Thursday, September 18, 2008

And That Happened

Rays 10, Red Sox 3: These last two Rays-Sox series have been like Ali-Foreman. Boston lands a hard punch, tires, and then Tampa Bay batters, befuddles, and exhausts the Sox with their counter punching over the next two games. We've all expected Tampa Bay to eventually juke when they should have jived and find themselves on the canvass courtesy of a mighty Red Sox blow, but here they are, shuffling in the ring having taken four of the last six from a Boston team who sits in the corner getting that white goop applied to the big knot above its left eye.

Brewers 6, Cubs 2:
The good news: Milwaukee gets a much-needed win. The bad news: they lose Ben Sheets after two innings to tightness in the forearm of his pitching hand. Folks have visited Dr. Andrews for less.

Rockies 1, Padres 0
: Livan Hernandez and four other Rockies' pitchers combine to shut out the Padres. After the game, Livan had this to say about his stint in Colorado: "I don't have to show my ability to nobody," he said. "The last start I didn't pitch that bad. The only bad games I've had are the first two games." How true. Sure, he got slaughtered in his first two post-trade starts (15 R in 8.2 innings), but he felt fantastic when he gave up six runs on eight hits in just over three innings, so that totally doesn't count as bad. And I suppose the four runs in five innings he gave up on September 2nd can technically qualify as "good" inasmuch as his ERA went down after that start (from 15.32 to 11.09). So really, Livan has basically been all aces since he came over and everyone should get off his case.

Reds 3, Cardinals 0: A six-hit shutout for Aaron Harang sends the Cards to their seventh straight loss. They had a nine-game losing streak at essentially the same time last season (September 7-15th). Maybe Browning was right: Autumn wins you best by this its mute appeal to sympathy for its decay.

Pirates 15, Dodgers 8: I suppose you can't win 'em all, but if you are going to lose one once in a while, you'd think you'd try to make it look less ugly than this one did for L.A. A huge inning, some awful defense, and a Nomar injury added to the ambiance.

Yankees 5, White Sox 1: Hey, a Phil Hughes sighting! He hasn't been too busy this year, of course, what with the fifteen posts he's written at his two blogs since opening day. That kind of hectic schedule can take a lot out of a guy.

Blue Jays 8, Orioles 7: Small sample size disclaimer and everything, but it's worth noting that 20 year-old Travis Snider is .341/.383/.568 in the first 45-50 at bats of his major league career. He was drafted in the same 2006 draft as Joba Chamberlain, Tim Lincecum, and Evan Longoria. That was a pretty sweet class, huh?

Tigers 16, Rangers 4: Miguel Cabrera saved his best two months for August and September. Too bad Detroit was long out of it by then.

Mets 9, Nationals 7: The win is nice, but coming as it does on the same night as a Brewers and a Phillies win, it provides zero stress-relief for Mets' fans.

Phillies 6, Braves 1: The AJC's Dave O'Brien thinks that Ned Yost will end up back in Atlanta next season, installed as Bobby Cox's heir apparent. I could see that happening. And despite all that has been said and written about Yost in the past couple of days, I could think of worse things to do to a young, rebuilding Braves team than to put Ned in charge one day.

Marlins 14, Astros 2: Four straight losses for the Astros after such a hot streak answers the age-old question of what happens when a buzz saw meets a hurricane.

Indians 6, Twins 4: Minnesota is the first team to smack Cliff Lee around since Detroit did back at the end of July, but like the Tigers, they couldn't hang a loss on him.

A's 3, Angels 2: Hey, lay off K-Rod for making a big throwing error and blowing this save. He has the record already. What more do you people want?

Dimondbacks 7, Giants 6: Despite his bullpen's best effort to prevent it from happening, Brandon Webb wins his 21st game. For the Giants, Jonathan Sanchez blew a 3-0 first-inning lead. Quote from Sanchez after the game: "That's big," Sanchez acknowledged. "I wanted to beat Webb to make it easier for Timmy." So it's official: the Giants are only playing now to deliver an individual award to one of their players. Giants Fans OK with this?

Royals 5, Mariners 2: Kansas City couldn't touch Clark, Andersen, or Vande Berg, but they lit up Beattie, and that was enough to carry the day.


Tracy said...

"Maybe Browning was right: “Autumn wins you best by this its mute appeal to sympathy for its decay.”"

That Tom was quite a guy - pitcher and poet.

mooseinohio said...

Nie analogy with Ali-Foreman to the Rays/Sox series. However the Red Sox seem to be a better fit for the part of the aging/past champion that fends of the younger/stronger new dog (i.e. Rays) - so I'll give you an A for effort but a C execution.

Craig Calcaterra said...

I think you're right, Moose, but I'm having a hard time thinking of an appropriate analogy. You can't go Ali-Liston, because that's way too big an insult to the Red Sox. Larry Holmes is slightly better, but the connotations of a washed up fighter really don't fit for me. The Red Sox aren't done or over. They're just getting beat by someone better when everyone expected it to eventually go the other way.

Any ideas?

Jason @ IIATMS said...

Rocky beating Apollo?

Jason @ IIATMS said...

other thought: if a pitcher makes an error, why should, if it leads to a run, be unearned. I can see it if another player had an error but if the pitcher did it, shouldn't it be earned?

I'll shut up now.

Statistics Born said...

This Giants fan says yes, of course.

Craig Calcaterra said...

Jason: You're probably right about Rocky/Apollo. I think I have a mental block with such analogies however, because to go there is to walk in Bill Simmons' shoes, and though I'm not a Simmons hater, I try to avoid that whenever possible.

I also agree on the pitcher-error thing. Taking it further, I don't think that just because a fielder makes an error that the pitcher shouldn't be charged with earned runs. If a bobble puts a runner on with two out and then the pitcher gives up two walks and a homer, is it really fair to say that the pitcher isn't responsible for those runs?

Jason @ IIATMS said...

Simmons would liken it to a 90210 episode. I've only got 2 degrees of separation from Simmons (an old buddy worked with him on Kimmel's show) so I don't like to bash too much. He's made a sh*tload of loot mining those references and hyping Boston. Good for him.

anyways, I think the Unearned vs. Earned discussion has merit. It should be a scorer's decision to determine if the runs allowed were truly "earned" or not. but that's a discussion for another time.

mooseinohio said...

Spinks-Ali may be a better analogy for now as the young up and comer defeats that veteran champ. Of course that means the Sox win the title back shortly thereafter, say next year, and the Rays fall into obscurity, which I think is doubtful but one never knows.

As for the pitcher error issues I think that any action taken (i.e. booting a bunted ball or making an errant throw) by the pitcher that results in runs being scored should be considered earned runs as they had control over the circumstance.

Drew said...

There's a reason that Run Average is a substantially better predictor of pitcher performance than Earned Run Average, and that reason is that pitchers generally share some of the blame for even "unearned runs" and they're often just really lucky that they aren't "charged" for them.

tHeMARksMiTh said...

Wait, Tim Hudson only had forearm trouble and when he went to see Dr. Andrews ... oh, I see your point.