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The problem with the "D-backs" jerseys is that it has that on "D-front".
Ian, I assume that this was one of three things: an attempt to promo KWC (if so, not very successful - although the other bands you played with sound pretty good); a reminiscence of a recent pleasant experience (moderately successfully), or a blatant example of rubbing our collective faces in it as you bounce from ballpark to ballpark (successful beyond your wildest dreams). I really, really hope you appreciate the blessings in your life, cause you got 'em major. (Even if your day job really is "so arcane and boring that it does not even warrant description", I would say that - on the whole - you are one lucky sonuvagun.
From the official rules of MLB:
The STRIKE ZONE is that area over home plate the upper limit of which is a horizontal line at the midpoint between the top of the shoulders and the top of the uniform pants, and the lower level is a line at the hollow beneath the kneecap. The Strike Zone shall be determined from the batter’s stance as the batter is prepared to swing at a pitched ball.
He did that on turf and he stumbled coming out of the box? Somebody nonchalanted that play for certain.
House Harper appears to be reversed; I believe the batter rampant should be a lefty swinger.
I don't know if Travis Snider's glove was injured on the play shown above where the ball bounced off of it, but I definitely think it was the "heel" of the glove and not the "heal". Unless the glove was injured.
Actually, there are four types of lies:
"Lies, damn lies, statistics and baseball statistics".
"Hit by the BUS". A new rototerm that is destined to join "Studs and Duds", "TINSTAAPP", "plexiglass principle" and all the rest of our fantasy baseball lexicon in the seasons to come. Thank you!
#4 isn't due to the historical procession of teams from the East to the West (after all, the oldest professional team hails from the midwestern metropolis of Cincinnati), or a bias towards the NY-Boston-Philly-DC print media capitals, but simply a reflection on the transit of that glorious orb, the Sun, and it's effect on the start and end of games. In other words, the Eastern games generally start earlier than the Central, and those of the Central before the West. Timezones, gentlemen and ladies, timezones.
I, for one, would be perfectly content with a seven-year projection. Ten years seems to me to be the equivalent of searching for signs of life on an extra-terrestrial planet with an optical telescope. What's the length of the average major-league career? Something like four years? I understand about the urge to get it right for a longer timeframe, but more correct over a shorter range is better, I feel.
Should the "Lonnie Stearns" in the third position of the Phillies trio be Lonnie "Skates" Smith?
Did anyone keep the stats? Well, at least five people did - four of my buddies and I had a Roto league for the SPBA. (Really.) And it finished in a first-place tie! Desperate doesn't even begin to describe how badly we missed Roto after our inaugural season in '89; we compiled stats from the USA Today weekly numbers using a pre-EXCEL spreadsheet.
From the Official Rules of Baseball (which include comments on specific plays as seen here):
Rule 2.00 (Infield Fly) Comment: On the infield fly rule the umpire is to rule whether the ball could ordinarily have been handled by an infielder—not by some arbitrary limitation such as the grass, or the base lines. The umpire must rule also that a ball is an infield fly, even if handled by an
outfielder, if, in the umpire’s judgment, the ball could have been as easily handled by an infielder. The infield fly is in no sense to be considered an appeal play. The umpire’s judgment must govern, and the decision should be made immediately.
Two things to note - 1) an outfielder CAN make an Infield Fly catch and 2) it is a JUDGMENT call, not one that can be appealed. Is there ANYONE who doesn't believe Kozma should have been camped under that pop-up?
Watch the video again, and this time look at the positioning of Kratz (the Phillies' catcher) at the plate. He's fully upright, reaching up for the ball, and the plate is easily reachable between his legs IF "CHEAP-SHOT" CHIPPER HAD TRIED TO SLIDE. Instead, Jones went in high, leading with his shoulder, like a football lineman trying to level an opponent. Good teammate? Maybe. Smart ballplayer? We've heard it many times, but this clip shows his decision-making skills are not always the best. BTW - Kratz is taller and heavier than Jones, and he's wearing protective gear.
Congratulations! (Damn). You'll be missed here and you'll be followed in Houston. It's been an honor and a pleasure.
Vasco de Gama? I think Ponce de Leon would be the explorer whose quest found its destination in the Giants clubhouse. Or were you refering to East Indian spices rather than the Fountain of Youth?
I found the Orioles comment "The Orioles' interest in Joe Blanton seems tied to these duel facts:" to be completely spurious - there was no mention of Alexander Hamilton or Aaron Burr, nor epees or sabers, nor pistols, or even white gloves. Is it possible that "duel" was simply a red herring meant to trick me into reading about Joe Blanton?
Politics(Vice-president) = Baseball(backup catcher).
So naturally Dick Nixon would know the O's substitute backstop.
"How can I say know to perfection?"
Do you mean "How can I say 'No' to perfection?" Perfection demands perfect spelling and grammar, my friend.
What were you Smoakin' when you wrote this piece?
IE7 under XP SP3.
Nice. Could you add mouseover comments on the headings, specifically what the "H" and "I" mean in the STARS column? Thanks!
Non Hittairre (or as Americans pronounce it, "Juan Pierre") has defensive value - a NEGATIVE defensive value. 65 year old beer vendors with full boxes of iced-down cold ones are taking the extra base on his rag arm and his routes to fly balls are making Hunter Pence feel nervous. (And we all know how Hunter loves to take the "scenic route" on his fly-catching expeditions...)
"If a right-handed batter is coming up, he puts the glove on the right hand steps on the rubber with his left foot and throws lefty. If a left-hander is coming up, he simply switches the glove, turns his body 180 degrees, and regains the platoon advantage."
