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Aaron Judge Would NEVER Cheat... But It Doesn't Hurt To Double Check

Power Rankings/MLB Recap show is on YouTube above and in audio format here. Nice roundtable of the head lines to start each week with deeper league breakdowns on Wednesday (National League) and Friday (American League). I gotta plug that off the top or I'll forget once we start talking about Aaron Judge's eye contact. I appreciate you guys for hearing me out on this. 

Does this look normal?

No but it's Aaron Judge. Nothing about him is normal. Even if he side-eyes the 3rd row above the 1st base dugout moments before several pitches per game. It probably has to do with broadening his spectral peripherals or some advanced scientific training my brain can't understand. Or maybe he's just fucking with us, which would would be awesome.

The important thing tor remember = Who is anyone to question Aaron Judge? We should assume complete purity at all times, only to correct ourselves two decades later if ever confronted with hard evidence. 

One guy nobody ever thought cheated was Mark Buehrle. That may seem like a random transition but I bring him up because he's the proud owner of my favorite play in baseball history: 

The call, the contestants, the day game. It's a great play and we got a similar taste last night in Oakland

You don't have Hawk Harrelson on the mic and it's not as bang-bang. But you gotta respect the in-between-the-leg shuffle pass. That demands your respect. 

BTW did you know Michael Wacha is only 31 years old? 

And he was born in Iowa City and raised a Cubs fan? 

I would have said 39 years old and I say that after touting Wacha heavily out of Texas A&M to my Cardinals friends. Maybe it's the resemblance to Adam Wainwright or maybe it's the half a dozen shoulder surgeries. I just know when you say Wacha, I think WASHED. 

I'm a moron: 

At least I sure feel like a Moron for thinking that then watching him CARVE my Royals. 

Did he say MY Royals?

Believe it or not, the young man who broke that no-hitter up is a proud Brother Rice Crusader and Illini baseball player. We're practically brothers if you want to look at bone structure but I digress. I enjoy watching the Royals. That's the point. 

I also enjoy Alex Bregman quite a bit. Certainly not when he does this against the Cubs in a 4-4 game. But that doesn't change my general thoughts and feelings towards him

In fact, I was heavily influenced by these very thoughts and feelings when saying I liked him more than Yordan Alvarez. Maybe before 2020 that could be a good argument? Deeper look at the numbers and, again, I am a moron. 

But we're getting better every day and that's what matters. Everyone's improving (except the Padres). 

The Astros are getting better slowly in the standings. But they look very good upon close inspection. Here's a weird reason why: 

Last night was the 1st time in over a calendar year that Framber Valdez didn't pitch into the 6th inning. Think about that. 36 something starts in a row. He gets chased in the 5th at a time he can't be getting chased in the 5th and the Astros still win 6-4. If you know their brand, then you can anticipate one of the next two games against the Cubs will be a 7+ run victory. It's a borderline guarantee they dust the Cubs at least once to close the series.

It's also a guarantee that the pitch clock has really bothered Alek Manoah:

The group chat suggested he go to AAA to work on the pitch clock. Others suggest he eat a salad. Personally I just want to see the Blue Jays at full strength one time in my life since the 1994 strike. 

Speaking of AAA… have you seen the New York Mets play baseball lately? 

Holy fuck are they bad at baseball. 

But we're gonna sit here and shit on the Oakland A's every day?

Yes that's exactly what we're gonna do. We're gonna shit on the A's much like Cal Raleigh shit on 2 different baseballs last night in what I see as a remarkable accomplishment: 

Idk how MLB Network doesn't cut to either HR during that interview so here you guys go… almost 900 feet of Cal Raleigh:

We're doing Home Runs so here's a Shohei bomb from last night: 

Cool dude. You're awesome. 

How awesome?

The .555 slugging percentage is astounding for a guy who continues to lower his launch angle. The one thing that's really interesting is that his slugging percentage is up about 10% this year, but his xSLG is identical to 2022 at .549. I think that's a good indicator of the randomness. The 10% variance on the gross statistic. But if you net it for park factors and run some other neutralizing gymnastics on it, he's dead on balls to the thousandth of a decimal point from this season to last. 

It's a great game. 

We talk about it here on Monday, Wednesday and Friday

We'll be back tomorrow morning with Chris Klemmer & Nick Turani from The Yak to discuss the National League.