Logan Mankins. Last week I tried to stretch out his name to match his holdout. Best I could do was: Loooooo-Gan Mannnnnn-kins. Not quite enough. Then I got to thinking what was longer than Mankins holdout.
Over at Foxboro Blog, I count down the Patriots-centric things that cannot compare with Mankins' holdout. A big thanks to Derek Hanson for the weekly spot over at Foxboro Blog.no comments
Amazing the amount of good will a bad season will chew up. Last offseason, Jack Zduriencik was the toast of the baseball commentariat, including your humble correspondent. The decision to lock up key young performers Franklin Gutierrez and Felix Hernandez remain eminently praiseworthy. As are both Cliff Lee trades. Acquiring him without sacrificing the top system prospects and taking a top prospect from a divisional rival after two months of lustrous pitching is fine. But the failure of the team to succeed, the poor handling of Don Wakamatsu's final days at the helm and now the Josh Leuke debacle have worn some of the shine from Jack Z.'s reputation.
Premium Calcaterra snark follows:
To sum up: either the Mariners' President lied about not knowing of Leuke's past, or else no one thought it was a good idea to tell the Mariners' President information that he really should have known. And then Zduriencik lied about trying to send Leuke back. And then Zduriencik fired a guy who has now dropped the dime about all of this to Geoff Baker.
Doin' a heckuva a job, there, Jack Z.
This is not to say that the Mariners failures are solely and wholly the responsibility of the GM. He bears the burden of poor roster construction, to the extent that the failures on the field are the fault of the poor planning. But with the firing of Wakamatsu and parts of his coaching staff and this situation with Lueke both land on his desk and his desk alone.
Both incidents are part of doing business in baseball. But not getting Rick Adair and really all of the former coaches to sign bulletproof Non-Disclosure Agreements is an absolute failure that binds both issues. Firings are unpleasant. I have been both the guy fired and the one sitting across the table as my boss fired a colleague. They are stress laden affairs that truly sell the goal of working for oneself better than any other perk of that particular position. How difficult would it have been to guarantee an extra year of pay in exchange for a year of silence? At the least it would have mitigated some of the stress felt by all concerned.
Adair's interview with Baker illustrates that Zduriencik failed completely to insure that the integrity of the organization was protected from disgruntled employees. That failure should be of paramount concern to Mariner's President Chuck Armstrong who now has egg to clean from his face. The fiction that both Zduriencik and Armstrong perpetrated regarding Lueke is part of our broken media based discourse. But it remains far better to either not comment or just own the truth than to lie and then be called out later.no comments
Jerry Manuel recently addressed his contract situation with the press, because both Mets fans were wondering when Omar was going to whip out the checkbook to retain the tactician most responsible for the epic Mets collapses of Septembers past.
Jerry Manuel admitted yesterday that he would 'love to know' if the organization plans to bring him back next season, but he also isn’t about to seek out GM Omar Minaya or Jeff Wilpon for an answer. Manuel, whose contract expires after the season, said he’ll refrain from asking because he doesn’t want to become a focal point – especially if the organization has already decided to dump him – in this final month.
This prompts me to recall the wise words spoken by Inigo Montoya. "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."
It's not that Manuel should not wonder about his job status. he surely should. And with notepads and microphones before him, the offhand comment is bound to be made -- something like "yeah I'd like to know if I should plan for next season." But that's not what Manuel did with the excerpted comments above.
See Manuel could easily avoid becoming the focal point, by not addressing the subject in public. You see, by telling reporters that he isn't going to ask Minaya or Wilpon what his status is does not preclude the topic being addressed by the media. A curt response would succeed at that task. "Listen guys, I'm not going to talk about my contract. Nobody cares about whether I'm back next year. They care about what we're going to do to get better this year."
But it's more likely that Manuel does want resolution, so he can burnish his credentials to get a gig someplace else next season in the final month of the season. Using the press, who are happy to run Manuel's quote, and then use his comments as the basis of inquiries when next they speak to Minaya or Wilpon, so they can get not just one, but at least two and possibly many more stories out of it.
Jerry Manuel denies that he has self-interest and purports to be selfless, while implicitly demonstrating the contrary. Pre-packaged media-friendly comments often cloud truth. Which is why despite the abundance of printed, spoken and posted words, we communicate less and less effectively. Object lesson over.
HT-Matt Cerrone, who has a calm, measured and entirely reasonable take on the situation over at Metsblog.comno comments
September commences with expanded rosters and dwindling playoff hopes. Walk with me around the network.
- Paddy McMahon of the Braves-centric Chop-n-Change focuses his attention on the league-wide limits on innings young pitchers throw. As bloggers we tend to be understandably skeptical of conventional wisdom. While pitch counts and innings limits have been in practice in some or another for more than 20 years, pitchers still get hurt, even when a team treats the pitcher as delicately as one would treat an orchid. Look at Stephen Strasburg. He never threw more than 99 pitches in a start. he never faced more than 28 batters in a start. He never pitched on fewer than four days rest. You can make the case he tried to come back from his DL stint too soon, but I suspect that is an instinct endemic to world class athletes and not the team rushing him back. The care and handling of young arms is nowhere near settled science. If nothing else comes of the Greenberg-Ryan acquisition of the Rangers it provides us with a laboratory experiment on handling pitchers. If Texas succeeds, I hope we are open enough to accept the possibility that all we think we know about PAP, Verducci Effects, Joba Rules and inning limits may very well be wrong.
- Pat Lackey lauds the responsiveness and accountability of the truly fantastic Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, who responded directly yo Pat's earlier criticism of vagueness by the beat writer. I'm going to quote Pat because he positively nails the significance: "I'm not sure that many beat writers would respond to a direct criticism from a blogger like this and we're lucky as Pirate fans to have one that does." Quite right. Responsive, intellectually curious writers do a far better job of informing the public than their careerist sclerotic counterparts. And so you can have the full blessing of context, here's Pat's initial post and Dejan's response.
- Rob Muntis examines The Bottom Line of the Red Sox-Rockies deal that sent Manny Delcarmen to Denver. I disagree with one of the questions raised. Writing elsewhere I commented that "Balcom-Miller is an extreme groundball pitcher.... He put up a 3.31 ERA in 19 starts for Colorado's A ball affiliate. His strikeout numbers and hit numbers are both also very strong...." The combination of great groundball numbers, a K-rate north of one strikeout per inning pitched and just 19 walks on the season is a stunningly good return on a pitcher who flashed signs of being a stellar seventh inning guy, but was rarely consistent. Matt O'Donnell of Fenway West finds a gem of a quote about Balcom-Miller that bears notice. His stock could not be higher than it was right now. Win Red Sox all day, everyday and twice on Sunday.
- Matt Lindner went, because they built it
- Lar from Wezen Ball tackled the topic of the no-hitter superstition of not mentioning it for fear of the almighty jinx. My take is that the only "Superstition" I want at the ballpark are the Stevie Wonder original and the Stevie Ray Vaughan cover.
- This is from a few days back, but I wanted to highlight it as the post refutes a meme slowly coalescing into conventional wisdom. MB21 the fine proprietor of the self-proclaimed 32nd best Cub Blog on the Internet, Another Cubs Blog where the operational reality is that Joe Girardi will NOT be managing the Cubs in 2011. Girardi is not likely to bolt New York. He may surprise us, but the arguments favoring his departure reflect sentiment, perhaps a profound pull, but one overrated by sportswriters and commentators seeking to fill column inches and air time.
- Erik Manning has turned Pale Hose Pariah into a destination baseball blog in record time. His latest examination uncovers the Don Cooper effect, which is not the strange love-child of Don Draper and Bert Cooper fellow Mad Men devotees, but rather an acknowledgement that the White Sox pitching coach gets the best from his pitchers while keeping them relatively healthy, omitting the recent injuries to J.J. Putz and Matt Thornton.
- Blake Kearny wonders whether the Yankees successful waiver claim for Ted Lilly, which was awarded yesterday, will allow them to put Lilly on the postseason roster, even if he arrives in New York later this week. If the Dodgers decline to deal, then the question goes unanswered until next season.
- Jaymes Langrehr looks at the long road of redemption from self-inflicted damage that Jeremy Jeffress has trod to reach Milwaukee at last. The Brewers decision to maintain their core intact for one more run may be particularly wise with Mat Gamel hitting a ton and live arms like Jeffress, Zach Braddock and John Axford up.
- Andrew Kneeland takes the time to dismantle the faulty logic that animates the Manny naysayers, noting quite correctly that Manny Ramirez is more than a marginal upgrade. Kneeland tempers his concerns about the improved White Sox lineup with the positive affirmations of the Twins are a better hitting club and have better pitching, and gosh darnit, people like them. Until Justin Morneau is recovered from his concussion, the Twins remain vulnerable, and the improvement Ramirez represents, even in the short run may be a difference maker.
- When it's just straight cash, Homey, the price is always right, as Paddy McMahon details when he goes Around the Majors.
- Metstradamus has the skinny on the one little red paper clip that Omar Minaya was able to turn into a steaming pile of excrement. It makes sense when you remember it's the Mets and read the whole thing.
- Mets inspired despair is not limited to Metstradamus, as Nikki DeMaio is discovering. She concludes with some evidence, that of the Suckers born every minute, "most of them grow up to be Mets fans." Nikki's woes are echoed in the clubhouse as evidenced by this tweet from Mets beat writer, Steve Popper.
- Pitching success? Your wish is my command, saith Mariano Rivera. Well actually it's Josh W. at Pending Pinstripes who posts a pair of charts highlighting good command and meatball tossing.
- Another older post, this one from Matt Turner who peaks at some Encouraging if small sample size numbers that Jacob Turner is posting down in the Florida State League. Turner is the Tigers top pitching prospect, and while his season has been lightly regarded, at 19 to post the k-rates he has in both A-ball and Advanced A are phenomenal.
- Nancy celebrates the Altoona Curve, winners of the Eastern league's Western Division title.
- The Minor League seasons are drawing to a close, so Jay Yencich's system recaps will soon draw to a close and the analysis of the Mariner system will begin in earnest.
- Hooks has declared it to be, thus it must be so. The 2010 Cards are Dead. Long Live the 2010 Cards.
- One would think that Stephen Strasburg's injury would cause waves of despondency to flood the District of Columbia. But hope comes in the evening, at least the evenings when Jordan Zimmermann demonstrates his new and improved post-TJS arm. Will Yoder found the performance inspirational.
- Packey writing at the rebooted Awful Announcing would like us to know that Rob Dibble is "a bit of a hypocrite. I would like to add that the one redeeming aspect of Strasburg's injury is that it accomplished the ever joyful task of making Dibble look like even more of a chucklehead than we thought possible.
- Aroldis Chapman joined Stephen Strasburg and Jeremy Hellickson in much heralded debuts. But unlike his predecessors, Chapman was able to air it out in one inning of relief, to the tune of a 102 MPH heater and a slider that prompted jaws to drop around the baseball blogosphere in unison. Dave Biddle has the take of the resounding success along with a hot bowl of Three-Way Chili.
- The end of the season, like the end of the post is a time for reflection and dissection. Consider what went right, what went wrong, and where was luck the dominant force. Musings on luck's fickleness propelled Charlie Saponara to the keyboard
The Bloguin BRU is an occasional, though hopefully soon to be daily, glance at the latest and most thought provoking baseball writing from around the Bloguin Network. Bloguin was founded in 2008 to empower bloggers by ensuring consistently high-quality blog design, maximum site functionality and responsive advertising and revenue maximization programs. With over 150 blogs comprising the network, there is never a shortage of conversation. n
The writer of the Bloguin BRU requests mercy for his absenteeism. Life's been harried. I'm hopeful to have consistent BRUs as well as plenty of other new stuff appearing between now and the end of the baseball season.
- Mike Cardano poses a daunting question tonight at Around the Horn Baseball: are the Rangers overusing Cliff Lee? My short answer is no. But for Mike's click on through. Thoughtful and thought-provoking as always.
- Sticking with Lee, Paddy McMahon rips Colin Cowherd a new one over the radio hosts remarks about Lee mailing it in for the Rangers. Up above is point, at Around the Majors we have counter-point. I hope to have time to weigh in with my thoughts tomorrow.
- Larry Granillo is among my favorite writers out there. Though in my bleg below, I politely disagree with one of his assertions. One of the reasons is that on top of a wealth of baseball knowledge, Lar infuses Wezen Ball with appropriate measures of whimsy. You'd be well advised to enjoy the whimsical addition to his Tater Trot Tracker.
- Bill Ballew is blogging up a storm at Chop-n-Change these days, including two pieces worthy of your time. First is a look at the race with the Phillies, which Bill rightly hopes the Braves can put away before the season-ending set in Atlanta. Strength of schedule favors the Braves, but the head to head matchups allow the Phillies the chance to pull out the division. Bill turned his attention farmward to discuss the club's decision to advance Edward Salcedo to Rome. Salcedo is going to be good, but this stumble needs to be righted.
