WHY NOW THE TIME FOR MLB IS TO LIMIT THE SHIFT
By Tom Verducci
Royal's manager Ned Yost did not take long to answer when I asked him what to do with the shift: "Ban it." Like many people, Yost believes shifts are pushing the offensive, and reducing singles and getting powerful players to hit the ball in the air reduces the strategy of the game.
I have come to the conclusion that at least baseball should adopt a rule in which all infielders must have at least one foot on the dirt part of the infield. Years ago, I believed rather than stifle innovation. Baseball should wait for the thugs to adapt to the changes by becoming better all-field hitter. But here's the problem: if you wait for this change ̵
Baseball has to put a thumb to the balance between attack and defense. Each trend pushes baseball further away from a younger generation of consumers who demand action and movement in shorter time frames: the increase in strikeouts, the all-time lows of singles and balls in the game, the stolen base drop, the record number of pitching changes etc.
If you just sit here and wait for baseball to self-correct – trusting in the old ebb and flow of the game – leave baseball more to national consciousness in the years to come.
There is no question that layers work as a strategy (to remove hits), but that they are counterproductive to baseball winning and holding its fans. They are especially left-handed as infielders on the right bend further back and can defend more space, as they have a shorter throw to first base than is required by infielders on the left.
The single in the middle and the one-hop-line drive to rightfield base hits for more than a century – are removed from the game. In the last four years alone, more than one thousand singles have disappeared in the middle, based on the rate this season (1,183 to be exact).
Two more proofs: First, take a look at how left-handed people who suffer as shiftworkers suffer like no other:
MLB strike average in 2018
|Total||Opposite the shift  right-handed||.247||.250|
The batting average for left or right, shift or no shift, is essentially the same with One big exception: left-handers who see a shift get hacked 20 points from their strike average.
The second proof: Look at how the left-shift shifts not only increase, but also – as the data teams use more precisely – are more effective:
Left-handed tanks with shift change
|2015||7.2%  .242|
There Is no way Babe Ruth would have been a .342 career hitter today – for many reasons, but one of them would be that clubs charged him with carefully calculated shifts Had taken blows. And to the crowd that kept people away from their holy game, their response was that Ruth would lose losses in the shift if she told Ruth to swing in a little bit and hit the ball the other way. What fun!
Imagine Tom Brady would have to pass the ball if the NFL does not prohibit contact broad receiver five meters behind the line of attack or LeBron James turns into a set shooter if the NBA has not established illegal defense  Commissioner Rob Manfred has fostered an atmosphere of lively debate on improving and modernizing baseball. Big. But such debates can last forever. Waiting for consensus is folly. What is needed now is action. Whether it's shift or pitch watches or governors, you'll always get strong arguments for pros and cons. At some point – and we're against this point – Manfred has to do something because he knows that whatever he does will be part of his fans, and especially those in the players' club who will not like it.
THE BEST HAVING CONTROLLED THIS WEEK: AN AMERICAN LEAGUE OUTFIELD WITH STARS IN DC
By Jack Dickey
I'm bumping Grant Brisbee's teeth, but it's the starting point of the AL: Aaron Judge, Mike Trout and Mookie beds. As we grumble about the all-star game, a key criticism is that player lists too often lead the phenomenon of the first half or the good-not-great player in a winning team over a more recognizable, valuable and observable star. For example: Justin Smoak started first for the AL last year; Jose Abreu did not even do the team. This year's AL squad could not find a place for Andrelton Simmons, a generation-time defense talent whose bat was halfway closer to his glove abilities, though Michael Brantley did.
But Richter / Trout / Betts is as good as he gets, a distinctive triumph. They are probably three of the top five baseball players, and young, magnetic and dynamic as well. Stabbing and stealing (even Judge stole six bags this year), they signal what's best about the game.
On Tuesday evening, Trout and Judge Homer chopped off the two best pitchers in the Netherlands, Max Scherzer and Jacob deGrom, and everyone went for a walk too. (Betts went 0-for-3.) The homers, however, were gravy. Easy to see that these three share an outfield was the kind of treat that only the midsummer classic can offer
What's the losers in the MACHADO SWEEPSTAKES?
By Emma Baccellieri
The Manny Machado contests are over, and we've already mentioned what that means for the winner – but what about the losers? Here's what's next for two of the teams who were unsuccessful at Machado.
