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Tag: "baseball"

Putting the Best Face…

[ 3 ] July 25, 2010 |

At most ballparks the staff find creative ways to make crappy players look good; “Dan Wilson is hitting .307 in 16 of his last 24 games,” and so forth. Apparently, the Reds crew thought that they would try to do Wandy Rodriguez a favor, but it didn’t really work out:

Marty Brennaman: Wandy Rodriguez; the overall season numbers don’t look very good, Chris, but he has pitched much better over his last four starts.

Chris Welsh: Well he has, until the last couple starts in which he’s given up eight runs in his last three innings.

For the record, it appears that Rodriguez did have a decent string of four “quality starts”, before giving up five runs in six innings in his last appearance.

“Decent Attempt”?

[ 16 ] July 19, 2010 |

As any Mets or Giants fans among our readership are aware, Phil Cuzzi put on an umpiring display of the kind I haven’t seen since the late Charlie Williams left the game.   Well, actually, it was worse; it sort of combined Williams’ seemingly random strike zone and safe/out calls with Joe West’s even temper.     The culmination was a ludicrously blown call at the plate on what should have been the winning run for the Giants.    What makes it really special is the justification, which takes attempts to justify the de facto “every play is a force play” rule employed by lazy umpires to a whole new level:

Cuzzi said that he had not yet seen the replay. “I’ll look at it, but I figured I’d eat first,” he said, laughing.  “He made a decent attempt to put the tag on him. That’s what it looked to me, and that’s why I called him out.

What is this, a t-ball game?   “Well, OK, the runner was actually all the way across the plate by the time the tag went down, but Henry just tried so hard to rescue that awful throw!   I couldn’t let him down!”   Christ.
And, yes, Cuzzi is the same clown who made that ridiculous foul call in the Twins/Yankess ALDS game last year. I actually think there are good reasons (in terms of flow) to be skeptical about increased replay in baseball, but it would help if there was actually some accountability.   I really have no idea how Cuzzi keeps his job.

Geoff Jenkins Retires

[ 11 ] July 16, 2010 |

Now this is starting to make me feel old:

Former Brewers outfielder Geoff Jenkins will announce his retirement on Friday.

Jenkins has scheduled a press conference before Milwaukee’s game against Pittsburgh to officially end his 11-year career. Jenkins played 10 of his 11 seasons with Milwaukee and made the 2003 NL All-Star team. He won a World Series title his final year with Philadelphia in 2008 and finished his career hitting .275 with 221 homers and 733 RBIs in 1,349 games.

General manager Doug Melvin says they’re honored to let Jenkins retire as a Brewer after being drafted by the club, making his major league debut with the team and ranking among the franchise leaders in most offensive categories.

An entirely respectable career, cemented with a World Series ring. Nice work, Jaffo.


[ 1 ] July 13, 2010 |

The Yankees won eleven pennants and 7 world series championships during George Steinbrenner’s 37 year ownership tenure. That’s certainly more impressive than any other team since 1973, but is somewhat less sterling than the nineteen years of Topping, Webb, and MacPhail ownership, which resulted in fifteen pennants and 10 titles. Of course, that was a different era; no free agency, no amateur draft, eight team leagues, and so forth. I don’t particularly begrudge Steinbrenner any of those titles; he recognized the value of the Yankees and spent heavily to put them in position to win.

Embedding disabled, but still…

This Will End Badly…

[ 5 ] July 10, 2010 |

Kinda exciting. Wish the Reds could score a damn run so he doesn’t have to pitch 13 innings.

…C’mon guys.  1 run.

Sheehan asks whether it made sense to hit Wood in the eighth, given that the Reds are in a race.  First, Dusty has set a bad precedent by batting Mike Leake in crucial situations.  Second… just no.

…This would be a good time to be dramatic, Joey.

…Wood is obviously tiring.  Got hit hard last inning, but lucky.

… Yup.  Still, hell of a performance.  Tip of the cap to Travis Wood.

