Jeff Sullivan FanGraphs Chat — 10/13/17

9:04
Jeff Sullivan: Hello friends

9:05
Jeff Sullivan: Welcome to Friday baseball chat

9:05
Jeff Sullivan: Technically my second Friday baseball chat of this Friday, for you east coasters

9:05
Bork: Hello, friend!

9:05
Jeff Sullivan: Hello friend

9:06
Ray Liotta as Shoeless Joe: Jeff, thanks for chatting last night and being back again now. It was a really tough loss for Washington, but, as in every elimination game, it isn’t one play that ends a season. That said, I think there are multiple issues surrounding instant replay that the league will have to address after last night’s game. Is baseball still a game of inches? Or, with instant replay, is it now a game of millimeters?

9:07
Jeff Sullivan: There’s never going to be any way to remove all doubt or questionability from a difficult loss. That being said, it benefits no one for briefly-off-the-bag slide attempts to be reviewable as they are. Something needs to change, this winter

9:08
Kiermaier’s Piercing Green Eyes: Will the Rays be confident enough that Alex Cobb won’t accept a qualifying offer to extend him one?

9:09
Jeff Sullivan: Pretty hard for me to see the Rays wanting to risk that much money for that kind of pitcher. But given how Cobb finished, and given that the QO tag shouldn’t hurt these free agents in the way that it used to, this could actually happen

9:10
Jeff Sullivan: Still remains to be seen exactly what the consequences are for free agents of this level, but Cobb ought to be able to find multiple years if he wants them

9:11
Ray Liotta as Shoeless Joe:

9:12
Jeff Sullivan: It’s actually the set-position part that might be most unenforced

9:12
Jeff Sullivan: I see time outs granted right as the pitcher is starting his motion, and I figure those are just accidental — you can’t know exactly when the pitcher will begin, and there’s a lag in between wanting a time out and getting it — but now this is something I’m going to have to watch for

9:12
Jeff Sullivan: Boy do I hate senseless delays

9:13
doodus: Hitting into the double play when Wade Davis couldnt throw a strike was the biggest screw up

9:14
Jeff Sullivan: In Adam Lind’s defense, Wade Davis threw a first-pitch curveball right down the pipe

9:14
Jeff Sullivan: Now, I don’t know exactly why Lind swung at a first-pitch curveball, but in general, there’s nothing wrong with going after a grooved pitch, no matter what preceded them. The alternative was falling behind 0-and-1. Lind might not have seen such a hittable pitch again in the at-bat

9:14
Jeff Sullivan: Looks bad in hindsight but I think it was just a poor result

9:15
Ray Liotta as Shoeless Joe: Matt Wieters, who is bad, seemed to be the only person on the field who knew the dropped third strike contact rule. Would it behoove teams to have a physical copy of the rulebook with a low-paid intern to fact check umpires during games? Based on how quickly Twitter reacted to the play, I would think a number of fans with encyclopedic knowledge would happily sit silently in the corner of a dugout until called upon.

9:16
Jeff Sullivan: I doubt that would improve things at all

9:16
Jeff Sullivan: And I’m still not 100% convinced things didn’t go as they should’ve, anyway

9:17
Jeff Sullivan: Even calling that a dead-ball out would’ve been an unsatisfying technicality, because Baez’s contact with Wieters in no way meaningfully interfered with his effort to retrieve the baseball

9:17
Jeff Sullivan: Now, the fact that Baez was free to run in the first place is the dumbest rule in baseball, but it’s at least a well understood rule

9:17
Jeff Sullivan: God last night was bizarre

9:17
Sharp: Do you enjoy detailed, reasoned, analytical questions or questions which provoke hot takes and zinger lines more?

9:18
Jeff Sullivan: Detailed, reasoned, analytical questions don’t work very well in a live-chat format

9:18
Jeff Sullivan: If I see something that long in the queue I’ll just skip over it

9:18
Jeff Sullivan: At the same time, this isn’t really a good destination for hot takes

9:19
Jeff Sullivan: My hottest take at the moment is that people don’t actually dislike puns

9:20
Zach: At what point do the Yankees move Judge down in the lineup?

9:20
Jeff Sullivan: When he’s 36 years old and declining

9:21
Jeff Sullivan: Aaron Judge is the best hitter on the team. He will also strike out sometimes

9:21
Eric: Thoughts on the Yankees rotation?  Do you like bumping Gray all the way to game 4?

9:21
Jeff Sullivan: I’ve got no issues with it. Gray might be the least likely Yankees starter to succeed against this lineup, and, again, it’s going to come down to the bullpen, anyway

9:22
Ray Liotta as Shoeless Joe: How long is the New York-Houston matchup this evening? How many innings will you watch?

9:22
Jeff Sullivan: The game will last 238 minutes. I want to watch, but, after last night, I might just need the day off

9:23
Jeff Sullivan: Haven’t decided. Just watching a game is an awful lot easier than watching and live-chatting a game

9:23
TJ: Dusty Baker and the Red Sox – make it happen!

9:23
Jeff Sullivan: Something tells me Dusty Baker would hate that

9:24
doodus: How bad do the Dodgers look if they don’t advance to the WS, narrative wise?  Worse than the Nationals this postseason?

