Saturday, June 30, 2007
Entering today, Detroit was hitting .289/.355/.475 at home this season and .291/.351/.468 on the road; not much of a difference, although the road numbers include pitchers batting. The staff at home has a 4.85 ERA/1.47 WHIP/ and a .271 BAA compared to road marks of 4.11/1.40/.267. The Tigers are 27-15 on the road.
Last year, Detroit was 46-35 at home and 49-32 on the road, so it's no fluke the Tigers play well away from Comerica. The team hit .273/.327/.424 at home in 2006, marks this season's team has surpassed across the board. The pitching, though, was better, too with 3.92/1.33/.259 numbers at Comerica. No one can explain why the Tigs are struggling at home.
The Angels are 29-13 at home this season while Cleveland is 28-12 and Boston is 24-12; all are in first place in their respective divisions. Obviously, the Tigers are going to have to turn around this situation or they are in trouble.
Another reason for concern: Detroit is only 3 games above .500 vs. the AL this season. The Tigers' 46-33 record was helped greatly by going 14-4 in interleague play.
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Detroit's bullpen was solid on the back half of the road trip, but Fernando Rodney went back on the DL and the struggles of old returned as well. Todd Jones has 18 saves, but I fear that at 39 years old the tank is nearing empty. Jones has given up 16 ER in his last 11.1 IP, sending his ERA from 2.37 to 6.23. He's given up 8 BB during the span, which is alarming.
In 2005, Jones held foes to a .230 BA, had 62 K and 14 BB in 73 IP. In 2006, opponents batted .276 while Jones had 28 K and 11 BB in 64 IP. This year, he's giving up a .302 BA with 16 K and 14 BB in 30.1 IP. Jones' success in the past largely was the result of him not walking batters. His K-BB ratio is cause for concern. (Now, maybe he can pull a Casey and prove me an idiot.)
Jason Grilli needs to step up, too. Maybe Zach Miner's return can help. Or maybe this is just something the Tigers are going to have to scuffle with this season. Detroit has used 21 pitchers this season compared with 19 for all of 2006. The starters are going to have to go at least 7 and then hope for the best. And the offense will need to continue to mash.
As much as I like seeing Victorino batting second, if Bourn is playing sixth is a great spot for Shane. Shane is starting to hit for power, (especially when he bats from the right side) and he brings great speed to the bottom of the line up and that should help Dobbs (or Nunez) and Ruiz to be productive.
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
The top spot belongs to Vladimir Guerrero. Vlad has 17 total win shares and 12 win shares above bench while Maggs is at 16/11 and A-Rod is 15/10. Actually, Orlando Cabrera is between Maggs and A-Rod with 16/10. Ichiro Suzuki and Victor Martinez are even with A-Rod at 15/10 and Grady Sizemore is 14/9.
It's a shame Guerrero plays on the West Coast. If he played in NY, could you imagine how big he would be? The median Vlad season since his first full year in 1998 is .329-39-111 with 15 SB and a .978 OPS. He led the AL in intentional walks in 2005 and 2006 (and is tops so far this year). He also is annually above the league average for range factor among right fielders (although below the average for fielding percentage) and contributes 10 assists per season in his median line.
According to Baseball-Reference.com, the three most similar hitters to Vlad through the age of 30 are Willie Mays, Duke Snider and Frank Robinson.
Monday, June 25, 2007
He started his career as a catcher before winning 4 Gold Glove awards at 2B; only Sandberg, Morgan and Mazeroski won more in the NL. He leads all active MLB players in doubles with 658, is 6th in history, and is the tops among right-handed batters in history.
Biggio led the NL in runs twice and scored 100 or more 8 times; his 1,820 runs are 15th in history. He was a top base stealer in his prime and got hit by an unusually high number of pitches.
On the downside, he struck out frequently and never had an MVP-type season; his highest finish was fourth in 1997. His career BA is .282 and he had only four .300+ seasons.