- The lovely and talented Blythe of Guysgirl.com (who's got a book out) turned her attention on the Red Sox recently, and what she found prompted her to rip her favorite ballclub for trolling the waiver wire hoping to hook up with an old flame. She rightly calls them out for begging Johnny Damon to love them again for the good times.
- Frankie Pavia writing at SeaTown Sports has got his dander up and needs to vent. His Rant about Irony in the Clubhouse covers the lows and lowers of the lost season on Puget Sound.
- Dave Biddle of Three Way Chili ponders the wild ride the Reds are on and also the triple crown aspirations of the best first baseman in the NL, Joey Votto.
- Boston lost a chance at a sweep of a double dip against the Mariners putting our triple threat of Sawx bloggers in gear, Ian of Sox and Dawgs breaks down game one. Rob Munstis of The Bottom Line comments on the night cap. Including what was going on with Adrian Beltre getting run. About that ejection, shelley from Fenway West busted out the Caps Lock to call it "RIDICULOUS."
- When the season starts winding down, the topic becomes hot stove, even when it's still scorching hot outside. MB21 of Another Cubs Blog starts looking at Options and Arbitration candidates for the Cubs in advance of the offseason. Many decisions will need to be made on the North Side of Chicago. Plenty of reason to bookmark or add Another Cubs Blog to your RSS Reader of choice.
- If I asked how important Ramon Castro was to the ChiSox none would dare answer. Because I ask random questions like that and people have learned to ignore me. But when the Pale Hose Pariah Erik manning asks, you better listen up, because there's a lesson here.
- Is it time to re-up Rickie Weeks longterm in Milwaukee? Jaymes Langrehr says making a deal is smart for both sides over at The Brewers Bar.
- Not an advertisement: Behold! The new comedy line from Metstradamus! You might be mediocre if... Well it pretty much boils down to you're the New York Mets.
- Ross the New York Yankee Stadium Insider has provocative video of an incident in what he believes (and he is the expert on such matters) is section 420B of the Stadium. He's looking for context. If you have some click on through and help the man out.
- The ability of Jose Tabata was in doubt when he was sent to the Pirates from the Yankees. Like many Yankee prospects who are dealt awya (and Red Sox prospects for that matter) the hype machine that focuses on their progress vanishes, leaving a void of scouting reports and positive analysis. Pat Lackey notes over at Where Have You Gone Andy Van Slyke? that Tabata is en fuego.
- Quick, head out farming with the Mariners Minors./
- The Mad Librarian strikes again over at Cardinals Diaspora heralding doom, doom, which incidentally is may be poaching on Metstradamus' territory. Unless the Cardinals pull it together in a hurry.
- Bryce Harper has come to Washington to chew bubblegum and kill baseballs. And according to Will Yoder, of The Nats Blog (accept no substitutes) Homeboy left the bubblegum back in Vegas.
- Charlie Saponara ponders the Cy Young award and the ranking criteria used currently, along with some thoughts on what should be used. The twitter and blogospheric battle that prompted the post over at Fantasy Baseball 365 is recapped briefly by Charlie and worthy of a fuller exposition in this space. No later than the weekend.
- A fond farewell in order for Matt Wallace, the soon to be former proprietor of Take 75 NorthTake 75 North who departs Bloguin shortly to assume the minor league beat for Tigers Blog Bless You Boys.
- This is not baseball specific, but it touches on something important to all sports bloggers. Ballhype is dead. Long live Ballhype. Ben Koo, Bloguin's CEO and the man who dissects the sports new media landscape with the skill of a virtuoso surgeon, pours some liquor for the departed, and then brings the analysis that his readers describe as mad crack for their inside blogging habit.
- Finally a plea for help. No not that kind. I'm beyond help in that sense. I'm looking for objective ways to measure franchise health. Click here to read about the project and please comment.
Contra the opinions of the Midwest centric titans of baseball analysis that I listen to every other week and read daily, the discussion of morbidity amongst Major League Baseball teams does not reside amongst the Royals, Marlins or Astros. The gents of whom I speak are Larry Granillo of Wezen Ball and the Common Man and Bill of The Platoon Advantage. They tackled the dysfunction game during their bi-weekly podcast of baseball excellence. The discussion focused on the previously mentioned teams along with a dollop of Mets trashing, which was well-deserved in your humble correspondent's not so humble opinion.
But what constitutes dysfunctionality. More than that, what constitutes morbid franchise failure on a scale unheard of since the times of Babel Tower Makers. Let us ponder that complex question. To do so, think of a train wreck. Twisted metal, sparks, perhaps a conflagration from the bowsers brimming with fuel, acrid smoke belching from the wreckage. In our hypothetical robots drive trains, so fatalities are removed. But the destruction of useful and productive assets is immense. However, the death of SkyNet's robot army is a positive. Unless you are a terminator robot from the future, of course, though their interest in the study of baseball is limited at best. Destruction of baseball played by humans on the other hand well that would be much greater. But I digress. Back to our wreckage. Now, quickly, think of baseball. Where are you?
Probably someplace different than me.
Contemplation of such topics is inherently subjective. And while subjectivity makes the world go round, such as the discussion of whether a hurricane named Ditka would top Ditka himself, there can be no accurate answer, merely the ruminations of Bears fans and hurricane aficionados.
Here's where science enters the picture. The branch of statistical research devoted to baseball has a proud history and tradition. And also has drawn the scorn of all the right people. So the careful application of data should yield us a relatively definitive answer as to what team is least ably run.
I've considered twelve distinct metrics that over a period of time should point to the overall health of a franchise. Those metrics are:
- Winning percentage
- Losing Seasons over the period in questions
- Length of consecutive losing season streak in the period
- Cost per win
- Playoff Appearances
- Pennants won
- World Series won
- Average Seasonal WAR (Average of Baseball-Reference and FanGraphs)
- Average Draft Bonuses
- Average International Bonuses
- Top 100 Picks
Here's where you come in. What criteria do you measure your favorite team against all others. Height will not be accepted as an answer. The metrics examine different aspects of success as an idea. Winning is clearly the most obvious factor and a full seven metrics are directly tied to on field performance. Cost per win measures efficiency, which is important as a subset of winning. The bonuses for signees and draft picks reflect player development. I thought of considering top 100 prospects, but the ranking of prospects is a highly subjective measure due to differences in leagues, ballparks, player ages and so forth. Valuing draft picks by accumulating them, and large signing bonuses prioritize player development, a sign of a healthy franchise. Finally attendance matters, because the ultimate success is getting people to visit the stadium.
But what am I missing? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments. Then at year's end after the Series is completed and a new victor crowned, we'll hash this out over the offseason. I look forward to your thoughts and suggestions.no comments
Big Baseball news with a Sunday document dump and a pair of legends deciding what they will be doing in the future.
- My boss over at my other baseball blogging gig has been all over the document dump first at The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and today at Deadspin twice witht he promise of another one coming later today. Pat Lackey, who covers all things Pirates over at Where Have You Gone Andy Van Slyke? has a cursory look, with the promise of more. I'll be watching and so should you.
- The crew of Cubs bloggers at Another Cubs Blog took time out Sunday to bid farewell to Lou Piniella as he rode off into the sunset to care for his ailing mother. Such momentous events did not escape the attention of other Bloguin bloggers, like Will Yoder of The Nats Blog who serves up video from Piniella post-game presser. We'll miss you, Lou.
- More on the Piniella retirement from Matt Lindner at < a href=http://www.groundruletriple.com/2010-articles/august/lou-piniella-out-mike-quade-in-as-cubs-manager-wait-who.html>Ground Rule Triple who looks at the International (League) Man of Mystery who steps into the very big shoes of Lou Piniella, Mike Quade. Matt's on the money when he asks, "Wait, who?" Thankfully, Matt has the answers.
- It's still gauche to promote one's own gibberish in these links, but without a dedicated Dodger blogger in network and most of our national writers focused on the field, your humble correspondent takes to these pages (heck, just scroll down) to remind us all of why Vin Scully is a national treasure
- Keith Baker has a piece over at Around the Horn Baseball that pens the definitive end of an era in Los Angeles. Thankfully Vin Scully announced his return, so we can focus exclusively on where Manny Ramirez is going to finish up 2010.
- On Saturday, I said that Josh Bell had arrived. The gold folks at The Oriole Post declared is a coming out party. Three hits, two home runs, five runs batted in, and three scored makes for a very big day. And it was all off Cliff Lee. Do you recall the player the Orioles dealt to get Bell? George Sherrill, who has struggled mightily this season at age 33. Ned Coletti loves giving up youngsters for old relievers, doesn't he?
- Despite predictions of doom, the Red Sox took two of three from the Jays. In particular the dominance of Clay Buchholz has stoked Sox fans far and wide, included Shelley over at Fenway West who calls Buchholz the Red Sox best starter all year long.
- Aramis Ramirez struggles in the first half of the season sent the Cubs into a tailspin from which they would not recover. But as mb21 over at Another Cubs Blog happily demonstrates, Ramirez has recovered nicely, so much so that the possibly of him opting out of his contract, thought absurd in June, is again becoming a distinct possibility.
- Umpire (and Cowboy) Joe West ruffled feathers in the BosNY corridor of baseball calling out the Red Sox and Yankees for the length of their games at the start of the season. West's criticism has prompted more scrutiny for the men in blue this season, who seem to consistently botch calls in the most fantastic way. Erik Manning demonstrates the poor performance of West in calling balls and strikes in yesterday's Royals-White Sox game over at Pale Hose Pariah. West might find games progress quicker with accurate and consistently called balls and strikes.
- Manny Parra has serious stuff. But the results are nowhere to be found. Jaymes Langrehr of The Brewers Bar examines his mechanics and compares release points with Jon Garland. The prognosis is not good for Parra if he can't gain more consistency in his mechanics. Certainly he's a non-tender candidate, especially so if he loses his place in the rotation in September.
- Doom. Gloom. Sorrow. The Mets. Which doesn't belong and why? Oh wait, somebody slipped the Mets in in place of puppies. No, all of these belong. Ask Metstradamus.
- For the Pirates the good news is in the future,a nd as always, Nancy of Sandlot Swashbucklers has her eye on the prospects who will bring cheer to baseball fans in Pittsburgh.
- The gang over at Cardinals Diaspora have welcomed a new writer to the fold, who debuted this weekend with a brief and biting evisceration of Rays manager and fashionista (fashionister?) Joe Maddon and his magnificent, marvelous, mad, plaid, BRaysers. TetreaultVision is happy to welcome The Mad Librarian to Bloguin and look forward to reading more from her.
I typically take to this space to condemn the writers and broadcasters who cover the greatest game played by grown men in attire that closely resembles pajamas. But today, the day after the announcement below, I have nothing but kind words for the true master of the field.
Vin Scully's return is an extension of all that's truly wonderful about baseball broadcasting. With the deaths of Harry Kalas and Ernie Harwell in recent years, Scully stood apart as the living legend and elder statesman in the booth, a throwback in an era of shameless self-promotoers like the rightfully lampooned John Sterling, Hawk Harrelson and even the excessively advertising laced Red Sox radio broadcasts with which I am most familiar.
Scully's ability to follow the progress of the game, even as he digressed to discuss another important topic, such as his on-air eulogy in remembrance of Harwell, where not a pitch was missed, or a second of game action overlooked while he paid tribute to his friend, is at the heart of his devotion to the craft of bringing a game to his audience. The fans who tune into a broadcast with Vin Scully on the call are treated to more than six decades of experience.
His cadence and style are mimicked by every young broadcaster looking to break into the baseball biz, a safe haven until he or she develops a unique voice to call games. Sometimes that mimicry becomes part of the on-air style, such as Jon Miller's famous impersonation/homage of the master.
Baseball, the sports that shows the greatest fealty to tradition, retains the broadcaster who introduced my contemporaries to the game through NBC's game of the week, alongside Joe Garagiola. He called the 1986 World Series when the Mets to Red Sox thansk to the notorious Mookie Wilson grounder through Bill Buckner's legs as well as the Kirk Gibson walk off home run in the 1988 Series between the Athletics and Dodgers. As a youngster just learning the game, I could ask for no greater guide for nine innings of pitch-perfect precision. And thanks to MLB.tv and the At Bat app on my iPhone, I need not visit LA to hear Scully call a game. It's a pleasure I return to often. The progress of seasons will someday claim Scully, who will retire from his abbreviated schedule to enjoy more leisure, time at home, and rest. At age 82, the number of summers we have left are unknowable, but few. And like all rare commodities worthy of our appreciation and reverence. Thanks for another season, Mr. Scully. We'll be listening.no comments
Another weekend of fantastic baseball and here's what Bloguin's bloggers are saying about it
- After a particularly rough outing, Jaymes Langrehr orders another round at The Brewers Bar of what's up with Yovani Gallardo? Today's featured Brew is the Injured Arm Ale.
- Erik Manning contemplates replacement value, Carlos Quentin and digs into his pattern at the plate to discover what's up with the consecutive subpar seasons over at Pale Hose Pariah.