I think this is exactly opposite the correct procedure. In order to obtain the platoon advantage Mr. Venditte would need to have his glove on the hand that is opposite the batter's box position of the hitter.
The Phillies success in 2012 hinges on the performance of their pitchers, particularly the starters; but if Freddy Galvis (or whoever replaces Utley at 2B) and Domonic Brown produce offensively, they have a pretty respectable squad. Granted, the "Galvis will hit" and "Dom Brown is back in town" likelihoods are pretty small, but that's where the payoffs for the Ruby Red Pinstripers will be found.
Is this Utley guy the one who posted a .259/.344/.425 line last year? As a Phillies fan I'm concerned about their offense, but I didn't think Utley was going to be much of a contributor this season, much like he wasn't last year. Howard's production is a loss, but a full year of Pence, no Ibanez, and a lot of Domonic Brown would go a long way towards righting the ship. Perhaps Polanco and Rollins will stay healthy enough to play in 120 games each, but it's a team built around great starting pitching, good defense (which is where Utley WILL be missed), and a solid bullpen. If no Utley and no Howard means that the Cholly Man has to look for some offense other than 3-run homers, that can only help their cause.
I agree, Andrew - compile the counting stats from the beginning of the season, and down the road if you need SAVEs or SBs you can adjust by making a trade or dropping an underperforming player for someone who can help you in a category you're lacking. Leagues with Utility spots see this all the time; the only exception is if the Draft/Auction leaves a stud on the table and you can scoop up a bargain into your Swingman/Utility opening.
"Judge not lest ye be judged" is absolutely appropriate, but also do not condone, enable or excuse the behavior. I dodged a bullet or two in my younger days (thanks to luck and genetics, not anything of my own doing) so I agree with KCBOOMER that the best liars on earth are addicts and only their actions speak to their true state of mind and heart. Steven, despite your kind sentiments, there is always collateral damage when an addict relapses and those who suffer must be the primary focus afterwards.
This page needs a link directly off the home page; someone already asked where that link was in the comments above, but there was no response. I've poked around the site and can't find a path to access the Transaction Browser except via this article.
"Yu got questions? BP got answers!"
Congratulations to both newly-minted BBWAA members and to the organization itself on this auspicious day!
Steve, were you drinking heavily while writing this piece? The reason I ask is that you seem to have "draughts" on the mind when you should have been thinking about "droughts". I can see where you might have gone astray if the local watering hole was offering cheap drafts...
Two items to note: Cruz did NOT get leather on the bloop by Craig; it was just out of his reach and was prevented from rolling away by the fortuitous circumstance of bouncing right into his foot (meaning that in this case at least, "booting the ball" was the best possible outcome) and it was Daniel Descalso, not "David", who manned the hot corner for the Redbirds post-Freese (who is a David).
I took a look at the PitchFX this morning, as I am wont to do whenever I think the zone has been abused. Everett didn't completely redefine a strike, but he certainly expanded the definition to include some points south of the border. The hitters stopped complaining, adjusted by going after the lower pitches, and gave Lohse and Wolf a little bit of an advantage, probably an extra strike per inning.
No mention of Mike Everett's high, wide and (especially) deep strike zone? Although, to their credit, the hitters stopped complaining about it after the second inning, there is no doubt that many of the swinging strikes in the lower part of the zone were due to a fear of being called out on pitches that were below the bottom of the true zone.
More than a little selection bias at work here, I would say. Did you hit the nail on the head of ANY of the AL post-season participants, Kevin? Methinks you are picking and choosing among the least apt of your assessments, but I find it hard to believe that you whiffed on ALL of them...
If the St. Louie squirrel shows up tomorrow at the Bank Park, MLB should investigate the Cardinal organization for transporting feral rodents across state lines for immoral purposes. Old Chollie should have his shootin' iron at the ready though, with some buckshot wadded up in the barrel.
TLR went over that in his post-game interview. 1) Garcia was very successful against Francisco previously (1 for 9, a single), 2) Francisco was 1 for 18 in the post-season for his career, 3) Francisco had not homered since May 25, over 100 PAs ago, 4) Carlos Ruiz has been a Cardinals-killer over the last few years.
All small-sample-size figures, but Tony wants to give the paying customers their money's worth, so he's going to manage the hell out of the game.
Polanco was on second after advancing because of the original ruling by the umpires that the play was "no catch"; when the runner is put in jeopardy by the umpire's call the umpire is then supposed to return the runner to the base he was at when put into that situation.
On the first catch by Granderson it should be noted that he took a first step TOWARDS the plate and then went sideways before finally deciding to race back to where he had to make a leaping grab. (The announcers mentioned it, so it must have been pretty obvious.)
How was Dan "That's Iassogna with one 'eye'" overall? The remark about Porcello's high strikes doesn't touch on whether AJ also benefited or if One-Eye had his usual bad game behind the plate.
Granted that the Cardinals are the top hitting team in the NL, the number of bloops they got last night (7 of 12, unless you also count the first 2 doubles by Pujols as well, since they were "well-placed" as opposed to "well-struck") was simply ridiculous. At some point in the last 2 innings Charlie Manuel must have been counting his fielders to see if he had all 9 out there.
And Skip Schumaker - SKIP SCHUMAKER! - of all people making the defensive play of the game has to rank right up there with the all-time unlikely events in NLDS history.
Throw BABIP out the window, give a web gem to a bad second baseman playing center field, and credit the game-winning HR to a pinch-hitter who's done it once before in his career and you have last night's contest in a nutshell.
