My Blog List

Monday, September 28, 2015

Who should win the NL CY Young

Last night, those who were watching the nationally televised game between the Pirates and the Cubs were awestruck by Jake Arrieta's performance. Not only did he hit a home run (actually he almost almost hit two), he also took a perfect game to the 7th inning. By the end of his day, he pitched 7 innings, giving up 1 hit, 1 hit by pitch, and no earned runs. To say that Arrieta should win the Cy Young award in the NL (for best pitcher in the league), is not a crazy statement. His main competition for the award is Zach Greinke, who is on the Los Angeles Dodgers. Before the All Star break in July, Arrieta was having a decent year, his ERA (earned run average) was around 2.80, which is great, but not in Cy Young contention. In the games the All Star break, his ERA is .80, which is insane. This would be the lowest ERA after the All Star break in MLB history! Right now, Zach Greinke has a slightly lower ERA than Arrieta, but that doesn't make me feel that Greinke deserves it more than Arrieta. With a majority of stats and sabermetrics, Arrieta and Greinke are neck and neck. What I think will be the difference in this race is the old-fashoned eye test. With Arrieta's post All Star break momentum (no hitter included), I think this will swing the voters in Arrieta's favor.

Related stat: Since July, Arrieta has only given up two home runs. During that span, Arrieta has hit two home runs. 
For visual evidence, click here.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Is the Cardinals' way the right way?

        There were tempers flaring at Wrigley Field on Friday afternoon. The argument was over the unwritten rules of baseball. If you didn't catch what happened, the Cubs hit Matt Holliday in the head, clearly on accident. The star outfielder was taken out of the game, and everybody knew the old-school Cardinals would seek revenge against their arch rivals. Revenge came in the 7th inning, when Cardinals pitcher Matt Belisle hit Cubs star Anthony Rizzo in the leg. As this video shows, the pitch was nearly behind him. When a pitch is behind a batter, it is almost always on propose. If the pitcher was that wild, then he shouldn't be in the Major Leagues. The idea of retaliating because the other team hit your star is not new to the Cardinals, and Cubs' manager Joe Maddon was aware of this. After the game, Maddon declared, "I never read this book that the Cardinals had written regarding how to play baseball." Clearly, Joe didn't like the retaliatory move the Cardinals made. I agree with Joe Maddon's view.
        I didn't like the idea of having to protect your stars. The Cardinals believe that by hitting Rizzo, teams will not want to hit the Cardinals because they will be hit back. However, by responding, you are increasing your chances of getting into a brawl, or if not that, the other team hitting you again. This outdated concept leads to more injuries in baseball, and is therefore bad for the game. Accident will always happen on and off the baseball diamond, but when you are playing the Cardinals, accidents will not be tolerated. Just the idea of getting revenge for an accident is morally wrong, but the old-school Cardinals don't understand this.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

What was Joe's moral reasoning?

        In "The Round House", Joe was a believer in consequential moral reasoning because he located the morality of retaliation when deciding if he would commit such an act. Joe believed that Lark should pay for attacking his mom, so this is why he retaliated. When Joe is talking to his mother who is in bed, out of the blue he asks, "Mom, listen"(89). Joe is very focused on fighting back, because he he tells his own mom to "listen". By telling her to listen, mom knows that Joe will respond if he gets any information. Normally, it is the mom who tells the son to listen, but Joe is calling the shots, and his mom is slowing him down. If Joe is willing to go against the norm just to give Lark a taste of his own medicine, then that tells us that Joe is a believer in consequential moral reasoning.

       In my opinion, there is no way to justify an act of violence in most situations. Yet, the best way to go about an act of violence when you or someone you are close to are the victim(s) is to forgive them and let the legal system do or not do its job. This would make me a believer in categorical moral reasoning, which means I find morality in certain acts, such as forgiveness. As a believer in categoricalism, I think the toughest thing to do when an act of violence is committed against you is to forgive. Many people take weeks, months, years to forgive, but other never forgive. For those who don't having an open mind to forgiveness, they can commit retaliatory acts. Rather than forgiving and having less violence in society, retaliating causes more violence in society. This is what I believe is the major flaw in Joe's justification in killing Lark. Joe could have cut the number of violence attacks in the novel in half, but he is a consequentialist. My mom taught me that two wrongs don't make a right, but Joe never learned that.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Who should be the Cubs Wild Card starter?

