Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Jeff Passan Jeff Passan Jeff Passan

I like his article on Roger's return. But before you get mad at me for saying that, FJM has a hilarious takedown of an earlier article of his. And it took me two months to realize this, but his writing at Yahoo takes the place of Ryne Sandberg's <shudder> "Exclusive Analysis", which was basically "Back when I was a Cub...", so we should all be thankful, I guess.

Things to Ponder on a Wednesday

Ok, so the Sox have to bull themselves up by the boot straps and get it together.

Tonight they start a AA prospect (Pauley) against a team with whom they are battling for first place. Not sure this is what I would have done, but what other choice do they have? Perhaps if they just cut Willie Harris loose (with Wells hitting the DL), they could have brought up Lester and Hansen. What about Ginter?

More intimidating is the fact that their pen is in shambles. If this kid goes 5 good innings (and what can one expect? 5 IP 4-5 Runs I would think, at best), then the Sox have to get bring in someone from their pen...
Seanez? Riske? Tavarez? 6+ million dollars of no thanks...
Van Buren? He looked good the other night.
Delcarmen? At some point probably..
Foulke?
Papelbon? 2 innings tonight, if close...

By the way, that is 7 relievers. And one is reliable. 3 decent, and 3 no!

Of course, the Sox will have to get to Lilly for any of this to matter, and we know how well they do against this guy...Oh, and Loretta is out...meaning the bottom of the lineup is Gonzalez and Cora again.

At least Toronto can't take over first place tonight.

But the Yankees could...

However, it looks like Sheffield is hitting the DL again. Damon might be going there as well. So Williams and Cabrera and someone else in the OF. This, of course, has been pointed out, shouldn't be so bad for them. They still go to battle with the 6-1 Mussina, Posada, Giambi, Jeter, A-Rod, and Cano. But even I have to say that's a lot of injuries, at this point.

Of course, as is usual with NY, they get little guys to step up. Who would have thought Wright would be pitching like he is???

Other thoughts...

Dontrelle Willis (according to an article today) is going nowhere...
A new "confirmed" article on MLB.com says that Clemens HAS accepted a deal with Houston for $14MM.

Who's left? Is there a chance the Anaheim of Los Angeles of that part of California of the West Coast Angels start unloading any of their pitching? What about some NL guys? Do the Sox just have to throw caution to the wind and bring up Lester and/or Hansen?

I am "pondering" other things, but this is a fairly long post...

Our number

Versus the 2006 Red Sox (10 games):

B.J. Ryan: 8 IP, 1 H, 0 BB, 0.038 BAA, 0.13 WHIP, 0 R
Vernon Wells: .400 BA, .449 OBP, 1.000 SLG, 11 R, 17 RBI, 8 HR

The bright side: the Sox only have to face them 9 more times.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Train of thought

  1. In Sunday's 9th inning fiasco, all runs were unearned, so Seanez's ERA actually dropped, to 5.12. He now can boast he's pitched 9 innings without giving up an earned run. Whoop-de-fuckin'-doo.
  2. In said fiasco, Tavarez got the save, which is even more ridiculous.
  3. Of course, it also comes down to Mirabelli's passed ball on the strikeout. For all the talk of Mirabelli's 6 passed balls in 2005, he has 4 with the Sox already, so is on pace to end the season with over 20.
  4. Meanwhile, Bard (who has no passed balls with SD) is batting .361 with an OPS of over 1.000. In a pitcher's park.
  5. On Sunday, in back-to-back pitches by Mark Mulder, Bellhorn and Bard hit the longest and second-longest homeruns ever hit in Petco Park, with distances of 438 and 434 feet (Bard's 434 hit tying Sosa's record from 2002). By the end of the day Bard's distance was down to third place, thanks to Albert Pujols (436 feet).
  6. Really now, are distance estimates of home runs hit out of the stadium good down to the foot? I can't imagine that's the case; maybe they can do it to within 5 feet or so. Yet they state these numbers with such certainty. Anyone know how they get these numbers?
Update: Here's how most parks do it. I was wrong - it's probably not good to better than 10-20 feet. Meaning Sosa, Bard, Bellhorn, and Pujols (and probably a bunch of other guys) are tied for first at Petco. QuesTec has offered a $15,000 software upgrade so their cameras can estimate distances "to within one meter", but naturally no one's forked out that sort of money. Of course, "within one meter" is still not accurate enough to distinguish Bellhorn's hit from Bard's.

