Thursday, April 16, 2015

Comparable Catches last night to three years ago



Ultimate MLB Show April 16, 2015

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Statcast: Glossary of terms

Statcast, MLB's state-of-the-art tracking technology, is now available in every Major League ballpark.
As fans become accustomed to seeing Statcast used on a nightly basis, they will also start seeing terminology associated with it. Here's a breakdown of what those terms mean.

PITCHING

Release: Measures the time from pitcher's first movement out of the stretch to the release point of the pitch.
Extension: Measures the distance of the release point of the pitch from the front edge of the pitching rubber.
Velocity: Measures the peak velocity of a pitch at any point from its release to the front edge of home plate.
Perceived velocity: Velocity of the pitch at the release point normalized to the average release point for MLB pitchers. For example, a 90-mph pitch at a 54-inch release point will seem faster to the batter than a pitch of the same velocity thrown from a 56-inch release point.
Spin rate: Measures the spin rate of the ball at the point of the release from the pitcher's hand.

HITTING

Exit velocity: Velocity of the ball off the bat on batted balls.
Launch angle: The vertical angle at which the ball leaves the bat on a batted ball.
Vector: Classifies the horizontal launch direction of the batted ball into five equal zones of 18 degrees each.
Hang time: Measures the time from bat contact to the ball either hitting the ground/wall or contact by a fielder.
Hit distance: Calculates the distance on the ground of the actual landing point of any ball hit into play, ground/wall or contact with fielder, regardless of outcome.
Projected HR distance: Calculates the distance of projected landing point at ground level on over-the-fence home runs.

BASERUNNING

Lead distance: Measures the distance between the base and the runner's center of mass at the time the pitcher goes into his windup on a pitch or pickoff attempt.
Secondary lead: Measures the distance between the base and the runner's center of mass when the ball is released by the pitcher on a pitch or pickoff attempt.
First step: Measures the time elapsed from time of bat-on-ball contact to the runner's first movement toward next base.
Stealing first step: Measures the time elapsed from the pitcher's first movement in the stretch to the runner's first movement toward the next base on a steal attempt.
Acceleration: Measures the time elapsed from time of bat-on-ball contact to the runner's max speed at any point ball is in play.
Max speed: Measures the maximum speed at any point for all players while the ball is in play.
Dig speed: Measures the time from bat-on-ball contact to the point where the batter-as-runner reaches first base on an infield ground ball.
Extra bases: Measures the time of bat-on-ball contact to the point the runner advances an "extra" base (first to third or home, or second to home) on all hits (excluding over-the-fence home runs).
Home run trot: Measures the time elapsed from time of bat-on-ball contact to the point where the batter-as-runner reaches home plate on home runs.

FIELDING

First step: Measure the time elapsed from time of bat-on-ball contact to the fielder's first movement toward the ball.
First step efficiency: Measures the angle of deviation from a straight line to the ending point of a batted ball trajectory vs. the actual initial path taken toward the ball.
Max speed: Measures the maximum speed at any point while tracking any ball hit into play.
Acceleration (outfield): Measures the time elapsed from time of bat-on-ball contact to max speed at any point while pursuing any ball hit into the outfield.
Total distance: The total distance covered from batted ball contact to fielding the ball.
Arm strength: Measures the maximum velocity of any throw made by any fielder.
Exchange: Measures the time from the point a fielder receives the ball to releasing a throw.
Pop time: Measures the time elapsed from a pitch reaching catcher's glove, to throw, to receipt of the ball by fielder at the intended base on all pickoff throws and steal attempts.
Pivot: Measures the time elapsed between receipt of the ball and release of throw on double-play attempts.
Route efficiency (outfield): Divide the distance covered by the fielder by a straight-line distance between the player's position at batted ball contact and where the ball was fielded.

