Monday, June 9, 2008

And That Happened

Yankees 6, Royals 3: Nerves settled, Joba pitches much better this time out. Of course, having the Royals in the batter's box does have a calming effect. And while I realize that Chamberlain's workloads have been painstakingly calculated by the world's foremost musculoskeletal experts, Deep Blue, and a Papal conclave, would it have killed Girardi to let Joba get the last two outs in the fifth to pick up the win? Instead the W awkwardly goes to Dan Giese -- his first win by the way -- after a 2.3 inning bridge job to the rest of the bullpen. No matter what they say to the press, Joba is probably let down that his first good start didn't lead to his first win as a starter, and Giese probably feels embarrassed that his first big league win had training wheels on it.

Blue Jays 5, Orioles 4: Of course, if Chamberlain was on the money like Roy Halladay usually is (7.2, 100 pitches even, seven strikeouts, no walks, the win) he could go deeper into games.

Marlins 9, Reds 2: Dan Tucker makes his Major League debut. From the game story:
After learning of his promotion Friday night, Tucker said he spent Saturday trying to corral his nerves and listening to his minor league teammates warning him about pitching to Griffey."They were saying, 'Don't give it up, don't give it up,' " Tucker said. "I just tried to let that go. As awesome as it would have been for him to get No. 600, I didn't want to be the one to give it up.
Tucker obviously misunderstood. They weren't warning him about giving up an historic home run. They were warning him about giving up a home run, no matter what number it was, to a guy who has no business batting third in a Major League lineup.

Tigers 5, Indians 2: Detroit wins the rubber match in this crucial early June series, leaving the Tribe a mere 1.5 games ahead of the Tigers! How exciting would that sentence have been if the they weren't fighting it out for third place?

Phillies 6, Braves 3: Ryan Howard gets the press here (3-5, 3 2B, 4 RBI), but the win may be more the doing of Bobby Cox's insistence on shredding Blaine Boyer's arm. Before this season, Boyer had never pitched in more than 43 games in a season. Yesterday's implosion (0.1 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, BB) was his 34th already. We saw this last year too, when Cox leaned heavily on Soriano, Gonzales and Yates. Yates survived 2007 and is pitching more or less decently this year for Pittsburgh, but he definitely ran out of gas as the weather got hot last year. Soriano and Gonzales have both seen extended time on the DL. Blaine Boyer? Here are the hotel listings for Birmingham, Alabama. You may need them when you go visit these guys. By the way, how many gabillions of dollars do you suppose James Andrews gets from Major League Baseball? A lot, I'm sure, which makes me wonder why they have such a low-rent website.

Red Sox 2, Mariners 1: J.D. Drew is 14 for his last 27 with four homers and 10 RBIs. Vertigo appears to agree with him.

Giants 6, Nats 3: Barry Zito, happy to see an offense more hapless than his own, walks away with the victory. Speaking of the Giants' offense, they are still third to last in runs per game in the NL and that's all that really matters, but did you know that they are in the top half of the league (7 out of 16 entering play yesterday) in batting average? That says worse things about batting average than it does good things about the Giants, but I bet you wouldn't have guessed that.

White Sox 12, Twins 2: Given the week his team -- specifically his hitters -- have had post-ranting and raving, expect a rash of "crazy, like a fox!" stories about Ozzie Guillen in the coming days.

Pirates 6, Diamondbacks 4: A long game on a hot, humid day that, according to the Arizona Republic "felt interminable at times." But, hey, the Dbacks won the previous two, so they get to take off after a loss on a Sunday afternoon feeling good about the series win, freshen up in the new hotel, get the usual Monday off, and start with a clean slate against the Mets on Tuesday. Oh, wait, they don't, because this is yet the latest of those four game wraparound series that seem ubiquitous this year. So instead of that cleansing Sunday evening routine, they get a long afternoon and night in Pittsburgh, followed by an early wake up call and then another hot day game tomorrow. Are these new, or was I just not noticing them before I started recapping all the games this year?

A's 7, Angels 3: Mark Ellis is such a showoff. The bases were loaded with two out in a tie game in the bottom of the 12th. All he really needed to do was to walk or hit a single, but he goes and hits a home run. Such a stunning example of inefficiency by the A's second baseman.

Cardinals 5, Astros 4: I just feel like I need to mention this once a month or so, but Kyle Lohse was available to anyone who wanted him for about $4M three-quarters of the way through spring training. He's 7-2 with a 3.92 ERA. At the moment I'm struggling to think of a team that couldn't use that about now.

Rangers 6, Rays 3: Matt Garza and Dioner Navarro get to shoving in the dugout after the fourth inning. Manager Joe Maddon says "It was nothing, in-house kind of stuff, things that happen on occasion and we took care of it." That may be true regarding the shoving (note how most everyone has already moved on from Manny and Youkilis the other day). But the on-the-mound jawing that preceded the fight? To me that's uglier than the actual scuffle. It's one thing to lose your cool in the theoretical privacy of the dugout following a bad inning. That could be about anything. Maybe someone calls someone a jackass or something random and isolated. But fighting like that on the mound? That can only be about baseball, and it's indicative of a team that has some potentially deeper issues. If I had to bet, though, I'd say it was Garza's fault and had to do with pitch selection, because he's had issues with that sort of thing in the past.

Brewers 3, Rockies 2: Prince Fielder has started June hot: .300/.417/.650, and goes 2-4 against the Rockies. 6.5 games is still a lot to make up -- the frickin' Giants are only 6 back in their division -- but things are looking up for Milwaukee lately.