Doncha just love post-season baseball?
I'm confused, does Vance Worley still exist?
Colin: First off, thank you for your service. Second, thank you for the BladeRunner reference. Third, thank you for one of the best "eddy in the river of life" pieces ever on BP.
I'm pretty sure that Royce Clayton is portraying "Miguel" Tejada and not Ruben; Royce would have to wear diapers to pull that one off!
And that same Chuck LaMar just resigned from his job with the Phillies as Director of Minor League Operations so that he can take over as GM of the Cubs, rumor says. If I were a fan of the National League's Chicago franchise I would be afraid, very afraid.
The only thing funnier than this is that I took my 4-year-old son to see the Phillies play the Giants in August of 1990; the Phils were dogmeat and they were just playing out the string (yeah, in AUGUST), but I wanted the little guy to learn to love baseball like his old man (never did happen). About 15,000 at Veteran's Stadium, nice sunny day, nobody except us and a pair of young couples in the entire upper deck. In the 7th inning, one of the young men says to the friends "Hey, let's get out of here before the traffic gets bad", and off they go. Did I mention that it was a Saturday (i.e. no traffic) and that Terry Mulholland was in the process of throwing the first no-hitter in Veteran's Stadium history? Oh, and that except for a Charlie Hayes error it would have been a perfecto? "Hey Schmo, let's beat the traffic - this game's boring".
Thanks, Mike. In that case, maybe increased LOOGY and ROOGY use is another driver.
A very interesting look at a difficult topic. It would seem to me that the two main factors that determine whether a pitch hits a batter are the direction it's thrown in (more toward the batter = more likely to hit him) its velocity (faster = less time to get out of the way). If we assume that HBPs are predominantly unintentional events, and that pitchers do not intend to throw AT the batter (near, sure), then my first glance impression would be that, as overall talent/skill levels rose over time due to an expanding field of talent from which to draw players, HBP rates fell, reaching their nadir around integration, which marked a significant expansion in the talent pool.
Beyond that, while I obviously don't have average pitch speeds for the last century, I think most would find it fair to assume that pitchers have thrown, on average, faster and faster over time, resulting in less and less time for batters to get out of the way. Even if that trend was in place before the low HBP point in the 1940s, there is always a trade off between the effect of the two "causes," and maybe the '40s were when the overall HBP-decreasing effect of increasing pitcher accuracy began to be trumped by the HBP-increasing effect of rising pitch speeds. Then the "metal bat theory" posited above could also have had an effect from the 1980s until today.
Thanks for re-posting this one, good stuff to chew on.
"Cap" is a lot shorter than "Luxury Tax Limit on payroll". No NFL love from this corner of the universe...
Let's see - the Phillies need a right-handed hitting OF with some power and above average defense and can't spend even $2M without going over the cap. They get that player for a blocked first-base-only hitter who once had a good MONTH in Single A, plus a Single A pitcher whose WHIP has risen a quarter-point and K/BB rate dropped by more than half this year, and a pair of nondescript minor leaguers. As the Mets fans who live around me are saying, "Is Wade still getting a paycheck from the Phillies?"
Not only a huge win for the Phillies in 2011, but a great maneuver for the 2012 and 2013 seasons as well. The Astros didn't get Domonic Brown? The catcher-starved Houston team didn't get Sebastian Valle? The worst-team in baseball didn't get Brody Colvin (who actually IS the Phillies best pitching prospect)? How big is Steven Goldman's thumb that he could sway the balance on that deal?
Uh, Larry? Maybin's HR *hit* the fair pole - it was plenty high enough, but the issue of fair-foul was very much in doubt until the ball hit the pole.
As a 24-year-old Phillies phan, that was the first time in my life I sat on the edge of my seat for five games and I've never since been able to look at any sporting event (or series the same way). No quit on either side and the tension just ramped up with each inning, each at-bat and each pitch.
Bill James doesn't get a shout-out among the Founding Fathers? That's just unacceptable...
Yeah, not sure how you can lead your league in ERA, FRA, SIERA, K/BB and IP and NOT lead in WARP. Just bizarre.
According to Cot's Baseball Contracts, Riggleman's $600,000 salary would have been the third lowest in baseball - IN *2007*, the last year they have full figures.
Coupled with the polite and less-than-vigorous farewells given by his players in the post-game quotes, it's apparent that Riggleman's authority in the dugout was every bit as tenuous as he thought.
I wonder if the Florida managerial situation impacted the Nationals' front office (i.e. Rizzo's) decision making process, perhaps pushing Riggleman so that he would clear out and allow Washington to go hard after Valentine before the Fish could make a play.
Jason, I don't know which I liked better - your truly lyrical writing style or the poignant sense of nostalgia you invoked in my heart and mind with your hearkening back to those days of yore when listening to a radio was the ONLY proper way to enjoy a ballgame short of being there. As my way of saying "Thank You!" I will refrain from any comments regarding the recent success of the Phillies, particularly relative to the collapse of the Mets .
Mr. Goldman's analysis of the situation may be spot on, but as he notes only time will tell. While I believe that quitting one job before you have another - especially in THIS economy - is an unwise decision, I'm not at all certain that the Nationals have as rosy a future as Mr. Goldman suggests.
How many months ago was he lamenting the excessive contract given to Jayson Werth? Are there guarantees that Desmond, Espinosa and Ramos will all continue to progress? Would any GM in baseball have passed on Stephen Strasburg or Bryce Harper or did Rizzo take a pair of "gimme" putts earned by finishing at the back of the pack repeatedly? By the way, is Tommy John surgery always successful? Will Bryce Harper's act play in The Show? Is there any historical reason to believe that fans in Washington will start to show up in serious numbers?
