Things I’m Waiting to See . . .

Are you still waiting for Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen to surrender a walk? As of this writing he hasn’t handed anyone a pass in eighteen innings pitched while leading the National League with a 16.5 strikeout-to-walk ratio. I should be careful saying it; like taking your car to the car wash on a sunny day only to see it start raining before you get it home to the garage, I could have just put a hex on Jansen and he’ll walk his first batter of the year his next time out.

The season’s almost a third old and Jansen’s walkless streak is only one thing dropping a jaw here and there. I’m also waiting to see a few other things either continue or come to an end, as did Chris Sale’s consecutive 10K streak this week:

* Joey’s Bats—Gallo, that is. Unlike a fine wine, the Rangers’ big bopper has a slash line Mario Mendoza would blush to admit, including a measly 29 hits through this writing. The thing is, fourteen of them have left the yard. I can’t remember the last time anyone hit a buck ninety-five and slugged for a five spot plus 23 cents, can you?

Tightwad Twins—Believe it or not, the Twins lead the American League Central, and one big reason is their leather: they lead the Show with (wait for it) 28 defensive runs saved through this writing. The next-closest team is behind them by eight. They also have a veteran pitcher who’s looking right now like a potential Cy Young Award candidate and maybe the last guy you’d expect to find in that conversation: Ervin Santana.

The River Jordan—Former Nationals pitching mainstay Jordan Zimmermann has a good news/bad news line with the Tigers so far this year. The good news: When he pitches, the Tigers score—as in, 8.70 runs (the best in the Show) when he’s on the mound. The bad news: Zimmermann is also packing a 5. 86 ERA. So if you’re very big on homecomings, get tickets for any game Zimmermann is scheduled to start, so far.

Bogaert That Drought—Xander Bogaerts has an admirable .331/.395/.450 and leads the American League in triples thus far. He’s done all that without hitting one into the seats through this writing. Which a) isn’t great for a guy who broke out with 21 launches last year; and, b) a prime reason the usually power-reliable Red Sox have one less home run as a team through this writing (38) than Kris Bryant and Robinson Cano each hit last year.

Busted—If you want a microcosm of the Giants’ troubles this season (and that’s not counting Madison Bumgarner’s ill-fated dirt biking), look at poor Buster Posey. The good news: He’s hit seven bombs through this writing. The bad news: He’s only driven in eleven runs through this writing. The good news: All seven of his bombs happened this month so far. The bad news: they were all solos.

Tampa Tampdown—The Rays have enough problems without being able to not brag about this: They’ve struck out 515 times as a team leaving an 89-punchout gap between themselves and the second-worst contact team in the Show. They’ve also left 358 men on base through this writing, also worst in Show. Pitchers looking to fatten their strikeout logs can’t wait to face these guys.

Their Heavenly Kingdom for Some Runs—Last year’s Phillies had the Show’s worst run differential, a ghastly -186. This year’s Padres could actually match or pass it by the All-Star break: they have a -90 differential through this writing.

* Charlie Clutch—Maybe it has to be seen to be believed, but Colorado’s Charlie Blackmon through this writing has a slash line with two outs and men in scoring position: 545/.565/.1.273. By the way, nineteen of his Show-leading 42 RBI have come with two out and men in scoring position. It’s not entirely a Coors Field phenomenon, either: his slash line on the road looks horrible compared to his slash line at home, but Blackmon has driven in two more on the road than at home this year thus far. Come to think of it, the Rockies—usually one of baseball’s more vulnerable teams on the road—have the Show’s second-best road winning percentage through today: 720.

But You Can’t Strike Him Out with One Pitch, Alas—Two strikes just get the iron into Bryce Harper’s spine this year through this writing: half his fourteen bombs and slightly more than half his runs batted in have come on counts reaching two strikes. The slash line with two strike on him? .290/.365/.591. He’s deadliest on 2-2 counts, by the way: the slash line is .371/.371/.829. (Come to think of it, he’s also a nasty boy on 1-1: the slash line is .545/.545/.909.)

 

One thought on “Things I’m Waiting to See . . .

  1. A closer that doesn’t walk batters is very rare and hope Jansen can keep his no walks streak going.

    Harper hitting so well on 2 strike counts tells me he should contend for the NL batting title all season.

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