As my colleagues have pointed out on DataLab, FiveThirtyEight readers are great.The latest example: One perceptive reader saw my article about the slowdown of Major League Baseball games and suggested that the designated-hitter rule might explain why the slowest teams are in the American League, whose clubs play with the DH in their home ballparks. I looked into that last week and found no evidence the DH was slowing down the sport. But that article prompted two more readers to contact me (Alex Hickey, by email, and Jonathan A. Jensen, via Twitter). They’d noticed something I’d mentioned offhand in the post: that the two fastest-paced AL teams from 1997 to 2013 were the Chicago White Sox and Toronto Blue Jays. Those teams have one pitcher in common: Mark Buehrle, the fastest thrower in the major leagues.Since 2008, the first year for which FanGraphs has reliable data, Buehrle has been, by far, baseball’s fastest worker between pitches. Over nearly 1,300 innings, he’s averaged 16.7 seconds between pitches. The next fastest pitcher with at least 150 innings pitched, Ben Sheets, averaged 18 seconds. The major-league average has been 21.8 seconds.Even as just one starter, Buehrle’s blistering pace has shaved significant amounts of time from games. If we assume he was 5.1 seconds faster in delivering each pitch during his career, then he’s spared baseball fans nearly 63 hours of dead time between pitches, and cut between 1.6 and two minutes from his team’s average game length each year since his first full season, in 2001. That’s over all of his team’s games, not just the ones he’s pitched.A difference of two minutes is significant. In my article on the topic, I calculated that the slowest team in baseball over Buehrle’s career, the New York Yankees, added about 14 minutes per game relative to the fastest team, the Oakland Athletics, after controlling for number of pitchers, number of pitches per plate appearance and other factors.Another way of looking at Buehrle’s impact on pace is to check how his teams rank in speed each season. As it happens, I compiled these rankings for my first piece, from 2002 through last season. Buehrle was with the White Sox for the first 10 years of that period, and the White Sox were one of baseball’s three fastest teams in five of those 10 seasons; the White Sox ranked among the 10 fastest teams in all but one season. Then Buehrle went to Miami for one season, and the Marlins went from being the majors’ ninth slowest team to its eighth fastest. Last year, Buehrle moved to Toronto, and the Blue Jays went from the 12th fastest team to the very fastest in the majors.One very preliminary finding from these team rankings: Buehrle’s speed-up effect seems to persist even after he leaves. In the first year after Buehrle’s departure, the White Sox were the fastest team in the majors. Last year, they ranked 10th. And Miami, in its first season after Buehrle’s exit, was the majors’ third-fastest team.That the teams stayed faster after he left may also suggest other factors besides Buehrle were contributing to the quicker pace all along. On the other hand — it’s just speculation — perhaps Buehrle’s teammates have noticed that his fast pace has coincided with a successful and consistent career. His philosophy is that catchers know more about opposing batters than he does, so he rarely shakes off their pitch calls. “They’ve been around the league and have faced these guys,” Buehrle said of his catchers, in an interview with USA Today in 2005. “Sometimes I don’t pay attention to what hitters’ tendencies are. … They see their tendencies, so I just go with what they say.”Another theory about the persistence of Buehrle’s fast pace: Buehrle tries to persuade his teammates to match his fast pace, for his own sake as a viewer of their games. “It’s when I’m sitting out here on these four days in between starts, I’m like, ‘All right guys, I always have a quick game and you guys get out of here quick. I want to have a quick day sometimes when I’m on the bench,’ ” he told the Toronto Star last week.Buehrle might be even faster if he didn’t have to wait for stalling batters. “It’s annoying,” Buehrle told the Boston Globe last year. “Guys don’t even swing the bat, take a pitch, and then they get out and adjust their batting gloves. Some of it might be just habit or routine or superstition that they do it, but you didn’t even swing the bat — why do you have to tighten your batting gloves?”This year is Buehrle’s fastest yet: He’s averaging just 15.8 seconds between pitches. It’s also on pace to be his best season: He’s 4-1 with a 2.16 ERA, even after getting shelled by the Boston Red Sox on Friday. His opponents don’t appreciate his stinginess, but they do like his speed. “When he’s pitching, you can set dinner plans and you’re pretty sure you’re going to make them,” Baltimore Orioles center fielder Adam Jones told the Star.
