Despite living on the West Coast since 1989, I’m still an East Coast guy, and
as such, can occasionally show some of that famous East Coast media bias. That
was evident in yesterday’s column, when I picked apart the lessons from the
weekend’s big series in New York, while neglecting the games, just as big,
that division co-favorites played 3,000 miles away in Oakland.
Just as in the Bronx, the road team out west, the team generally considered to
be the underdog of the two, came out of the weekend with a sweep. Unlike in
the other series, however, the Angels and A’s played without the apocalyptic
hype that surrounds their Eastern counterparts.
Last week I identified some of the problems with the “Fan Cost Index” developed by Team Marketing Report. One of the biggest issues, TMR’s use of average ticket prices to calculate how much a typical family of four could expect to pay to see a game, has to be addressed on a team-by-team basis. This is the first of six articles that will do so. I’m starting with the AL East. My hypothetical customers decide a few weeks in advance which game they plan to attend, then shop for tickets on MLB.com. To keep the methodology constant, I’m ignoring any special knowledge I may have about a particular stadium’s seats, seating and ticketing policies, and relying entirely on what I can find on MLB.com.
Chad Tracy could help revive the struggling Snakes. Russell Branyan returns to the Indians. Torii Hunter’s return creates a crowded situation with Lew Ford swining a hot bat for the Twins. Endy Chavez returns to cause night sweats among Expos fans. These and other news and notes in today’s Transaction Analysis.
Given a discrepancy between \”Pythagorean Wins\” (what you\’d expect from a team given a specific runs scored/runs allowed set) and actual wins leads to all kinds of investigation, chin-scratching, nose-picking, and navel-gazing. Some people will say a team is \”stronger\” than its actual record because it\’s underperforming the formula, and so forth. Suspects for the gap typically include: Strength of bullpen Managerial use of bullpen Clutch hitting Clutch pitching Chemistry Managerial strategies in tight games Luck This leads to interesting observations and theories (team x is 12-0 in one run games, manager Joe\’s teams consistently outperform their Pythagorean record except when they don\’t) but rarely insight. It\’s not as bad as putting a couple of stats into a blender, pressing the \”pulse\” button a couple of times, and claiming the resulting undrinkable smoothie is some kind of innovation. But it\’s still a waste of time.
Cleveland Indians pitcher Jake Westbrook recently drew attention for an outstanding seven-inning perfect relief appearance. Interestingly enough, he retired the last batter he faced his previous appearance, and the first five batters of his next apperance (en route to a complete game win over the Tigers), for a total of 27 straight batters retired. There’s that “27” again–a perfect game, albeit one “hidden” across three appearances. Following Westbrook’s accomplishment, I became curious about the idea of “hidden” perfect games–instances where a pitcher retired 27 batters in a row, but may have done it across multiple appearances; i.e. the pitcher retired the last 15 batters he faced in one start, and the first 12 batters he faced in his next start, he would have a streak of 27 batters retired, and thus have a “hidden” perfect game. Relievers could qualify as well, if they had, for example, nine straight 1-2-3 one-inning appearances.
The term “breaking out of a slump” is too literal for Austin Kearns. An inside pitch broke a bone in his forearm, apparently very close to his wrist. Kearns will fly back to Cincinnati immediately for examination by Tim Kremchek. Once decisions are made about how he’ll be treated, we’ll be able to get a better handle on how long he’ll be out. Nate Silver might get to see what Wily Mo Pena can do with extended at-bats, but for the Reds’ fetish with Ryan Freel.
The Braves weren’t able to play one man short after all, and they pushed Chipper Jones to the DL. The impetus may have actually come from Julio Franco. Franco’s inner ear infection would have left the team two men down, thus the decision to disable Jones. Chipper wasn’t happy with the decision, but will deal with it. In the long term and even the short term, this will help him.