Month: September 2019

Pace Is the Most Consistent Pitching Stat

In my article Friday about what’s slowing down Major League Baseball games, I use a relatively new stat called “pace.” It’s a measure of how much time elapses between pitches in the same plate appearance, making use of the PITCHf/x tracking system installed in every major league park. It can be applied to pitchers for all batters they face; and to batters for their plate appearances.One thing we already knew about pace is that it’s remarkably consistent from year to year. FanGraphs makes it possible to test that with a tool for calculating correlation between the same statistic across seasons. Pace’s year-to-year correlation is 0.859 among the 1,554 pairs of consecutive pitcher seasons for which FanGraphs has pace stats — from 2007 to 2013 for pitchers with at least 40 innings each season. That’s far higher than strikeout-to-walk ratio, which has a year-to-year correlation of 0.528; Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP), an ERA-like stat (0.443); winning percentage (0.081); and other fielding stats. The correlation persists over a gap of more than one season: It’s 0.757 from one season to another three years later.That suggests that the biggest factor affecting pace is the pitcher. Pitchers can change catchers, teams or leagues; face a mix of batters; and pitch in front of a different defensive alignment or in different contexts. Yet their pace of play stays largely the same from season to season.This is evident in the leaderboard: Five of the 10 slowest pitchers with at least 100 innings last year were among the 10 slowest in 2012.Like other new stats, pace is a work in progress. For example, there are two versions — one on FanGraphs, the other on Baseball Prospectus — akin to the competing versions of wins above replacement. FanGraphs registers more average time, typically, which BP’s Ben Lindbergh attributes to his site’s exclusion of pickoff attempts.One mystery is whether pace is associated with other pitching attributes. In a quick check using the FanGraphs correlation tool, it looked like pace was modestly correlated with FIP and Win Probability Added. But that was probably because relievers tend to have better stats than starters, and also a slower pace. There’s no reason to think one causes the other. When I restricted the sample to only pitchers with at least 150 innings pitched — thereby excluding most relievers — I found there was essentially no correlation between pace and FIP or WPA. Pitchers don’t seem to get any particular value out of a slow pace, though it’s possible they would have worse results if they had to hurry between pitches. In the spirit of their deliberate play, we won’t rush to judgment. read more

Jim Buss Kobe Bryant Will Never be a Free

Kobe Bryant will be a Los Angeles Laker for life.Jim Buss, Lakers co-owner and executive vice president of basketball operations, said Friday that the organization is currently talking with Bryant’s representative on a contract extension. Buss made it clear that the Lakers want to get the deal done long before the five-time NBA champion becomes a free agent July 1.“I want to put an end to any speculation that we would allow Kobe to become a free agent,” Buss told ESPN Friday night. “That’s not going to happen. Kobe is a top priority for us. He’s a Laker legend and always will be. I don’t think we’re done winning championships with him yet.“[Lakers general manager] Mitch Kupchak and [Bryant’s agent] Rob Pelinka have been talking, but with him being hurt, it has slowed the process some. I don’t know when it’ll get done, but I have faith in Rob and Mitch to work things out.”Bryant is in the last year of contract, where he will earn $30.5 million this season, the largest annual salary in the NBA.Bryant is currently recovering from an Achilles tendon injury and doesn’t have a set return date yet. read more