Bumgarner aims to bounce back vs. D-backs, Bradley

The D-backs and Giants begin a four-game series Thursday night at AT&T Park with one team throwing its ace and the other hoping its starter will develop into one.
Left-hander Madison Bumgarner, hero of last year's postseason run, will start for the second time this season against the D-backs. On Opening Day he picked up the win while allowing just one run over seven innings.
Archie Bradley, meanwhile, makes the second start of his big league career. The right-hander made his debut last Saturday against the Dodgers and outdueled Clayton Kershaw, allowing one hit over six scoreless innings.
What to watch for:
• Bradley came into the year ranked as the D-backs No. 1 prospect by MLB.com. He was the No. 7 overall pick in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft.
• The Giants were 13-6 against the D-backs in 2014, including a 6-3 record at AT&T Park.
• Bumgarner is coming off a rare poor outing. He gave up five runs on 10 hits in three innings on Saturday at San Diego, his shortest outing since 2011. He's 3-0 with a 2.30 ERA, 21 strikeouts and five walks in his past four starts against the D-backs.
• Giants outfielder Nori Aoki hit safely in each of his first nine games with the Giants entering Wednesday. He's batting .405.

Gee, Cosart square off to open up four-game series

Dillon Gee and Jarred Cosart will both look to notch their first entry in the win column when the Mets and Marlins begin a four-game set Thursday at Citi Field. Gee, who was hit hard in his first start, faces a revamped Marlins lineup.
Cosart pitched well enough to win in his season debut, a 1-0 loss. He takes on a Mets lineup without its linchpin, the injured David Wright.
Things to know about this game:
1. Miami left fielder Christian Yelich, who didn't play the past two games at Atlanta, will be re-evaluated on Thursday to determine if he will play in the series opener. Yelich is resting a tight lower back. If he is unable, Ichiro Suzuki will start in left.
2. Cosart got a no-decision in his only start against the Mets last year after he was acquired from the Astros. Gee posted a 1-1 record and 2.45 ERA in two starts against the Marlins.
3. Utility man Eric Campbell started Wednesday at third base for New York, and he is expected to get the majority of playing time there while Wright rests a strained hamstring. Campbell hit .263 in 85 games as a rookie in 2014, when he saw time at six different positions.

Rays, Blue Jays set for series finale

Coming off a solid outing against the Marlins, Chris Archer will take the mound on Thursday as the Rays wrap up their four-game series against the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.
Archer was lifted after seven innings his last time out, despite allowing only two baserunners and one hit. He threw 84 pitches.
Aaron Sanchez will make the start for Toronto. The big right-hander was rocked for seven hits and three earned runs over 3 1/3 innings in his 2015 debut against the Yankees.
Things to know about this game:
• Archer will be asked to close out the road trip strong. When asked about that mentality, Archer said circumstance doesn't factor into his mindset before any given game.
He has allowed three earned runs or less in 14 consecutive road starts dating back to May 16, 2014.
• Sanchez struggled in his first Major League start. He pitched from behind for the better part of his outing, registering first-pitch strikes to only four of 18 hitters he faced.
• After putting up three runs over the first two games of the series, the Blue Jays' offense erupted on Wednesday, tagging Rays pitchers for nine runs over the first four innings. Having lost the opening two games of the series before winning on Wednesday, they're searching for a split on Thursday.

Fister, Hamels ready for duel in nation's capital

The Nationals hope to carry some momentum from Wednesday's 10-5 victory in Boston into a four-game series against the Phillies beginning Thursday night at Nationals Park.
The Phillies took two of three from the Nationals over the weekend at Citizens Bank Park as Washington scored just seven runs in the series.
The good news for Washington is that it has scored at least seven runs in each of the past two games.
Things to know about this game
• Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels dominated the Nationals on Saturday. He allowed two hits, one run, two walks and struck out five in seven innings. Hamels is hoping the offense can do something for him Thursday it has not done when he has been in his first two games this season: score a run.
• Nationals right-hander Doug Fister threw 6 1/3 scoreless innings against the Phillies. He is 2-2 with a 2.12 ERA in five career starts against them.
• The Phillies need Chase Utley and Ryan Howard to get going offensively. They are a combined 5-for-26 with one double, one RBI and five strikeouts against Fister.

