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Was Mudville done in by la
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Was Mudville done in by la Před 12 měsíce  
Or:unch angle?"Even with all the analysis being done in baseball these days , much to great benefit and some to great detriment, it appears that one aspect of the game has been sadly overlooked: Baseball poetry.Well, actually, baseball poem, since there’s only one that matters, “Casey at the Bat” by Ernest Lawrence Thayer. Thayer was a bit of a one-hit wonder, a Philip Humber of American poetry, a respectable humor columnist without any other claim to fame. Still, 22 other pitchers have thrown perfect games; nobody has ever come close to penning another great baseball poem.“Casey” has survived 131 years without being torn apart by analysis, so it’s about time to ruin your enjoyment, just as launch angle obsession and the strikeouts-by-the-dozens-and-occasional-homer strategy it is causing are ruining the enjoyment of baseball itself. Don’t fret — this isn’t poetry analysis like you got stuck doing in high school, with all the iambs and anapests and symbolism and metaphors and other big words. It’s baseball analysis, way overdue.Why overdue? Because poetry often has insightful observations, worthy of attention because they can guide us on a proper path, that’s why. Yeesh.You know how the stage is set. Mudville’s down 4-2, bottom of the ninth, so the outlook wasn’t brilliant for the Mudville nine that day. No mention whether the opponent had a good closer, but that wasn’t likely in 1888.Things got worse when Cooney died at first and Barrow did the same. Not only two outs, but the pitcher’s GB% is 100. Melancholy set in for the crowd, especially because of who was coming up — Flynn and Blake. Yuck.This makes you wonder about the Mudville manager. Why are Flynn and Blake hitting in front of Mighty Casey? Casey must have been hitting third or fourth, so they were the top of the order. Who puts guys like that at the top of the order? Doesn’t he know the best place to bat your best hitter is the No. 2 slot? No wonder they only had two runs.Flynn came to the plate, a player described by Thayer as either a “lulu” or a “hoodoo” — he changed things around through the years. We may call something “a real lulu” in a positive sense these days, but back then “lulu” was no compliment. Worse yet Danny Salazar Jersey , a hoodoo was a jinx.Still, Flynn comes through, letting drive a single. That meant an ISO of .000 for the at-bat. That wasn’t going to help him any come arbitration — but it did extend the game.Next is Jimmy Blake, called a “cake.” Thayer sometimes changed it to “fake.” Not a compliment, either way. Blake’s up, Mighty Casey on deck, and things get interesting:And Blake, the much despised, tore the cover off the ballAnd when the dust had lifted, and men saw what had occurred,There was Jimmy safe at second and Flynn a-hugging third.Now, that’s action. Interesting action. Fun for the fans.Why is Flynn a-hugging third? Sure, good baserunning meant taking no chances trying to score, since his run didn’t matter on its own. But “a-hugging” suggests he was sliding in, as does “dust had lifted.” No reason for that unless a throw is coming to third — a terrible mistake by the opposition.Notice Thayer doesn’t say Blake hit a double, easily rhymed with “keeping out of trouble” or “putting Casey on the bubble.” Couple that with Flynn’s a-hugging, and the only possible interpretation is that when the outfielder screwed up and threw to third, Blake took second on the throw, putting the tying run in scoring position. What a terrific poetic lesson! And what excitement for the Mudville faithful!Which brings us to Casey. Mighty Casey. You know what happens now. Casey takes a strike, crowd gets ticked off, good sport Casey calms them down. Ditto on strike two, setting the stage for the big finale.At this point, it should be noted that 1888 was the return year of the three-strike out — it had upped to four for a season , then changed back. So, if Casey wasn’t a quick learner, he may have been confused. Still.You have to think that up 0-2, a waste pitch is called for. Ideal would have been a slider off the plate, but there was a danger of advancing the runners — plus the little problem that the slider wouldn’t be invented for another generation. So Casey didn’t have to worry about that. Other breaking balls existed, but pitchers had only been throwing overhand for four years, giving them little experience at that