Venus Williams Slapped with Wrongful Death Lawsuit That Directly

Venus Williams spoke about the fatal June 9 collision through her attorney. (Facebook)Venus Williams has been hit with a wrongful death lawsuit following the car crash that resulted in the death of a 78-year-old man Sunday, June 25, but an earlier statement from her attorney contradicts its claims.In documents obtained by TMZ Friday, June 30, the lawsuit on behalf of Linda and Jerome Barson alleges Wiliams failed to yield at a Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., intersection earlier this month. It also claims the seven-time Grand Slam winner ran a red light and drove distracted and speeding, although a police report stated there was no evidence of her using an electronic device while driving.A statement issued to the website from Williams’ attorney, Malcolm Cunningham, following news about the star being blamed for the collision negates the suit’s claim.“Ms. Williams entered the intersection on a green light,” the lawyer said. “The police report estimates that Ms. Williams was traveling at 5 mph when Mrs. Barson crashed into her. Authorities did not issue Ms. Williams with any citations or traffic violations This is an unfortunate accident and Venus expresses her deepest condolences to the family who lost a loved one.”Filed by Michael Steinger, the attorney of Linda Barson, whose husband, Jerome Barson ultimately died due to the crash, the documents state the Barsons’ SUV was “crushed, the front windshield shattered, the airbags deployed, there was crush damage to the rear on the driver’s side, and the back window was shattered” as a result of Linda Barson T-boning Williams’ slowed-down SUV.Jerome Barson suffered head trauma, a fractured spine, massive internal bleeding and massive internal organ damage and was hospitalized in the intensive care unit. His wife had multiple broken bones and a cracked sternum. The estate is seeking unspecified damages loss of earnings, pain and suffering, medical and funeral expenses, and loss of companionship for Linda, who was married to her husband for 33 years according to the suit, and her family.Jerome Barson died nearly two weeks after the Friday, June 9, crash on his widow’s 68th birthday, June 22. read more

By the numbers Ohio State survives scare at Indiana 3427

Redshirt junior quarterback Cardale Jones (12) surveys the field during a game on Oct. 3 in Bloomington, Indiana. OSU won 34-27.Credit: Samantha Hollingshead / Photo EditorOhio State’s offense endured a rough first half, but it managed to ride junior running back Ezekiel Elliott’s monster game to survive a potential upset from a fiery Indiana team, 34-27. Despite giving up 128 points over its first four games, Indiana’s defense played lights out as it held the Buckeyes to only six first-half points, the first time OSU failed to score a touchdown in the opening two quarters since last season at Navy. The Buckeye rushing attack struggled mightily in the first half, managing fewer than 20 yards. However, redshirt junior quarterback Cardale Jones piled up 200 yards in the first half through the air and ended with 245 total yards and a touchdown and interception on 18-of-27 passing.Indiana, coming into the game 4-0 for the first time since 1990, played excellently at the start in front of a sellout crowd at Memorial Stadium. The offense put up more than 400 yards with zero turnovers, though eventually injuries began to take their toll on the Hoosiers.With backups at running back and quarterback in the game, Indiana began to lose its momentum and fell behind in the second half, though the Hoosiers still never let the Buckeyes pull away either. In fact, the Hoosiers had an excellent chance to score a game-tying touchdown as time expired, but the OSU defense held firm at the goal line.Elliott was explosive for OSU as he ripped off three fantastic touchdown runs and tallied an incredible 274 yards on the ground. However, for all of Elliott’s heroics, the Buckeye offense still showed serious deficiencies that need to be addressed soon. As a whole, OSU lost the turnover battle once again, 3-0, only converted on two third downs the entire game and only mustered 13 first downs overall. Without Elliott’s three 50-plus-yard touchdown rushes, Indiana would not have only upset the Buckeyes but would have won convincingly. As Big Ten play continues to heat up, OSU coach Urban Meyer will need to clean up the offense if he hopes to keep pace with the best teams in college football.By the numbers:36 – The total yards of offense by OSU in the first quarter.1.79 – Indiana’s all-time winning percentage against top-five teams, a measly 1-of-56.20 – OSU’s current winning streak against Indiana.15 – OSU’s current road winning streak in Big Ten conference play, the longest streak in conference history.16 – The number of Big Ten wins Indiana has over the past 10 years.41 – The last time the Hoosiers played a No. 1-ranked Ohio State team, they fell by 41 points in Columbus, 44-3.25 – The number of years since Indiana had last started 4-0.48 – The number of rushing yards Elliott broke Keith Byars’ OSU record of rushing yards in a half by. Byars rushed for 195 yards in the second half against Illinois in 1984, while Elliott racked up 243 second-half yards on Saturday.274 – The total rushing yards by Elliott in the game, tied for the second most in school history behind eventual Heisman Trophy winner Eddie George in 1995. read more

