Monthly archives: May 2005
Buddy, Can You Spare a Lousy Manager?
Today, in typical Royal fashion, Kansas City aimed extremely low. At least they hit the mark though.
Buddy Bell became the new manager of the Royals, and his team is currently leading the Yankees, 5-3, in the ninth. Of course, winning is not something that has come easily to Bell's teams.
Bell's Tigers (1996-98) amassed a 184-277 record for a .399 winning percentage. He then shepherded the Rockies (2000-2002) through a 161-185 record (.465) in two plus seasons. In Bell's four full and two partial seasons as a major-league manager, only one season did his team have a winning record, 82-80 (.506) in his first season in Colorado.
Of all the men who have managed in at least six seasons, Bell has one of the worst winning percentages. The only recent manager who was worse was Tony Muser, who managed you know where:
Doubting Thomas?—Big Hurt Learning to Regret Overly Apropos Nickname
You may break, you may shatter the vase if you will,
Frank Thomas returned to the White Sox lineup yesterday for the first time this season, the first time in almost 11 months actually. He scored a run on a walk and two hitless at-bats. Said Thomas, "So, this is Opening Day for me. It's a holiday, and I'm going out there and do my job. It was the same old thing, really." Yeah, he left the game with an injury after scoring the run. Same old thing.
Oddly, Timo Perez, the anti-Frank Thomas, replaced him as the Sox DH and helped Chicago win the game. Thomas's injury is not expected to keep him out of the lineup long:
"I just felt a little twinge in the hip flexor," he said. "It was just one of those things you don't want to get out of hand by hitting a line drive and having to leg it out. It's a day-by-day situation, and I'm feeling good. I didn't want to go out on the first day and be down for two weeks."
Thomas is so well acquainted with injury that he can now diagnose himself. Even though he might not be out long, at 37 and given his history, every injury could be the last one. It made me wonder how many players had played just one game in their final year after a long, productive career.
I want Venezuela on my desk by Friday morning!
Last week Venezuelan-born Chico Carrasquel passed away at the age of 77. Carrasquel was a four-time All-Star as a member of the "Go Go" White Sox in the Fifties.
Carrasquel paved the way for his Hall-of-Fame countryman Luis Aparicio and many other great Latin players. Valenzuela currently ranks third in major-leaguers. Here is the breakdown by country for all major-leaguers active in 2004:
Home on the Range
Since I posted "Road Kill" documenting the Astros' road woes, I've been playing around with the yearly home-road splits to see what else I can beat from that dead horse.
I ran all seasons for all teams to see whether the home or road records correlate to overall success. First, I compared the difference between a team's home and road record to its overall record. Do teams that perform best at home perform best overall? Or the road?
A's in a Hole
Ten runs to the Devil Rays in the first inning?!?
The A's have fallen on hard times, especially their Big One of Three rotation. It all started when they fell from the pack during the early season mediocrity in the AL West by losing eight straight. Since starting the season 9-8, they are 8-20 with losing streaks of eight, three, and four games (current streak). During that span their starters have been 2-15 with a 5.77 ERA and have averaged under six innings a start (5.74).
I don't like to say "I told you so." Scratch thatactually, I love saying, "I told you so". And I said in the offseason that the A's strategy of dumping of both Mulder and Hudson and going with four youngsters to complement Barry Zito was ill-advised and that "history isn't really on their side." I actually did a whole series on it: "My verdict is that Beane has jumped the shark, at least that's how it looks so far."
Danny Haren, whom I criticized but who apparently (from the comments) has more than his fair share of fans, is currently 1-6 with a 5.19 ERA and 1.69 WHIP. So sayeth I regarding the flak I took on Haren, "It seems that Dan Haren won a Cy Young or two since last season."
Go where he will, the wise man is at home,
The Astros dropped to 2-21 on the road yesterday with a 4-2 loss to the Cubs and may have lost Roger Clemens for some time on top of it. All four Cub runs came in eighth. The tying and winning runs came off closer Brad Lidge.