9:24
Jeff Sullivan: It’s never that bad a look to fail to advance past the defending champions, but the Dodger narrative, of course, will stretch beyond involving only this season

9:24
Zach: Of the four possible WS matchups, what is your personal ranking of what you would want to see?

9:25
Jeff Sullivan: I’d like to see the Dodgers move forward just so we can be done with the underachieving label

9:25
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t want too much time to pass by without Clayton Kershaw pitching in a World Series

9:26
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think I have a pick in the AL. Can’t know for sure until I see what my brain does when I turn on an actual game, but I see a lot to like about both clubs

9:26
MadduxGlavineSmoltz: Dave is pretty down on the braves rebuild at this point.  Where do you see the franchise at, especially considering the scandal?  What would you do this offseason in Atlanta?

9:26
Jeff Sullivan: This is going to be an offseason of licking their wounds

9:27
Jeff Sullivan: They’re going to be penalized pretty heavily

9:27
Jeff Sullivan: Dave and I are of a similar opinion — neither one of us is all that fond of a rebuild built around high-risk young pitchers. At least Acuna and Albies are present

9:28
Jeff Sullivan: I think the Braves are still a few years away. Might be behind the Phillies

9:28
Jeff Sullivan: Yes, strongly

9:28
Jeff Sullivan: These replay reviews are the worst thing about baseball at the moment

9:28
Jeff Sullivan: On the field, anyway

9:29
Jeff Sullivan: Even stupid, idiot-brained retaliatory fastballs at least get people energized

9:29
Jeff Sullivan: These replays are just slow death

9:29
Wes: Does Ohtani’s ankle surgery affect him coming to the MLB or any teams decision to draft him?

9:29
Jeff Sullivan: Nah. So much value here that everything will proceed as normal provided nothing goes horribly wrong

9:30
Jeff Sullivan: Plenty of players go through offseason surgery

9:30
TJ: Do you know of any instances of GMs or front offices trying to meddle on in game match ups and lineup moves in game? With the stakes this high the temptation must be sky high

9:31
Jeff Sullivan: I can’t recall an instance of mid-game intervention, but it has probably happened. It wouldn’t be common, but in playoff scenarios, everything gets mapped out in advance

9:31
Jack: What are the odds that Cleveland would get next to nothing from three superstars? Seems like there’s bad luck and then there’s what Cleveland got in the LDS.

9:31
Jeff Sullivan: Lindor will always have the grand slam

9:31
Jeff Sullivan: That was a special moment

9:31
Millie: I can’t seem to find a reliable interpretation of what should have been called in the 5th.  Do you have one?

9:32
Jeff Sullivan: I 60-70% believe that, by the letter of the law, Baez should’ve been out on a dead ball. But I 99% believe I would’ve found that annoying because Wieters was in no way inhibited by the contact

9:32
Jeff Sullivan: I also 100% believe the uncaught-third-strike rule is stupid in the first place

9:34
Jeff Sullivan: So I’m fairly sure the wrong decision was made regarding a stupid rule that occurred during a stupid rule

9:34
Seff Fullivan: Are you in any way upset about last night’s outcome?

9:35
Jeff Sullivan: Modestly dissatisfied but deeply thankful I’m not a Nationals fan

9:35
Jeff Sullivan: I’m mostly just annoyed we were all robbed of actual eighth-inning closure

9:36
Zach: Will Houston not having a good lefty reliever hurt them against Bird, Didi, etc.?

9:36
Jeff Sullivan: McCullers and Devenski are death to lefties. Not quite as good as having talented actual lefties, but I think they’re positioned fairly well

9:37
AJ Preller: Will I be able to flip Hand to a similar package I received with Kimbrel? Post Season games seem to demand dominant reliever like Hand…

9:37
Jeff Sullivan: Hand will remain hotly pursued. Excellent reliever who shouldn’t play another game in San Diego

9:38
greg: At what point in time should I start to be nervous next year as a Reds fan if they still haven’t made a decision on who, or if, they’ll move either Suarez or Senzel off of 3B?

9:39
Jeff Sullivan: They’ll make a decision when they need to. They don’t need to

9:39
Sam: What single batter-pitcher matchup are you most excited for in the LCSs?

9:39
Jeff Sullivan: Judge-Keuchel

9:40
Jeff Sullivan: Keuchel doesn’t really have the stuff to attack Judge up and in with heat

9:40
Jeff Sullivan: We know he’s going to live down and away. We know Judge will know that. It’s all going to come down to Keuchel’s pinpoint command

9:41
Dan: Has there ever been this significant of a difference between two teams and “rest”? Dodgers haven’t played since Monday, Cubs essentially gonna throw someone on 2 days rest (Quintana) or Lackey…

9:41
Jeff Sullivan: Have to think the Dodgers are pretty happy right now. The Cubs will be fine by Game 2 but I imagine the odds of Game 1 were swayed at least a few percentage points

9:41
bjogc: So, how about that decision to start Trevor Bauer on short rest deliberately?

9:42
Jeff Sullivan: Amazing how quickly things start to crumble when you assume that Corey Kluber is physically compromised

9:42
Arthur: How many non-FanGraphs baseball writers are must-reads for you and yyou read everything they write?

9:42
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t read everything anyone writes. I would like to, I would really like to, but I just don’t have time to do it. There are so many talented writers and there is so little time in the day

9:43
LegallyEagle: People fine with sliding not called to the technical dot should ease off wanting strikes called to the technical dot.