Navy nearly killed the Ohio State-USC hype before the week began. A two-point conversion separated the Midshipmen and Buckeyes with two minutes remaining, but it was OSU that came away with those coveted points en route to a nerve-racking 31-27 victory before an opening-day record 105,092 fans at Ohio Stadium.With OSU leading 29-27, linebacker Brian Rolle intercepted Ricky Dobbs’ pass and returned it the length of the field for two points, as the stunned crowd let out a collective sigh of relief. A Navy conversion would have tied the game, an almost unthinkable turn of events after the Midshipmen trailed by 15 midway through the fourth quarter.“We were nervous for maybe a second,” Rolle admitted. “Then we realized there was no reason to panic now. We knew we just needed to step up and make a play.”Dobbs, a junior quarterback who set career highs with eight completions for 156 yards, said that Rolle’s pick, coupled with an earlier interception by Kurt Coleman, spelled doom for Navy.“I tried to squeeze it in there by throwing it low, but [Rolle] just made a great break on it,” Dobbs said. “I take full responsibility for this one. We have no chance to win with turnovers.”The Buckeyes didn’t allow Navy to make things interesting until the fourth quarter. Leading 29-14, coach Jim Tressel elected to send out his offense instead of kicking a field goal on fourth down. Navy stopped Dan “Boom” Herron one yard short of the first down, turning the ball back over to the Midshipmen.Dobbs capitalized on the opportunity, slinging an 85-yard touchdown strike to receiver Marcus Curry, cutting the lead to eight.“I certainly should have kicked a field goal on fourth and one, which was a huge mistake in my mind,” Tressel said. “Of course, we didn’t make the fourth and one and made it a bigger mistake.”The touchdown pass- the third-longest in Navy history- accounted for more than half of the team’s total yards through the air. The Midshipmen have led the nation in rushing for each of the past four seasons, but relied on their passing attack more often than usual against the Bucks.“They threw the ball a lot more than we thought,” senior cornerback Andre Amos said. “The corners today really didn’t have a chance but to be on their toes. We just tried to stay focused, knowing that in certain situations, they would have to throw the ball.”OSU regained possession of the football with a 29-21 advantage, but sophomore quarterback Terrelle Pryor tossed an interception with four minutes left, leaving Navy in position to tie the game. Pryor tipped his cap to the Buckeyes’ adversary, praising their effort even when trailing.“We saw today why they’re the best in the world at what they do,” he said. “They never give up. They’re fighters.”Aside from the interception, Pryor totaled 174 passing yards with two scores. The first came on a 38-yard strike to Dane Sanzenbacher on the opening drive of the game. The other, a 2-yard bootleg to the outside, pushed the Buckeyes’ lead to 17-7 midway through the second quarter.OSU contained Navy’s triple option rushing attack for the most part. The Midshipmen rushed for 186 yards on 44 carries, well below their average of 292 yards per game from last season.With a rematch against USC looming, Ohio State players guaranteed that they weren’t overlooking a talented Navy squad that finished 8-5 a year ago.“We knew Navy was tough,” said freshman receiver Duron Carter, son of former Buckeye legend Cris Carter. “No one mentioned USC all week. We knew we needed to prepare hard to get a victory.”Carter, listed as the team’s No. 4 receiver, saw plenty of action in his first career game at OSU. He finished with three catches for 21 yards, and contributed after top wideout DeVier Posey left with an ankle injury.Although the Buckeyes claimed they weren’t looking past the Midshipmen, Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo embraced the opportunity to challenge the Buckeyes the week before such a heavyweight bout.“We felt like if Ohio State came dialed in and totally focused, we had no chance,” the second-year coach said. “We kind of had the perfect storm situation with USC coming up. We knew that if they separated any of their preparation time, then we had a chance to win.”Even after giving the Buckeyes an unexpected scare, Niumatalolo said Navy didn’t achieve its central goal.“We came here to win, that was our goal for the past eight months,” he said. “We didn’t come here to experience the atmosphere, we came here to win. Our kids are down.”Ohio State led at halftime, 20-7. Former Ohio Senator and astronaut John Glenn dotted the “I” during intermission.Before the game, Ohio State displayed its respect for the Naval Academy with a video tribute and several honorary awards. The teams broke customary tradition by entering the field at the same time and running down the field together.Ohio State’s last home-opening loss came in 1978, when the Buckeyes were underdogs against Penn State.To avoid another trouncing at the hands of Southern Cal, Tressel knows his team must work hard to improve this week.“We know the team coming in next week is a great football team. Our task is to get better and make sure we’re up for the challenge.”
CEO of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, Sultan al-Jaber, pictured in 2017, said a new project aims to boost ADNOC’s refining capacity by 65 percent This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. on Sunday announced a $45-billion ($38-billion-euro) investment to modify an existing facility into one of the world’s largest integrated refining and petrochemicals plants. © 2018 AFP The project aims to boost ADNOC’s refining capacity by 65 percent to 1.5 million barrels per day by 2025, the state-owned firm’s CEO Sultan al-Jaber told a downstream investment forum.The work will upgrade the refining and petrochemicals plant at Ruwais in partnership with international energy firms, he said.ADNOC also plans to treble petrochemicals output at Ruwais from the current 4.5 million tonnes per year to 14.5 million tonnes a year, he said.Abu Dhabi, one of seven states in the United Arab Emirates, holds more than 90 percent of the federation’s 98 billion barrels of crude oil reserves.In November, Abu Dhabi announced plans to invest $109 billion (81 billion euros) in the energy sector over the next five years.The UAE, OPEC’s fourth largest producer, aims to boost crude oil production capacity from 3.2 million barrels per day at present to 3.5 million bpd at the end of the year.Over the past few months, ADNOC has awarded concession rights at offshore sites to several international oil companies to boost its long-term production capacity.It also renewed and extended concessions at onshore oilfields for major companies including Exxonmobil and Total.Last month, ADNOC invited bids for exploration contracts for six major blocks with untapped oil and gas reserves.ADNOC said the blocks are estimated to hold billions of barrels of oil and trillions of cubic feet of natural gas. UAE awards major refining contracts to Korea’s Samsung Citation: UAE launches $45 bn investment to boost refineries (2018, May 13) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-05-uae-bn-investment-boost-refineries.html Explore further