Wednesday, June 18, 2008

And That Happened

Yankees 8, Padres 0: New York is playing its best baseball of the season. Lots of big flies and shutouts the last two games have allowed them to ease into striking distance of Tampa Bay. Another week or two of this sort of stuff and the second half of 2008 will look much like the second half of every damn year: slugging it out with the Sox to see who gets more extreme closeups on Fox broadcasts this October. I'm hoping for Boston, not because I like them more, but because I don't think the V-chip in my HD TV can withstand tight shots of Giambi's mustache.

Angels 6, Mets 1: In yet another classless move, Omar Minaya waits until 2:27 AM to order some baked chicken from room service, knowing full well that the hotel kitchen went to sandwiches-only after 2.

Dodgers 3, Reds 1: Jay Bruce is 7-38 with one homer and two RBI in his last ten games. Alas, he is mortal.

Red Sox 3, Phillies 0: How you shut anyone out in that bandbox is beyond me, but Lester, Okajima, and Papelbon managed to do it. Meanwhile, everyone's MVP Chase Utley goes 0-4 and dips below .300.

Twins 2, Nats 1: You notice how everyone wants to talk about whether the White Sox can hold off Detroit and/or Cleveland, yet no one ever mentions the Twins? I mean, they are in second place. No, I don't think they'll hang around or win the division, but we probably should at least mention them for the sake of politeness, no?

A's 15, Diamondbacks 1: I call games like these "Pythagoras Specials." The A's are now 6-1 in the desert. With Fremont proving problematic, they should move to Las Cruces or Needles or something.

Brewers 7, Blue Jays 0: If anyone, including even the most ardent fan of three-true-outcomes players, says they predicted a .309/.409/.818, 8 HR line from Russell Branyan through his first 18 games, well, they're lying.

Orioles 6, Astros 5: Watch me brazenly quote more than five words from an AP story: "Tejada was greeted by a mixture of jeers and applause before each at-bat." Why do you boo Tejada in Baltimore? He didn't snub the team, he was traded. Yeah, he's an alleged steroid case, but so is almost everyone who played for that team since Sam Horn was the DH.

Royals 2, Cardinals 1: Kyle Davies wows 'em (7 IP, 5 H, 1 ER). In fact, he's given up a single earned run in each of his five starts. It's smoke and mirrors, though. Why do I say this? Because he's struck out 12 and walked 12 in 24.1 innings, which are actually worse ratios than he's posted in just over 300 innings of 73 ERA+ pitching over the course of his career.

Rays 3, Cubs 2: Kazmir gives up only one run and strikes out seven in 4.2, but couldn't get a W because it took him 110 pitches to get even that far. Cliff Floyd hits a homer and is at .274/.365/.524 on the season. In light of that, why would the Rays be even rumored to want Griffey and his sub-.400 SLG?

Mariners 5, Marlins 4: King Felix was re-dic-a-las, striking out seven of eight in one stretch, including striking out the side on nine pitches in the fourth.

Rangers 7, Braves 5: The Braves can theoretically win without Smoltz and Glavine, but to do so, they need Tim Hudson to be an ace. He wasn't last night, giving up six runs in 4.1. It didn't help that the Braves 1-4 hitters went 0-13.

Rockies 10, Indians 2: Jeff Baker hit an inside-the-park home run for Colorado, which says more about the big outfield in Coors than it says about his wheels.

Tigers 5, Giants 1: I want to hold off for as long as I can on giving in to the "the Tigers are frisky" meme, but I won't be able to if they keep winning. Earned runs allowed in Kenny Rogers' last five starts: 0-2-1-0-1, all of which lasted more than seven innings.

White Sox 16, Pirates 5: Ian Snell isn't doing much to combat that whole "AL is superior to the NL" thing: "They didn't swing at any bad pitches at all," Snell said. "It's not the same as the National League where you get your curveball over the plate just a little bit and they swing."


Levi Stahl said...

Well, to be fair, Snell has had a lot of time to watch the hitters on his own team.

Jay said...

Craig, your comment about Lester's shutout in Citizens Bank Park made me think... Although hitter's parks have smaller dimensions and therefore give up more home runs, wouldn't the smaller playing surface actually favor pitchers and their defense because it gives the ball less time to roll around and in turn less time for the runners to round the bases? Perhaps the difference is negligible, but I would think it might balance out the hitter's advantage slightly. Your thoughts?

