Some Things to Read

This I enjoyed:

Kevin Youkilis is one of the most oddly shaped human beings in professional athletics. His torso is giant and cylindrical — he looks like a cartoon poor person wearing a barrel. He is completely bald — like, aggressively bald, like he hates hair — except for a fiery red goatee bush that tumbles out of his face like Play-Doh from a fun factory.

– Michael Schur, “Requiem for a Hardass”
Grantland

I’m personally saddened that Youk is no longer a Red Sox, if only because he was such a perfect Boston athlete; i.e., he looks a lot like the persons I see in my mind calling into WEEI to declare their love for Kevin Youkilis.

Eric Simon over on Amazin’ Avenue wants to know if Justin Turner is clutch:

The problem with this explanation is that it doesn’t really explain why he’s so much worse in non-clutch situations, because the approach he’s alleged to have taken — a short and quick swing, using the middle of the field, not muscling up — are things he doubtless does — or at least tries to do — all the time. But he happens to have found more success in clutch situations, so those things get mentioned as if they describe a more refined approach at the plate that he adopts when he has RBI opportunities.

My best guesses (pick one) are either A.) Turner’s success in the clutch has just been a happy, fluky sort of thing or B.) He gets his hands to the ball fast (watch him in BP, his hands don’t move back before his swing) and can hit breaking balls. So with two-strikes and runners on base, the pitcher decides to see if Turner can hit a breaking ball. And Turner pokes the breaking ball back up the middle for a single. I’m inclined to think it’s A, but B might play a small part as well — if you look up the best situational hitters in baseball history, most are contact hitters. Really, really good contact hitters, most of whom were better hitters than Turner. But still contact hitters.

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