Update 2: I forgot about Hit Tracker. Not sure about its accuracy, or error bars, but it's gotta be better than the "lookup" tables the parks use. Apparently Ted Williams's "red seat" shot, by the current definition of "distance" (how far the HR would've gone had it been allowed to land on the ground) was much more than 502 feet: 525-540 or so, possibly more than Mantle's legendary blast.

Monday, May 29, 2006

An idle thought...

So one nice thing about living in CA is that you can often watch sporting events in the late morning and hen game will be over around 1 and you still have a vast majority of the day to enjoy the beautiful weather (not to mention keeping the wife happy by not consuming the prime hours of the day watching guys named Wily Mo, Coco and Big Papi on TV).

Well yesterday around 2:00, my wife says something to the effect of why is the game still on, aren’t they usually over around one on the weekends (except for those stupid Fox days when I can either not see the game or if I can it is on at 1 or 4.) But I digress. So I noted to her that the game started at 2:00 on Sunday and 1:00 on Saturday. She asked why. And I had no real answer. Now, I am pretty sure that the 2:00 Sunday starts is something relatively new (maybe the last 4 or 5 years). And it does seem kind of silly to have different starting times (or starting times that move all over the map). After all, the Sox stopped having the 6:05 starts on week nights in April.

So after a little thinking, it dawned on me that the reason for the 2:05 start is really nothing more than a way for the Sox to make more money. Gates open 2 hours before game time (noon), and the Sox liquor license (I am fairly certain on this) does not allow them to sell liquor until after noon on a Sunday. This makes perfect sense and, hey, I am all for the team making money. I’m just a bit surprised that this has not been brought up by CHB, D&C and the like.

There really can’t be any other reason. If anything you would think you would have the earlier start on Sunday to allow the game to wrap earlier and allow teams to get a 1 hour headstart on their travels.

Again, I don’t have a problem with it at all. I just was trying to come up with an answer for my wife and then once (I think) I had it I am surprised that it has not become an issue for the almighty scribes that cover our team.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Fact Check/Perspective

So our favorite whipping boy Murray Ch-Ass has enlightened us today. In speaking of how a pitcher can give up the tying run and then still get avictory if his team comes back the next half inning - he says "That's the way Elroy Face gained many of his 18 victories for Pittsburgh in 1959." Well, I'm sure Murray remembers is that way since he grew up a Pirates fan, but I'm not so sure it really was the case. What would you think "many" is? I looked it up and it was 5. Not an insignificant number, but not what I would categorize as many.

Of course by using "many", the linguist in me will say that he was hedging himself, since many usually refers to a number that can not be defined. But this is baseball. And there is this thing called the internet which allows these types of things to become crystal clear (like when Ryan said he "did not know the numbers on where Johnny damon ranked in 2005 in pitches per at bat, but it must be in the top 3" - turns out damon was something like 40th). So take the time and do some homework.

Oh and the perspective part of this post? The five games in which he blew leads for which he ended up being credited with victories represents the same number his 13 wins that Mariano Rivera has picked up in the same exact manner over the last 3 years. And Rivera is set up to pitch one inning at a time while Face was (more often than Rivera has been) asked to pitch 2 or 3 innings at a time.

Friday, May 26, 2006

S.W.Y.B.A.D.

Via Deadspin, this Bronson Arroyo video is the big news among Cincinnatti Reds fans right now. It's pretty great. I assume it's a viral video, to get some buzz going; but don't I imagine it'll on the web for long. Keeping up the tally, of who stars in more ridiculous local commercials, we have: Bronson 1, Wily Mo 0.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Mr. Brightside

Happy thoughts:
  • The Sox bullpen has pitched 7 scoreless innings.
  • Rudy Seanez has pitched 6 2/3 scoreless innings.
  • Sr. Ramirez es en fuego.

