League Updates Uncategorized

Shohei Ohtani Week


It’s Shohei Ohtani week at Baseball Prospectus.  It’s all about how amazing he is as a two-way player doing things even Babe Ruth never did in a single season, blah, blah, blah. Plus how nice he is… makes a non-Cheese kind of sick.

It’d be one thing if he didn’t deserve all this praise.  It’d be another thing if he had signed with the Mariners like he was supposed to. 

On the other hand, it’d be still another thing if he was on the Tornados, or the Rosebuds, or the Dragons, or the Alleghenys – you know, the teams that have been hogging up all the EFL championships for the last 5 or 6 years.  As long as he stays safely tucked away on a team not breathing down the Wolverines’ neck, it’s tolerable.

I admit it: when the Angels were in Seattle last week, I wished I was going to the game.  I am hoping our next trip to see my daughter and grandsons in Seattle will be while the Angels are in town. He’s the one must-see individual player in baseball for me now.

I also admit this, which reflects even worse on me than everything else I’ve said:  in this video of the first 33 Shohei Ohtani home runs of 2021, the part I enjoy most is watching the pitchers’ reactions. There are so many ways to express deflation and recognition of doom – and, in the context of something trivial like baseball – they are all fun to watch.

So – I can’t do anything about Shohei Ohtani Week.  Baseball Prospectus has declared it, and they aren’t interested in my individual opinion.  And anyway, if they were interested, I’d probably say, “Oh, all right, go ahead.  He probably deserves it.”


