Eno Sarris – The Athletic ($): All my life I was taught that pitching inside mattered. As a catcher in various youth leagues, coaches would instill in me the idea of setting up inside and moving batters off the plate. The data shows that purpose pitches do in fact work, if not that at-bat, in the following at-bats at least. Pitchers have better numbers when they keep hitters honest, but it all comes down to their command. Throwing wildly in general and working inside just makes you a wild pitcher, and throwing inside above the nipple line makes you a pitcher who is willing to risk an injury to a hitter just to throw inside.
Nick Stellini – Baseball Prospectus ($): Baseball teams should want to win games, that is the unwritten contract between a team and its fans. Lately, however, the mode of operation for teams has been to throw away entire seasons and not even pretend to try to win. That’s an approach that has no bled over into individual games themselves. Teams have decided that giving up on a game in the 9th inning because you are losing by five runs is perfectly acceptable. Except, it’s not. The fans shouldn’t accept this and neither should the players, because in the end without the unwritten contract that says teams are trying to win baseball is meaningless.
Thomas Boswell – The Washington Post: A trending topic this week, teams tanking. Teams not trying to win is bad for baseball. Major League Baseball especially needs teams to want to win in order for the league to move beyond its current shortsighted operational practices. Alas, almost half of the league is tanking this year, and teams that are just on the bubble of being contenders are declaring themselves sellers under the hopes that they will be able to flip some veterans for prospects that will help them maybe not sell in a few years. Play to win people, it’s not that hard.
Lead photo courtesy of Matthew Stockman – Getty Images