…They cannot seriously be considering letting him continue.  The last three hitters have crushed him.


[ 5 ] July 9, 2010 |

While pride prevents me from fully withdrawing my critique of Dusty Baker for letting Mike Leake hit last week while Scott Rolen sat on the bench, I will concede that Leake is rather on a hot streak with the bat.

That is all.

….oh, for crying out loud.

When the Evidence Confirms What You Always Kinda Knew…

[ 13 ] July 9, 2010 |

Huh. I guess I always suspected that Tony La Russa was evil:

St. Louis Cardinals Manager Tony La Russa on Tuesday said he’s a “supporter” of Arizona’s immigration law and welcomed local Tea Partiers who were inside the stadium to show Arizona solidarity — even though his team was facing off that night against the Diamondbacks.

La Russa, talking to reporters, addressed the subject because dozens of St. Louis Tea Party members were at Busch Stadium to demonstrate in support of the Arizona law.

The Cardinals manager, who attended Florida State University’s School of Law and is one of only five lawyers ever to manage a Major League Baseball team, said he thinks the Tea Partiers are “correct” on “a lot of things” and welcomed competing points of view into his team’s stadium.

“I’m actually a supporter of what Arizona’s doing. … The national government doesn’t fix your problem, and you’ve got a problem, they’ve got to take care of it themselves,” La Russa said.

Wonder what Albert Pujols thinks…

Let’s Make This Happen…

[ 5 ] July 7, 2010 |

Cliff Lee would sure look pretty in a Reds uniform…

The Great One

[ 22 ] July 6, 2010 |

Really, really good story about Mariano Rivera.

Given the degraded quality of Honus Wagner’s competition, I think the choosing the best closer of all time is easier than any other position, especially if you place appropriate weight on Rivera’s insanely good postseason performance.   (Given the leverage of his typical outing, is he the most valuable postseason performer of all time?   It’s hard to argue with that.)    What’s especially interesting about Rivera is that his immortality — unlike that of Wagner, say, or Ruth or Mantle or Bonds or Pedro or Pujols — doesn’t rest on doing things that only a tiny handful of other players in history could do.    If you were to look at 1998, when Rivera had a slightly subpar (especially in the K/W data) but essentially typical season — the 233 ERA+ actually above his career average, 36 saves about right given that he missed a few games — there were plenty of distinct non-immortals having seasons about as good or better: Urbina, Hoffman, Wetteland, Nen, Jeff Shaw, Michael Jackson fer Chrissakes.  And then there were more pitchers — Beck, Wagner, Lightenberg — who were in the same general class if you account for how small samples can make the ERA fluctuate.   Given that, it would seem as if it there would be multiple Riveras, guys who who could sustain the performance of the typical Excellent Closer Year for as long as great position players have.    Maybe not Rivera, but at least guys who belong in the discussion.

But nobody does.     Among the few modern closers who have maintained anything like that level of performance for more than a decade — Lee Smith, Hoffman, Reardon and Franco and Myers if you’re feeling really charitable –  all have settled into a distinctly much lower level of quality even as they remained good enough to be decent closers.    While Rivera has not only sustained his excellence, he’s gotten better; barring a second half collapse, his three year performance from ages 38-40 will be the best of his career and significantly better than his age 28-30 seasons.     It’s genuinely remarkable, and if I’m still not not sure I understand it Traub’s article takes me about as close as I can.

Oh, Dusty…

[ 13 ] June 29, 2010 |

So, you’re down 6-3 in the bottom of the 6th inning.  Your starting pitcher has given up all six of those runs, and his spot comes up with two outs and a man on second.  Do you pinch hit for him?  If you let him hit, do you then replace him to start the 7th?  If your Dusty Baker, the answers are “No,” and “Of course.”


[ 9 ] June 28, 2010 |

This is incomparably awesome:

Via Duss.

Deep Thought

[ 3 ] June 18, 2010 |

I strongly endorse Joe Girardi’s “using Chan Ho Park in high-leverage situations” strategy…

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