Nonetheless, he compares favorable to several Hall of Famers (not all second basemen, but contemporaries). He has more homers (286) than Robin Yount, Paul Molitor, Joe Morgan and Ryne Sandberg. His BA is better than Morgan's (.271) and comparable to Yount's and Sandberg's (both .285). His .800 OPS is better than Sandberg's .796 and Yount's .772. In fact, his BA and OPS both are better than Cal Ripken's (.276 and .787). But Yount, Morgan and Ripken all won multiple MVP awards and Sandberg won one. Molitor finished second once and had an .817 OPS.
According to Hardball Times, Biggio ranks second in win shares for all active batters, behind only Barry Bonds. He is third among all active players; Roger Clemens is the only pitcher ahead of him. Hardball Times also came up with a calculation for "win shares above bench," which ranks Biggio as the fifth greatest second baseman in history. It's an interesting list and you can check it out here.
Sunday, June 24, 2007
Tom Glavine, Orlando Hernandez and John Maine each pitched excellently against Oakland and the offense scored at least nine runs twice. No one hitter carried the offense as nine men had at least one multi-hit game with Carlos Beltran doing it twice. Every spot on the diamond had one except for catcher and Ramon Castro did provide a double and score the only run of Saturday's game after Paul Lo Duca got ejected for acting like a jackass. Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran each had five hits on the weekend including a home run by Beltran and two doubles by Reyes.
The rest of the NL East has completely failed to take advantage of the Mets' (41-32) poor June and as a result they were able to stretch their division lead back to three games over the Phillies (39-36) with their modest win streak. The series with Oakland began a stretch in which the Mets will play at least one game on seventeen straight days including a doubleheader this Friday. So they picked a pretty good time to start playing well again.
This difficult stretch of games, which in no way resembles the Bataan Death March, continues with four games against that team that got lucky last October and isn't even ahead of the Cubs in the standings right now, the St. Louis Cardinals (33-39). Jorge Sosa (6-3, 4.05), Oliver Perez (7-6, 3.16), Glavine (6-5, 4.38) and El Duque (3-3, 2.77) will start for the Mets. Mike Maroth (5-2, 5.06) will make his first start for St. Louis since being acquired from the Tigers and will be followed by Todd Wellemeyer (2-1, 6.65), Anthony Reyes (0-9, 6.64) and Adam Wainwright (6-6, 4.58).
Making the situation better (at least for Tig fans, perhaps not the AL) is the staff is coming into form. Kenny Rogers returned and immediately recaptured his 2006 brilliance. Nate Robertson is slated to come off the DL and start Tuesday. Justin Verlander and Jeremy Bonderman keep winning. Chad Durbin got a three-inning save in his first appearance out of the pen. Over the last 5 games, Detroit gave up just 6 runs -- and 4 of those came in one game. Granted, the span came against the Nats and struggling Braves, but it's still a good sign. (And the Nats, it should be noted, took 2 of 3 from Cleveland over the weekend.)
After being a sore spot much of the season, the bullpen is enjoying one of its best stretches. Over the last 5 games, the relievers tossed 15 IP, giving up 8 hits and 1 run while striking out 14 and walking 5. That's a 0.60 ERA and 0.87 WHIP.
The Tigers will have to make some more moves with Robertson and Zach Miner returning to the staff. I'm interested to see what becomes of 23-year-old Eulogio De La Cruz, who has been sharp in 3 relief appearances. He's supposed to have a 95+ mph fastball and big league curve and change. Plus, his numbers in the minors show him to be a groundball pitcher. Detroit might have another unheralded weapon in its arsenal.
Detroit now returns to Comerica for a 13-game homestand. The Tigers could really help themselves in the AL Central race if they continue to play well the next two weeks. It begins with a 4-game set against Texas, and for the first time this season the rotation will resemble 2006: Bonderman - Robertson - Rogers - Verlander.
The Tigers have been coming through in clutch spots this season. The hitters are batting .313 with a .963 OPS with 2 outs and RISP (387 plate appearances). The pitchers are allowing a .244 BA and .722 OPS in that situation (308 PA).
Friday, June 22, 2007
Thursday, June 21, 2007
Charlie Manuel has had to mix and match 14 relief pitchers at different times this season.
Just two pitchers have been in the bullpen since the start: Geoff Geary and Antonio Alfonseca.