Ohio State mens soccer drops another Big Ten bout

Ohio State senior forward Christian Soldat pushes the ball up the field against Rutgers in a game at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium on Sept. 18, 2016. Credit: Gene Ross | Lantern reporterThe Ohio State men’s soccer team knew that a win on Sunday could be pivotal to its season. Despite losing its last two matches, OSU still maintained a favorable standing in the Big Ten at 2-1. If the team could register its third conference win, its hopes of winning the conference title would remain very much alive. With No. 25 Michigan State coming to town, that proved to be no easy task.Despite keeping it close, the Buckeyes were overmatched by the Spartans, 1-0, on Sunday afternoon, the third straight loss for the Scarlet and Gray. “They are a veteran team,” said OSU coach John Bluem. “They have good experience everywhere. They are in a good rhythm right now. It was a very difficult team to play against.”The opening period was all Spartans. OSU was outshot 8-2 through the first 45 minutes, seemingly unable to get out of its own defensive zone. As a result, Michigan State would get on the board first. In the 23rd minute, Michigan State junior defender Brad Centala got the ball into the Buckeyes zone and put a shot off the crossbar. Sophomore forward Ryan Sierakowski was able to corral the rebound in front of the net and direct it in for a goal, giving Sparty a 1-0 lead.  Sierakowski’s goal would prove to be all the away team would need, as neither team would find the back of the net for the remainder of the match. For Sierakowski, it was his fourth goal of the season, all four coming as game winners. The final 30 minutes of the match provided multiple opportunities for the Buckeyes to net an equalizer. In the 82nd minute, OSU senior forward Danny Jensen launched a strike from right side of the net that beat the goalkeeper but did not beat the post, as it ricocheted off the left upright and out. In the final minute, sophomore forward Abdi Mohamed floated a corner kick into the box. Junior forward Nate Kohl was able to get his head on it, but the ball floated just over the crossbar as time expired. “We had a few chances at the very end that could have easily gone in,” said senior defender Tyler Kidwell. “The ball just didn’t bounce our way. That happens, but it’s a tough break for sure.”Despite the loss, OSU redshirt freshman goalkeeper Parker Siegfried continued his solid season-long performance. He allowed only the one goal in the match while making three saves. OSU has put itself in a very tough position. At 3-8 overall and 2-2 in conference, Bluem’s squad will have to head to Maryland on Friday to take on the conference-leading Terrapins. Despite the rough season for the Buckeyes, the team is not calling it quits. “We just have to regroup again and talk about what we are going to have to do to compete against Maryland at their place,” Bluem said. “This group keeps coming practice everyday anxious to get better, anxious to get back on the field. They haven’t given up yet.” read more

NFL Week 10 guide to fantasy football

Play ‘Em David Garrard (Jacksonville): Garrard is looking to build off his Week 8 performance, when he threw for 260 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions. This week, Garrard faces a Texans pass defense that allows an average of 25 fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks, the most in the league. Mike Sims-Walker and Marcedes Lewis are good plays in this favorable matchup as well. Joe Flacco (Baltimore): For those of you looking for Flacco to break out, this could be the week. Flacco is facing a Falcons pass defense that is ranked 26th in the league and has given up eight touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks in its last three games. Since Week 3, Flacco has thrown 11 touchdowns against one interception. Jahvid Best (Detroit): Best is a solid option this week. His toe injury is a concern, but Buffalo, Detroit’s opponent this week, allows the second-most fantasy points to opposing running backs and is dead last in rushing yards allowed per game (178). Best is a solid No. 2 fantasy running back this week based on the Bills’ poor run defense. Steve Johnson (Buffalo): The Bills might be winless, but one bright spot has been their passing game. Last week against Chicago, Johnson had 11 catches for 145 yards. Johnson is a must-start against a Lions defense that allowed a total of 192 receiving yards and a touchdown to Santonio Holmes and Braylon Edwards last week. Bench ‘Em Tom Brady (New England): Brady is battling a foot sprain and regardless of health, is a low-end No. 1 fantasy option this week against the Steelers. Pittsburgh allows 13 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks in standard leagues. Until someone steps up in the passing game, Brady’s numbers will continue to be mediocre. Donovan McNabb (Washington): Last week, McNabb threw for 210 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Expect similar numbers against the Eagles. McNabb has yet to throw multiple touchdowns in a game this season and is facing an Eagles defense that allows 215 passing yards per game. It’s hard to trust a quarterback that is lost in the play-calling and gets replaced with Rex Grossman. Any Indianapolis Colts running back: It’s been a revolving door in Indy with the running back situation. Joseph Addai and Mike Hart are still banged up, which means Donald Brown should get the start, but Javarris James should continue to get goal-line carries. Peyton Manning will dictate the direction of the offense, giving his running backs a back seat. Last week against Philadelphia, the Colts ran the ball 19 times and threw 52 times. Save yourself a headache, stay away from the Colts’ backfield. Knowshon Moreno (Denver): Moreno’s hamstring injury seems to be all right but until he shows he can be a dependable back, keep Moreno on the bench. In Week 8 against the 49ers, Moreno rushed for 40 yards. This week, Moreno faces a top-10 Chiefs run defense led by linebacker Derrick Johnson. Steve Smith (Carolina): Smith’s value is hurting because of the inconsistency at quarterback. Last week, Smith had one catch for nine yards. That kind of production will continue with either Tony Pike or Jimmy Clausen starting. Smith hasn’t scored in six games and is a risky play from here on out. read more