Crawdaddy said...

I like Tejada, but a lot of people were irritated when he was going through his fickle trade demands a couple years back. Baltimore fans take slights against the team and city somewhat personally, but I imagine that is true for most fans. I also imagine there is some underlying causes as well. I mean, Huff isn't getting hammered. At least, I don't think he is.

mahnu.uterna said...

Geez, so much for the leagues evening out...

Jason said...

Anyone else a wee bit concerned about Webb? Two stinkers recently. Quiet reports of a dead-arm. Hit on the hip by a comebacker.

rufuswashere said...

It's totally fine that most of the non-Yankee fans don't want them to win, but when do we get to the point that non-Yankee fans stop rooting for Boston? After they've won another couple of titles? I realize your comment was in jest, but jeeze ...

Dre said...

Big concern about Webb... definitely a dead arm issue and he's not getting nearly the same movement as he's accustomed to. His velocity is also down 2-3 MPH.

Check this for more:

Was written 6/15

themarksmith said...

Think the Braves would like a do-over on the Davies-Dotel trade?

Craig Calcaterra said...

Jay -- I have no clue if smaller parks = more defensive chances. The extra rattling-around room probably has an effect on doubles and triples, but my guess is that park size still has an outsized negative effect on pitchers. Home runs are simply more common, foul territory (and thus foul outs) is simply more scarce.

No idea if anyone has broken down the exact way in which smaller parks effect these things. And actually, it may be hard to quantify because so many teams have bogus distances posted on their outfield walls. Some parks, I think, are even smaller than the stated distances.

themarksmith: no way. I think Davies is an illusion right now. He doesn't strike out enough guys and walks too many.

Dre said...

re: Davies

Similarly as noted on Masterson yesterday... he's been extremely lucky so far this year.

FIP is 3.48, 2.02 higher than his ERA. BABIP is pretty much in line, a bit low at .286, but his LOB rate is 88.6% which is high.

He has pitched pretty well but due for an obvious regression.

themarksmith said...

His career K/9 is almost 2 K/9 over what it is now, and his walk rate isn't any different. Isn't it safe to say he'll even his K/9 back out? Granted, his career ERA is 4.50 higher than this season, but at his age, isn't it safer to say he'll get better than get worse? His BABIP is .295, which is typical. I don't think he's that good either, but at one point, scouts thought he could be a No.1. Is he starting to get it? I guess time will tell.

Also, the Braves got a total of 7.1 IP out of Dotel.

themarksmith said...

I'll take a 3.48 ERA. I'm not a huge Davies fan, but I think the Braves could use the young pitching.

Anonymous said...


It was pretty obvious Brandon Webb isn't himself. When Mark Ellis and K Suzuki combine for 3 HR's, it's time to call the head trainer.

But the 13-1 rout of the NL by the AL last night, and Snell's attendant comments regarding AL hitter discipline, were also a factor in Webb's game last night. The A's simply would not swing at anything Webb threw out of the zone. I didn't see the Yankee or Red Sox games, but I have a feeling the same was true there as well.

A better test for the beloved A's will come tonight as Haren takes the mound for the D'backs. While it's fun to watch the A's score 15 times, the truth is that they are a slightly above .500 team, and when they face good pitching their offense can disappear entirely.

scatterbrian said...

Pythagoras Specials...awesome.

It's games like these that really can skew the Pythag records. For whatever reason the punchless A's have put up double digits eight times already this season, but are they really the second-best team in the AL, as their run differential suggests?

Grant said...

I was sad to hear that some O's fans booed Tejada.

I mean, he's basically in the same spot we are. He was brought in and told it would be a new day, that the O's would contend, etc. So were fans. We were pretty dumb to believe it, in retrospect (when he signed I was just finishing high school and had yet to make the transition from die-hard fan who mostly just watched the games and believed what the Sun writers told him and hyper-aware hyper-fan who reads 10 sports blogs a day), but we all did.

Tejada just managed to get out, while the rest of us are stuck with the O's for life. He doesn't deserve to be booed.