The Orioles and Royals try to get back up and break from doing the limbo, while the Red Sox find a key addition to their playoff rotation.
The Orioles have not yet reached the level of the Pirates when it comes to sustained futility. They are getting close, though. The Orioles will finish under .500 for a 12th consecutive season since 1997, a year in which they won 98 regular-season games, only to lose to the Indians in the 1997 American League Championship Series. That '97 season seems like a lifetime ago as, at 59-85, the Orioles seem certain to lose at least 90 games for the fourth straight season and for the seventh time in the last nine years.
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How many twins (performance-wise) have ever had to square off on the mound?
A few weeks back, while sitting in an advanced financial markets course, I took a break from designing the target capital structure of a hypothetical corporation and called up MLB Gameday on the laptop. The Cubs were in town to play the Phillies, and the game simply grabbed a good chunk of my attention-before critiquing my ethics as a student, know that I get high marks, so taking a break here and there to zone out and watch baseball is something I earn and reward myself with. [Ed. Note: What right-thinking individual wouldn't?] What grabbed an even stronger hold of my attention was the pitching matchup that night: Rodrigo Lopez vs. Ted Lilly. Granted, both pitchers had journeyed to this particular point in drastically different fashions-Lilly via a lucrative multi-year deal signed two years prior, and Lopez via above-average performance in Triple-A while working his way back from elbow surgery-but each sported identical 3.18 ERAs as the game began. Though Lilly had produced his ERA in 119 innings, way more than the 11 1/3 for Lopez, and therefore much more indicative of actual performance, their identical performance metrics on this score piqued my interest.
Sometimes it's as much about who you've had to face as what you've done facing them.
One thing we sometimes forget to look at when dealing with small samples is the quality of competition each player has faced. There are plenty of pitchers who have traditionally been solid, but who have struggled during the first half of 2009, and in some cases you can blame their having to face stiff competition. Thankfully, Baseball Prospectus has an easily accessed custom statistic report for just this very thing. The report displays standard information such as innings pitched and number of opponents faced, but also shows the aggregate batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage and OPS of all the batters faced by that pitcher. This list shows the top 20 in opponent OPS, minimum 50 innings pitched:
The three powerhouse teams in baseball's strongest division jostle for control, while the bottom-est two trade places.
With the emergence of the Tampa Bay Rays, the American League East has become the game's toughest division, a status only reinforced by the pair of financial heavyweights in New York and Boston. Yet while the Yankees spent nearly enough money to bail out a Wall Street investment bank this winter, the rest of the division took a much more modest approach to the free- agent market, with an average expenditure that would rank fourth among the six divisions.
The story of the little hurler who could getting his due, a notable re-retirement, plus moves and news from around the major leagues.
Tim Lincecum's aunt came up with the perfect nickname for her nephew a few years ago when she began calling him Seabiscuit. The Giants right-hander certainly has a few things in common with the legendary racehorse: they're both undersized, and they're both winners. Lincecum, listed at 5'11" and 170 pounds (though he seems an inch shorter and 10 pounds lighter), struck a blow this past Tuesday for all those who've been told that they aren't big enough when he won the National League Cy Young Award. He's four inches shorter and 61 pounds lighter than the average height and weight of the five other pitchers receiving votes: the D'backs' Brandon Webb, the Mets' Johan Santana, the Phillies' Brad Lidge, the Brewers' CC Sabathia, and the Cubs' Ryan Dempster. "This has to give Tim a lot of satisfaction, because there's little doubt people have been telling him he's too small his entire life," Giants pitching coach Dave Righetti said.