Other random, slightly tipsy, thoughts:
  • Kelly Stinnett looks really really old.
  • Francona needs to start pulling his starters a couple batters before his gut tells him to.
  • That was Randy Johnson's 6th win, despite his ERA of 5.89. Every other AL pitcher with 6+ wins has an ERA under 4.2.
  • Two months into the season, I still find he Yankee dugout (when the other team is batting) ridiculous. Joe Torre, Larry Bowa, Tony Pena, Lee Mazzilli, Ron Guidry, and Don Mattingly. And Joe Kerrigan in the bullpen.
  • Big Papi fails to get The Big Hit two times in a row, and every Yankee fan in the world goes off about how he's "not actually clutch". It's sort of sad, really.

The upside

David Riske's ERA dropped by 9 points.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

S.C.O.R.E. in the 9th inning when you're down by 8



More from A-Rod's foreword to S.C.O.R.E. for Life:

"Through the S.C.O.R.E. System I've learned the fine art of visualization and have harnessed the skill of positive self-awareness. I continue to learn to listen to my inuition and act on it immediately...I am constantly learning to think 24/7 like a true champion...I bounce back quickly after small failures and don't get cocky when I'm awesome."

The Injury-Ridden Yankees

I am tired of hearing about it...Last night the Sox started Willie Harris in CF because Wily Mo and Coco are hurt.

Yes, Sheffield and Matsui are hurt, but they started arguably their second best starter and they got pounded.

Damon
Jeter
Giambi
A-Rod
Posada
Cano
Williams
Long
Cabrera

That is a more than formidable lineup. Does someone want to argue that Willie Harris is better than Terrence Long?

Ridiculous. Yes, Chacon is on the DL, and they are probably upset that Wright has to start tonight. But Wright is a guy they signed for big $$$...The Yankees chose to spend the majority of their money on Damon this off-season and stick with their pitching. Now they are paying for it.

I've had enough...The Sox have put together a team with great depth and it is paying large dividends so far. If Wells comes back strong, this Boston team is in unbelievable shape for a great season.

Monday, May 22, 2006

"Me hit ball good. Slap with highest velocity."

In this unbelievably amazing Glob article, we finaly learn A-Rod's mantra:

"I hit solid with an accelerated bat head".

I don't even know where to begin with this. It's just too awesome for words. In fact, I think it might be the best single sentence (I use the word "sentence" lightly) in the history of baseball.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

hoo boy

Michael Barrett apparently punched AJ Pierszinski in the jaw. They're not showing the game here in LA, but the video should be appearing on the web soon...

Update: oh, and Bonds tied the Babe, and the Yanks won despite batting Cairo 6th. But I'm much more excited about the fight between the two idiot Chicago catchers.

Update 2: Beckett with an RBI single to tie the game at 1. I expect we'll hear the term "helping his own cause" about 200 times tomorrow.

Update 3: The video's up.

Friday, May 19, 2006

One more Bronson post

Everyone knows Bronson Arroyo is stuck on two home runs. Less known is that he's also stuck on two hits. He's now batting .083. Of his 26 plate appearances, he has 2 home runs, 2 walks...and 14 strikeouts. Man, and we thought Wily Mo (28 strikeouts in 104 PA) was bad. On the topic of Pena, the tally so far: Bronson -5, Wily Mo 3.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

I'm looking forward to....

Like every year (especially when Joe Torre is not involved) the All Star selections. Sure we still have about six weeks which means we are only half way there. While Francona did a decent job (some would say he went the opposite of what we normally see by initially omitting Clement and picking Justin Dushererererere over Timlin) and there are always debates and outrages, I can only imagine Ozzie Guillen's choices and all of his comments that will come with it.

The White Sox are the hottest (maybe best) team in baseball. You could make an argument that 6 of their 8 position players are deserving (Konerko, Iguchi, Pierzynski, Crede, Dye Podsednik - granted some less so than others especially based on positions) and their DH (although their is no DH since it is in an NL park). Not to mention Vazquez, Buerhle, Contreras (if he comes back from injury soon) and Garcia (despite a 4+ ERA he is 6-1). And even though his ERA is very high for a reliever, Bobby Jenks is second in saves.