Brett Myers, Tom Gordon, Ryan Madson and Francisco Rosario have spent time on the disabled list. There is Clay Condrey, who was designated for assignment once and outrighted once. There are Yoel Hernandez, Mike Zagurski, Matt Smith, Fabio Castro, Brian Sanches and Joe Bisenius, who have either been called up from the minors or optioned to the minors.
The scary thing is the Tigers and Phils have remarkably similar numbers from their relievers, as far as BA/OBA/SLG:
Those numbers are fairly dreadful. Here are relief numbers for all teams, clumped somewhat by effectiveness:
San Diego .216/.279/.312
San Fran .240/.323/.376
St. Louis .247/.312/.381
White Sox .289/.381/.441
Tampa Bay .292/.376/.458
Magglio Ordonez .500-1-18
Brandon Inge .373-3-17
Placido Polanco .370-0-7
Gary Sheffield .369-5-19
Omar Infante .343-0-6
Curtis Granderson .342-1-11
Carlos Guillen .326-5-13
Ivan Rodriguez .322-2-13
Sean Casey .321-1-15
Surprisingly, the only time the Tigers have been shutout came in June. Detroit is 1-5 in June when scoring 5 or fewer runs. Kenny Rogers return, hopefully, can help remedy that.
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
I hate to see Wil go, but this deal seems to make some sense for the Tigers, although given the bullpen woes, I’m not sure about McBride’s future. It seems he could help now, rather than be sent to the minors.
McBride, a 24-year-old former No. 1 draft pick, is great against left-handed hitters, holding them to a .176 BA and giving up 2 HR. His WHIP is 0.93 vs. lefties. He was 6-1 with 2 saves and a 3.99 ERA in 112 career games for the Braves, all in relief. He reportedly struggled with his control earlier this season and was sent to the minors for a stint.
Lefties hit .293 with 8 HR off Ledezma, who is 26. Ledezma was 15-18 with a 5.15 ERA in 106 games, 33 starts, for Detroit.
"We could do nothing with Wil," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "We wish we could have sent him out and started him. It was just one of those deals. He's been very good on some occasions and just OK on others, but there's a lot of potential there."
Since then, Casey is batting .333-1-25 in 37 games and his OPS is .825. He even has a stolen base!
One of the stats to most concern me at the beginning of the season was Casey’s lack of doubles. Since April 21, he has 14, which translates to 1 every 11.3 AB. His best rate was in 2004 when he hit one double every 13 AB. It also was the second-best season of his life (.324-24-99).
Granted, his power is lacking for a corner position, but the Tigers don’t need power from that spot. Maybe, just maybe, Casey is the player we thought prior to the season. (Count on a prolonged slump from here.)
C: Russell Martin, LAD, 39.6
1B: Prince Fielder, MIL, 62.1
2B: Chase Utley, PHI, 62.1
SS: Jose Reyes, NYM, 57.6
3B: Miguel Cabrera, FLA, 58.2
OF: Matt Holliday, COL, 61.6
OF: Eric Byrnes, ARI, 52.9
OF: Ken Griffey Jr., CIN, 51.3
C: Jorge Posada, NYY, 47.1
1B: Kevin Youkilis, BOS, 54.3
2B: Brian Roberts, BAL, 46.9
SS: Derek Jeter, NYY, 51.3
3B: Alex Rodriguez, NYY, 68.9
OF: Magglio Ordonez, DET, 69.8
OF: Grady Sizemore, CLE, 58.9
OF: Vlad Guerrero, LAA, 58.3
C: Russell Martin, LAD, .824
1B: Prince Fielder, MIL, 1.023
2B: Chase Utley, PHI, .967
SS: Edgar Renteria, ATL, .915
3B: Chipper Jones, ATL, 1.014
OF: Barry Bonds, SF, 1.067
OF: Matt Holliday, COL, 1.019
OF: Ken Griffey Jr., CIN, .965
C: Jorge Posada, NYY, .965
1B: Casey Kotchman, LAA, .967
2B: B.J. Upton, TB, .941
SS: Carlos Guillen, DET, .938
3B: Alex Rodriguez, NYY, 1.107
OF: Magglio Ordonez, DET, 1.115
OF: Vlad Guerrero, LAA, .992
OF: Gary Sheffield, DET, .945
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Randy Johnson 124-61, 3.17
Greg Maddux 118-80, 3.59
Tim Hudson 114-62, 3.54
Curt Schilling 114-59, 3.54
Bartolo Colon 110-68, 3.98
Andy Pettitte 109-62, 3.67
Tom Glavine 108-80, 3.66
Barry Zito 108-70, 3.60
Mike Mussina 106-71, 3.85
Roy Oswalt 105-51, 3.09
Jamie Moyer 104-70, 4.13
Mark Mulder 103-57, 4.11
Roger Clemens 102-45, 3.28
Mark Buehrle 101-69, 3.80
Livan Hernandez 101-95, 4.14
Freddy Garcia 100-68, 4.07
Only one pitcher on the list has a save (actually 9 of them) – Curt Schilling. Bartolo Colon caught me by surprise. It's also easy to forget how remarkable Maddux is; he tossed 210 IP last year at the age of 40. It was his fourth consecutive 200+ effort. The only time he threw fewer than 200 IP since his rookie year in 1987 came in 2002, when he went 199.1 IP. He might not be great anymore, but he's still good. Or maybe Woody Allen was right that 80% of success is just showing up.
