December 11, 2013
And here's the full roster.
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Following are the one hundred most recent articles for the category SABR .
11/14/2013: Let’s discuss the THT Annualby Dave Studeman
12/10/2013: All about the latest Bill James Handbookby Dave Studeman
12/10/2013: Though night may fall, play ball!by Frank Jackson
12/10/2013: Roy Halladay retiresby Jeff Moore
12/09/2013: Leverage Index by inningby Dave Studeman
12/09/2013: How far are the Mariners from relevancy?by Brad Johnson
12/09/2013: Prince Halby Chris Jaffe
12/09/2013: Three underrated acquisitionsby Pat Andriola
12/06/2013: Cooperstown Confidential: Ed Charles and 42by Bruce Markusen
12/06/2013: The Athletics get busyby Brad Johnson
12/06/2013: Getting to know Ryan Haniganby Chad Dotson
12/04/2013: Cataloging the non-tendered playersby Brad Johnson
12/04/2013: Alone on the pedestalby Jason Linden
12/03/2013: Mascot fight!by Greg Simons
12/03/2013: Why is a sinker “heavy?”by David Kagan
12/03/2013: The role of fall leaguesby Jeff Moore
12/02/2013: Nationals make great deal for Fisterby Matt Filippi
12/02/2013: The Twins go holiday shopping, but to what end?by Brad Johnson
12/02/2013: The end of the benchby Chris Jaffe
11/29/2013: Card Corner: 1973 Topps: Danny Waltonby Bruce Markusen
11/29/2013: The best rookies of the ‘30sby Chad Dotson
11/27/2013: Towards an award prediction systemby Shane Tourtellotte
11/26/2013: MLB’s coffers are overflowingby Greg Simons
11/26/2013: The role of prospects in tradesby Jeff Moore
11/25/2013: Stepping up to the plateby Frank Jackson
11/25/2013: 10 things I didn’t know about player birthdaysby Chris Jaffe
11/22/2013: The end of the road for Chris Carpenterby Chad Dotson
11/21/2013: All the news that’s fit to inventby Azure Texan
11/20/2013: Marcus Stroman, the mythbusting machineby Kyle Boddy
11/20/2013: Welcome to the birthplace of… someone elseby Jason Linden
11/19/2013: 2013 THT awards reviewby Greg Simons
11/18/2013: THT Fantasy has moved to Rotographsby Dave Studeman
11/18/2013: Atlanta gets burned againby Frank Jackson
11/18/2013: The 2014 Hall of Fame VC ballotby Chris Jaffe
11/18/2013: Must See MLB.TV 2013by Dave Studeman
11/15/2013: The best rookies of the ‘40sby Chad Dotson
11/15/2013: Card Corner: Wayne Granger: 1973 Toppsby Bruce Markusen
11/14/2013: 10th anniversary: the A.J. Pierzynski tradeby Chris Jaffe
11/14/2013: The Screwball: The face of championship baseballby Azure Texan
11/14/2013: Player-A-Day: Casey Fienby Brad Johnson
11/13/2013: Player-A-Day: Tim Lincecumby Brad Johnson
11/13/2013: Pitcher performance after batting successby Shane Tourtellotte
11/13/2013: 25th anniversary: Rob Neyer writes a letterby Chris Jaffe
11/13/2013: Houston hoodoo ‘62by Frank Jackson
11/12/2013: It’s The Hardball Times Annual 2014by Dave Studeman
11/12/2013: Player-A-Day: Joe Mauerby Brad Johnson
11/11/2013: Fastball velocity by game stateby Jon Roegele
11/11/2013: The rise of the middle-aged managerby Chris Jaffe
11/08/2013: Player-A-Day: Josmil Pintoby Brad Johnson
11/08/2013: Hall monitor: The case for Andruw Jonesby Chad Dotson
11/07/2013: Big leaguers, bit partsby Azure Texan
11/07/2013: Player-A-Day: Nathan Eovaldiby Brad Johnson
11/06/2013: If he’d only gotten another shotby Jason Linden
11/06/2013: Player-A-Day: David DeJesusby Brad Johnson
11/05/2013: Player-A-Day: David Ortizby Brad Johnson
11/04/2013: Player-A-Day: Jose Dariel Abreuby Brad Johnson
11/04/2013: The Boston (Braves) Marathon of 1928by Frank Jackson
11/04/2013: 10 things I didn’t know about birthdays in 2013by Chris Jaffe
11/01/2013: Taking the close pitch with two strikesby James Gentile
11/01/2013: Card Corner: 1973 Topps: Don Baylorby Bruce Markusen
11/01/2013: The best rookies of the ‘50sby Chad Dotson
10/31/2013: The Screwball: Celebrate good times, come on!by Azure Texan
10/31/2013: Player-A-Day: Leonys Martinby Brad Johnson
10/30/2013: Player-A-Day: Jon Lesterby Brad Johnson
10/30/2013: Forecasting the major 2013 awardsby Shane Tourtellotte
10/30/2013: The effect of seeing pitchesby Jon Roegele
10/29/2013: Putting the knock on pitching changesby Joe Distelheim
10/29/2013: Player-A-Day: Ryan Howardby Brad Johnson
10/29/2013: Losing momentum in the sixth gameby Dave Studeman
10/29/2013: Previewing the fall Stars gameby Jeff Moore
10/28/2013: Player-A-Day: Travis Woodby Brad Johnson
10/28/2013: Marquis Grissom: Mr. October Jr.by Frank Jackson
10/25/2013: The blackballing of Dick Dietzby Bruce Markusen
10/24/2013: Player-A-Day: Xander Bogaertsby Brad Johnson