Support dont obsess when Ohio State takes the field this year

There’s a certain time in every sports fan’s life where it’s time to grow up. The time when it’s okay to throw away the face-paint, time to put the jerseys back on their hangers, time to just, you know, tone it down a bit. Don’t take that for something it’s not, though: sports are a nearly universal thing that brings out the 12-year-old in all of us. It’s easy to understand why they mean so much to us. For so many people, sports are just something to believe in, something they can proudly support on their hat and be reassured it’s a steady foundation to hang that hat on. Your sports team might let you down once in a while, but it will always try to make it up to you. Really, it will. Sports aren’t turning on the television for a couple hours on a Saturday. They aren’t a casual way to blow back a Sunday evening. While what sports means to you is entirely contextual, the bigger picture suggests that sports, for the most crazed fans, are more of a religion than a hobby. And for what that’s worth, it’s incredible – and incredibly scary. If there’s a line in the sand between passion and obsession it’s wire-thin. Why do we care? Not that I can speak for them, but when Ohio State’s football team runs out of the faded red tunnel on Sept. 1 against Miami University (Ohio), understand that they need your support, not your blood. Anything more is a recipe to create and feed a beast that’s already had enough to eat. Understand that the Braxton Millers, the John Simons, the Jordan Halls of the world are students – 18 to 22-year-old kids who have classes to go to, life to attend to, girlfriends to deal with. They wake up the way you do, breathe the way you do, feel the way you do. Understand that regardless of how brilliant they are in the Horseshoe on Saturday afternoons, they might not necessarily be someone you would want to associate yourself with at Big Bar later that night. Exceptional football ability doesn’t always translate to exceptional character off the field, no matter how much some folks would argue otherwise. It could, though, and they might be someone truly worth bestowing your affection upon – John Simon, for instance, is someone I’d love to have a beer with. But I won’t be tatting his name on my buttocks or naming my first-born after him. The point? Understand that the idolatry, the hero worship, the glorification, the can-do-no-wrong, “holier than thou” treatment of the team – players to coaches – is misguided and can be dangerous. These guys, these players – blessed with more athletic ability than I could ever fathom – are amazingly talented athletes who are often the people off the field we sometimes try to mentally conjure them to be. Sometimes, they’re not and to think otherwise is naïve and blissfully ignorant. Admiration, respect and maybe even envy for the outstanding athletic gifts they possess are beyond warranted, as is praise for the great things behind the scenes like visiting hospitals with devastatingly sick children or reading to a group of underprivileged inner city kids. The balance here is clearing off the Scarlet and Gray lenses and being able to rid yourself of a schema that views these guys as gods around Columbus. The balance is understanding that while athletes, especially those at OSU, are role models, not all of them deserve to be. Be careful: Your Harvey Dent on the field might be Two-Face off of it. read more