EFL Standings for 2021
Old Detroit Wolverines 65 30 .683 539.5 366.9
Flint Hill Tornadoes 64 31 .671 1.1 498.9 342.3
D.C. Balk 58 33 .635 5.1 501.5 380.2
Peshastin Pears 59 34 .630 5.3 460.6 359.8
Kaline Drive 59 36 .620 6 498.9 390.4
Haviland Dragons 56 39 .592 8.7 483.8 414.6
Canberra Kangaroos 53 38 .587 9.4 462.4 393.6
Cottage Cheese 51 44 .536 14 538.2 514.8
Bellingham Cascades 48 46 .512 16.3 396.2 387.2
Pittsburgh Alleghenys 48 46 .511 16.4 468.4 456.4
Portland Rosebuds 39 54 .424 24.5 465.9 550.6
Old Detroit: L, 6 – 12. (34 PA, .233, .324, .533;  0.3 ip, 6 er, 180.00 ERA) OK, maybe it’s not Ohtani Week that made me kind of sick.  Maybe it’s Ross Stripling ruining a good day at the plate for the suddenly woeful Woeverines.  Here’s how Stripling’s day compared to Ohtani’s:
Ohtani pitched 6 scoreless innings, allowing 3 hits, no walks, 8 strikeouts. 
Spripling pitched 1/3 of an innings, allowed 6 earned runs on 4 hits and 2 walks, no strikeouts.
Are these two guys even playing the same game?
Stripling pitched 6% as many innings, faced 27%  as many batters,  threw 37.5% as many pitches,  gave up 133% as many hits, walked 200% as many, struck out 0% as many, gave up an infinite % as many homers and earned runs.
I can give you the entire Stripling outing:  double, homer (the first ofJarren Duran’s career), ground out, double, mound visit, walk, homer.  
I could give you Shohei Ohtani’s entire outing, but even in Shohei Ohtani week that would be overdoing it. 
Baseball Reference accounted Ohtani’s outing as the best of the day, with a game score of 73. 
It accounted Stripling’s as, of course, the worst starting pitching of the day with an opponents’ batting line of .800, .833, 2.400, for an OPS of 3.233….
No, hold on!  Somehow Stripling got a game score of 17 out of that, and ranked ahead of two other pitchers!!  What in the world?!?    Kyle Gibson earned a game score of only 15?  He could have matched Stripling’s 1/3 of an inning and added 4 2/3 more innings with just two more earned runs!  It would have been a miraculous comeback.  
Maybe poor Ross Detwiler was worse.  He got a game score of 7 for his one inning, 8 earned run performance.  I guess I’d rather have Stripling’s day than Detwiler’s.  
Anyway:  I think Stripling’s was the the worst Royal Chulk for a starter of the season, a nearly duodecal one:  1/3 of an inning, 6 earned runs.  It certainly felt the worst on a rare (lately) good offensive day for the Oldies. 
Flint Hill: W, 10 – 4.  (55 PA, .360 .418, .700;  1.6 ip,  5 er, 28.13 ERA).  If it weren’t for Ross Stripling, much of the league would be consoling the Tornados for their awful pitching.  Anthony Kay came into the game with one out in the first inning — to replace Ross Stripling!  Kay got through 1.3 innings, but not without injury.  He also surrendered 2 homers, plus two other hits, and walked 3 on the way to an ugly 1.3 ip, 5 er triple chulk.  So at least the second place team suffered a loss, too…
Except those stinking Tornados did NOT LOSE.  Noooo:  Kay is allocated to the bench.  Instead, the T’s got a big win. Too many T’s had great days at the plate to fit into this update.  But one of them was Enrique Hernandez, who hit the leadoff double off Stripling, then homered off Kay (knowing Kay was pitching for Rock City, not Flint Hill), and then homered again of someone named Saucedo.  But Enrique was not the best hitter of the day for the Flinties: that honor belongs to Tyler Naquin, who went 5 for 6 with a double. 
The T’s roared forward in the standings by 1.2 games.  If they do it again today — and it’s not like the Woeverines are going to stop them — they’ll be in first by 0.1 games before Jamie goes to bed.  
DC:  L, 2 – 9. (23 PA, .136, .174, .273;  6.6 ip, 6 er, 8.18 ERA).  When the Wolverines started their current collapse, the Balk were in position to be the beneficiaries.  Alas for DC!  The Balk have been collapsing at almost the same rate as the Oldies.  Jose Berrios had an uncharacteristically bad day, going 6.6 ip with 6 earned runs allowed.  Pete Alonso had a good day, basking in the glow of his Home Run Derby winL  2 for 6 with a home run.  But the rest of the team went 1 for 16.   So the Balk missed a great chance to gain on the EFL lead, and are still 5.1 games behind, just as they were before Stripling melted like a wicked witch.  
Peshastin: W, 9 – 7.   (18 PA, .353, .389, 1.000;  1 ip, 0 er, 0.00 ERA). The Pears, on the other hand, saw the opportunity created by another day of Wolverine collapse, and seized it… with one hand.  Four Pears batted. Mike Zunino went 0 for 1, but everyone who got more than one plate appearance contributed extra bases.  Juan Soto DEFINITELY fixed his swing at the All-Star game:  3 for 4 Monday with a double and two more home runs.  He’s Ted Williams again.  
But only four batters? And only 1 inning of shutout pitching?  Peshastin gained an entire game on first place, but it could have been maybe twice that much had more Pears showed up for work. 
Kaline: W, 10 – 7.  (56 PA, .314, .375, .706;  1 ip, 0 er, 0.00 ERA).  At least the Drive hitters showed up! With three times as many plate appearances as the Pears provided, the Drive slash line is almost as good and produced one more run. Michael Conforto and Jesse Winker led the way, each going 3 for 6, Winker with two doubles and Conforto with two home runs. Hunter Renfroe was the guy who put Stripling out of his misery with that first inning grand slam.   
But Drive pitching was the same as Pear pitching.  So even though the Drive gained an entire game on the Wolverines, it’s still going down as missed opportunity to gain even more. 
Haviland: L, 4 – 7.  (34 PA, .233, .294, .433;  1 ip, 0 er, 0.00 ERA).  There we go again with the evanescent pitching!  One scoreless inning!  So here’s the third team in a row to surrender 7 earned runs on a day they could have done amazing things with more pitching.  The Dragons’ hitting could have been better, too — Ramon Laureano and Nelson Cruz homered, Amed Rosario slashed 3 singles in 5 at bats, and Harrison Bader collected 2 singles in 4 at bats. But Laureano and Cruz went a combined 0 for 8 in their other plate appearances, and the rest of the team went 0 for 11, to leave the Dragons short of a win. 