- You know it's a bad season when most just about every position has seen at least one player hit the DL. Now they're dropping in the minors, too, per Ian at Sox and Dawgs, who spots word that Carlos Delgado is on his way to the minor league DL.
- Matt O'Donnell asks if the Red Sox DL woes have reached their peak, or if perhaps Marco Scutaro might next join the officially roster injured and unavailable Red Sox players. Fenway West weeps. One note, in all the injuries, JD Drew remains healthy. Has anyone gotten a temperature reading from hell lately?
- And completing our Red Sox portion of tonight's round up, we're at the end. At least that's what Rob Muntis of The Bottom Line has concluded.
- It's the latest craze on network television, in 2012, [Excrement] my manager says. So says Metstradamus and aint nobody got his eye on the future like the Seer of Shea.
- Tito Dellow is using the past to gauge what should happen in the Mets future, by taking stock of what the club lacks over at We're the Team to Beat.
- The NL East race is tightening little by little, which prompts Will Yoder of The Nats Blog to take a look at the horserace.
- With Saturday's win, the Friday night loss that the staff of The Oriole Post recounts is a distant memory. But the run the Orioles are on since the hiring of Buck Showalter cannot be ignored. Was the frustration that Showalter showed Friday what it took to fire up his young club for the national television spotlight on Saturday? Might just be. Also, on a side note, from Saturday's game, with a pair of long balls, Josh Bell just arrived for good.
- A busy day at Pending Pinstripes prompts my recommendation of a pair of posts. Greg Fertel notes that a pair of young and extremely talented young pitchers are one step closer to the Bronx as Dellin Betances and Manny Banuelos got upped to Trenton. As Sean P. discovers, the environment they are striving to reach will not be friendly to the young hurlers, examining the home/road splits of the Yankee starters.
- Loss 82 arrived, as Pat Lackey of Where Have You Gone Andy Van Slyke knew it would. A quick recap of the loss to the Mets on Friday marks the passage of another season into the losing column.
- Those who like me expected San Diego to fade from contention have been put on notice by Richard Dyer of The Giants Cove that the wait for the Padres to falter is kaput, finito, run down the curtain and joined the choir invisible.
- The Yankees struck back Saturday but Friday night was the crowning of the all new King of New York, so says Jeff E. one of the resident writers at Mariner Mayhem.
- It's been a quarter of a century since Pete Rose toppled Ty Cobb's all-time hit record. Well, it will be in a couple of weeks. But the commemoration will miss the actual anniversary date. I'll let Around the Horn Baseball's Grand Poobah Mike Cardano explain what the heck is going on.
- Traveling Around the Majors means visiting some truly great stuff, as Paddy McMahon does as he continues recounting 30 Shining Moments.
- Matt Lindner's Ground Rule Triple is becoming appointment reading, and no, it has nothing to do with the last story I highlighted. The look at the Little League World Series through the eyes of a LLWS alum still chasing the big leagues dreams in the minors is stellar reading and well worth your time.
- A late finishing kick is all you need to land in the money in your league, right? Well for those of you still in contention, unlike your humble correspondent. Charlie Saponara digs into the stats over at Fantasy Baseball 365 to give us a hint of who will be burning for you and who's likely to become cold as ice.
- The dilemma of the out for the season player is generally a short and simple one to solve. You cut him. But not for Bob Taylor who tells us in a brief dispatch on Fantasy Hurler that He just can't quit Jacoby Ellsbury. It's a teachable moment kind of thing.
- The coming advances in statistical analysis will help the sabermetrically minded better understand the aging curve. RedSoxTalk ponders the good hitters as they age and compares them to the elite ones in a post at Stats Speak that prompts a further excavation of this fertile ground of future research.
We liked taking the tour yesterday, so we're back for an encore today.
- Reading this space, you discovered, yesterday that I am opposed to the prosecution of Roger Clemens, but Adam Foster, writing at Around the Horn Baseball notes correctly that Clemens in a sense brought this on himself by seeking to testify before Congress. Though he's not a Bloguin blogger, Joe Posnanski, took a look at the curious parsing of statements made by Rusty Hardin, Clemens' attorney. The conclusion is Clemens did not need to go before Congress, he chose to. But that still doesn't mitigate prosecutorial misconduct, which is what I regard the Steroid trials.
- Thinking on the Nats is what Will Yoder of The Nats Blog does all day long, well maybe not all day. He reviews Tom Boswell's claims that Stan Kasten has been wasted by the Nationals organization. And while the Bowden years offer proof of the claim, since Bowden got shown the door, Kasten has been able to be Kasten, which as you'll see is a very good thing.
- Vin Scully is a national treasure. I must preface this affirmation with the assertion. Lar Granillo of the must click Wezen Ball has a transcript, photos and audio of the education of Vin Scully in the ways of the mullet.
- Guestblogging over at RJ's Fro Avenging Jack Murphy's Avenger-in-Chief sends up Chavez Ravine, what Padres fans call the LAtrine, in an excellent travelog of his and the RJ's Fro's guys trip to LA. Answering AIC's existential question, ordering Blue Moon is not unmanly. Getting hung up on derisive looks is. Drink your beer and remind your counterparts that at least your not suffering with swill. Your humble correspondent is more fond of ales, but has a special place in his heart for Gansetts.
- We're witnessing the transformation of a franchise. An overdue transformation to say the least as they stand one loss away from the 18th consecutive season with a losing record. But the Pirates are a lot more than an almost two decade long record of futility. Pat Lackey ruminates on the signing of Luis Heredia who joins a number of promising young arms in the Pirates system. The benefits of securing highly talented arms will always outweight the costs. Those special care should be in place especially for the youngest of those arms (Heredia is only 16).
- Trumsby. Yo, Trumsby. Get back off the ledge.
- Jaymes Langrehr correctly identifies the culrpits that caused his beloved Brewers to be the tightest with their dollars at this year's draft - "payroll being bloated by the contracts of Jeff Suppan and Bill Hall, who are now playing for other teams while the Brewers foot the bill." Partially it also reflected on the unwillingness of Dylan Covey to sign with them. In some senses, the timing of the draft locks teams into going conservative with amateur talent acquisition, because the first week of June is too soon to determine if the team can contend. Not by much, but the Brewers were not considering selling off talent or seeking places to dump salary then, which in part explains the conservative selections in the draft, made with an eye to signability. It's an unenviable position.
- Andrew Kneeland is one of the folks I follow on Twitter, as I try to do with everyone in network, though the increase in blogs sometimes causes me to miss a person here or there. He takes a look at the immediacy of in-game tweeting and how it causes generally sane fans to permanently record emotional outbursts. They're Venting their spleens, 140 characters at a time.
- Behold, the prophecies of Metstradamus who declares the Mets future to be much like their present, Pathetic.
- Philadelphia's offensive improvement in the last month without Chase Utley and Ryan Howard for much of the stretch has not been lost on Phillies fans. But Gino Ferrerri, writing at We're the Team to Beat reminds that not everyone has benefited from that output.
- Both Greg Fertel of Pending Pinstripes and Nancy of Sandlot Swashbucklers have looks back at last night's minor league action.
- Fantasy Baseball 365's Charlie Saponara extends hope to those looking to pick up cheap speed late in the season with another look at those base pilfering giants of the game.
- Sonoma Dave of Fenway West is worried about Josh Beckett, but more than that, he hears the every forward march of time as the season's end draws nigh.
From my piece over at BizofBaseball.com on the breaking story:
Federal prosecutors are expected to bring an indictment against Roger Clemens today accusing the legendary pitcher and reputed steroid user of perjuring himself in his testimony to Congress regarding steroid use in baseball, according to Michael Schmidt of the New York Times. Schmidt notes that an announcement will be forthcoming later today.
Here's what irks me about this prosecution as well as the one of Barry Bonds. Officials of our government, be they Senators, Representatives, judges, Presidents, perjure themselves, often without consequence. The bedrock principle of the rule of law is flouted when regular citizens whose behavior is private and outside of the theoretical scope of congressional inquiry are indicted for the crime. Further, such indictments are not because there is incontrovertible evidence to convict for the underlying bad act, but because there is enough to nail them for lying. Lying to investigators should only be charged when the underlying wrongful act is the primary charge in the indictment, and if acquitted on that charge, the perjury beef should be dismissed with prejudice.
Admittedly, this is more of an abstract discussion than the one on most baseball blogs debating the guilt or innocence of Clemens as well as pondering how this indictment will impact his chance of gaining enshrinement in the Hall of Fame. This prosecution, like the one of Bonds, the one that got Miguel Tejada to plea to a lesser count to avoid jail time and to ensure his visa was not revoked, and the one that put Martha Stewart behind bars are merely attempts to bully unpopular citizens and score easy points for prosecutors. They could not convict Stewart of insider trading, so they charged her with lying to investigators, where the burden of proof is less. Any government so willing to trump up charges to put citizens behind bars but is unwilling to shine the brightest sunlight on itself is worthy of our scorn, our contempt and in need of serious reformation.
It takes a seriously flawed organization to make both Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens sympathetic figures. Federal Prosecutors, is there nothing they cannot do?no comments
Let's travel around the Bloguin Baseball 'Sphere and see what's shaking.
- Brad Hawpe lost his job last night. Paul Leume of the exceptional Around the Horn Baseball blog highlighted the class professionalism Hawpe displayed when he took his final cuts as a Rockie. Already aware he was about to be released and tasked with hitting for Jason Hammel in the seventh, Hawpe could have mailed it in.
- Lar Granillo takes a minute to think deeply about an announcer who may not be capable of deep thoughts, "Hawk" Harrelson. As with everything at Wezen Ball, spending some quality time with the essay is well worth your expenditure of 10 minutes
- Relative newcomer to the Bloguin Baseball Universe, Matt Lindner of Ground Rule Triple takes a break from the game to peer at the virtuoso performance of Sara Saco-Vertiz in managing and likely extending the fifteen minutes of fame she found thrust upon her when her now ex-boyfriend Bo Wyble ducked out of the way of an incoming projectile (aka foul ball) that smacked her at an Astros game. Well played, Ms. Saco-Vertiz.
- Rob Muntis from The Bottom Line declares last night's win ugly, but acceptable. John Lackey hasn't been as advertise3d, but a good outing from Jonathan Papelbon and the continued hot bat of Adrian Beltre carried the club.
- Fellow BoSox blogger, Sonoma Dave of Fenway West concurred largely and noted the all important "[t]here were no new injuries to report today" in addition to cheering the victory.
- Derrek Lee has left Wrigley, and Another Cubs Blog has a brief rundown of the prospects entering the Cubs system. Key takeaway: "Getting [Robinson] Lopez for Lee alone would have been a really good deal for the Cubs, but they added two relievers as well."
- A hale and hearty welcome to Erik Manning, author of the very fine, Pale Hose Pariah. After you finish with his intro post, peer back a few weeks to his Omar Vizquel post. Good and thought provoking and well worth your time.
- Matt Wallace reviews the latest batch of players who are hoping to Take 75 North to Detroit. Nick Castellanos is the interesting prospect and then one on whom Dave Dombrowski staked the entire Detroit draft.
- Jaymes Langrehr tending today at The Brewers Bar ponders the awesomeness of John Axford, his mustache and getting more than three outs to close games.
- Andrew Kneeland of Twins Target has a rhetorical question of great importance over at Twins Target.
- The all-knowing Seer of Shea, Metradamus has decided to make up for the lack of an essential element of all mets blogs - "jokes at Jason Phillips' expense." Fish. Barrell. Have at it!
- Nikki DeMaio, who blogs about the Mets over at We're the Team to Beat sums up the soul sucking nature of the latest Mets lost season
- Pat Lackey of Where Have You Gone Andy Van Slyke reviews last night's Pirates loss to the marlins and Josh Johnson. Despite low expectations from facing Josh Johnson, the lack of offense and solid performance from Ross Ohlendorf conspired to make it a little harder to swallow.
- Nancy of Sandlot Swashbucklers is among the more dedicated bloggers around, doing daily reviews of the Pirates minor league system, which got considerably richer with their draft and international signings. She went in depth to look at Brad Lincoln's excellent start against the Toledo Mud Hens.
- Mockery makes a most excellent diversion from a maddening team and a season laden with stress, as Trumsby of Cardinals Diaspora has discovered.
- William Yoder over at The Nats Blog rolls out the red carpet to welcome Wilson Ramos to Washington. It's bound to be a short stay as Wil Nieves is out because he is about to become a father.
The trading season is dying down, having seen the flourish of deal-making pass with July and yield to the more sedate waiver period. With distance providing time for reflection, let's tackle a topic of some import - intra-divisional dealing.
When a premium talent is placed on the block, such as Roy Halladay last offseason, sportswriters in near lockstep precision declare that it will be difficult to get a deal done within the division. The speculation is said with the conviction of the converted, but lacks a fundamental underpinning for such a sweeping declaration. In other words, these folks are talking out of the wrong end of their anatomy.