Mens hockey voted best nonfootball sport at Ohio State

Ohio State players celebrate after a goal by junior forward Kevin Miller. Credit: Nick Clarkson | Lantern reporterThe Ohio State men’s hockey team (21-12-6) had a breakout season in 2016-17. Recording a 20-win season for the first time since 2009, the Buckeyes earned their first NCAA tournament bid since that same season — losing to Minnesota-Duluth in overtime in the first round of the West region. Despite the opening-round exit, the Scarlet and Gray ended 2016-17 as the third-ranked offense in the nation at 3.92 goals per game, and the nation’s No. 1 power-play offense efficiency, with a 31.61 success rate. Leading the charge for OSU this season was sophomore forward Mason Jobst, who led the Buckeyes with 55 points (19 goals, 36 assists), and senior forward and captain Nick Schilkey. Schilkey ended the season with 41 points (27 goals, 14 assists).Outside of the NCAA appearance, the highlight of the season came during the last series of the regular season with Wisconsin. Both teams entered the matchup needing impressive showings in order to secure a possible tournament bid, and the Buckeyes swept the Badgers heading into the Big Ten tournament to reach 20 wins for the first time in eight years.Along with Schilkey, forward David Gust, defensemen Drew Brevig and Josh Healey and goaltenders Christian Frey, Matt Tomkins and Logan Davis make up the Scarlet and Gray graduating seniors. The class of 2017 recorded 67 victories over four seasons, while also racking up a number of awards for their performance on and off the ice.Despite losing a core group of players, OSU will look to build on this year’s successes in 2017-18. The team will return seven of its top 10 scorers from this season, including sophomore forward Dakota Joshua and freshman forward Tanner Laczynski, along with a handful of young but experienced blueliners, such as sophomore defender Tommy Parran. read more