Strangely, Houston is 13-9 at home. Based on the home record, the 'Stros would be tied for second in the NL Central, but overall are last. The difference between their home and road winning percentages is .504 (.590 at home, .087 on the road).
Here are the worst road records since 1901:
NEWSFLASH!—Danny Graves Does Something Obscene Off the Field
What do I owe you, Paulie?!? What do I owe you?
Danny Graves actually managed to come up with something more obscene than his stats (7.36 ERA, 2.29 WHIP, .357 opponents' batting average, and 3.93 strikeouts per nine innings) on Sunday. After giving up five ninth-inning runs and being chased from an interleague "game" with the Indians, the putative Reds closer got into a fracas with one vociferous fan and then gave him the one-finger saluteyou know, "read between the lines".
Finally, Graves did something that the Reds organization could figure out was wrong, as if the 2003 season wasn't enough (4-15, 5.33 ERA his only year as a starter). The Reds designated their nine-year vet for assignment yesterday.
The White Sox are now officially so publicly underrated that they are overrated. Watching the Jeannie Zelasko, who was great in "Team America" by the way, interview Ozzie Guillen over the weekend made me pine for heaping mounds of Pat O'Brien and Dr. Phil.
I am still surprised that the Sox have sustained their high level of play. I was highly suspicious. They have now won 31 of 44 ballgames, slightly over one quarter of a season. So what does a quarter of a season mean in the long run?
How Does It Feel D-Backs? How Does It Feel to Be Back in First Place Again?
[To the tune of the Hall & Oates classic "How Does It Feel to Be Back", their best until "Family Man".]
Everyone is talking about Ozzie Guillen and the White Sox as the surprise team so far this season. The ChiSox's success sure seems startlingOK, enough sibilance. However, the more precedent bending surprise has to be the reborn Arizona Diamondbacksget it? Reborn Phoenix?
The Diamondbacks were atrocious last year. They tied the second-year Mets (1962) for the 31st worst record in the "Modern" era (51-111 for a .315 winning percentage). In the expansion era (1961 to today), there have been just four teams with a worse record:
Whither Interleague Play II
In the first part of our look at interleague play, we found that in addition to its abject loathsomeness, interleague ball may have had an affect on ten playoff spots in the last eight years. But it gets worse, when we look at how well each team's performance in interleague games reflects their overall performance.
I looked at each teams record in interleague games and in all games for each season. Then I ran a query to see how well they correlated. The answer was "somewhat" (coefficient of 0.500).
However, when I considered the fact that one influences the other, I re-ran the query with each team's interleague record and non-interleague record. The numbers got worse (coefficient 0.354).
Whither Interleague Play
I think we can all agree that interleague play is fraud and a waste of valuable regular-season time. Why not just let teams set up city series like in the old days? It's also pointless outside of New York, LA, and Chicago. What's the point of the relocated Expos playing the Blue Jays now anyway?
Anyway, to commemorate the opening of interleague season, its ninth, which if you missed it was tonight, I thought a look its impact would be in order. Does interleague play matter? If we removed all of the interleague games from the schedule, would it make a sound?
Ask the Umpire
With someone who has actually been in the trenches on the committee, my hope is that a lot of the loopholes in the rules will finally be closed. Some may remember that the Alex Rodriguez slap/interference call in the ALCS last year was actually not covered by the rules. It came from the umpire's manual. The problem with this is that it creates two separate sets of rules and even though one set, the manual, should amplify the other, the official rules. It's about time that they became one.
One other problem with basing rulings on the manual is that its contents are not published to the masses, which include yours truly. MLB has a mini-site devoted to the rulebook but it's incomplete without the manual.
