Thursday June 30, 2022
M's Beat O's in Fun Fashion, and How OBP Can Be Lower than BA
Yesterday I saw my first in-person M's win of the season (I was 0-3), and it was pretty definitive, 9-3 over Baltimore. All the damage was done in two innings.
In the second, off starter Austin Voth, whose name sounds like something out of “Star Wars”—some mix of Hoth, Darth Vader, and the western themes of “Boba Fett”—we got a one-out double from Abraham Toro, and then relied upon pee-wee baseball from the opposition: E-5, E-5, and the O's catcher hoping J.P. Crawford's dribbler would go foul. Add a sac fly and we're up 3-0.
Two innings later, it's 3-1, and the O's sub out Voth for another V pitcher, Vespi, Nick, a 25-year-old rookie who sported a nifty 0.79 ERA and a similar 0.794 WHIP in 11.1 innings. So I guess he was due because the M's made it seem like he was throwing batting practice: double, single, double, SF, HR, single, double, and that was all she wrote for Vespi. In came Bryan Baker, who promptly threw a wild pitch plating another run. Then a walk and another sac fly made it 9-1. Toro, who began the inning with his second double, finally ended it with a pop-up to second. It was a fun inning. The homer, by the way, was from rookie Julio Rodriguez and it was a jaw-dropper: upper deck, left field, and not just down the line, either. It was halfway to center. The kid's fun.
This team is fun. M's are still, whatever, five, six games below .500, with seemingly no shot at the postseason, but I actually look forward to seeing players now. You have a choice as to favorites. Hell, they're having fun with the music at the park. The walkup music for journeyman Sam Haggerty (28 years old, .580 OPS) is the theme from “The Godfather,” they riffed on Paul Simon's “Me & Julio” for our rookie star, while we got a nice mix of Seattle icons: a couple of Hendrix songs, a mashup of Nirvana's “Smells Like Team Spirit.” More Seattle, please. And less John Fogerty. They played his '80s hit “Centerfield,” whose opening riff always make me think we're about to get “La Bamba.” (Did the Ritchie Valens estate ever sue?) Just play “La Bamba.” Go to the source.
By the way: those E-5s in the 2nd inning? That was O's third baseman Jonathan Arauz, a recent waiver pickup from Boston, who, for the season, sported the statistical oddity of having an OBP lower than his batting average. I'd forgotten how that was possible until I looked it up online. It's the sac flies. They don't count toward BA but do toward OBP. Add in zero walks in 24 plate appearances and you get that anomaly. Sadly, for him, none of his numbers were any good. At the start of the game, his line was .136/.130/.273, and then he went 0-4 with two errors. Ouch.