Thursday, May 31, 2007

Blog Plug: SOX & Dawgs

I don't have much time to read other blogs, but I really enjoy SOX & Dawgs when I have the time to read it. I just added it to my new Google Reader, which is quite an accomplishment in itself. Check it out when you get a chance.

And speaking of Google, check out iGoogle. Another great find.

Yankee Fans Are Still Optimistic

In my post yesterday where I quoted Buster Olney about how far out the Yankees are, someone posted a comment with this nugget:
July 18, 1978 - Sox led NY by 14.5 games. You know the rest.
Of course the commenter remained anonymous. Keep dreaming Yankee fans!

Wait... what's that? The lead is down to 13.5 games? Well, that changes everything, doesn't it?

I am Jack's smirking revenge.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

More Tidbits From Buster Olney

Who names their kid Buster, anyway? Turns out his name is actually Robert Stanbury Olney III. That solves that great mystery.

I always get some good info from Olney's blog, including this one:

The Yankees' deficit in the division race is 14.5 games. Only one team has won a division or league with a deficit of greater than 14 games -- the 1914 Boston Braves.

The Yankees' deficit in the wildcard is 8.5 games. Only four wildcard winners have overcome greater deficits than that -- the '95 Yankees (who were once nine games out), the 2001 Athletics (once 10.5 games out), the 2003 Marlins (11.5 games out), and the 2005 Astros (11.5 games out).

Only two other times have the Yankees had a larger deficit in May -- 1984: In the year in which the Tigers started 35-5, the Yankees fell 17.5 games out in May. 1913: the Yankees were as much as 18.5 games out in May.

More fun with Yankee misery!

Yooooouuuuuuk!

Enough has already been said about how underappreciated Kevin Youkilis is, so I won't go into that angle. Buster Olney has a great blog post about Youk this morning (Insider required). A key section:
The best barometer of how much better Youkilis is now might be found in his failure and success with two strikes. When Youkilis was a rookie, he hit .181 with two strikes. In 2005, he batted .264 with two strikes; 2006, .246.

Youkilis, in 2007, is ranks fifth in the majors with a .327 batting average with two strikes. That means he's improved more than 140 points in that situation over the last three years. Not bad.

Olney compares Youk to Boggs, which is an interesting comparison. It's a good read.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

My All-Star Ballot

Vote for your all-stars here, and write in Youk as your 1B! Here is my ballot:

AL:
1B: Youk
2B: Brian Roberts, although Pedroia has his average hovering around .300 now.
SS: Jhonny Peralta, with Jeter a close second.
3B: Mike Lowell. ARod has tailed off way too much and his team is in the tank.
C: Varitek. He's done great lately and Mauer has been out for too long. Victor Martinez would have been my second pick. Hometown bias, you know?
OF: Grady Sizemore, Carl Crawford, Magglio Ordonez

NL:
1B: Derrek Lee. Lots of good choices here, like Poo Holes and Todd Helton, but I took Lee. Big fan.
2B: Chase Utley. Rickie Weeks has some nice stats, but Utley is far more consistent and less injured.
SS: Hanley Ramirez. As much as it pains me to say it. Jose Reyes is great, but he's been slumping lately and Hanley is fantastic. Rob Neyer recently blogged about how close they are in value, yet how far apart in perceived value. Jimmy Rollins got some consideration, too. And JJ Hardy.
3B: Aramis Ramirez, completing my Ramirez-dominated left side of the infield. Chipper Jones is the only guy close.
C: Russell Martin. Not even close.
OF: Griffey, Carlos Lee, Jason Bay.

Of course, it's still very early. Some of these guys (ahem, Griffey) could end up on the DL or slumping badly by the time the AS game rolls around.

Clemens Can't Pitch in Boston's Environment

Joe Torre announced over the weekend that he didn't want the first start for Roger Clemens to come in an "environment" like Boston. What does that mean? That he's scared that Boston fans might be mean to little Roger? Boo hoo. The guy is being paid $18 million and your team is 13.5 games behind. Throw him to the wolves.

Great line in this article about the Yankees this morning: "These days, it makes no difference what type of pitcher the Yankees face. You could plug in a pitching machine and get them out."

Monday, May 28, 2007

Gordon Edes is Jon Lovitz



It's not a very good picture of Gordon Edes, but it's the only one of him smiling I could find in Google Images.The resemblance is uncanny when Edes smiles. If you've seen him on NESN then you know what I'm talking about.

Yeah, that's the ticket.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Strangest Play Ever

Earlier this season I wrote about the funniest play in Red Sox history and now I'm writing about the strangest. All within 8 weeks of each other.

In case you didn't see it, Julian Tavarez fielded a hot grounder back to him in today's game and instead of softly tossing it to Youk at first, which would have easily gotten the batter out, Tavarez chose to roll it to Youk, bowling style.

My first thought was wondering if it had ever been done before, but Remy quickly said he'd never seen it before. Remy has seen a lot of baseball, so I'm inclined to say it's pretty rare.

Why did he do this? At first I thought he may have been injured, but nope, he stayed in. Maybe he's just found that it's easier to roll it than throw it. Less risk of it going errant and over the first baseman's head, right? I think this might start a trend. Or maybe it'll be like Rick Barry's underhand granny free-throws and he'll be the only one who does it.

I, for one, hope to see this a lot more.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

JD Drew Should Take Lessons From Mark Teixeira

Back on April 19th, Mark Teixeira was mired in a horrible slump, which is why I was able to trade a struggling BJ Ryan for him (Ryan of course went on the DL for the rest of the season the next day - lucky for me!) in one fantasy baseball league. I'm now in first place in that league and distancing myself from the pack.

Onto the main reason for this post: On the 19th of April, Teixeira announced that he felt like he was about to break out of his slump. I scoffed at the notion that you could just announce this and make it true, but Big Teix has done just that. It didn't happen immediately, but a week later he went yard in consecutive games and has hit .395 with a 1.166 OPS in May.

That's all JD Drew needs to do: announce that he's going to break out of his slump. It worked for Teixeira, why shouldn't it?

Hmm... sarcasm doesn't really come across in this medium.

Yankees Are Best Bad Team In MLB

Eight teams currently sit at least ten games behind the leader in their division. Half of those eight reside in the AL East. Yes, the Red Sox are dominating.

The Yankees, however, are the only team of those eight with an Expected W-L record of better than .500. So they've got that going for them, which is nice.

Currently 4 games below .500, their Expected Win-Loss record (a complicated formula based on their runs scored and runs allowed) puts them at 6 games above .500. The next closest team sitting 10+ games out is Toronto, with an Ex W-L of 1 game under .500.

The Red Sox, meanwhile, sit 2 games better than any other team in all of MLB and 2.5 better than any other AL team. Their run differential of +75 is better than any other team, indicating they have not been a fluke. They're only 1 game better than their Ex W-L.

The unluckiest teams in the majors are the Yankees and the Cubbies, both at 5 games worse than their Ex W-L record. St Louis, Colorado, and the ChiSox have been the luckiest, at 3 games better than their W-L record.

Friday, May 25, 2007

I'll Let These Speak For Themselves




How to Make Love to a Sox Fan

There's a relatively new blog out called Ladies... which I really enjoy sometimes. Really, I do. No, not the "hottie rundown" segments. Seriously, I don't.

Anyway, today they wrote a hilarious post about how to make love to a Red Sox fan. Great stuff. Not exactly family-oriented, in case you were wondering.