And Jenks is the most interesting one - Ozzie loves him. Loves the fact that he has overcome so much negative *stuff.* And this is the one that I can see being the most controversial. Maybe he picks Jenks over Papelbon, Rivera, BJ Ryan, or K-Rod. And he'll make some comment that will piss everyone off.

We still are only half way there, but isn't that what makes baseball so great. Do people argue over who should make the NBA all star team or go to the pro bowl? Certainly not with as much passion. Maybe its because "this time it means something." Thanks to Bud Selig, the genius.

1) Mench, 2) Bonds, and 3)...Arroyo?!?

Okay, so I really like Bronson Arroyo, but after only 9 starts as the Cincinnatti Reds' ace, his head has seemed to gotten a tad big. After losing to his former team Pittsburgh yesterday (6 IP, 9 H, 2 BB, 4 ER), he had this to say:
That can't happen. Period. Against that team, to put (my team) in a 4-1 hole. That's bullshit...If I can't stand on the mound and feel comfortable against that lineup, then something's wrong with me.
Them's fighting words. I mean, I know he was probably pissed off at himself so he didn't mean it to be as big an insult as it was. But unfortunately he didn't take all the blame:
We haven't been swinging the bats. That makes it that much harder.
Lately there's been a lot of talk of pitchers (namely Schilling) making sudden "reversions to the mean" - I'm skeptical, since stats generally don't work like that. But still: I hope Arroyo wasn't expecting to maintain an ERA of 2.00 the whole season. He should probably keep his mouth shut next time...

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Stating the obvious

- Schilling's first four starts: 4-0, 28 IP, 1.61 ERA, 0.75 WHIP
- April 25: Schilling throws 133 pitches in a no-decision against CLE
- Schilling's last four starts: 2-2, 23.2 IP, 6.46 ERA, 2.04 WHIP

Guess who's back...

So I took a week-and-a-half vacation, from both work and baseball. I mean, I followed the scores, but not closely enough to say much about them. Anyway, I like these two articles, both by Alan Schwarz at the NYT:
  • We all know HR's were up last month, which was maybe surprising given the steroid crackdown. And we had all sorts of explanations - pitchers being off roids, new superdrugs, etc. But as it turns out, last month was the hottest April on record. May was cooler, and HR's went way down - the lowest in 12 years. Small sample size of course, but it's the best explanation so far. Good to know that global warming will be good for something.
  • Just in case Selig isn't loathesome enough, he does this. Amazing.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Wily Mo Fo

Can anyone truly still think that the trade for Arroyo was a bad one?

2 for 2 tonight with 4 RBI and a homer. Both hits to RF.

Clement, washed up or rained out?

So I caught most of the "game" on Friday night. I didn't see all of the scoring, I think I started when it was 0-2. Anyway, what is the prevailing wisedom on Clement? Has he been unlucky so far this year? He whined a little about being moved from a start against the Yankees, not sure if that is a sign that he knows he doesn't have his best stuff but doesn't want to admit?

discuss...

Friday, May 12, 2006

Tough Break for the Yankees

Very early on in the year I made mention that if the Yankees lost one of their position players that they'd be in pretty big trouble.

Well, it happened...Matsui is out for 3-months...Couple that with Sheffield's woes (and his DL stint) and there outfield is going to be Bubba Crosby, Damon, and Williams for a little while. This means, flat out, that every runner on second (on a hit to the outfield) will challenge. For a Yankees's pitching staff that isn't lights out, this could spell very big trouble for them...

(As a side note: Did Damon hurt his ailing shoulder last night when he took the HR away from Mirabelli?)

Now, aside from their outfield woes, I don't care how many superstars they have in their lineup, Matsui is going to hurt. He's unbelievably consistent, and an incredibly tough out. It's one less lefty to have to deal with...They will still score their runs. With juicing Giambi, A-Rod, Jeter, and Damon, why wouldn't they? But I think this exposes the bottom of that lineup a bit more.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Sox-Yanks - Part 4 of 19

Interesting - just saw a report that Schilling left the Stadium to go to a NY hospital to be checked out - he came back and the Sox said it was "no big deal." No other details. Very strange. Or perhaps he just wanted to be like Randy. Pitch like shit. Go get a medical procedure.

