FanGraphs | Jeff Sullivan: Most times position players are called on to pitch when their team is out of reach, but the Rays called on Jesus Sucre to protect a lead, which is odd. It was a five-run lead, and they had one available pitcher left, so it makes some sense: have the hard-throwing catcher pitch, and save Jose Alvarado for the next day to pitch (or play first base).
MGL On Baseball | Mitchell G. Lichtman: MGL is back to talk about recency bias. Shocker here, but first-half performance is actually not indicative of second-half performance! Who knew! He breaks up cold starters and hot starters against their projections, and finds, obviously, that they will regress to their projected mean.
The Athletic | Eno Sarris ($): What’s with Manny Machado’s defensive metrics at shortstop? He went from one of the best third basemen to one of the worst shortstops ever, so how much of it is “real”? In reality, his defensive metrics come down to 56 plays because so many of his plays had the shift where those plays are thrown out of the calculation. Is he great? Who knows. But he isn’t that bad, and the sample will likely improve with time.
The Ringer | Rob Schaefer: The LOOGY is dying, and it’s because teams are tossing out old rules on bullpen usage in favor of a more comprehensive strategy of flamethrower relievers that can get any batter out.