The New 'Blocking The Plate' Rule is Stupid
If you missed the game, this was the play of the game that really was quite lame. Starlin Castro slid right into the tag and was clearly out, but was called safe because of the new rule.
Here was the press release put out by Major League Baseball almost two months ago that explained the new rule, and a highlight below.
Unless the catcher is in possession of the ball, the catcher cannot block the pathway of the runner as he is attempting to score. If, in the judgment of the Umpire, the catcher without possession of the ball blocks the pathway of the runner, the Umpire shall call or signal the runner safe. Notwithstanding the above, it shall not be considered a violation of this Rule 7.13 if the catcher blocks the pathway of the runner in order to field a throw, and the Umpire determines that the catcher could not have fielded the ball without blocking the pathway of the runner and that contact with the runner was unavoidable.
As a result, the Pirates got the shaft on the call. I’ll be honest. I’m not a fan of the rule, in spite of the fact that it went it our favor today. Call me a meatball, but I like collisions.
Glass Half Full – Despite the loss, we could easily take this viewpoint and make the case for the continued items of encouragement. If you look only at the first four innings, the offense looked great. They were taking advantage of the mistakes the Pirates were making. Emilio Bonifacio stole 2nd base and kept on going all the way to home. Wellington Castillo came up with a key hit to add another run in the 4th inning, which normally you wouldn’t expect. Throw in a nice start by Travis Wood when you scrap the 7th inning and you have a lot of reason to continue to be optimistic.
Glass Half Empty – This game got all the way into the 90% chance to win level and we wet the bed. If I take this stance, which today I do not, my biggest complaint was the bullpen usage. Why is it that Wesley Wright is not getting into a game? He hasn’t pitched all week and the spot that James Russell was inserted would have been the perfect time. Why carry 12 pitchers if you only play 11? I hate bullpen mismanagement.
The Cardinals come to town and the first opponent pitcher on the schedule is Joe Kelly. Let’s take a look at what we know about him.
Kelly showed some rust after a 13-day layoff, though he worked around trouble to allow one run in his 2014 debut. His curveball was sharp, but command of his sinker and changeup lacked. Both pitches should come around with the return of routine.
Kelly throws a lively fastball that can reach up to 100 miles per hour (MPH) and complements it with a sinking fastball and slider. His sinker is among the prized pitches in the game – it shows dramatic horizontal movement, while paradoxically, not showing the kind of vertical movement (sink or drop) other sinkerballers such as Justin Masterson – and is one of the fastest in the game, at about 93 MPH. He also throws a changeup to left-handed batters and an infrequent curveball. He control of his pitches – including his fastball – receives compliments.
Why the Cardinals Will Win The Series
The Cardinals enter the weekend tilt with the Cubs not quite themselves, having begun the season only 5-4. Led by their three Matts — Carpenter, Holliday and Adams — they’ve flashed some of the balanced offense and strong starting pitching that carried them to the NL pennant last year, but key players like Allen Craig, Jhonny Peralta and Shelby Miller have yet to find their form.
The Cubs will have their work cut out for them on Saturday and Sunday when they face the top of the rotation in Adam Wainwright and Michael Wacha, so their best chance to take down the reigning NL champs is in the series opener as fifth starter Joe Kelly takes the mound. Kelly’s 1.69 ERA in his first start belies a 4.55 FIP and 4.79 xFIP, so if Cub hitters are patient, they can coax some walks (he had a 3.2 career BB/9). He has a knack for slipping out of trouble, though, by inducing grounders — he had a 16% GIDP rate last year (league average was 11%).
Cub hurler Jeff Samardzija will want to watch out for Yadier Molina, who not only is off to a hot start with three home runs and a .390 wOBA but also hits the Cub righty well (.579 OBP/.588 SLG in 19 PAs). Cardinal left-handed-hitting center fielder Jon Jay, whom newcomer Peter Bourjos has displaced as the team’s default center fielder mainly for defensive reasons, may see more action this weekend with Samardzija and fellow righties Carlos Villanueva and Edwin Jackson due to start. Cardinal manager Mike Matheny has been reluctant to start Jay even when he has a platoon advantage, having opted for the right-handed Bourjos against right-handed starters three of five opportunities. ~ Matthew Phillp (www.fungoes.net)
Playoff Blackhawks hockey is almost here so let’s get excited about that with this song that played all year last year for their cup run.