Cards, Crew set for rubber match in St. Louis

The Brewers' ongoing effort to find an offensive rhythm continues against the Cardinals' John Lackey on Thursday, when the teams meet for an afternoon series finale at Busch Stadium. While catcher Jonathan Lucroy's slump has garnered most of the notice because of its severity, he's not the Crew's only middle-of-the-order hitter searching for production.
"It's all of us," Lucroy said. "Even [leadoff man Carlos Gomez] is a lot better. 'Brauny' [Ryan Braun], 'Rami' [Aramis Ramirez] hasn't been swinging that well. All of us, when we start clicking together, I think it's going to be nice."
Things to know about this game:
• Still a newbie to the National League, Lackey has faced the Brewers just three times in his 13-year career. Two of those starts came with St. Louis last season, and Milwaukee knocked him around for eight earned runs over 13 innings. Cardinals starting pitchers have opened the season strong, however, with five quality starts in the first six games. The Cardinals had 91 quality starts a year ago, their fifth-highest total since 2000.
• Brewers starter Mike Fiers is coming off a five-run, five-inning loss to the Pirates, but has some brief but positive history on his side for Thursday's start. He is 2-1 with a 1.30 ERA in six career games (four starts) against the Cardinals, including a 1-1 record with a 1.98 ERA in two starts last season and a 1-1 record with a 1.29 ERA in four games (two starts) at Busch Stadium.
• The Cardinals won four of six series finales between the two teams last season, including each of the last three, on the way to beating the Brewers in 12 of 19 matchups.

Royals, Twins turn to lefties to settle series

A couple of left-handers -- Jason Vargas for the Royals and Tommy Milone for the Twins -- will square off in the series finale on Thursday at Target Field, a day after Minnesota handed Kansas City its first loss of the season.
Vargas was sharp in his first start for the Royals this season, going six innings and giving up just two runs in a 4-2 win over the Angels. Milone was even better in his first start, throwing 7 2/3 shutout innings in a win over the White Sox.
Things to know about this game:
• Vargas loves Target Field -- he had a 1.29 ERA over three starts here last season while holding the Twins to a .181 average. Overall against the Twins, Vargas was 3-0 with a 0.96 ERA in 2014.
• Royals left fielder Alex Gordon, off to a slow start, might rest for a day game after a night game. But Gordon, who collected two hits on Wednesday, has a .375 career average against Milone, which may make manager Ned Yost think twice about sitting him.
• Twins first baseman Joe Mauer is one of the few Twins who own Vargas, boasting a career .407 average. 

Arenado's big blast off Lincecum carries Rox to sweep of Giants

A night after showing his two-time Rawlings Gold Glove prowess with a stunning catch, Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenadoshowed he can hit as well.
Arenado's three-run, first-inning homer lifted the Rockies past the Giants, 4-2, for their sixth win in as many road games. It completed just the Rockies' fourth sweep of a series at AT&T Park since it opened in 2000.
"A lot of guys are excited right now, not only to sweep but to win a series against the Giants -- it's always tough here," Arenado said.
Arenado's homer, his third this season, came off Giants starter Tim Lincecum(0-1), who gave up another run (unearned) in the second and lasted five innings (six hits, one walk, no strikeouts).
Rockies lefty starter Tyler Matzek (1-0) gave up a first-inning run but eventually would retire 10 in a row at one point and go six innings, with five hits, two strikeouts and one walk. In the three games, it was the Rockies' only quality start of allowing three or fewer runs in at least six innings even though the Giants' run off Matzek was their only one against a starter in the series.More >
The Giants' Matt Duffy homered off Boone Logan with one out in the bottom of the eighth and two more reached base, but Logan escaped. Adam Ottavinostruck out two while earning his second save in as many opportunities since being named the Rockies' closer.
The Giants not only were swept in their first home series as defending World Series champs, but they have lost six straight and have averaged 1.5 runs per game during the skid.
"When you go through a stretch like this it is definitely magnified when it's the start of the season,'' Giants catcher Buster Posey said.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Staying slow to get a step ahead: Lincecum had Arenado down, 0-2, with the second strike being an 80-mph slider. Wanting to stay slow, Lincecum threw a 79-mph changeup. Arenado stayed patient and golfed the pitch into the left-center bleachers for a 3-0 lead.
"I just wanted to make sure I stayed on the ball, think middle, before I pulled off it," said Arenado, who will celebrate his 24th birthday Thursday -- with the Rockies off -- with a home-cooked celebration meal at his family's Lake Forest, Calif., home. "Luckily enough, I got a pitch to hit and put a swing on it."
Duffy goes deep: Duffy hit his first career home run, a solo shot into the left-field seats off Logan with one out in the eighth. Angel Pagan lined a single to center and Posey walked, but Justin Maxwell struck out and Hector Sanchezhit a weak ground ball to end the inning. More >
Scrapping on the road: Plays like Arenado's homer are always good. But to win consistently on the road, the Rockies have to manufacture runs. In the second, Michael McKenry reached on an error and DJ LeMahieu singled to run his hit streak to nine games. Then Matzek delivered a sacrifice bunt andCharlie Blackmon added a sacrifice fly to drive in a run. It's the type of offense that could mean dramatic improvement over last season's franchise-worst 21-60 road record.
"Charlie Blackmon had a great at-bat. Lincecum threw him three really good changeups," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said.
No answer for Arenado: Lincecum can't say he was surprised when Arenado launched his three-run homer in the first inning. Arenado took him deep for a three-run shot on March 31 in a Spring Training game. Going into the game, Arenado was batting .444 (4-for-9) against Lincecum. Lincecum gave up just one more run in the second inning, but the damage was done.
QUOTABLE
"He [Arenado] is their guy. He's a nice player. He's maybe the best defensive third baseman in the game and the guy hits in the heart of the order." -- Giants manager Bruce Bochy on Arenado.
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The Rockies' 7-2 start is tied for best in franchise history with 1995, 1997 and 2011.
WHAT'S NEXT
Rockies: The Rockies were no-hit by Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw last season at Dodger Stadium and haven't fared well against him. But so far this has been a different Rockies team on the road. The Rockies, with Kyle Kendrick starting, will face the Dodgers Friday at 8:10 p.m. MT.
Giants: Left-hander Madison Bumgarner will make his third start of the season Thursday at 7:15 p.m. PT against Arizona in the opener of a four-game series at AT&T Park. Bumgarner gave up five runs and 10 hits and lasted only three innings in his last start Saturday at San Diego.