Football Ohio State receives extended look at Dwayne Haskins in win over

Ohio State redshirt freshman quarterback Dwayne Haskins (7) prepares to throw a pass in the second quarter of the Ohio State- UNLV game on Sep. 23. Ohio State won 54- 21. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorMany Ohio State fans have been clamoring to see more of quarterback Dwayne Haskins since the Buckeyes’ 31-16 loss to Oklahoma in Week 2. On Saturday, those fans were given the opportunity to watch plenty of the redshirt freshman, as he was under center from the Buckeyes’ last drive in the first half until the team’s last drive in Ohio State’s 54-21 defeat of UNLV at Ohio Stadium.Overall, the numbers he put on display were solid. He completed 15-of-23 passes for 228 yards with two touchdowns and an interception, while establishing the deep ball by completing four passes for 20-plus yards.Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer said while he was impressed with Haskins, he was far from perfect.“He’s got work to do, but you can see the talent,” Meyer said. “I think Dwayne played pretty good.”With 3:32 remaining in the first half and the Buckeyes leading the Rebels 37-7, Haskins made his second appearance to spell Barrett, who had already thrown for five touchdowns.Ohio State freshman quarterback Dwayne Haskins (7) prepares to throw a pass in the second quarter of the Ohio State- UNLV game on Sep. 23. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorAfter three rushes from freshman running back J.K. Dobbins put Ohio State at UNLV’s 42-yard line, Haskins completed his first pass to wideout Terry McLaurin for nine yards. Then, after an incompletion and a 5-yard rush to the 28-yard line, Haskins found his target, walk-on wide receiver C.J. Saunders, for his first career touchdown pass on a bullet fired through traffic.“I didn’t know I threw a touchdown until after it happened,” Haskins said. “But once we scored and I got back to the sideline and go, ‘Oh wait, I just threw my first touchdown pass here.’ It was a pretty special moment.”Haskins demonstrated every part of his game the rest of the day. He showed that while his mobility was limited and that he lacks Barrett’s escapability, he is capable of running if the play breaks down. He rushed for 31 yards on six carries. More importantly, he showed his ability to fit throws into tight windows and put plenty of air underneath the football.“I would say that if there is a window, I feel like I can throw it in there. Even if it’s a little tight,” Haskins said. “But I definitely want to go through my reads first so I don’t want to force anything. But I learn from the mistakes and keep getting better.”And there were plenty of mistakes made by Haskins in the game.In the third quarter, Haskins sailed a pass over a pair of receivers in the end zone. He had several other moments where his passes would sail out of bounds or miss his target as the result of a poor read.The worst moment for Haskins came two minutes into the fourth quarter when he misread the coverage and threw a pass right into the hands of linebacker/defensive back Javin White, who took the ball 65 yards for a touchdown.“That’s inexcusable. Threw it right to the guy,” Meyer said. “Obviously, it’s a young player, a freshman. And they’ve got to go through that.”Haskins explained he believed the defense would go without a safety on the play, and instead played cover one. And when the young quarterback looked for the intended receiver down the middle, he said the wideout was covered by the safety. He was then forced to look outside, making a quick decision that resulted in the interception.Ohio State freshman quarterback Dwayne Haskins (7) catches a snap in the second quarter of the Ohio State- UNLV game on Sep. 23. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo Editor“I couldn’t throw the five-step into the safety, so I threw out, but it wasn’t high, outside. It was kind of inside and got picked,” Haskins said. “It was a bad ball. It’s on me.”With the game out of reach when Haskins threw the interception, this was just a learning experience. The Buckeyes might have lost possession of the ball and given up a touchdown, but the interception brought the score to 54-21 with 13:00 remaining in the game.And for a young quarterback like Haskins who might be the eventual successor to Barrett when the redshirt senior leaves the Buckeyes after this season, having a leader like Barrett who has thrown interceptions at critical moments and is there to talk him through what went wrong and how to build on it could be crucial in Haskins’ growth and development.“So with that, trying to get those guys to feel comfortable and go ask the receiver, ‘Hey, on this look, what did you see? What was the coverage out there?’” Barrett said. “That’s a lot of the in-game adjustments that’s going to be needed. I think it’s good for [the backup quarterbacks] to have those conversations so when it’s their time to go out there and play, they’re comfortable because they’re done it before.”Despite the interception, Haskins felt confident overall in his performance. He said he was pleased with the way he played and that he enjoyed getting an opportunity to take the field alongside the second-string players he typically practices with and show off what the backups are capable of.But at the end of the day, he knows the starting job is not his to take just yet. In his eyes, Barrett is still the starter and his job is just to be ready whenever he gets a chance to play. “God forbid [Barrett] got hurt, but I feel like I have a great camaraderie with all my teammates. Whether that’s with the ones, twos or threes, seniors, junior, sophomores, freshmen, I feel we’re all very close,” Haskins said. “So even if something did happen to JT, God forbid, I feel like we’d be very comfortable.” read more

Mens Basketball Ohio State moves up to No 8 in AP Poll

The Buckeyes gather up during a dead ball in the first half of the game against Iowa on Feb. 10 in the Schottenstein Center. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorAnother top-three win for Ohio State led to another jump in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll for the Buckeyes.Ohio State rose six spots to No. 8, its highest ranking since it was ranked No. 3 on Jan. 6, 2014. The Buckeyes beat then-No. 3 Purdue 64-63 on the road on Wednesday, giving the team its second top-three win of the season after it beat then-No. 1 Michigan State 80-64 at home on Jan. 7. The Boilermakers are now No. 6 while the Spartans sit at No. 2. No. 22 Michigan also joins the other three Big Ten teams in the rankings.The Buckeyes currently sit at 22-5 overall and 13-1 in Big Ten play, just one season removed from finishing 17-15 overall with a 7-11 conference record. They missed both the NCAA Tournament and the NIT.In the NCAA Tournament selection committee’s first release of its current seeding on Sunday, Ohio State was listed as a No. 4 seed in the east regional with No. 1 Villanova, No. 2 Duke and No. 3 Texas Tech. The list was only a look at how the tournament would shape up if seeded Sunday and does not reflect how the official bracket will actually turn out.Ohio State will attempt to avenge its only Big Ten loss Thursday when it travels to State College, Pennsylvania, to face Penn State at 8 p.m. read more