MLB

Tim Anderson's bat flip gets the Twittersphere buzzing

Tim Anderson's bat flip gets the Twittersphere buzzing

The White Sox made national headlines on Wednesday for being involved in a scuffle with the Kansas City Royals after an emphatic bat flip by Tim Anderson.

The 25-year old Anderson absolutely crushed his 50th career home run in the fourth inning and followed with the bat flip-heard-’round-the-world. Later on, Kansas City pitcher Brad Keller hit Anderson with a fastball and chaos ensued. In the end, ump Joe West ejected Keller, Anderson, White Sox manager Rick Renteria and Royals bench coach Dale Sveum.

The incident certainly caught the eye of the Twittersphere, with the reactions being split down the middle.

Anderson had a response to a tweet from Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Randal Grichuk, who seemed to be referencing Anderson in complaining about the “excessive” “pimping” on homeruns.

White Sox fans even dug up a hypocritical tweet from the Royals.

And even free agent NFL quarterback Josh McCown got in on the debate:

The White Sox don’t see the Royals again until May 27, so Anderson and co. will have a awhile before they get a chance to get payback in the form of a win.

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Remember That Guy: Carlos Zambrano

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USA TODAY

Remember That Guy: Carlos Zambrano

Carlos Zambrano is attempting a comeback with the independent league Chicago Dogs.

Is it possible he makes it back to the Majors? Sure. But it’s still not likely.

But hey, there are three pitchers older than Zambrano (who turns 38 on June 1) who have thrown a pitch in the Majors this season. That list includes Fernando Rodney, CC Sabathia & Pat Neshek.  Oliver Perez & Adam Wainwright were born just a few months after Zambrano.

He pitched for Yucatan in the Mexican League in 2018, where his fastball apparently topped out at 89 MPH. He had a 5.18 ERA in 7 starts, walking 17 and striking out 11 in 33 innings. Zambrano said he hit 94 in the Venezuelan winter league, but even if it did he had a 7.36 ERA in 29.1 innings there, with only 10 strikeouts.

But hey, who knows…

At the very least, let’s go back and remember for a moment just how good Big Z was; it’s easy to forget how dominant he could be.

The last Cubs no-hitter at Wrigley Field was Milt Pappas on September 2, 1972 (both of Jake Arrieta’s were on the road). But the last Cubs no-hitter within 100 miles of Wrigley Field was by Carlos Zambrano, who tossed one September 14, 2008 at Miller Park (the Astros played a home game there due to Hurricane Ike), which is about 90 miles from Wrigley Field (could Zambrano’s fastball travel from Wrigley to Miller in less than an hour???).

In addition to that no-hitter, while with the Cubs he took a no-hitter into the 7th inning on five other occasions. There was a feeling he could throw one any time he took the mound.

Over his 6-year peak with the Cubs (2003-08), his 3.39 ERA ranked 10th out of 117 pitchers with 600 or more innings; his league & ballpark adjusted ERA+ of 133 (33% better than league average) ranked 9th of 117. His opposing batting average of .226 ranked 6th out of 117.

Zambrano’s 1,542 career strikeouts with the Cubs is topped by only Fergie Jenkins (2,038). Those are the only two pitchers in franchise history (whose National League lineage dates back to 1876) with at least 1,500.

His career WAR (according to baseball-reference.com) is 43.2, and that’s good for 16th in franchise history. Again, that’s nearly 150 years of franchise history. In fact, his career total of 43.9 WAR (he played for the Marlins in 2012) is good for second all-time among players whose last name begins with Z, and the leader will be familiar to Cub fans.

Most career WAR, last name beginning with Z

45.2  Ben Zobrist

43.9  Carlos Zambrano

40.1  Tom Zachary

37.7  Ryan Zimmerman

33.7  Heinie Zimmerman

Of course, it must be noted that the 43.9 includes batting, and what Carlos Zambrano article would be complete without listing some of his batting feats!

Zambrano had 24 career home runs (all as a pitcher).  That’s tied with Bob Gibson for 7th all-time for home runs as a pitcher (excluding pinch hit home runs). Bob Gibson retired after 1975 and since then, nobody else has over 20. The closest active competitor is Madison Bumgarner with 18.

Most home runs as a pitcher (1976-present)

24   Carlos Zambrano

18   Madison Bumgarner

16   Mike Hampton

12   Yovani Gallardo

12   Don Robinson

And here’s a fact, fluky but true: Zambrano has more NL Silver Slugger awards (3) than Javier Báez (1), Anthony Rizzo (1) & Kris Bryant (0) COMBINED. (How could Kris Bryant NOT win in 2016 when he won an MVP??)

The Silver Slugger award was introduced in 1980, so there are nearly 40 seasons to go by, but still the list of pitchers to win a Silver Slugger and throw a no-hitter in the same season consists of only two names.

2008       Carlos Zambrano

2016       Jake Arrieta

It has been a while since Carlos Zambrano took the mound in the Majors. His last appearance was in a game where Ozzie Guillen was his manager and Carlos Lee was his first baseman. It will probably remain his last appearance, but at least seeing his name in the news today has given us an opportunity to go back and remember a fun career.

2019 MLB Power Rankings: A new #1; the Cubs and White Sox both gain some ground

2019 MLB Power Rankings: A new #1; the Cubs and White Sox both gain some ground

Presuming that you are a normal person with a normal routine that includes a normal bedtime, we can't really blame you if you're not intune with the world of Pacific Northwest baseball. 

The Mariners: They're Good! As a team, they're slashing .294/.374/.568 -- good for an eye-popping 163 wRC+ -- during their 11-2 start. Granted, their competition (OAK, BOS, LAA, CWS, KCR) hasn't been stellar, but they're still mashing. It feels like we go through this Are-The-Mariners-Now-Good?! routine every season, so maybe it's nice that we're getting out ahead of it. 

More locally, things are going ... the same? As expected? The White Sox have lost 4 straight and somehow climbed 3 spots in our powerful rankings (it's not a perfect science, whatever) and even with the emergence of Yoan Moncada, the realization of yet another 70-win season is starting to set in with Sox fans. Also all 11 of Eloy's hits are singles, which is probably going to be a fun anecdote someone tweets one day in the future, but in the present it's just kinda weird with a pinch of underwhelming. Stretch a single, Eloy! See what happens! 

On the North Side, the Cubs returned to a sense of normalcy with that 10-0 home opener spanking of Pittsburgh. PLUS, the Tyler Chatwood Redemption Tour has arrived bright and early. Terrifying Exciting times are coming to Wrigley! 

Want to see just where your Sox or your Cubs landed on this week's Power Rankings? You can check them all out, and then get Mad Online, right here.