Just a very few notes and links on this quiet off day in Milwaukee.
• Good work by the ESPN New York guys to bring Danny Knobler on board. Today he came out with a story about the Yankees use of the defensive shift (it’s also kind of a look at their quiet tendency toward advanced metrics and data-driven decision making). “We consider them a smart organization,” Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow told Knobler. “They don’t talk about it a lot. They don’t get a lot of publicity for it. But we do think they’re a progressive organization.” The shift has been a big issue this year — for the Yankees use of it, and for the Yankees struggles to beat it — and Knobler’s piece is a good read.
• Another running theme this season is CC Sabathia’s difficult transition to this later stage of his career. As the Yankees prepare for a weekend series in Milwaukee, where Sabathia had perhaps the best stretch of his career, Jorge Castillo looks at the transition of Jered Weaver as a kind of road map for Sabathia. Castillo also points out some of the stats that suggest Sabathia might have pitched better than his ERA suggests.
• Donnie Collins points out that Scranton/Wilkes-Barre outfielder Ramon Flores has now started two straight games at first base. It’s not the first time Flores has played the position, but it’s the first time in a while. He wouldn’t be a typical first base bat — more on base and speed than true power — but Flores is off to a strong start this season, and the Yankees are heavy on left-handed outfielders. First base could be a little bit of extra versatility that helps him get to the big leagues.
• Eduardo Nunez is back in the big leagues. The Twins called him up today to replace Sam Fuld, who’s on the seven-day disabled list with a concussion. Nunez was hurt for a little while this season, but he’s hit .282/.293/.385 while playing shortstop, third base and even a game in right field for the Twins’ Triple-A team. His only other call-up this season came as the 26th man for a double header.
• I’m not a huge hip-hop fan, but there are definitely nights at the stadium when I’m covering a game with Eric B. and Rakim in the headphones. Anyway, it has nothing to do with baseball, but I thought this study by a guy named Matt Daniels was really interesting. He went looking for the largest vocabulary in rap, and he compared the variety of words to that of Shakespeare. I’m not sure the study is valuable as anything other than a time waster — or as a new way to appreciate the Wu-Tang Clan — but it’s fascinating in its own way. A guy who goes by Aesop Rock finished at the top of the list. I first heard of Aesop Rock maybe a year and a half ago (told you I’m not a huge hip-hop guy), and he’s good. Definitely worth checking out if you’re into this stuff at all and haven’t listened to him. I’ll now go back to listening to the new Ray LaMontagne album. That’s more my usual speed.
• There is almost no chance I could care less about the NFL draft.
Associated Press photo