He's Alive! ALIVE!

George Steinbrenner awoke from the dead today and provided some good quotes to bloggers like me.
"(Brian Cashman is) on a big hook," a spirited Steinbrenner told The Associated Press in a rare interview from this Tampa office. "He wanted sole authority. He got it. Now he's got to deliver."
Yes, Cashman wanted sole authority, but he's still dealing with the crappy old players and bloated contracts that Steinbrenner stuck him with. This mess isn't Cashman's fault. I consider Cashman a better GM than Epstein and a better judge of young talent, but he's been hamstrung by Big Stein all these years. And the Clemens signing had Steinbrenner's fingerprints all over it. If the Yankees fail this season, Torre should get the boot, not Cashman.
"We hope we have turned it around," Steinbrenner said emphatically. The 44-year-old Clemens brings "a winning attitude," he continued. "I think Roger is capable of sparking the team. He is a veteran and will bring stability. I am happy he is coming back. I love him."
A winning attitude? Clemens is a mercenary who goes where the money is. If he wins along the way, great. And what's this stability that he brings? He'll only be around on game day. I guess you could call that stability or consistency.

Wow, see how I turned this anti-Steinbrenner post into another fine anti-Clemens post? Man, I'm good.

Big Papi Would Play For The Yankees? Say it Ain't So!

Leave it to my Yankee fan coworker to e-mail me this, which I confirmed on the Herald's website:
Unlike Johnny Damon, who once vowed he never would play for the Yankees, David Ortiz said he would not rule out playing for the Red Sox' rivals in the future. In an interview in the current issue of Time, Ortiz responded to a reader's question about playing for the Yankees by saying: "I would never say no because you never know what can happen with your career. You can never fall in love with a team."

Whaaaaaaaaaat? Noooooooo........

Youk is Underrated

Today Jayson Stark writes about the most underrated active players, and one of them is our very own Kevin Youkilis!
But in case you haven't been paying attention, this fellow has turned into much more than just "The Greek God of Walks." The only AL first baseman outslugging him is Justin Morneau. Nobody beats him in OPS, batting average, runs scored or multihit games. And one AL executive wanted to make sure we noticed what an underrated defender he is -- so now that he mentions it, Youkilis hasn't made an error at first since last July.
More quality writing from Jayson Stark, who is quickly becoming underrated in my eyes.

"Schilling is Done"

As you know if you read my blog often, I hate the Portland sports radio station. They now have this guy on named Chris Sadanka(?) in the afternoons who likes to speculate about everything without having anything to back him up. For instance, yesterday he announced that Cindy Blodgett was coming back to coach UMaine and "she may be here for the rest of her career!"

Ummmm, Chris? She's 32 years old. Stop planning her career for her.

Anyway, another thing he likes to do is say, "Coco Crisp struck out 4 times today. He might strikeout 10 times this weekend!" I'm all for riling up your listeners, but at least have something valid to back up your point.

On to my point. This guy announced yesterday that Schilling is done, but all he said was that Schilling clearly doesn't have it anymore. Care to back that up with some facts, Chris?

My big concern with Schilling after looking at his stats is how he performs with no one on base. In 130 at-bats with the bases empty his OPSA is .903 with 5 HR allowed out of the 6 he's given up altogether. In 101 at-bats with runners on his OPSA plummets to .552. It's like he loses focus or relaxes when the bases are empty.

In reality, Schilling has been solid but has had 3 bad outings in a row, two of which were wins for the Red Sox. Bad outings happen. Slumps happen. Get over it.

Prospect Watch

I don't dip into the prospect list often, but it's gotten easier lately due to all the options the Sox have. The Herald has a nice article today about Clay Buchholz, making me more excited about his future. I'm a big proponent of guys with high K:BB ratios and his is 61:9 at Portland. Read the article for more details.

Jon Lester, meanwhile, continues to pitch well at AAA. I've said plenty about Lester in the past. I think he'll be a solid 2 or 3 in the big leagues. He tends to allow too many guys to reach base, but he buckles down and gets out of it most of the time. Good makeup, but he nibbles too much at the corners and he will allow the big inning from time to time.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

More Overratedness

I just wrote about Jayson Stark’s article about the 10 most overrated active players, but then I read his article about the most overrated centerfielder of all-time and it was phenomenally interesting. It’s not that I dislike Jayson Stark; I’m just indifferent about him. He’s always been gimmicky and not that informative about things I care about. But I’m actually considering buying this book.

I’ve never been a big Andruw Jones fan, except when talking about his defense. I’d never checked out the stats, but Stark touches on my favorite: Zone Rating. I won’t even quote the article/book here because there’d be too much to quote. Just go read it and buy the book: The Stark Truth: The Most Overrated and Underrated Players in Baseball History.

I'm too lazy to go see if Jones is a free agent after this year, but I'm quite sure he is. With Coco Crisp's sharp decline I hope the Sox don't pursue Jones. He's bound to be grossly overpaid.

JD Drew is Overrated? Nooooo......

I'm not a big fan of Jason (with a Y) Stark, but he has a good article today about the most overrated active baseball players. Guess who's on there? JD Drew! Shocker, right? Here's a fun stat: Drew is batting .169 since April 21st.

Guess who's #1 on the list? Our friend Barry Zito!

I Was Wrong

I know I like to toot my own horn when I'm right, but I'm going to prove that I can admit when I'm wrong, too, and there's not even proof of it! I never actually blogged about it, but before the season started I constantly talked about how the Yankees grossly overpaid for Andy Pettitte (which I still believe) and that he was washed up.

I was clearly wrong about the washed up part. He currently stands at 3-3 due to a lack of run support. His ERA is great at 2.66. His WHIP and BAA, though, are a little high at 1.35 and .267, but you could say that Pettitte is a "crafty veteran" who knows how to get out of jams. I do think he'll do fine this season, finishing with a sub-4.00 ERA and 14 wins. Is that worth $16 large? I guess it depends on who's paying. When you consider the Yankees are paying Pavano $8 million per win, they're probably not heartbroken about $1 million per win from Pettitte.

Speaking of the Yankees and overpaying, our good friend Roger Clemens "labored" last night against the Portland Sea Dogs. Yes, the AA Sea Dogs. Clemens threw more than 100 pitches in just over 5 innings, which he should expect more of in the AL East. He was outdueled by top Sox prospect Clay Buchholz, making it even better.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Fun With Yankees Misery!

From the Globe blog:
Pavano's Yankees record to date: 5-6 in 19 starts. Or about $8 million a victory.

Yes, Yankees fans could do that with Matt Clement. Or Edgar Renteria. But this is much more extreme than either of those.

And speaking of the Yankees, I'm setting a date on Joe Torre being fired at 6/20/2007. Do you want the over or the under?

More Bush League Crap from ARod


Last night ARod demonstrated yet again his unethical baserunning, sliding out of the basepaths and popping up late and giving Dustin Pedroia an elbow. Pedroia's quote after the game was great: "He went in late and threw an elbow, but it's no big deal," Pedroia said. "I know now that when he's going in, my arm slot drops to the floor. Some people play like that, and some people come in with hard, clean slides."

Thanks to Boston Dirt Dogs for the picture.

Remy and Orsillo Always Crack Me Up

Did anyone catch the part of the game last night where it looked like NESN was supposed to go to commercial and Jerry and Don started talking with a Spanish accent to Tina Cervasio. It was hilarious and you have to wonder if they knew they were still live. The camera was panning in and out on one of the lights the whole time, so I don't think they knew.