For my first blog post, I would like to bring to attention something near and dear to my heart: The Chicago Cubs. More specifically, the dilemma that they are staring at. For those who aren’t familiar with baseball’s playoff system, it works as follows;
There are 30 teams, divided into two even leagues. Each league is divided into three even divisions. There are 5 teams that qualify for the playoffs in each league. The three division winners advance with the two best non-division winners. These two “wild cards” play in a one game win or go home playoff to see who advances. The winner of the playoff game plays the best division winner in a series, while two second and third best division winners play each other in a series. Four teams soon becomes two, and then one. The one teams left in each league plays each other for all the marbles.
With less than 30 games left in a 162 game season, the Cubs are playing for the 5th and final playoff spot. The Cubs have a comfortable 7 game lead over the Nationals and Giants at the start of today. If the rest of the season goes smoothly (which is anything but given) the Cubs would have to sacrifice their season in one game playoff vs the Pittsburgh Pirates. If having to to play in a wild card game is bad, than having to play it in front of the Pirates fans is even worse. Two seasons ago, the Pirates’ fans got under Johnny Cueto’s skin (the Reds’ ace) in the wild card game. While the fans were serenading Cueto, he famously dropped the baseball, and then gave up a homerun in the same at-bat. The Pittsburgh fans helped propel the Pirates to a win that night, eliminating the Reds. While every Cubs fan wants to avoid going on the road in a wild card game, the Cubs would have to win two more games than the Pirates. The is very possible, but it most likely will not happen. If the Cubs are going to win that wild card game in Pittsburgh, they need to put their true ace on the bump to silence the crowd. Fortunately, the Cubs have two aces to choose from: Jon Lester, and Jake Arrieta.
Jon Lester is much more experienced. He has been in the league for 10 years, been on the all star team three times, been in the playoffs five times, and has won the World Series twice. However, Lester’s Achilles’ heel is pickoff move. When a runner reaches base, Lester has no move to keep him on first, thus, a single becomes a double. This has been a problem for Lester, but he doesn’t allow many baserunners. If Lester doesn’t let anyone reach 1st, then he doesn’t need a pick off move. However, against a very strong hitting team like the Pirates, Lester’s nonexistent pickoff move could cost the Cubs their season if Lester does start the wild card game.
The other option is Jake Arrieta. He is less experienced than Lester, with only six years under his belt. Also, he has never been in an all star game, nor has he played in the playoffs. Before Arrieta was a Cub, he was with Baltimore, where he struggled with commanding the baseball. The Orioles couldn’t fix him, so they traded him in 2013 along with a solid middle reliever, for a 5th starter who Baltimore kept for half a season, and a back up catcher. This trade was one of the best trades in Cubs history. Once Arrieta put on the Cubs uniform, he no longer had issues with command, and he became an ace. This year, he has put himself in contention for the best pitcher in the league award (Cy Young Award). He has done this by throwing a no-hitter in a nationally televised game against the division leading Dodgers in Dodger Stadium. He also has pitch 24 games where he has gone six innings or more while giving up three earned runs or less (quality start). This is second in his league. Arrieta has a 2.03 ERA, which is also second in his league. Both pitchers have nasty stuff, which is the politically correct term believe it or not. But according to my eyes, the stats, and also the sabermetrics (advanced stats [it is complicated and will not get into]), Arrieta is having the better season.      
However, it isn’t up to me to decide who gets the ball in the wild card game. It is up to Cubs manager Joe Maddon. He, of course, isn’t going to say who he is going to start if/when the Cubs play in the wild card game until a few days before. Instead of quoting Maddon, I’ll quote the other old man in the Cubs’ clubhouse, backup catcher David Ross. During Arrieta’s last start on Saturday, Ross was calling the pitches. The catcher calling good pitches is just as important as executing these pitches. Postgame, he commented, “It's hard for me to fathom that somebody is better than Jake Arrieta... I'll take that guy on the mound any day of the week." By using of fathom, Ross is going beyond saying that he can’t imagine. He is saying that he doesn’t believe that is is possible to be better than Jake Arrieta. “I can’t even fathom” is much strong phrase to use than I don’t believe that or I can’t think of. Nobody knows the pitcher better than the catcher, and by having Arrieta’s catch complement him in such an affirmative way, it gives me confidence that Arrieta is the right pitcher for a potential wild card game.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015