The Dragons still gained 0.4 games on the Wolverines, despite a clear loss.  Ross Stripling spread blessings far and wide.  Every team in the EFL (other than his own team) got some of the blessing. 
Canberra: W, 7 – (-1). (31 PA, .286, .355, .536;  10.7 ip, 2 er, 1.68 ERA).  Finally we find a team timing a great day to match the great opportunity!  Caleb Smith — whom we last saw on July 10 dishing out 9 earned runs in only 1 inning pitched, his 81.00 ERA on the day hinting at Striplingness — came back with 6.7 innings and just 2 earned runs. Casey Mize mixed in another 4 scoreless innings for an outstanding day of pitching.  
And the batters did not waste the opportunity. Mitch Garver blasted two homers, and Isaac Paredes went 3 for 3 with a double, to pace the Kangaroo attack.  This was good enough for the Cannies to erase 1.5 games from their first-place deficit, the biggest jump of the day, and get back comfortably within 10 games of the league lead. 
Another week of that kind of gain and Canberra will join the pack of teams burying the Wolverines before the end of the month. 
Cottage:  W 1, L (-1); 2 – (-7).  (46 PA,, .293, .370, .561;  13.6 ip, 7 er, 4.63 ERA).  The pitching was ok — better than ok, when one is reminded by ex-Cheese Ross Stripling what could happen to anyone’s pitchers.  Tony Gonsolin (3.3 ip, 3 er) and J.C. Mejia (4.3 ip, 4 er) struggled mightily.  But then Superman came to save the day!!   Shohei showed up and, hey!, tossed his league’s best outing of 6 ip, 0 er, and all was set to rights. 
Shohei had a forgettable day at the plate, only hitting one double in his 4 plate appearances.  But Trea Turner homered and tripled, and Jeff McNeil homered and singled, to lead a robust Cheese offense. 
Did I say the Kangaroos had the biggest jump in the standings yesterday?  Nah, I wouldn’t make a mistake like that.  You’ll need to document that claim, because the Cheese are the ones who made the biggest leap forward: 1.6 games!  … Now, be reasonable.  Why would I ever claim the Kangaroos had done better?  I know which team has Shohei Ohtani!  
Bellingham: W 1, L 1; 6 – 8.  (17 PA, .231, .412, .308;  4 ip 2 er, 4.50 ERA.)  A rather lackluster day, all in all, considering in my last update on Sunday I was touting the craggy Cascades as likely to overtake the ancient Alleghenys as the league’s best mountain range.  But only 18 plate  appearances?  Of the four Cascade batters who played yesterday, Jonathan India was the only one who had a great day.  His 2 for 3 with a double and three walks and a hit by pitch  accounted for 41.2% of the Cascades’ plate appearances.  He got 67 % of the team’s hits, and 100% of it’s extra bases, walks, and HBP’s.   
Kevin Gausman lacked luster yesterday (2 er in 3 ip) but at least his outing was short. 
Like pretty much every other EFL team, all you had to do to gain in the standings was show up.  Bellingham showed up, and gained sliced 0.6 games off their deficit.  Even more significant…
Pittsburgh:  W 0, L 2;  6 – 17. (27 PA, .174, .296, .435;  8 ip, 10 er, 11.25 ERA)   … the Cascades passed the Alleghenys to leave Pittsburgh in 10th place.  This is because the A’s imitated those teams atop the standings who stuck crummy pitchers on the mound and thus threw away (mostly) the biggest chance of the year to gain ground on the Wolverines.  In Pittsburgh’s case, the chief culprit was Vladimir Gutierrez, who spilled 6 earned runs in only 4 innings pitched.  Keegan Thompson mimicked Vlad with the same daily ERA, in just two innings pitched (3 earned runs scored).  
Max Muncy the elder only hit one homer, although he added two walks and made only one out for a .500, .667, .2.000 daily slash line.  Dominic Smith also homered, but it wasn’t nearly enough given the pitching and the need to cover 2 games. Alone among the EFL teams, the A’s did not gain on the W’s, although they only slid 0.1 games further back. 
Portland:  “L”, 5 – 5.  (23 PA, .3178, .348, .455;  1 ip, 0 er, 0.00 ERA).  Here we go again with the single scoreless inning of pitching.  If you want to take proper advantage of top-of-the-standings collapses, you’ve gotta show up!  Even on the hitting side, volume was thin, although what was there was solid.  Dylan Carlson homered for the only extra bases of the day, but only Max Kepler failed to get a hit (in 7 plate appearances).  The Rosebuds gained 0.7 games on first, and got back within 25 games of the lead. 
Combined MLB + EFL Standings for 2021
AL East
Old Detroit Wolverines 65 30 .683
Flint Hill Tornadoes 64 31 .671 1.1
Boston Red Sox 57 38 .600 7.9
Tampa Bay Rays 55 39 .585 9.4
Toronto Blue Jays 48 43 .527 14.9
New York Yankees 48 44 .522 15.4
Baltimore Orioles 31 62 .333 32.9
NL East
D.C. Balk 58 33 .635
Canberra Kangaroos 53 38 .587 4.3
New York Mets 49 42 .538 8.8
Philadelphia Phillies 47 45 .511 11.3
Atlanta Braves 45 47 .489 13.3
Washington Nationals 44 49 .473 14.8
Miami Marlins 40 54 .426 19.3
AL Central
Chicago White Sox 57 37 .606
Cleveland Indians 47 44 .516 8.5
Bellingham Cascades 48 46 .512 8.9
Pittsburgh Alleghenys 48 46 .511 9
Detroit Tigers 44 51 .463 13.5
Minnesota Twins 40 53 .430 16.5
Kansas City Royals 37 55 .402 19
NL Central
Milwaukee Brewers 56 39 .589
Cottage Cheese 51 44 .536 5.1
Cincinnati Reds 48 46 .511 7.5
St. Louis Cardinals 47 47 .500 8.5
Chicago Cubs 46 48 .489 9.5
Pittsburgh Pirates 36 58 .383 19.5
AL West
Kaline Drive 59 36 .620
Houston Astros 57 38 .600 1.9
Haviland Dragons 56 39 .592 2.6
Oakland A’s 54 42 .563 5.4
Seattle Mariners 50 44 .532 8.4
Los Angeles Angels 46 47 .495 11.9
Texas Rangers 35 59 .372 23.4
NL West
San Francisco Giants 59 34 .634
Peshastin Pears 59 34 .630 0.5
Los Angeles Dodgers 58 37 .611 2
San Diego Padres 55 41 .573 5.5
Colorado Rockies 41 53 .436 18.5
Portland Rosebuds 39 54 .424 19.6
Arizona Diamondbacks 28 68 .292 32.5

1 Comment

  • Aggh! I left out the walk Ross Stripling gave to fellow Wolverine Josh Bell, just before the second double in the first inning.

    Also: Speaking of watching pitchers feeling deflated and recognizing doom, I think I know how they feel. I just saw this on MLBtraderumors: Gavin Lux is going on the DL “for something of a lengthy absence.” I think I’ll just throw my hands up and my head back and look at something anything I can find that is not another piece falling off my team.

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