Celtics Fans' Hopes Were Too High

I don't typically write about the Celtics, but I feel especially strong about this because it's somewhat statistics-based.

Everything I've heard and read today indicates that Celtics fans had unreasonably high hopes/expectations for getting a top 2 pick. Even Doc Rivers was quoted as saying that the odds were in their favor.

But were they? From what I understand, they had approximately a 39% chance of getting a top 2 pick. Based on my math, that means they had a 61% chance of not getting a top 2 pick. Those aren't good odds.

You know who I don't feel for today? That dumbass they showed on tv with the Oden Celtics jersey. That poor schmuck probably had that thing custom made for the occasion and look at what happened.

I've just become so disenfranchised by Danny and Doc that this didn't bother me all that much. I'm not sure that the Celtics can be a successful franchise with Danny Ainge at the helm and I know they can't be with Doc as their head coach.

One thing I know is that the Trailblazers are back after being the Jailblazers. They are going to have a very strong, young team for years to come. And the Celtics will just have a young team.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Joe Morgan's Chats are Moderated By A 5 Year Old

I can't stomach reading through a Joe Morgan chat today. My son spells better than Joe. It's really painful to read. I skimmed and I have to admit that I agreed with a lot of what he said. Shocking, I know. There was one thing that really bothered me, though:
Mike (Ann Arbor): Hi Joe. Its almost June and Carlos Delgado still has not broken out of his season-long slump. How long can Willie Randolph stay with him before a change needs to be made? Joe Morgan: Well I think he will stay with him for a while, because he is a leader. He is coming off an wrist injury, so that takes a while to come back from. But his leadership ability is just as important as his bat.
So let's assume that Rudy Giuliani is a great leader, as some people would say. Would Rudy Giuliani be a great addition to that lineup if Carlos Delgado was hitting really well but wasn't a leader? Or let's say that Delgado was batting .000 for the season, but was doing a great job "being a leader." Would the Mets still leave him in? No, this is a stupid statement by Joe.

Back to Earth

No, I don't mean the Red Sox are back to Earth. They're still 9.5 games up. It's Tim Wakefield who is coming back to Earth. A week ago I wrote:
Is it possible that Wakefield will finish in the top 10 in the Cy Young voting? Sure. But he’s 40 years old and it’s not likely that he goes from a career 4.30 ERA to a sub-3.00 pitcher. Sub-4.00, sure, but not Cy Young caliber. He’s been great so far, but it will catch up to him. Everyone has stretches of dominance like this.
Pretty prophetic, eh? The problem with most people is they get caught up in the most recent pretty statistics and forget about the big picture or the more predictive peripheral stats.

Since I wrote that, Wakefield has pitched 12 innings and allowed 11 earned runs. His WHIP is closer to his career average of 1.36 and his K:BB ratio is nearly 1, indicating he will continue falling towards his (still respectable) career averages.

I'm not picking on Wakefield; I'm just being realistic. If you want me to pick on someone, maybe I'll post about the inept JD Drew later today.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Red Sox Offense Catching Up With Yankees'

Listed below are the top 5 offenses in all of baseball in terms of runs per game:

Cleveland: 5.58 RPG
Detroit: 5.50
NYY: 5.39
Boston: 5.38
NYM: 5.33


The top two teams reside in the AL Central and are tied for first in that division. The Wild Card will likely come from that division. The Red Sox and Yankees are in a virtual tie for RPG while the Sox have allowed 45 runs (or more than 1 RPG) fewer than the Yankees. The Red Sox have the 4th ranked ERA in baseball while the Yankees have the 26th best.

Yankees STINK!

Of course I've taught my 3 year old son to hate the Yankees, telling him that they "stink," avoiding using "suck." Yesterday we were out for a walk and he had been silent for a few minutes when he says in a contemplative way, "Daddy, you know what?"
I bit. "What?"
He quickly replied, "The Yankees STINK!"

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Barry Zito is Making Me Look Like a Genius

Last fall I wrote about how horrible it would be for the Sox to sign Barry Zito (check it out - it's a good read still). Zito is making me look downright prophetic so far in 2007. Remember that this guy is pitching in the NL West and signed for $126 million.

His WHIP is right in line with his statistical trend that I wrote about, at 1.42. His ERA continues in the same direction, at 5.13. He has as many walks (28) as strikeouts (30) and fewer wins (3) than losses (5).

Meanwhile, Dice-K is living up to expectations. In the post I linked above I actually assumed that they'd be paid similar dollar amounts, but Zito received significantly more money than Dice-K, with all of it going to the salary cap vs only half of Dice-K's. After analyzing his stats in Japan, I wrote:
Let's attempt to adjust for the American League difference. I don't have any proof to back this up, but I'd say a 3.50 ERA and 16 wins are pretty reasonable if his game translates to America and all sources think it should. You'd take that, right? I certainly would.
Dice-K is on pace right now for a 19-8 record and 196 strikeouts in 203 innings. And his ERA is trending downwards. You'd take that, wouldn't you? And he's only being paid $6.33 million this season.

A Beautiful Sight


The top image shows the standings in the AL East and displays the dominance of the Red Sox to date. The bottom image shows the standings throughout MLB. It's great to see how low the Yankees are. Click on the image to get a better view.

The Sox Should Win Some More Games

The Sox are currently 28-12, for a .700 winning percentage, and are 2 games better than any other MLB team. To win 100 games all they need to do is go 72-50 (.590) the rest of the way. Over the course of a 162 game season, .590 ball would bring 95 wins, which they've done 3 out of the last 4 years.

Incidentally, the Sox are on pace for 113 wins. They've won 100+ games 3 different times:
1946 (104 wins), when they went to the World Series.
1915 (101 wins), when they won the World Series.
1912 (105 wins), when they won the World Series.
They've lost 100+ seven times.

Friday, May 18, 2007

ARod is to Blame For All Problems in New York

Back on April 20th I wrote about how hot ARod was, but tried to temper expectations:

I’ve long been staunchly anti-ARod, but no one can deny how well he’s performed so far. In April. Damn, I couldn’t keep the snide comments out. He’s Mr. April. Let’s wait to crown him Mr. Studly until he’s done it in a pennant race. Some of you might say all season is the pennant race in the AL East, and I agree. I’m talking about August and September, though, and ultimately October.

I think I jinxed Mr. April. He did hit 2 more home runs that week, but has hit only one since then and is in the middle of a 7-43 (.163) slump. He also does not have an RBI or a run in 9 straight games and has only 5 RBI in his last 22 games. Not coincidentally, the Yankees have lost 6 of 8 and have fallen ten games (double digits!) behind the Sox.

Yes, this makes me happy.

Of course it was reasonable to expect ARod to suffer a slump to bring him back down to earth, but to be that hot and then immediately follow it up with a polar opposite slump is amazing. This makes me happy, too.

On a side note, while flipping channels tonight I came across Clemens on the mound during the National Anthem, standing with a little kid. My wife, always the joker, quipped, "Who is that kid? Roger's great grandkid?"

On another side note, I have Oliver Perez in 2 fantasy baseball leagues and I was unsure about whether to start him tonight against the Yankees until I wrote my post about how anemic New York's offense has been. It was a good decision to start him.

Jerry Remy and His Air Guitar

Great video of Jerry Remy playing his air guitar before a game, found at a new blog I found called SOX & Dawgs. Remy is always entertaining.