9:45
Jeff Sullivan: There’s a difference. The strike zone is meant to be enforced as accurately as possible. The only reason runners are supposed to maintain contact with the base is so that they don’t make an attempt to advance to the next one. With these slide replays, there’s never any intent of advancing. It goes against the spirit of the game

9:47
Mac Gwire: Favorite moment of the playoffs so far?

9:47
Jeff Sullivan: Every pitch thrown by Stephen Strasburg

9:47
TJ: What is your confidence level on the Astros bearing the Nyy?

9:47
Jeff Sullivan: 52%

9:47
TJ: Jeff how is your arm holding up? Is someone already getting hot in the chat bullpen?

9:47
Jeff Sullivan: You can pry this chat out of my cold dead hands

9:48
Oddball Herrera: All things considered w/ their current contracts, aging players and impending free agents, should the Nationals treat 2018 as championship or bust?  They seem perilously close to the end of a window.

9:49
Jeff Sullivan: They’ll still have Scherzer, Strasburg, Rendon, Eaton, Roark, Taylor, etc, and we’ll see how Robles develops

9:49
Jeff Sullivan: There’s a certain sense of urgency here but I don’t think the Nationals are about to collapse

9:49
Justin: So the Astros should be favorites, but are we going to count out the Yankees here?

9:49
Jeff Sullivan: What

9:49
Jeff Sullivan: No, of course not

9:50
Jeff Sullivan: The Yankee bullpen is a god damned obscenity

9:50
Sleepy: How big is MLB’s LCS-related ratings boner right now?  Gotta be raging, right?

9:51
Jeff Sullivan: If we are to think of MLB as being in possession of male genitalia, any erection couldn’t exceed 100% normal capacity

9:51
Jeff Sullivan: That is, for any given individual or corporate monopoly, a boner is a boner

9:51
Andy: the cubs flew to LA in middle of the night and got stuck in ABQ for 3+ hours. how much money are you betting that the cubs will win game 1 now?

9:52
Jeff Sullivan: I bet on baseball once and I will never do it again

9:52
Jeff Sullivan: Never bet on baseball

9:52
Jeff Sullivan: Don’t be a moron

9:53
Mark: Why do you think the Yanks have lost faith in Gray? is it just Houston hits him well? A month ago he was being talked about as a Game 1 starter

9:53
Jeff Sullivan: Gray hasn’t been very good as a Yankee

9:53
Jeff Sullivan: He’s not Severino, and he’s probably not Tanaka

9:53
Jeff Sullivan: Him or Sabathia, I don’t know and I don’t care, but Gray’s not some kind of ace

9:54
Corey: Just asking, is there an underlying reason that Gregorius’ success needs to be rationalized?

9:54
Jeff Sullivan: I felt like he was being under-covered. I wanted to write about him after the ALDS anyway. I did not anticipate that Game 5 of the NLDS would be so insane, such that the Gregorius post would go live at a time when no one would want to read it

9:55
Mike: you know in some states making you work less than 11 hours after your last shift is not allowed

9:55
Jeff Sullivan: I imagine those same states wouldn’t think of live baseball chatting as work

9:56
Jeff Sullivan: I’m getting paid to moderate a chat room. It’s really incredible

9:57
Kevin K: Do you think pythagorean/run differential-based assessments of team strength will become less useful in the super-bullpen era? It definitely seems realistic that some teams will outperform/underperform their pythagorean based on the strength of their bullpen

9:57
Jeff Sullivan: BaseRuns just held up about as well as it normally does, in 2017

9:58
Jeff Sullivan: That is, when comparing BaseRuns record against actual record

9:58
Jeff Sullivan: We might see some increasing deviation over time, I don’t know, but I’m waiting for evidence

9:58
ssf: If Texas is as locked in to competing next year as they claim, is there a realistic path to fielding an average-ish rotation this offseason in the event they don’t acquire Ohtani?

9:59
Jeff Sullivan: Has to begin with figuring out what happened to Hamels. If Hamels is just some glorified No. 3 now, they’re in a heap of trouble

9:59
Sadman: Hi Jeff! Did you get enough sleep?

9:59
Jeff Sullivan: The west coast is wonderful

9:59
Jeff Sullivan: I am so deeply thankful that I didn’t have to write about the game last night. I would still be doing that right now

10:00
Anthony: Who is the worst team remaining? Yankees?

10:00
10:00
Jeff Sullivan: But all of them are great

10:00
Jeff Sullivan: No shame in any of these teams winning the World Series, from here

10:00
Oscar O’Bannon: Jeff, hello. Remember when some were questioning if the Cubs average first half meant last year was a fluke? They’ve won more games than anyone the last three years. The fluke was kind of absurd.

10:01
Jeff Sullivan: Anyone who thought last year was a fluke is stupid

10:01
Jeff Sullivan: There were fluky elements, sure, like the extremely low team BABIP, but the Cubs are legitimately terrific

10:01
Anthony: How many more strikeouts for Judge until the hot takes start coming in from NY media that Girardi needs to sit him down?

10:01
Jeff Sullivan: I couldn’t possibly imagine caring

10:02
Robert Mulligan: If you have replay, why not use it?  Does it matter how long he is off the bag?  If a ball is only a little over the yellow line? Lobaton and Dusty seemed to accept it.