Philadelphia Phillies: The Phillies' current lead over the Braves is as thin as half a game – and their biggest lead of the season was only one and a half games at any one time. In other words, they have no room to relax here. Their biggest deadline needs remain at Shortstop, where J.P Crawford had to pause four weeks ago with a hand injury. (He'll be back soon and has since been replaced by rookie Scott Kingery who has not been better.) Earlier this week, Jon Heyman threw out a few names they might be interested in:
Escobar would indeed be one big booty, currently in the middle of the best season of his career on the plate. Its 124 OPS + is higher than anyone else's in Philadelphia's everyday life. With Machado out of the game, there is no clear miracle movement that would give them room to breathe in this tight race – but that's as close as possible.
Milwaukee Brewers: The Brewers' Six In the first half, they have played three games behind the Cubs and on a tough schedule – starting a series against a losing team on 7 August – the next weeks will be decisive for her. Their hole on the shortstop is not as urgent as that of the Phillies, but their situation is still not great. Orlando Arcia failed to get his bat working earlier in the season and has since been replaced by Tyler Saladino, who was a better option, if not an inspirational one. The acquisition that could be most useful for you? Brian Dozier of the Twins, who would reinforce their infield as an upgrade to second baseman over Jonathan Villar and Brad Miller.
ROUNDTABLE: WHAT PLAYER DEFINES THE SECOND HALF FOR HIS TEAM?
Emma Baccellieri: A.J. Pollock. The Diamondbacks have a tough race ahead of them – it should be increasingly difficult for them to stay in the NL West with the Dodgers, but a Wild Card spot is a real chance. Pollock was off for a good part of the first half with a broken elbow, but he looked as sharp as ever since his return two weeks ago. Right now he is on the way to a career-best performance on the pitch and his midfield defense remains strong. If this team wants to prevail, Paul Goldschmidt can not do the heavy heavy for the offensive alone. But if Pollock stays healthy and keeps playing, there is good reason to expect success.
Gabriel Baumgaertner: The Dodgers have a championship on Manny Machado in the Ultimate Short-Term Concert. Apart from a stunning demise of his offensive, he is the player who will hit baseball the most. Perhaps his short term in Los Angeles is considered a failure, but it's hard to think of any other player who will influence the second half more than Machado.
Michael Beller: It must be Clayton Kershaw. The Dodgers have found their way across the NL West, although everything seems to go awry in the first half. You may win the division without Kershaw closing the door every fifth game, but you probably will not be able to get through the NL without him. Even though we need to recalibrate what Kershaw's top form is, you can not question his position as the Dodgers' key player. If he can be consistently 80% to 90% of what he has been in the past, the Dodgers will withhold their NL West enemies and enter the postseason as a legitimate World Series threat. If he can not be, they can simply limp off to the Wild Card Game or miss the postseason altogether.
Jack Dickey: It's hard to say what to make of the Phillies of the first place, 53-42 despite an offensive ranking 11th in the NL in OPS, a pitching staff ranking # 7 allowed in runs, and a defense that ranked 12th in the spin balls in the game in outs. These are not the typical credentials of a division winner, and if a big talent infusion expires on the deadline, the Phillies will need their horses to continue galloping through September to fend off the Braves and Nats.
Most notable among these horses is Aaron Nola, an all-star Righty who has thrown more innings than any other NL pitcher who was not called Max Scherzer, and a .199 / .259 / .278 Line stopped. Although he appeared in a band box and did not have any overpowering things, he allowed only two home teamers at home all year, and the Phillies have gone 14-6 in his 20 starts overall. Nola would be forgiven if he retired – he had never been so good at limiting his career before in his career, nor has he ever thrown more than 168 innings – but the Phillies can not Afford. There is simply too little talent for Philly to continue winning should his Herculean efforts cease.
Connor Grossman: I will choose the unconventional route here and choose the Scooter Gennett the Red. He's in the middle of a breakout season, while the Reds are still picking up the pieces of a terrible start to the season. Gennett is a big reason Cincinnati has dug out a 21-game under -500 hole to a 43-53 record. He is in the process of winning a knockout and beating nearly 30 home league players. Everything from a man who had 62 home league goals in his first four seasons. What a story it would be if the Reds ended up with a winning record (or anything near it).
Tom Verducci: Yu Darvish, Cubs. Chicago's big free-agent takeover was a bankruptcy. He was injured and was bad if he was not injured (1-3, 4.95 in eight starts). The Cubs carry their bullpen – Chicago is on the rise for a franchise-low 70 starts of six innings or more. Darvish is still not about to come back (Chicago can operate Drew Smyly from Tommy John before Darvish is done), but Darvish has the stuff and the pedigree to influence not only the pennant race on the track but also the postseason.
RANK 'EM: CURRENT FIRST PLACE TEAMS CAN LOSE THEIR SPOT ON THE DIVISION
By Michael Beller
Every year since 2000, at least one team finished in first place at the All-Star Break the year in the first place. Which current first place could continue the series this year? Let's arrange it, most likely from the first one, most likely.