Renteria Had Better Give Us Our Money's Worth

The Red Sox are paying Edgar Renteria approximately $3 million this season, and for the few games he's plays against them he ought to repay them by striking out or grounding into a double play every time. And show us some of that 2005 sparkling defense in the field, too. It's the least he could do. Worst. Signing. Ever.

Of course, the money the Sox are getting paid for Eric Hinske makes their salary to Renteria pretty much a wash, but still.

Double header on Saturday after tonight's rainout. Hey Julian, let's play two!

Seth Mnookin is Red Sox Blogger Extraordinaire

I don’t have time to read many Sox blogs, but when I get the chance I always read Seth Mnookin’s. He has a fantastic post today, which everyone should read. Here's a quote:

The Sox, at 28-12, have two fewer losses than any other team in baseball and four more wins that any other AL team. This, despite the fact that the team’s starting outfielders are collectively batting .244 with 11 home runs (seven players have hit 11 or more) and 48 RBIs…and that Manny, JDD, and Coco all trail Dustin “Rudy” Pedroia in batting average (.253) and OBP (.356). Oh, and despite the fact that, a quarter of the way into the season, Manny projects to finish the year with the lowest home run total (24), the second lowest RBI total (100), and the lowest hit total (148) of his career.
Informative and funny. You can't beat that.

Yeah, Clemens is Exactly What They Need

In their last 7 games the Yankees have been outscored 22-31, going 2-5 over that time and falling to 9.5 games behind the Red Sox, barely clinging to second place in the surprisingly weak AL East.

2 weeks ago it was widely believed that the Yankees needed pitching and more pitching. Now it looks like their pitching is their strength, only allowing 4.43 runs per game over that span while the offense has sputtered to 3.14 RPG. Even Yankees fans are chanting “Yankees Suck” at home games.

Of course, ARod had some brilliant comments about how to pull out of their offensive funk, saying (paraphrased), “We just need to wait for our pitch, hit it to the opposite field, make sure we’re swinging at good pitches, and we’ll start hitting.” Brilliant. Swing at good pitches. How revolutionary. Someone tell the ghost of Brian Daubach.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Sorry, Julian

Of course, immediately after I post a blog entry saying how much Sox fans don’t want Julian Tavarez pitching, he goes out and throws a gem, going 7 strong innings for the win.

I guess my reverse psychology worked!

 

Julian Tavarez is Stupid, Possibly Insane*

Great post on Deadspin today about Julian Tavarez. Apparently Tavarez has never heard of Ernie Banks. Ernie Banks! Mr Cub! Let's play 2!

Tavarez is scheduled to pitch in the first game of today's doubleheader and he thinks he can pitch again on Monday. On two days rest. "If I have to pitch Monday, I'll pitch Monday, too," were the words that scared the crap out of Red Sox Nation. Julian, let me let you in on a little secret. We don't want you pitching every 5th day, let alone twice in four days. Please, for everyone's sake, get into a fight today and bitchslap someone again so we can move along with Jon Lester in our rotation.

Tavarez went on to jinx all of our hopes: "The main thing is staying healthy," Tavarez said. "You will see in October. We will be in the World Series if we stay healthy. We have everything we need out here. We have one of the best closers in baseball, good starting rotation, good bullpen, a hell of a lineup, 38,000 fans every single game. What else can you ask for? You can't ask for anything else." Great. Add bulletin board material for every team for the rest of the season, you jackass. Why don't you just come out and say Jim Leyland is a horrible manager and Magglio Ordonez has girly hair?

*The "Possibly Insane" part of my headline is just general knowledge. The article didn't mention much insanity; it's just presumed with Julian.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Too Busy For Anything Else, So You Get Links

Great article about Wakefield here. Is it possible that Wakefield will finish in the top 10 in the Cy Young voting? Sure. But he’s 40 years old and it’s not likely that he goes from a career 4.30 ERA to a sub-3.00 pitcher. Sub-4.00, sure, but not Cy Young caliber. He’s been great so far, but it will catch up to him. Everyone has stretches of dominance like this (see: ARod in April). The article also brings back some great memories about the summer of ’95.

Speaking of ARod, check out the drivel in this article. Joe has a new respect for ARod? Where did they come up with that headline? Did he say it? I don’t see that quote in there. Just another case of them trying to sell papers. New respect because ARod was fine with the move to 3rd in the order? The guy is making $27 million this year; why would he complain about his spot in the order? This crap drives me insane. “ARod’s such a team player! What a great guy! He’s willing to move to 3rd in the order!”

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

A Disappointing Joe Morgan Chat

As you know if you've been reading this blog for the past few weeks, I typically get great joy from reading Joe Morgan's chats on ESPN.com. Today, however, was not one of those days. Good grammar, spelling and punctuation suddenly appeared in his chat, meaning he likely had a moderator typing his answers for him and possibly picking questions better suited for Joe to answer. Maybe they're reading this blog. Anyway, here are a couple good ones, with my comments in italics:

Sam Perlozzo (Baltimore): Joe, I had a horrible 9th inning in Boston Sunday followed by a near fight in the dugout last night between Mora and Payton. Is my time as manager drawing short?
Joe Morgan: It's tough for me to answer that question from afar, because I don't see how they go about their business on a day-to-day basis. There are incidents on EVERY team where players get upset about incidents that happen on the field. They didn't fire the guy in Toronto, so I don't think that's a reason to fire him. If you don't think he's doing a good job with the team, then that's a reason to fire someone. I think you judge a team on how they compete.
I hate it when Joe can't answer a question. The person posing the question was asking if the poor play combined with the recent spate of poor decisions and infighting would cause Perlozzo to be fired. Joe Morgan tried to avoid the question altogether, like he's friends with Perlozzo. I say Perlozzo's out by June 1st.

Brian(NY): Joe here's a tough one for ya...if you we're to start a franchise from scratch for the next 5 years who would you're infield team be , mine would be Pujols,Kinsler,Reyes and Wright.
Joe Morgan: I can't argue with that. I'm not sure I'd put Kinsler ahead of Cano. He's hitting home runs, but is he a better hitter than Cano, who hit .340 last year. I wouldn't argue with that infield other than 2B, but I'd have to think more about it.
Here goes Joe, judging a guy on the previous season's flukey batting average. It's obvious pitchers quickly figured out Cano, who walks less than Alfonso Soriano and doesn't have the power. Cano is now hitting .237 with an abysmal .281 OBP. He shouldn't be starting for any big league team and is not helping the Yankees one bit. I actually have Kinsler and Cano on one fantasy team and Cano has not seen my starting lineup all year. How Joe Morgan can judge a guy on one season is impossible to understand.

Dave (Richmond VA): Hey Joe! How good do you think that Phil Hughes can be this year? Is he a legit number 2 or 3?
Joe Morgan: I don't know how good he can be, since he hasn't pitched enough games. The best way to judge a pitcher is how he keeps his team in the game when he doesn't have his best stuff. He doesn't have enough starts to gauge whether he's a 1, 2, 3 or 4. That's the problem sometimes is that people want to slot guys. Paper doesn't make you a No. 1, 2 or 3. Handling adversity does.
What? So I could be a really crappy pitcher but if I handle myself well while pitching crappily, that would make me a #1 pitcher? Joe, as always you make no sense. And you do know how good he can be because you can analyze his minor league stats. Oh wait, you don't like stats.