10:02
Jeff Sullivan: There’s nothing wrong with challenging the play, and there’s nothing wrong with the interpretation. I just wish these wouldn’t be outs anymore

10:02
Jay: More brutal playoff ending: Cleveland or Nats?

10:02
Jeff Sullivan: The Indians were up 2-0 in the series. That’s worse

10:02
stever20: Will last night with Scherzer change the calculus on starting pitchers working on really short rest like what he tried to do?

10:03
Jeff Sullivan: Scherzer didn’t actually pitch that poorly

10:03
Marshall: Suppose a player only ever hit singles and never walked. What woukd his batting average need to be for him to be the best hitter in baseball?

10:03
Jeff Sullivan: This year’s leading wOBA was .437

10:04
Jeff Sullivan: We can work through this pretty easily http://www.fangraphs.com/guts.aspx?type=cn

10:04
Jeff Sullivan: Let’s set a target of a .438 wOBA

10:05
Jeff Sullivan: The player would need to bat .499

10:06
Chuncey Wiggins: It seems like there is a frenzy surrounding the Braves. Every new article increasingly implies that there were major, egregious practices going on…how much of this is just writers finding something salacious to write about, and how much of this is a brazen organization throwing rule of law out the window?

10:06
Jeff Sullivan: I’m pretty comfortable assuming that the Braves went above and beyond the industry standard for nefarious international behavioral practices

10:07
Matty P: I know some hardcore sabers say nerves dont play any factor in games. I dont think thats true at all. Indians had 7 errors in the last 2 games after leading the AL in defense. That impacted the outcome tremendously

10:07
Jeff Sullivan: Who’s to say errors are nerves

10:08
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think anyone believes there’s no such thing as human emotional influence. We just can’t actually tell when it’s there

10:08
Slider: With Santana bruce smith Shaw free agents and brantley chis Allen and miller potentially gone next year, did the Indians miss their chance?

10:08
Jeff Sullivan: No

10:08
Show Hey O’Tawny: Was there anything they could have done to shorten that game last night?

10:08
Jeff Sullivan: I mean, not really. So many runs, so many justifiable delays, so many pitching changes

10:09
Jeff Sullivan: But that was the longest 9-inning playoff game on record

10:09
Robert Mulligan: Lobaton’s secondary lead was pretty big or Contreras doesn’t even throw.

10:09
Jeff Sullivan: Doesn’t change the fact that the replay review was obnoxious

10:09
Jeff Sullivan: Yes, Lobaton should’ve been closer to the bag. Yes, he should’ve ideally slid differently. Yes, Contreras made a good back pick. It was still stupid

10:10
Anthony: I missed the game last night. Was it really as good as it seems like it was? Worth watching the condensed version even though I know the result?

10:10
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t know if anyone thinks the baseball game was…good

10:10
Jeff Sullivan: It was memorable

10:10
Jeff Sullivan: It was extremely memorable

10:11
Chuncey Wiggins: I get that watching slides for millimeters of separation is tedious and not great TV, but this is precisely what replay is set up to do. It creates consistency. Now people want to arbitrarily create judgement calls, which could be even more inconsistent. How do you implement this without turning into the fiasco that is the ruling for a “completed pass” in the NFL?

10:11
Jeff Sullivan: Replay was not designed for this

10:11
Jeff Sullivan: Before slow-motion instant replay, we didn’t really know that runners frequently come off of the base for like one or two frames

10:12
Jeff Sullivan: Used to be only egregious over-slides were penalized. Which makes sense! Now we’re penalizing…physics

10:13
Jeff Sullivan: There’s no good reason why, in a baseball sense, Lobaton should’ve been out. He beat the throw easily. He wasn’t trying to cheat. He wasn’t trying to get any advantage. You wouldn’t design the game this way starting from scratch

10:13
TJ: Aaron Judge continues his slide or erupts again?

10:13
Jeff Sullivan: He is extremely good

10:14
Jeff Sullivan: Did you know Kris Bryant hit .200 with 10 strikeouts in the NLDS?

10:15
Jeff Sullivan: I’m not saying the Indians might not have figured something out but I’ve seen Judge explode too many times to doubt him

10:15
afdubas: Is there any research that suggests a team like the Cubs should punt the first game against superior, rested starter like Kershaw, with a Lackey start, and then shuffle better starters in Games 2-7?

10:15
Jeff Sullivan: You never punt a playoff game

10:16
Ben: Hey Jeff. What do you make of Tanaka’s home/road splits and dramatic home/road splits in general? And to what extent would you find them predictive of future results?

10:16
Jeff Sullivan: Tanaka this year: big split

10:16
Jeff Sullivan: Tanaka career: completely normal split

10:16
Jeff Sullivan: Means nothing to me

10:16
Robert Mulligan: Do you think teams will go back to using starters as starters and relievers as relievers a little more or does trend continue?

10:17
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t know exactly what happened such that big-league managers no longer trust their normal bullpens

10:17
Jeff Sullivan: Does feel like this starter-as-reliever thing is verging on overkill

10:17
Jeff Sullivan: But elimination games are always different beasts

10:17
Tired in October: 2 outs, bottom of 9th, your team is down 9-8 in a decisive Game 5 of the NLCS. Nobody is on base, but Wade Davis is on the mound and gassed. If you are a hypothetical manager who can choose any player in all of MLB to pinch hit in that situation: who do you choose?