Given Young's game face (from a game earlier this year), I am optimistic that he'll be able to make some headway:
And then there's this picture of Young after a Jay Bell throw to first hit him squarely in the forehead. The cut required 14 stitches, and Young had to leave the game. However, it's gutsier than what I do on a daily basis, and it should also give him perspective in dealing with the committee:
Young was refereed a wrestling match between "The Undertaker" and King Kong Bundy. So keeping two heavyweight like fellow committee members Sandy Alderson and Andy MacPhail in line should not be too difficult. Then, too, was the incident last season in which Pirate manager Lloyd McClendon sprayed Young with spit during an argument and was served a one-game suspension. Young filed the report but did not make a big deal of the issue. Me likey.
Young also once said, "It is easy to throw someone out of the game. It's hard to keep someone in the game." So we know that he knows how to temper his ardor.
Then again, this does come from the man who in 2003 threw Detroit catcher A.J. Hinch out of a game for holding the ball too long before throwing it back to the pitcher in a perceived show of "showing up" Young for a call.
Young also once called an Erubiel Durazo foul down the right-field line a home run in 2002 and has been known for an elastic strike zone and for miscalls around the diamond. But no one's perfect and maybe his committee duties will keep him off the field. That's a win-win in my book.
With a new team in Washington it occurred me that it became the third city to be represented by three separate franchises since the "original" 16 teams were aligned in the National and American Leagues. Aside from the Nationals, DC was represented by the old Senators from 1901-60 (now the Twins) and the expansion Senators from 1961-71 (now the Rangers).
Of the two other cities, one of course is New York, which hosts the Mets and Yankees now and had the Giants and Dodgers until 1957.
Not many would think of the third city, Milwaukee. It was represented by the old Brewers in the original AL, a holdover from the league's Western League days. They moved to St. Louis the next year and the to Baltimore in 1954. The Braves called Milwaukee home from 1953 to 1965 before moving to Atlanta. And of course, in 1970 the Milwaukee Buds, er, Brewers moved in.
All this made me wonder if anyone had ever played for all of the franchise from any of these cities. I couldn't expect that someone could have played for all of the DC or Milwaukee teams in the respective cities because of the span of years between the team relocation involved. Perhaps someone could have played for all of the New York teams when they were in the Big Apple since the time between the Giants and Dodgers departing and Mets arriving was just a few years.
It's May, Padre!
The Padres finished off the Braves yesterday, 8-4, to run their win streak to seven games, just as the Yankees ten-game win streak came to an end. What may be more remarkable for the Pod People is that this streak came just a few days after a previous 6-game streak ended.
The Petco Parkers have won fourteen of their last sixteen, in the process going from a sub-par 11-14 to a division-leading 25-16. May has been bery bery good to the Pod People: they are 12-3 for the month. They are now a game ahead of the surprising D-Backs and 2-1/2 ahead of the faltering DodgersSorry, Jon. On May 1, just prior to the two streaks, they were 5-1/2 behind the Dodgers, four behind Arizona, and 2-1/2 behind the Giantsremember when they had a team?
They Call It The Yankee Streak
The Yanks go for their eleventh win in a row in Seattle tonight. Ten games ago the Yanks were in last place in the AL East at 11-19, had lost four games in a row and eight of their previous ten games, and were off to their worst start in 39 years.
Today, they are tied for third, 5-1/2 games out of first. Not to mention they are no longer the biggest losers in the Boss's stables, so to speak.
But really, is being two games over .500 and tied with Toronto all that much to get hepped up about? Besides, who are the real Yankees, the ones that stunk their way to 11-19 or the ones that have been picture perfect since? Or have they just found their true level at a few games over .500 with the streak just serving to balance out the poor play to start the year?
Angelic Diaspora in Name Only
The Long Beach Angels of Anaheim. That's the ticket. I like it.
The Angels ludicrous plan to recast themselves as the John Cougar Mellencamps of professional sports has been exposed for what it is, a fraud. The California Assembly is passed a bill to bar the Angels' "deceptiveness in sports advertising" by forcing them to publish their true home, Anaheim, on its "tickets, ads and other promotional material."
