Mostly MLB Notes

Dalton Del Don

Over his last two outings, R.A. Dickey has thrown back-to-back one-hit shutouts, striking out 25 batters over that span. Over his last seven starts, he's posted a remarkable 71:6 K:BB ratio over 54.2 innings. Dickey also hasn't allowed an earned run over his past 43.0 innings during one of the best stretches any starter has had in the history of baseball. He currently sports an 11-1 record with a 2.00 ERA and 0.89 WHIP. He's been a sneaky good pitcher over the past two seasons, with ERAs of 2.84 and 3.28, but few could have predicted such marked improvement in both his K and walk rates at age 37. It's been a terrific story, only held back by me personally not owning him in any of my fantasy leagues. Entering Monday's start, Dickey's 11.6 HR/FB% was actually his highest since 2005, and no one should be calling his hit rate lucky since knuckleball pitchers typically have a BABIP around .270 historically. He also entered Monday with a 12.6 SwStr% that tied for the lead among all starters in baseball. Dickey has been nothing short of sensational this year, and he's suddenly become a legitimate Cy Young contender.

As far as pranks go, the floating cup isn't anything special. As far as reactions to pranks, it's among the best ever.
Here's another prank involving holding unsuspecting peoples' hands.
One final funny prank, this time by Pine Sol, an ad in which a friend of mine's wife worked personally on the concept, so check it out.
With a .287/.347/.498 line in the PCL last season, Mike Moustakas wasn't overwhelming, but as a 22-year-old he was still viewed as one of the better prospects in the game. He struggled badly after getting a chance with Kansas City, batting .231 with just one homer over his first 286 at-bats in the big leagues. He ended strong, however, clubbing four homers over his final 52 at-bats, finishing with a .960 OPS in September. He's carried that over into 2012, as he's hit 10 homers with a solid .278/.346/.480 line. Moustakas struggles mightily against lefties, but it's a good thing for his development he's at least getting to face southpaws, which should pay dividends down the road. It's too bad Kauffman Stadium destroys power for left-handers (over the past three years, according to The Bill James Handbook, only Petco Park has suppressed HRs for LHBs more), but Moustakas has a bright future regardless.
I'm normally not a huge fan of re-cut trailers, but this one of "Mrs. Doubtfire" (such a great movie! And I'm not being facetious) is too good not to pass along.
I had a good time at the FSTA convention last week in San Francisco. And judging by the photos SiriusXM posted on Facebook during the morning radio show Tuesday, it may have been too good of a time, but I digress. Anyway, my main takeaway of the trip was that the popular House of Nanking was a bit overrated, while San Tung was among the better Chinese restaurants I've been to and is worth making the trip to the less ideal location in the city. Best chicken wings I've ever had.
The Pacquiao/Bradley decision was one of the worst injustices I've ever seen in sports, but I can't say I was complaining at the time.
After giving up seven runs over four innings in another disappointing start Monday, owners of Mat Latos have to be extremely frustrated, as he sports a 5.20 ERA and 1.41 WHIP on the year. It comes as no surprise leaving Petco Park for Cincinnati has led to more homers, but it's been extreme so far. Still, I'd consider targeting him in trade talks. Oddly, entering Monday's start, he had allowed 11 of his 13 home runs at home, yet his ERA there was 3.91 compared to 6.12 on the road. Moreover, according to Park Factors, Great American Ball Park easily leads baseball with a 1.919 HR rating. GAB will remain a place that is conducive to home runs, but that's the highest mark by a wide margin over the past 10 years, so some regression is likely in store. Latos' velocity remains the same if not better across the board this year compared to last, and while it may mean nothing, it might be worth mentioning he's always been a slow starter (his career April ERA is 5.73). A flyball pitcher in GAB obviously isn't ideal, but Latos has a 2.7:1 K:BB ratio and could represent a true buy-low opportunity to fed up owners right now.
This bus driver who gave his life to save passengers is the man.
I assume most have seen this by now, but if not, David Stern's recent interview with Jim Rome was one of the most contentious in recent memory.
