Friday Night Observations

Friday Night Observations

This article is part of our Rounding Third series.

We've had a lot of fun with this format before, so let's run it back on another (mostly) full Friday night.

  • The Nationals are consistently the worst when it comes to rainouts. They'll frequently cancel games due to the threat of storms, which would be fine if there were some advance notice. But on Friday night they gave very little notice - my timeline is full of retweets by the Nats' beat writers of fans informed of the cancellation of tonight's game maybe 20-25 minutes before first pitch, despite a bad forecast well in advance. 

Hey MLB, if you want to make the game fan friendly and want to try to claim any sort of moral high ground, don't botch easy decisions like this. Call the game early so fans don't pay for non-refundable parking and early concessions, just so you can make a quick buck.

  • On back-to-back plays, the Mets took advantage of Nick Castellanos in right field for sac flies on short flyballs to right field, and he was off-target on both throws. It helped that both runners (Brandon Nimmo and Starling Marte) were quick, to force a stressful throw. The Phillies are stuck

We've had a lot of fun with this format before, so let's run it back on another (mostly) full Friday night.

  • The Nationals are consistently the worst when it comes to rainouts. They'll frequently cancel games due to the threat of storms, which would be fine if there were some advance notice. But on Friday night they gave very little notice - my timeline is full of retweets by the Nats' beat writers of fans informed of the cancellation of tonight's game maybe 20-25 minutes before first pitch, despite a bad forecast well in advance. 

Hey MLB, if you want to make the game fan friendly and want to try to claim any sort of moral high ground, don't botch easy decisions like this. Call the game early so fans don't pay for non-refundable parking and early concessions, just so you can make a quick buck.

  • On back-to-back plays, the Mets took advantage of Nick Castellanos in right field for sac flies on short flyballs to right field, and he was off-target on both throws. It helped that both runners (Brandon Nimmo and Starling Marte) were quick, to force a stressful throw. The Phillies are stuck playing all three of Castellanos, Rhys Hoskins and Kyle Schwarber in the field, not to mention Alec Bohm, with Bryce Harper limited to DH duty. Bryson Stott chipped in with a game-opening error to make sure all of the Mets first-inning runs were unearned. At least Castellanos didn't earn any errors with those two throws, but that was great advance scouting by the Mets. Castellanos has negative "ARM" ratings each year of his career, per Fangraphs, and the Phillies are the fifth worst defensive team overall. Without clicking through, can you guess who is last? I was surprised by the answer.
  • The bill has started to become due for a lot of early fast-start, under-the-radar pitchers, and one of those is Kyle Bradish. I built a Red Sox stack against him tonight, but unfortunately opted for the wrong hot hitter between Trevor Story and Xander Bogaerts, at least for one inning, as Story lined out and Bogaerts hit a three-run homer over the Monster. With this game being the highest total and the Red Sox having the highest run-expectancy, you have to get the right players in your stack to really profit, so I'm probably not doing great despite having hits and runs from Enrique Hernandez, J.D. Martinez and Rafael Devers, especially because Devers didn't get an RBI on his hit, thanks to Anthony Santander's error on the hit.
  • Did you start Jeffrey Springs tonight in your season-long or DFS lineups tonight? Starting him against the Yankees seems like a bit of a heat-check, both because of how hot the Yankees have been, and his lack of track record working deep into games. Moreover, the Yanks have a 119 wRC+ against lefties, fourth in Major League Baseball. Springs got through the first three innings fine, but both Gleyber Torres and Matt Carpenter took him deep in the fourth inning. But Springs limited the damage to those two homers, and was actually able to make it through six innings for the first time this season, so your gamble paid off, albeit not with the reward of a win.
  • The Marlins gave Trevor Rogers two extra days off, and he was perfect through the first four innings tonight against the Braves. Through four innings, he had seven whiffs on his changeup, good for a 30% rate. That was his problem so far this season - after getting whiffs on 33.7% of changeups last season, it's down to 20.7% this season. Of course, my starting to write about Rogers did him no good in the fifth inning, as the Braves got to him for three runs so far at the time of this writing.
  • The Braves radio broadcasters discussed Ronald Acuña Jr. during the game. He wasn't available Friday night, but did a lot of running from first-to-third during the afternoon before the game and they said that Acuña looked good. Manager Brian Snitker said that they were still taking him day-to-day.
  • Hunter Greene is not the only hard-throwing young pitcher on the Reds' staff. Graham Ashcraft got the call to start Friday's game against the Giants, and hit 101 mph on the radar a couple of times in the first inning. Though the velocity is fun, Ashcraft isn't the same level of prospect as Greene. His off speed offerings aren't as strong, and his command isn't as sharp. The one area that Ashcraft compares favorably is that he isn't as prone to giving up the gopher ball, and in fact hadn't allowed any homers in 32.2 Triple-A innings so far this season.
  • Paul Goldschmidt's line against Brandon Woodruff prior to tonight? .222/.222/.259 with nine strikeouts and no homers in 27 plate appearances. So naturally he went deep in his second at-bat to extend his on-base streak to 32 games. Score one for "recent form" over BvP.
  • Tommy Pham got scratched from tonight's lineup after slapping the Giants' Joc Pederson during batting practice before the game, apparently due to a disagreement in their fantasy football league. I'm not sure what's the funniest aspect of this story - the one-liners from fantasy Twitter speculating about the details of the disagreement, or the overwrought reactions from beat-writer Twitter that fantasy football was the cause of the disagreement? As if another reason would have made Pham's clearly inappropriate behavior more excusable!
  • The dispute was over a league rule. Pederson went into excruciating detail here:
  • Apparently Acuña is available tonight - he just was announced as a pinch-hitter. Naturally he hit an RBI-double to left to tie the game.
  • Just pump Julio Rodríguez vs. Justin Verlander into my veins:

