Pitching, which was AWOL on Monday, took center stage in Scottsdale last night as the Scorpions edged the Desert Dogs, 1-0 in 10 innings.
Trey Lipscomb started again but at shortstop instead of third base. The 23-y.o. went 0-for-4 but scored the winning run in the 10th. He Had four assists and no errors.
Orlando Ribalta was the fourth reliever out of the Scottsdale ‘pen and picked up the win. He threw two perfect innings and struck out one.
The Scorpions head out on the road to visit the Rafters. DJ Herz is expected to make his first fall start.
The Boys in Durham had a couple of interesting stories this week, both involving pitching.
The first is a lament that reduced workloads have turned the ERA title into “the best OG” at the upper levels and the “best guy we don’t mind overworking” at the lower levels. Andrew Alvarez, for example, did not win the Sally Lg. ERA title at 2.61 despite throwing just 5⅔ fewer innings than Drew Thorpe, who won it with a 2.81 ERA.
I’m not sure if that’s necessarily something to wring your hands over, but even if MiLB were to adopt a more modern measuring stick (e.g., FIP), the point that so few would qualify under the current standard still stands. Especially now that teams appear to be pushing top picks up faster with more data to work with from Div. I college programs and collegiate wood-bat leagues.
The second is also one of those “Detective Holmes remains constipated” stories: Walk rates have soared as teams are willing to sacrifice command in their quest for velocity. Indeed, I can recall a game with each of the (Low-A) Salem Red Sox relievers hitting 99 on the radar gun. Three times hitting 99 is usually Jayson Werth doing errands on a Saturday afternoon.
As you might expect, HBPs and WPs are also up over the past few seasons, though the latter may be affected somewhat by the trend of looking for hitters who can catch instead of trying to develop catchers into hitters. While the new rules that have brought the running game off life support might stop teams from pushing Raudy Reads up the ladder, even good catchers are going to struggle to corral the Cole Kimballs and Hector Nelos that have become the norm instead of the exception.