‘‘My worst stretch, and it’s the best my arm has ever felt,’’ Sale said Sunday. ‘‘That goes to show you how crazy sports is. But, yeah, my arm has felt kind of the best it ever has in this last month-and-a-half stretch.’’ [...]
‘‘Yeah, I’m loose,’’ he said. ‘‘The sun’s out and it’s warm, so I like that a heck of a lot better. [The missed start] was something that was very minor. We took the right precautions in getting an extra week of rest. Not only that, but we did some work to help strengthen it and give it a rest and reboot for the rest of the season.’’
That's good to hear and nice to read. It's always helpful when we can think aloud here, and then get an answer with minimal turnaround time. If we can't get credentials during the season, then I guess this is the next-best thing to occasional access.
I'd offer a sincere thanks, but there's just one problem with the article -- you'd have to be a regular reader of this site to know what the article followed up on, because you'd have seen this paragraph here Sunday morning ...
We'll see what happens when Harry Pavlidis separates Sale's four-seamer from his two-seamer, but right now, Brooks' Pitch f/x data shows his fastball averaged 95.33 mph on Saturday night. At the very least, it seems that Sale will have five straight starts with an average four-seam fastball of 95. Last year, Sale had four such starts total.
... before seeing this paragraph on suntimes.com Sunday afternoon:
Sale touched 97 mph and averaged 95 mph on Saturday night, an average he’s maintained over his last five starts. Against the Mets on June 25, he touched 98.7 and averaged 97. By comparison, he averaged 95 over four starts total last season when he went 17-8 with a 3.05 ERA.
I'd write it off as a coincidence -- especially if BrooksBaseball.com were credited, because then it could be said that the source material led to the same conclusions independently. But the same thing happened last year (see this post from May 10, then this article published for the May 11 Sun-Times), so here we are.
I work in a newsroom, so I understand the inherent desire to be exclusive. But this isn't a case of one outlet beating another -- it's symbiosis. I used my resources (no deadline, editorial autonomy) to research an observation, and the beat writer used his resources (access) to get exclusive information from the subject. Both sides inform the other at no cost, so what's with the hang-ups?
When I refer to somebody else's information, I point to the source in one way or another (see above and below), because attribution is fundamental to the process. That's usually how it works, but we in the less traditional ranks often don't receive the same essential courtesy for silly reasons. And while this happens to SSS a handful of times a year, it probably happens to BrooksBaseball.com weekly. Dan Brooks and Harry Pavlidis provide incredibly robust pitch data in a digestible format at no cost to the consumer, and are too often taken for granted. The information may be free, but that doesn't make the producers your unpaid research assistants. I can't speak for them, but I'm past the point of needing college credits.
(Speaking of Brooks and Harry, as an addendum to the Sale post -- both his four-seamer and sinker registered over 95 mph. Thanks, guys.)
Two of the White Sox's top trade targets are injured, and the third is stuck in a big rut. Alex Rios is hitting .190/.244/.253 over his last 21 games, but he says the rumors have nothing to do with it. Of course he's going to say that, but I'm guessing the environment is affecting his play, if only because he's not running out a lot of his grounders.
On that subject, Ventura says his staff has noticed a lesser effort in some regards as the losses pile up.
"It’s been mentioned," Ventura said. "But again, any time you get down and you feel like your back is against the wall, that’s the first thing you have to make sure you’re doing is doing everything you can, running hard. Because any time you don’t, it kind of adds to the disgust of not doing well."
"You never get to a point where you’re just giving up," Ventura also said. Hold that thought while I rope in another article ...
In his weekly column, Matt Spiegel predicts that Ventura will "peacefully walk away from managing at season's end." That's not a bad bet. Ventura has said that teams ultimately decide a manager's shelf life, and not a contract. Trying to determine his influence (or lack thereof) is similar to gauging the effort level -- at this point, it's hard to tell where the lack of talent ends and the lack of team cohesion begins. This territory is unfamiliar.
One guy who has risen above the mire is Gordon Beckham. He escaped his defensive slump, and it hasn't cost him his bat. He's hitting .341/.367/.432, and it's not that he's hit safely in five of six games, but those five games are multi-hit affairs. It's always scary when Beckham drops the phrase "turned the corner," but there are finally real numbers to justify the sentiment this time.
Perhaps the greatest evidence of Beckham truly transforming: James at Southside Showdown noted that he hasn't hit an infield fly this year.
You can't bring Jake Peavy down, either. He doesn't see the Sox needing a lengthy rebuilding process, because, "This team here can really, really pitch. We have good offensive players, too." Well, he's half-right.