Rejecting such deals is theoretically grounded on the idea that no team wants their former player to come back to beat them within one season or in the following one. This presupposes that decisions made regarding the long term health of a franchise are predicated on the small sample of perhaps one tenth of the following season. Less in the case of starting pitchers. Any general manager so afraid of negative fan criticism in those few games is blind to baseball realities and in capable of managing his team adequately.
Teams trade talent in order to improve their roster. By walling off three to five teams from consideration, one's return is diminished. Such foolishness is not indefensible, however. The Yankees and Red Sox have avoided dealing with each other since the 1997 season when the Sox sent Mike Stanley to the Yankees in a waiver period trade. More than 11 years before that the two struck a deal that put Mike Easler in Yankee pinstripes and Don Baylor in Red Sox. Both the Red Sox and Yankees have had no difficulty landing premium talent in trades. Their reticence to barter amongst themselves may have negative consequences, but the clubs are scarcely feeling them.
The overwhelming national media coverage of Boston and New York suggests that the trade war between the two clubs inspired the misbegotten notion that teams are reluctant to deal within their division. But as evidenced by Seattle's deal to send Cliff Lee to Texas, intra-divisional trading happens and is a boon to both clubs. Yet the fiction persists. First let's debunk the notion, then address why the fallacy is so popular.
Intra-division trading for lack of a better word, is good. Intra-division trading is right, it works. Intra-division trading clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the trading spirit. Intra-division trading, in its simplest form has marked the upward surge of woe-begotten franchises. And intra-division trading, you mark my words, will not only save the Seattle Mariners, but that other malfunctioning franchise called Major League Baseball. Thank you very much.
No, Gordon Gecko did not make that speech to the Mariners front office prior to Jack Zduriencik pulling the trigger on the Lee-Smoak swap. But one can imagine the process unfolding where this thought occurred to one of Zduriencik's staff: "Intra-division trading is the ideal strategy any rebuilding team can use to further its stated intention." This contrarian comment should be self-evident. Let's un pack it.
Team A, let's stick with Seattle, has a valuable commodity that does not fit its long term strategy, in this instance Lee. The Mariners know that this asset can fetch a princely ransom on the open market. That return will form the basis of a future, hopefully more successful Mariners club. From a pure tactical perspective wrangling that bounty from a team against whom Seattle will compete in that not too distant future is doubly beneficial. The presence of Justin Smoak at first will strengthen Seattle. The lack of said talent weakens the Rangers.
In a failed season, what's the difference between a 72 win fourth place finish and a 60 win fourth place finish for the Mariners? A loss of marginal revenue from fans who elect not to go to games is certain. But if the rebuilding process is well-conceived it is temporary. In addition, dealing a veteran, even when picking up some of the veterans salary will still save some money from the bottom line, partially, if not wholly offsetting the lost revenue. But, since dealing the asset is a given, the loss of revenue is already factored into the decision.
What of straight salary dumps? The Phillies trade of Bobby Abreu and Cory Lidle to the Yankees for four minor leaguers, the most notable of which is Carlos Monasterios is a prime example of a salary dump. Had the Phillies dealt in division and got only salary relief, fans would continually associate Abreu's success against his former team with the deal that netted Philadelphia nada. Dispelling that animosity among some fans would take time and effort. Even so, the animosity that Phillies fans feel towards Ed Wade over that deal remains eternal, even though it was outside the NL East. One can argue that the rancor would have been greater had Abreu helped the Mets hold off the Phillies in 2007 and 2008. Without evidence it makes for a great conjecture-infused debate and little more.
With two negatives swatted away, I'm struggling to see how or why dealing talent within the division is this classic blunder on the scale of entering a land war in Asia, or going against a Sicilian when death is on the line. Further, the benefits apply to the team acquiring the veteran for patently obvious reasons. They have the advantage of the immediate impact of premium talent and a weakened intra-divisional foe for the remainder of the season. These complementary incentives allow clubs to work out favorable transactions based on their opposed operational strategies.
Which leads us back to our scribes who elect not to contemplate the deeper motives of baseball teams at the trading deadline. I hesitate to describe it as laziness, because I know laziness, I embody it. The reporters who cover the baseball beat hustle their butts off to get stories filed on time. I think, and this is influenced by the media panel from FanGraphs Live, that the effort is misdirected towards an outmoded product of limited utility in an environment where information is abundant.
But that defunct method of reporting sheds some insight on the way writers approach the game. Despite advances in our understanding, sportswriting remains an exercise in simple facts and basic storylines. Again referring to FanGraphs Live, by virtue of engaging reporters, players like Johnny Damon, Jeff Francoeur and David Eckstein can embed themselves in coverage, inflating the lesser role they play into a position of leadership.
Conformity is encouraged among writers who are a largely collegial group. Unlike the business or political beats, scoops have less a premium because the information is disseminated so very fast in sports coverage. Less competition discourages critical thinking, which dims the mind to a re-examination of the rote ideas handed down from year to year. The desire for continued access herds reporters into safe, tried and tested memes that ensure feathers go unruffled.
No one is suggesting reporters need to be doggedly relentless investigators. This is baseball, not 'Nam, there are rules. One of the rules should be a bias towards intelligent, informed coverage. Innovative outlets will review their coverage to eliminate the wrong answer according to Jon Sciambi to the question of why something is done that way: "Because that’s the way we’ve always done it." This fallacy is a relic of a dying way to examine baseball. Let us embrace the future and explain why taking assets from your rivals is good, why intra-division dealing works. Gordon Gecko will thank you.no comments
Wayfarer, behold the dogs days beset us. August arrives bearing a stern inferno - a crucible for this hour of testing. Unproven upstarts pursue flags that if obtained will fly not but for a summer, but until the ending of this earth. Yea, San Diego and Texas, glories untold await you, should you enter the realm of mid-October baseball. And let us commend to you, fellow traveler on this progress of season, a most excellent (dude!) aperitif to consume with this weekend's games.
- Dateline, Flushing, New York, just east of the city that never sleeps, lay the borough that e'er weeps. Come Queensmen and Queenswomen, let us blot out this wretches residing in bailout ballpark. Begin atop this rotted apple and gut it. The latest incident to besmirch this moribund franchise is the ill-considered fisticuffs of the team's (soon to be former?) closer. Quoth the disrespected sage: "Hey, but K-Rod, he don't no respect, the manager tells him, 'You gotta punch out those guys at the end of the game.' So he does, and they call da cops. I'll tell, he don't get no respect." Indeed, dear, departed Dangerfield. He like you don't get no respect. Nor do the Fightin' Mets deserve any at this stage. We shall ponder with great seriousness the crimes with which the Wilpons, Omar Minaya and Jerry Manuel are summarily charged.
- They did willfully rush and misuse a valuable pitching prospect.
- They did agree to terms with an aging slugger whose power profile did not well fit their home ballpark.
- They did ignore the desperate need for pitching
- That to address said need for pitching they did agree to terms with perpetually injured hurlers Kiko Calero and Kelvim Escobar. There is no truth to the rumor that Omar thought the K's that began their names means they would strike out more hitters than comparable healthy hurlers
- They entrusted Olive Perez with a job in the rotation.
- They entrusted John Maine with a job in the rotation.
- When Perez refused to accept demotion, they did not tell him to pack his bags and begone. This point can be debated, but by refusing to correct the behavior, they encouraged more of it as you'll see next
- They allowed Jeff Francoeur to believe he was special enough to merit a full time gig, when Gary Matthews Jr. would have done as well (poorly) and thanks to the benevolence of the Angels cost a lot less.
- Dateline, Arlington, Deepinthehearta, Texas, nestled between the bustling metropolis of oil and intrigue and its sister city, the quiet and sedate Dallas, the Rangers continued their playoff push with new ownership at the helm. Chuck Greenberg has claimed his prize, maintained the chain of command and begun erasing the stain upon the franchise. Good luck with that, Hicks used a sharpie on all the front office fixtures so that stuff will not easily be removed. Order Of business the first, sign the draft picks. As Baseball America will tell you, the signing deadline is soon. They count it down, but I don't have the time nor the inclination to sit here and tap three days, one hour, forty-two minutes, three days, one hour forty-one minutes until the deadline is past. If you need a countdown, you have too much time on your hands. Im fact the judge told you not to go near timers that are counting down. Those corrections officers, they're just looking to violate you and send you back in. But you swore, they'll never take you alive. And that's why you've been stockpiling the AR-15s. It's genius I tell you. Please note, Arlington is less than 100 miles from Waco, Texas. Lock and load, baby.
- Dateline, Kansas City, Kansas, fooled you, bet you thought we were on the Missouri side of Kansas City. Well not today. I crave good barbecue. That is all. Isn't it charming how Zack Greinke told off Dayton Moore. Yeah, it's great we've got a pile of super prospects. Am I going to be here when they are good? Nope. So a pox upon you Dayton. I blow my nose at you, you son of a silly person!" (May have been slightly paraphrased) Greinke however opened the door (and homeboy done booted the sucker way open, not just a crack, he kicked it off the hinges) to allow Moore to maximize the return on his Ace. Greinke is young, good, and on a reasonable, though not Longorian contract. What's that worth to the Mariners, who may wish to try contending again next year. Or more deviously, Milwaukee deals Prince Fielder somewhere for prospects that go to Kansas City and Greinke goes to a land of malted, brewed, hoppy goodness. And Carson Cistuli can get his nerd on every fifth day for his new found home town team. Note to Doug Melvin, if you can get Jeff Francoeur somehow, and the Mets will give him up, cheap, you can send him to Moore, which will grease the skids on such an exchange.
- Dateline, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Friend of the blog: Lar Granillo Larry Granville recommends attending this here Miller Park Drunk Pants Party. You know you want to chill with the Miller Park Drunk. Accept no substitutes. The guy passed out in Box 217 is a fraud. He just doesn't want to listen to his kids. Box 217 is a Kohl's family section. Which may be the one place in the park named for a Brewery, where a wee dram is absolutely vital. Oh the humanity! But where was I, yes, the Miller Park Drunk, a delicious menu, Lar Granillo's incredible Tater Tot Tracker. (Hint: he puts Mexican Jumping Beans in the Tater Tots). You'll love it. And I'm not getting paid to make this endorsement. I shill for free. And swag. Lots of swag.
You may now resume your weekend of baseball related pleasure.
PS - Pigs do not have wings. If they did, the Mets would sign one.
PPS - The Sea is boiling hot in comparison to the cool kids at the MPD Pants Party. Problems solved!no comments
I was among the attendees at this past weekend's conference of baseball nerdom, the first ever FanGraphs Live event in New York City (New York City!). I can vouch for the truism: it is a helluva town. And the crews from FanGraphs and River Avenue Blues put on a helluva show. I would be remiss if I did not express my gratitude to the good folks on both the stage and in the crowd for making the event a blast to attend.
I also had the honor of posing the final question to the final panel of the morning. Which I condense, because I rambled as I asked it, as follows:
The NFL has invented an advanced metric, the quarterback rating, which I believe is determined by adding the liver of a newt to a cauldron and stirring with a black cat, yet despite the contrived complexity of the quarterback rating, the imprimatur of the NFL has caused it to be nearly universally adopted. Who will be our evangelist to help get these useful metrics adopted by the broader culture of fans?
Dave Cameron answered my query citing one of the media panelists as the Sabermetric apostle - Jon Sciambi. And yes, Carson Cistulli is not exaggerating when he declares, aptly, that it sounds "like it’s covered in an entire barrel of delicious forest honey. Here’s what I wish it (i.e. still his voice) would do: read me stories at night so I could fall asleep more easily." As a former radio guy in a past life, I will attest, damn, that man has a fantastic voice.
But apart from the soothing honeyed potion that Sciambi can drizzle into the ears of baseball fans, what about him makes him the ideal candidate to expand the knowledge of advanced metrics to the broader universe of baseball fans? Quoting Cistulli again, "Sciambi is committed to searching for the capital-T truth, and is dedicated to filling his broadcast full of that search. This doesn’t necessarily mean rattling off xFIPs and BABIP, mind you — it has to play to a general audience — but Sciambi made it clear that he makes it a priority to work at his smartest."
As much as I agree with both Cameron and Cistulli, Sciambi cannot go it alone. I do agree in principle that media members talking intelligently about stats, eliminating the silly small sample sizes of matchup numbers that dominate the on air discourse. But one of the panelist, Sciambi I think, hit the nail on the head when he remarked that the problem is there is not enough willingness to say I don't know in the media. Reputations are made by being authoritative even when no basis for such sweeping pronouncements exist.
Here's where I yammer on about when I was young. You've been warned. When I was in college and learning to become the giant of mass medium information dissemnination that I now am, my focus was less on the subject I wanted to cover, and more on the skill of covering anything. What this does is create a knowledge gap between me and the experts I cull as sources. Objectively, I cannot truly question what they tell me, because I lack the knowledge they possess, unless I find an equally authoritative expert to counter the first. Doing so my provide conflict (and ratings or readers) but it does nothing to provide clarity to my readers or viewers.
