Archive for the ‘mailing it in’ Category

Um…

June 6, 2009

I have nothing at all to say today. It happens sometimes.

So Zack Greinke is human, huh? Weird.

He gave up a home run in the second inning last night, the first he had allowed in 112 1/3 innings. Then he gave up another one three innings later.

The interesting thing is that even before last night, hitters were putting the ball in the air off of Greinke at almost exactly the same percentage as they did last year (38.3% to 36.9%), and last year Greinke gave up 21 HR. Greinke isn’t an extreme ground-ball pitcher, and he’ll keep giving up HR. But his strikeouts are up and walks are down from 2008, and the important thing (that is, the difference between becoming a very good pitcher and a righty Johan) will be to keep those trends going. If you’re striking out 10 and walking 1 per nine, you can deal with the ball leaving the yard now and then.

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Loose Ends

May 29, 2009

Just a few comments following up on some recent posts:

  • Remember last week when I wrote the piece about Andy Sonnanstine being forced to hit for himself and I wondered why it was okay for Longoria to be brought in to play 3B later in the game despite having been on the lineup card when the game started? Well, turns out it wasn’t. Umpiring fail.
  • This blog may be cursed. I profiled the four surprisingly hot teams after the first couple weeks of the season, and they almost all immediately (if predictably) went into the tank. I wrote about how all of them but the Mariners had been struggling since then, and one of them, the Padres, immediately got crazy hot again, while the M’s tanked. I wrote about the upstart Jays in the same post, and then they tanked. And now, since my post about Joe Mauer’s incredible first 100 PA on Tuesday morning, he’s gone 1-for-10, the 1 being just a single, with two walks and three strikeouts. Not a whole lot to go on, I know, but I’m hoping that my mentioning it again just nips that one in the bud straight away, since it seems to work both ways.
  • Just in case the curse is real: boy, that Steve Phillips seems to be doing well for himself these days, doesn’t he?
  • If you don’t make a habit of looking at the comments: commenter abywaters explained the Bill James/Jeff Bagwell “Pass.” mystery, at least to my satisfaction, in the comments to the Bagwell/Thomas post. Several other interesting comments down there, too.
  • Speaking of, I opened the same BagPipes v. Big Hurt discussion on a message board at Imagine Sports’ Diamond Mind Online game (a fantastically addictive and highly recommended game if you’re a hopeless baseball history nerd like me), and there were a lot of interesting insights, but the one thing that came out of it that I really wished I had noticed before I posted the other day was this:

    Thomas on the road, career:
    .297/.414/.511, .925 OPS
    Bagwell on the road, career: .291/.398/.521, .919 OPS

    Wow. I mean, Thomas is still the better hitter, since I’d rather have the 16 points of OBP than the 10 (or even 16) points of SLG, and you never know about the difference in competition or whatever, but wow! Incidentally, despite playing most of his home games in the cavernous Astrodome, Bagwell was much better than that at home…just not nearly as much better as Thomas was at his home.
    A couple of the guys at IS made some interesting points in Thomas’ favor, but all in all, since the post went up on Wednesday morning, I’ve become more and more comfortable with my conclusion that Bagwell was the better player.

  • The Common Man had a much more thorough Memorial Day post than the one I could muster, and, I thought, a great one. But I just want to stress again that everybody needs to be familiar with the story of Lou Brissie.
  • More confirmation that (a) David Eckstein has made a deal with the Devil and/or (b) Kevin Towers has lost his freaking mind: “As great a year as Adrian and Heath have had, I think Eckstein might be our MVP.” Sigh.
  • Finally, not actually related to a prior post on here, but friend of the blog Jason from IIATMS has started a new blog, Vote for Manny, at which he encourages people to, um, vote for Manny. Sounds crazy, but read his explanation at the site (posted on Wednesday). Intriguing stuff, at the very least. And now just like that, he’s all famous and stuff. I honestly don’t know how I feel about the idea, and for different reasons than most people would probably expect — I did vote for Manny once already, though, just for being undecided — but Jason’s initiative is pretty impressive.

"Maybe it’s a tumor." "IT’S NAHT A TOOOMAH!!!"

May 21, 2009

So.

Wednesday afternoon, and it’s the weirdest thing: the entire T-D-S editorial staff comes down with an illness that is either (a) a really bad, late-season flu or (b) Intermittent Dysmorphic Attachment Dysfunction with Smelly Feet (IDADWSF). It’s bad, whatever it is.

So the planned epic response to the very thoughtful post from tHeMARksMiTh that I mentioned yesterday (the draft in my head is tentatively titled “IN DEFENSE OF COMPASSIONATE (ButStaunchAndUnwavering) SABERMETRICISM”) will be on hold for at least one more day. Instead, I’ll just say this:

Craig Breslow, we hardly knew ye.

I know, he was horrible for 14 or so innings this season. But he was great for 40 or so innings last season. And he went to Yale. (No, I don’t know what that has to do with it.) And he figures to be better, right now, than 25 year-old AA pitcher and marginal prospect Anthony Swarzak. Whatever the solution to the Twins’ bullpen woes was, dropping one of the few relievers who was likely to improve (unlike, say, Luis Ayala) wasn’t part of that solution.

For more, refer to ubelmann.

