Thursday, May 15, 2008

And That Happened

Indians 2, A's 0: Mercy. I'm sure Jayson Stark or someone will soon be posting some mind-bending statistical breakdown of the Indians' starters' five game scoreless streak, but this is the kind of beauty that should simply be enjoyed rather than analyzed. I've watched most of these games, and the pitchers have all been so locked in it's ridiculous.

White Sox 6, Angels 1: Good news: John Lackey comes back and pitches seven strong innings. Bad news: He gives way to Scot Shields. Single-single-walk-grand slam-over.

Royals 2, Tigers 0: In the past few years we saw a lot of bad starts by the Yankees, only to have them turn it around as the weather grew warm and wind up with 95 wins regardless. The Tigers aren't the Yankees, though, and I don't think it's premature to call their season over.

Yankees 2, Rays 1: New York learns to "play the Rays way." Reports of Mike Mussina's death were greatly exaggerated (6-3, 3.99 ERA).

Nationals 5, Mets 3: When you're locked in a tie game with the worst team in your division and your starter begins to tire, where do you turn? If you're Willie Randolph, you turn to Aaron Heilman: (.1 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, BB, allowed inherited runner to score).

Dodgers 6, Brewers 4: I think the problem here is that Ned Yost didn't ask Guillermo Mota (1 IP, 2 H, 3 ER, BB, blown save) if he was "ready to close." Andruw Jones -- hitting second -- turned in only his second multi-hit game of the season.

Braves 8, Phillies 6: Glavine gets his first win of the season. He's clearly only a five inning starter anymore, however (5.2, 4 H, 4 ER, only 1 hit through 5 innings) so don't expect boatloads more.

Reds 8, Marlins 6 Reds 7, Marlins 6: You'd think that if you're winning 6-0 entering the ninth inning that you're going to win the game easily. Not so with the Reds, whose bullpen coughed up the lead in the final frame in regulation. The big bad expensive Closer Francisco Cordero came in the ninth with the bases loaded and nobody out (thanks Mike Lincoln!) and a 6-1 lead. He promptly allows all of the inherited runners and two of his own to score. One lesson to take away from this is that the Reds may have overpaid for a guy with gaudy save totals but who might not be the true kind of shutdown reliever they were hoping for. I'm sure the lesson the Reds will take away from this, however, is that you shouldn't mess with Cordero's precious Closer chi like that, and he will now only enter games at the start of an inning when the pressure is low.

Cubs 8, Padres 3: You don't see Jake Peavy roughed up like this every day (4 IP, 7 H, 4 ER), but then again, the Cubs have a pretty good lineup.


Ron Rollins said...

The Tigers lost to the Royals with Tony Pena, Jr batting 8th. And they walked him.

The apocalypse may be upon us!!!!

Anonymous said...

Just a little note....
The score in the Reds game was actually 7-6, not 8-6. I'm only pointing this out because last night, I bet Cincinnati to win with a 1.5 run spread, so sadly that one insignificant run meant a world of difference in my life. When I was reading your entry, I thought that maybe I misread the score last night and that I actually won my bet. Unfortunately that was not the case, haha....

Very cruel Shyster...

Craig Calcaterra said...

Jesus, Rose, I thought you were done betting on the Reds!

Sorry, Nick. I wrote that at 5:20 this morning so my eyes, they no-worka so good.

John Lynch said...

Yeah, the Tigers have been bad, but the Central is so tight that they are only five games out of first. I'll eat my fictitious hat if they don't end up ahead of everyone but Cleveland.

As evidence, I note that BPro still gives them a slightly better than 1/4 shot at the division and slightly better than 1/3 shot at the playoffs. The Tigers picked the right year to start slow.

Anonymous said...


Left unremarked was Sabean's claim that the Giants can contend. This year.

When I read the headline I was sure he meant 2010 or something. It's one thing to make bad deals. It's another thing thing to have to live with a team that is less than marginal because of the Barry mess.

