Around the NL East: Numerous Phillies on DL, Harper vs. Soriano, Alex Sanabia's Spitballs, Ike Davis is Bad at Baseball

Hunter Martin

In contrast to last week, the Braves had a good week, while just about everyone else in the NL East stumbled a little bit; which is great news for Braves Country.

I was having a conversation about my friend about baseball data, and how we're in the days where all sorts of things can be analyzed and studied into the ground; namely in the case we were talking about was stuff like PitchFX and HitFX. As interesting things as they are to study and look at, ultimately it doesn't change the fact that in the end, it might be useful in predicting, but it's still not going to be a definitive measure of truly defining a player's worth.

The funny thing is that being the low-brow humor kind of guy that I sometimes am, I brought up at how simple human behavior can alter the compilation of data, and mess things up forever. Explanation through example: last week, Aroldis Chapman gave up a walk-off home run to Freddy Galvis. It was discovered later on that Chapman had gorged on Cuban pastries prior to the game; it's not definitive, but let's face it, stuffing your face before any sort of physical activity never sounds like a good idea, but the bottom line is that it was a baseball game, and every pitch, every release point, trajectory, and location was recorded and banked into the vault for eternity. Eventually, some Reds fan is going to be studying Aroldis Chapman pitches for when he nears free agency, or potential trade discussion, and the intel from his May 19 game is going to be included in the grand cauldron of Aroldis Chapman information, and nowhere in it is there going to be an asterisk with "ate too many pastelitos on May 19, 2013" next to some deviating release points and pitch locations.

I don't really know what I'm getting at here, but basically I guess what I'm saying is that I like the stats and I can understand and appreciate them; but in the end, it's still impossible to predict the future based on stuff done in the past, and especially when so much of the human element is/can/could be involved. Welcome back to the basement, and have a happy Memorial Day.


Cole Hamels silently boils over, shuns media - Phillies Zone
After a loss to the Marlins (read: the Marlins), where Hamels struck out ten batters, but the Phillies simply could not score any runs, Cole Hamels decided that he didn't feel like talking to the media. The Philadelphia media, naturally took this as a slight, and refused to give any slack to the one pitcher who has pretty much carried the franchise over the span of the last almost decade now.

Chase Utley has a sore ribcage, might need to be DL'd - Beerleaguer
During BP, Utley felt some growing discomfort in his side. He was pulled from the lineup subsequently, and is expected to miss more games, and with a possible stint on the disabled list.

All things considered, Utley shows how you deal with an injury - Crashburn Alley
Report it right away, basically. Utley wasted little time after realizing that something wasn't right. Two weeks on the DL is nothing compared to lingering effects of haphazardly trying to play something that shouldn't be played through, regardless of age or contract situation.

Carlos Ruiz to DL with hamstring injury. Also Ryan Howard sucks - Phillies Zone
After returning from suspension for illegal use of Adderall, it only took Carlos Ruiz 16 games before his season took another wrong turn, with a hamstring injury that will likely keep him out of action for 3-4 weeks. Also, Ryan Howard is currently day-to-day with a bum knee, but it's also a perfect segue for people to talk about how poorly he's playing despite making $20M this season.

What to do with Carlos Ruiz? - Phillies Nation
It is a valid question, and just another one to add to the list of hypotheticals as the Phillies go into a pretty transitional period, more so this offseason, with so many of their marquee players hitting free agency. Carlos Ruiz will be 35 going into 2014, and his use of Adderall puts his 2012 numbers and true level of talent in question. Is he worth keeping, or should the Phillies consider renting him out?

Reliever Mike Adams also on the DL - Hardball Talk
Despite the fact that the Phillies haven't been very competitive, Mike Adams still managed to strain his back, and was put on the disabled list. The good news is that it was retroactive all the way back to the 12th, so officially he'll be on it for all of like two days before being eligible to pitch again.

Roy Halladay's surgery is successful - High Cheese
I'm not sure how much this actually really matters, but it's still good news for 'ol Doc regardless. The recovery and rehab process will take anywhere from 8-10 weeks at this point, which means if he's lucky, he might be able to return for a few minor league rehab starts, and be back with the Phillies as soon as late-August.

Don't worry, Carlos Zambrano is waiting in the wings - High Cheese
How depressing is that thought? The last time Carlos Zambrano started a game was July 27, 2012, where he still lost to the underachieving Padres. He spent the remainder of 2012 as a garbage reliever, where he gave up 11 runs in 15 appearances. I'm more concerned over the gradual return of John Lannan, to be perfectly honest.


Bryce Harper cites fear of outfield walls as reason for critical game-losing play - Nats Enquirer
Despite stating that crashing into the wall of Dodger Stadium wasn't going to change anything about his play style, when the adrenaline is flowing and the instinct took over, it certainly did. The light-hitting Gregor Blanco hit a ball over Bryce Harper's head in right field, and aside from playing shallow, Harper uncharacteristically pulled short of the outfield wall, which resulted in a game-tying triple, where the Nats would then lose in extra innings.

I don’t want to hit the frickin’ wall full-on. Of course that crosses your mind after you jam into a wall.

Rafael Soriano publically rips into Bryce Harper for blowing his save - Nats Insider
Who didn't see this coming? It's not like Rafael Soriano was ever known as a model teammate who interacted with teammates or even spoke to them at all, but after Harper's outfield gaffe cost Soriano the save, he had less than flattering things to say about him, including comparing his positioning to his four-year old son's.

