MLB Game Day Recap Day 20: Rules

April 21, 2021

It’s the MLB Game Day Recap Day 20, that means it’s time to talk about the rules of baseball. There are many, many, many rules within baseball. The majority of the rules are not widely known, and when that’s the case, rules can show up only once or twice a decade. Today that applied on Omar Narvaez’s called back stolen base. There was interference on the play, but it wasn’t by the hitter. It wasn’t by the base runner Narvaez either. Rather, it was on the home plate umpire Mark Ripperger. The official MLB rule states “The plate umpire interferes with catcher’s throw attempting to prevent a stolen base or retire a runner on a pick-off; runners may not advance”. This was news to me! Baseball is excellent because despite watching and playing the game for 20+ years, there are always layers that can still be uncovered.

Climbing Up

Jose Abreu doubled his season home run total launched two mammoth shots in Cleveland today. Entering the game he was hitting just .188 as the supposed lynchpin in the White Sox line-up. Including today Abreu is now 7 for his past 19 with these two homers, 4 runs scored and 5 RBIs over 5 games. The expectation that Jose would repeat as MVP over a full season was never there for anyone. Instead, the expectation is a 80/30/100/2/.290 season and Jose has maintained this pace outside of hitting for average. There’s one thing that is expected to remain with Abreu until he enters the Miguel Cabrera portion of his career where he literally does not run, and that expectation is to hit for average. Pay attention to Abreu as a hot streak is coming, and get him in your DFS line-ups yesterday.

Letdown

Taijuan Walker was supposed to provide another elite start to his resume today in Chicago. He started off well, taking a no hitter into the fourth. In addition to allowing two earned in the inning he also couldn’t record 3 outs as 6 walks and 7 K’s will always destroy your pitch count. This wasn’t a disastrous start by any means, but it sure was a letdown. Walker’s been an elite pitcher since he left Seattle so long as he isn’t injured. The problem is he’s been injured a lot. I’m still all in on buying his full season output to match his coming output from 2017-2020. 3.28 ERA 1.30 WHIP 8.25 K/9, he just needs to stay healthy. Don’t let today’s start deter you, just let it serve as a reminder that letdowns are real and they’re sad.

Who’s Hot

Christian Arroyo has as quietly as possible started the season on an absolute tear. It’s not often a new player comes to down in Boston and plays like Arroyo has the first two weeks without getting national fanfare. All Christian has done is hit in 7 straight games including going 3 for 4 today. He entered today with a .316/.350/.474 slash with a 131 OPS+. He is 26 years old and ranked in the MLB’s Top 100 prospects for 3 straight years from 2016-2018. Yeah, there’s not much XBH pop with 6 doubles and no 3Bs/HRs but finding average and runs is never easy. If you’re in need of a 2B, investing in Christian Arroyo isn’t exactly a bad decision.

Who’s Not

Brad Keller. Why did I decide Keller was the guy I wanted to invest in a two start week? Once again Keller didn’t make it out of the first two innings. This time he allowed 5 earned on 3 hits and 3 walks. The dude is just getting absolutely torched. As one of Keller’s strongest advocates entering the season, all I can say is I got this one completely wrong. He’s officially entered lost cause territory. This happened to Kyle Freeland in 2019 and de facto happened to Mike Foltynewicz in 2020. Forget about him. Whenever he has a good start, ignore it. There is no reason to trust him moving forward and the upside he possesses if he puts it together is worth the risk. Send his fantasy self to the gulag. Adios.

The Emilio Bonifacio Award

Joey Wendle went a combined 3 for 6 in Kansas City. He now has a 7 game hitting streak and has scored double digit runs in 4 out of his past 5 games. The man the Rays stole from Oakland for Jonah Heim just continues to hit. The hot corner is a super deep position compared to average years, but Wendles’ 2B eligibility makes him extremely attractive. Go buy him. This is a man who will win many Bonifacio’s setting the table in Tampa Bay. Figure out a way to roster him today.

The James Shields Award

Marco Gonzales, Adam Wainwright, Sean Manaea, Julio Urias, and Jon Gray all picked up a Lidge tonight. Let’s give a big time shout out to the ageless Adam Wainwright. He put in what might end up the best start of his season. 7.0 innings, 10 K’s, 1 earned on a solo dinger from Josh Bell in the 6th with a WHIP of 0.857. Urias, Gonzales and Manaea all gave strong left handed performances tonight, each going 7.0 innings and allowing a combined 1 earned run. It’s also mandatory to give Jon Gray some love. This is his third elite start at home, which is extremely noteworthy pitching in Colorado. Shutting down the Astros might be easier when they’re on the road, but it’s always noteworthy when it happens in Colorado. Gray should be universally rostered, and if he isn’t in your league, get him on your roster tonight.

The Brad Lidge Award

Amir Garrett is quite the conundrum. The elite stuff is clearly there. He also can’t seem to string together any sort of long stretch of sustained success. Tonight was no exception, as he allowed an earned run for the 3rd time in 5 outings and multiple hits for the 4th time in 5. Something isn’t right, and the assumed closer to start the year surely has lost his grasp. Lucas Sims hasn’t looked much better, but at least he’s only allowed 2 earned on the season. Garrett is a strong candidate for the waiver wire until he figures it out and Sims struggles for multiple outings. Translation: Garrett might belong on the waiver wire all season.

Conclusion

The MLB Game Day Recap is all about baseball. Rules are part of baseball. Umpires are also part of baseball. When playing baseball, umpires are considered in the field of play when a line drive or ground ball hits them. They are considered part of the field of play on an outfielder or infielder’s throw. They are not considered part of the field of play on a catcher’s throw. This rule seems illogical, yet, I like it. The rules are without a doubt a blend of 100+ years of the obvious and the rare. Unlike our democracy, the confusing and sometimes illogicalness of the rules give the game character. Character is excellent for the game. I absolutely love how baseball rules work, and so should you. Without a doubt, they make the game more entertaining. Embrace the rules.

Goodnight.