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The Bill Chuck Files of March 8, 2020

WHAT WILL MLB DO IF (WHEN) COVID-19 HITS?

So many questions to ponder while you’re washing your hands (singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”):

Nine to Know: Coronavirus questions

  1. Are teams getting the equipment (materials) to perform tests on ill ballplayers?
  2. Would the decision to play/cancel games be made at the team, league, or state level?
  3. Would baseball play to empty ballparks?
  4. What happens if a player gets ill? Would a team be quarantined? Would opponents be quarantined?
  5. What happens if a family member gets ill? Would just the player be quarantined?
  6. Are teams insured in case of game cancellations?
  7. If games are forced to be canceled, will they be made up at a later date?
  8. Will temperatures be taken of players and employees as they enter a ballpark?
  9. When will MLB alert (as in reassure) the public that exigency plans and answers are ready just in case?

Which do you find more annoying: strikeouts looking or strikeouts taking?

I’ll tell you my answer: I find strikeouts looking so incredibly annoying. You know, I understand that every batter feels as if they have the best eye on the planet and I’m sure that many times they know in their heart of hearts that a pitch is not a strike, but honestly don’t they realize they have two strikes on them and they have to protect the plate? It’s still spring training and I’m already getting annoyed.

Here are some 2019 strikeout numbers:

2019 Player K Swinging
Bryce Harper 153
Pete Alonso 147
Rougned Odor 143
Jorge Alfaro 142
Jonathan Villar 138
Eugenio Suarez 137
Kole Calhoun 136
Rhys Hoskins 134
Trevor Story 132
Franmil Reyes 132
Ronald Acuna 132
Jose Abreu 131
Randal Grichuk 131
Domingo Santana 131
Eric Hosmer 130
Paul Goldschmidt 130
Paul DeJong 130
2019 Player K Looking
Chris Davis 60
Jorge Soler 60
Ronald Acuna 56
Joey Votto 54
Tommy Pham 54
Josh Donaldson 52
Eugenio Suarez 52
Willy Adames 51
Wil Myers 48
Matt Chapman 48
Aaron Judge 47
Nick Ahmed 45
Hunter Renfroe 45
Logan Forsythe 44
Domingo Santana 44
Luke Voit 44

Walter Johnson threw seven complete-game Opening Day shutouts

No other pitcher threw more than three (Chris Short, Rip Sewell, Rick Mahler, and Bob Feller). The most recent (the last?) CG shutout on Opening Day was thrown by Clayton Kershaw in 2013 and the one before that was by Hideo Nomo in 2003, both for the Dodgers.

Want a good job in baseball? Start with the Rays.

  • Rocco Baldelli played six years for the Rays
  • Kevin Cash played one year for the Rays
  • Gabe Kapler played two years for the Rays
  • Dave Martinez played three years for the Rays
  • Joe Maddon managed the Rays for nine seasons
  • Chaim Bloom worked in the Rays front office for 14 years
  • Andrew Friedman worked in the Rays front office for 10 years

A fun Opening Day note

Willie Mays leads the Giants with six homers on Opening Day. But I like that Bobby Thomson, Robby Thompson, and Hank Thompson each hit two homers for the Giants on Opening Day.

Tired of Waiting

So tired
Tired of waiting
Tired of waiting for you
Ray DaviesThe Kinks

Oh, Commissioner Manfred when might we have a ruling on the 2018 Red Sox? Granted, if the FBI had done this extensive of an investigation, Brett Kavanaugh would be having six-packs of beer at home instead of in the Supreme Court Lounge, but isn’t it time to face the world and give us a verdict? Before you know it you are going to be having to deal with an MLB COVID-19 crisis and this will get lost in the shuffle, or is it that your plan?

As a reminder…The season(s) in question is 2018 (and perhaps 2019).

Here are the Red Sox numbers with a runner on second when playing at HOME.

Season PA R HR XBH BB K BA OBP SLG OPS
2019 665 233 16 69 90 139 .298 .392 .487 .878
2018 717 265 26 79 86 143 .300 .387 .525 .913
2017 663 224 15 51 85 123 .272 .369 .423 .791
2016 701 234 19 70 89 121 .276 .373 .466 .839
2015 687 229 17 55 71 111 .284 .359 .440 .799

Here are the Red Sox numbers with a runner on second when playing AWAY.

Seasons PA R HR XBH BB K BA OBP SLG OPS
2019 613 211 17 52 72 120 .263 .351 .440 .792
2018 636 219 14 49 87 93 .282 .382 .435 .817
2017 626 207 17 52 81 117 .252 .353 .414 .767
2016 616 206 23 50 82 117 .261 .361 .453 .814
2015 564 150 16 39 60 128 .214 .301 .369 .669

And now, here are the Kinks (VIDEO):

The Red Sox Chris Sale Problem

Boston media was starting to feel all excited that after being sidelined with pneumonia, Chris Sale was on the mound in Spring Training. Then after throwing about 20 pitches spent time with three doctors and will be sidelined again for…well who know? Now Sale, who weighs as much as my thigh, can easily be thrown off his game by both injury and illness, and he has been. However, when his season starts, and he’s toeing the rubber, the question is how long can he continue?

Let me explain.

Take a look at these season numbers for Sale that total an 11-7 record with 14 of his 28 starts of the Quality variety. He has a shaky 3.40 ERA, a great 1.01 WHIP, and an outstanding 14.08 K/9 rate.

GS IP IP/G P W L QS H ER R BB K HR ERA WHIP K/9 BB/9
2019 7 40.1 5.2 692 3 3 4 34 24 26 11 65 8 5.36 1.12 14.50 2.45
2018 7 29.0 4.0 500 2 0 2 17 5 5 3 49 1 1.55 0.69 15.21 0.93
2017 14 86.2 6.1 1462 6 4 8 72 30 31 21 130 13 3.12 1.07 13.50 2.18

There is a huge problem with these numbers however. The numbers above reflect Sale’s post-All-Star break results.

Over three seasons, he was able to make only 28 starts. Another ace, Justin Verlander has made 43 post-All-Star starts over the last three seasons with a 2.27 ERA. In fact, 73 pitchers have made more starts than Sale the last three seasons and 103 have made more starts than Sale the last two seasons.

Sale is signed with Boston over the next five seasons for $145 million and will be making $30 million each of the next three seasons. Any way you look at it, that’s a lot of money to spend for a pitcher who basically can only be counted on up to the All-Star break, if he can be counted on at all. But don’t worry Sox fans, David Price is in LA.

Top 10 Swinging Strike Rates in 2019

You can’t hit it out if you can’t hit the ball

Player G BF P SwStrk%
Gerrit Cole 33 817 3362 18.6%
Max Scherzer 27 693 2770 17.8%
Justin Verlander 34 847 3448 17.5%
Luis Castillo 32 781 3158 17.0%
Jacob deGrom 32 804 3297 16.8%
Lucas Giolito 29 705 2814 16.1%
Matt Boyd 32 788 3118 15.5%
Patrick Corbin 33 835 3299 15.0%
Robbie Ray 33 747 3064 14.8%
Jack Flaherty 33 772 3179 14.8%

Billy-Ball Portmanteaus

Merriam-Webster defines portmanteaus as a word or morpheme whose form and meaning are derived from a blending of two or more distinct forms (such as smog from smoke and fog).

This season on Billy-Ball, we will attempt to play with the true meaning and make some baseball-related portmanteaus. The quality, I’m sure will improve with your participation (send your suggestions to Walkoffs@gmail.com).

Each week, I will try to add another one to the list:

And finally…

If you haven’t moved your clocks ahead an hour, you’re late.