What's the deal with Howie Kendrick? He hasn't homered since May 2, and for someone who many (including me) thought could one day win a batting title, is also hitting just .268 with a .301 OBP. He's been caught stealing as many times as he's been successful (four) and has a 51:12 K:BB ratio. Kendrick hits so few balls in the air (23.2 FB%, 2.4 IFFB%), it's hard to figure why his average is so low, but I guess his 20.6 K% can explain some of that. Entering the year, I thought he could easily surpass 100 runs scored hitting in front of Albert Pujols, but the slow start has dropped him in the order, as Kendrick continues to fail to live up to his previous hype. Teammate Erick Aybar (.235/.270/.322) has actually been an even bigger disaster.
These headlines really tell the story: Man finds out he's a woman during hospital visit for kidney stone … Casino robbery suspect was sleepwalking, lawyer says.
I have no idea what to make of Ryan Vogelsong, who has a 2.29 ERA and 1.16 WHIP with a poor 58:32 K:BB ratio over 82.2 innings. You don't need me to tell you he's due for some regression with a .246 BABIP, 5.3 HR/FB% and the highest LOB% (83.7) in baseball. But he's produced a quality start in 11 of his 12 starts (the other he allowed four runs over six innings) this season and now has a 2.57 ERA over 262.1 innings since joining San Francisco last season, and the Giants are well known for suppressing home runs for more than a decade now, and the team's BABIP is just .279 in 2012 (no thanks to Tim Lincecum). There's no question Vogelsong has been fortunate, and there's little to no doubt his 2.29 ERA will soon rise, but in his situation, he can maintain plenty of fantasy value despite not having dominant (or even above average) peripherals.
Animal Antics: Giant squid attacked by shark … Man turns favorite pet cat into helicopter … To all Seinfeld fans, apparently a dingo really can eat your baby .
Long read: A strong Q & A with Bill Murray.
The NBA has a ton of faults but, man, have these playoffs been fantastic. I bet on the Heat to win it all before the season and love rooting for LeBron James (does this make me a follower or a contrarian? James seems to be the most polarizing superstar since Barry Bonds), so I've been extra intense. Good stuff either way.
Speaking of: TV anchor reports Heat/Celtics game ended in a tie.
Since joining the Angels, Ernesto Frieri has 35 strikeouts over 19.1 innings. He's yet to allow a run and has a .051 BAA. On the season, the righty has faced 55 left-handed batters and struck out 31 of them. His 15.39 K/9 rate ranks second only to Aroldis Chapman. I like the idea of the Padres trading relievers, with Petco Park artificially inflating values, but what a terrific acquisition by the Angels. Frieri should be considered a top-five fantasy closer right now.
Police Blotter: Man allegedly driving drunk – in a wheelchair … Houston mom inadvertently takes off in bank bandits' getaway car … Wanted: Suspect with ‘Vampire Teeth' … Woman hoarding 64 cats was planning feline stew.
Quick hits: Kurt Suzuki has hit 71 fly balls this season, and zero have gone over the fence. Making it even crazier, among the 40 players with the lowest HR/FB ratios, his 44.1 FB% is by far the highest … Alex Rodriguez has faced the highest average fastball velocity (92.6 mph) from opposing pitchers this season, but before we make anything of that, realize four Yankees are in the top-10 … According to Fangraphs, Michael Brantley has been the best baserunner so far this season, while Yonder Alonso has been the absolute worst, costing his team an almost unfathomable 5.2 runs … Anthony Rizzo has been stashed in the majority of my leagues for some time now, but if Bryan LaHair playing the outfield Monday truly was a sign Rizzo will be called up soon, run, don't walk to add him if he's somehow available on your free agent wire.
Man tells reporter he won't take orders from women.
Conversely, man saves woman's life after she was pushed onto train tracks.
One more Zombie attack joke.
Quick hits, part deux: Johan Santana has allowed the third-highest line drive percentage in MLB this season yet sports a .263 BABIP, likely because he currently has the lowest ground-ball rate in all of baseball … Of Gio Gonzalez's 56 fly balls allowed, just one has left the park … According to Fangraphs, Jake Peavy's fastball has been the single most effective pitch in all of baseball this season … Good article by Dave Cameron regarding Tim Lincecum. He uses the tiniest of samples to illustrate it, but as someone who's watched a lot of Lincecum's starts this season, I agree with Cameron's general point. Lincecum has the second biggest discrepancy between his ERA and FIP in MLB but also a sky-high LD%, and his main problem has been location, especially out of the stretch. Lincecum's last six starts: 6.75 ERA, 1.59 WHIP. Felix Hernandez's last six starts: 6.36 ERA, 1.86 WHIP (h/t Henry Schulman).
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