With no players stepping up in his defense, it appears more and more likely that Riggleman felt that he NEEDED that management backing to maintain control in the clubhouse. As a contractor I like to have my next gig lined up before I leave an existing one, but there have been jobs where being out-of-work was better than the situation I was in.
Certainly the catcher's positioning can encourage contact, but it is the runner who chooses what to do about the situation--slide around the catcher, slide into the catcher, or slam into the catcher. I didn't mean to take all responsibility off the catchers. And even so, in the reverse situation, a marginal big-league catcher might be more likely to block the plate, and then who would want their $20mm/year star crashing into him?
I would also suspect that catchers are hurt more ofter and more severely than runners in these collisions, though I don't have data to back that up.
"...financial incentive alone should be enough to discourage impact."
Obviously, every player is paid more today, but the financial incentives can be VASTLY different for certain players. Buster Posey, while still making league minimum now, is likely to make (and be worth) millions over his career. You'd can't really say the same about Cousins, a marginal player at best. Cousins's financial incentive to avoid contact is far less than Posey's, and he may actually have an incentive to seek contact if he feels it can somehow earn him respect and a longer stay with his team. Also considering that it is the runner, not the catcher, who chooses to make contact, the financial incentive argument only applies in select cases.
No problem--I enjoyed the piece regardless, especially the Madson breakdown. It's taken this year for him to finally get the recognition he deserves in Philly, and now it may lead to him leaving via free agency.
Great to have someone in the BP fold to cover the NL East.
From the news reports I've read, the debt rules state that teams can't hold debt greater than ten TIMES their annual earnings, not ten percent. A company with debt of just 10% of their annual revenue would be considered healthy in just about any industry.
How about Philly as a possible landing spot for Thome? He's about the only guy that could be more popular than Sweeney was last season, and he'd offer more at the plate than Ross Gload (who's also hurt, but opting not to have season-ending surgery). I guess Gload offers the benefit of being able to "play defense," but I'm not sure he still can given his injury, and, really, is there any chance at all Gload would be wearing a glove in a pennant race/playoff situation?
Humorously enough, the answer to the problem of intentional walks has already been solved by COED SOFTBALL! When a male player is walked, he - and all runners already on base - get TWO bases, not one. This prevents the defensive strategy of walking the male and pitching to the (often) inferior female batter who is next. (Coed softball alternates genders in the batting order).
No automatic IBB in the situation where first base is open and runner(s) occupy second and/or third - that's a run. No automatic IBB when Pujols is hitting in front of the pitcher's spot after a double-switch - it puts a runner in scoring position.
Still, I prefer the IBB: four waste pitches each of which could be: wild, a Vladdy swing out of the zone, or a chance for the baserunner to sprint madly for the next base.
One wonders how much the cash-strapped Metropolitans could ante up in terms of this year's draft. Einhorn's infusion is apparently already spoken for on the team's balance sheet, so it may not be the optimal time for going over slot.
I'm very disappointed in the entire article and commentary so far. I've watched the replay multiple times and it's OBVIOUS that Cousins went from outside the foul line to inside of it in order to run into Posey. Posey was completely inside the infield square prior to receiving the ball and Cousins had to swerve to make solid contact. As the rule is written, Posey had no right to the area to the third base side of home plate without the ball, but HE WASN'T THERE. Cousins would have been much smarter to hook slide around Posey, avoiding the contact and improving his odds of scoring.
Or perhaps one Freudian slip...
Nobody who has looked at Ibanez's numbers for May (.333/.352/.583) would seriously consider him even a minuscule part of the problem with the Phillies' offense. If Hawpe gets a pass based on his May resurgence, then Raul's numbers earn him the same courtesy. As always, Ibanez will have two great months, two tepid ones, and two that make you scratch your head and wonder where that hitting ability hides itself...
In that environment, one fan with a booming voice and access to your Wikipedia page can make life a nightmare - two fans with a plan can pretty much drown out the rest of the "crowd" that attends Marlins games.
DIPs states that pitchers have no control over what happens after the baseball leaves their hand, yet statistically some pitchers are definitely "ground ball pitchers" and some are definitely "fly ball pitchers". Statistics also prove that ground balls and fly balls turn into outs MUCH more often than line drives (and ground balls more so than fly balls), so how can DIPs be true?
Wow, I'm not sure where to start - first off, have we officially passed the "SSS" threshold for 2011? If so, what was the cutoff? Next, Ibanez helped the Phillies get to the 2009 World Series, but they lost to the Yankees and he wasn't there in 2008 when they won. And finally, moving on to Tejada, did you see Jay Jaffe's article yesterday (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=13717) about the importance of offense up the middle? Not that Miggy is going to revert to his old hitteriffic self, but Burriss doesn't have an old hitteriffic self to revert to, so he's a drag on offense that doesn't need to be dragged up to the bigs.
Given the choice between Kottaras and Nieves, was there any doubt who Mike Scioscia disciple Ron Roenicke would choose to keep? On the bright side, the Brewers' bench should improve soon when Lucroy is benched to make room in the lineup for Nieves' glove, negative-WAR-be-damned.
Rooker took the team charter back to Pittsburgh after the game, but later in the year he started a charity effort in which he solicited contributions based on mileage, and then walked from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh. A man of his word and a walkin' fool, that Jim Rooker!