The AL East is Not Wrapped Up Yet

I’m hearing and reading a lot of “The Sox have the AL East wrapped up” crap. It’s May 15th, people! It took the Sox 6 weeks to build up this 8.5 game lead; the Yankees can wipe it out just as quickly and there are close to 20 weeks left in the season. If the Yankees pick up a game a week, which is feasible, they’ll overtake the Sox in late July. There’s still enough time in the season for the Yankees to catch them by picking up a game every other week. We’ve seen it before.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Would the Real Josh Beckett Please Stand Up

Would you rather have the Beckett of 2006 or the Beckett of 2007? Would you rather have an innings horse with an ERA north of 5.00 or an injury prone Cy Young contender? Would you rather have Steve Trachsel or Rich Harden? Rob Neyer blogged about that this morning on ESPN.com (Insider required):

So it's just coincidental that this particular pitcher with a history of serious blister problems tore some skin off the middle finger of his pitching hand? It's just coincidental that when Beckett finally managed to make more than 30 starts -- last year -- he also gave up 36 homers and posted the worst ERA, by far, of his career? Sure. Anything's possible.

As I've written many times, though, I think it's more likely that Beckett simply is not built to pitch effectively and give his team 200 innings. He can do one or the other. Not both. This season, Beckett's apparently decided to pitch effectively. Which was great while it lasted.
I will always vote for the potential Cy Young pitcher over the crappy pitcher. When that great pitcher puts it all together, even only for 160 innings vs 200 innings, you're getting more quality starts typically.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Who Wants ARod? We have Lowell

We all know how Mike Lowell is tearing it up right now. Of course it's not realistic to expect him to continue this offensive onslaught, but I think it's reasonable to expect another .280/20/90 season from Lowell.

The big criticism of him during April was his 8 errors. Just a week ago today I wrote that Lowell's defense appeared to have regressed from last season:
A potent offensive attack will always make you forget about substandard defense. A near-.900 OPS, along with the 8th-most RBI in the league certainly help you overlook the crapload of errors. The fact is that Lowell's Zone Rating is at the lowest level of his career, at .739, compared to .811 from 2006. ARod's is .784 this year at the same position. I do think Lowell will improve. He's no Chuck Knoblauch.
Now Lowell's defense is right up there with his offense. His Zone Rating is up to .772 from .739 just a week ago and he hasn't committed an error yet this month. His OPS continues to hover over .900. The combination of offense and defense makes him extremely valuable. My vote is locking up Lowell for another 2 years now, maybe at $5 million per, and letting the fans know that he's our guy. That will end all this stupid ARod speculation.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Boston's 9th Batter Better Than Some Cleanup Hitters

The Red Sox are getting some solid production from their 9th spot in the batting order. For the season their OPS is .948, 122 points better than the 2nd best team, Texas. They've scored 17 runs, which is just about 10 percent of all runs scored by the Sox this season, which is a higher percentage than most teams.

With Pedroia finally hitting, this should only get better. Some say you can't expect Cora to continue raking like he has, but if Tito keeps managing the situations the right way it's certainly possible to see him hit .350ish.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Manny Stops by to Enlighten Us

Manny Ramirez wanted to clear the air about some issues, so he e-mailed me and asked me to post this to my blog for him*.

Hello my fans, this is Manny Ramirez, the leftfielder for the Boston Red Sox. Another winter meetings come and gone without me being traded, so you're stuck with me for another season. Or at least until midseason when the Sox decide to trade me. My advisors have advised me to get closer to the fans, so I've asked my friend to post this here. Curt Schilling, or Mouth, as we like to call him, told me this was a great way to get the fans to understand what's going on in my mind. And trust me, there's a lot.

You might ask why I'm not doing this on my own website, mannyramirez.com. Well I have people there who censor things I say. They don't want me to look bad. How could I possibly look bad just for telling you what I'm thinking, man? I have a lot of interesting things jingling around in my head, bro.

By the way, does anyone know why my teammates call Curt "Mouth"? He doesn't seem to have a large mouth. Maybe he got the nickname from the kid in Goonies. Man, I love that movie. And I love Baby Ruths. Mmmmm…. Baby Ruth….

Anyway, I want to set the record straight, man. I never demanded to be traded, man. I love Boston. I think I know what happened. Theo misunderstood my request. When he was leaving the Red Sox last winter he was going around asking players for the autographs. When he ran into me, he had an ice cream cone in his hand and it was pistachio. Now, pistachio is my favorite and I had to have it. So he asked me for my autograph and I told him, "Only if you trade me." I meant trade the ice cream cone for the autograph, but he got all huffy and told me he'd see what he could do. At the time I didn't understand. I thought he just really liked his ice cream cone and didn't want anyone else having it, but the next day I saw in the news that I had demanded a trade. That's not me, man. I just want to play baseball and the fans have been very good to me.

Sports talk radio is another story. Mouth keeps telling me to not listen to it, but I can't help it. Papi rode in my car one day and put it on WEEI and I haven't been able to find the remote to my stereo since then so I can't change it. This "Big O" guy is a real prick. He and his entourage on the afternoon show always trash on me for being hurt. I really was hurt last year. I just want to play baseball, man. I wouldn't fake an injury because I want to hit. I don't know what tendonitis it, but it's what the Sox trainer says I have. It might have something to do with being stung by a bee. I hate bees. They hurt. Someone told me they die after stinging someone, so that makes me happy.

I'm starting to come out of my slump right now. The reason I wasn't hitting well was because my puppy was sick all month and it was all I could think of. But Little Manny is all better now and I'm ready to rip it up! Thanks for sticking with me!

*Not really.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

David Ortiz Is Not a Roider

The seemingly innocent comments David Ortiz made about not being 100% positive that he didn't inadvertently take steroids in the DR when he was younger created a storm on WEEI. Must have been a slow sports news day. Glen Ordway was yelling at callers about being naive because it was clear Ortiz had taken steroids. He asked one of the resident baseball "experts," Steve Buckley I think, about Ortiz's power numbers, and Buckley said there had been a "dramatic increase" in Ortiz's power numbers when he came to Boston. Care to back that up with some facts, Buck? I didn't think so.

How about this? David Ortiz didn't play much in Minnesota. He was young and had not yet reached his prime. Your age 27 year is generally considered a baseball player's prime, and Ortiz reached that in his first year in Boston, 2003. Here's his AB/HR progression:

2001: 16.8
2002: 20.6
2003: 14.5 Age 27
2004: 14.2
2005: 12.8
2006: 10.3
2007: 14.3

Looks like a pretty standard progression for a power hitter. Nothing dramatic. If you look at Barry Bonds, his was slightly more pronounced, but at the age of 35, when most players are declining. I hate it when sports writers and radio personalities try to make stories out of nothing and can't back it up with facts, so they just yell.

Another Joe Morgan Chat (For Real This Time)

This post marks my 100th post since moving from my old website to Blogger. And what better way to mark the anniversary than by mocking Joe Morgan? This chat is from this morning. Let’s get started. As always, my comments are in italics.

Lane (Kukuihaele, HI): Do you think the Yankees' position players really care about Roger Clemens not traveling with the team when he isn't pitching?
Joe Morgan: I can't answer that because I don't know what they think individually. I do not know if they want all that to happen. But they will always say the right thing.

Then why in the world did you choose this question to answer? The guy isn’t asking for facts; just your opinion. That’s what you’re here for.