To provide that clarity, a writer has several choices. One can become totally immersed in the subject to the greatest extent possible and become the expert. Alternately, in learning enough about statistics, writers and broadcasters like Sciambi can season their work with enough sabermetric flavors to heighten the desire of their audience for more. All broadcasters should be intellectually honest and curious about discovery. Too many of them are content to retain their preconceived notions without ever challenging them.
That's why I think the solitary media strategy is a loser on the whole. Let me go back to the statistic I denigrated at FGL, though as I discovered at the afterparty, not clearly enough as one of my fellow attendees asked if I thought quarterback rating was a meaningful statistic. Quarterback rating is arbitrary nonsense. Need proof? Here's how one calculates quarterback rating:
- Divide a quarterback's completed passes by pass attempts.
- Subtract 0.3.
- Divide by 0.2 and record the total. The sum cannot be greater than 2.375 or less than zero.
- Divide passing yards by pass attempts.
- Subtract 3.
- Divide by 4 and record the total. The sum cannot be greater than 2.375 or less than zero.
- Divide touchdown passes by pass attempts.
- Divide by 0.05 and record the total. The sum cannot be greater than 2.375 or less than zero.
- Divide interceptions by pass attempts.
- Subtract that number from 0.095.
- Divide that product by 0.04 and record the total. The sum cannot be greater than 2.375 or less than zero.
- Add the four totals you recorded.
- Multiply that total by 100.
- Divide by 6.
Is there any linear weighting in that to suggest how valuable passing yards per attempt minus three divided by four has any relevance in winning a football game? Not to the best of my knowledge, yet the quarterback rating is a staple of NFL broadcasts. Why that is the case is essential to developing the ideal strategy to gain a greater acceptance of advanced baseball metrics in the mainstream. The answer and the strategy will appear shortly in part two.no comments
Two months remain in the chase for the NL Central pennant. The Cardinals hold a slim half game advantage over the pursuing Reds. St. Louis was active during the trading season, while Cincinnati stood pat. Clearly Walt Jocketty believes that the Reds future is promising enough that he need not sacrifice the talent in a win now transaction.
That hardly suggests that Cincinnati cannot improve and sustain the pressure they have put on the Cardinals all season. And St. Louis’ trade cannot be truly considered a horizontal move. Dishing Ryan Ludwick to hand the job to a still raw Jon Jay to facilitate the acquisition of Jake Westbrook as a fourth starter is not a serious game changer. The race will remain tight as both clubs add players who return from injury or are summoned for their first taste of a big-league pennant chase. Over at C70 At The Bat, I take a quick look at what will make for an exciting August and September between the two clubs.no comments
Baseball writers, particularly the sabermetrically inclined, enjoy lampooning the decisions and behaviors of Astros GM Ed Wade. His big league personnel decisions often merit that mockery. Deciding to sign Pedro Feliz and Brandon Lyon this past offseason stands tall as confirmation that Wade is a buffoon at best, bungling another baseball team before our very eyes. But like most accepted, conventional wisdom, that animating theory goes unchallenged all too often. What if Wade actually has a sound strategy to revitalize his organization and has only just begun to implement the elements of that strategy?
The prism through which Wade will be judged, fairly or not, is this trading deadline. He has veterans to shop. His team is performing poorly, prevented by the Pirates from dwelling in the dankest recess of the NL Central cellar. With Roy Oswalt out the door already, he still has Lance Berkman to deal, and if he really wanted to blow up his squad and rebuild with younger talents he could offer Hunter Pence, Wandy Rodriguez and Brett Myers as well. Then there is Carlos Lee, who will retire an Astro because his contract is almost entirely untradeable. Before considering what they are worth, let's examine the Oswalt deal.
Writers critical of Wade have ripped the return for Oswalt as inadequate, worse than what Arizona got for Dan Haren and in short a big favor to Ruben Amaro Jr. But Wade replaced Oswalt with J.A. Happ and gets four years of team control of a lefty starter who will at least eat innings at the back of the rotation. While Happ cannot boast the pedigree and experience of Oswalt, as measured by Baseball Prospectus' WARP metric, he had a better season in 2009 (4.6 vs. 2.9 for Oswalt) FanGraph's WAR measure was less kind to Happ, leaving much room for conjecture on the value of his breakout season..
For the sake of argument, let us presume that Oswalt maintains his 2010 quality of play for the duration of this season and through next season. He would provide 2 WARP in 2010 and 6 WARP in 2011. Philadelphia is on the hook for $13 million of the $24 million owed to Oswalt. At $1.625 million per WARP, Oswalt is quite a bargain. Let us further stipulate that the cost of Happ includes the $11 million sent to the Phillies in the trade, to more accurately reflect the financial cost of his performance. Should Happ return to his 2010 level for the balance of this year and next - admittedly a big if - he would provide 1.5 WARP in 2010 and 4.5 WARP in 2011. At $11.65 million (the money sent to Philadelphia, plus the balance of his $470,000 salary for 2010 and a similar renewal for 2011. Happ will not be eligible for arbitration until after the 2011 season) his $1.942 million per WARP is still a bargain, though not as good as Oswalt. Because Houston also has Happ for three arbitration eligible season and therefore cost controlled seasons, Happ alone would be worth Oswalt and cash. Whatever contributions Houston gets from Brett Wallace and Jonathan Villar go straight to the bottom line of their return on the deal.
You protest, that's not realistic. Happ will certainly get level out at a lower performance level in 2010 or 2011. He might. But Oswalt maintaining his 2010 quality of play for the next 8-10 months of baseball (2-3 months in 2010 and 6-7 months in 2011) requires a leap of faith on the same scale. Happ's inexperience makes it easier to expect a return to reality. But Oswalt's age makes injury or age-related decline certain. The only variable is the rate of speed at which it manifests itself. Happ is in his theoretical prime at age 27. Despite the protestations of writers who are more attached to Oswalt's name than his value, this was not a bad deal for Houston at all. This is a controversial statement, so I'll re-phrase it foe emphasis. Ed Wade made a very shrewd trade leveraging a known and overvalued asset for an undervalued unknown one and got his trading partner to throw in two lottery ticket type players, one of whom he spun for a direct replacement for his soon to be departed first baseman.
Berkman may be gone by the four pm Saturday trading deadline. With just under seven million dollars guanteed to him between the balance of his 2010 salary and his $2 million 2011 option buyout, the money and committment are not going to frighten away a contending club. A team fighting for its postseason life might just value Berkman's production enough to pay that premium for his services down the stretch. He's been worth a little more than a win since coming off the DL on April 20th. Figuring an additional win for the stretch run is reasonable.
What would Berkman be worth to Tampa Bay or New York who both have considered the 1B/DH prototype of Adam Dunn as the deadline approaches? Tampa could undertake the $7 million expense to have a better chance at postseason success. Tampa has a deep pool of pitching prospects to go with a young, talented major league staff. While Jeremy Hellickson and Wade Davis are unlikely returns,, a player excelling at a lower level like Alexander Colome, Matt Moore or Nick Barnese have talent enough to pair with Jordan Lyles at the front of Houston's revitalized rotation in 2013. If Houston contributed cash to underwrite Berkman the better the prospect the Rays would send in return. Perhaps paying the freight in full would free Davis. Berkman could also be dealt during the waiver trading period next month.
The idea of dealing Pence was once tantamount to treason in Houston. But Pence's 2010 season leaves much to be desired in a corner outfielder. A contender with a need for outfield help might find Pence an attractive commodity in that he is expected to bounce back to his established level of performance and at age 27, he's still in his peak years. If Houston is truly going to rebuild and blow up their team, Pence needs to be shopped. With Corey Hart off the market and David DeJesus injured, he instantly becomes the best available outfielder. Considering he's arbitration eligible for the next three seasons, his cost will be reasonable. He would fetch the highest premium of any of Houston's players. Pence would not clear waivers. It's unlikely he gets dealt, but he should be.
Myers has revived his career in Houston. Wade was ridiculed when he signed Myers this offseason. He'll never have more value, but even then, with the baggage of his past bad acts, including domestic assault and occasional temper outbursts, he's unlikely to fetch a premium return. Myers owes Wade for the opportunity to prove himself, and is therefore almost certain to be retained. But Wade should listen and not declare him untouchable. No veteran player should be untouchable on his team.
Wade's greatest success is building farm systems. While Phillies GM, he drafted and began the development of the core of talent that propelled the club to their World Series victory in 2008. That core included Cole Hamels, Chase Utley, Pat Burrell, Ryan Howard and Myers. He also signed Carlos Carrasco as an international free agent and drafted Lou Marson who were part of Cleveland's haul for Cliff Lee. Since joining the Astros he's drafted Jason Castro, Jio Mier, Jordan Lyles, Delino Deshields Jr., Mike Foltynewicz, Jay Austin and Tanner Bushue, who form the backbone of their young core of talent. The high impact players he's accumulating in the form of high school players with high upsides and international free agents suggest that Houston's woes will not last long. Plenty of these players are of the boom or bust variety. Supplementing them with more middle of the road talents like Happ and Wallace help to fill out a future roster that will again contend.
It's easy, and fun, to mock Ed Wade. But his track record suggests those jibes are shortsighted and that he has a good grasp on the long view. We may not see the value he took from the very short-sighted Ruben Amaro Jr., whose decision to ship out Cliff Lee last off-season effectively cost him J.A. Happ during his cost controlled seasons. We'll applaud Amaro because we think he got the best of the deal. And he did, for 2010. Wade did better for 2013. Houston never had a chance in 2010. Wade knew it and acquired pieces for when his team will next be a serious contender. By maximizing talent for their next real window of contention both GMs did well. I maintain Wade did better, but that's my default. I prefer taking the long view.no comments
The Fixing the Prequels meme is common, with entire blog post arcs devoted to the correct notion that Lucas botched the prequels. And the geniuses at Red Letter Media had a field day with their epic length deconstructions of the flaws therein. Today, thanks to a tip to a pair of promotional videos for the second Star Wars: The Force Unleashed video game from Bloguin's 2009 Rising Star Blythe of GuysGirl.com, I'm jumping on the bandwagon.
The Force Unleashed series of video games is an attempt through LucasArts to cash in more on the Star Wars franchise. Interestingly the development of the story in the video games shows greater imagination than Lucas conceived in the dreadful prequels he foisted on an unsuspecting public beginning eleven years ago.
Here's a quick summary of the plot. Darth Vader's secret apprentice, a sith named Starkiller has so honed the powers of the force to unleash the ultimate potential of it. Starkiller is tasked by his mentor to exterminate the Jedi. That's the first game. The second game reintroduces Starkiller (actually a clone of him) after his mission is complete and Vader deciding to whack his apprentice now that his utility is used up. Prompting Starkiller to escape and further the establishment of the Rebel Alliance.
Compression of the two games into a unified plot arc would create a perfect bridge from the flawed, but salvageable prequels to the original trilogy that we all fell in love with when we were younger. We have the introduction of a character in whom the force is strong. We see Vader train him on the sly, effectively setting up the humanity we see in Vader at the climatic scenes of Empire and Jedi. Vader dispatches him to exterminate the Jedi, providing the history that Obi-Wan partially explains in Star Wars. Starkiller's escape from a once again ruthless Vader becomes the impetus for the formation of the Rebel Alliance. Vader's flawed decision to train Starkiller, and his role in the founding to the Rebel Alliance explains how the Vader came to answer to Grand Moff Tarkin in Star Wars. Such a film would do more to connect the prequels to the originals than was accomplished int he prequels themselves.
The frustration of the prequels was their inaccessibility and repudiation of all aspects the Star Wars legends. Trimming the overlong first two films into a single tight film that introduces Anakin as a child, shows him an as a restless adolescent and sets up the Clone Wars would have been an acceptable reintroduction to the Star Wars brand. The end of the film would be the opening skirmishes of the Clone Wars. The second film which would track closely with Revenge of the Sith would pick up at the end of the Clone Wars and transform Anakin into Darth Vader. Then this conceptual film would come to complete the transition.
The process of knitting together stories that take place over the course of generations is a sticky business, which Lucas proved incapable of managing with the Prequels. It's quite a relief to see that the creative spark still exists at LucasArts, even if the boss man is incapable of applying it to his signature work. Perhaps in several years (decades maybe) when film critics again (still?) bemoan the lack of originality in filmmaking the Star Wars franchise can be rebooted to clean up the messes of the three prequels and Return of the Jedi. Pipe dream perhaps, but for someone of my generation, whose imagination (like mine) was sparked by the adventures of Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and Princess Leia, revisiting these stories in a way that honors their original spirit would be a labor of love and one I look forward to seeing.no comments
Regard! The impenetrable wall that separates celebrity from reality:
The obtuseness of Shyamalan in his response illustrates the problem many popular artists face. Shyamalan's debut was the stuff of legend. A sharp film brilliantly conceived and realized. And to this point not a film has been able to compare to it since. Sure the three immediate successors had sparks.
