Science experiment. 85 comments

Rangers manager Jeff Banister experiments with the opener theory as his lab instructor look on.


Watching major league baseball lately, it’s as if the sport was just invented last week and everyone is trying to figure it out. Like they are six-year-olds discovering automatic power windows for the first time and they are marveling that you can make the windows go up and down and up and down. And down and down, and up now. And now down.

“Hey, this button is called an opener. I wonder what it does? Let’s push it. Woooooooo. Cool.”

We have reached a point where the thinkers have out-thought the sport.

The Rangers decide to employ an opener. Why? They don’t know. They just heard all the other kids at school were trying it so they tried it too. Even Mr Homer Tom Grieve questioned their use of the strategy.

And, in baseball, for every reaction there’s an equal and opposite over-reaction. So, the Padres manager thought he would outsmart the strategy by batting his pitcher eighth. Which is a head-scratcher. Mainly because the Rangers had no idea what they were doing either.

It was like two junior high science students mixing stuff together in a test tube, not really knowing if what they are doing and whether what the are doing will blow up in their faces.

Then, the Rangers were the recipient of the other newly discovered power window button ploy: the pitch count. The classic baseball overthink. Remove a dominating starter when his number hits 80. It used to be unlimited. Then all the cool kids made it 100. Now the neighborhood kids are all doing 80, so we will try it, too, even if it might kill us.

Eric Lauer was dominating. The first five innings he pitched, the Rangers run total was: zero, one, zero, zero, zero. The first inning he didn’t pitch the Rangers run total was: five.

Alas, Lauer committed the cardinal sin of allowing a baserunner in the sixth inning. He was immediately removed from the game. And he was visibly upset. Shaking his head as he left the field.

You have to hate being a major league pitcher these days. These guys dominated at every level they ever pitched. They were the best Little Leaguers. They were the stars on their high school and college teams. They shone in the minor leagues. They make it all the way to the big leagues, only to be treated like a brother-in-law stopping by for a visit. Thanks for stopping by, now leave as soon as you can.

Once these guys get to the major leagues, suddenly nobody has any respect for their ability. The guy is a liability.

No wonder the Padres are in last place. They have a manager in Andy Green who doesn’t know how to win games, pure and simple. He was winning and decided to give the game to the Rangers by pulling a dominating pitcher.

Jeff Banister was last seen writing a thank you note to Green after the game: “Dear Andy, thank you for the sweater you gave me for my birthday, it looks good on me, I will wear it to class. And thanks for letting me win last night’s baseball game, you really shouldn’t have. No, really, you shouldn’t have.”

Sabermetrics are supposed to make the game better by using data to determine better outcomes. It did last night.

For the other team. Thankfully, that team was the Rangers.

Class today starts at 3:10.


Mike Minor (12-7, 4.19) vs. Jacob Nix (2-3, 6.00)
Game time: 3:10

The Rangers have never hit against Nix.
How the Padres hit against Minor.