Entering Wednesday, it seemed like White Sox relievers were the players who could most use an off day.
Instead, it's Todd Frazier, who was fortunate to escape from his dive into the stands with a mere lacerated lip, rather than a broken nose or jaw. Nobody knew what was hiding underneath his glove, and the speed at which he ran off the field alarmed everybody (and "freaked out" Mat Latos, to be specific).
Blood pouring out of head wounds unsettles even the toughest people, so I don't blame Frazier for any overreaction. Instead, I'm growing to appreciate his honesty, whether he's talking about the injury ...
Frazier: "I got scared feeling with my tongue, when it went through my lip. I never had that before."— Daryl Van Schouwen (@CST_soxvan) May 11, 2016
... or what it deprived him of in the ninth inning.
"It was an unfortunate play that turned the tables for us," said Frazier, who added he did make the catch of the foul ball. "I wish I could have been out there for the last two at-bats because I've seen (reliever Sam) Dyson before and have hit him really well. I'm not saying I would have hit a home run, but I would have liked my chances."
The silver lining? He finally got some time off. He's started all of the Sox' 35 games, as have Jose Abreu and Brett Lawrie. Robin Ventura had a good line about two of them ...
Ventura on rest for Frazier, Lawrie: 'Fraze you want to give a day off, but he's swinging well. Brett, I just don’t want him sitting by me'— Daryl Van Schouwen (@CST_soxvan) May 11, 2016
... and they had good ones for him, as they both homered on Wednesday.
Anyway, with the Sox off and a lot of baseball news to fill our time, let's jog through some stories.
There have been a lot of articles written about Chris Sale's more efficient approach, and how the underlying numbers show that he's courting danger. The problem is that Sale is 7-0 with a 1.79 ERA and a 0.76 WHIP, and while these studies attempt to show what his real performance is or might be, it seems like he's going to have to have his back against the wall -- or get his clock cleaned -- before we actually know what kind of switches he can flip.
While the White Sox' hot start hasn't yet translated to attendance numbers, their TV ratings have jumped 63 percent compared to last season.
Major League Baseball's replay system is working when it comes to correcting calls, but it's not gaining any efficiency, as replays are up in number, and the time per replay is creeping the wrong way. Jayson Stark presented six ideas for improvement to John Schuerholz, the original chairman of the first replay committee, and there's one that creates a clear divide between the league offices and the parties Stark polled:
Here's a thought: Seeing as all 30 teams go through New York every season, invite them to tour the replay center. We bet it would erase a lot of misconceptions.
We keep hearing people wonder why umpires in the replay center don't start looking at close calls the moment they're made, instead of (allegedly) waiting for a challenge. Schuerholz and others say that's already happening, and umpires in the replay center begin looking at different angles immediately. But execs across the sport find that hard to believe.
"That's supposed to happen, but it's not," one executive said.
Facing his former team, Max Scherzer tied the MLB for strikeouts by fanning 20 Tigers. That's almost as many strikeouts as pitches he threw outside the zone (23 out of 119).
Hey, I too want places I've never visited to relocate to where I live so I don't have to make an effort, but I keep it to myself.
- The Stephen Strasburg contract makes sense for everyone involved - SBNation.com
- Jake Arrieta hints worth more than Stephen Strasburg, won't give hometown discount - ESPN
The ramifications of Stephen Strasburg signing a seven-year, $175 million deal? Next year's pitching market is awful, and Jake Arrieta has reason to think he's a better bet than Strasburg. Both are Scott Boras clients.
J.B. Wendelken, traded by the White Sox to the Athletics in the Lawrie deal, made his MLB debut on Sunday. He looked like an Oakland pitcher, but that's not something to shoot for these days. He gave up four runs on four hits and a walk over 1⅓ innings, and David Laurila, who gets some of the best answers in baseball, mined the emotions behind an eventful day for a rookie. A sample:
"When Curt [Young] came out [after the first three batters reached], he told me to relax and just go after the next hitter. Even though it was Manny Machado, go after the next hitter. He didn’t say anything about it being Machado, but I watch these hitters on TV. He’s really good. That’s the weird thing. You watch them on TV, wishing you could be there, and then you’re there, staring them eye-to-eye. And if you make one bad pitch…