Pedro Martinez (2.78 ERA) and Matt Morris have 99 wins.
Monday, June 18, 2007
But this comment from Jim Leyland is telling:
"Anytime you get some guy back with the quality of a Kenny Rogers, obviously you're tickled to death, because it solidifies your rotation more and you're not grasping for straws like we have been all year," Leyland said. "We need to get our pitchers straightened out. It's still a mess."
Poor Charlie Manuel can't get a break. He managed the 7th inning of Sunday's loss to Detroit, from my perspective, perfectly, except his players failed to execute. So Philly fans continue to howl Manuel is a moron. He was ultimately done in by Craig Monroe lining a single off Abraham Nunez's glove after an intentional walk to Placido Polanco. Monroe was in a 2-for-15 slump with 8 strikeouts prior to the single. In fact, Monroe was just 5-for-35 going back to June 6.
To quote from the AP account of Sunday's game:
Then came the sound as familiar in Philly as the vendors shouting "Hot dogs!"
Now, I don't necessarily blame the fans for booing or being upset. But take it out on the players, not Charlie. Ultimately, I think Manuel will go because the organization will need to do something, and firing the manager -- in this case one that has become hated by the fans -- is the only move. But a new manager isn't going to make the bullpen better. Look at Jim Leyland; he doesn't look like the genius he was last year when Joel Zumaya and Fernando Rodney were lights out in the late innings. Funny how good players, performing well, make you smart.
Sunday, June 17, 2007
The Mets scored three or fewer runs in five of these six games, with an eight-run outburst on Saturday padding the team's averages considerably. Right in the middle of the ineptitude were Carloses Delgado and Beltran. Delgado's been "slumping" more or less all season long while Beltran is playing hurt, just as he did in his disappointing 2005, with similar results. This week the pair had just six hits with a combined line of .157/.157/.196. That's right, neither of them even drew a walk. The Carlos Of The Week Award clearly goes to Mr. Gomez, who had seven singles and one free pass in these six games. A lot of Mets had a bad week, but this team is never going to turn things around with Delgado and Beltran playing this poorly. If the Mets weren't already down three outfielders it would probably make sense for Beltran to hit the DL and rest his sore quad for a couple of weeks. Since that's out of the question, I'm not sure how this team is going to regain its stroke.
Facing a Twins team (34-33) with one of the top few pitching staffs in the American League is probably not going to help. The Mets (37-30) are still atop the NL East, but their margin over the Braves is down to just 1.5 games. John Maine (6-4, 3.05), Jorge Sosa (6-2, 3.42) and Oliver The Great (7-5, 2.93) will take the mound for New York in this series. Carlos Silva (4-7, 4.07), Johan Santana (6-6, 3.19) and Scott Baker (1-2, 7.33) will likely have some of their best starts of the year in opposition.
