"Third Time's the Charm!" -- The 2019 Los Angeles Dodgers Season Thread

NewportDodger

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Social media and the media in general have effectively ruined “Innocent until proven guilty.”

Regardless of how this plays out, Urias’ life has changed forever most likely due to the way the term “Domestic Violence,” is viewed.
 

Shmolnick

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While I support and applaud women calling out truly horrible men (Harvey Weinstein, for example) and I think those men should be prosecuted and made examples of, instantaneous information and social media have created a monster, as NewportDodger points out. Guys like Urias who get into an argument with a woman and lose their shit should not be and are not in the same category as those horrible offenders. Yet MLB treats them all the same, as if all offenses are equal in severity. Sure, Urias should be punished but the punishment should be commensurate with the offense. And if the woman declined to file a complaint, then there is no official crime. Shouldn't that factor into MLB's punishment? This whole issue pisses me off, quite frankly.

We live in strange times.
 
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There Is a Hit-by-Pitch Epidemic in Baseball
With pitchers throwing harder than at any other point in history, it’s fair to say there has never been a more painful time to be a hitter
Chicago White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson’s penchant for dramatic bat flips following home runs—and the way they attract retaliation by opposing pitchers—has revived the never-ending debate about whether beanballs are a necessary check against disrespectful behavior or a barbaric anachronism.

But all this talk about pitchers hitting batters on purpose has distracted from a more puzzling question: Why are pitchers hitting so many batters by accident?

One out of every 96 plate appearances across the major leagues in 2018 ended with a batter being drilled. That was most often since 1900, a time when the National League consisted of teams called the Chicago Orphans, the Boston Beaneaters and the Brooklyn Superbas. This year is on track to leave even more bruises, with a batter being hit every 94 plate appearances.

With pitchers throwing harder than at any other point in history, it’s fair to say there has never been a more painful time to be a hitter.
“It’s the most dangerous part of baseball, that somebody can get hit with a 100 mph fastball and get seriously hurt,” Cincinnati Reds pitcher Jared Hughes said. “It’s definitely not OK, and pitchers need to be better.”

The rate of hit batsmen in baseball has varied through the decades, but the trajectory has roughly gone like this: They were most common during the Dead Ball Era of the early 20th century, when batters were more likely to lean into pitches on purpose as a way to get on base. Hit batsman plummeted to all-time lows in the 1930s and ‘40s, climbed after the advent of helmets prompted hitters to crowd the plate with confidence and then dropped again through the ‘80s.

Since then, batters being struck by baseballs have been steadily on the rise, with the frequency exploding in the last couple seasons. This season is on a pace to have nearly 25% more batters hit than 20 years ago.

“You want them to feel uncomfortable at all times,” veteran right-hander Tanner Roark said. “You want to let them know there is a pitcher out there. It’s not just a robot. Every now and then you need that brushback pitch.”

One explanation for why batters being hit has become so much more common is simple: an increasing number of pitchers who throw the ball extremely hard—and don’t have much of an idea of where it’s going.

Velocity reigns in the modern game. Clubs look for arms that light up radar guns and are willing to promote flamethrowers through the minor-league system at a younger age than ever before on the strengths of their turbocharged fastballs. With teams relying on their bullpens more than ever, it has created an army of frequently used relievers who rack up strikeouts, even while often missing the catcher’s target.
The numbers bear that out: Starters are hitting batters once every 109 plate appearances this season. For relievers, it’s one every 78 plate appearances.

Batters know it, too. Reds outfielder Scott Schebler typically wears a leg guard at the plate to protect against foul balls, but against certain relievers with a reputation for wildness, he’ll add an elbow guard, too, just in case.

“Starters usually know where it’s going,” said Schebler, who has been hit 23 times since 2017. “You’re more worried about relievers coming in and you’re thinking, ‘Man, I don’t know if he’s got it today.’”

Another reason for the increase is more subtle, and it speaks to the cat-and-mouse game hitters and pitchers have been playing for generations. Pitchers are throwing inside more than they once did—not to hit batters, but to try to exploit weaknesses they see in them.