6. Cleveland Indians
Leadership: 7 1/2 Games about the Twins
The Indians have the worst record of all divisional leaders in baseball, but they are also the safest bet to stay on their division. The AL Central is not only the worst division in the majors this year. It could be considered one of the worst in MLB history. Even taking the Indians' 52-43 record into account, the AL Central is 197-280 a year, good for a .413 win percentage. Unlike the Indians and Twins, each team is at least 16 games under .500, and the Royals and White Sox are both on pace to lose at least 106 games. The Indians are not caught.
5. Houston Astros
Leadership: 5.0 Games Over The Mariners
The Mariners were one of the brightest surprises of the first half, but the bet here is that Astros will win more than five games for AL West. That says something, given the competition of the Mariners and A & # 39; s. But the Astros are an absolute juggernaut, with the best rotation of baseball and one of only five offenses that score more than five runs per game (the Red Sox, Yankees, Cubs and Indians are the other four). The Astros are a force, and despite the imminent presence of Seattle and Oakland, they are likely to repeat themselves as division champions.
. 4 Chicago Cubs
Leadership: 3.0 Games Over The Brewers
The Cubs played a lot of uneven baseball in the first half. Yu Darvish, Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo spent all their time in the DL. Darvish, Jose Quintana and Tyler Chatwood together for a 4.55 ERA. All this and the Cubs still have the best record in the Netherlands. They lead the NL in run differential, runs per game and OBP, and they've done everything with their two best thugs, Bryant and Rizzo, who do not live up to expectations.
3. Boston Red Sox
Leadership: 4 1/2 games over the Yankees
Make no mistake, the Red Sox must fend off the best challenge to stay at the top of their division. However, the two division leaders below have the lowest leads, and both could be out of the field on Friday night due to the time action. The Red Sox, however, are not considered safer than these teams. Behind Mookie Betts and J. D. Martinez, the Red Sox lead the majors in runs per game. Chris Sale brings another Cy Young caliber season together, and Rick Porcello and Eduardo Rodriguez have joined the fight for David Price. The Red Sox could use a rotation aid, and they have a few more weeks to find them, but they do not need them to win the AL East. The Yankees should do the most exciting division race of this baseball, as neither wants to go down to the wild card game.
2. Los Angeles Dodgers
Leadership: 1/2 Game Over the Diamondbacks
It's a small miracle that the Dodgers are on the NL West. At the end of April they were 12-16. They were in late May 26-30, the same record as the Tigers and a game better than the Blue Jays. The team leader in Krug WAR is Ross Stripling. Max Muncy leads the Dodgers in Hitter WAR. Corey Seager is out for the season and Clayton Kershaw has made two trips to the DL. And yet, here they are, 53-43, half a game better than the Diamondbacks and will add Manny Machado. LA is more likely to fall out of the first than the Red Sox, but it would be no surprise to see it in NL West with a bigger lead than the Red Sox in the AL East.
1. Philadelphia Phillies
Guidance: 0.5 games against the Braves
The gap between the Phillies and the other first-place finishers can not be emphasized enough. They may be half a game better than the Dodgers, but they did not necessarily play that way. Their Pythagorean record, which measures the expected loss of revenue based on the run difference, is only 49-46. This is much worse than the runner-up Braves (54-40), following the Angels (51-46) and Rays (50-46), both non-contenders
The Phillies are also the only team on the list , who must take care of the third-placed team in the department as well as the second-placed team. This is not disrespect to the aspiring Braves, but the Nationals are MLB's sleeping giant. They crashed to a 48-48 first half, but no team with Bryce Harper, Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Anthony Rendon, Trea Turner and Juan Soto can now be counted. At 51-45, the Nationals also have a better Pythagoras record than the Phillies. Philadelphia may be in pole position in the NL East right now, but do not bet they'll be there in October.
REVIEW OF THE PRESENTING PROPOSALS OF SI
By Gabriel Baumgaertner
How We Are Committed As a sports news agency, we made preseason predictions before this baseball season began. Many of them will have moments of happiness and more of them will be wrong.
Let us revisit our work from March.
• None of us are able to achieve perfection, as some of us have predicted the Mets have twins as playoff teams, others predicted that Yu Darvish received a significant award, while some insisted that an NL Headquarters team that had fired its manager, would appear in the NLCS. The beauty or horror of the preseason predictions is that so-called experts are foolish, as injuries, fires and unpredictability are destroying our visions of the coming season.
