CSS Button No Image Css3Menu.com

Baseball Prospectus home
  
  
Click here to log in Click here for forgotten password Click here to subscribe

Premium and Super Premium Subscribers Get a 20% Discount at MLB.tv!

No Previous Article
<< Previous Column
The Daily Prospectus: ... (06/29)
Next Column >>
The Daily Prospectus: ... (07/03)
No Next Article

July 2, 2001

The Daily Prospectus

The Weekend That Was

by Joe Sheehan

Just some of the notes I made this weekend...

  • I've never led a column with an umpire comment, so I'll put this first. The last play of Saturday night's Padre/Dodger game saw one of the great displays of men-in-black hustle ever. D'Angelo Jimenez drove a ball to the warning track in right-center field. Shawn Green caught up to it, bobbled it, watched it bounce off the wall and back into his glove. Umpire Rob Drake made the correct call of "no catch," although the game ended seconds later when Jimenez was thrown out trying to stretch the play into a triple.

    The thing is, Drake didn't make the call from 50 feet away, or from somewhere in short center field. Drake was right next to Green, having run about 200 feet in a dead sprint to be right on the ball. It was that hustle that enabled Drake to make the right call--had he been further away, Green's body would have shielded him from seeing the ball hit the wall and there's a good chance he would have missed the call.

    The play in itself was irrelevant. The performance by Drake, though, illustrated just how far we've come in the two years post-Richie Phillips. Confrontations are way down, plays like the one above are way up, and the overall level of umpiring is rising. I've had precious few nice things to say about Bud Selig, but his handling of the mass resignation of 1999, and the actions subsequent to it, was excellent. The game is better for them.

  • Memo to Brian Cashman: recreating the 1998 Braves shouldn't be a primary goal right now:

    
                    ERA     IP     AVG   OBP   SLG   K/9   BB/9   K/BB
    Pitcher X      3.12   34.2    .255  .325  .387   8.6    3.1   2.75
    Pitcher Y      3.94   32.0    .286  .326  .452   5.9    2.0   3.00
    
    One of these pitchers has just been designated for assignment. The other was worth a B pitching prospect--a former million-dollar signee--in trade. Can you tell which is which?

    Of course, you can; I gave it away in the first blurb. The Yankees cut loose Brian Boehringer to make room for Mark Wohlers, who cost them Ricardo Aramboles. Wohlers is a nice comeback story, but he's just another relief pitcher right now, no better or worse than a couple dozen other guys.

    If the Padres can pick up Boehringer, they will essentially have gotten D'Angelo Jimenez for free, because there's just not any real difference between Boehringer and Jay Witasick.

    "Keith and Joe on the Bombers"...coming soon to a browser near you if this keeps up.

  • One of the big stories of the early part of the season was the surprise teams at the front of three divisions: the Twins in the AL Central, the Phillies in the NL East, and the Cubs in the NL Central. Each got off to a good start, but there was skepticism--OK, I was skeptical--that the three were for real, and expected each to fall off the pace and end up closer to .500 than glory.

    And sure enough, they all did begin to play down to expectations. But that's not important. What's important is that they all bounced back, and are now leading their divisions again. As good as the starts for all of these teams were, what's been more impressive is the way they each recovered from their first tough stretch of the season:

    • The Twins lost eight of nine games in the middle of June, capped by losing two of three at Jacobs Field to fall out of first place. Since then, though, they've won six of seven, and have taken advantage of the Indians' stumble to re-establish a three-game lead in the AL Central.

    • The Phillies watched a six-game lead disappear in a span of two weeks, as they endured a 7-16 stretch that threatened to bury them. But after being swept by the Braves at home last week, they rebounded to sweep a five-game series from the once-surging Florida Marlins, and are back in the lead in the NL East.

    • The Cubs lost eight straight games in mid-May, sparking fears that the June swoon had arrived a few weeks early. But then they won their next 12 games, and have held serve since then, going 13-13 and hanging on to first place in the NL Central (helped, in part, by the underachieving Astros and Reds).

    A surprise team in May is a nice story. A surprise team in July is a contender. These three have all proven that they're not going away, and will be forcing the nominal favorites in their divisions to take them seriously throughout the second half.

Joe Sheehan is an author of Baseball Prospectus. You can contact him by clicking here.

Joe Sheehan is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Joe's other articles. You can contact Joe by clicking here

Related Content:  The Call-up

0 comments have been left for this article.

No Previous Article
<< Previous Column
The Daily Prospectus: ... (06/29)
Next Column >>
The Daily Prospectus: ... (07/03)
No Next Article

RECENTLY AT BASEBALL PROSPECTUS
Fantasy Article The Stash List: 15th Edition
Premium Article Minor League Update: Games of Monday, July 2...
Premium Article What You Need to Know: July 29, 2014
BBQ State of Mind
Notes About Baseball: The Logistics of Human...
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: The Migration of the B...
Premium Article Baseball Therapy: Trading Ryan Howard For No...

MORE FROM JULY 2, 2001
The Week in Quotes: June 25-July 1

MORE BY JOE SHEEHAN
2001-07-11 - The Daily Prospectus: The All-Star Game
2001-07-05 - The Daily Prospectus: Passing a Marker
2001-07-03 - The Daily Prospectus: Filling out the Roster...
2001-07-02 - The Daily Prospectus: The Weekend That Was
2001-06-28 - The Daily Prospectus: Pouting
2001-06-27 - The Daily Prospectus: Rethinking a Premise
2001-06-25 - The Daily Prospectus: Hope and Faith, Revisi...
More...

MORE THE DAILY PROSPECTUS
2001-07-11 - The Daily Prospectus: The All-Star Game
2001-07-05 - The Daily Prospectus: Passing a Marker
2001-07-03 - The Daily Prospectus: Filling out the Roster...
2001-07-02 - The Daily Prospectus: The Weekend That Was
2001-06-29 - The Daily Prospectus: The Yankees
2001-06-28 - The Daily Prospectus: Pouting
2001-06-27 - The Daily Prospectus: Rethinking a Premise
More...