“That’s how you get hitters out,” said New York Mets utility man Jeff McNeil, who has already been hit by eight pitches this season. “A lot of hitters have holes in their swings inside.

It wasn’t always that way. Throughout the ‘90s and into the 2000s, pitchers were taught to keep the ball low and outside, feeding hitters a steady diet of sinkers and sliders that darted that direction. But buoyed by the introduction of data proving the value of elevating the ball, batters eventually caught up, adjusting the path of their swings to include more of an uppercut.

This comes at a time when home runs are flying out of ballparks in record numbers, aided by a more aerodynamic baseball that rewards batters for hitting it into the air. As a result, pitchers live in fear of hitters extending their arms and lifting, since so often that pitch winds up in the seats. So now they consistently throw four-seam fastballs up in the zone and in.

In 2008, the first year Baseball Savant offers pitch-location tracking, only 29% of pitches were thrown on the inner part of the plate. This year, it’s nearly 32.5%—which amounts to more than 25,000 additional inside pitches than 11 years ago. As a rule, pitchers throwing inside would rather miss too far inside than letting the ball leak back over the plate, so naturally, more batters are getting hit.

“I’m trying to get in on your hands,’ Reds righty Michael Lorenzen said. “Jamming you is my only chance of knowing you’re not going to hit a home run.”

When Dave Eiland took over as the Mets’ pitching coach last season, he said he hoped his team led the league in hit batsmen, because it meant his pitchers established the inner portion of the plate. They didn’t quite do that, but they did set a franchise record by beaning 71 hitters.
So far this year, entering Monday, the Kansas City Royals topped the league with 24, followed by the Miami Marlins at 23. Chris Sale of the Boston Red Sox and Spencer Turnbull of the Detroit Tigers had each hit six batters.
And it isn’t going to stop, which is why Minnesota Twins lefty Taylor Rogers offered this piece of advice to hitters.
“They can be more athletic and get out of the way,” he said.
That’s a decent read. Each point is valid when trying to figure out the increase in hit batters.
One point left out is the fact a lot more hitters are basically standing on the plate, and thus makes it very difficult to get out of the way of a pitch that may only be 2-3 inches off the black.
 

NewportDodger

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While I support and applaud women calling out truly horrible men (Harvey Weinstein, for example) and I think those men should be prosecuted and made examples of, instantaneous information and social media have created a monster, as NewportDodger points out. Guys like Urias who get into an argument with a woman and lose their shit should not be and are not in the same category as those horrible offenders. Yet MLB treats them all the same, as if all offenses are equal in severity. Sure, Urias should be punished but the punishment should be commensurate with the offense. And if the woman declined to file a complaint, then there is no official crime. Shouldn't that factor into MLB's punishment? This whole issue pisses me off, quite frankly.

We live in strange times.
It would not surprise me to see the Dodgers try to get ahead of MLB and suspend him for 40 games or so. It will all depend on how the prosecution in the case wants to pursue it and if the video is incriminating. With the woman not pressing charges, it will have a lot to do with the witnesses who adamantly stated he pushed her down and the video cameras in the parking structure plus any obvious injuries.
 

beefchopper

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It is starting to feel like Machado has become Pollock II, saving most of his offensive production and homers for games against the Dodgers.
 

beefchopper

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beefchopper

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League office will make next call in case of arrested Dodgers pitcher Julio Urías

By Pedro Moura
Major League Baseball placed Dodgers pitcher Julio Urías on administrative leave on Tuesday while it investigates his Monday arrest on suspicion of domestic battery. Los Angeles Police Department officers arrested him at a Beverly Center parking lot after an alleged physical altercation with a woman.

The arrest and investigation thrust Urías’ future with the franchise into doubt, but the league will make a decision before the Dodgers do. In 2015, MLB and its players’ association agreed to a joint domestic violence policy. It grants the commissioner’s office the right to place accused players on leave during investigations and allows players the right to challenge any decision made. As part of the policy, players are addressed in English and Spanish about domestic violence.

