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April 9, 2012
Annotated Box Score: Mike Sweeney Eats a Banana
This is something called an Annotated Box Score. It's a bunch of items that come out of one game. This game was between the Angels and Royals on Friday night, though it applies to the entire weekend. Four items today: Jeff Francoeur and a fantastically inside pitch; the Angels' depth and the problems it creates; Kendrys Morales' left-foot toe tap; and Mike Sweeney eating a banana. Scroll on down, now.
Jeff Francoeur hit this pitch fair.
This pitch was 1.965 feet from the center of the plate, which is to say that pitch was more than 15 inches inside. Carlos Quentin saw 13 pitches that far inside in 2011 and was hit by eight of them. Carlos Quentin was hit by 15 pitches in 2011 that were less inside than that pitch. If you were a major-league hitter and pitchers threw only pitches that were 1.965 from the center of the plate, you’d have a 1.000 on-base percentage and be deceased. Jeff Francoeur does not have a 1.000 OBP on such pitches.
Every team wants a good bench. Two good players are better than one, for tactical purposes and as insurance, and three good players are better than two, and the math progresses upward, but there can be a downside. If managers aren't careful, they end up like Jack Tripper trying to juggle two dates on the same night.
And a third error on a grounder on Sunday. There was also a bunt single at him. He did convert three outs in the two games: a pop-up, a line drive, and a groundball at him. But it was hard to watch.
"I'd be lying if I said otherwise," Trumbo said Saturday when asked if his confidence was shaken a bit. "It's not that I don't have confidence in myself, but I know how hard the pitchers work to get outs, and any time you don't pick them up, I feel as bad as anybody.”
Bobby Abreu is also on the Angels’ bench, and Bobby Abreu really doesn’t want to be on the bench, so the Angels are trying anything they can to get him off the bench. Saturday, that meant playing Bobby Abreu in left field, which meant moving Vernon Wells to center field.
There’s no agreement on Wells, but on average the metrics considered him around average in left field in 2011 (930 innings):
There is consensus that Wells was a bad center fielder. From 2008 to 2010 (3,500 innings), before he moved to left:
And there is a near consensus that Peter Bourjos has been somewhere between very good and historically good. In his career (1,700 innings):
Averaging the four systems and hoping they get us close to some sort of truth, we find Bobby Abreu costing the Angels nearly a run every 10 games in the field in left, and Vernon Wells costing the Angels more than a run every 10 games in center field.
Kendrys Morales got a standing ovation on Friday night and went on to get hits in five consecutive at-bats on Friday and Saturday, all from the left side. Morales has always hit well from the left side, but from the right side, he’s been Yuniesky Betancourt, with a .255/.283/.400 career line. His 2009 success owed plenty to a huge mid-season improvement against lefties, as he replaced a big leg lift with a slight toe tap, shortened his swing, started hitting changeups for the first time, and crushed left-handed pitching for a .365/.383/.649 line in his final 74 plate appearances against them.
In his second at-bat Friday, he hit this pitch
to the wall in right-center. It was an out, because that’s the hardest place in Angel Stadium to hit a home run, but with five extra feet of carry in a day game it might have been extra bases. Keep betting the under, but that’s a start.
It’s hard to look super cool while eating a banana. This is true no matter how cool you are, whether you're French singer Jacques Brel, famous actress Jada Pinkett-Smith, acclaimed poet Miler Williams or even five-time All-Star Mike Sweeney. Five-time All-Star Mike Sweeney, eating a banana:
If you are likely to be in a situation where you are eating a banana on television, there are some practical tips to follow:
1. Use a fork and knife.
More tips for how to eat a banana.