A number that indicates how close a front-running team is to clinching a division or season title. It represents the total of additional wins by the front-running team or additional losses by the rival team after which it is mathematically impossible for the rival team to capture the title.
When a player does something to catch the attention or make an impression on the other team, he may be said to "make a statement". Perhaps he makes a spectacular fielding play, hits a home run, slides hard into second base, or throws a brushback pitch. This phrase is also used in other sports when a team seeks to show up or to demonstrate its power against an opponent. "There were a lot of times where we could have given up, but no one gave up. We made a statement here tonight".
When an offensive team tries to make the opposing pitcher throw a lot of pitches and tire him out by working the count, or taking pitches or fouling off pitches, it is said to be making the pitcher work. "We've got a lot of good hitters up and down this lineup, but the key is to make the pitchers work", Laird said. "Tonight we made Saunders work. Then we got to their bullpen and were able to string some key hits together."
When an umpire makes a bad call on a pitch, he may implicitly acknowledge it on a later pitch by making another bad call to "make up" for the first. For example, say an umpire mistakenly calls a strike on a pitch that is out of the strike zone; he may later call a ball on a pitch that's in the strike zone so that the hitter gets back what was initially taken away. Umpires typically, and understandably, deny that there is any such thing as a "make-up call".
When a game is canceled because of a rainout or for some other reason, a make-up game is usually scheduled later in the season. Late in the regular season if the outcome of that game would not affect which teams would reach the play-offs, then the game might not be made up.
Producing runs one at a time, piece by piece, component by component by means of patience at the plate, contact hitting, advancing runners, taking advantage of errors, alert baserunning including stealing a base or advancing on an out or a mistake by a fielder. In other words: small ball.
A batting average of .200. Named (most likely) for Mario Mendoza, a notoriously poor hitter but decent shortstop who managed to have a 9-year major league career from 1974 to 1982 with a life-time batting average of .215.
A batter who hits with power, and who thus may be suited to be in the third, fourth, or fifth slot in the batting order. "I think Brett Jackson looks a lot more like a top of the order guy right now than a middle of the order guy, and he seems like a viable leadoff hitter based on his performance as a professional".
A relief pitcher who is brought in typically during the middle-innings (4, 5, and 6). Since he's typically in the game because the starting pitcher allowed the opponents a lot of runs, the middle reliever is expected to hold down the opponents' scoring for an inning or two in hopes that his own team can close the gap.
A pitcher who is good at getting batters to strike out may be said to "miss some bats", that is, to make the batters swing and miss. A relief pitcher who is good at missing bats may be brought into a game when the other team already has runners in scoring position.
A pitcher who does not have good command of his pitches and is not able to throw the ball where he intends to is said to "miss some spots". "Angels Manager Mike Scioscia agreed. 'He missed some spots on a couple of hitters', Scioscia said, 'and they didn't miss their pitches'."
A "mistake" is poor execution, as distinguished from an error. It could be throwing to the wrong base, missing the cut-off, running into an obvious out, or throwing a pitch into the batter's "hot zone" instead of where the catcher set up for it.
There may be such a thing as a mistake hitter, a mediocre hitter who occasionally gets a pitch that he can drive. But a "mistake pitcher" doesn't usually last long in the big leagues.
When asked how the mighty Yankees lost the 1960 World Series, Yogi Berra remarked, "We made too many wrong mistakes."
"Mitt" (derived from "mitten") can refer to any type of baseball glove, though the term is officially reserved to describe the catcher's mitt and the first-baseman's mitt. Those mitts (like a mitten) have a slot for the thumb and a single sheath covering all the fingers, rather than the individual finger slots that gloves have. By rule, mitts are allowed to be worn only by the catcher and the first baseman. See the entry on glove.
To be successful, most pitchers have to use a variety of pitches, and to mix them up tactically (not randomly) to keep hitters off balance. "Jackson was overwhelming. 'I was just trying to come out and be aggressive and mix my pitches up', he said. 'I've seen them in the past and I know what they can do. You have to mix it up to keep them honest'."
An often misused term. It refers to Michael Lewis's 2002 book. "Moneyball player" most often refers to one who has a high on-base percentage, and does not steal a lot of bases. However, the essence of the book is about running an organization effectively by identifying inefficiencies and finding undervalued assets in a given market. As an example, the so-called Moneyball teams have shifted their focus to defense and speed instead of OBP which is no longer undervalued. "Moneyball" is often seen as the antithesis of "smallball", where teams take chances on the basepaths in an attempt to "manufacture" runs. In more traditional baseball circles, evoking Moneyball to describe a player or team can be a term of derision.
A home run hit so high and deep that it is said to travel toward the moon.
When the Dodgers first moved out to Los Angeles and played in the L.A. Coliseum, home runs hit by Wally Moon over the short left-field fence (251 feet down the left-field line, a 42-foot high fence) were also headlined in the newspapers as "Moon Shots". Moon didn't hit many home runs in the Coliseum. That these were opposite-field home runs, however, brought more attention to them.
A mop-up pitcher or "mop-up man" is usually the bullpen's least effective reliever who comes in after the outcome of the game is almost certain. Sometimes other position players also come in to mop up in the last inning in order to gain playing experience as well as give the regulars a rest. "La Russa said Hancock's final outing was typical of a reliever whose role frequently called for mop-up duty."
A player who gets an extra-base hit, or who is on base when a teammate gets one, is sometimes said to "motor" for an additional base – to continue running without hesitation. "This allowed Loehrke to score, and then a miscue by Ranger right fielder Drew Orbergfell allowed Lounsbury to motor to third base".
"Pinch runner Brandon Varnell used his blazing speed to motor down the third base line on the fielding error by Memorial reliever Garrett Hill and slide head first into home plate to tie the game at 5-5".
The pitcher's mound is a raised section in the middle of the diamond where the pitcher stands when throwing the pitch. In Major League Baseball, a regulation mound is 18 feet (5.5 m) in diameter, with the center 59 feet (18 m) from the rear point of home plate, on the line between home plate and second base. The front edge of the pitcher's plate or rubber is 18 inches (46 cm) behind the center of the mound, making it 60 feet 6 inches (18.44 m) from the rear point of home plate. Six inches (15.2 cm) in front of the pitcher's rubber the mound begins to slope downward. The top of the rubber is to be no higher than 10 inches (25 cm) above home plate. From 1903 through 1968 this height limit was set at 15 inches, but was often slightly higher, especially for teams that emphasized pitching, such as the Los Angeles Dodgers, who were reputed to have the highest mound in the majors.
Murderers' Row was the nickname given to the New York Yankees baseball team of the late 1920s, in particular the 1927 team. The term was actually coined in 1918 by a sportswriter to describe the 1918 pre-Babe Ruth Yankee lineup, a team with quality hitters such as Frank "Home Run" Baker and Wally Pipp that led the A.L. in home runs with 45. In subsequent years, any line-up that has a series of power hitters who represent a daunting challenge to opposing pitchers might be dubbed by the press as a "murderer's row".
^According to Bill James, this term came into the language of baseball in the mid-1970s. James has tried to formalize its meaning for statistical analysis: a run is "a manufactured run if it is at least one-half created by the offense doing something other than playing station-to-station baseball." See The Bill James Handbook 2007 (Skokie, IL: ACTA Sports, 2006), p. 315.