Brian (Champaign, IL): What are your thoughts on the quick starts of the Cubs free agent pitching signings, Lilly and Marquis? Will they go on to have strong seasons, or will they wilt this summer as the bats heat up and the wind blows out at Wrigley?
Joe Morgan: Well that is hard to predict. Lilly does allot you to get the ball in the air. But so far they have done well. The Cubs should be better with all the money they have spent, and I think they are.

Another infuriating comment about the Cubs and how their free spending should equal success. All you need to do is look at the Yankees to see that spending a ton of money does not guarantee success. Of course the Yankees define success as a World Series title, but it still applies. Still no insight from Joe.

Muggsi (Newport, Rhode Island): Hi Joe, please answer a Tigers question for me. I'm curious about the work that Lloyd McClendon is doing with Curtis Granderson. He's not striking out as much (for now), and he seems to be a little more patient. But he always seems to be in 0-2 counts. Should this be addressed, and if so, will he become a better hitter because of it? Thanks for your response.
Joe Morgan: He will be a better hitter with patience and and once he learns how to handle pitch counts. You do not want to be 0-2. I talked to him last season and he is a very smart player, and I think he will be a very good player. I think McClendon can really help him if they work together.

“You do not want to be down 0-2.” Wow. Brilliant. Maybe these chatters should be sending these messages to guys like Rob Neyer or Buster Olney; guys who know baseball and stats.

Chad, MN: Hello Joe, I've been a huge Braves fan since 1983. My hopes are high for the playoffs this year. What do you think?
Joe Morgan: Well I think the Braves are back and they will be a factor in the East and in the Wild Card. I think you should be optimistic.

The Braves are back and will be a factor! Good analysis, Joe.

Paddy (St. Louis, MO): Joe, How do you and other veterans feel about the armor that a soon to be record holder wears on his elbow? I would like to have seen the numbers Mays and Frank Robinson would have put up wearing a shin guard on their elbow and standing on the plate.
Joe Morgan: Well you cannot compare anything anymore anyway. I would have loved to see what thoose guys would have done with the smaller ball parks and livelier baseballs. But Barry is not the only one who wears armor. It is what it is. It is a different game today.

This is probably the smartest thing he’s ever said. Although you can compare players, as proven by guys like Bill James and Rob Neyer, things are completely different. And I don’t think guys like Hank Aaron worried too much about being plunked. The body armor doesn’t affect their hitting; it just helps them avoid injury.

Chris (NY,NY): Hey Joe!! Big fan!! I love when you say "slidepiece"!!! ANyway, what do you think about Clemens? I think he's gonig to get shelled in the AL. And I can't wait! Looking forward to a summer of him watching Ortiz balls fly out of the park
Joe Morgan: I don't think he will get shelled. He is a good pitcher and I think he will pitch well. If he felt that he was not rerady, he would not have comeback this early. I think he will do well. Besides the Yankees will score five or six runs a game for him.

I didn’t know Joe Morgan had any fans. And what’s this “slidepiece” he refers to? Someone comment it here if you know. And again with Joe and his opinions with nothing to back them up. And of course Clemens would come back this early; he was offered $28 million to!

Al (San Francisco): What trades, if any, do you see the Mets making this summer?
Joe Morgan: I mean they need starting pitching because even their best pitchers are towards the end of their careers. You always need some pitching. But I cannot say who they will get.

Why does Joe choose these questions to answer if he can’t even speculate? Maybe because he barely has anyone sending him questions?

Brad(NM): Do you think run production was the difference maker between choosing NY over Houston?
Joe Morgan: No I think the fact that Houston does not look like they have a chance to win the division played in the decision, and the fact that New York is still New York. Also don't discount the amount of money New York gave him.

Yes, Joe! Yes! Well done.

JP (OC, CA): Joe, What do you think about the current Dodgers lineup, and do you think they need to add a big bat to be a contender this year?
Joe Morgan: Well everyone can use an extra bat or pitcher. But in the West I think the Dodgers have the best chance of winning because I like their mixture of veterans and young players. But everyone needs another bat and everyone needs another pitcher right now.

Another comment about everyone needing pitching. And this time he added in the fact that everyone needs another bat. So if everyone needs another bat and another pitcher, doesn’t that negate everyone else’s needs? So no one needs anything? My head hurts.

Corey ((san diego)): Joe Please answer, what do the padres need to do to win the division against the much favored dodgers
Joe Morgan: Well they are in the same situations as the Dodgers, they need another the bat and they need Maddux and Wells to hold up over the course of the season. The Padres need another bat.

So what you’re saying then is that they don’t need anything?

Joseph Feldstein (Stamford, CT): Behind Glavine, Maine, Perez, and Pelfrey who should be that 5th starter until Pedro returns?
Joe Morgan: I really like Maine and I think he will be a very good pitcher. I think the Mets are going to win the East.

No, Joe, I don’t think you read the question. See, he listed 4 starters and asked you who should be the 5th. You can’t name one of the 4 that he listed. Joe must have been getting tired; this is near the end of the chat.

Alon (Brooklyn): Do you see MLB bringing in instant replay in after all the botched calls so far?
Joe Morgan: I would only want to see it used on home runs, whether a ball was fair or foul or over the line or not. Other than that I do not want to see instant replay because you would have to review too many plays, and we would have four hour games instead of the three hour 59 minute ones.

Wait, was that a joke from Joe there? Was that funny? I say no.

As always, this was a fun little exercise. I’d like to post an entry soon where I answer your questions like I’m Joe Morgan. Post some questions in the comments or e-mail me at redsoxstatsguy@gmail.com.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Baseball Prospectus Does My Work For Me

I was going to do a comparison of VORP to show how virtually worthless Clemens is, but Joe Sheehan at Baseball Prospectus has already done it for me. How convenient!

Clemens Makes no Financial Sense for the Yankees

Take a look at this article by Darren Rovell. Some great stuff here and lots of statistics, which is why you come here. And you probably also come to my blog because you hate the Yankees and Clemens and this article feeds into that hatred. Enjoy!

Oh, and my two cents on the Hall of Fame cap is that no one should care which hat Clemens or anyone else wears. Why would you care. In Roger’s case in particular, he’s a hired gun now. He should go in with an interlocking NY, B, and whatever the hell the Astros logo is, all mixed together.

 

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Another Joe Morgan Chat Wrap

Listening to Joe Morgan butcher the name "Lincecum" on Sunday Night Baseball tonight reminded me that it's time to dissect one of his chats again. Like before, my comments are in italics. Enjoy.

It starts with a friendly hello from Joe: "Good morning. This week wasn't as interseting as last week in baseball. Let's get started."

You just know he's the same way with his wife. "Let's get to bed. Tonight won't be as good as last night. Let's get started."

Jeff (Brooklyn): If you are managing the Yankees right now, what do you do to turn their losing streak around?

Joe Morgan: Well, the good thing is you have a veteran ball club. Last year they got off to a slow start after some guys were injured. The teams in front of you will have some adversity as well. You just have to keep playing. It's a long season.

Joe Morgan: If you have a lot of young players than it's more difficult, because they're looking for immediate results, quick results. It's tougher for younger players.

Brilliant, Joe. "You just have to keep playing." Did he even answer the question? I say no. I also wonder if he types his own answers or if he has an ESPN staffer typing them for him. Whoever it is, they suck at spelling. I prefer to think it's Joe.