I was umpiring at the time they "tried out" this rule and I can tell you that 45-degrees is a LONG way from stepping towards the base. Much like having any part of your foot in contact with the batter's box line, the 45-degree line was overly generous in terms of allowing pitchers to step.
The 45-degree line was an ABSOLUTE delineation of the boundary on the "step directly toward a base" requirement. Personally I prefer a 30-degree boundary, but since plenty of major-league umpires fail to call the 45-degree area, that's just wishful thinking on my part.
Why do the "San Diego padres" get dissed with a non-link and a lower case "p"? Is this some kind of swipe at southern Californians? At catholics? At ballclubs lacking in offensive firepower? (no wait - if that was the case then we'd have seen the "houston astros" as well) Or is it just a typo?
Happy New Year!
"[Chafin] he struck out 15 in a four-hit shutout against Toledo that required just 113 pitches, 88 of which were strikes. A draft-eligible sophomore after missing the 2010 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery..."
113 pitches a year removed from TJ for a 20-year old? Why do pitchers go to college again?
Probably oranges. Or black. Or orange and black. Or white.
Well, the Cards and the Reds had the same number of hits in the first game of the 2010 NLDS...
The Cardinals show as the 2010 division winner and I'm pretty sure the Reds were the champs last year, so it would appear that the columns were switched for this row.
In one paragraph Crisp says "So I went in there with the mentality that I was going to stand in there" and later on remarks "so if you hit me, that means it’s on purpose, because I get out of the way". It appears to me that Mr. Crisp brought the fight on himself by standing in when he normally would have been dodging. A self-fulfilling prophecy, if you will.
And nowhere in his discussion of the post-fight conversations does he mention talking to Bartlett, the instigator (presumably) of all this; why not go to the source and find out what he was thinking?
Regarding Duchscherer, you referred to him as a "stern-sider", and in the words of the immortal Inigo Montoya, "I do not think that word means what you think it means". Duch is a RHP, so he's the opposite of a port-sider, but the oppo of "port" is "starboard"; "stern" is the rear of a ship. Having noted that, I am willing to concede that you may have meant that Duchscherer will be pitching out of his @$$, but that wasn't clear from the rest of the article .
We have an expression here that you can't play "Six Degrees of Separation" in Delaware because everybody knows everybody else, and that was brought home to me by this terrible event. I had Sylvia Green as a teacher in high school here in Delaware and our family was just out visiting my wife's parents in Tucson last week, no more than five miles from the scene. My thoughts and prayers go out to the Greens and all the families who lost loved ones last Saturday; may we all use this as a reminder to tell those nearest and dearest to us that we love them today.
In baseball, somebody wins the lottery every year. The takeaway from this season, at least for me, was that good pitching really DOES beat good hitting. The Padres, the Braves, the Phillies all had stud starting pitching and the Giants overcame them with even better pitching; none of the AL teams had staffs that were on par with those NL teams, although their offenses were significantly better. Build with pitching and fill in with hitting during the season.
I love me some Chooch, but Perlozzo must have been down in Haight-Ashbury all afternoon to think that his slow-footed catcher could score on that play. (Unless he thought Huff was going to bail him out again by cutting off the throw or that Victorino's double-clutch was contagious...)
Fun to think about (and almost as much fun to guess the politically correct answers here at BP), but here's something else to consider: how would this year's Managers of the Year - either BP or the real McCoys - answer these questions?
Oswalt volunteered to pitch during the 8th inning, so Charlie's decision to use him was made at the appropriate time, considering when he knew about the pitcher's availability. A more discerning viewer would ask why Bastardo didn't pitch to Huff in the 5th when Blanton was going to be removed if he reached. As for Francisco's catch (or rather failure to catch), no one who has seen Ibanez play in the last two years would expect him to be close to that ball - AT&T Park is a pretty big ballyard (see DOUBLES, Polanco, Werth, Sandoval).
Several references to the Braves in the section on Sanchez should be the Phillies, I believe.
When all is said and done, the Phillies are going to be very happy that they edged the Giants for best record and the home field advantage that goes with it. Perhaps not "Jay Bruce losing a routine fly ball in the lights"-happy, but happy nonetheless.
"They're always in uniform. They play the game right."
If there's one thing you could always count on from Bobby Cox, it's that his players never took the field without clothes on.
Whoa, Eric, back on the meds. The phrase "a triple short of the cycle" is one of the cliches that actually IS correct. Four hits are needed, three have been obtained, one remains; that's the essence of the situation. Nowhere in your article do you complain about the announcers opining that the triple "is easy" or "a lock", so I see this as a tremendous over-reaction to a perfectly reasonable statement.
Of course, I saw David Bell's cycle in person, so it's pretty hard to overwhelm me with cycle-related minutiae; I would be interest to find out how many times the triple was accomplished as the *final* hit in the cycle, though.
Add to that statistical mix that most ephemeral of baseball notions, the "bad clubhouse". In the last month alone, TLR's and his charges have made a controversial appearance at a political/religious rally, disagreed publicly about whether one of the few legitimate stars has requested a trade, and DFA'd an erstwhile starter for unspecified "disciplinary issues". I would hope this would put to rest any idea that the "Freakin' Genius" is in any way significantly superior to his fellow skippers.
Rather than ask about this team and that team, is there a link available to the complete list? Or at least the Top 100 or Top 1000 or whatever number fits neatly on to a single web page ?
One other player who may interject himself into the batting title race in the NL is Omar Infante. The much-maligned All-Star has a .347 BA and is still a few ABs short of qualifying for the title, but he's playing everyday in the absence of Chipper Jones and he's hitting the stitches off the ball.