Dodgers sweep Seattle as Cruz homers in fifth straight

The Dodgers roughed up Seattle starting pitcher Taijuan Walker for five runs in four innings and ran their win streak to four games with a 5-2 victory in the 2015 Civil Rights Game on Jackie Robinson Night at Dodger Stadium.
In five-plus innings, Dodgers starter Brett Anderson allowed a fourth-inning home run by Nelson Cruz (who hit four in the three-game series) and an unearned run in the sixth, when a baserunning blunder by Robinson Cano at third base torpedoed the Seattle rally. J.P. Howell, the fourth Dodgers reliever, got the save.
"We caught a break with Robbie off third, obviously a huge out for us," said Dodgers manager Don Mattingly.
Andre Ethier's RBI single in the first inning was followed by Scott Van Slyke's two-run double. The Dodgers added one run in the second inning on three walks from Walker and an RBI single by Adrian Gonzalez, then another run in the third inning on Joc Pederson's RBI single. Gonzalez's two hits gave him 19, setting a Dodgers record for the first nine games of the season.
The three-game sweep dropped the Mariners to 3-6. In addition to Cano's gaffe, they had a runner thrown out at the plate and saw another poor performance from what is expected to be a strong rotation.
"We got in the way of our talents on a lot of different fronts tonight," said Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon. "It's one of those games we're going to have to put to rest and get ready for our homestand."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
With bat and glove: Van Slyke, starting in left field because of a minor ankle injury to Carl Crawford, had a two-run double in a three-run first inning for the Dodgers' first first-inning lead of the season. Van Slyke, son of Mariners coach Andy Van Slyke, also made a diving catch of a Cano sinking liner in the fourth.
All he does is hit homers: Cruz continued his long-ball barrage for the Mariners with another blast in the fourth inning off Anderson. It was Cruz's fourth home run of the series and sixth in the last five games. After starting the season 1-for-15 with no home runs or RBIs, the big man has racked up six long balls and nine RBIs in the past five days, while going 9-for-19. Only one Mariner has ever homered in more than five straight games, as Ken Griffey Jr. shares the MLB record with eight straight in 1993. More >
Gold Glove Joc: Pederson, who stole an extra-base hit from Mike Zuninowith a diving catch in the second inning, threw out Zunino trying to score from second on pinch-hitter Justin Ruggiano's one-out single in the fifth inning.More >
Don't walk this way: Cano made a colossal mental error in the sixth inning when he apparently thought the bases were loaded and began strolling home after Logan Morrison drew a one-out walk. But there actually were only runners on second and third and the Dodgers threw out Cano as he tried to scamper back to third once pitcher Paco Rodriguez spotted the miscue and fired to catcher Yasmani Grandal. What had looked like a promising rally quickly died when Zunino grounded out for the third out to leave Seattle trailing, 5-2. More >
QUOTABLE
"I felt in that situation the dumbest guy in the game. I wish he'd thrown it into left field. Those are the things that make you embarrassed, being in the game so long and those little things happen in a game. I told the manager, 'It's my fault, I should have been paying attention." -- Cano on his baserunning mistake
"I think we missed the boat a little bit. The guy had success all the way through [the Minor Leagues]. You think maybe it's not as good as it looks. He comes up [last year] and maybe they haven't seen him yet. Ten years later, hey, he's pretty good. That [radar] gun doesn't always tell the story." -- Mattingly on how rookie reliever Yimi Garcia was overlooked
WHAT'S NEXT
Mariners: Veteran lefty J.A. Happ makes his second start as Seattle opens a nine-game homestand Friday against the Rangers in a 7:10 p.m. PT game at Safeco Field. Happ threw well in a no-decision in his debut against the A's. He's 1-1 with a 6.23 ERA against the Rangers, whom he hasn't faced since 2012.
Dodgers: Clayton Kershaw looks for his first win, coming off an underwhelming loss in Arizona. Kershaw's last start against the Rockies at Dodger Stadium was a no-hitter June 18. He was 3-0 with a 0.41 ERA against Colorado last year. The Dodgers are hopeful Yasiel Puig (hamstring) and Crawford (ankle) return from injuries.

