The data for all regular players from 2000-2003 still shows that sacrifices are almost never a good idea. Putting the 2001 version of Ichiro–the player with the highest breakeven point for Batter One’s AVG–in front of every batter, the minimum expected runs lost by sacrificing over swinging away is 0.018, when Ichiro bats in front of Chris Truby in 2002 and his massive .199/.215/.282 line while he was in Detroit. Using other batters who are also highly adept at taking advantage of a sacrifice for Batter Two yield no situations in which run expectation increases by sacrificing, at least when there’s a runner on first and one out.
Expanding the results to look at other sacrifice situations does not change these conclusions. Looking at the second situation–a runner on first and no outs–and using the same plan of attack, the smallest difference between sacrificing and swinging away is again Truby and Suzuki, but this time the difference is .085 runs. Other players who come close are Craig Paquette in 2002, Alex Gonzalez in 2000, and Pat Meares in 2001 with .100, .107, and .114, respectively. (Not surprisingly, the three players who should never sacrifice as Batter One are Barry Bonds 2003, Barry Bonds 2001, and Barry Bonds 2002, costing the team .466, .481, and .518 runs respectively.)
Bob DuPuy says there’s nothing wrong with putting ads on the bases. Fay Vincent disagrees. Barry Bonds couldn’t care less what’s on the bases, as long as he gets to round them. Mike Mussina wonders what the future holds. Manny Ramirez is prepared to help help keep Pedro around. Larry Bowa is confused as to why his team isn’t hitting well with RISP. Lloyd McClendon thinks MLB needs to market itself better. And Darin Erstad doesn’t count last year in his mind. All this and many more quips from around the league in your Monday edition of The Week In Quotes.
Early word on the knee and ankle injuries suffered by Jose Guillen is pretty negative. Guillen injured himself sliding into second and needed to be carted from the field. Tests on Monday will reveal the damage. With Darin Erstad and Garret Anderson already on the DL for extended periods, the Angels will have an outfield that has only one of their expected powerhouses, while prospect Casey Kotchman will be asked to man Erstad’s position at first. The depth that once looked like overkill has turned out to be necessary. Erstad’s hamstring injury will keep him out much longer than originally expected, and may be as bad as a Grade 3 strain. He’s looking at missing at least a month, potentially not returning until the All-Star break. With Anderson, the Angels and their medical staff still have no idea what is causing the pain. They’ve ruled out disc problems and arthritis, but until they have a cause, Anderson has been completely shut down.
Let’s leave the Angels and their fans with some good news: Tim Salmon should be back by next week. Brendan Donnelly may actually beat Salmon back to Anaheim. He’ll make a couple of appearances in Salt Lake City, then return to his setup role.
I was disappointed that baseball backed off its plans to put Spider-Man 2 logos on bases in order to bring more kids into the game. What’s baseball coming to when you can sign an agreement with those guys and they back off it over a little negative publicity? Isn’t a deal a deal?
It’s bad enough that MLB turns out to be so cowardly that it’ll turn its back on the children they were trying to help, but what about the other outreach campaigns to widen baseball’s appeal? Once they’re putting ads in the field of play, it’s open season: We can change the field, the game, whatever we want, in order to reach new audiences by running advertisements that they’ll identify with.
This is my fourth year of having the Extra Innings satellite package. Over the years, I’ve developed something of a system that determines what my “main” games are in any given time slot. Usually, I’m watching the most interesting pitching or team matchup, or perhaps someone’s debut or pursuit of a record. My default if there are no games of note is the Yankee game, and if they aren’t playing at a particular time, I could end up focusing on almost any matchup.
Mind you, I do all of this with remote in hand and a scoreboard Web page reloading on my screen so that I can jump to rallies or key moments. It’s sometimes hard to believe that a little over a decade ago I was a slave to “Baseball Tonight” and hoping that the New York Daily News had the West Coast box scores. This is really a golden age of sports fandom.
This year, I’ve been adjusting my personal decision tree. I’ve found myself watching the Brewers more and more, particularly the latter part of their games, after the 4 p.m. Pacific games come to a close. They’re really growing on me. Scott Podsednik is the player people think Darin Erstad is, Ben Sheets is on the brink of a Greg Maddux circa ’92 leap, two-way player Brooks Kieschnick, with an OPS nearly 10 times his ERA, is more fun than Jonah Keri on a Boone’s Farm binge. Keith Ginter is one of my guys for ’04, while the guy he’s been starting for over the last week, Junior Spivey, is an underrated second baseman, kind of Ray Durham Lite. Two years ago, I flagged Doug Davis as the pitcher with the best chance to have Jamie Moyer’s career, and I root for that every time he takes the mound. Hell, they’ve even resurrected Ben Grieve!