Prior to Friday night, Verlander had a 0.55 ERA on the road with one homer allowed in 33 innings. Tonight, he allowed four homers to a previously slumping Mariners lineup. Baseball!

  • After watching the Orioles come back from an 8-2 deficit, you can see why the Red Sox are contemplating bringing Chris Sale back as a reliever. I guess we can cross off Matt Strahm as a potential closer.
  • Nestor Cortes was brilliant as usual last night, and Jameson Taillon threw eight shutout innings tonight against the Rays to win the first two games of their big showdown series. I won't say that a four-game sweep would prematurely end the race, that would be dumb. But the Yankees are continuing a helluva run right now, even without Giancarlo Stanton and Josh Donaldson.
  • Edwin Rios is the Dodgers ninth batter tonight and a part-time player, albeit one that's earning more playing time as of late, especially with Max Muncy banged up. That's serious depth. Rios would be earning a lot more acclaim in another organization, where playing time would be more plentiful. He might just get it anyhow, perhaps after this year, though it's going to be tough on the Dodgers with first base permanently closed for business.
  • Major League Baseball extended the ability for teams to carry 14 pitchers on their active rosters for another month, after originally declaring teams would have to pare down to 13. One way to enhance scoring is to force teams to make tough decisions on when to pull a tiring pitcher. Even though offense is tracking up already, I'd still like to see this additional measure taken.
  • I get it, calling balls and strikes is a difficult skill. If you or I were to go behind the plate and try to umpire, especially with major league wizards, er, pitchers on the mound, the results would be laughable. But neither you nor I are tasked with that responsibility. The best umpires in the country, nay, world instead are asked to call balls and strikes. And even then, the results are sometimes laughable:

Robot umpires now.

  • I went cheap with my starting pitchers to afford my Red Sox stack, and got duly punished for it. Neither Jon Gray nor Bailey Ober could hold early leads against weak opponents, the A's and Royals respectively. Perhaps the Royals aren't as weak as I thought - they had the bats going earlier in the week at Arizona as well, knocking around Zac Gallen among others. Bobby Witt Jr. has caught fire, and MJ Melendez has done some damage here and there. They might have a credible offense once they call up The Italian Breakfast (Vinnie Pasquantino) and get Salvador Perez back. Unfortunately, fitting everyone in might be a problem from a position standpoint.
  • Wil Crowe had been one of the better stories of the season for the Pirates, but he gave up a huge three-run homer to Luke Voit tonight that erased a 3-0 lead for Jose Quintana. The Padres have struggled offensively at home, posting a .287 wOBA at Petco Park, hitting only .217 going into tonight's game. Losing Fernando Tatis Jr. obviously is a big part of the problem, but nearly everyone besides Manny Machado and Eric Hosmer are underperforming in one way or another. I finally benched Trent Grisham this week, about six weeks too late, though I haven't cut him yet.
  • It was interesting to see the Cardinals turn to Ryan Helsley again to get the save after Kodi Whitley allowed a two-run homer in the ninth to turn a four-run lead into a two-run lead. Giovanny Gallegos pitched on Thursday, and Helsley hadn't pitched since Monday. I still view Gallegos as the head of a two-man committee, but it's becoming perhaps a little more narrow.

Other Closer Notes:

  • Clay Holmes remains awesome. The longer Aroldis Chapman is on the IL, the harder it will be to displace Holmes.
  • Emilio Pagan got his seventh save by striking out the last batter on three pitches. Yennier Cano allowed two runs to create the save chance, but Jhoan Duran pitched the eighth when the Twins were still winning by one, so it's pretty clear that they envisioned Pagan getting the save anyhow.
  • Jordan Romano was nearly perfect in striking out the side, throwing strikes on 10 of his 12 pitches. We were worried when his velocity was down against the Yankees earlier this month, but he seems fine now.
  • Dennis Santana got the save for the Rangers, after Joe Barlow had pitched the previous two days.
  • Craig Kimbrel allowed two runs in a dreaded "get work" outing. He had not pitched since last Saturday.

Injury Notes:

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jeff Erickson
Jeff Erickson is a co-founder of RotoWire and the only two-time winner of Baseball Writer of the Year from the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. He's also in the FSWA Hall of Fame. He roots for the Reds, Bengals, Red Wings, Pacers and Northwestern University (the real NU).
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