I plan to discuss this article in some detail at some point
in the offseason while we are still drunk on World Series Champagne, an
inebriation that I forecast to last until the second game of Spring Training 2020,
when people will freak out over somebody’s hangnail. For now, I’ll describe the thesis and give my
two word rebuttal.
“Sinister right-handedness” is not what you might think it
is at first glance. It has nothing to do
with Josh Donaldson’s evil thoughts, although I have no doubts those are spectacularly
evil and worthy of academic study.
Sinister right-handedness is simply the phenomenon that anyone looking
at any baseball site will recognize immediately as Throws:R Bats:L. The
observation in the study is that those who bat left do better in baseball than
those who bat right, but those who bat left and throw right do even better, but
only if they come from Canada. The
reason for this, it is argued, is that Canadians learn to play hockey, and
right and left shooting in hockey is far less dependent on brain dominance (hockey
is rarely classified as a brain-dominant sport, of course, but
most hockey players shoot lefthanded, irrespective of the hand they use to sign
checks), leading a hockey-practicing culture to carry this left-handedness
in the hockey shot to the baseball swing and thereby profit from the advantage
held by left-handed batter without requiring the much rarer trait of right-brain
dominance, ie natural left-handedness.
Anyway, this is an interesting, if not particularly
Moneyball-ready, hypothesis which it seems to me is refuted thus: Scott
Thorman. If you really wanted to
push it, you might counterargue: Pete Orr,
but I think that’s a weak counterargument.
Note, by the way, that the best argument for this hypothesis would be Freddie
Freeman, but while his parents were born in Canada, he wasn’t. But if you told me they started him playing
hockey on the mean streets of Orange County, California, there may be
something. Other than a mention that he
attended a lot of Anaheim Ducks games as a child, though, I can’t find any
evidence that Freddie ever played hockey.
I note in passing that Tom Glavine played a lot of hockey but he is not
a sinister righty; he’s just sinister.
Game 3 of the final Trip to the Bank found Keuchel facing
the disappointing Zach Eflin, who hasn’t disappointed me in the least,
but then I never saw any of his work in the High School Musical franchise. He pitched OK through June, but since then
has seemed to hit a wall: 6.49 ERA, and his team is 2-10 in those starts. But he is tied for the league lead in complete
games, with 2. When the record for a
counting stat for a season is 2, it’s probably time to consider retiring that
No complete game for Eflin tonight, even though he gave up
no hits until the 4th; but the first hit was a 3 run Flowers homer. I am part of the growing chorus of fans who
would love to see a McCann-Cervelli two catcher playoff roster, but if you’re
squinting to find a reason to keep Flowers around, his occasional homer is
surely all you need, unfortunately. And
that would be all the Braves would get, continuing a recent pattern of an
all-or-nothing offense, which can still work if you can hold the opposition’s
Keuchel didn’t follow with a shutdown inning; it was a give
one back inning. But at that point, you
like your chances: Eflin had given way
to the bullpen, and Keuchel was still at 66 pitches. His fifth inning was scarier: bases loaded,
one out and everyone’s tenth-favorite Mormon ballplayer at the plate. (Dale Murphy is clearly first and Barry
Bonnell is second, followed by Roy Halladay, Kyle Farnsworth, Jeff Kent, Wally
Joyner, Harmon Killebrew, Dennis Eckersley and Danny Ainge. Harper is ahead of Jack Morris, though.) Harper hit into a 463 to end the inning and
Keuchel pitched one more: 1 run in 6 innings.
That’ll generally do.
The Former Mr. Paltrow threw an immaculate 9 pitch 3 K inning in the 7th, the first for the Braves since Buddy Carlyle in 2007. Greene had an Atlanta-clean 8th. Melancon, the Rubber Undertaker, got the first out in the 9th, but then gave up two infield singles to make it interesting. Dansby, whose offense has still not recovered, speared a humpbacked liner for the second out, leaving it to Mikael Franco, Hero of March. He fouled out to JD leaning over the dugout railing to end it.
Chip Watch: (a) “Eflin wins the war, but Acuña may have won the battle.” (after Ronald sees 9 pitches leading off.) Exactly backwards, Chip. If you’re going to use clichés, practice them at home first. (b) “The Dodgers clinched the NL West, so they’ll now wait to see who the Wild Card teams are.” Ummmm… Chip? Exactly how confident are you that the Dodgers will be facing the Wild Card team?
So, one more game tomorrow, in what the musical 1776
describes as “Foul, fetid, fuming, foggy, filthy Philadelphia!” Cheesesteaks are highly overrated.