Two (more) thoughts on Sterling. First, if I thought I was going to listen to the whole game, I would love to count the number of "drop-in" advertisements. This broadcast being brought to you from the Ameritrade studio. Ameritrade. Leading the financial service industry. There is at least one per inning. Per half inning. At least.

Second, the Yankees will get close to 2,000 hits this season and according to Sterling, I do not think one of them will be routine. Every hit is the result of some amazing effort, great job, hard work, excellent read, good discipline, amazing power, etc. Even bloop singles and broken bats are great jobs of fighting off tough pitches.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Sox-Yanks - Part 3 of 19

Well, Ortiz has stuck again. And damn Mike Lowell for ending his streak of doubles.

3-1 but I feel we need to keep piling on.

Anbd what would a Yankee post be with out the pearls that Sterling gives. Damon's fly out to Manny: "Damon hits a drive to deep left, over Ramirez's head and Manny makes the catch." Huh?

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Sox-Yanks - Part 2 of 19

I get the joy of listening to John Sterling and Suzie Waldman. Happy days. Sterling is great. "The game is sold out, but the fans are not all here yet because of the traffic." Thanks John.

Also jst heard that the Unit had his side session on his second off day, to give his arm a little extra rest in hopes of being stronger and better command of his slider. My guess is that this will lead to control problems. Maybe?

Monday, May 08, 2006

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Aha! Bronson lost!

Take that all you Bronson supporters!!! 5-1...Which probably translates to 4-3 or 4-2 in the AL...

No, I am a supporter, but we knew he wasn't going to go 20-0.

And look at Wily Mo go now! He's on fire and a fairly good CF. He showed off his arm a little last night, too.

So, here's my new prediction. People in Boston will be clamoring for Wily Mo to get more playing time once Coco comes back. They're going to be like, "His bat needs to be in the lineup"...How could one argue...

I will admit it...I was wrong. Sort of. I think that this guy could benefit from some minor league time, but he sure looks pretty good right now. He needs to develop a little more patience. His at-bat last night (after Ramirez's blast) was flat-out terrible. He swung at three pitches about 2-feet outside in a row. But you can't argue with his average.

It is nice that pitchers seem a little wary of him. It's another power bat in the lineup. He provides some protection to whoever hits in front of him. Kind of like, "I can throw this guy stuff off the plate, but God help me if I miss" kind of protection.

Anyway, Bronson lost. He still had a good outing. I wish him the best....

Friday, May 05, 2006

Thoughts for a Friday

1. Continuing the debate from earlier this week... Is there any doubt that Millar will get a standing ovation tonight? As GR pointed out, the circumstances are different (non-NY, Sox did not want him back). However, this is likely to spark more questions to/ comments from Damon (probably in the paper on Sunday).

Dumb reporter A: Did you see that Millar got an ovation from the Sox fans? After seeing that reaction do you feel any differently?

Dumb baseball player A: Kevin was lucky that he had me go first and show him how to tip his cap to the Fenway crowd.

2. As bad as it is to see the Sox offense struggle, imagine being KC, who basically have 5 regulars batting below .200.

3. What the hell happened to Dustan Mohr?

I Can't Wait for the Album

The Onion has done it again. With a hot breaking news story.

Uggla

I've been meaning to post this for weeks now, but this guy is awesome.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

I'll Try to Get My Sox News From Somewhere Else

Like here...

The newspapers and radio stations in this town (Boston) have gone insane. Now that the idiots are gone, and have been replaced by those who carry themselves like professionals, it is next to impossible for the reporters to create controversy.

Yes, Manny will not run everything out, and Loretta doesn't dive to knock down grounders with runners on second (allowing them to score), but you can't dislike the personalities on this Sox team.

And it is killing the writers and talk show guys...

The newest thing the writers do is bash the front office. While they are trying to keep ticket prices somewhat reasonable (and from an economic stance, if you can get $200 for a seat, and only charge $100, you are hurting your organization) by finding other revenue to avoid the aforementioned $200 price tags, they are getting killed for it.

Conspiracy theories abound...The latest and greatest? That the Sox KNEW that game against the Yankees was going to get rained out the other night, but let fans in to sell drinks and food and hats, etc...