Okay, I just realized this is the same chat as the last one. I just skipped these last time. I knew it was too good to be true that Joe might actually do a chat a week. I guess 8 questions and 2 games a week is too much.

Anyway, watching Sunday Night Baseball just got more interesting for me. My wife is watching something on MTV, I think, where they keep bleeping out almost everything someone says. But all I can hear from her TV is the bleeping. So whenever Joe Morgan is talking I like to pretend ESPN is bleeping him out because what he's saying is so stupid. Yes, I'm a college graduate. Can't you tell?

Maybe one day I'll do a live blog of a game Morgan does and simply break down things he says. That sounds fun... although I'm not sure I'd have a TV at the end of the game.

Steinbrenner Hates Being in Last Place

The New York Yankees rank dead last in MLB in innings pitched by starters, at an average of 4.94 innings per start. That's an alarming number. The Red Sox are getting 6.24. They also rank 27th and 25th in starters' ERA and BAA, respectively. The Red Sox are 8th and 3rd. They're dead last in quality starts, tied with the Marlins at 8. The Red Sox have 17.

So what do the Yankees do? They go out and sign a guy who averaged 5.9 innings per start last year. In the NL Central. He's not likely to average more than that in the AL East, meaning another 3 innings per start for the already taxed bullpen. I already have my doubts about how Clemens was better from age 35-44 than he was from 25-34. We'll see how he does at the age of 45 in the AL East.

Clemens signed a staggering pro-rated $28 million contract, meaning he'll make $18.5 million. That's approximately $1 million per start. Just another overpaid Yankee. This brings the Yankee payroll well north of $200 million.

Yes, I hate the Yankees, but I respect a lot of their players. I hate Roger Clemens and can't respect him much at all.

Money quote from Roger: "Let's face it -- these guys know how to win." Roger, I think they may have forgotten. It's been 6.5 years since they won the Series.

Sidney Ponson Still Sucks

But the Sox had a hard time putting him away today, needing an error by the pitcher to get the extra run they needed. Here's the lowdown on Ponch... er... Ponson:
  • 5 teams in the last 5 seasons
  • Allowing nearly two baserunners per inning
  • 6.42 ERA, 352nd out of 430 pitchers
  • .336 BAA, which is like a whole team of Hall of Famers facing him all the time
  • Sucking up $1 million of the Twins $71 million payroll
  • Generously listed at 258 pounds
And yet the potent Sox offense struggled to get runs across. They had plenty of opportunities, with 12 baserunners on in just over 5 innings. Maybe it was the lack of Manny's bat in the lineup, but they sucked offensively today. And Schilling almost blew it in the 7th, needing to be yanked in favor of my hero Okajima. You know Schilling hates it when he gets lifted in the middle of an inning.

On a bright note, Pedroia is starting to heat up, going 3-4 today with 2 doubles to raise his batting average to .239. His OPS is almost at .700!

The Sox keep rolling, but the Yankees are starting to, as well. The Yanks are now alone in 2nd place, 5.5 games behind the Sox. And they've just signed Clemens, which deserves its own post.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

News Flash: Pedroia Hits!

With tonight's 2 for 2 performance, Dustin Pedroia officially crossed the Mendoza line and settled in at a comfortable .206 batting average. His OPS also crossed .600. He's now almost as hot as Manny.

Dice-K Doesn't Like Men On Base

From Buster Olney's blog this morning, a good follow-up to part of my mailbag from this morning:

Opposing hitters have a .280 on-base percentage against Daisuke Matsuzaka with nobody on base, and a .375 on-base percentage with runners on base; nine of the 15 walks he has issued have come with runners on base. Spoke with Boston general manager Theo Epstein, and he said the difference is Matsuzaka has tended to rush in his delivery when he works from the stretch. When he works from the windup, there are mechanisms in place that slow down his delivery, built-in pauses that allow him to gather his body before he launches himself toward the hitter. On Friday's "Baseball Tonight", we timed his windup and delivery, from the point that he begins to move his hands to when he releases the ball, at 4.0 seconds.

When he works from the stretch, there are not -- and cannot be -- the same kind of mechanisms. From the point his hands begin to move to when he releases the ball when working from the stretch, the time is 0.7 seconds. It's an issue of mechanics, of Matsuzaka gathering himself before he delivers the ball, rather than rushing, and Epstein indicated the Red Sox are confident they will work this out.

Mailbag, Part One

I have so many questions that I'm breaking this up into two parts. Let's start:

Try as I might, I just can't get excited about Coco Crisp this year. He's made several good catches (minus that one bullpen debacle) but I just find myself saying "eh" whenever he comes up to bat. What's your opinion and how about some stats to let me know if I'm justified or just plain crazy. -Sarah

You're not alone, Sarah. But Coco does seem to be heating up, as evidenced by his .740 OPS over the past week. Sure, all he's doing is hitting singles, but you've got to heat up somehow. The big problem with Coco is he's not getting on base enough. His OBP is a pedestrian .286 with a .333 slugging. Those are awful numbers. You can rest assured, however, that if he continues with these numbers he will be replaced with someone, and they have choices of Wily Mo, David Murphy, or Jacoby Ellsbury. One good thing about Coco is that his defensive Zone Rating is far better than it was last year, at .921, compared to .837. So he seems to be covering more ground this year.

I love the comparisons of baseball players to other famous folk. The Ron Jeremy comparison was hilarious! Keep up the good work! -Sarah

Thanks, Sarah. Those are fun. I'll try to keep coming up with more.

Stop ripping on the Yankess bub…..don’t Red Sox fans have anything else to do but write about the Yankees? This is ludicrous. Nice work by the Bosox spending 14 trillion Yen on Dice-K and his 5.45 ERA. -Marc

It's always good to see a Yankee fan chiming in, Marc. Sorry you're offended by the stats your team is putting out there. They are pretty offensive! This is going to be a rough season for Yankee fans. You'll probably lose a lot of 15-11 games. But there's good news! The Yankees expected win-loss record is 3 games better than their actual record, meaning they've been a little unlucky thus far. They're scoring more runs than they give up, meaning they should be at worst a .500 team. Keep your chin up, Marc!

What's wrong with Dice-K? Should I be concerned about Dice-K? Is Dice-K a dud?
-Multiple readers

Let's not start calling him Matsu-suck-a just yet, folks. He has shown signs of dominance and is still striking out more than a batter per inning, which puts him in the top echelon of starters. He seems to have one bad inning every start that derails him. His WHIP is a respectable but not great 1.32 and his BAA is a solid .245. But he's walked 9 guys in his last 2 outings, compared to just 8 strikeouts. On the bright side, he's pitched very well in 3 out of 4 non-Yankee starts. Most pitchers struggle against the Yankee lineup; that's understandable. He did win both of his starts against the Yanks, thanks to some serious run support. Here's what I see with Dice-K: he seems to get very frustrated with the strike zone and he loses his cool and his concentration. He's accustomed to getting all the calls in Japan. He was the Greg Maddux of Japan, getting all the calls in his favor. But MLB umps don't do that for rookies; he needs to earn the calls, and he's not helping his cause by rolling his eyes after a call doesn't go his way, or by turning his back to the ump and putting his hands on his hips. But he's smart and he'll figure it out. I still think he'll finish the season with 15 wins, 200+ strikeouts and a sub-4.00 ERA.

