BP.com's original column launched in 1996, TA has been where Christina Kahrl ponders the implications of recent roster moves, their impact on managerial tactics or how they reflect organizational behavior. Plus a few too many references to things that have nothing to do with baseball.
Bill “Spaceman” Lee is 63 years young and just as verbose as ever. The erstwhile Red Sox and Expos southpaw waxed poetic following a panel discussion hosted by The Sports Museum, in Boston, earlier this afternoon.
With a tip of the cap to a tip from the beat, an expanded series preview of a key mid-week matchup.
As each of his On the Beat columns draw to their close, John Perrotto highlights a short list of three- or four-game sets worth keeping an eye on. The series are not chosen at random, and tend to boast either compelling storylines or intriguing pitching matchups. In an attempt to be synergistic, I thought it would be fun every now and again to pick a series touted in his column and go to town creating series previews, in essence scouting the series as a whole as opposed to a key player or two. The Phillies and Cubs showdown that will be contested from tonight through Thursday serves as the perfect starting ground, as it features both storylines and intriguing matchups, with the former largely encompassing the latter. In fact, the storylines surrounding the pitching matchups were so topsy-turvy that I wrote this entire piece on Sunday and had to drastically revise it Monday afternoon in light of developments.
Boston Red Sox: The Sox have resources they've not yet availed themselves Clay Buchholz has excelled at Triple-A Pawtucket this year while the big-league club has seen Daisuke Matsuzaka struggle to get his ERA below 8.00 and rehabilitate 42-year-old John Smoltz. Buchholz is coming up on a temporary basis after the break, but if the Sox gave him more rope they might find they have less need to heal up those struggling veterans; alternatively, promoting Buchholz could give them the flexibility to deal Brad Penny, perhaps to the Brewers. Fine-tuning might include acquiring a catch-and-throw reserve backstop; both Jason Varitek and George Kottaras have thrown out fewer than 20% of attempting basestealers, a bad weakness to have when you're in the same division as Carl Crawford, B.J. Upton, and Brett Gardner.
Magical performances are often trussed up by trickery that a bit of due diligence with the data can reveal.
In an attempt to bolster a pitching staff relying on the injury-prone Mike Hampton and John Thomson and the question marks that were Horacio Ramirez and Kyle Davies, the Atlanta Braves took a flyer on Jorge Sosa prior to the 2005 season, acquiring the righty from the (then-)Devil Rays in exchange for Nick Green. The Braves' brass hoped that Leo Mazzone could work his magic on the young flamethrower who, though lacking a proven track record, possessed raw abilities capable of charming the pants off of pitching coaches. After a few months, the project seemed to be paying dividends; Sosa sustained a shiny, under-3.00 ERA. Problems lurked beneath the surface, however, primarily in the form of the number of baserunners Sosa allowed, and that he was deriving most of his success from stranding an inordinate number of them. His teammates came to embrace the quirkiness of his success, giving him the moniker "Houdini" for his ability to escape from situations with minuscule margins of error.