Just in case there's someone out there whose run support has been abysmal, how about taking the closure of all pitchers who appear in the top ten for any of the categories you rank them in?
I believe that would be the "spectre" of the World Series drought, as opposed to the scepter; but perhaps Cubs fans are proud of their long wait.
Ken: I agree with all but two of your "Forty-Two Things I Think" (so far) - but I haven't seen Inception (#11) and #21 is just too far-fetched for me; I play fantasy baseball, but c'mon, the Cubs winning the World Series?
This is NOT the "Year of the Pitcher", it's the "Year of the Atrocious Umpire".
Not to take anything away from Matt Garza, but for the fifth time this year the umpiring in a no-no/perfecto was subpar. The results show up on both sides of the scoreboard - Scherzer had a no-hitter into the 6th last night, in Halladay's perfect game Josh Johnson was almost as unhittable (one unearned run), Edwin Jackson's 8 BB no-no was bracketed by the Rays' staff tossing a 7-hit/2 BB, one-run gem; Braden's perfect game was the exception, with a dozen hits for the A's, but even Ubaldo's masterpiece featured multiple hits in only the Rockies' 4th - the other innings were one-or-none.
Between the extraordinary number of no-hit games, the blown calls at first base 2 nights in a row on Jason Donald (including Galarraga's almost-perfecto), the horrendous Ishikawa call, there seem to be no end of poor arbiter outings. Pitchers' year? I think it's more like Umpires' off-year, myself.
The comment "And in 1983, with the Phillies just one game above the .500 mark at midseason" is more than a little disingenuous, as it could also be stated "And in 1983, with the Phillies IN FIRST PLACE at midseason" (upper-case used for emphasis).
The correct wording is something that combines both facts, perhaps along the lines of "And in 1983, with the Phillies in first place, but drastically underachieving with a record just one game above the .500 mark at midseason".
Owens was right to expect that team to perform better (they went to the World Series and lost to the Orioles in 5 games), but they were in 1st when the managerial change was made and it caused quite an uproar in Philly.
And as soon as you post the phrase "Don’t look now, but it looks like we’ve found something Roy Halladay can’t do—the longtime American Leaguer hasn’t drawn a free pass in 92 career plate appearances", Halladay ups and draws a walk.
And following Matsuzaka and Wakefield, the Phillies got R.A. Dickey - another knuckleballer - when they squared off against the Mets. Just a little garnish for a recipe of disaster of the hitting/timing kind.
I'm not bashing the man as a writer. There's been plenty of stuff he's written that I've found entertaining and I even might check out his book. The point is that, in this case and in so many others towards the end of his tenure as a BP regular, there just wasn't much of anything of substance. Rather, his pieces were too often just re-hashings of his frustrations with the "mistakes" made by decision-makers for the 30 Major League teams.
In Matt Swartz's article, he cites his recent findings about the performance of players re-signed by their own teams versus those signed by new teams, points out the fallacy of the idea that this deal is what, if anything, rules out re-signing Jayson Werth, and introduces an economic argument in presenting various scenarios under which this contract could turn out to be good, fair, or bad.
In Joe Sheehan's blog post, he recites the same tired statistics he's been using to discount Howard's performance for years, uses a one-game sample-size to rate the defense of a player it's long-since been clear he dislikes, and pats himself on the back for being pessimistic about a long-term pitcher contract, something the Phillies have famously avoided.
Like Swartz, I don't necessarily love the contract, but many more factors than, "He isn't a very good on-base guy against lefties," will determine how this contract is eventually judged. If Sabermetrics is, as Bill James said, the "search for objective knowledge about baseball," it seems pretty obvious why one of these two men is now a featured writer for the world's preeminent Sabermetric website, while the other no longer is.
The one firm conclusion I've drawn from this signing is that Ruben Amaro Junior (time for a new "RAJ-AH" in the ranks of front office nicknames) is definitely a subscriber to BP.
Checking out Ryan's Player Card, the one consistency across the board in his projections is that he bottoms out in the 2016 timeframe. Stars-n-scrubs, Career Path, Ten-Year Performance/Attrition all show the Big Piece as a blue frowny face at the end of this contract.
RAJ-AH looked at the path, discounted for inflation (anybody think the economy is going to improve a little bit over the next four-five years?), noted the player's commitment to off-season and in-season improvement, and pulled the trigger.
Mo Vaughn or Jim Thome? That's what it'll come down to.
I figured. Just frustrating to have to pay for MLB.tv, which includes Gameday Audio, and then pay again for audio with At Bat.
Is it possible to access MLB Audio and MLB.tv on the iPhone just through Safari without purchasing the app?
It's strange that you chose Sam Perlozzo as your sample 3rd base coach, since he's a vast improvement on his predecessor, Steve Smith. (Smith is currently participating in The Amazing Race and that's hardly far enough away from Citizen's Bank Ballpark for my taste, but Cleveland Indians fans will have to put up with his aberrant arm-waving this season).
Note that the Phillies are far and away the most successful team in baseball at the art of the stolen base for several years running (pun intended). Most analysts attribute this to the sagacity of one Davey Lopes, 1st base and baserunning coach extraordinaire, but perhaps a modicum of credit is due to the baserunning skills of Messrs. Utley, Rollins, Victorino, Werth, Howard (8 SBs, only 3 of which were back-ends), et al; and Mr. Perlozzo's success rate is a result of smart, speedy runners who give outfielders a reason to hurry their throws.
Feliz, Ibanez, Ruiz - them he don't run so much, for obvious reasons.