Padres top D-backs on Upton's late homer

Justin Upton homered with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning Wednesday night, putting the Padres on top for good in a 3-2 victory over the D-backs at Petco Park.
Upton's home run, his third of the season, came on the first pitch he saw from D-backs relief pitcher Randall Delgado.
"When you see it from the other side, for as many years as we did, we're [now] looking at it first-hand. I still to think there is … not more to come, but you're going to see things like this," said Padres manager Bud Black of Upton's production.
San Diego pitcher Brandon Morrow allowed two runs in the first inning but settled down, as he allowed four hits over the next six frames. He walked one and struck out five.
Arizona pitcher Chase Anderson, who like Morrow got a no-decision, allowed two runs in six innings with one walk and five strikeouts.
Craig Kimbrel closed it out for the Padres (6-4) for his third save. The D-backs fell to 4-5.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Hit machine: With his second-inning single, Upton extended his hitting streak to 12 games. In addition to having at least one hit in each of the first 10 games of the season, his overall streak dates back to last September when he was still with the Braves. More >
500 for Goldy: First baseman Paul Goldschmidt gave the D-backs a 2-0 lead in the first inning when he hit a 2-2 offering from Morrow into the seats in right. It was Goldschmidt's third homer of the season and the 500th hit of his career. But the D-backs' bats fell flat afterward. More >

RBI machine: Matt Kemp and Upton, the Padres' 3-4 hitters, might go back and forth on the team RBI lead this season. Kemp drove home the game-tying run in the sixth on Wednesday, giving him seven RBIs. Upton later tied Kemp at seven with his home run in the eighth.
Big arm, big moment: The Padres nearly took a 3-2 lead in the sixth inning, but center fielder A.J. Pollock threw out Derek Norris as he tried to score from second base on a line drive single by Will Middlebrooks with two outs in the inning.
QUOTABLE
"I think the biggest surprise is Kimbrel. Seeing him on TV and now in person, he's impressive. It's fun to watch. When his walk-up song comes on, I get excited for him." -- Padres center fielder Wil Myers on Kimbrel, who earned his third save on Wednesday
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How about that starting pitching? Morrow's outing gave the Padres their eighth quality start in the first 10 games. It was his second quality start in as many outings. The only Padres starter who doesn't have a quality start is Ian Kennedy, who was limited to 2 1/3 innings in his only outing, one he left early because of a strained left hamstring.
WHAT'S NEXT
D-backs: The D-backs open a four-game series with the Giants at AT&T Park on Thursday night at 10:15 PT. Archie Bradley will make his second Major League start. The right-hander was outstanding in his debut, as he held the Dodgers to just one hit over six scoreless innings.
Padres: The Padres have their first off-day of the season on Thursday, as they fly to Chicago where they'll open a three-game series on Friday against the Cubs at Wrigley Field. James Shields, the team's Opening Day starter, will make his third start. Game time is 11:20 a.m.