Now if I can just get the Pennsylvania Assembly to enjoin the Phils from saying they are a major-league team.
The Endy of the Byrd Era in Philly
The other day the Phillies traded away Marlon Byrd, an enigmatic, 27-year-old, former starting center fielder, who has spent most of the season in Triple-A foryou guessed itanother enigmatic, 27-year-old, former starting center fielder, who spent most of the season in Triple-A.
In a classic case of trading for each other's problems, the Phils shipped Byrd to Washington for Endy Chavez.
Quoth Phils' GM Ed Wadeand I do mean wade, as in get out the chest-high boots and dive right in:
"A change of scenery will probably do him good," said Wade, who called Chavez a quality fielder "who can play three outfield positions We get an outfielder with exceptional speed and he brings lots of energy and doesn't strike out a lot
First, his "change of scenery" comments confirms that this was a trade of one team's problems for another. It also conveys that Wade has no idea what he is doing and that he has resigned himself to merely take a gamble.
As for Chavez not striking out a lot, that bit is true. However, and this is the much, much more important aspect of his batting approach, he walks even less often. He walked 30 times and struck out 40 times in 547 plate appearances last year. In his 1303 career plate appearances prior to the trade, he walked just 72 times against 124 strikeouts. His on-base percentage last year was just .318 but that tops his career figure of .304.
Offensively, Chavez does one thing well and that's steal bases. He stole 32 in 39 tries last year, and 53 out of 75 career attempts. That's good.
However, he's a leadoff hitter who is too flawed a batter to use at the top of the order. He can't get on base. He doesn't have enough power to justify hitting anywhere else in the lineup. He slugged just .371 last year and .365 for his career.
This presents a player whose most important offensive stat (OPS) was 18% worse than the park-adjusted league average last season and 30% worse for his career.
OK, but Wade would probably say that Byrd was not much better. I would disagree.
Byrd was abysmal last year, in the gaslighted season that Larry Bowa and Wade helped put him through. But his previous year showed some promise in his being a capable, though somewhat flawed, all-around player. Byrd is streaky and his ego is as fragile as can be. But he did show flashes of being a capable everyday player, something that can't be said of Chavez.
Maybe Byrd never will be more than a marginal major-leaguer, but I find it particularly galling that the Phils did not even bother this season to find out for sure. He batted .390 in spring training but was still farmed out even though the Phils carried just four outfielders, including 38-year-old starting center fielder Kenny Lofton. When Lofton and Jim Thome went down with injuries and Byrd and Ryan Howard were recalled on May 3 to replace them, even though Byrd was vastly outperforming Howard, he was rarely used. He was used in just five of the twelve games in which he wore a Phils uniform this season and he collected just 13 at-bats even though he batted .308 over the span. For the same period Howard missed just two games and recorded 21 at-bats even though he batted .095 over that period.
Clearly Wade and his toady Charlie Manuel had no intention of using Byrd even though they were occupying the NL East cellar with an aging and oft-injured team. Why not take a chance on Byrd?
Wade evidently felt that taking a chance on Chavez was a better gamble. Maybe Chavez will work out but his history indicates that he is a bigger gamble and a more one-dimensional player. He's not quite this season's answer to Paul Abbott.
Clearly, what Ed Wade is concerned with is in trying not to lose his job rather than in trying to do it. He was afraid of the backlash if he gave Byrd a shot and he and the Phils both fell flat. It's safer to go with some commodity that's unknown to the local yokels, and is better PR besides, which his final comment points to.
I think it's very illuminating to look at how each of those players started out with their new clubs. Chavez went 1-for-5 yesterday in his Philly debut, but did score a run. However, I think his first at-bat is more demonstrative of his ability. Up 3-1 with one out and none on in the bottom of the first, he swung at a chest-high fastballball fourand lined a rope into the left field stands...foul. He then grounded out.
Meanwhile, Marlon Byrd got his first work as a Nat tonight, going 3-for-4 with three RBI. His first at-bat was an RBI single.