• The biggest disappointment? I would argue with the twins while others would say the mets. The Byron Buxton of the Twins, one of the alleged breakout stars of 2018, has a slash line of .156. / 183 / .200 over 28 games, while the star-power hitter Miguel Sanó currently lives in Fort Myers Class-A rehab his swing. Meanwhile, the Mets have the best starting pitcher in Jacob deGrom's baseball, but have given him five overall victories despite his dominant first half.
• The Cardinals, my choice for the NLCS, have fired their manager and are struggling to find capable thugs despite their usual ability to find Star-Start pitchers (Miles Mikolas, Jack Flaherty). Forecasts are flawed ideas that are doomed to failure, but the decline of the promising prerogatives in Central America has further solidified Major League Baseball by owners and have-nots that may resemble the future of a game.
• In this game of having the first half is disappointing for those who long for smaller market teams to disrupt the usual Major League Baseball order. But the success of Los Angeles, New York (AL) and Boston could ultimately benefit a game that needs a better and sexier look, even if our experts are wrong.
• And we can all take our time to applaud Michael Beller, brave enough to predict A as the Wild Card team, while laughing at Jack Dickey, who calls the hapless Rangers one of his wild card players. Selected teams. We know something about baseball, but that's a passage that reminds you that we do not really know that much.
WHAT IS AT TAP: STEPHEN STRASBURG RETURNS AS NAT'S HOPE TO CHANGE COURSE
By Michael Beller
Hitter to see: Alex Bregman, Astros  Bregman was one of the hottest baseball players who finished the first half MVP. He is one of three players in baseball with a penetration rate of less than 12.5%, a walk rate of more than 12.5% and a slugging percentage of .500 or higher. The other two are Jose Ramirez and Mookie Betts. If Bregman already proves to be Houston's best hitter at this stage of his career, the Astros' chances of winning back-to-back titles are all the greater
pitcher: Stephen Strasburg, Nationals
Despite the disappointing first half of the league, the Nationals are in the NL East 5 1/2 games before the first place. Strasburg's injury had more than a little to do with the team's struggles. After spending more than a month on the DL with shoulder inflammation, he will take the ball in the team's first game in the second half and face the Braves on Friday night. The Nationals will not stay in the NL East race, let alone climb the Braves and Phillies without a healthy Strasburg. It may only be a start, but it feels much more than that for the rights of the Nationals.
Series to watch: Dodgers at Brewers, Friday to Sunday
There are two other major series in the NL, in which the Braves the Nationals and Rockies have a guest at the Diamondbacks, but this one has priority. The Dodgers lead the NL West, but it is the Brewers who get on with a better record at 55-43. However, the Dodgers made the big splash during the All-Star break and fended off the Brewers and Phillies to take over Manny Machado from the Orioles. This is a big series that starts the second half for both teams and starts a particularly brutal circuit for the Dodgers. After this series, they visit the Phillies and Braves, return home to house the Brewers and Astros, and then return to the streets to play the A & # 39; s and Rockies.
TWEETS OF THE WEEK
FROM THE VALUE: HAPPY BIRTHDAY, PINE TAR GAME
By Connor Grossman
The above clip will live forever in the history of baseball: Royals third Baseman George Brett charges like a cop to referee Tim McClelland, who's the future hall of Famer out after a go-ahead home game with two outs in the ninth. Why was he outside? Brett's bat had pine tar too high on his bat. Most fans know at least that much about the story.
What you may not know is that a judge from the New York State Supreme Court had to decide if the umpire's decision should be overturned. And as soon as it was and the game resumed 25 days later, the Yankees tried to appeal that Brett missed the first base. Experience the serenity and drama that followed Steve Wulf's story in this game, officially 35 years old next Tuesday.
Here's the full play and the following excerpt:
Last week, two lawyers representing the fans went to court to reward their tickets to the Pine Tar Game – the Yankees had said that only season ticket holders can come in. The Yankees and their lawyer, Roy Cohn, joined the fans and tried to postpone the game on Thursday. In the meantime, the Yankee players repeatedly voted whether to play the game or go to Gossage's house to pledge and host a pool party.
The royals literally stayed in the air. Their TWA Charter No. 8732 left Kansas City on Thursday at 11:00 am Central Time, headed for New York or Baltimore, where they were to play the next day. This morning, Justice Orest V. Maresca of the Bronx Supreme Court issued a restraining order preventing the game. One of the Yankees' arguments was that their security force, which was only a quarter in size, would be poorly equipped to handle the masses. The American League, which had to lend itself to National League lawyers, went to the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court, and at 3:35 pm, Judge Joseph P. Sullivan said: "As far as the stay is concerned, I can best specify it in two words : & # 39; game ball. & # 39; s & quot;