"Unbreakable" in many ways is a superior film to "The Sixth Sense" because it did not rely on the twist for an emotionally satisfying conclusion. But it's dialogue at various points is leaden. The performances lacked spark, save for Samuel L. Jackson. And Jackson's bristling, brooding, vengeful bit of villainy illuminated the screen at every turn.
But neither "Signs" nor "The Village" had a performance that could match Jackson's in "Unbreakable." I'll hold off commenting on "Lady in the Water" because I elected not to see it. I endured "The Happening" which brilliantly illustrates the failure of storytelling. That turgid steaming pile of excretory excess was the final straw to me.
The phrase I chose to note the deficiencies in the film was that Shyamalan hasn't had to sing for his soup since "The Sixth Sense." Rather than conceive a story that allows a realistic and frightening depiction of a naturally occurring plague, Shyamalan sent Mark Wahlberg and friends traipsing about Pennsylvania running from the wind. While man vs. nature is an intense dramatic consideration, most audiences identify with protagonists that use their ingenuity to overcome the ceaseless onslaught of nature's fury.
The failure of "The Happening" stems from the helplessness of our protagonists in a situation described best as ludicrous. Early in the film, Shyamalan carelessly hinted at a big payoff by including a looming nuclear power plant. What a thrilling conclusion if the Wahlberg character was forced to prevent the meltdown of a nuclear plant by a suicidal worker who felt that was the ideal way to end his life. Instead the shotgun stays on the wall and the crisis passes without explanation of resolution. It just happened.
That thematic betrayal is indefensible. A storyteller can tell the story any way he or she chooses. But certain rules about respecting audiences allow for continued employment as a storyteller. Shyamalan would do well to review those rules.
Returning to the clip. The question poses boils down to how do you recapture an audience that has lost its confidence with your ability. In effect, they don't trust you anymore to follow the rules of good storytelling. Shyamalan attempts to refute the assertion by saying he does not perceive his audience that way. He's long bristled at criticism - taking an inelegant shot at critics in "Lady in the Water". By denying the validity of criticism he continues in his insular paradise where all his films are brilliant, all his work is appreciated and all his stories work.
Caveat emptor, film goers.no comments
The Blue Jays announced today that they have signed LHP Sean Nolin, selected in the 6th round (186th overall) of the 2010 First Year Player Draft. The Seaford, New York native compiled a record of 12-0 with a 1.98 ERA including 84 strikeouts over 82.0 innings in 14 starts with San Jacinto Junior College this season. The Blue Jays have now signed 22 of the 56 picks selected from the 2010 June draft.
Baseball America's Bubba Brown filed this report on Nolin a week before he was selected.
Nolin, who was drafted in the 50th round by the Brewers last year, pitched opposite [Alex] Burgos and fared a little bit better. Nolin finished with a seven-inning complete game win, although it was far from perfect. The lefty cruised in the early going and even picked off two runners, but hit a rough patch in the middle innings. In the fourth, he walked the leadoff hitter and then gave up back-to-back homers. He gave up single runs in both the fifth and the seventh innings to finish with five earned runs for the outing. His final line wasn’t as pretty as the complete game would suggest, as he gave up 10 hits and three walks in addition to six strikeouts.
The five run CG might have been an aberration based on his 1.98 ERA, possibly a sign of fatigue. At six-four, 250, Nolin has the height to be a power lefty, but according to BA's scouting report, "[his] fastball will sit at 86-89 mph in some games and 88-92 in others, and he backs it up with a solid changeup and fringy curveball." Possible bullpen arm.no comments
I entered the Hardball Talk first ever Homerun Derby contest on a whim, with a guess of David Ortiz and 32 home runs, which happened to be the winning guess. Mucho Gracias, Big Papi. So they turned over a pile of pixels to your humble correspondent and asked me to make of them what I will. And after thinking, well I could make a hat or a brooch or a pterodactyl, I realized that my parodic stylings of unusual and underheard (criminally so) music would be utterly obtuse and a waste of everyone's time, especially yours. So I penned 164 Lines About 82 All-Stars. And Craig Calcaterra called me "a notorious man-about-town". In short best blog day ever.
The link above has the post, and since they gave me the space, I've tucked the parody below the jump. But in case you wondered about The Nails, here's an unofficial video of the song I parodied. Enjoy!
Jason Rosenberg, tackled that question yesterday and pondered, "Does Jeter’s 2010 performance *really* matter?" over at IIATMS. He concludes:
Will Hal and Brian lay out a multi-year plan (not just a contract) that has Jeter making above-market dollars for the next four years ($60m?) followed by a senior role within the organization? Or will they be colder and more analytical, offering to pay Jeter closer to market value, enabling some other team to tell Jeter: “we love you more than your old team does?” Will some team jump high enough to pay for a legend? Will Jeter even want to go somewhere else? I can’t see it, either. Jeter loves NY, the Yanks and everything that brings. His 2010 performance is almost irrelevant to me. He will be overpaid for his productivity, whatever it might be, until he retires, but he’s our Derek Jeter and we’re going to have to deal with that. And since he’s never done wrong by us, I’m OK with that idea.
I imagine that most Yankee fans are equally sanguine at the prospect of overpaying Derek Jeter for his valedictory. But if his 2010 season is practically moot, then why fret on overpaying Jeter until he retires? After all he is a Yankee legend, the most prominent member of the late nineties dynasty, and the emblem of this Yankee era. Try putting a price tag on all that. Then note he's the most marketable baseball player out there. Pricey, isn't it?
For a Yankee franchise that seemingly has a limitless budget such concerns are trivial, the mere buzzings of flies, but can the club legitimately commit 6-8% of its annual payroll to an everyday player whose production drifts from average to replacement level. They carried that level of dead weight with Carl Pavano between 2005 and 2008. But Pavano was a pitcher and only would have pitched in one of every five games, even if he had been healthy, which he wasn't. And Pavano's uselessness was relatively harmless because he was primarily hurt and the Yankees were able to send other pitchers out to replace his lost production. A healthy Jeter would not afford that luxury.
Because a healthy Jeter would be played everyday, allowed to hit his way out of the slump, rather than grab some pine. And while the Yankees have enough talent to overcome league average or worse production from their shortstop, it reduces the wiggle room that typically is a function of successful Yankee teams. Take last year's hitters and compare them to 2008's edition as a point of reference.
|Player (2008)||WAR '08||Position||Player (2009)||WAR '09|
|Jose Molina||0.7||C||Jorge Posada||3.8|
|Jason Giambi||2.5||1B||Mark Teixeira||5.6|
|Robinson Cano||0.2||2B||Robinson Cano||4.6|
|Alex Rodriguez||6.0||3B||Alex Rodriguez||4.7|
|Derek Jeter||3.7||SS||Derek Jeter||7.4!|
|Johnny Damon||3.8||LF||Johnny Damon||3.6|
|Brett Gardner||1.1||CF||Brett Gardner||2.2|
|Bobby Abreu||1.7||RF||Nick Swisher||3.6|
|Hideki Matsui||0.9||DH||Hideki Matsui||2.7|
All WAR numbers come from FanGraphs. The superior 2009 lineup was effectively without a weakness. But that reflected the good health of Posada and Matsui, the acquisitions of Teixeira and Swisher, breakouts from Cano and Gardner and Jeter having an exceptional season. That production was unsustainably flukish, but perfect timing for the Yankees' 27th title.
The Yankees may feel secure in additional wiggle room thanks to further gains by Cano and Gardner. But with Teixeira and Rodriguez entering the decline phases of their careers and Posada and Jeter get nearer to age-related collapse their overwhelming offensive production could quickly evaporate.
Not even the Yankees with their deep pockets can grow so complacent to authorize an ill-advised allocation of resources based solely on an emotional reaction to a beloved player. For Jeter's next contract to be justified as a multi-year deal, he has to rebound to be a three to four win player both this season and next. That's not to say New York won't pony up the money for their Captain, for the good times. But such choices have consequences, as the 2008 Yankees illustrate nicely.no comments
I'm honored to be flying the good ship "Daily Something" this morning as Bill takes some time welcoming his newborn son to Twins fandom. Kirby Puckett Teddy Bears and Kent Hrbek Homer Hankies populate that nursery, let me tell you. Congrats to Bill and his wife on the birth of their second son. And while he's away, he'll have guest posters filling in for him. Today's my turn. Here's the intro to the piece:
July is the summer trading season in Major League Baseball. The winter hot stove is well-removed. The heat is amply provided by the coming dog days of August as well as the hotly contested pennant races in both leagues. And what a fine collection of races will entertain us for the duration of this season
This pre-deadline environment prompts baseball scholars to contemplate player values in a slightly different light. Offseason evaluations tend to filter into different categories. Who are the top prospects or the top arbitration eligibles or the top free agents or even the top just graduated prospects hold our collective attention. Not because they are particularly useful to the teams, but instead because they prompt discussion, perpetuate offseason interest in baseball and help us prepare for the spring's fantasy baseball drafts.
At midseason the evaluation of player value is more team-centric. With clubs eager to solidify leads or arm up for one gallant push through August and September, they fix their attention on cutting the best deal possible which demands they balance the scales between commodities with excess value in exchange for assets to fill glaring holes.
You can read the full piece at The Daily Something.no comments
Prospect Nerds welcome!
|World Team||American Team|
|Brett Lawrie 2b||Desmond Jennings lf|
|Osvaldo Martinez ss||Dee Gordon ss|
|Yonder Alonso 1b||Mike Moustakas 3b|
|Alex Liddi 3b||Domonic Brown rf|
|Carlos Peguero lf||Eric Hosmer dh|
|Wilkin Ramirez rf||Hank Conger c|
|Wilin Rosario c||Brett Jackson cf|
|Gorkys Hernandez cf||Logan Morrison 1b|
|Francisco Peguero dh||Drew Cumberland 2b|
|Simon Castro p||Jeremy Hellickson p|
And we're underway with a flyout by Lawrie. Hellickson worked a one-two-three inning with a ground out to Moustakas by Martinez and a strikeout of Alonso.
Mildly disconcerting is the island oasis of Angel Stadium of Anaheim in the sea of available parking.
Simon Castro starts the bottom of the inning plunking Desmond Jennings. Dee Gordon draws a walk and a wild pitch by Castro puts runners on second and third for Moustakas. Moustakas pops a foul ball to Rosario for the first out. Brown legs out an infield hit into the hole at short. And Team USA leads 1-0.
Castro has minimal command today. He is not hitting spots. He's been so very impressive this season, but he does not have it today. Hosmer runs the count full and dumps a Texas Leaguer in for the RBI. Brown is having an adventure on basepaths, picked off first, but Castro's hesitation allowed him to scramble back, then hung up off second base after Hosmer's basehit, but Martinez missed the tag.
Conger's flyout to Ramirez is the second out. Another wild pitch by Castro moves Brown and Hosmer up for Jackson. First substitution of the game, the Angels Mike Trout pinch runs for Brown. Update on Brown, a minor hamstring injury prompted Baylor to get Trout into the game. Jackson strikes out to end the inning USA 2-0 going to the second.
Liddi flies out to Trout for the first out as Hellickson comes out for the second. The first of the World Team's two Pegueros, Carlos, lines a basehit to right. Zach Britton is warming for Team USA. Ramirez drops in a basehit allowing Peguero to take third and runners are at the corners. Nifty play by Moustakas to get Ramirez at second on a sharp grounder by Rosario, but Peguero scores to make it 2-1. Hernandez up with two outs grounds into a force play to end the inning.
Hector Noesi is on for the World Team. Morrison who will either supplant Gaby Sanchez in Florida or be dealt away (bet the former) singles to greet Noesi. Noesi induces a pop out from Cumberland. Jennings lined out on a ball that Hernandez over ran. Sutcliffe, Ricciardi and Thorne were speculating about Jennings being called up to the Rays soon. I think Hellickson may be called sooner. But both are ready. Gordon lines out to Peguero on an 0-2 pitch. Good game so far in Anaheim.
Britton is greeted by the other Peguero, Francisco with a basehit to right. On a hit and run, Britton knocks down a liner by Lawrie and gets the hustling Brewers prospect at first. Lawrie may find himself in Milwaukee soon with trade rumors swirling around Rickie Weeks. Britton bounced a pitch allowing Peguero to take third, but he got Martinez swinging and Alonso on a flyout to escape the jam.
Bottom of three and a ground out by Moustakas interupts Erin Andrews' interview of Cookie Rojas discussing the importance of White Castle's burger deals. Up now I Trout for his first plate appearance. Alex Torres is on for the World Team. Trout's sharp grounder was picked cleanly by Martinez, but the throw pulled Alonso off the bag. Torres is a former Angel prospect who was one of the plums that they sent to the Rays for Scott Kazmir last year. Rosario gunned down Trout on a stolen base try.
Hosmer smoked a grounder up to Lawrie who made a great stop, but threw the ball in the dirt allowing Hosmer to reach. The official scorer determined that Trout reached on an error, but Hosmer was on with a hit. Trout deserved a hit more than Hosmer. Conger shattered his bat flying out to end the inning. After three still 2-1.