But win 1 game with a pitcher not named Cain or Lincecum, please. Then maybe we can talk about contending. In 2010.

ken said...

Craig, that was Cordero's third game in a row and fourth in five days. He's been excellent up to this game, so I'm willing to give him a pass on last night.

Plus, without the blown save Paul Janish wouldn't have had the opportunity to drive in the winning run in his first MLB game.

Mark Runsvold said...

Cordero has already walked 2/3s the number of batters he did all of last year. 2007 was the only year he pitched like an elite closer, and there's no reason to think he'll do anything but go back to walking over 4 batters per 9 like he's done for all the rest of his career. Stupid signing.

Mark Runsvold said...

Aaron Laffey allowed a run against Oakland. It was unearned, though, so crazy dominance continues.

Anonymous said...

Cordero's k/9 record is 9.6, 9.1, 9.2 and 10.0 in 2005-2007; walks are 3.7, 2.7, 4.8 and 2.1. Last year was not out of character for the guy.

And, PECOTA projects 4.1 WARP for 2008. That's pretty solid for a closer, and very necessary for a team with the worst bullpen in baseball last year. Plus, it's not like the reds farm system has produced anyone that can fill the closer role.

Although I too lean towards the sabre-view of baseball, I think the most ridiculous sabre viewpoint is that there is no such thing as people who feel more comfortable in certain situations (indeed I think this is an overstatement of the point originally made which is that it is difficult to prove, not that it does not exist). As a lawyer, Craig, I am sure you know other lawyers who are great in a client meeting, terrible in court - or vice versa.

Craig Calcaterra said...

It wasn't my original intent to slam Cordero as such. No, I don't think he's worth the money he's making and I think he's likey to turn into late-vintage Jose Mesa because, let's face it, that's what most closers do.

My point was one of usage. Cordero has pitched pretty well, and yeah, last night was a stink bomb. That happens. The likely response to this, however, will be one in which the Reds will make a point not to bring him in at those tense moments like last night's, and instead give him the relatively cushy job of begining innings with no one on and 2-3 run leads. If they do that -- and if Cordero prefers that because of his comfort zone or whatever -- they're not making the best use of their very expensive resource.

As for that comfort zone, one of the primary reasons closers have gotten so comfortable with exclusively beginning-of-the-ninth inning workloads is because the save statistic is what drives salaries, and in a tough business like the bullpen, you gotta make yours when you can.

But guess what? Cordero has more job security than any reliever I can remember ever having. Four years and $45M+ For that kind of money he should be expected to get out of that comfort zone for a while.

tadthebad said...

Manny Ramirez. Nevermind his ability and performance, the guy has fun regardless of what anyone says about him.

Last night a ball is hit by an Oriole (Millar?) to left and the runner on 1st takes off. Manny goes back and makes a nice bankhanded catch going towards the wall. Manny proceeds to take an additional 2 or 3 steps, leaps up and plants his foot on the wall, slaps hands with a fan wearing a boston jersey, comes down off the wall and throws the ball to the relay man to nail the runner going back to first. I laughed my ass off...only Manny...and they doubled up the runner! God I love baseball.

Manny being Manny; giving AL managers gray hair since 1993.

Anonymous said...

Cordero's deal is a 4 year deal worth about 11 million per year. His projected WARP over that time is 4, 3, 2.5 and 2. We can agree that it is an over payment by the Reds - and at some point, unless he switches his name to Mariano, he will implode - although the Mesa reference may be a little off because Mesa was a serviceable reliever until injuries and, um, other things derailed his carrer. And, upon return he was about 2 wins better than replacement when he was 40.

I think the Reds will still use the guy when necessary in save situations whether or not those come up in the middle of the 9th inning. That will include 2-3run leads in the 9th, but will also include 1 run games in the 9th and situations where the bullpen blows a lead in the 9th and a save situation occurs - because that's the conventional wisdom. Not that I agree with the conventional wisdom.