10:17
Jeff Sullivan: Joey Votto

10:18
Re2pectfully Your2, Derek: Exactly how much day-to-day decision making is Derek Jeter going to have on the Marlins? I always assumed owners (particularly figurehead part-owners) played a fairly small roll outside of approving contracts and budgets.

10:18
Jeff Sullivan: He will play a limited role that the media will giddily exaggerate

10:18
TJ: Joe Maddon kept looking at his lineup card last night to see if there was anything good left in the bullpen the way you’d look in your fridge for leftovers the week after Thanksgiving for leftovers. Not much there you want but you still keep looking hopefully

10:18
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t even know why Justin Wilson was on the roster

10:19
Marc: Jeff, I wanted to say that the title for last night’s Live Blog was fantastic.

10:19
Jeff Sullivan: Thank you, although I personally don’t think 2017 NLDS Game 5 Live Blog is very imaginative

10:19
Enlightening Round: Lobaton has NO business wandering far enough away to even be put in that position, he’s a catcher for crying out loud

10:19
Jeff Sullivan: Not the point

10:19
CT: Ausmus the next Red Sox manager? Not psyched about that possibility as a Sox fan

10:19
Jeff Sullivan: I can’t imagine ever being psyched about a managerial hire

10:20
Jeff Sullivan: Not trying to be dismissive or cynical. Just can’t imagine it

10:20
Brian: You can pretty easily make the case that the nats gifted the cubs 5 runs last night.  2 in the crazy 5th.  1 after the Werth misplay.  contreras scored on a WP.  Jay only scores in the first on a Rizzo groundout because he’s already on 3b after a wild pitch.  Crazy.

10:20
Jeff Sullivan: Very, very sloppy

10:20
Jeff Sullivan: It’s almost like the two teams had played an important game just the day prior!

10:20
Jeff Sullivan: In a completely different state!

10:20
Roughneck Odor: How overrated is Kris Bryant?

10:20
Jeff Sullivan: 0%

10:21
Robert Mulligan: Worse: the strikeout run to first rule, or the off the base you are out after replay? Both are both are understood rules.

10:21
Jeff Sullivan: The uncaught-third-strike rule makes zero sense to begin with

10:21
Jeff Sullivan: The slide-off-the-base rule is just an unintended consequence of replay review. Penalizing overslides makes sense when they’re egregious

10:22
Anthony: Do you see the Red Sox trading JBJ? Seems like Mookie could be fine in CF and they can then take advantage of the cratered market for corner guys while picking up something of value for Bradley.

10:22
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t expect it, but I could certainly see it

10:22
Jeff Sullivan: I’m sure Dombrowski will want to find some more power

10:22
Sharp: Should the Nats be content with Wieters/Severino or should they try to deal for Flowers/Realmuto/literally anyone who can swing a bat and catch a ball better than Wieters.

10:22
Jeff Sullivan: They need a catcher

10:22
Gnats : Welcome back. Did you record an EW pod in between these chats? Do you think last night was Harper’s last in a Nats uniform?

10:23
Jeff Sullivan: Recorded a pod just this morning. Harper will stick around for 2018

10:23
TJ: Whoever actually winds up winning the AL MVP will be the one who performs worse this series because baseball, right?

10:23
Jeff Sullivan: MVP ballots were due before the start of the playoffs

10:23
Jeff Sullivan: Oh, but upon a second reading I think I see what you mean

10:23
Jeff Sullivan: Yes! Baseball!

10:23
Show Hey O’Tawny: Puns are the best form of comedy don’t fight me on this

10:23
Jeff Sullivan: Well that’s just too far in the other direction

10:25
groucho: What do you think the cardinals should do this offseason?

10:25
Jeff Sullivan: Build a bullpen

10:25
Travis: Doesn’t seem like people have been complaining about the length of these playoffs games. They have been long, but entertaining and dramatic, so I guess people don’t care that it take four hours?

10:25
Jeff Sullivan: Yes, MLB has gotten lucky that so many of these games have been close, because they’ve all also taken forever to finish

10:26
Jeff Sullivan: The per-9 game duration right now is the longest in playoff history by a decent margin

10:26
Andrew: What can the Nats do this offseason to meaningfully improve other than getting healthy and running it back?

10:26
Jeff Sullivan: Find a catcher. Add another reliever or two. Win the division and try it again

10:28
Marc: If you were given the choice, would you run Gray or Sabathia in Game Three?

10:28
Jeff Sullivan: Probably Gray by a hair but it’s very close

10:28
Vic Romano: I saw that the specific sequence in the 5th – IBB, dropped 3rd strike, catcher interference, and HBP – had literally never happened before in any game.  In fact, only 5 times ever had all 4 events occurred in a game, and even then never in a single half-inning.

10:29
Guest: MLB’s official take seems to think the backswing interference call was wrong: http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/official_info/umpires/feature.jsp?feature=call5 (backswing interference rule is same as backswing contact with ball rule)

10:29
JV: I am not a Nationals fan.  I love baseball.  I’ve experienced heartbreak in life and sports.  I sincerely feel terrible for their team.

10:30
Dann: Presumably Quintana’s 12 pitches won’t stop him from starting game one. Would you start either of Lester or Arrieta on 3 days rest in g2, or give Lackey a turn or two through the Dodgers order?

