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When Aaron Nola can’t stop Philadelphia’s skid
01-25-2019, 10:59 AM,
Post: #1
When Aaron Nola can’t stop Philadelphia’s skid
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — , the Phillies are in trouble.Stephen Strasburg threw seven impressive innings, Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmerman and Juan Soto homered and the Washington Nationals beat the freefalling Phillies 5-1 on Wednesday night to complete a three-game sweep.“We haven’t played good baseball due to a ton of variables,” Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said.Nola, a Cy Young Award contender worthy of MVP consideration, had a rough first inning as the Phillies lost their fifth in a row to drop 7 1/2 games behind first-place Atlanta in the NL East with 17 to play. They’re 11-23 since Aug. 5, when they had the NL’s second-best record.“I made mistakes and they didn’t miss them,” Nola said. “We still have a chance. We have some games left.”The Phillies trailed the Mets by seven games with 17 to play in 2007 and rallied to win the NL East to begin a stretch of five straight division titles. They were swept by Colorado in the division series that season but won the World Series in 2008 and the NL pennant in 2009.“It can change real fast,” Nola said. “We can go from three (games back) to seven and seven to three just as fast.”Philadelphia has seven games remaining against the Braves.Nola allowed four runs and six hits in five innings. His ERA rose to 2.42. He’s given up four runs twice in September after only doing it twice in his first 27 starts.“Their lineup is exceptional,” Kapler said. “They throw challenging at-bats at you and they can all take you deep.”Nola Johnny Pesky Jersey , Mets ace Jacob deGrom and Washington’s Max Scherzer are the front-runners in the NL Cy Young race. Scherzer has won the past two and previously won the award in the American League with Detroit in 2013.Strasburg (8-7) allowed one run and struck out nine in his best start since April. He improved to 12-2 against the Phillies.Harper crushed his 33rd homer, a two-run shot into Philadelphia’s bullpen in the first to give the Nationals a 2-0 lead. Anthony Rendon followed with a double and scored on Zimmerman’s single.Zimmerman connected in the fourth, sending a drive into the bushes in straightaway center. Odubel Herrera made a leaping attempt at the fence and nearly caught it.Soto drove one into the second deck in right field in the sixth off Austin Davis to make it 5-1. The 19-year-old rookie has 19 homers. Harper hit 22 homers as a teenager for the Nationals in 2012.“It’s reminiscent of watching Tony Gwynn growing up,” Strasburg said of Soto.J.P. Crawford hit a solo shot in the fifth for Philadelphia’s only run.TOUCH ‘EM ALLStrasburg threw a pitch that hit Philadelphia’s Jorge Alfaro, bounced off his arm, hit catcher Matt Wieters on the side of his helmet and then glanced off the plate umpire’s mask.MILESTONE MANNola became the first Phillies pitcher to reach 200 strikeouts in a season since Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels in 2013.CATCHING UPThe Nationals closed within a half-game of the Phillies for second place behind the Braves.UP NEXTNationals: RHP Joe Ross makes his first start of the season Thursday in a makeup game against the Cubs.Phillies: RHP Zach Eflin (9-7, 4.42 ERA) pitches Friday night against Miami in the opener of a three-game series. Eflin is 1-0 with a 2.57 ERA in two starts vs. the Marlins this season. LAS VEGAS (AP) — Ask baseball managers what they think about the dreaded shift, and most of them have the same answer.It’s not a problem if the hitters don’t make it one.“There’s an easy way to combat that,” Oakland’s Bob Melvin said. “Just hit the ball the other way.”It’s a simple enough solution, though certainly an obvious one. Who among us , after all, hasn’t screamed at a batter to push the ball the other way or even bunt for a sure hit when the defense is loaded up on one side of the infield?The guys in the dugout surely have, even if job security dictates they do their screaming silently.“If a guy can use the whole field, they’re not going to shift you,” the Marlins’ Don Mattingly said.Unfortunately, guys don’t use the whole field anymore. They haven’t for some time because they play baseball to make money and the players who make the most money try to hit the ball as hard as they can to the place they’re most comfortable hitting it.Hitters aren’t going to adapt. There’s no real incentive for them to go the other way, even when all the numbers add up.So while managers at this week’s winter meetings talked about players adjusting to situations and shifts, their real audience is the guys in the dugout. And they, for the most part, aren’t listening.Push one down the third base line for an easy hit? You’d have better luck getting Manny Machado to hustle down to first.“The majority of the hitters Ted Williams Jersey , I’d say 90 to 95 percent, say to heck with it, I’m going to try to hit a homer and a double,” said Kansas City manager Ned Yost. “Our numbers for singles as a baseball league last year dropped way down. And you just lose strategy, you lose the ability to steal bases. You lose the ability to hit and run or bunt if you want to.”In other words, you’re losing a big part of baseball.The shift, if you haven’t noticed, is killing baseball. Maybe not by itself, but as part of a new analytics culture in the game that doesn’t value steals, sacrifice bunts Jim Rice Jersey , hit-and-runs or any kind of strategy that doesn’t always make sense when all the numbers are crunched.Major League Baseball has noticed, mainly because attendance was down last season and so were hits. Singles have been in decline for the last five years, and the league average of .248 was the worst in 46 years.Meanwhile, for the first time there were more strikeouts than hits in the game, and the World Series — at least on the Dodgers‘ side — was a badly flawed microcosm of what the game has become.That’s a big reason why baseball’s competition committee is looking at doing away with the shift, a move Commissioner Rob Manfred has said he is open to considering. Though baseball tends to move slow, there’s an outside chance both the commissioner’s office and the players’ union could agree to do something about the increasing use of the shift before next season.Banning the shift, of course, won’t magically make all the problems of the game go away. It might not change much at all, if you believe the analytics that show the shift mainly takes hits away from slow left-handed power hitters.But it’s a step toward making baseball look like baseball again. And it’s a step toward being more proactive when it comes to winning back fans turned off by the slow pace of games and the interminable periods in games where nothing ever seems to happen.“I just think that shift , it makes the game much, much more boring in my opinion,” said Yost, one of the few managers to take a stand against the shift.Thankfully for baseball, there is an easy solution.Two infielders on each side of second base. Both with at least one foot on the infield dirt.You know, like baseball used to be played.The guess is that it’s likely to happen, if only because no one but pitchers and the people in the analytics department have any love for the shift. That includes Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, who used it so much last season that at times it seemed like third baseman Justin Turner was spending more time on the other side of the second base bag than in his normal position.Roberts said he believes baseball is a better game without the shift, though for now his immediate plans are to increase the time his hitters spend hitting to the opposite field in spring training to try to combat it.Here’s hoping they won’t need that extra practice.It’s time for the shift to go.
03-06-2019, 07:40 PM,
Post: #2
RE: When Aaron Nola can’t stop Philadelphia’s skid
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