May 18, 2013
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Following are the one hundred most recent articles for the category SABR .
05/17/2013: The daily grind: 5-17-13by Brad Johnson
05/17/2013: And That Happenedby Craig Calcaterra
05/17/2013: Gems without whiffsby James Gentile
05/17/2013: 40th anniversary: Bobby Valentine breaks his legby Chris Jaffe
05/17/2013: Strength of schedule: Adjusting hitter valuesby Moe Koltun
05/17/2013: Fantasy Waiver Wire: Week 7, Vol. IIIby Jack Weiland
05/17/2013: Card Corner: 1973 Topps: Mike Andrewsby Bruce Markusen
05/16/2013: The daily grind: 5-16-13by Brad Johnson
05/16/2013: And That Happenedby Craig Calcaterra
05/16/2013: How Scott Kazmir got his groove backby Kyle Boddy
05/16/2013: Three more for eternityby Don Malcolm
05/16/2013: Not exactly definitiveby Don Malcolm
05/16/2013: The all-decade team: the ‘40sby Richard Barbieri
05/16/2013: Of Uggs and Ugglaby Derek Ambrosino
05/15/2013: The daily grind: 5-15-13by Brad Johnson
05/15/2013: And That Happenedby Craig Calcaterra
05/15/2013: Running hot and coldby Shane Tourtellotte
05/15/2013: The Phillies should retool but not rebootby Brad Johnson
05/15/2013: Fantasy Waiver Wire: Week 7, Vol. IIby Karl de Vries
05/15/2013: Currently historic: 300 strikeouts?by Jason Linden
05/15/2013: Mike Moustakas’ holeby Noah Woodward
05/15/2013: BOB: How bad is the Marlins’ attendance?by Brian Borawski
05/14/2013: And That Happenedby Craig Calcaterra
05/14/2013: The daily grind: 5-14-13by Brad Johnson
05/14/2013: How much do hot/cold starts matter?by Greg Simons
05/14/2013: 25th anniversary: The Jose Oquendo Gameby Chris Jaffe
05/14/2013: Jonathan Schoop and the value of role playersby Jeff Moore
05/14/2013: THT Awardsby John Barten
05/13/2013: The daily grind: 5-13-13by Brad Johnson
05/13/2013: And That Happenedby Craig Calcaterra
05/13/2013: 30th anniversary: Reggie’s 2,000th Kby Chris Jaffe
05/13/2013: NL Central division update: May editionby Jason Linden
05/13/2013: Fantasy Waiver Wire: Week 7, Vol. Iby Jack Weiland
05/13/2013: Last remaining teammatesby Chris Jaffe
05/13/2013: The Hot Seatby Scott Strandberg
05/12/2013: The curious case of Vernon Wellsby Matt Filippi
05/12/2013: 60th anniversary: Whitey Ford’s near no-hitterby Chris Jaffe
05/10/2013: The daily grind: 5-10-13by Brad Johnson
05/10/2013: And That Happenedby Craig Calcaterra
05/10/2013: Cooperstown Confidential: What really happened with Fritz Ostermueller and Jackie Robinsonby Bruce Markusen
05/10/2013: Fantasy Waiver Wire: Week 6, Vol. IIIby Karl de Vries
05/10/2013: Still life, after allby Azure Texan
05/09/2013: Oh Dustyby Pat Andriola
05/09/2013: And That Happenedby Craig Calcaterra
05/09/2013: 40th anniversary: back-to-back first homersby Chris Jaffe
05/09/2013: The Roto Grotto: rates versus opportunitiesby Scott Spratt
05/09/2013: Swing rates: the John Farrell effectby Moe Koltun
05/09/2013: Winning, TWTW, and the purpose of baseballby Matt Hunter
05/08/2013: Closer watchby Karl de Vries
05/08/2013: And That Happenedby Craig Calcaterra
05/08/2013: The daily grind: 5-8-13by Brad Johnson
05/08/2013: Fantasy Waiver Wire: Week 6, Vol. IIby Jack Weiland
05/08/2013: What nobody is talking aboutby Greg Simons
05/08/2013: Currently historic: A truly rare achievementby Jason Linden
05/08/2013: Craig Anderson’s greatest dayby Frank Jackson
05/08/2013: BOB: Stadium updatesby Brian Borawski
05/07/2013: And That Happenedby Craig Calcaterra
05/07/2013: The daily grind: 5-7-13by Brad Johnson
05/07/2013: Fun with minor league leader boardsby Jeff Moore
05/07/2013: 90th anniversary: Casey Stengel goes bonkersby Chris Jaffe
05/07/2013: THT Awardsby John Barten
05/07/2013: A.J. Ellis: hardly swinging, hardly missingby Noah Woodward
05/07/2013: Baseball Press: a fantasy secret weaponby Jack Weiland
05/07/2013: The Verdict: keeping it on the DLby Michael Stein
05/06/2013: The National League Graph, 2013by Dave Studeman
05/06/2013: And That Happenedby Craig Calcaterra
05/06/2013: The daily grind: 5-6-13by Brad Johnson
05/06/2013: AL East division update: May editionby Nick Fleder
05/06/2013: The Hot Seatby Scott Strandberg
05/06/2013: Last living linksby Chris Jaffe
05/06/2013: Fantasy Waiver Wire: Week 6, Vol. Iby Karl de Vries
05/05/2013: The American League Graph, 2013by Dave Studeman
05/04/2013: 50th anniversary: Braves balk-a-thonby Chris Jaffe
05/03/2013: The daily grind: 5-3-13by Brad Johnson
05/03/2013: And That Happenedby Craig Calcaterra
05/03/2013: Debut class WAR-fareby James Gentile
05/03/2013: Card Corner: 1973 Topps: Jose Cardenalby Bruce Markusen
05/03/2013: Fantasy Waiver Wire: Week 5, Vol. IIIby Jack Weiland
05/03/2013: The Grand Tour, part fiveby Shane Tourtellotte
05/02/2013: Yankees acquire Chris Nelsonby Pat Andriola
05/02/2013: And That Happenedby Craig Calcaterra
05/02/2013: The daily grind: 5-2-13by Brad Johnson
05/02/2013: Tales from the scorebookby Richard Barbieri
05/02/2013: Daily fantasy gaming: Five adagesby Moe Koltun
05/02/2013: The Grand Tour, part fourby Shane Tourtellotte
05/01/2013: Ryan Howard’s odd decline continuesby Pat Andriola
05/01/2013: And That Happenedby Craig Calcaterra
05/01/2013: The daily grind: 5-1-13by Brad Johnson
05/01/2013: Fantasy Waiver Wire: Week 5, Vol. IIby Karl de Vries
05/01/2013: The Grand Tour, part threeby Shane Tourtellotte
05/01/2013: Currently historic: That’s a lot of strikeoutsby Jason Linden
05/01/2013: 40th anniversary: incredible Giants comebackby Chris Jaffe
05/01/2013: BOB: The next big television deal?by Brian Borawski
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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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