10:31
Jeff Sullivan: Lester threw 55 pitches on Wednesday. I’d be inclined to let him start Game 2, with Lackey prepared to piggyback if it seems like Lester is wearing down early

10:32
Mike: Do you think there’s a certain player skill profile that performs worse in the playoffs not because of choking but because their performance is disproportionately good against bad pitching and poor against good pitching (the “mistake hitter”, or just poor vs elite velocity, for example), that might make a player’s outcomes decline more than typical in the postseason?

10:32
Jeff Sullivan: The industry, at least, seems to be of the belief that having power pitches is better in October than being a command/control guy

10:33
Jeff Sullivan: As far as hitting goes, I don’t see a real edge for contact hitters *or* for power hitters. I’m not convinced there’s an actual skillset that makes a guy better against good pitchers than somebody else

10:33
Ray Liotta as Shoeless Joe: My coworker just asked me what pitcher do I think of when I think of a guy who just throws meatballs that are hammered for dingers. We both wrote down our answers and they were both Ubaldo Jimenez. Perception is reality, right?

10:33
Jeff Sullivan: Ubaldo Jimenez shout-out

10:35
Marc: Why is Gray the least likely starter to succeed against the Astro’s lineup? Hitter vs. Pitcher tendencies?

10:35
Jeff Sullivan: I think it’s just flipping a coin, with a slight preference for recent results

10:36
Jerry Layne’s Terrible Zone: Can we talk about how bad Jerry Layne’s zone was last night? Especially on Kintzler?

10:36
Jeff Sullivan: Zone seems to have been fairly tight

10:36
Jeff Sullivan: Happens when you’re smashing together two below-average pitch-framers

10:37
Chuncey Wiggins: Hot Detailed Take: Braves/Cardinals WC infield fly game way more controversial than last night’s game. Runner interference called, robbed homerun, bad strike zone, 200 ft infield fly, game was played under protest, and Turner field was buried under a pile of trash.

10:37
Jeff Sullivan: Nothing might ever be more controversial than that infield-fly call

10:38
Jeff Sullivan: I might need to go back and revisit that just because

10:38
Jeff Sullivan: What a world

10:38
Legeisc: Yankees averaged nearly 5 innings of relief in the ALDS. How many innings do they average in the ALCS not counting extra innings?

10:38
Jeff Sullivan: Similar

10:38
Robert Mulligan: Are you a fan of all of the managers using starting pitchers as relievers in post-season?

10:39
Jeff Sullivan: Sometimes. Not really this often

10:39
Jonesing: Isn’t it a bit odd that Judge is getting a lot more attention for his struggles than the Indians stars who also all went quietly, quietly into the night?

10:39
Jeff Sullivan: Strikeouts are more visible than other outs, and he did strike out a whole lot

10:39
Jeff Sullivan: Wasn’t *all* bad strike calls

10:40
Steve O: Live chatting seemed easy to me. Is that not the case?

10:40
Jeff Sullivan: Live chatting is not *hard* work. It just requires constant split attention, which gets draining when you enter the fourth and fifth hours

10:41
Ed in Iowa: If during the senseless delays I want to start imagining the Cubs offseason plans and my thoughts should stray into the general direction of G Stanton, should I be imagining that the Marlins want to accumulate lots of low level talent or fewer major league ready talents (assuming they throw in enough money to acquire any talent)?

10:41
Jeff Sullivan: Hard for me to imagine the Marlins trading Stanton without demanding something high-level to show for it

10:41
Jeff Sullivan: Otherwise the move is impossible to sell to a skeptical fan base

10:42
Jeff Sullivan: Provided a fan base does exist

10:42
Mike: If the Dodgers reach the WS and lose will they shed the underachieving label?

10:42
Jeff Sullivan: To some extent yes. There’s still perceived value in a pennant

10:42
Jason: How good of a job could you do as the Red Sox manager?

10:42
Jeff Sullivan: I would be fired after a month

10:43
Jeff Sullivan: Maybe even a spring-training month

10:43
Jeff Sullivan: I would be a terrible manager

10:43
Chuncey Wiggins: Do you ever root against particular players? You don’t have to name names, but are their garbage human beings you hope fail every chance they step into a batters box?

10:43
Jeff Sullivan: Yes

10:43
Jeff Sullivan: Sometimes it’s when they step onto a pitchers mound

10:43
Ben: As a follow up to an earlier answer, aside from his recent poor performance why do you think Gray is particularly ill-equipped to navigate this Houston lineup relative to his teammates?

10:44
Jeff Sullivan: Because I think Severino and Tanaka are better, and the Astros are extremely good at hitting

10:44
LegallyEagle: Is there any timeframe of when news will be released about Atlanta’s penalties? The wait is brutal.

10:44
Jeff Sullivan: Random guess: within a week after the end of the World Series

10:44
Vic Romano: What would a Cubs/Astros do for the notion of intentionally “tanking” and then reaping the benefits?  Do you think it would change anyone’s opinion, or galvanize it?

10:45
Jeff Sullivan: Wouldn’t do anything. Cubs and Astros were already successful and the Cubs literally just won last season

10:45
Dusty’s Toothpick : What position do you see the Pirates in at this point?