Context note: Utley was coming off of off-season hip surgery and I would expect that he and Lopes would have babied the hip earlier on, and with more confidence later in the season, perhaps run more frequently. Do the numbers back this up?
And Soriano has already informed the Braves that he is willing and interested in being dealt to a team where he can close. A clever workaround for the Type A compensation.
"Hawpe for Derek Lowe, balance with some dollars." That solves two issues for two teams with only two players. Two easy?
Christina--nothing about the Juan Castro deal that has the city of Philadelphia buzzing these days? I take it your hand too busy being raised in the air as an answer to his agent's asking, "Who doesn't like Juan Castro?" to type anything.
Wondering the same thing--are there things to do, people to meet, etc. for fans if they show up? How about any opportunities to meet people for those who are looking for jobs in the industry?
Dodger fans really should try to find out what happens in the first 3 and last 2 innings. In many cities the fans attend all 9 innings and sometimes follow along at home when the games are on TV. When all you hear is "Manny being Manny!" and "Ethier with another walk-off!" you end up missing the really important events of the game.
The Yankees had 10 home-grown, while the Phillies had 9. The Yankees also had 10 free-agents, while again, the Phillies had 9. The remainder represent what the front-office was able to leverage from their farm system's bounty by trade (or Rule 5 in Victorino's case).
A more telling indicator would be the percentage of ABs and IPs racked up by those home-grown players. I don't have those numbers handy, but since none of the Yankees starting pitchers (Pettitte is a free-agent signing) are home-grown, I'd have to think that an unbiased observer would say that the Phillies put considerably more of their organizational talent out there on a daily basis than the Yankees.
That said, the Yankees have deep pocket competition from the BoSox, the Phillies don't have to split a fan base in their geography (which is the 4th largest in the U.S.), and the amount of freely-available AND enormously-expensive talent is finite, so you still have to do the job right. This year at least, the Yankees did that. This Phillies' season ticket holder's tips his cap to them.
Happ DID come in to face Matsui in the very next AB, and Hideki blasted a 2-run double off the wall in deep RC, so that strategy wasn't guaranteed to pay off. Personally, I'd have made the move to Happ, but that's not Charlie Manuel's style. The most critical play in the game wasn't pitching to Matsui, it was the bad read on Jeter's eminently catchable single by Victorino. And The Captain also caught a break when Francisco flubbed his liner in the 5th, leading up to Matsui's double.
Today's weather in Denver - mid-50's, sunny. Tomorrow should be low 70's and sunny. Not that it matters, since the AL won the All-Star game.
How significant in the course of Pedro's development was it that he crossed the first two years of his most vulnerable injury nexus in 1994/5 when the strikes shortened the season? His huge increases in innings were mitigated by the games lost at the end of '94 and the beginning of '95. Who knows what might have been had the Expos been able to run him out there for 250 innings one of those years...
Actually, since Shane is a native Hawaiian, he's had some experience with skirts - grass ones, that is. His most recent collectible figurine featured a grass skirt and he's apparently comfortable enough with his masculinity to make light of the whole thing. The Phillies hitters at least seem much more relaxed going into the Series than anyone this side of Manny...
Chooch got plunked on the wrist last week and that lingered; the play at the plate exacerbated the condition rather than caused it. With an 8 game margin and 2 weeks to play, the Phillies look to be taking a conservative approach - rest for a couple of days (including an off day), work him back in after that, use the expanded September roster to spare him from the DL and Charlie from having to play short a backstop.
Joe's right that Lidge shouldn't be closing, but Madson is the best pitcher in the pen, he's certainly NOT a side-armer as Joe claimss (not sure where that came from), and if the Phillies had a good lefty to bring in to face Dunn, that would make sense, but bringing in an Eyre or (gasp!) a Taschner just because of their handedness isn't good managing, either. It was a mistake to not go with the guy best suited for the job in the first place, but it would have been a bigger one to then take the game back out of the hands of that best available option.
Well, his 2006/7/8 slash stats would say that he DRASTICALLY improved as a result of the surgery:
His 2009 is abysmal; should we draw the conclusion that Beltran will show a tremendous spike when he comes back and then fall of a cliff the year after?
Trading away Bobby Abreu certainly didn't bring the Phillies anything noteworthy in return, but that was a classic case of "addition by subtraction". The run that the Ruby Red Pinstripes have been on since that day includes no contribution from the trade's return, yet the Phillies almost made the playoffs in 2006, did make it in 2007, and won the whole ball of wax in 2008. The local sportswriters have repeatedly noted that the clubhouse became a more focused and determined place in the wake of Abreu's departure; Bobby's skills as a hitter notwithstanding, his demeanor on and off the field did nothing to serve as a exemplar for his teammates. And a guy that won't go NEAR a fence just wouldn't fit with the dirty shirts that wear the Phillies' uniforms today.
Ball and strike calls in MLB are horrendously inconsistent from umpire-to-umpire, from inning-to-inning, and even from pitch-to-pitch. I don't believe for an instant that the umpires are regularly reviewed and evaluated on those calls because things are no better (perhaps worse) today than they were a few years ago. That's my subjective opinion, but with the Pitch F/x data now available I would expect to see plate umpiring finally get a thorough going-over.
There are certain umpires whose names make me cringe when I hear they are behind the plate for a game that I'm watching (Dan - that's "Iassogna" with one eye, right?). Questec held some feet to the fire, but for whatever reason MLB didn't follow up on that technology and use it to enforce and improve the strike zone calls. Human element, OK; human error, not OK.