So long, Marlon, we hardly knew ye. I can't help but feel that the arc of his Phils career will be mirrored in the Phils' performance. 2003 seemed so promising. 2004 was a gross disappointment. 2005 is done in May. It's too bad that Wade is still around to write the next chapter.
Friday Felipe Alou recorded his 900th regular-season win as a manger as the Giants beat the Astros, 4-2. Today Joe Torre's Yanks evened their record with their eighth straight win, 6-4 over the A's, behind Tino Martinez's two home runs giving him eighth in eight games. It was Torre's 1800th win.
Torre is now 13th in managerial wins and third among active managers, behind Tony LaRussa and Bobby Cox. Every retired manager ahead of him is in the Hall of Fame except for one (Geme Mauch). Alou is 59th all-time and eighth among active managers.
Dontrelle Willis beat Roy Oswalt and the Astros, 2-1, yesterday in an old-fashioned pitchers duel. In the process, Willis ran his record to an incredible 7-0 in seven starts and lowered his major-league leading ERA to 1.08.
Mark Simon at Baseball Tonight found that Willis is just one win shy of the best starts in the last 90 years for pitchers under the age of 24 (Source: Elias Sports Bureau):
Jason and the…Clippers?
Nerine: After such a disaster what do you have left?
Jason Giambi is in danger of being shipped down to Columbus along with his problems. The onne-time MVP is yet to resemble his former self after the steroid and injury issues he has endured over the past year.
Giambi has some odd stats. He is batting .195 with an on-base percentage of .386, a slugging average of .325, and an OPS of .711. The OBP is great. The OPS is poor but not horrific. The BA and SLUG? Well, Columbus beckons.
When my Toastermate Cliff Corcoran asked me earlier today how many players have gone an entire season with stats similar to Giambi's. I can't really say that anyone ever has.
Giambi is on pace for 86 walks, 138 strikeouts, 14 homers, 29 RBI, 71 hits, and 19 extrabase hits, in 367 at-bats. The guy hasn't had a double since April 18 nor a homer since April 19. His last RBI came April 23. He is 0-for-10 in May with 4 walks and 6 Ks for a .333 OBP, a .000 BA, .000 SLUG, and .333 OPS. He is currently zero for his last 14 at-bats with 7 Ks. Giambi's batting average is at least 53 points higher than the average major-league pitcher and he strikes out almost 3% less often (31.6% of pitcher plate appearances end in strikeouts and 28.7 of Giambi's have).
I doubt that Giambi's numbers would remain like they are now for an entire season. Either they will improve or Giambi will be either farmed out or benched to the point of marginalizing his impact. However, I wondered if anyone had ever matched his ratios for an entire season.
I found four other players who had a batting average no higher than .200, a slugging average no higher than .400, but an on-base percentage of at least .350 (min. 300 PA):
Two of those four players retired after the season in question. The other two lasted no more than 30 games. If Giambi does continue this way, I can't say it bodes well at age 34, especially when he has almost four years and $86 M left on his Yankee contract
Pena, Shano On You
Tony Pena resigned as manager of the Kansas City Royals today as his team lurched to an 8-25 start this season.It is a new low for a franchise given that a little over a season ago Pena seemed to rejuvenate the team en route to AL Manager of the Year honors. Many (including me) picked the Royals to win the AL Central just last season.
Now, the Royals seemed assured to suffer through their eleventh losing season in the last twelve years. They are currently on track to best (worst?) the inaugural 1962 Mets 40-120 record as the worst record in the expansion era. They do trail the 1916 Philly A's for the worst record in the "modern" era:
1988 All Over Again
The play it every October, Kirk Gibson pumping his arm as he limped around the bases. It's one of the most famous playoff home runs of all time. It's baseball version of the little train that could.
The odd thing is it came in a year that saw home runs per game drop by 28% and runs in general to fall by 12. 1988 was the start of a trough that came between the two biggest crests in home runs in baseball history. They were 1985-87 and 1993-2004. Gibson was the poster boy for the homer dry-up. He won the 1988 MVP with just 25 home runs and just 76 RBI, a pittance for production today.