10:45
Jeff Sullivan: Fringe WC

10:45
Jeff Sullivan: Not enviable

10:45
Matt: Do you have a take on the Jon Jay slide last night?

10:45
Jeff Sullivan: Honestly the game was so crowded I could barely even think of it as it happened

10:46
Jeff Sullivan: I see why it could’ve been overturned, but I don’t think it was awful. I’m fine with how it played out

10:46
Cubs Fan: Heyward and Baez have been so, so bad at the plate so far in the Postseason- would you be in favor of working in Happ a bit more?

10:46
Jeff Sullivan: Yes

10:46
Steve O: The Yankees are sticking with Ellsbury/Headley/Holiday at DH instead of Clint Frazier or Tyler Austin. Do you agree?

10:46
Jeff Sullivan: Yes

10:47
Jeff Sullivan: Ellsbury, Headley, and Holliday were all league-average hitters this season

10:47
Joel: Any guess as to where Otani ends up?

10:48
Jeff Sullivan: For no particularly good reason, Cubs

10:48
Jeff Sullivan: But don’t read too much into this — I have zero special insight

10:48
Jeff Sullivan: Even if the Cubs are the favorite, that might mean they have like a 15% chance. Because *every single team* is going to be in there

10:48
Chris: Any chance Francisco Lindor signs a long-term deal this offseason?

10:48
Jeff Sullivan: Yes

10:49
Mike Fontenot : Would you so far as to call yourself anti replay?

10:49
Jeff Sullivan: No

10:49
Jeff Sullivan: Pro replay, anti overslide replay

10:50
Wieters: After reading posts questioning how the drop third strike in last night’s game maybe isn’t necessary, why aren’t we criticizing Wieter’s for simply not doing his job? He catches that ball (that never bounced), and we’re not having this conversation

10:50
Jeff Sullivan: Plenty of people out there criticizing Wieters

10:50
Jeff Sullivan: He did not have a strong game, bunt single aside

10:50
Jeff Sullivan: It’s possible to be critical of several different things at the same time!

10:52
Harry Arrieta: can the cubs rotation do to the dodgers what it did to the nats? if not, im not sure the offense and bullpen will be able to pick up the slack

10:52
Jeff Sullivan: Literally who knows! Baseball is magical!

10:53
Jeff Sullivan: Cubs couldn’t hit last year against the Giants. Blanked in consecutive games by the Dodgers in the NLCS. Then they erupted

10:53
Dann: Would your uncaught third strike be more like the foul tip on strikes 1/2? So a truly dropped/blocked third strike could be an automatic out, but a passed ball/wild pitch would be live?

10:54
Jeff Sullivan: I don’t think it makes any sense in the world that an uncaught third strike shouldn’t function like a regular strikeout. Batter should be out right away. Runners can still advance at their discretion

10:54
Guest: Do you have any thoughts on Yuli Gurriel and Marwin Gonzalez moving forward? I know Dave seems to just hate them…and I don’t think they’re stars or anything. But I feel like we’ve waiting for them to slump all year…and how do you bench guys/remove them from the lineup like that when they keep hitting like they have been?

10:54
Jeff Sullivan: I think that to some extent the Astros were lucky this year that none of the Mariners, Rangers, Angels, or A’s could pitch

10:55
Jeff Sullivan: But I’ve got nothing against those players. They’re fine players. They look worse only by comparison to the rest of the Astros

10:55
Colin: Do the Cubs lead MLB in mound visits?  Please get Chris Bosio a pinch runner.

10:55
Jeff Sullivan: I think every team leads MLB in mound visits

10:55
Jeff Sullivan: They seem to be completely out of control

10:56
Connor: MLB seems to be headed towards more replays/challenges and more pitching changes as starters go less innings. This seems in tension with the goal of increasing the pace of play and decreasing time without action. Is there a way to prevent this? Should it be prevented?

10:56
Jeff Sullivan: Pitch clock is coming, possibly in six months

10:56
Jeff Sullivan: It won’t do everything, but it will do something

10:56
Jacoby: Are you aware that Jacoby Ellsbury reached on catcher’s interference in the ALDS? I know you’ve written about this before.

10:56
Jeff Sullivan: Extremely yes

10:57
Jeff Sullivan: He’s now the only player in baseball history to reach base on catcher’s interference twice in the playoffs!

10:57
Jeff Sullivan: There have been 14 catcher’s interference calls in playoff history. Two in the last two games

10:57
Jeff Sullivan: Four in the last two playoffs

10:57
Ray Liotta as Shoeless Joe: Where do you stand on the “K-Zone” box in broadcasts? I mean, that just has to go, right?

10:57
Jeff Sullivan: I know why it’s there but I could do without it

10:58
Jeff Sullivan: Maybe they could just flash a strike-zone graphic for five seconds by the scoreboard chyron in between pitches

10:58
Guest: is there a less classy franchise in all of baseball than the cubs

10:58
Jeff Sullivan: What does that even mean

10:58
The CL: I’m curious about the trade value of a good but injured closer? For example, if the Mariners wanted to flip David Phelps’ final arb year ($6M) what might they get for him coming off of bone-spur surgery?

10:58
Jeff Sullivan: Very little

10:58
Flappy: Holographic bases now! No physical presence at all, but constant outlines available for all to see. Would people like that?