Damage control - Nationals Journal
Of course Soriano and Harper "patched things up," but we all know it's hollow. Pray for Rafael Soriano the day he's pitching for someone else, and Bryce Harper steps into the box against him, because we all know this incident is going to be sitting in both their minds if that ever happens.

So the fear of the wall was short-lived - Nats Enquirer
Hunter Pence hit a drive to the right field wall, and Harper makes the catch. Harper also homered, and scored the eventual game-winning run. One thing Harper didn't do though? Like a lot of his teammates who have adopted Rafael Soriano's post-game untuck of the jersey, Harper doesn't.

Jayson Werth's hamstring is worse off than expected - Nationals Journal
Already on the DL with a hamstring strain, Jayson Werth could invariably spend another two weeks on the DL, as it turns out to be worse than it was originally diagnosed.

Ryan Mattheus' season likely over, put on DL for stupidity, immaturity - MASN
One of the sneaky better relievers in the Nationals' relief corps, Ryan Mattheus didn't take too well to having the worst outing of his career, where he gave up five runs to the Padres. So much like former Braves prospect Zeke Spruill once did, Mattheus punched a locker; and broke his hand. This likely ends his season outright, and puts into question his maturity and if his replacement does well, then maybe his job.

One National already named to the NL All-Star team - The Bog
And that would be manager Davey Johnson, whom was asked by Bruce Bochy to be on the NL's coaching staff at this year's All-Star game. Bochy cites Johnson as being one of the most influential hitting coaches in his own playing days, and it's also Johnson's last year managing, so why not bring him along for the ride?

Gio Gonzalez models Steve McCatty modeling shirt - The Bog
Earlier in the week there was a pictoral about former MLB players who appeared in Playgirl magazine back in the 1980s. Among them was current Nationals pitching coach, Steve McCatty; in what was some incredible ribbing trolling, many Nationals players had t-shirts with McCatty's scandalous past photographs printed onto t-shirts, and Gio Gonzalez went as far as to wear it during a televised interview.


Alex Sanabia throwing spitballs, still mediocre - Deadspin
Alex Sanabia is a below-average pitcher who's career major and minor league ERA is just about at 4, gives up way more hits than he should, and not enough strikeouts for as many walks as he allows. The sad thing is, how much worse would he be if he weren't throwing the occasional spitball?

Umpire Joe West saw spitting occur, did nothing substantial - Fish Bytes
According to Marlins manager Mike Redmond, he saw that Joe West had seen Alex Sanabia's spitting transgression. But instead of throwing him out of the game, he simply just made Sanabia toss the ball out and get a new one. Huh.

Marlins closing duties going the route of the C-word - Fish Stripes
Because Steve Cishek hasn't been very good this seasons, the Marlins are going to the dreaded Committee bullpen for the one game a week that the Marlins actually manage to win.

Marlins DFA Jon Rauch. When was he ever called up? - Palm Beach Post
Seriously, I don't actually remember seeing when the 6'11 righty was ever even called up. I can't even remember when he was actually acquired by the Marlins. Man I know the Braves are hurting in the pen right now, but I really hope they don't pick up Rauch.

Marlins end up on the wrong side of history in yet another obscure event - Fish Bytes
Last Saturday, the Marlins became the first team in 20 years to lose a game 1-0, via home run on the first pitch of the game. 20 years ago, the last team to "accomplish" such a feat was, the Marlins! But that game in 1993 was called after six innings, so the last time a 1-0 loss via first pitch HR happened takes us all the way back to 1963, and that one home run, was hit by of all people, Pete Rose.

In an attempt to fit in with all his new Marlins teammates, Matt Diaz joins the disabled list - Palm Beach Post
Our old favorite free-swinging caveman, Matt Diaz's return to the big leagues was not a long one, as a bone bruise in his left knee has shelved Mr. F'N RULES, putting him on the DL. Diaz makes the 13th Marlin to hit the DL this season, and it's not even the end of May yet.


Jeremy Hefner's family safe after Oklahoma tornadoes - NY Daily News
If there's one good thing to come out of Mets news this week, it's that starting pitcher Jeremy Hefner's family is okay after the tornadoes from this week that ravaged parts of Oklahoma. Hefner grew up a mile from where the tornado hit the hardest, and still lives in Tulsa during the off-season.

Zack Wheeler would be in the majors if not for AC joint problems - MetsBlog
Also, that pesky little thing known as the "service clock" sure wasn't a contributing factor, I'm sure.

Doom and gloom ain't got nothing on the New York media - NY Post
Lots of fans love to use exaggeration and hyperbole in ironic tones whenever facing their respective teams' mortality. But most of us also don't write for, and I use the term lightly, "credible" news outlet like the New York Post, so whenever we're upset with a B.J. Upton strikeout or a Tim Hudson bad inning, when we say "season's over" in May, it's not in print to a circulation of millions.

Ike Davis is not good at baseball - Multiple Sources
NY Times - Ike's misplay at first was almost Buckner-esque
NY Post - Sandy Alderson: Ike will be around a little bit longer
NY Daily News - Las Vegas pun

Mets sign the first baseball player ever-hey wait - AA
I had this moment of deja vu, where I felt like I had already used the joke about David Aardsma being the first major league baseball player ever, which is true - in the all-time alphabetical list of MLB players, David Aardsma will always appear first, even in front of Hank Aaron, but I realized that Aardsma was picked up by the Marlins over the off-season. Yeeouch though; getting cut from the Marlins should be a sign that maybe he would be better successful in like indy ball or something.

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