angle. Advantage, batter.Now consider Mudville’s point of view. Tying runs in scoring position. Two outs, batter down 0-2. Every coach in the history of the game would tell Casey to shorten his swing and go the opposite way. The modern shift might not have been a thing then, but the second baseman had to shade toward the bag to keep Blake honest, leaving a gaping hole on the right side (Casey is always depicted as a righty).Plus, there’s a reason baseball gloves are called “mitts.” In 1888, it looked like the fielders had snuck into their kitchens before the game and stolen their mom’s oven mitt. That made for a lot of ticked off moms and a lousy way to try to catch a ball. A big hitter like Casey should have been able to knock the mitt right off of a fielder’s hand.But does Casey hit strategically? Of course not, because he’s a slugger and never bothered to learn how to actually bat. Remind you of any White Sox? Instead, Casey does the tooth-clenching bit, goes all violent pounding the plate, shatters air with the force of his blow. Whiff time, no bands playing, no light hearts, no men laughing, no children shouting, yada, yada. Game lost for failure to play smart baseball Edwin Encarnacion Jersey , for being obsessed with dingers. So it was for one infamous at-bat 61 years before Bill James was even born, and for so many, many now.And you didn’t think poets could see the future. Some pitchers get stronger as the season progresses, while others wear down.Weather factors such as air density or humidity can impact spin and grip.Randomness can be involved so only treat this as one data point.Whether it’s fatigue, rhythm, weather or another external factor 鈥?some pitchers get stronger as the season progresses, while others regress. The temperature and density of the air can have a substantial impact on breaking balls in particular. Also, some pitchers who rely more on feel can have varying results based on the humidity level.There also could just be randomness or luck in some of the results. I looked only at pitchers with a minimum of 200 career innings 鈥?both before and after the All-Star break 鈥?but there is certainly still noise.Let’s take a look at 10 to 12 pitchers from each side of the fence. Don’t forget that this is just one data point. In some cases, it can lead to value 鈥?while it doesn’t paint the whole picture for others.Second-Half StrugglesNot all second-half struggles are created equal. I’m not concerned with Bauer, who has transformed himself with a much better repertoire over the past year. He struggled after the All-Star break for a number of seasons, but had a dominant second half in 2017.I personally monitor pitchers who’ve consistently performed worse in the second half over a significant sample size 鈥?and/or I can come up with a reason why. Guys such as Cueto, Zimmermann, Leake and Vargas fit the mold.A 2018 All-Star worth keeping tabs on who just missed the innings threshold is Mike Foltynewicz. The Brave has a career 20-15 record with a 3.65 ERA before the break 鈥?compared to a 10-15 record with a 5.61 ERA after. Folty has really struggled in the second half in each of the past four seasons 鈥?especially last year when he finished 3-8 with a 6.34 ERA.I’m also fascinated to see how Sale’s arm holds up down the stretch. With the Red Sox a virtual lock for the postseason, they’ll need their ace to get through a brutal AL. In 53 career games (32 starts) in September/October, the Boston lefty is 11-16 with a 3.78 ERA. That doesn’t seem high until you realize Sale owns a career 2.76 ERA in all other months combined.Stuckey: Two World Series Futures I鈥檓 Betting at the BreakRead nowSecond-Half SuccessCubs fans should be optimistic about Hendricks 鈥?starting tonight in St. Louis. He’s been absolutely filthy in the second half over the past two years, going 12-4 with a 1.91 ERA in 27 starts.Cardinals-Cubs Betting Preview: Will Chicago Extend NL Central Lead?Read nowAs well as Clayton Kershaw has pitched throughout his career, he’s been a 0.5 run better after the break. The southpaw has silly second-half splits.You should also notice a number of Jays and Orioles on the list. That may set up for some nice fades of the Red Sox and Yankees 鈥?both of whom should be extremely overvalued the rest of the way. Get ready to hold your nose!Speaking of the Orioles, Gausman is the type of pitcher I like to target after the break, as you can see his improvement on a month-by-month basis. Just take a look at his monthly career splits:
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