*COUGH* *WHEEZE*
/ staggers off to bed

Links of the Week or So and Notes

May 20, 2009

Work dictates a quick one today, a few notes (some of them very old, but interesting…at least to me):

  • Something is seriously wrong with Scott Baker. I mean, his numbers aren’t good, but he’s not just a little tweak away. He’s not even close. You notice these things when you’re stuck watching the White Sox feed of the game, but can’t stand to listen to The Hawk, so you put the Twins’ radio broadcast on, which is just a second or two ahead of your TV. When on just about every other pitch you watch Redmond set up high and away at the exact same time as you’re hearing Dazzle Dan say “…and that’s down and in,” it really drives home how far off Baker is right now.
  • A while back I wrote about the Yankees putting Chien-Ming Wang on the DL with what looked to me like a pretty obviously made-up injury. Craig pointed out about a week ago now that Dontrelle Willis basically admitted his was made up, and Craig has a lot of the same questions I did. Some unintentionally comedic comments below, too.
  • Speaking of Wang, he says he’s ready and is expected to rejoin the rotation soon. He’s looked pretty good in AAA, too. Of course, given his 34.50 ERA to start the year, he could go on a Zack Greinke-like 38-inning scoreless streak and his ERA would still sit at 4.70, almost exactly league average. I have a feeling he’s going to struggle again, but maybe that’s just wishful thinking. And he could hardly help but be better than he was.
  • A few more things I left off yesterday’s post on the 2005 prospect lists that I found interesting, all about the Baseball America Top 100 this time: Ian Kinsler was #98 on BA’s list, 77 places below BP’s. Russell Martin was #89. Only four second basemen made the list (Kinsler and Aaron Hill were shortstops back then): the ill-fated Rickie Weeks (8), the even iller-fated Josh Barfield (45), the “meh” Chris Burke (60), and the then 30 year old Tadahito Iguchi (96) all had considerably brighter futures than ROY-MVP Dustin Pedroia.

Joe Mauer Day

May 2, 2009

I got nothin’ today. Or rather, no energy left to come up with somethin’. As I type this, Randy Johnson has been perfect through 3 1/3, having struck out the first five batters he faced (and none of the next four). He’s too old for that sort of thing.


Mauer certainly didn’t disappoint tonight. In his first time up, he took two balls before smacking a home run to the opposite field. Next time up, he took two strikes before lacing a double down the left-field line, later scoring. Next time up, he took three balls and a strike, then a fourth ball, scoring on Morneau’s home run. So, having seen 11 pitches and swung the bat only twice, he’d already been on base and scored three times. Two swings, three runs. Next time up he fouled oen off and grounded into a double play, but still. If you’re a Twins fan, today was like Opening Day #2.

Back tomorrow with something for real.

Links of the Week or so

May 1, 2009

I didn’t have much more time than I expected today, so here are some links to things I’ve found interesting over the last several days.

  • My old friend The Common Man takes me to task for my faint praise of Michael Cuddyer on Tuesday. If things go well here, I’m looking forward to much more of my mindless blather being hyper-analyzed by people more intelligent than I.

  • Much newer friend Lar takes us back to Orel Hershiser and his glorious 59 in 1988. I remember that streak, and Canseco’s 40/40 the same year, as the first baseball things I noticed that weren’t the Twins or the World Series…though the accuracy of that remembrance is extraordinarily questionable.
  • Dave Cameron is one of my favorite baseball writers, and I think I’ve already linked to his stuff twice. This week, he drew some…interesting conclusions about the first 35 PA of Andruw Jones’ season, and then responded to some criticism over that with some very broad statements about the usefulness of small samples. You can see what I think about all that in the comments to both articles, if you’re interested; otherwise, I leave you to draw your own conclusions.
  • In Cameron’s very interesting piece about Chris Young’s complete inability to hold runners, he concludes, “Quite simply, Young is worse at holding runners than anyone else in baseball is at any other skill.” Probably right. I was thinking about possible competition for that title, and all I could come up with was pitcher Daniel Cabrera’s hitting.
  • Jonah Keri wrote a very good column for SI that, inter alia, defends David Wright from jumpy Mets fans, and yesterday responded to an email from just such a fan on his excellent blog. Keri has noticed something I have too, which is that fans go to insane lengths to find fault with their team’s best player, especially when he’s the soft-spoken sort. I’ll write a thing about that someday.
  • Shyster does a number on that ridiculous forthcoming A-Rod book and the ridiculous person who wrote it.
  • Zack at MLB Notebook interviews Jason from IIATMS, Mark from Way Back and Gone, and many similarly excellent folk in chronicling The Life and Times of a Baseball Blogger. There is a nonzero chance that, had that post cropped up three short weeks earlier, you wouldn’t be reading this right now…

  • Non-baseball Division: For as long as there have been juries, there have been people who have tried to get out of jury duty (or so I assume). If you’re looking to get out of jury duty, don’t take your cues from this guy.
  • From the Archives Division: I firmly believe that Joe Posnanski is the best currently active sportswriter on the planet, and I recommend everything he writes. But I also believe that the Snuggie is the most fascinating and bewildering thing in our modern world, and I can’t recommend anything Joe has written more than his blow-by-blow dissection of its amazing commercial.
  • Topical Comedy Division: The only thing funnier to me than Snuggies is everyone’s severe overreaction to swine flu, and the only thing funnier than that is Colbert’s riff on everyone’s severe overreaction to swine flu:
    The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
    Enemy Swine: A Pigcalypse Now
    colbertnation.com
    Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor First 100 Days
  • Happy Joe Mauer Day!!!