Miguel Cabrera .332
Derek Jeter .329
Derrek Lee .328
Matt Holliday .326
Albert Pujols .326
Vlad Guerrero .325
Placido Polanco .320
Joe Mauer .320
Ichiro Suzuki .319
Carlos Guillen .317
The Tigers’ Magglio Ordonez is 14th at .314, behind Freddy Sanchez, Michael Young and Miguel Tejada.
Polanco has struck out just 65 times since the start of 2005, a span of 1221 at-bats. Mike Lieberthal has struck out only 57 times during the time frame, the best in MLB, but in just 629 AB.
Saturday, June 16, 2007
Joe looks up at Moe from his deathbed, "Moe, you've been my best friend for many years. If it's at all possible, I'll do this favor for you." Shortly after that, Joe passes on.
At midnight a couple of nights later, Moe is awakened from a sound sleep by a blinding flash of white light and a voice calling out to him, "Moe, Moe."
"Who is it?" asks Moe, sitting up suddenly. "Who is it?"
"Moe -- it's me, Joe."
"You're not Joe. Joe just died."
"I'm telling you, it's me, Joe," insists the voice.
"Joe! Where are you?"
"In Heaven," replies Joe. "I have some really good news and a little bad news."
"Tell me the good news first," says Moe.
"The good news," Joe says, "is that there's baseball in Heaven. Better yet, all of our old buddies who died before us are here, too. Better than that, we're all young again. Better still, it's always springtime, and it never rains or snows. And best of all, we can play baseball all we want, and we never get tired."
"That's fantastic," says Moe. "It 's beyond my wildest dreams! So what's the bad news?"
"You're pitching Tuesday."
Friday, June 15, 2007
Detroit is coming off back-to-back losses and won't face an easy task in Philly, which is only 2.5 games worse than the Tigers. Fortunately, the rotation favors the Tigs with Jeremy Bonderman, Andrew Miller and Justin Verlander getting starts.
Tonight, Jon Lieber goes for the Phils. If Bondo and Lieber are on their games, this one could be finished in under 2 hours. Philly sends Jamie Moyer on Saturday and Adam Eaton on Sunday, although Cole Hamels originally was slated for that start.
The Tigers go to Washington and Atlanta following this series.
Thursday, June 14, 2007
Traded Travis Hafner for Ryan Drese and Einar Diaz.
Traded Francisco Cordero, Kevin Mench and Laynce Nix for Carlos Lee (lost to free agency).
Traded Chris Young (the pitcher) and Adrian Gonzalez for Adam Eaton (lost to free agency) and Akinori Otsuka.
Signed Vincente Padilla for $33.75 million.
Released Doug Davis.
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Inge is batting .242-10-29 for the season with a .775 OPS. He was hitting .111 on April 24.
* * *
The Phillies need pitching help, both starting and relief it now appears, and the Tigers have supposedly been shopping lefty Mike Maroth. Might there be a deal in these teams’ future? I’m not sure the squads match up well for a trade now, and I don’t know if the Phils would have interest in another soft-tossing lefty. But imagine what Maroth could learn from Jamie Moyer. I’m guessing Detroit might also use Marcus Thames as a chip. Thames could hit 40 HR in the Zen.
* * *
Have to wonder if Brad Lidge being returned to the closer role in Houston is to showcase him for a trade.
* * *
Also wonder if a Maroth-Thames package might be good enough to pry Eric Gagne from Texas? When you look at the Rangers’ outfield of Marlon Byrd, Frank Catalanotto, Victor Diaz, Jerry Hairston and Kenny Lofton, you’d think they should be interested.
NY Daily News columnist Bill Madden had a great piece about Texas and its ineptitude over the years. I’ll post a snippet tomorrow.
Sunday, June 10, 2007
After Sosa's gem, Oliver Perez and Tom Glavine both got smacked around. Perez gave up five runs in five innings and Glavine was charged with nine in four and a third. Neither got any help from their bullpen as Guillermo Mota and Joe Smith had particularly bad weekends. Mota has pitched five times since returning from his suspension with three good outing and a pair of disasters. His 7:2 K:BB ratio is nice, but the eleven hits he's given up in 6.1 IP are less pretty. As for Smith, perhaps his heavy early season workload is catching up to him a bit as he's allowed at least two base runners in his last four outings. He's seemed unhittable at times this year, but far from it this past week.
