CSS Button No Image Css3Menu.com
New! Search comments:
(NOTE: Relevance, Author, and Article are not applicable for comment searches)
I assume Jason was joking. Or something. The Sam Freeman who pitches for the Cards is not the same one who owns the art gallery in LA.
These gifs should be required watching at umpire training school.
The worst part of the World Series celebration was that jackass behind home plate with the John 3:16 sign. Giants fans will probably see that replay approximately 600,000 times over the next couple years, and their eyes will always be drawn to that neon yellow sign. Yuk.
Lohse's 5 free passes in Game 3 is not only the most he's handed out this year, but his most in a game since May 2008. I like Lohse only marginally more than Pecota, largely b/c of his good control, but I'm not sure this skill is as effective against a team like the Giants, who have a sequence-based lineup that puts the ball in play, has few bombers, but also few (if any) holes.
Yes, they're very flaky - 8 or more runs scored 45 times, 2 or fewer runs another 45 times. That means in over half their games they either go nuts with the bats, or ice cold. This postseason has been no different - they avg 7.7 runs in their wins, 1.0 runs in their losses.
Wow - gratuitous shot at Cards' fans. I think it's probably a truism that a team's most vocal fans are also its most annoying, so not sure it's fair to paint all of us with the same wide brush.
"I don't know if it's legal, but it's a dirty, dirty play."
I think a dirty play is one with malicious intent. I certainly think it was a reckless play, but born more out of clumsiness than anything else. Holliday said he should've slid earlier, that it bothered him all game long, that he asked Scutaro a couple times after the play if he was OK, then called the Giants' clubhouse after he had heard Scutaro was removed from the game to again check on him. Not sure a player would act that way if his intent was malicious.
I think both managers left their starters in too long. By letting Wainwright get roasted for 6 runs (when even the outs were hard hit) clearly Matheny did not learn anything from La Russa's handling of the postseason last year.
I still think Tony Cruz with a fresh count is a better hitter than Kozma down 1-2. What's more, once the bases are loaded Cruz is more likely to get a pitch in the zone, and he has more ways to drive in a run (walk, HBP, etc.). I also think you're playing up Motte's effectiveness - he certainly didn't look like a lights-out fire-breather to me in the 8th inning last night (and he had already thrown 21 max-effort pitches, so perhaps he was wearier than usual). Certainly debatable, but I think Johnson made the right move there.
This is a good point overall, although I question calling Wainwright's curveball "not that good without a little help." His curve is - by both reputation and more sophisticated analytic tools - among the very best in the game.
The pitch tracker on MLB.com said strike 3 to Hanigan caught the black.
Despicable perhaps. Then again last week I heard an announcer refer to Jared Hughes as Jason Grilli (with no apology or owning up to his error), so there might be more variables at play than your example suggests.
What replay did you see that showed that Andres Torres touched first base? Every replay I saw was completely inconclusive.
La Russa has said - and MLB confirmed - that the info he was given listed Greinke as a Sunday starter, and TLR said that's why he was reluctant to take him. Perhaps that's not a good reason to deny the guy a slot, or perhaps it's not even true (and MLB was just covering La Russa's ass), but at the very least we can say this situation is more complicated than Mr. Timber makes it seem.
Makes sense. I still think the last part of that quote weakens your case about Pujols (regardless of whether it was the main takeaway). But yes, I've always understood Foxx's drinking to be a major (if not THE major) contributor to his decline. And in that respect he clearly differs from Pujols, who abstains from alcohol and is fanatically disciplined about his health.
Interesting piece. Thanks, Matt. A number of quibbles, however, starting with this one - "Foxx also frequently played through injuries that would have sidelined other players..." Isn't that EXACTLY what Pujols has done? He's played through an injured oblique, a strained calf muscle, a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament (!), a chronic case of plantar fasciitis, a freshly healed broken forearm, etc., etc. It's too early to say whether those injuries have taken their toll on Pujols the same way they did on Foxx, but I'd be skittish about tossing out the comparison (particularly when you consider that Foxx - another 1B-3B-OF - has been Pujols' most comparable player, statistically speaking, for a number of years now).
Thank you, Steven, for all you wonderful thoughts and stories over the years. Best of luck to you...
I agree. Well aware of that. The tone of the movie makes it very clear Shelton is not after documentary truth.
Robert Wuhl does not work at all in Cobb (although I can see what Shelton was going for). Nevertheless, I still think COBB is one of the finest baseball movies ever made.
