Dogs vs. cats. Beer drinkers vs. wine snots. Conservatives vs. liberals. These creatures are at each other’s throats at all times. They are polar opposites.
Yes, baseball has such a duo as well. It’s the numbers crowd versus the traditionalists. The calculator crowd, borne out of fantasy baseball, believes the answer to all of baseball’s riddles can be found on an Excel spreadsheet. Traditionalists believe baseball is part of athletics.
Joe, who leans heavily on the traditionalist side (though Joe believes in the strength of match-ups), had a long, beer-pouring session with a numbers cat recently.
For reasons unknown, the SABR crowd seems to dismiss strikeouts, shrugging their shoulders at strikeouts as a method toward the dreaded phrase, “Working the count.”
Traditionalists believe large numbers of strikeouts are the vile result of undisciplined baseball.
As Joe told this numbers dude in this discussion, if a batter puts the ball in play, Joe doesn’t know, nobody knows, what will happen. A strikeout? Joe knows exactly what will happen: Batter drags the bat in the ground on his way back to the dugout after an out has been recorded.
The skill/beauty of putting the ball in play is what gave the Rays a win today.
Yes, it was three sacrifice flies that gave the Rays a 3-0 lead en route to a 6-2 win. That nice lead, oh, and Desmond Jennings’ two-run blast, gave Merlot Joe enough of a cushion to go to his otherwise shaky middle relievers after pulling winner Jeff Niemann in the sixth.
The bullpen, fortunately didn’t get blasted too bad, thanks largely to putting the ball in play which meant three runs.
Nice job Rays!