The offensive ineptitude of the past week was a total team effort and so was the turnaround in the last two games of this series. Seven starters had hits in each game, though David Wright did lead the way with three hits, including two home runs, and a pair of walks in the two games. Wright has raised his slugging percentage fifty points to .511 in the last six games with eight hits including four home runs and a double. Unfortunately, he is the only Met slugging over .500 aside from Ricky Ledee, who had a very un-Newhanlike weekend, going two-for-seven with two doubles. Shawn Green did not return to the team this weekend, but the Mets sent Ben Johnson back to New Orleans on Sunday night, so Green will likely be back on Monday.
From Detroit, the Mets (36-25) fly to Los Angeles, after which they'll head back to New York as part of the MLB scheduling department's continuing assault on their sanity. The Dodgers (35-28) also lost two of three this weekend and five of their last six. Someone will have to win these three games, so why not the Mets? Orlando Hernandez (3-1, 1.94), John Maine (6-3, 2.78) and Sosa (6-1, 2.64) will give it a shot. Randy Wolf (7-4, 4.03), Hong-Chih Kuo (0-1, 4.85) and Brad Penny (7-1, 2.26) will provide the opposition. The Mets are hitting .320/.379/.475 against lefties this season, so perhaps they will be able to keep up the hitting against Wolf and Kuo.
Saturday, June 09, 2007
Friday's game, played in a crisp 2:14, marked the first time the Tigs were shut out this year and was the direct result of our praising their offense. Saturday's game, played in an interminable 3:29, showcased Detroit's season in a nutshell -- a good amount of Polly and Maggs and Guillen, then hold on and pray the bullpen gets the job done. (As a side note, the Fox broadcast team of Dick Stockton and Eric Karros almost made me yearn for Buck and McCarver.)
Maggs hit another double today, giving him 30 and putting him on pace for around 80. The MLB record is 67, set in 1931 by Boston's Earl Webb. Colorado's Todd Helton, who hit 59 in 2000, is the only player in the last 70 years to hit more than 58.
Curtis Granderson has 12 triples this season and is on pace for around 30. The record is 36, set by Pittsburgh's Chief Wilson in 1912. It's been 58 years since anyone hit as many as 23.
* * *
Bad news buried in a note in last night's AP story on the Tigers' game: Jim Leyland said Joel Zumaya could miss the rest of the season. On the bright side, Kenny Rogers is slated to make his first rehab start Sunday.
* * *
We were totally wrong about Freddy Garcia giving a good effort in KC, and he was placed on the DL today. We were totally correct about Jose Mesa gaining employment with the Phils.
The Baltimore Orioles finally won a baseball game in which they scored 4 runs, defeating the Colorado Rockies 4-2 last night in Baltimore. Steve Trachsel (5-4, 3.82) notched the win, pitching 6 innings and allowing 7 hits and 2 earned runs.
Nick Markakis belted a two run homer in the bottom of the 5th inning to give the O's a 4-1 lead. From the moment Markakis took that swing, I could sense the impending doom.
Sure enough, in the 6th inning the Rockies advanced a runner to 3rd base with two outs and Trachsel was called for a balk, scoring the runner from 3rd and cutting the lead to 4-2.
For those unfamiliar with Steve Trachsel, he balks on every pitch he throws from the stretch. O's talking heads Buck Martinez and Rick Dempsey both have explained to television viewers that umpires around the league have advised them "he does it on every pitch, therefore, there is no intent to deceive the runner. It is his natural motion and thus, it is not a balk."
So, apparently, Steve Trachsel does not balk on every pitch. Except when he does. O's skipper Sam Perlozzo went ballistic with 1B umpire Larry Vanover and got ejected. Trachsel gave up a smoking line drive double on the next pitch.
But then something happened that I didn't see coming. Trachsel retired the next hitter (and thus the side) on a routine ground ball. Then the O's bullpen took over and pitched 3 scoreless innings to preserve the victory.
The novel approach improves the O's record to 1-11 on the season in games in which they've scored exactly 4 runs.