Allen Craig was another winner this offseason
One of my all-time favorite bad players was Chuckie Carr, journeyman outfielder, primarily for the Marlins. He was an aerialist in centerfield (although some suspected he'd time his jumps to make his diving catches look harder), a wild man on the basepaths (once led the league in stolen bases and caught stealing), and was the charter member of the Chuckie Carr Fan Club (he was always flexing his biceps even though his career high in homers was 4). Once his manager, Phil Garner, encouraged him to take more pitches on 2-0 and Carr replied, "That ain't Chuckie's game. Chuckie hacks on 2-0." But my favorite Carr quote - when he joined the Cardinals in 1992 he asked to wear uniform #1. Someone pointed out that future Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith, who was still with the team, wore that number. Carr's reply: "Out with the old, in with the new!"
Actually almost every study has shown that batting the pitcher 8th rather than 9th is either a wash or good for a couple extra runs per season.
He's a very complicated guy. As someone who's followed his entire career, I can give you dozens of stories that illustrate his legendary a-holedom, and dozens more that illustrate his largesse and goodness (to fans, teammates, opponents, etc.). He certainly doesn't seem to be a good loser though. He reminds me of Michael Jordan that way - so sure of himself, so driven to win, that he becomes churlish and unfair when he falls short (witness him pooh-pooh'ing Takashi Saito after Saito got him on a big DP in Game 1 of the NLCS, or Game 1 of the '06 NLCS, when Pujols and Co. were shut out by Tom Glavine and Pujols said, "he wasn't good").
Guess we gotta take away that World Series trophy from the 2004 Red Sox
I agree. And I find John's post very strange. His original point - about re-examining the media narrative of TLR as a genius - is a good one. But then he seems to throw out his own case for complexity by saying of TLR "he just rode a hot streak." I mean, that seems pretty contrary to the point of Steven Goldman's excellent piece. Almost any managerial critique has to start with the premise that there's always much that we just don't know. (And along those lines, Bernie Miklasz - by no means a kneejerk La Russa apologist - has a very insightful article in today's Post-Dispatch about why La Russa might've chosen to yank Motte in last night's game.)
Woops. Very stupid oversight on my part.
Sorry, John, I doubled up on your point!
Laird runs well for a catcher, average for most position players, and has pretty decent speed scores, so not the worst choice. But I'm wondering why TLR didn't use Lohse to pinch run, as he'd done many times during the season. He's a fine runner, and that way you don't burn Molina's bat and glove if the Cards tie. (Lohse is starting Game 3, though, and it was cold out there, so maybe TLR thought it too big an injury risk? Not difficult to picture nasty collisions, strained quads, etc. in that situation.)
I think Pujols IS under the bus right now. I've read and heard many, many criticisms of Pujols, from both the local St. Louis media and nationally, for his shoddy defensive play in the 9th.
Yeah, I was confused as well. Sorta makes the article moot. (Or at least more complicated - I thought Jay Jaffe ably defended the IBB in today's column.)
According to WPA, Jay's double (er, "double") decreased the Brewers' chance of winning by 10%, and Kotsay's homer increased the Brewers' chance of winning by 11%. So it seems he made up for his legs with his bat. At least one those two plays. He also walked twice, which added about 4% to the Brewers' WPA, but also flew out (-2%) and got nabbed off second on Fielder's line out (about -5%), and, as Jay points out, forced Gallardo to throw extra pitches. It seems all in all, then, Kotsay was a net negative for the Brewers last night. We can't know what Morgan or Gomez would've done had they started, but it's reasonable to say that Roenicke erred putting Kotsay in the lineup.
Agree. I'd actually like to see pieces like this for every team, regardless of whether the GM is new or old. But I realize that's probably way to much to ask.
Totally agree. Not to mention the fact that Rickey invented the farm system AND integrated baseball. Unless Theo fundamentally changes both baseball and society at large, there's no way he can catch Rickey.
Looked gone off the bat to me, but I agree, it wasn't exactly a smoking line drive.
Not sure I agree that it's all that impressive. Walking Pujols in the top of the 5th would've been a lousy move, and not just b/c he eventually struck out. If you walk Pujols you lose the platoon advantage, plus Berkman has big-time power and he's one of the few Cardinals who's not a double-play threat, so it would make little sense to put more runners on in that situation.
As for having Betancourt lay down a bunt, I guess the announcers thought it was obvious, but I don't see it. Betancourt had zero sacrifice hits this season, plus the Brewers had the Cards on the ropes in a game where there were already 11 runs through the first 4.5 innings, and a lot of baseball left -- that's not the time to be playing one-run baseball.
I will say that Roenicke had a more impressive inning than La Russa, but I'm not ready to give him much credit for avoiding horrible decisions.
