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The Week in Confirmation Bias, 7/8-7/14

It's Logan Schafer's debut in the weekly reminder that the things your brain tells you is true is sometimes absolutely true.

Confirmation bias - "a tendency of people to favor information that confirms their beliefs or hypotheses. People display this bias when they gather or remember information selectively, or when they interpret it in a biased way." (Wikipedia)

Last week we noted Juan Francisco's skillset and how reminiscent it is of the typical Doug Melvin acquisition, and lamented the injured Corey Hart and his proclivity for catching balls on the warning track.

This week I make your ethernet cables sweat with way too many gifs, and we talk extensively about balls that were either robbed, barely hit, or not hit at all. Fun, right?

Maxim: Ron Roenicke always call for the squeeze with a runner on third and less than two outs.

Ron Roenicke loves bunting. Especially when bunting is actively driving in a run, and not simply part of manufacturing one.

There were a couple instances in which the Brewers found themselves with a runner on third and less than two outs this past week, so we saw plenty of effort to get a run in on a squeeze play. Because the contact play hasn't been working and there's no other realistic way of scoring one and only one run in these situations. Or at least ways for which the manager can take full credit.

With Yuniesky Betancourt on third base and one out in Friday night's game in Arizona, Norichika Aoki stepped to the plate with the opportunity to chase Patrick Corbin from the game with a game tying hit. Given his somewhat incredible .336 BA versus left-handed pitchers this season, it made a lot of sense for one of the Brewers' best hitters to try getting that run home by giving himself up in the low-percentage safety squeeze play.


Note: Brian Anderson, soon after the gaffe, called him the best bunter on the team. (Also, I haven't found anything on whether this was Aoki's idea or Roenicke's for sure, but for the sake of this article I'm sticking with Roenicke.)

But Roenicke wouldn't keep calling for it if it didn't work every once in a while. In Sunday's game the Brewers were threatening to blow the game open in the 2nd, with runners on the corners and one out with Logan Schafer at the plate. Of course, Roenicke opted for one run instead of trying to score more, or get too "greedy," as Rock would later put it. Schafer, who entered the game with a respectable .830 OPS in his last 11 games, and fresh off his first career homerun on Monday (and in the AB before his second career homerun - thanks, hindsight), gave himself away to get that all-important single run.


Note: After successfully laying this bunt down, Rock called him the best bunter in the National League.

The Brewers' manager and broadcasters really, really, enjoy bunting and the squeeze play. Heck, the constant stranded runners at third are making me come around.

The featured picture of this article couldn't be more appropriate. I'm sure Logan appreciated it more than this:



Maxim: The Brewers always torture us with rallies that ultimately go nowhere.

Friday night was a particularly frustrating loss for the Brewers, as they managed to get 9 baserunners (7 hits, 2 walks) off of Patrick Corbin, one of the NL's best pitchers this season, only to waste it by getting only one of those baserunners to step on home plate.

On a wild pitch. In the first inning.

The following 8 innings featured 0 runs but a crapload of hits, walks, and meaningful at bats that ended up serving little purpose other than needlessly ratcheting up our heart rates.

The first failed rally occurred in the 4th inning. Currently red-hot Jonathon Lucroy led off with a ringing double down the left field line on the first pitch from Corbin. With Rickie Weeks at the plate, Corbin, understandably cautious of the lightning, threw a wild pitch, with Lucroy advancing to third.

Nobody out and a man on third. For those who read this column weekly, we knew the inning to be over. However, more Brewers came to the plate, because those are the rules of the game.

Weeks popped out. Sean Halton flew out, too shallow to get the runner home. And Betancourt, after swinging through strike two in anticipation of his inning-ending strikeout, showed us perhaps the most accurate assessment of the 2013 season in a single instantaneous non-verbal expression:


After stranding two more baserunners in the 6th, the Brewers made a legitimate threat once again in the 7th against Corbin when Betancourt, in low-scale atonement, ground-rule-doubled to deep left and Logan Schafer singled to right, once again putting a runner on third with nobody out. Again our conditioned selves promptly awaited the series of events that would extinguish this golden opportunity.

Pinch hitter Khris Davis strucKh out. As we saw earlier, Aoki popped out on a bunt attempt. Segura walked to load the bases. After Corbin was replaced by platoon-advantaged Will Harris, Carlos Gomez struck out to end the inning.

The 8th inning featured another bases-loaded stranded effort that takes on a familiar rhythm. Just subtract the runner-on-third-nobody-out factor and add a diving catch that crushed our souls:


I cut it off too soon to see, but Pollock actually does 20 pushups right after the catch, just to rub it in.

At least we can't blame a Brewer for that one. Probably. Either way -


Maxim: If there's a runner in scoring position and 2 outs for the Cardinals, any ball put in play will find its way into the outfield for a hit, broken bat pop up, 9 hopper, doesn't matter. - AcesHigh

On Tuesday night the Cardinals hosted the Astros. Chances are, the Cardinals wouldn't need any of the luck they've been inexplicably blessed with. But some trains just can't be stopped.

In the 4th inning the Cardinals were threatening to blow the game open, already up 3-0 with all-star Matt Carpenter at the plate with two outs and a couple runners in scoring position. Naturally, Astros infielders were sweating profusely on account of the knowledge that the ball that was about to come off the bat was going to be weird in some way.

Sure enough, Bud Norris got in on Carpenter's fists on 0-2. Carpenter knuckled it, and the infield panic inevitably ensued.


As the play developed, the Cardinals play-by-play man stated the following:

Somehow, Pena couldn't come up with it!

And later, upon viewing replay:

How did Pena miss this?


We know how. It's written in the stars. And therefore -


BONUS MAXIM: Carlos Gomez always makes for the best .gifs







If you have any more maxims in mind, post in the comments and I'll add them to the master list. So I can selectively choose them when they become relevant - for further virtuous analysis.