MLB Game Day Recap Day 6: Bad Extra Innings

April 7, 2021

It’s the MLB Game Day Recap Day 6, that means it’s time to discuss extra innings. The Red Sox grabbed victory from the jaws of defeat walking off the Rays 6-5 in 12 innings. The ending is everything baseball ‘wants’ as a walk double scores 2 changing the win probability graph 80+%. The problem this is it. Bad defense mixed with the expectation of a run scoring every half inning leads to tiring, anti-climatic baseball. Teams don’t play to stop the run knowing they get the same opportunity when they’re up. So instead of actually enjoying extra inning runs as a fan, it’s just expected and dissatisfying. Artificially manufacturing run probability devalues the said run, making the whole extra innings system objectively awful. The unpredictable time and game length is a differentiating factor that makes baseball great, not tedious. Stop trying to become other sports. Be yourself. Stop this nonsense.

Climbing Up

Tyler Naquin left the state and drove in seven runs. He leads the National League in RBI and is tied for second in HRs. Cincinnati has always been a band box and Naquin has always hit right handers particularly well. These two things mixed together sure look like a recipe for fantasy success. There will be very few fantasy managers looking to invest in Naquin, yet he should be the prototype for an early season add. Clear signs are present that a career year could be in the cards, and should Naquin regress back to his mean there will be no qualms about cutting ties with a 29 year old league average hitter. For whatever reason, redraft players always want to find that young breakout candidate but stats don’t carry over to next year. Find a way to get Naquin on your roster.

Letdown

James Paxton got hurt. No this isn’t a reply from 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018 or 2020. This is a new year of injury for the man with omnipresent injuries. This sucks more than normal since we didn’t even get a full glimpse of what Paxton could be before he got hurt. Add another one to the Josh Johnson memorial grave of elite pitchers who just kept getting hurt. See you the next time for mild optimism only to be met by bitter disappointment. Brutal, just brutal.

Who’s Hot

Ryan McMahon hit a few dingers, 3 to be exact. Extra innings meant he might have a shot a 4, but alas, it didn’t happen. A certain someone told you to sell him at his 2021 ADP and that certain someone will tell you that may have been a poor suggestion. McMahon now leads baseball in dingers and sure, it’s super early in the year, but dingers across multiple positions play. Do I think McMahon is going to be a top fantasy asset? No. Do I think he should be rostered everywhere until he stops hitting? Yes. Fantasy sport is about admitting your errs in order to recover and keep winning, and this is a great example of this. I absolutely don’t want to admit defeat, but I’d be an absolute fool to dig my heels in and lose fantasy results over it.

Who’s Not

Trevor Cahill once was seen as a top prospect, then future ace, then current ace, and for the past decade someone who is this close to putting it all together again. Today certainly was another sign that 33 year old Trevor Cahill is just a guy. 4 innings, 7 earned, 9 hits. This is very much a Derek Holland-esque line in Pittsburgh, awful performance but at least he got through 4! At this point fantasy owners know any good Cahill start is just a mirage, yet it’s always important to remember that there is a current Trevor Cahill out there someone. Flashes of brilliance, but it won’t ever happen again.

The Emilio Bonifacio Award

Nick Senzel is currently just only OF eligible, but his constant flirtation with multi-positional eligibility [despite playing all of 1.1 career innings outside of centerfield] makes him Bonifacio eligible. 3 for 4 with 4 runs and a walk is such a beautifully leadoff hitter line, which is why it’s even more beautiful out of your 6 hitter. The Bonifacio is all about proving excellent value from unlikely sources, and there likely won’t be another game this season where your 6 hole hitter scores 4 times without an extra base hit or an RBI. After going hitless in his first 10 PAs, this could be first sign of the post hype breakout for Senzel. If you have a roster spot, a speculative add might be in order.

The James Shields Award

Gerrit Cole, Zach Greinke, and Clayton Kershaw all earned what will definitely not be their last Shields of the season. All 3 went a combined 21.0 innings a combined 14 base runners with 25 strikeouts. Kershaw allowed a first inning RBI double to Ramon Laureano scoring Jed Lowrie, and Greinke allowed a first inning two run dinger to Mike Trout scoring Shohei Ohtani. These guys are just so damn good, I don’t know whether I like when they all pitch on the same day and I can see so much perfection, or I like when they pitch on alternating days so there is always an absolute stud lined up for a Shields. There are going to be days like this one where this award is just reminding readers that elite pitchers are elite, often.

The Brad Lidge Award

Clay Holmes piggybacked on Trevor Cahill’s start by being his own version of awful. 0.1 innings with 5 base runners allowed and all 5 scoring. This award is going to a whole bunch of back end of the roster relievers, because, well, that is what they do. Holmes will earn all those frequent flier miles during a pandemic so-to-speak, as he’s going to be moving between the alternate site and mop-up role all season. These situations are always tough, coming into a game where you are already getting killed is a tough one, but you really need to give length. When you don’t do that, you don’t last very long on the big league roster.

Conclusion

The MLB Game Day Recap is all about baseball. Extra innings means bonus baseball, or well it used to. I might say it every night, but baseball is the perfect sport. The design of game is what makes it perfect. Extra innings means there is no arbitrary time limit saying when things end. Baseball is perfect in that it can last forever. It forever perplexes me why baseball won’t embrace its uniqueness. The selling point can never be scoring like basketball and football. The selling point should be the beauty in the unpredictability. For whatever reason, the sport is hellbent on making it a knockoff of those other sports. It’s a terrible move, but par the course for modern ownership. Just be who you are, it’s that simple. I’ll end with this shot of Naquin adoring his HR, because I adore baseball. That’s it for today’s MLB Game Day Recap.

Goodnight.