Padres 8, Mets 6: Has to suck to be Billy Wagner right now. I mean, if there was ever a day when you would just want to shower, dress, and get the hell out the back door, it would be a day when you give up the game winning home run to a guy like Tony Clark. Except after that blowup a couple of weeks ago, he has no choice but to hang around and take whatever the press throws at him. Scanning the box score I noticed that the Padres have a pitcher named C. Guevara. I hope he turns out to be good, because the marketing opportunities would be fantastic.

Cubs 3, Dodgers 1: With Smoltz out for the year and Atlanta sinking 6.5 games back of the Phillies, it's been a pretty bad week or two for Braves fans. Then we look at a box score that shows the best damn team in baseball being led to victory by Mark DeRosa (3-5, HR, 2 RBI) and Jason Marquis (6.1 IP, 3 H, 0 ER) and we just want to cry. The only thing that would make things worse right now would be for Mike Hampton to be DFA'd, get signed by the Marlins, and go on a 12-2, 1.74 ERA run, supported by a Wes Helms run at the triple crown, of course.


Mark Runsvold said...

That really gives a different meaning to "hasta la victoria siempre." Now, doesn't it?

P.S. I've started posting a lot more to my blog, Craig, so if you'd be interested...

Chris H. said...

Well if you guys want Marquis back, you're welcome to him.

Remember, Dodger Stadium can make a lot of weak pitchers look very good (see Park, Chan Ho; Dreifort, Darren; et al).

themarksmith said...

I agree with Chris. Marquis really isn't any good. And if Hampton does do that, the world is coming to an abrupt end.

Also, Zito's victims: Pedro in his first start back and Garrett Mock (who?).

Also, Tony Clark isn't that bad. Just not that good either.

Peter said...

I turned on Sportscenter the other night for the first time in ages, was greeted an opening line like:

"Well, Ozzie Guillen's rant worked!"

...and didn't even make it to the first highlight.

Everyone writes stories when these rants "work", but I'd like to see some stories on the effectiveness of Jim Leyland's (approximately) 134 rants so far this season.

themarksmith said...

Leyland's don't work because all of the players are signed for the next bajillion years, so they don't care about winning at the moment because they have their money.

Anonymous said...


Too bad Ellis didn't get the shaving cream pie in the post game interview. Billy has maybe gone too far in cleansing the team of it's "fun" elements.

BBTN showed the Navarro/Garza dispute: Garza shook off Navarro twice. 430 feet later, Navarro, who you have to like, was in Garza's face. The BBTN veterans were aghast that Navarro confronted Garza on the mound, but if the kid pitcher has attitude, you want to address it right there. They had major problems with bad actors last year, and I heard while I was down there that some of their players are adamant that those problems will not reappear in Tampa.

Cobweb said...

Regarding the Giants, batting average, and runs
scored...while I agree that Batting Average IS
overrated greatly, you made some assumptions about the Giants production this year that I want to point out. In April, they were 12th in AVG. and 14th in Runs Scored. In May there were 7th in AVG. and 11th in Runs Scored. In June they are 1st in AVG. and 2nd in Runs Scored. So while clearly AVG does not equal's not as black and white as you made it sound. As their AVG. has increased so has their run the point that this month they're 2nd in Runs Scored while 1st in AVG.! So the
fact that they are 3rd to last in runs scored while
7th in AVG. says more about how horrible the month of April was than anything else.

Daniel said...

You know Mark Ellis would have hit an efficient solo homerun if the A's didn't have so many darn basecloggers walking and whatnot.

The Red Sox are frustrating to watch because they can take pitches and take pitches and foul off pitches and then when the pitcher finally gets frustrated and grooves one, Manny, Youkilis, Lowell or someone else will drill the pitch and clear the bases.

The A's are just boring. I think they struck out looking like 15 times in the three game series (not an exaggeration, but I'm not sure of the exact number). They certainly walk a lot, which is good and all, but they have no one who can drive those guys in consistently. Don't get me wrong, I wish the Angels would be a little more patient sometimes, but the A's are very susceptible to pitchers who know how to work the strike zone. Cust is really the only "scary" hitter in the lineup, and he spends most of his time powering all the computers in the Silicon Valley with his windmill-esque swings and misses.

Erock said...

"They were warning him about giving up a home run, no matter what number it was, to a guy who has no business batting third in a Major League lineup."

Amen, why are people pitching around him? Everytime I see someone challenge Griffey, he whiffs. Who would you rather pitch too, Griffey, Jay Bruce or Adam Dunn?

Drew said...

Cobweb -

Batting average isn't completely irrelevant, and it certainly correlates to run scoring to some degree. The thing is, there are other metrics which show a higher correlation to run scoring than batting average, so it tends to make sense to look at those. Batting average has some flaws (completely ignores walks, considers a single just as good as a home run) and there are other metrics which make up for those which are just as available as batting average. I think Craig's point is that the correlation between batting average and runs scored can be pretty weak, and while this may be a fairly extreme example of that, I think it's a point worth making to the hardcore few who cling to batting average as the only offensive metric they need.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Shyst, yesterday was not the rubber match for Indians-Tigers.

Its a wraparound concluding tonight.

Jake said...

yeah, I was gonna mention ^^that^^ too.

And as far as I know, the WA series aren't completely new, but much, much more common this year than in years past.

It's all because MLB outsourced the schedule-making to a new company this year, I believe.

cobweb said...

Yeah, I'm totally on board with the progressive ways to better analyze the game. I was just trying to point out that the particular situation Craig brought up was a little skewed.