I found out about Doug Pappas’ tragic passing on Friday. There were phone messages on both my cell phone and home phone from a number of people, all with a more serious tone to their voices than you’d really like to hear. None of the people actually left the momentous news, but rather some version of “Give me a call the second you get this message.” Moments later, I checked my e-mail, and a barrage of messages with the header “Sad News” scrolled up my screen.
Doug Pappas had passed away. My friend, a colleague for whom I have immense respect, and all-around good guy, had departed from us too soon. My initial response was the same during those horrid times when another friend had died; it sounds strange, but my first impulse is to give him a call and find out what was really going on. It can’t be right, you know? This has got to be some sort of misunderstanding, right? Doug’s only 43, in good health, and a standup guy. Must be someone else. There’s definitely a big ball of confusion out there, and this is completely out of left field. I felt like someone had kicked me in the stomach and stolen the air from the room, but I knew it was a mistake. Had to be.
It wasn’t. And we are all diminished because of it. Doug’s particular chosen role was a particularly difficult one–to call the powerful on the inaccuracy or dishonesty of their public statements. That’s not easy. Over the years, Doug came out and publicly pointed out the inaccuracies, contradictions, and misleading nature of Major League Baseball’s financial disclosures. He did his homework, explained his position, made sure that the MLB functionary’s agenda was understood by the public, and stood by his work. It was an often thankless and misunderstood role, but the public interest was well served because Doug was willing to vigorously undertake it.
With all the injuries the Angels have been dealing with, the one that’s perhaps the most concerning to them is that of Bartolo Colon’s mysterious loss of velocity. Colon’s apparent lack of fitness has never deterred him from being an ace-level starter and one of an elite few that actually gain velocity as the game goes on. Like Mark Prior and Livan Hernandez, Colon doesn’t throw with full effort on every pitch, something often done in previous eras. However, over the last few starts, Colon has started around 90 mph–and then gone down. Velocity loss is a measure of fatigue in the best case and an omen of shoulder injury in the worst, so the Angels are watching him closely. You should as well.
There are some pained e-mails from Cubs fans determined to “prove” that the Cubs are lying about Kerry Wood. Why would he have a good result from the bone scan, then have it released that he’d be out another two weeks? Simply put, there are two things going on here. The Cubs realize they botched the public relations part of the Mark Prior injury, so they’re trending toward to the cautious. They’re also being more cautious with their two aces’ arms, perhaps realizing that it’s not worth the risk, and saves innings they could need even more in October. The results they’ve had with the rest of the staff and the current standings give them the luxury to be conservative.
Walking down Occidental to a Mariners game is a great experience. There’s the smell of brats on grills, roasted peanuts and kettle corn, the bad music of persistent street musicians and the chatter of fellow fans walking south to the stadium…
…And guys selling programs. Independent programs. Many teams only have one program, the one the team puts out, but in Seattle, we have a choice.
I bought both this week to compare, and the results…man, I pity people in cities without competition, if their team-issued programs are anything like this.
Zack Greinke finally gets the call in Kansas City. Jason Giambi hits the DL for the Yanks. Richie Sexson comes off and returns to the DL for the D’backs within a matter of days. Ben Petrick retires after revealing he’s been battling a horrible disease for the past three years. And Dennis Tankersley gets another shot in San Diego. All this and much more news from around the league in your Tuesday edition of Transaction Analysis.
The White Sox are scoring runs in bunches this year, thanks in no small part to…Juan Uribe? The A’s acquisition of Eric Karros isn’t looking too good, especially when you consider that Graham Koonce is still waiting in the wings. And the Phillies have finally grabbed a piece of first place in the NL East after a month of unperforming. All this and much more news from Chicago, Oakland, and Philadelphia in your Tuesday edition of Prospectus Triple Play.
I was checking out BP’s Adjusted Standings report this morning. I think we’re
far enough into the season that the report is useful in indicating which
teams’ win-loss records are clouding their true performance, for better or
worse. Schedules are pretty unbalanced–how many games have the Red Sox played
in Skydome this year? Six? Seventeen? Twenty-five?–and the effects of under- or overperforming
Pythagenport, or being particularly efficient or inefficient in generating
runs out of offensive events, are beginning to be felt. It’s interesting to
look at these gaps and find the performance issues–great, now I’m going to
trip spam filters–that cause them.
Take those Red Sox, for instance. With 228 runs scored and 180 runs allowed,
their record of 27-17 is a match for their Pythag mark. But according to Clay
Davenport’s calculations, the Sox should have a 241-167 edge in runs. The
offensive gap, which has cost them at least one win, is mostly explained by
the team’s early-season struggles with runners on base: 251/.342/.403, as
opposed to a whopping .281/.364/.468 with the bases empty. There’s no reason
to believe that the Sox have some inability to hit with runners on–most teams
hit a bit better in that situation–and their performance in May has been much
better than what they did in April, so they should be find going forward.