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Good morning baseball fans!
The MLB owners are meeting in Houston for their quarterly get-together. On the docket, a discussion of the season length and the roster size.
For new general managers, the honeymoon part is over, says our own Michael Bradburn.
The Mets are going to give Jonathan Niese a shot in their rotation (spoiler alert: it didn’t work well on Wednesday night).
Both Ken Giles and Luke Gregerson are using their sliders to dominate the league.
Interestingly, neither pitcher has improved much overall. Giles has a 2.61 DRA and 76 cFIP this season; Gregerson's DRA is 2.63, while his cFIP is 72. A sole swing-and-miss pitch, even one as elite as these sliders, won't make a shutdown reliever. That's especially true if his walk rate rises (as Gregerson's has) or if he doesn't get as many grounders (as Giles hasn't).
Still, the fact that they've perfected their sliders counts for something. Gregerson and Giles are already great pitchers, as the Astros expected them to be. Their monstrous offspeed pitches have put them on the path to historic greatness. If they manage to perfect their harder offerings as well, the Rangers — and the rest of the American League — will have some serious problems down the stretch.
Dan Duquette has done a lot to make the Orioles good again (or great again, if you are so inclined), so why doesn’t he get credit?
Here is a roundup of news from around the American League West.
Old comparisons for Mookie Betts are just that, old. Dave Cameron of FanGraphs explored some new comparisons for the Red Sox young phenom.
Eventually, we have to expect rational behavior to kick in, and for pitchers to stop throwing Betts middle-middle and middle-in fastballs that he can turn on. At some point, the scouting report on him has to change, and when they start pitching him more carefully, the walks should come back, and the power will probably come back down a bit. After some more adjustments, Betts may indeed settle in as an Andrew McCutchen type of hitter.
But right now, with how he’s being pitched? He’s more like Guerrero, Ramirez, or Garciaparra. Or peak-level Robinson Cano. His 2016 season looks like something that would fit in perfectly with Adrian Beltre‘s career. A low-walk, high-power superstar? This is not the Mookie Betts any of us were expecting.
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Today in Baseball History: The Dodgers and Cubs play a 21-inning game, that took two days to complete.