Wouldn't managing the hell out of the game entail pulling Garcia for a reliever in that spot? That's been Joe Sheehan's big criticism of TLR in Games 1 & 3 - he acted very passive, very un-La Russaian, when it came to pulling his starters (and, as Bill notes below, not pinch-hitting for Garcia in the 6th).
Great to see you hear, Will. I frequently wrestle with the same things you write about, but in the end I'm happy to be eating from the tree of knowledge. This video here frames it pretty nicely:
The other day my wife asked me who gets "credit" for bases on balls -- that is, are walks generally the result of pitchers making mistakes, or hitters being patient? I told her that a generation or two ago bases on balls were almost solely blamed on pitchers. But we now know that walk rates for both pitchers AND hitters are fairly stable, suggesting that both parties are contributing to the outcome. Is there a way to determine HOW MUCH each side is contributing? For example, can we say something as definitive as: walks are 55% due to pitchers, 45% due to hitters? Further, can we give percentages to other factors, such as umpires, park effects (visibility, I suppose), even catchers? Or are those things pretty negligible?
I totally buy that.
Thanks for clarifying, thegeneral. I suppose we'll just have to agree to disagree. Kicking with spikes is not "(duh) what happens in a fight" -- I've seen several dozen brawls in my day, and that's only the third time I've seen someone do that (Izzy Alcantara and Chan Ho Park were the others). I mean, I guess I don't feel any vitriol for Cueto, but I find the attempts to exonerate him (not by you, but others on this thread) pretty convoluted.
That said, I totally agree with you about the "career-ending injury" part -- that cannot be blamed on Cueto. There are just too many other extenuating circumstances in La Rue's case (for example, if he really was one concussion away from retiring, he should've stayed on the bench).
That makes sense, dalbano, but there is not a reasonable expectation of getting spiked in the face. That hasn't been an accepted practice in bench-clearing brawls since, what, 1910 or so?
And I agree with you, deberly, I certainly would not take on LaRue's case were he to sue Cueto (which he plans not to do). I'm just curious if the law makes distinctions between striking someone with fists or spikes, given dalbano's assertion that the distinction is irrelevant.
I've never claimed it was criminal. I think the point was actually HOW La Rue was injured, not whether Cueto was successful in injuring him. For example, I'd be no more heartened than if someone hit someone in the head on purpose with a baseball.
They certainly seem different to me -- striking someone with a fist seems far more benign than striking someone with a spiked shoe. But maybe that's just me. Any lawyers out there -- what does the law say?
I appreciate the comment, Gweedoh, but it does not accurately reflect what happened during that fight. Cueto ran behind Chris Carpenter, trying to throw punches at him, then got backed into a brick wall by his own teammates. No one was trying to hurt him, and yet he kicked Carpenter in the back, kicked LaRue multiple times in the face, then grabbed LaRue in the throat after he was supposedly in a helpless position. You say that you think it's more fair to chalk up Cueto's actions to a bizarre situation rather than one man's intent to harm, but unfortunately the video and photographic evidence depict the exact opposite.
Some great points, Rick, but I'm not sure I agree with all of them.
1. I'm not certain Joe was saying that the Reds are better than the Cardinals -- merely that we should consider their records against elite competition when assessing their true talent. (But like you, I agree that if you're going to dock the Reds for underperforming against top teams, you also have to dock the Cards for underperforming against lousy teams. It's a misconception that teams prove their greatness by beating top teams. More often, great teams hold their own against top teams and destroy the bottom feeders, which is exactly what the Reds have done.)
2. I only partly agree with Clonod's point. Yes, TLR has lined up his best pitchers to face the Reds, but those same pitchers are also facing the poor teams. Since the ASB, the Cards' "big 3" (Wainwright, Carpenter, and Garcia) have faced the Astros 3x, the Nats 3x, the Pirates 3x, and the Cubs 5x. Collectively they're 5-9 vs. those teams. So Clonod's description of what ails the Cards isn't entirely accurate.
3. I agree that the playoffs favor top-heavy teams, but I don't think they favor them as much as you'd think. A few years back I did an extensive study that showed that teams with one or more ace pitchers on the roster did no better in the postseason than they did in the regular season. And for all the talk of "Secret Sauce" in the playoffs, analysts are finding it very difficult to find things that reliably work in short series rather than long. In other words, your Reds may well be fine.
Great article, Marc, but one quibble: I think it's a bit flip to say that Rasmus "hasn't been allowed to become the star he is now," and then use as evidence the discrepancy in PA's between him and players like Pujols and Holliday. Yes, La Russa's use of Rasmus has been frustrating and whimsical, and Rasmus should play more than he does. However: the overwhelming majority of Rasmus' missed plate appearances are due to injury, not managerial shenanigans.