10/24/2013: The Screwball: Put it in neutral?by Azure Texan
10/24/2013: The all-decade team: the ‘00sby Richard Barbieri
10/24/2013: Player-A-Day: Michael Wachaby Brad Johnson
10/23/2013: Earn money watching baseballby Dave Studeman
10/23/2013: Player-A-Day: Jose Iglesiasby Brad Johnson
10/23/2013: 20th anniversary: The Joe Carter gameby Chris Jaffe
10/23/2013: Giants take a risk with Lincecum’s two-year dealby Matt Filippi
10/23/2013: BOB: Nolan Ryan retires…for nowby Brian Borawski
10/22/2013: Where does David Price fit?by Jeff Moore
10/22/2013: Survey says?!?!?by Greg Simons
10/22/2013: ALCS post-mortem: The Fielder playby Shane Tourtellotte
10/21/2013: The best rivalries of 2013by Chris Jaffe
10/21/2013: World Series workhorsesby Frank Jackson
10/20/2013: WPS recap: ALCS, 10/19/2013by Shane Tourtellotte
10/19/2013: WPS Recap: NLCS, 10/18/2013by Shane Tourtellotte
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October 24, 2011
Struggling Wilson faces Game Five pressureWith the World Series now tied at two games apiece after Derek Holland's near-complete game gem, the Series shifts to a crucial Game Five between the two teams' nominal aces. While Chris Carpenter has lived up to that name so far in the postseason, especially in his complete game shutout of Philadelphia in the deciding Game Five of the NLDS, Texas' C.J. Wilson has struggled, to say the least.
Wilson issued six walks in 5.2 innings in the Rangers' 3-2 Game One loss to St. Louis, which spoiled an otherwise decent start. He has actually thrown a higher percentage of strikes than Carpenter, but Wilson's alarming walk rate (14 in 21.1 postseason innings) and his six home runs allowed have doomed his ERA and WHIP in the playoffs.
IP Record ERA WHIP Home runs Strike % C. Carpenter 23 3-0 3.52 1.13 2 57.4 C.J. Wilson 21.1 0-3 7.17 1.82 6 60.1
In a ballpark like Texas', the most hitter- and home run-friendly park this season by a sizeable margin according to ESPN's Park Factor, Wilson's inability to keep balls in the yard against a powerful Cardinals offense could doom the Rangers to a second consecutive World Series defeat. With potentially two games coming from Busch Stadium on Wednesday and Thursday, Wilson could be facing the most pressure-packed start of any pitcher this season. His postseason record to date does not look good for Texas' chances.
Posted by: Shlomo Sprung
October 04, 2011
Division series preview 10/4/11
With their close wins on Monday, Texas and Detroit have taken control of their respective American League series.
To stave off elimination, Tampa Bay will send Jeremy Hellickson to the hill against formidable lefty Matt Harrison. Harrison's 2.99 ERA this season away from Arlington makes him a worthy adversary for players like Desmond Jennings, whose two homers kept the Rays around in game three.
But Hellickson's sterling numbers are even better this season at Tropicana Field, where he sports a 2.54 ERA in 99.1 innings while holding opposing hitters to a .205 average. Joe Maddon must be comfortable with sending "Hellboy" out to stave off elimination for the Rays.
After former Rays top pick Delmon Young smacked a solo homer in the seventh inning off former Rays closer Rafael Soriano, Detroit took a 2-1 lead over the vaunted Yankees. New York's worst fears are now realized in that they have to start the inconsistent A.J. Burnett facing elimination. However, Tigers Game Four starter Rick Porcello has not been much better at Comerica Park than Burnett has been on the road this season.
Game Four Starters IP Record ERA WHIP K/9 Burnett - Road 76 4-5 6.28 1.63 8.2 Porcello - Home 83 5-5 5.64 1.48 5.1
Based on these stats, it should be a slugfest in the Motor City today, which would be welcome news for the Yankees after its third through sixth hitters in Monday's order went a combined 0-14. But the key is clearly Burnett, with an Everest-sized mountain of pressure on him to succeed and earn his massive contract.
In the National League, Milwaukee has won the first two games at home to take a commanding 2-0 series lead going to Phoenix. Arizona will throw 25-year-old starter Josh Collmenter into the fray for his first career postseason start, but there is certainly room for optimism for D-backs manager Kirk Gibson. Collmenter has thrown 14 shutout innings against the Brewers this season and will look to continue his success on Tuesday.
In the other matchup, St. Louis scored five runs off Cliff Lee in a 5-4 Game Two win that surprisingly leaves the series knotted at one going back to the Gateway City.