Well, 2005 is rounding into another 1988. MLB is averaging under one homer per game for the first time since 1993. Home runs per game are down 12% this year, the largest decrease since 1988.
No steroids, no $8 beers, no superstars. Lots of Rickey
"I'm a Buzz"
Rickey's back. At age 46, future first-ballot Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson is back in San Diego. But Rickey's not a Padre. He's not even a Surf Dog; he's a Surf Dawg in the start-up, self-reportedly Class A, independent league, Golden Baseball League.
This is a league that promotes what it calls "Familyball" sans steroids, eight-dollar beers, and superstars, as their tagline professes. Except for Rickey Henderson.
Henderson will be paid $3,000 a month to play in the Safeway funded league. Henderson used to play in the outfield opposite fellow future Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn in San Diego. Now he will play in the stadium named for Gwynn in San Diego. Henderson is in his 30th year of professional baseball. He'll play in a league with a team, the "Bad News" Samurai Bears (or Berras) staffed with Japanese-born players and managed by former major-league and japanese-leaguer Warren Cromartie.
He hasn't been in the majors since 2003, when the Dodgers gave him a 30-game trial in left. The bulk of the past two seasons he spent with the Newark Bears of the independent Atlantic League. The Bears were a launching pad to the majors for Henderson and Jose Lima in the past couple of years. The Golden Baseball League does not hold such promise for Henderson.
There have been some that consider Rickey a hot dog. A guy who was in it for the stats and the money. He once had a contract that guaranteed he was the highest paid ballplayer in the majors. He was criticized for playing cards in the Mets clubhouse during the playoffs.
And Henderson may be as big a hot dog as they say, but he also a guy who is playing in one of the lowest berths in the pro game for very little compensation. ESPN reports that it will delay his eligibility to the Hall for another year. However, the official rules just count major-league service. His clock started in 2003.
Looking at Rickey's stats from last season37 steals which ranked third in the Atlantic league, .898 OPS, 96 walks and just 42 Kshe could play until he's 50, if he cares to. I would love to see Rickey in uniform, say, with the Chillicothe Paints, when he goes into the Hall. It would sum up his career perfectly.
Primordial Free Agent Contracts
I've been conducting a little research project to record the free agent contracts that predate the Doug Pappas salary datai.e., 1976-84to complete a study on the history of free agency.
I started with all the players who amassed at least 10 Win Shares the season before becoming a free agent. Then, I culled the contract data published annually in "The New Millionaires" section of Zander Hollander's "The Complete Handbook of Baseball". Yes, in the early days of free agency, a million-dollar contract was still such a novelty that this pulp-fiction baseball annual actually published them all en masse. Unfortunately, I had just the 1978-80 editions of the "Complete Handbook": Space Invaders and that devil Pac Man ate up too much of early teen cash.
I then researched via the players pages in BaseballLibrary.com and the newspaper research tool on SABR.org. Altogether I was able to unearth 55 contracts though given that many come from newspaper accounts at the time of the signings, their accuracy may be in question.
Anyway, I am publishing what I have for two reasons. The first is so that anyone who could make use of the data can do so. Also, I am hoping that anyone who can fill in the gaps will do so. I am listing the players who met my search criteria but for whom I could not find the contract terms. If you have any of the data for those players (or for ones who didn't meet the 10-WS threshold), please let me know and I'll update the table. I ask that you please cite the source of the data:
5K Better Than the Floor of the 4H?
"What a week I'm having!"
Andy Phillips had a bad week.
On Monday he struck out five times in five tries, tying the one-game, nine-inning record, in the Yankees sole win over the power-house Devil Rays, 6-2. Then on Tuesday, Robinson Cano (and his pal Friday) was called up to start at second place, thereby insuring that Phillips' playing time gets even rarer. And now his team's in last place.