Gordon makes a stumbling catch on a drifting foul pop up to get the first out for Zach Wheeler. Peguero gets his second hit with a double in the gap giving Ramirez an RBI opportunity. But Wheeler gets a flyout for the second out. Rosario softly lines out to Gordon to end the inning.
Bottom of four: and on for the Wolrd Team is Julio Teheran of the Braves organization to face Jackson who drew a walk. A few good throws by Teheran over at first lulled Jackson at first who was picked off by a rifle throw from Rosario is is showing off that arm of his. Morrison draws a walk on a 3-2 count. for Team USA's second baserunner of the inning. Martinez calls off Liddi to haul in a pop up by Cumberland for the second out. Teheran gets Jennings on a called third strike.
In for the US Team to start the fifth is another Braves farmhand, Mike Minor. Hernandez flies out to Trout for the first out. Ricciardi made a good point about the bad route Trout ran to the ball. He's young enough that he's still learning the position. The Giants Peguero grounds out to Gordon. Lawrie up for the third time and flew out to Trout for an 0-3 game.
Henderson Alvarez is in for the World Team, Ricciardi is raving about his former player's new changeup. Gordon greets him with a base hit. The World team's battery has been entriely replaced with Chun-Hsiu Chen of the Indians in behind the plate. A 3-6-3 double play off the bat of Moustakas erases Gordon. Trout's grounder gobbled up Liddi putting the speedy outfielder on first. Hosmer dumps in another single for a 3-3 day. Conger belts a three run home run on a 1-2 pitch to give the USA a 5-1 lead. Ben Revere pinch hits and grounds out to Liddi. Danny Espinosa is expected to replace Dee Gordon this inning as well.
In comes Jordan Lyles for team USA. His first big league season sees Lyles in AA. He's got a fantastic delivery. He gets a pop out by Hak-Ju Lee who takes over for Martinez. Alonso grounds out to Morrison with Lyles covering first. Pedro Baez pinch hits for Liddi. The Dodgers prospect lines a soft single to right center to put a runner on with two outs. The Mariners Peguero strikes out on a foul tip to end the inning. Lyles is the only USA pitcher to get Peguero out today.
Baseball America's Jim Callis just tweeted a great observation about Lyles: "Unlike a lot of the guys today, Lyles has mixed all three of his pitches during his inning." That kind of maturity bodes well for the Astros.
In now for the World team is Stolmy Pimentel of the Red Sox organization and Morrison drives a fly ball to deep center and Hernandez makes a fantastic play crashing into the wall. Pimenterl shattered Cumberland's bat on a grounder to second. And that does it for Pimentel who is replaced by Trystan Magnuson of the Blue Jays organization. Magnuson yields a walk to Jennings who promptly swipes second. Grant Green drives in Jennings with a basehit. Lonnie Chisenhall of the Indians organization is in for Moustakas. Magnuson is nibbling. And he walks him. Trout comes up and legs out a grounder that Lee took on the short hop. Lee double clutched on the throw and couldn't get Trout at first. Hosmer flies out to end the inning.
In for Team USA is Shelby Miller of the Cardinals organization. Miller's put up solid numbers in his first season. Eury Perez reaches on a text book Baltimore chop. Green flagged the ball down but resisted the throw. Perez stole second but Espinosa yanked his leg off the bag to get him out. Chen chopped a grounder up the middle which Miller deflected to Green who threw on to first to get the out. Bryan Morris comes in to get final out of the inning with Hernandez grounding out.
Joining the broadcast now is Theo Epstein. And rather than ask about the kids, Ricciardi wants to know when the big league players will be back. I'd love his take on the guys he's watching. Tampering I suspect precludes that.
The interview of Epstein has pretty much pre-empted the actual broadcast of the game. On come Phillippe Valiquette after Austin Romine flies out to right to end Magnuson's night. Revere flies out to Hernandez for out number two. Morrison draws another walk. Espinosa grounds into a force out to end the inning.
On for Team USA is Anthony Slama who gives up a base hit Luis Jimenez to start the eighth. Pedro Ciriaco chops into a double play to Espinosa who caught the deflection, touched second and fired to first. Fantastic play by the Nationals shortstop of the future. Lee singles in his second at bat. Alonso's lines a single for his first hit of the game. Baez is back up for the World team with runners on the corners, but Slama strikes him out to end the frame.
Eduardo Sanchez is on for the World Team to face Jennings. Lee bobbled Jennings grounder for an error putting Jennings on. With his speed Jennings should be on second shortly. And he didn't need to swipe it as Sanchez' wild pitch put him on second. Green moved him to third with a slow roller to third. Chisenhall gets Jennings home with a ground out to make it 7-1 USA. Sanchez is done as the Mets Jeurys Familia comes in. Trout takes a 3-1 pitch to right center and then hustled to leg out a double. Hosmer then drives him in with a stand up double, Hosemer's fourth hit of the day and second RBI. Romine's double brings home Hosmer with the USA's ninth run. Revere's grounder to Alonso ends the inning. On to the ninth.
Christian Friedrich is on for the US. The Rockies lefty has just been called up to Colorado Springs. Peguero flies out to center for the first out. Texas' Tanner Scheppers comes on to face Perez. Perez lines a single off Scheppers for his second hit.
The broadcast team is debating whether Scheppers is a starter or a reliever. The Rangers know that in the case of both Scheppers and Neftali Feliz their maximum value to the club is starting. The use of Feliz as closer this year should merely be a matter of convenience.
Chen flies out to left for the second out. Scheppers has Hernandez and the world team down to their final strike, flashing a nice curve and a 99 mile an hour heater. Hernandez fouled off a few good pitches and draws a walk. Jimenez though pops up the first pitch he sees to end the game.
Wrap up and thoughts on the game tomorrow.no comments
Jeremy Green is an ESPN NFL Analyst and the son of Dennis Green. He's also under arrest on a charge of possession of kiddie porn.
Jeremy Green, 38, of Southington was arrested at an area hotel about 5 p.m., police stated in a press release. He was charged with first-degree possession of child pornography, possession of narcotics and possession of drug paraphernalia and was in custody on $750,000 cash bail.
Police did not give out information about the crime or about the investigation because the warrant is sealed.
A former National Football League scout, Green lists his occupation on police records as "NFL analyst," police said. He is a contributing writer for ESPN.com, where he answers NFL questions from web readers, ESPN spokesman Mike Soltys said. It's too early to comment on the arrest, he said.
What's it with ESPN staff and weird, whacky wild stuff like this. Once upon a time, the geniuses at Deadspin published their canon of suspected hornodoggery. Seems someone missed the seminar on not being a frakkin embarassment to the network. Just a hunch, perhaps rather than spend so much time on Bron Bron, the WWL would be better served vetting their employees. Also, Steve Phillips and Sean Salisbury don't bother trying to get your old gigs back, mmm-kay.
Much thanks to Allan Kenney of Blatant Homerism whose initial reaction inspired the title of this post.no comments
Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic has the early details of what will be known as the Diamondback Purge. Both manager AJ Hinch and GM Josh Byrnes have been relieved of their duties by the club Thursday night. An official press conference has been scheduled for 10 am Friday morning at Chase Field.
Byrnes had been quoted as lobbying for Hinch to retain his job despite the poor showing by the club this season. Byrnes' reluctance to dismiss his manager may have been the catalyst of what Piecoro referred to as the "strained" relationship between Byrnes and Diamondbacks President and CEO Derrick Hall.
Read the rest at BizofBaseball.comno comments
Friend of the Blog Tim Savage does a monthly recap of the Red Sox farm system. I'm greateful to Tim for permission to run the analysis here. And without further adieu...
As we come to the start of July, it's time for the monthly look at how things are going down on the farm. I'm composing this over a couple of days, so not all entries might be fully up to date.
Lars Anderson .225/.327/.385
Overall the numbers are not pretty, although he has shown some signs of coming out of it lately, with an 880 OPS the last 10 days. He needs to sustain that kind of level for the rest of the year. At this point, he's definitely looking at starting another year in the minors, which won't kill him since he doesn't turn 23 till September.
Ryan Kalish .217/.308/.348
Just got back to action after missing a couple of weeks with injury, so as a result he has only around 50 PA at the AAA level.
Josh Reddick .209/.259/.370
He's hit a bit better in June, but has only had around 60 PA with all the moving back and forth to the majors. Hopefully they can just let him be for the remainder of the season, as he really needs to have a run of sustained success in the remaining couple of months.
Felix Doubront 2.08 ERA 21.7 IP 17 H 7 BB 20 SO
His talent was obvious in his one spot start, as was his rawness. He needs to work on his secondary pitches while building up his innings, but he's on the right track for now.
Robert Coello 2.25 16.0 10 9 21; 3.32 43.3 38 14 51 in AA
25-year old righty whom the Sox signed out of the indie leagues. Could be next in line when the Sox need to call up a reliever.
Michael Bowden 4.02 78.3 65 29 55
Turned his season around with a strong June in which he posted a 2.35 ERA. His K/BB ratio has improved every month: 1-1 in April, 2-1 in May, 3-1 in June. I remain skeptical of his long-term prospects, though, and wouldn't object if the Sox were to use him in a deadline
Jose Iglesias .306/.340/.408
Went on the DL with a broken hand right after my last update (not my fault, I swear). The time lost shouldn't affect his ETA, which remains sometime next year.
Yamaico Navarro .263/.343/.404
Had a decent June (847 OPS) so his numbers are trending upward some. Still, looks like his upside is a utility guy, so the Sox may risk exposing him to the Rule 5 draft.
Luis Exposito .252/.328/.384
Faded again in June after showing some signs of life in May.
Anthony Rizzo .244/.286/.423
Still struggling at this level; turns 21 in August so he's got plenty of time.
Che-Hsuan Lin .256/.360/.304 7 for 16 in SB.
Still not feeling it.
Santo Luis 2.63 37.7 33 15 38
Guy we claimed off waivers from the White Sox; the numbers are good but he's 26 and pitching in AA, so you gotta take it with a grain of salt.
Jason Rice 3.00 30.0 25 16 35
The Sox picked up Rice in the AAA phase of the rule 5 draft a year ago. At 24, he's a bit old for the league but not so old that you can't see him emerging as a middle reliever on the major league level. Probably need to move him up to AAA soon to see what he can do.
Kyle Weiland 3.70 65.7 51 27 61
Had an excellent June as he continues to improve after a shaky start. He doesn't have Casey Kelly's upside but he's a more advanced prospect and is likely to make it to the majors first.
Stephen Fife 4.30 75.3 71 28 51
This guy made the AA All-Star game? The numbers are pretty mediocre across the board. He's supposedly a heavy groundball pitcher, but the walk/strikeout rate still doesn't suggest future success to me.
Casey Kelly 5.05 57.0 71 21 53
He's been very inconsistent, but his overall numbers in June were better than in May. He's only 20 and pitching at a very high level, so I don't see this as cause for concern so much as normal growing pains.
Alex Wilson 6.28 14.3 20 4 11; 3.40 55.7 43 15 50 at Salem
He basically got spanked his first game in AA, but fared better the next two.
Ryan Lavarnway .310/.403/.528
Doesn't really look like he has anything left to prove at this level, but the Sox may be holding off promoting him till they decide what to do with Ibarra.
Oscar Tejeda .332/.355/.507
His breakout year continues as he hit .372 in June, and even drew 9 walks on the month after only taking five the rest of the season.
Jorge Padron .305/.348/.451
The least touted of the recently signed Cuban prospects. He turns 24 this month and is a 1B/LF, so he'll have to show a lot more in the power department to be considered a real prospect.
Will Middlebrooks .279/.344/.426
Continues to fade from his hot start, hitting only .203 in June. He really needs to close the season strongly if he's going to establish himself as a real prospect.
Mitch Dening .277/.350/.366
Followed a hot May (.371) with a so-so June (.273). Basically he's a corner OF with little power and only average speed, so he's not getting to the majors just based on decent on-base skills.
Tim Federowicz .252/.313/.383
Still not showing any signs of life. He does lead the team with 24 doubles, but if he can't get on base more often he won't go anywhere.
Peter Hissey .258/.331/.354
Did hit .276 in June, but a guy like this really needs to be getting on at a .370 clip or better.
Kyle Fernandes 1.73 36.3 24 12 38
He's quite old for the league so you can't get too excited about the numbers, but he gets extra credit for being left-handed and a local kid.
Blake Maxwell 2.47 43.7 47 9 30
Another guy who's too old for the league, which combined with an unimpressive K-rate means he's not a real prospect.
Fabian Williamson 3.72 65.3 58 34 40
Sent out the door in the Eric Patterson trade. Came over in the deal for David Aardsma, whom we had acquired in a deal for Miguel Socolovich and Wily Mota, two guys signed as international free agents who are now out of baseball. This will be on your final exam.
Stolmy Pimentel 4.54 69.3 75 19 52
A good May had put him back on the beam, but he fell off it with a 6.17 ERA in June, although a lot of that was do to a 2 1/3 IP, 9 ER performance his last time out.
