Germán Márquez is starting to turn some heads. Daniel Kramer of MLB.com wrote about Germán’s recent success—the Rockies were 7-3 over his last ten outings entering Saturday, thanks in large part to his 11.72 K/9 and 2.10 FIP—and how he has evolved as a pitcher and learned to harness his incredible talent.
In particular, Márquez has gone from primarily a fastball-curveball pitcher and added a slider while trusting his 2-seamer and changeup more. With improved command and mechanics—Kramer points out how Germán’s release point has stabilized across his repertoire, creating deception and keeping batters guessing—Márquez leads major league baseball in strikeouts on breaking pitches since the All-Star break with 71. It’s a trend that will need to continue if the Rockies hope to keep pace in the NL West title hunt.
During Saturday’s pregame talk with the media, including Kevin Henry of Rox Pile, Bud Black stressed the importance—in his eyes—of continuing to center his lineups down the stretch around veteran players, like Matt Holliday:
It’s an experienced player who goes up there with a good plan, going into the at-bat. In this game, he has an idea about Bumgarner and he’s going to try to execute his plan. He’s just experienced and experience this time of year is invaluable.
Of course, this also means filling his lineup card with guys such as Ian Desmond, who ended up going 1-for-3 on Saturday with a rally-killing GIDP. No matter what the outcome of this season is, one of the biggest story lines will be Black’s stubborn inability to give young, talented players like Dahl, McMahon, Tapia, or Hampson any consistent at-bats.
Holliday has hit very well since returning to the Rockies, and his big-game experience is truly valuable. But as Desmond’s second-half wRC+ has plummeted to 57, his ground ball rate remains above sixty percent, and the Rox just went scoreless in back-to-back games, the need to “try something new” is more apparent than ever.
Like many of you, it’s been established that I’m a Kyle Freeland Guy, and he continues to impress even when off the field. On Thursday, Kyle announced he would participate in a Wilson Sporting Goods social media charity event—and it’s going to the dogs:
Get your a chance to win a custom A2000. Build your glove at https://t.co/wt29nGjqyy, post a screen grab of it using #FreeA2000 and tag @wilsonballglove. If my hashtag is used more than the other #TeamWilson players, Planned Pethood will receive an even greater donation! pic.twitter.com/VsjtuuCAmO— Kyle Freeland (@KFREE_21) September 13, 2018
For over five years I have worked in an animal shelter, so this touched especially close to home for me. Kevin Henry caught up with Kyle and learned that Jon Gray helped him find a Denver-area pet charity to support, and Planned Pethood is a great one. Their mission is to “significantly reduce pet overpopulation and suffering of companion animals by offering affordable common sense veterinary medicine to everyone.”
Like me, Kyle is a proud dog parent, so helping Denver-area dogs was an easy decision to make. It’s easy for you to help and support the cause too, so why not be Kyle Freeland Guys and Gals and help change the lives of animals in need!
In this article, Joel Sherman of the New York Post stirs the pot by suggesting the “statistical revolution” of placing a larger emphasis on advanced stats and analytics in baseball might very well be “hurting the game” by turning off new fans. His argument? Simply put, he acts as though the next generation of baseball lovers might be better suited to enjoy the game by only needing to focus on easy, round numbers.
Yes, he suggests young fans are likely too lazy to sink their hands into the depth of analytics and the new understanding or richness of the game it might bring. No, he believes we should just spoon feed easy milestones like batting .300, or collecting 3,000 hits, or hitting 30 home runs in a season to our youth. Obviously, this is a terrible take meant to generate clicks online (I can only hope), but this kind of sentiment will go a lot further in “hurting the game” than giving advanced stats its time in the spotlight.
Aaron Hurt at Rox Pile wrote about how Trevor Story had stalled in his quest to join the 30/30 club and become the first ballplayer since 2012 (!) to achieve the fear, so naturally Trevor went out and stole a base in Saturday’s game against the Giants. Entering Sunday, Trevor now sits at 33/26 and needs only four more swiped bags over fourteen games to join the ranks of Mike Trout, Larry Walker, Hank Aaron, Vladimir Guerrero, Barry Bonds, and—one of my favorites—Grady Sizemore.
While Story may have been slumping over the last week when it comes to reaching first-base, a positive side-note is one of the reasons he hasn’t been stealing bases is he’s still walloping extra base hits regularly and not having a reason to steal. In his now 16 hits this month, seven have left the ballpark and four were doubles. That leaves five singles and two walks, and in those seven opportunities, he has four stolen bases.
With a ratio like that, Trevor is clearly a man on a mission, and if he manages to join the coveted 30/30 club, it might just be enough to solidify his MVP candidacy, as well.