Tremendous piece. Everyone has a pet theory to explain the discrepancy between leagues -- this is easily the most convincing that I've encountered.
I can't think of a better guy to write this book. And what great material!
This article is astonishingly good -- in fact, I'd say this series is my favorite thing published at BP in the last couple years. Russell, I look forward to you cracking your ongoing "engineering problem," b/c I think it has exciting possibilities for player evaluation looking backwards and going forward. But in the meantime, congrats.
That's wonderful stuff, Matt. Thank you!
Any chance we could see the entire "no turnover" rosters? That would be fascinating...
I'm not sure I follow. Can't the guy want Sheehan back AND appreciate the other capable writers at BP too? If the criticism is that athletic and Jivas are whiny, then it seems (to me anyway) that Bell and Kneeland are trying to out-whine them.
I agree with you in general, Gibson88 -- McGwire's admission isn't particularly courageous given that he had several self-interested reasons for coming clean (i.e., avoiding a circus atmosphere in his new job, changing the narrative of his HOF candidacy, etc.).
That said, I'm not sure I agree with your reasons, especially point (b) -- McGwire already took the Cards hitting coach job, so I'm confused how his admission today allowed him to take it (unless he made a deal with the Cards that made his hire contingent on fessing up to his so-called misdeeds, which I highly doubt, although it may have been discussed in some form).
Moreover, McGwire is, as far as I know, the only star player other than Canseco to admit to using steroids without getting caught first. While that might not show any kind of supernatural courage, I do find it pretty refreshing.
I think you made a lot of great points, Justice, but your conclusion -- "what we have now is the New York Yankees... and 29 Washington Generals" -- seems like a fairly obscene hyperbole, even if done for effect.
I agree. I'm not a Yanks fan, but it seems to me that if it were so easy to merely 'buy' a championship, then the Yankees would win every year. Sure, the Yanks are competitive every year, which is a luxury most teams can't afford, but championships don't grow on trees, or on checkbooks, and you deserve to celebrate them when they come around.
"I’m standing at second base at Yankee Stadium!!!... I feel light-headed. I should take some grass."
Joe, I can't believe the Yanks won the Series and all you could think about was getting stoned.
Wainwright's comment struck me as neither astonishing nor embarrassing -- just misguided. But I can see if I was a Dodger fan I might feel differently.
I agree with all of that. I just think your response ("Enough already with Wainwright and his stupid whining... He pitched a great game, leave it at that and keep his yap shut") was an overreaction.
Wainwright was merely trying to take some heat off his teammate, and he even made a joke about the towels ("Dodger blue towels -- how bout that?"). I buy that Wainwright probably overreacted to the towels, but let's not compound the issue by overreacting to Wainwright's comment.
There's one other benefit -- beyond the tactical and strategic reasons Joe laid out here -- to teams that move away from the "closer-centric" usage pattern: it saves money! Closers are generally overpaid, and there are probably more dollars wasted on saves than any other statistic (including, I would think, RBI).
LOVE the new expected-return format! The previous format always had me lost.
Soriano has crazy outpitched Franklin, although Gonzalez has not. Their FIP ERA's are almost identical.
I'm no big fan of Franklin's -- I just think it's difficult to argue that Franklin was merely a "saves" pick, ala Brian Wilson in '08, considering he has so many other things going for him beyond saves.
I think that was Dan's clumsy attempt to be "provocative." Yeesh...
I think "it's not right, but it's OK" translates to "it's not ideal, but no big deal." But you hit the nail on the head, cam -- the NL is NOT serious about winning, and neither is the AL. You simply cannot have a system that asks you to routinely substitute players, or that asks you to have a rep from every team, and also say that you're primarily interested in scoring and preventing runs.
I agree, Falco, that Franklin has been lucky, although strand rates are reflected in WXRL, and Franklin is still 4th in the league in that category. I think Bill's point still holds -- Joe can't claim that Franklin's selection to the ASG is merely a matter of piling up saves when, in fact, Franklin does as well by more sophisticated methods.
I totally agree. If my St. Louis Cardinals were in the AL East, they'd be finishing 20 games out of first rather than 4 or 5, in which case our front office would have to adapt to avoid a fan mutiny.
NL supremacists used to say things like that back in the '70s and early '80s, but I haven't heard that old chestnut anytime in the last 20 years.
I agree with Dr. Dave. I vote for players based on the question, "who would you choose if you had to win one game tomorrow?" That is, after all, what the All-Star Game is -- a competition of stars at their current level of talent, not an honorarium to reward first-half stats.