Cesar Cabral 4.60 15.7 14 2 17; 31.3 16 7 35
The usual caveats about minor-league relievers apply, but the one thing that Cabral has on the guys ahead of him is age; he's only 21.
Daniel Butler .316/.399/.500
Continues to put up good numbers and impress as a an undrafted free agent, but since he's old for the league we won't really be able to take him seriously till he plays more age-appropriate competition.
Christopher McGuinness .281/.389/.477
Decent numbers, but he's a 1B and already 22, so it's hard to tag him as a prospect based on this performance.
Jeremy Hazelbaker .240/.342/.391 33/10 SB/CS
Continues to struggle with 77 Ks already in 233 AB, preventing him from taking advantage of his good power/speed skills.
Reymond Fuentes .273/.325/.396 27/1 SB/CS
Missed a bit of time this month with injuries, but hit .283 when healthy. He's not on the fast track to Fenway but he's definitely showing some abilities.
Michael Almanzar .236/.299/.363
Still no progress, and we're getting further and further away from his impressive pro debut in 2008.
Dennis Neuman 2.36 42.0 35 11 44
Very nice numbers for the right-hander from Curacao.
Yeiper Castillo 2.86 69.3 64 20 62
Went on the DL in the middle of the month; was in the middle of something of a breakthrough season.
Manuel Rivera 3.01 71.7 69 14 56
Hit a slight speed bump in May but recovered with a strong June, sporting a 2.84 ERA and a 22/4 K/BB ration in 25 IP. He's been the best pitcher at every team he's pitched on professionally, and probably has as much upside as any Sox pitching prospect after Casey
Kendal Volz 3.60 65.0 69 8 51
Excellent control, but the K rate isn't all that impressive and he's pretty old for the league.
Drake Britton 3.70 24.3 21 13 23
Needs to improve his control a bit, but for his first action since recovering from TJ surgery, this isn't bad.
The short-season leagues just started a couple of weeks ago, so the sample sizes are too small to jump to any conclusions, but I'll just highlight some of the players to watch.
Miles Head .267/.389/.467
First baseman taken in the 26th round last year; showing some power and walks in the early going.
Jose Garcia .345/.390/.455
19-year old Dominican shortstop; having his first success in pro ball.
Brandon Jacobs .289/.360/.467
The Sox took him in the 10th round last year and gave him 750K to forego a football scholarship at Auburn. Didn't show much at the GCL last year but off to a pretty nice start at Lowell.
Kolbrin Vitek .279/.421/.349
This year's top pick, got off to a slow start his first few games then started coming on. Showing a great walk rate thus far; I wouldn't be surprised to see him promoted to Greenville before the year is out.
Seth Schwindenhammer .318/.318/.318
Last year's fifth round pick, out of high school in Illinois. The guy who sews the names on the back of the uniforms is rooting against him.
Bryce Brentz .167/.286/.262
One of two Sox sandwich picks this year; having a little trouble adjusting to wooden bats in the early going.
David Renfroe .195/.195/.250
Taken in the third round last year and bought out of a football scholarship for $1.4 million, the third baseman is getting his first pro experience after signing too late to play last year.
Hunter Cervenka 1.08 8.3 3 4 10
Lefty out of Texas whom the Sox drafted in the 27th round last year and gave third round money. Walked more than a batter an inning in the GCL last year, so this is progress.
Madison Younginer 5.11 12.3 9 6 8
Probably the most highly touted pitcher they took in last year's draft; not living up to his billing quite yet.
Boss Moanaroa .304/.469/.565
The Cook Islands, where Moanaroa's family is from (although he grew up in Australia) has about 10,000 people; I knew three of them in grad school. This is his second shot at the GCL, but he's only 18, so if he keeps this up all year he'll open some eyes. The 7 BB and 5 K is especially impressive for such a young international signee.
Keury de la Cruz .294/.368/.647
18-year old Dominican CFer getting his first experience stateside; already has 6 XBH in just 34 AB.
Moko Moanaroa .381/.409/.571
Boss's older brother; could use some advice from his kid brother on the strike zone, as he has yet to draw a walk.
Jose Vinicio .360/.385/.520
The other international SS the Sox gave a 7 figure payoff too last year; this is a pretty impressive start considering he doesn't turn 17 (not a typo) for another week.
Jason Thompson .323/.313/.581
The Sox drafted him in the 11th round last year and paid him 300K to buy him out of a commitment to Louisville. Didn't play last year due to a strained hammy.
I'm gonna hold off writing anything about the pitchers till there's more data to differentiate them.
Boston piled another casualty on their ever-expanding list of busted ballplayers. This time it was Victor Martinez, felled by a broken thumb. With injuries to Dustin Pedroia (out six weeks with a non-displaced fracture of his left navicular bone) and Clay Buchholz (day to day after hyperextending his knee) Boston left their insurance copays in San Francisco.
Yesterday afternoon's game was an entirely different matter. Jon Lester went the distance, preserving a pen pressed into service after Buchholz went down on Saturday. He was backed by a monster home run by David Ortiz in the first off Giants ace Tim Lincecum.
The Red Sox made short work of Lincecum, chasing him after just three innings in which he gave up five hits and three walks which led to four Red Sox runs. The brief outing tied for the shortest appearance in Lincecum career, a mark set initially in his rookie season on Septmeber 4th against Colorao, and matched last year on opening day against Milwaukee.
Lester was the picture of efficiency, working the complete game and allowing just five hits and a walk while setting nine Giants down on strikes. He finished the game setting down ten consecutive Giants. He needed just 103 pitches (76 for strikes) for all nine innings.
|5||Win: Lester 9-3
Loss: Lincecum 8-3
Red Sox Recap from Fenway West
Giants Recap from Extra Baggano comments
This is the ballot I submitted to MLB for the All-Star Game this year.
|National League||American League|
|Catcher||Miguel Olivo- I thought Olivo would tail off from his great start. He hasn't and he deserves this spot.
||Joe Mauer - Statistically he and Victor Martinez are evenly matched this year, despite spells of ineffectiveness for both. Edge goes to the reigning AL MVP.|
|First Base||Adrian Gonzalez - It was Joey Votto, but Gonzalez hs been just a touch better and the Padres remain front runners. Typically this is Albert Pujols' spot. This is not a typical year.
||Justin Morneau - Edges both Kevin Youkilis and Miguel Cabrera by a hair.|
|Second Base||Martin Prado - gets the edge over Brandon Phillips.||Robinson Cano - hands down the best second baseman in the American League in 2010 and it really isn't close.|
|Third Base||Scott Rolen - For an old over the hill guy that Toronto jettisoned last summer, he's putting up a great year.
||Adrian Beltre - His defense is superior to Evan Longoria and he is hitting just as well.|
|Shortstop||Hanley Ramirez - Struggling, but putting up a solid season at one of the weaker positions in the NL.
||Derek Jeter - Impossible to not pick the Yankee captain who remains a steady presence atop their lineup. Alex Gonzalez' power surge and sparkling defense warrants much consideration.|
|Left Field||Ryan Braun - His .305/.365/.495 is fantastic. At just 26 the Brewers left fielder has many great seasons ahead.
||Josh Hamilton - His June wins the spot over Carl Crawford.|
|Center Field||Andrew McCutchen - The Pirates rookie is the most dynamic young player in the NL Central.
||Alexis Rios - Career rejuvenation for the win! Vernon Wells fits that definition as well.|
|Right Field||Andre Ethier - The Didgers youngster had the hot start though has tailed off dramatically in June.
||Ichiro Suzuki - Magglio Ordonez would be my second choice, but Ichiro's game trumps Mags and his power barrage.|
|Designated Hitter||N/A - Though Ryan Zimmerman or Corey Hart could easily slot in here.||David Ortiz - with an honorable mention to Vladimir Guerrero
|Starting Pitcher||Ubaldo Jimenez - Josh Johnson has been better of late, but I'm giving Jimenez the benefit of the doubt that he was sick when the Red Sox took it to him this week.
||Jon Lester - over Andy Pettitte, Francisco Liriano and Phil Hughes. Any of them are worthy.
Can the Red Sox win another ring with Papelbon as closer?
I thought about how to respond, the right way to approach the question and how I could encourage thoughtful discussion. But then without prompting, Ted Fischer, a friend and fellow Red Sox fan, provided this analysis of Boston's current closer:
Papelbon is the 15th best reliever in the AL by WXRL (expected wins added). He has generally been a good pitcher, working the toughest situations with (mostly) excellent results. There's really no comparison between Papelbon and the top relievers like Daniel Bard, Rafael Soriano, Joakim Soria, Jose Valverde, and Neftali Feliz, but there are plenty of relievers behind Papelbon in the rankings as well. He's a good reliever, easily worth $4M-$6M a year, just not somebody who merits comparisons to Mariano Rivera.
The key here is his command. From 2006-2008, Papelbon threw 70% strikes. Last year and this year, he has thrown 65% strikes. It may seem like a small thing, just one additional ball each time he takes the mound, but that leads to fewer strikeouts, more walks, more hitters counts, more home runs. If Papelbon can regain his command, there is every reason to believe he'll rebound to his prior level. But first he needs to recognize that he has a problem before he can seek to fix it. Does he understand that he is no longer an ace reliever? Does he understand that he needed quite a bit of luck to post that pretty ERA last year?
That said, Papelbon remains the second best pitcher in the Red Sox bullpen and better than anybody they might reasonably acquire at the trade deadline. He isn't going anywhere until this winter at the earliest.
While I suspect Daniel Bard is the mid-range solution in late inning high leverage situations, Papelbon is a perfectly acceptable option in the immediate. In tandem, they are a formidable combination. So to answer the posed question succinctly, yes, the Red Sox can most definitely win another World Series title with Jonathan Papelbon closing games.
Ted's comment is reprinted with his permission. Thanks, Ted!no comments
Boston's bats bashed Ubaldo Jimenez, bumping him to a 1.60 ERA and illustrating the true majesty of Bob Gibson's 1968 season and his peerless 1.12 mark. But, Colorado got the better of Boston thanks to a long ball barrage off closer Jonathan Papelbon.
The normally rock steady reliever found his fastball flat, much to the delight of Ian Stewart who led off the bottom of the ninth with a game-tying, save-blowing solo shot. Clint Barmes knocked a soft liner for a single next to put the winning run on base with no one out.
Giambi turned around a Papelbon splitter and sent it rocketing into the rocky mountain night. Ballgame.
|6||Win: Manny Corpas
Loss: Jon Lester 8-3
Red Sox Recap from Peter's Red Sox Forever
Rockies Recap from Purple Rowno comments
Brian Bannister is the answer to 2035's Hall of Fame trivia challenge. The question? "Who first bested Baseball Jesus?" Of course, it's hyperbole. Of course, it's wildly optimistic. Of course, I'm joking. Mostly.
Stephen Strasburg went six innings and gave up nine hits, all of them singles. He did not walk a batter, an expression of control that carried through the final three innings pitched by Sean Burnett and Doug Slaten.
Bannister combined with Robinson Tejeda and Joakim Soria to make that sole run the difference in the game. Bannister lacked Strasburg's control, with a pair of walks, but gave up just five hits over six frames. His strikeouts were a more modest four, but he came away the winner.
Guillen's single in the fifth was the only Royal basehit in seven at bats with a runner in scoring position. The Nats were able to register a pair of singles, but still couldn't crack the run column on the scoreboard.
|1||Win: Bannister 7-5
Loss: Strasburg 1-2
Save: Soria 17
Home Runs none
Royals Recap from Royals Review
Nationals Recap from Nats Insiderno comments
Earlier this evening, Bloguin migrated to a dedicated server. This post we left behind, as it went up after the migration began. Resurrected for your viewing enjoyment.
Those blessed with much talent also bear the burden of great expectations. It's cliche because it's true. Colorado expects much from the very talented Jhoulys Chacin, and Tuesday night he delivered.
Boston's offense was a question mark entering the year. The club's commitment to pitching and defense prompted various "experts" to decry the team's management as daft. By mid-June the Red Sox led the league in runs per game, which remains the gold standard of offensive achievement.
Chacin made them look foolish in the most hitter friendly ballpark in the majors. One-third of the nine base runners allowed came in the seventh inning as he tired. He walked Adrian Beltre and gave up a ground ball base hit to Daniel Nava sandwiched between strikeouts of Kevin Youkilis and Mike Cameron. Walking Josh Reddick on a full-count put the youngster over 100 pitches.
But Colorado waited for the Red Sox to announce David Ortiz as a pinch hitter before summoning lefty reliever Joe Beimel to the hill. Beimel has held lefty hitters to a .187 batting average against. Ortiz did not elevate that number, grounding out to second baseman Jonathan Herrera to end the threat.
Boston rallied for a run behind Beltre's twentieth double and a run scoring single by Cameron in the ninth. But the tying run was left stranded at first.
|1||Win: Jhoulys Chacin 4-6
Loss: Jon Lester 8-3
Save: Matt Belisle 1
Home Runs none
Red Sox Recap from Fenway West
Rockies Recap from Rockies Reviewno comments