4.2 innings in the Astros’ 3-2 loss.
These days, one of the starting pitcher’s jobs is to get deeper into games, to take the strain off of the bullpen, seeing how the starters are supposed to be the team’s best pitchers. Finishing six innings consistently helps a team that day, and for the next couple days.
10) Genius alert: Indians P Zach Plesac suffered a non-displaced fracture of his right (throwing) thumb when he was really mad after a bad start, and was tearing his jersey off in anger— his right hand smacked against a chair, and he broke his thumb. Awesome.
9) Toronto shortstop Bo Bichette is hitting 2-31 against Tampa Bay this year, .325 against everyone else, which adds up to .270 overall.
8) Tampa Bay has used 49 different lineups in its first 50 games; if they ever decide to do another Moneyball movie, they should do it on the Rays, who do some very unusual things.
7) Colorado Rockies are now 3-18 on the road after splitting a pair at CitiField this week; they were the first team to start a season 2-17 on the road since the ’06 Kansas City Royals.
6) Houston Astros are 3-12 on the road when they score less than 7 runs; they’re 8-0 on the road if they score 7+ runs.
5) Baseball injury stuff:
— Bruce Harper (forearm) went on the IL
— Corey Kluber (elbow) left his start Tuesday after 3 innings.
— Zach Plesac (thumb) went on the IL
— Noah Syndergaard left his rehab start after only one inning, which obviously is bad news.
4) Cowboys’ LB Jaylon Smith wants to switch from #54 to #9; when an NFL player wants to switch numbers, the rules say he has to buy out the current inventory of jerseys/T-shirts of his old number- that will cost Smith around half a million bucks.
He must really like number 9.
3) Wayne Gretzky is going to be an NHL analyst on TNT next fall, when that network begins its coverage of the NHL. You never know if a guy is going to be good or not on the air; Gretzky is probably the greatest player ever, but will he be critical? Funny? Will he tell great stories from his career, without harping on himself?
I would bet on him to be good, but time will tell.
2) Back in my high school days, I took a course on speed reading, it was an actual course, taught by Mr O’Brien, who looked a little like Burl Ives, the singer.
Anyway, all I remember about the course was that they told you when you read a book, to read the first and last paragraph of each chapter, then the first sentence of every other paragraph.
They said a well written book would contain the vast majority of its information in those areas, and you could save a lot of time by skipping the rest. Wonder if they still teach that stuff?
Also, I am told they don’t teach cursive writing in schools anymore; how do people learn how to sign their names?
1) If the playoffs started today (they don’t):
NL: Mets-Cardinals-Padres. Wild Card: Giants @ Dodgers
AL: Rays-White Sox-A’s. Wild Card: New York @ Boston