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April 15, 2002

The Daily Prospectus

Catching Up

by Joe Sheehan

I saw very little baseball over the weekend, taking off early Friday with my wife to celebrate our sixth wedding anniversary. Even though it was only a few days, I feel like I missed a lot. I guess that's one of the great things about baseball: so much happens every single day.

Anyway, I'm still playing catch-up, so here are some disjointed thoughts as we begin the week.

  • The Tigers are a legitimate 0-11. Yesterday's loss, while unfortunate, was not typical of their start: they're falling behind early in most games, and don't have the horses to make up any deficit. Prior to Sunday, the Tigers' starting pitchers had taken their last eight losses, and been given a grand total of 19 runs in those games.

    The Tigers' best shot for a win this week will come Thursday, when Jeff Weaver faces Ryan Rupe in Tampa before they go to Comiskey Park for a weekend series. If they haven't won by the time they leave Florida, 0-17 will be a realistic possibility.

  • The reverse of the Tigers is the Indians, who until Saturday's come-from-behind win had seen their rotation rack up nine consecutive Ws. They've been a little lucky in that neither Ryan Drese nor Danys Baez has been all that effective, but the Tribe offense has scored 42 runs in their five starts.

    Driving the Tribe's success is that their bullpen has been great, the third-best in baseball over the first few weeks according to Michael Wolverton's Adjusted Runs Prevented, with everyone save closer Bob Wickman (essentially neutral) making a positive contribution. Indians relievers have yet to surrender a lead bequeathed to them.

  • Not to be a wet blanket, but as good as the Giants have played so far, their team ERA of 1.57 is a distinct mismatch for their strikeout rate of 4.46 per nine innings. Opening the season with 12 games in Pac Bell Park and Dodger Stadium, nine of those against two of the worst offensive teams in the game, has been the biggest factor in the success of their moundsmen.

    Giants not named Barry Bonds are hitting .239/.306/.340. Heck, it's actually worse than that, because Giants' pitchers are hitting .385/.448/.577. The Giants open a 12-game road trip tonight, and by the end of it, we should have a better idea of how good they're going to be this season.

  • Isn't the 11 a.m. EDT start on Patriots Day one of the coolest things going? OK, it's probably not all that much fun for the players, but it's one of those quirky things that I'm glad to see hasn't gone by the wayside over the years.

    One of the stranger moments I've ever had as a baseball fan was on my honeymoon in Hawaii. The Patriots Day game begins at 5 a.m. out there, which is a very weird thing to see in the newspaper.

  • Has Bud Selig taken his show on the road? On the way back from Palm Springs, Sophia and I passed a bus with--I'm not making this up--"Faith and Hope Tours" painted on its side.

  • For those of you who might be wondering, the Baseball Prospectus entry in the League of Alternate Baseball Reality (LABR) is in last place, and has been there pretty much every day of the season. The problem is mostly the pitching, which was been hurt by Greg Maddux's absence, a lousy start by Wade Miller, and some bad luck with our middle relievers.

    It's still too early to panic, so we've just made some minor roster-tweaking moves along the way. If things get worse, though, the plan is to take Jeff Erickson of RotoWire to dinner, get him very drunk, and make trade offers until he breaks.

    Hey, it worked for Billy Beane.

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

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