10:58
Jeff Sullivan: At the very least, make the bases softer again

10:59
Sharp: Since its a while til we get the real thing, who gets ALCS MVP: Altuve or Judge

10:59
Jeff Sullivan: Probably something weird like Starlin Castro

11:00
RSO: I’m pretty shocked Girardi opted for Tanaka in game 1 on the road given that his home-road splits are so drastic, and that the Astros have owned him lately. Thoughts on this?

11:00
Jeff Sullivan: Astros love to hit fastballs. Tanaka almost never throws fastballs. I like his chances well enough and I don’t care at all about the home/road split

11:00
Braves Fan : Would you still go with Kershaw game 1 knowing that you have these odds?

11:00
Jeff Sullivan: Yes

11:01
Jake: Who’s the worst pitcher that will start an ALCS game?

11:01
Jeff Sullivan: Sabathia

11:01
Bagel: What is your go to food when watching a baseball game?

11:01
Jeff Sullivan: If I’m at the game, popcorn, because it provides the most bites and lasts the longest

11:02
Jeff Sullivan: It’s silly to spend $7 or whatever on popcorn to begin with but if you can move past that, it’s a quality time investment compared to like a $8 hot dog

11:02
RSO: If Masahiro Tanaka has 2-3 more dominant postseason starts do you think that will change the Yankees reported stance of not resigning him if he opts out of his contract?

11:03
Jeff Sullivan: I imagine they’d still want to go another direction, finding someone without a partially torn elbow ligament

11:03
TJ: What would happen in a bench clearing brawl in the playoffs – would suspensions be immediate or would you get to appeal?

11:04
Jeff Sullivan: Everything would be sped up. Can’t not have playoff suspensions, but you also can’t have suspended playoff players playing

11:04
Mike Fontenot : Dogs or Cats?

11:05
Jeff Sullivan: I’d rather see a dog and have a cat

11:05
SignedEpsteinsMother: Jeff: Now, the fact that Baez was free to run in the first place is the dumbest rule in baseball, but it’s at least a well understood rule.

11:05
Jeff Sullivan: Full agree

11:05
Vic Romano: “The only reason runners are supposed to maintain contact with the base is so that they don’t make an attempt to advance to the next one”  — I disagree.  The reason runners are supposed to maintain contact with a base is because that’s where they are safe.  Otherwise they are out.

11:06
Jeff Sullivan: Jose Lobaton was called out for effectively doing nothing wrong. His cleat bent, and that sprung his leg off the base for a fraction of a second

11:06
Jeff Sullivan: Sure, he could’ve slid differently. No one is arguing that.

11:06
CL: Chances the Nationals can keep Harper?

11:06
Jeff Sullivan: 0.5%

11:07
Ray Liotta as Shoeless Joe: Remember that time Jack Zduriencik acquired Ryan Langerhans (http://tinyurl.com/ybdrakeg) just four days after a fan suggested it on an MLB fan chat (http://tinyurl.com/y7j4t767). Was Zduriencik really as bad as everyone thought?

Yes. Yes he was.

11:07
Jeff Sullivan: I imagine by that time Zduriencik already had the move dialed in

11:07
Jeff Sullivan: Fun memories!

11:07
Tyson in Oklahoma: Do you think implementing a pitch clock will significantly decrease playoff game times? Or do you think there is something else about playoff baseball that will make the games still take 4 hours?

11:08
Jeff Sullivan: There’s something else. Playoff games always take longer, for a variety of reasons. But the pitch clock will still help somewhat

11:08
Jeff Sullivan: All right, I need to get rolling

11:08
Jeff Sullivan: That’s six and a half hours of chatting since last night. OK!

11:09
Jeff Sullivan: Thank you everybody for hanging out, and I’m sorry for what I didn’t or couldn’t address. We’ll do it again next week at the same time, and until then, be well and have great days

We hoped you liked reading Jeff Sullivan FanGraphs Chat — 10/13/17 by Jeff Sullivan!

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Jeff made Lookout Landing a thing, but he does not still write there about the Mariners. He does write here, sometimes about the Mariners, but usually not.

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RonnieDobbs
Member
RonnieDobbs

Happy to see instant replay getting some actual critical analysis. I have been pointing at the stolen bases where the foot comes off for a fraction of a second for a long time now. That is not baseball. It’s not a baseball play. It is just a coin flip. If a guy doesn’t touch the bag or over-slides it, then yeah, that’s baseball.

This is a good example of change or progress being a neutral thing. So it helps a few times and hurts a few times. In my opinion it is net worse. There is way more BS calls than egregious calls overturned. Stealing second base or taking any contested base is just a bad bet at this point. You are out if you are out or if you come off the bag for a a micro-second. One thing that I don’t think people understand is that you can’t prevent an appendage from bouncing off the bag. They are not bad slides. It is a race to the bag, making it into something else is just brutal to review.

A solution: give the manager 5 seconds to challenge. Right now, they basically take a time out to decide whether anything looks fluky – that is not what replay is for. It is for the obviously blown calls – the one that you see immediately. They also should limit the time of the review – that would cut out the brutal analysis as well. if you can’t see it in one or two looks, then stick with what was called. I would also like to see the on-field crew make the call. As long as an anonymous party is making the calls, there is too little accountability. Basically MLB completely messed this up. I don’t think they put much thought into the whole process…