In his short career, Phillips has nine strikeouts and no walks in 33 plate appearances. His five strikeouts came against three D-Ray pitchers. Starter Scott Kazmir, whom I would assume Phillips saw a bit in Triple-A, got him out on strikes three times, and relievers Travis Harper and Danys Baez got him one time each.
This was the 43rd time in major-league history that someone struck out five times in a ballgame. Tony Batista was the last to commit the feat, last season. The extra-inning record is six done by seven different men (the last being Toronto's Alex Gonzalez on Sept 9, 1998 in a 13-inning game).
That got me thinking about whether a five-strikeout game is just bad luck or if a player can very easily get down on himself after the first few and "bring on" the fifth strikeout.
How improbable is a five-strikeouts-in-five-tries game anyway?
The Mets rode Anna Benson's husband's arm to victory today, 7-5, to top .500 (15-14) for the first time since April 26. The Mets have been two games over .500 for only two days so far this year (10-8 on 4/23 and 11-9 on 4/25).
Meanwhile, across town, at least mentally, the Yankees lost for the third time straight to the lowly Devil Rays to fall into virtual tie with them for last in the AL East. The Yanks haven't been at .500 since April 13 (4-4) nor over .500 since the fifth game of the season (3-2).
New York is not a very forgiving town when it comes to losing, and, at least in baseball, they haven't had to be all that forgiving. With both New York teams hovering at or well below .500, it could be the first time that both the Mets and the Yanks had losing records since 1992.
You Can't Hide Your Lyon Eyes
So we are a month into the season and the major-league saves leader is
Mariano Rivera? Nope, Rivera may be a future Hall-of-Famer but his three saves put him in 26th place in the majors.
Eric Gagne? He's yet to even pitch.
John Smoltz? He's a born-again starter.
Your major-league save leader is Red Sox castoff Brandon Lyon with 11. He currently projects to 66, nine more than Bobby Thigpen's single-season record.
Twins reliever Juan Rincon tested positive for steroid use, and while I don't want to caste aspersions on his career, I think that upon reviewing his stats, one has to wonder if steroids were an integral part of his renaissance last season.
Take a look at his career record, and a few things leap out at you. First, he was a pitcher whose strikeouts per nine innings were consistently in the mid-6.00's to mid-7.00's throughout his seven-year minor-league career and in his first few major-league seasons. Then in 2004, he hit almost 12 strikeouts per nine innings and remained close to that this year. He also recorded his first strikeouts to walks ratios over three in his professional career. His Walks plus Hits Per Innings Pitched (WHIP) was significantly lower than his minor-league numbers.
Enchanting April OR The Tortoise and the Shawn Hare
We got to start thinking beyond our guns. These days are closing fast.
Here we are at the beginning of May with most teams having played about twenty-five games. So what have we learned? Anything besides Juan Rincon is a stupid, stupid man?
The Yankees seem to think that they've learned a great deal about their current team and decided to shake things up a bit in Billy Beane-like fashion.
Maybe the Yanks do have cause for some concern, but should the O's, D-Backs, Blue Jays, White Sox, and Nats feel that their early-season turnaround is anything more than Brian Roberts-esque, Tuffy Rhodesian, early-season mirage?
Does April mean anything to anyone besides May flowers?
From Awful to Okie Dokie
The D-Backs are trailing the Giants, 7-8, as I type this. If they win, they put their record over .600 and could end the night just a half game behind the division leading Dodgers, who trail DC, 6-1, in the ninth. That's a far cry from the abysmal Arizona team of 2004, they of the 51-111 record.
If they can keep this up for the whole season, they could be the first team in 115 years to have a winning percentage top .600 in one season after losing two-thirds of their games the previous season.
Bases for Reaction
I received an interesting email about the rules of baserunning:
This is my site with my opinions, but I hope that, like Irish Spring, you like it, too.
About the Toaster
Baseball Toaster was unplugged on February 4, 2009.
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