The commissioner’s office can also extend the administrative leave longer than its initial week. There are no minimum or maximum penalties, though there are precedents. Since the policy took effect, the nine suspensions handed down to players arrested or accused of domestic abuse have ranged from 15 to 100 games. At least two investigated players have not been suspended, including former Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig.
TMZ reported that there is surveillance video of the incident involving Urías. The contents of that video could affect how the commissioner’s office rules, and then how the team moves forward. The Dodgers said in a statement Tuesday that they had learned of the arrest in the morning and were in the process of gathering information.

“As a result, we have no comment at this time regarding the incident,” the statement read. “However, every allegation of domestic violence must be taken seriously and addressed promptly, and we will cooperate fully with the authorities and Major League Baseball to ensure that that happens in this case.”

In recent years, the Dodgers have opted against acquiring players accused of domestic violence. In December 2015, they were deep into negotiations with the Reds on a trade for closer Aroldis Chapman. When the Dodgers learned that Chapman had been involved in a recent domestic dispute, they backed off, and they similarly did not inquire about Blue Jays closer Roberto Osuna when he was dealt last July. Three of the Dodgers’ chief competitors — Yankees, Cubs and Astros — have acquired those two players.

It is not yet clear how the team will handle Urías, and it may not be for weeks or months.

The 22-year-old left-handed pitcher has been a prized prospect in the organization since he signed out of Culiacan, Mexico, just days after he turned 16. He debuted at 19, in 2016, and appeared in the majors in each of the next four seasons. Injuries to veterans pushed him into the starting rotation at the beginning of this season. The team then moved him into the bullpen, planning to conserve his innings for the stretch run. He had recorded the first two saves of his career in his last appearances before his arrest on Monday’s day off for the Dodgers.

By the time Dodger Stadium’s home clubhouse opened to reporters before the team’s Tuesday game against San Diego, Urías had been formally placed on leave. His No. 7 uniform was still hung at his locker, and it remained that way after the game.

Before the game, another win, manager Dave Roberts admitted he was carefully choosing his words when addressing the arrest with reporters. He said he did not know the facts of the case.

“Obviously, it’s not ideal in any sense of the word,” Roberts said. “But until we know more, it just doesn’t behoove me to make any comments. Fortunately, Major League Baseball is kind of digging into this, as it well should. We’ll know more later.”

In the immediate term, and on a smaller scale of importance, the Dodgers replaced Urías with right-hander JT Chargois, owing to the Padres’ right-handed-heavy lineup. On Friday in Cincinnati, injured left-hander Caleb Ferguson is likely to rejoin the active roster, providing Roberts another left-handed reliever. The only other one on the active roster, Scott Alexander, has struggled in recent weeks, and Roberts recently floated the idea of placing him on the injured list. Fellow left-hander Tony Cingrani has not yet appeared in the majors this season due to injury, but he could join the team in the coming days.
 

Norm

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It is starting to feel like Machado has become Pollock II, saving most of his offensive production and homers for games against the Dodgers.
It will be interesting to see how he does when the Padres play the Orioles this year.
 

NewportDodger

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$300 million gets a team 9 bombs and a .265 BA I guess nowadays.

A week ago he was hitting .237.
 

dsinsocal

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The full TMZ story:
https://www.tmz.com/2019/05/16/julio-urias-domestic-violence-investigation/?adid=hero2

One source says it appears Urias used his hands in an attempt to stop her from leaving the area during a heated argument.

In other words, it seems as though he was trying to restrain her, not strike her ... though the woman DID go to the ground at some point during the argument.

We're told both parties have been very cooperative with investigators and are telling consistent stories about what happened.
 
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The full TMZ story:
https://www.tmz.com/2019/05/16/julio-urias-domestic-violence-investigation/?adid=hero2

One source says it appears Urias used his hands in an attempt to stop her from leaving the area during a heated argument.

In other words, it seems as though he was trying to restrain her, not strike her ... though the woman DID go to the ground at some point during the argument.

We're told both parties have been very cooperative with investigators and are telling consistent stories about what happened.
It will be telling if the DA decides not to prosecute even with video. My hopes are that they can confirm that this was not what it first appeared to be according to witnesses.