Not sure why, but the fact that Lowell has committed more errors already than last year doesn't really bother me. He is a solid guy at third, and I guess I am giving him a lot of slack. -Dan

A potent offensive attack will always make you forget about substandard defense, Dan. A near-.900 OPS, along with the 8th-most RBI in the league certainly help you overlook the crapload of errors. The fact is that Lowell's Zone Rating is at the lowest level of his career, at .739, compared to .811 from 2006. ARod's is .784 this year at the same position. I do think Lowell will improve. He's no Chuck Knoblauch (sorry, Marc).

What's with the change from all stats to some stats and some pictures, opinions, etc? -Matt

Good question, Matt. Last year I had a lot more time to research the stats to make my argument and type long entries. This year I have taken on more responsibility at work and have less time at home, too. So when an idea or opinion pops into my head, I quickly type it up and send it to the blog. You get more frequent, shorter entries with some more humor and pictures. I hope people like the change. My traffic certainly indicates that they do.

More to come soon. If you want to chime in, send me a note at redsoxstatsguy@gmail.com.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Bartolo Colon is Andre The Giant


See for yourself.

Gil Meche is Better Than the Yankee Staff

According to Buster Olney, “The New York Yankees' starters have generated nine starts of six or more innings this year, and Gil Meche -- the pitcher widely mocked for being the worst signing in the majors last winter -- has seven.”

 

Fun with Yankee stats!

Manny is not an Easy-Bake Oven

Boy, Manny’s heating up awfully quickly, isn’t he? Right after I told you not to worry about him, he starts scorching the ball. He has 4 straight multi-hit games and is batting .471 with 3 HR and 6 RBI over that span.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Random Notes

Okay, so I apparently unknowingly ripped off Thursday's top Boston Herald headline with my "Tom, Say it ain't so!" No one reads the Herald anyway. What junk.

I can't believe Ron Jeremy made an appearance on my blog, the day after I called it a family blog. I'm not sure what type of families are watching Ron Jeremy movies, but I'm sure I went to college with some. And trust me, typing "Ron Jeremy" into Google Images is a fun experience when you have Safe Search turned off. Don't try this at home, kids. And don't try this at work, adults.

Matsuzaka: not looking good.

Hazel Mae: always looks good.

Say it ain't so, Tom!

Dustin Pedroia is Ron Jeremy?


Keeping along the same lines as my Kei Igawa is Napoleon Dynomite, today I present you with Dustin Pedroia is Ron Jeremy. Why? Because they're both small men who possess something required for their job that is larger than you'd expect. With Dustin Pedroia it's his abnormally large swing. With Ron Jeremy.... well, I don't think I need to tell you that. If you ever watch Pedroia swing the bat, you know what I mean. This guy has the swing of a 6'5" power hitter. He needs to watch some film of David Eckstein. Maybe he'll start hitting.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Stats Guy Mailbag

Something I used to do on my old website was a semi-regular mailbag. I’d like to start one up again, but I need your help. Send me questions that you’d like to see answered. Questions can be about anything at all, even non-baseball related, and I’ll answer questions that are deemed appropriate for a “family” blog. redsoxstatsguy@gmail.com. I hope to have a mailbag up by the weekend.

Joe Morgan's Ridiculous Chat

I’m a little late on this, but Joe Morgan held a chat on ESPN.com last Friday, answering approximately 6 questions before falling asleep for his afternoon nap. Here are some highlights, with my comments in italics:

Jacob (IL): Biggest surprise of the season so far?
Joe Morgan: Probably that the Yankees have struggled as they have. I thought they would get off to a good start this year because of all the struggles last year. That's been a surprise. Another surprise has been how poorly the Cubs have played. After spending all that money, I thought they would improve, but I don't see it.

RSSG: Not sure how either of these are surprises. We’ve known for months that the Yankees had an awful pitching staff. And as Joe later points out in a different answer, “the name of the game is starting pitching.” Apparently he forgot that for this answer. And spending money doesn’t guarantee wins, especially when they spent their money poorly.

Rob Clearwater, FL: Joe, With the redsox 1-4 starters giving up just 2-3 earned runs a start and with John Lester's anticipated return, should the rest of the AL east be worried about the redsox really seperating from the pack?
Joe Morgan: I think they should be worried, because Manny Ramirez hasn't hit like he will. I think they should be worried about that. But make no mistake about it, those pitchers will not continue to shut people out day in day out. But like all the other teams, Boston is going to have trouble with their pitching at some point. But I wouldn't say the Red Sox will pitch like this for the entire year, but if you're in the division, you have to be weary.

RSSG: Nice job using stats to back up your argument, Joe. Oh, that’s right. Stats don’t matter. He uses absolutely nothing to make his point. He’s so aggravating. And I love how the last sentence ends with “you have to be weary.” I think Joe was thinking about his upcoming nap!

Blake (NY): Hey Joe, Does Arod have the most physical tools in baseball history? I'm not asking is he the best player in history but for just straight up baseball gifts can you think of anyone who can match him? Thanks so much.
Joe Morgan: I don't think there's any doubt that he's one of the greatest physical specimans in the game. He's got speed, strength. He's got 500 HRs. There's no doubt in my mind that what you say is true.

RSSG: Apparently Joe is ignoring those pesky “stats” again. 500 HR for ARod? Eventually, sure. Not yet.

Sausage King (Chicago): As a former player and manager, what's the most important thing that managers do? Set lineups?
Joe Morgan: That's a very good question, becuase I've always felt that when I played, other than Sparky Anderson and Robinson, I never thought that the manager was as important then as it is now. It is far more difficult now to be a manager than before. There are so many guys with long term contracts and guys who are into statistics. That's not their fault, because everyone hypes the statistics and talks about statistics. I'll give you an example, I saw a quote that Billy Hall had a monster year last year, but only drove in 70-something runs. He hit 30 HRs, but only drove in 70 runs. That's not a monster year, but that's how people compare statistics. My point is you can't compare things with statistics. Now, a manager has to deal with all that. It's more difficult to be a manager now than before. I think a manager has a greater impact now than he had before.

RSSG: ARGGHHHHH!!! Hall had 35 HR and 85 RBI with an .898 OPS, which is phenomenal for a CF. And he spent about 80% of his season batting 6th or lower, reducing his RBI opportunities. You can't fault him because the guys in front of him didn’t get on.

Otto (CA): Hello Joe. What is your thought on all these specialists in the bullpens these days? Is it worth having a guy like Mike Myers who is in just to face Ortiz and can't even get that done?
Joe Morgan: I hate them, because they're taking a spot in the big leagues. It's become more like football where you have a third-down specialists. I like players to be players, I like pitchers to be pitchers. You're taking up a roster spot to come in and face one guy. If you get him out or not, you're out of the game. I hate that we've become that specialized. I don't like one-dimensional players.
Joe Morgan: There's limited use for them. There's limited time for the manager to use them in a game.
Joe Morgan: As the old saying goes, nothing personal, it's just my opinion about how the game should be played. I'm sure Mike Myers and those guys are nice guys.

RSSG: Apparently Joe kept nodding off in the middle of his thoughts. This was the end of the chat, for obvious reasons. So let me pose this question to you, Joe: If you don’t have “specialists,” what do you replace them with? You can’t have more starters. So do you replace them with more bench guys? Specializing in certain hitting situations? Yeah, you see where I’m going here. Moron.

This was a fun little exercise. I might do this more often. I’ve never actually read Morgan’s chats because they’re infuriating, but this had a cathartic effect on me.