The pitching matchup for Tuesday's game three is one of the best you'll see for any third game of a playoff series. For Philadelphia, Cole Hamels is 7-3 with a 2.93 ERA on the road this season, and Cardinals starter Jaime Garcia is 9-4 with a 2.55 ERA at Busch Stadium this season. However, Philadelphia's top duo of Ryan Howard and Chase Utley has a history of tremendous success in St. Louis, which could lead the Phillies to a series win.
Career @ Busch PA Slash Line HR RBI R XBH Ryan Howard 123 .368/.512/.695 9 35 20 13 Chase Utley 91 .351/.440/.506 2 12 16 7
No matter what happens, having all four playoff series going on in the same day will surely make this one memorable October Tuesday.
Posted by: Shlomo Sprung
September 22, 2011
Offenses dramatically impacting NL Wild Card raceOn Sept. 1, the Braves led the Cardinals by eight and a half games (nine in the loss column) and the Giants by nine and a half (10 in the loss column). Exactly three weeks later, that lead has decreased to one and a half games over St. Louis (one in the loss column) and three and a half over San Francisco (three in the loss column).
Pitching is obviously a large factor: The Giants' 2.69 team ERA (first in the NL) and the Cardinals' 3.18 ERA (sixth in the NL) are much better than the Braves' 4.16 team ERA (12th in the league). But the stark differences in recent offensive performance have made this race far too close for Atlanta's comfort.
September (NL rank) Slash Line R HR XBH St. Louis Cardinals .292 (1)/.346 (2)/.442 (2) 85 (2) 17 (T-9) 55 (T-3) San Francisco Giants .255 (4)/.319 (8)/.452 (1) 82 (T-3) 24 (3) 52 (T-7) Atlanta Braves .251 (6)/.320 (7)/.383 (11) 73 (12) 18 (T-6) 49 (11)
Posted by: Shlomo Sprung
March 11, 2011
The sinister minister of the spitballIn 1920, Major League Baseball decided that home runs equaled attendance. To help with home runs, baseball made the spitball illegal. The pitch was just so dangerous! So dangerous that major league baseball allowed teams to select pitchers who would still be allowed to throw the pitch! On Sept. 20, 1934 Burleigh Grimes threw the last legal spitball in the majors.
Between 1920 and 1940 it is hard to find stories about anybody throwing an illegal spitball. In 1939 talk of the now-illegal moist one heats up. As home runs begin to grow faster than purists like, thoughts of bring back the slippery pitch are brought up. Ford Frick makes a large push to legalize the pitch in 1961 as Roger Maris slowly creeps closer to Babe Ruth's 60 home runs.
Yet the spitter remained illegal. Practitioners, including, Bob Shaw and Gaylord Perry, befuddled batters, enraged opponents, and had hands-on meetings with umpires. So effective were spitballs in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s that there was more talk of legalizing the spitball. In the mid 1970s you could find stories of people admitting to defeat in enforcing the spitball ban and asking for the reinstatement of the spitter.
The mid 1980s came around and labor issues, new ball parks and stronger, bigger and faster athletes changed the talk of the game. The spitball was pushed to the side, discussed rarely unless people talked about Gaylord Perry.
What the heck happened around 1939?
The sinister minister of the spitball became a pitching coach and would teach the pitch to anybody that asked.
Frank Shellenback (also spelled Shellenbach early in his career) became the pitching coach with the St. Louis Browns in 1939. He moved to the Red Sox from 1940-1944, then had two seasons with the Tigers in 1946 and 1947. His tenure with the Giants (1950-1955) netted him two pennants and a World Series championship. He continued his relationship with the Giants in various roles from 1956 until his death in 1969.
The SABR Bio Project has a terrific bio of Frank Shellenback, so I will only highlight a few points.
Frank Shellenback came to the White Sox in 1918 and had the good fortune of learning (or improving, depending on reports) the spitball from a team whose history includes Elmer Stricklett, Ed Walsh, Red Faber and Eddie Cicotte. Despite his success with the spitball, he was not put on the major league spitball list.
Having grown up in Los Angeles and seeing his career in the major leagues blocked with his best pitch called illegal, he asked for a trade to the Pacific Coast League, where he was on the spitball list. The White Sox granted his request and he settled in to because one of the best pitchers in the history of the PCL. He later become a player-manager, managing a few major leaguers* during their stop in the league, retiring after the 1938 season.
* including Ted Williams
Then in 1939, he hit the big leagues as a pitching coach and teacher of the unsanitary pitch. He passed his spitball knowledge around and help lead a revival for the wet one.
He was the troublemaker.
Is there a connection in the game today to Frank Shellenback? Yes there is! The most notable connection is Phil Regan, who had a fairly good spitball. Regan went on to become a manager, coach and pitching coach, including coaching on the 2000 U.S. Olympic baseball team, with pitchers Ryan Franklin, Roy Oswalt, Bobby Seay and Ben Sheets*.
* Tin foil hat time, folks.
In many ways we can point the rise and fall of the spitball to one person: Frank Shellenback, the Sinister Minister of the Spitball.
Posted by: Mat Kovach
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