Having now listened to all four audios and then perused the comments here on the main page and for each contestant, I'm equal parts amused/annoyed at the BP staff and the bulk of the respondents.
For the former, you come off sounding a bit supercilious in your critiques of the interviewees' style, while for the latter - "It is what it is" - to abuse a phrase quite in vogue these days, so choose to rate the contestants or don't, but please refrain from going on about the appropriateness of the topic/format/medium.
I found all four of the interviews interesting and none of them so awkward as to be unpleasant. I have a clear #1/#2/#3/#4, but that said, the "letter grades" range from an "A" to a "B-", so all four get a thumbs-up this week.
So I ask - what is the threshold for elimination? If all four of the contestants receive roughly the same number and percentage of votes will they all survive until next week? What if the difference between the bottom two is statistically insignificant?
One more thing - I think Mike's interviews deserve a round of applause from all of us, both for the effort he put into his research and the enthusiasm he brought to the mic (pun intended, for those of you who remember REBOOT).
1) "Take a cliche, any cliche" - and make an article out of it. Isn't that one of the fundamental premises of BP - look at the established wisdom (i.e., "The Book") and see if it holds water? I think of "bunt to stay out of the double play", "a walk's as good as a hit", and "guard the line late in a tie game" as examples. The first one has been pretty much refuted, the second one has a Win Expectancy matrix that dictates when it's true, and the third one is unexplored territory AFAIK. The writer has to pick a cliche that we'll find interesting, but not one that's been analyzed to death, and then make a case for or against it.
2) "The Unbreakable Record" - make a case for why the career or single-season record that you think will never be broken is unassailable. Better yet, do one of each so we can weigh both assessments as a whole. Career wins or HRs? Single-season ERA or triples?
Even having seen the replay a dozen times, from several different angles, I couldn't tell whether the ball went over the fair pole or to the right (foul). Joyce's refusal to review irked me too, but post-game comments from first-base coach Davey Lopes and Shane Victorino (who was on first base) agreed with Joyce. Tellingly, Dobbs watched the flight of the ball but never dropped his bat, indicating to me that he knew it was foul.
That said, the ball-and-strike calls in MLB today are atrocious. I umpired professionally for about 5 years and I understand the difficulty of the task at hand, but these guys are supposed to be the best of the best and I just don't see the consistency and accuracy that I feel should be present. Some of them are so bad that I cringe when I see their name on the plate assignment ("Dan, that's Iassogna with one "eye", right?"). Unless Jamie Moyer is scheduled to pitch for the Phillies, of course .
The word "Turncoat" is certainly an essential part of the title for this piece (gotta get that fixed, folks). That said, Burrell was hardly a turncoat - he all but begged the team to bring him back, but the front office had already decided to go with a different player, Ibanez as it turned out.
Can't argue with your assertion that Pat got his share of boos during his tenure in Philly, but I was speaking in regard to his reception upon return. Mitchie-Poo went from jeered to cheered (IMHO) because he stood up and took the questions after the game, then all through the winter, then when he came back with the Astros, and finally when he hung up his spikes and picked up a microphone. Schilling spoke for a lot of Phillies phans when he criticized management's commitment, but that punched his ticket out of town.
And you still didn't tell us who the loser-to-winner was ...
Not impressed. I've read this same story about Burrell's TTO value being unappreciated a dozen times (or more) in the last five years in the local newspapers here in the Philly metro area. The Philadelphia phans did welcome back Pat, but they remain boo-birds for Rolen, J.D. Drew (and his little brother), Barajas, and the rest of the non-WS-winners who return. Burrell gets a pass because he 1) never bad-mouthed the phans, 2) never made excuses, and 3) the Phillies won the World Series.
I've enjoyed Matt's writing in his previous pieces, but this one seemed to lose its focus, despite the short turnaround, which I would have thought made keeping on topic easier. BTW, why was this titled "The First World Series"? And who was the player who went "loser to winner"?
Good luck, dude. My daughter and mother-in-law hate to fly; my Dad did it for 2 decades and then simply refused to go airborne anymore; and my late Mom worked for TWA and NEVER ONCE took advantage of the employee flying privileges. Just remember, it could be worse - you could be allergic to chocolate or be a bocce fan (not that there's anything wrong with that...)
How is the vertical movement factored at each stage across the path of the pitch. In other words, if a pitch has a PFX_Z of 5, and that means that it dropped 5" less than an otherwise identical spin-less pitch, that's just over the entire path of the pitch--how does your spreadsheet distribute each bit of downward vertical movement that the ball DOES have at each time interval? It seems pretty clear from the graph that the pitches fall in each time interval as they approach the plate.
Thanks for the great read, just trying to understand a little better.
Phillies fans will never forget his first classic post-season performance--shutting out the Blue Jays in Game 5 of the 1993 World Series, a night after the Phils blew a 14-9 lead in the 8th inning and were considered "finished" by most.
Of course, Schilling also revealed himself to be less than a "good guy" with the towel over his head while Mitch Williams worked the ninth the next night.
NFL commissioners Rozelle, Tagliabue, and Goodell have all proven that one can be both a financially savvy chief executive officer AND continue to keep the best interests of the game, morally and historically, as a priority. Suggesting that owners should look for someone who fulfills just one of those two goals simply because that's what Bud has done is settling for the merely acceptable rather than reaching for what can be achieved by one more capable.
Pedro Feliz is a World Series hero, and he can fill in at SS in a pinch! The Yanks can have him in exchange for an instructional video on infield defense for Greg Dobbs to watch.