Now, here's why that is garbage. If that were the case, they could have put off calling that game for another hour or so. The game was called at 7:45 or so. Second, it was against the Yankees, and they probably make a ton of money on advertising on NESN. The Yankees have the same deal with the YES Network. It pays for BOTH organizations to play that game.

Finally (although there are probably many more practical reasons), ARAMARK, the concession stand vendors pay UP FRONT every year for the right to sell food and drinks at Fenway. That means that the front office doesn't benefit from sales from each game. Rather, they get a lump some (like rent from the vendor) before the season starts.

Check out CHB's column today...or the Herald...or D and C on EEI. All ridiculous.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

This could be over before it starts

Reports are that the Stros have offered Clemens his same $18 MM salary pro-rated over the remaining portion of the season. The offered coupled with the Stros strong start would, to me, make them very likely to retain his services.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Clean Your Own House First, Joe.

So Torre was disappointed that the Sox fans booed Damon. ''I'm a little disappointed in the reaction by the fans," Torre said. ''I guess we should feel proud. Evidently, wearing a Yankee uniform overrides winning a World Series and busting your tail for four years. Without Johnny here, they may have been working on 89 or 90 years."

Hmmm. Surely the Yankee fans would be so much above that. Has Torre forgotten only one year ago. fresh on the heals of having blown a couple of fairly important games in October 2004 and starting the season with two blown saves also against the Sox. well, Yankee fans booed Rivera. And the season before, Jeter was mired in an 0-30 slump at one point and the Yankee "fans" booed him as well.

So thanks for the lecture Joe. Red Sox Nation. Perfect we are not. But don't go throwing stones in your own glass house.

Sweep!!!!

I was wrong. I thought, coming in, that a split was the most probably result, but the Sox pulled off the early season sweep.

Actually this is one more reason that the two game series is stupid. The Sox should have waited about three hours so that the Yankees would not get into TB until 3 AM. But seriously it is now going to be a 5 game set in August, which should be entertaining and could set the tone for the last 6 weeks of the season. I like that a lot.

Waaahhhhhhhh

Usually I my posts about Sox articles by this guy involve some incredibly awesome pun like "Chasshole". (Get it?!? It sounds like "asshole"! But it's also his name!!!! Isn't that, like, incredibly awesome?) But this article is just too pathetic. I mean, you can practically hear his whining coming through the computer screen.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Warmest Reception on a Chilly Night!

Welcome back, Doug Mirabelli!!! In a trade for Josh Bard and Cla Meredith, the Red Sox have re-acquired Doug. Oh, and cash...

I can hear all the people on EEI now...For weeks they've been clamoring for a Mirabelli deal. Big-O, and the rest all said it would never happen and that it would look desperate if it did...So, let the desperate shouts begin...Who cares? With the way Wake has been pitching, and how Mirabelli can catch him, let another pitcher who can win games enter the fray.

Now if we can only hit before the ninth inning.

I can't wait for Doug to get the biggest cheer out of Fenway tonight. As opposed to that Damon guy. It is unfortunate that he couldn't keep his mouth closed after he left.

Warm reception on a chilly night?

Joe and Jerry (Castiglione and Trupiano) during yesterdays game talked about Damon's reception tonight. They both thought that he would initially be received with a round of applause, but after his first at bat he becomes a Yankee.

This IS the news story of the day, at least in Boston. Taking a quick run through the stories in each city:

NY times leads with this story about how Damon is helping to relieve tension in the clubhouse (Don't ask me for the details).

NY Times also has an interesting piece on Wake and catching him

NY Daily News leads with the sports page on Damon's return

Globe has this drivel from Shaughnessy, which starts out about the rivalry and turns to Johnny Damon, "center of the universe"

The Herald has this piece that's similar to the NYtimes piece (e.g. "The same old idiot") but is focused on his return

Finally, Yahoo didn't even let Passan take a crack, instead off loaded it to an AP writer. By the way, Passan writes about Kim Ng the assistant GM for the Dodgers. Kudos to Passan, the Ng story is WAY more interesting than the Damon drivel.

So, will Damon have a warm reception?