Friday, June 08, 2007
The Tigers are being hailed for getting Jersey high school star Rick Porcello -- one of the best players in this year's draft -- with the 27th overall pick. Porcello is being compared to Josh Beckett and Justin Verlander. Time will tell.
But this is what I found most interesting, reported in the Free Press:
Fred Porcello, the pitcher's father, said in a telephone interview that the Tigers were very high on the family's wish list of possible teams. Detroit's appeal was surely enhanced by a stockpile of young pitching stars (Miller, Verlander, Jeremy Bonderman and Joel Zumaya) and its status as the defending American League champion.
"The pitching staff has a tremendous amount of charisma and skill," the elder Porcello said. "The entire baseball world is going to be watching this team. It doesn't hurt when you're in the World Series."
Hard to believe how good the Royals were in the mid-70s to mid-80s. The Royals have had just 7 winning seasons since taking the 1985 Series against St. Louis. Probably cosmic payback for Don Denkinger's call. KC had 9 winning season from 1975-85.
Freddy Garcia goes to the hill tonight. I think he will give a good showing tonight. Garcia has been decent on the road, posting a 4.50 ERA, 1.18 WHIP and holding foes to a .256 BA. It’s been totally different at the Zen, where he has a 5.50 ERA, 1.69 WHIP and .331 BAA.
I’m not sure what to make of this stat: Garcia has 11 K in 22 IP on the road and 38 K in 34.1 IP at home. That’s 4.5 K/9 IP on the road and 10 K/9 IP at home. I’m guessing Garcia tries to be too fine at the Zen because of its dimensions. That leads to more strikeouts, as well as more walks (3.1/9 IP at home and 2/9 IP on road).
Last year, Detroit had 16 games with 10 or more runs and another 8 with 9 runs. Five of the 2006 double-digit bashings came against Kansas City.
Over the last 9, the Tigs have put up some unbelievable numbers. They are hitting .350/.402/.556 with 13 HR and 75 RBI overall. They're bashing lefties at .375/.430/.608 and hitting righties at .338/.387/.530. With RISP, they're .394/.438/.576. They're also getting off to fast starts, batting .458/.490/.833 in the first inning. They're hitting no worse than .375 in any of the first four innings during this span.
Now the Mets come to town after getting swept in their Bizarro World series with the Phillies. The Tigs will send Chad Durbin, Jeremy Bonderman and Andrew Miller to the hill. Miller has taken over the rotation spot from Nate Robertson, who was put on the DL with a "tired arm." I think that means Detroit got tired of seeing that arm come forward and not get anyone out. The Tigers also put pitcher Zach Miner on the DL.
The Miller-Glavine matchup holds potential as one of the game's great lefties meets one of the (hopefully) next great southpaws. The 22-year-old Miller threw 6 shutout innings against the Cardinals in his only start this year. He was 2-0 with a 0.59 ERA in 4 starts at Double-A Erie. He struck out 24 and walked 5 in 30.2 IP and had a 0.88 WHIP.
Thursday, June 07, 2007
Tom Glavine, Orlando Hernandez and John Maine combined for twenty innings pitched in this series and allowed just four runs. That makes nine straight quality starts for Met pitchers, adding up to a grand total of three wins. If this keeps up, Glavine's going to have to come back next year for number 300.
In these nine games, the Mets have scored just twenty-five runs, or 2.78 per game. This series was the worst of the last three with just seven runs scored. The Mets have too many good hitters for this to continue for very long and Jose Valentin's return to the lineup should help a little bit. Yet even with so few runs scored, the Mets were ahead on the scoreboard in two of these games and tied in the other when the ball was first handed to a relief pitcher.
Met relievers, who had been largely excellent this season, completely fell apart in this series, allowing ten runs in ten innings. I, of course, blame Scott Schoeneweis. The lefty, whose entire purpose on this team is to retire the tough lefties of the NL East, such as Chase Utley and Ryan Howard, pitched in all three games. He allowed a walk, a single and a double to Utley. He did retire Howard in the first two games, intentionally walking him in game three. Schoeneweis now has an ERA of 7.17 with 20 hits, 19 walks and 9 strikeouts in 21.1 innings. That is the same number of innings Jorge Julio pitched for the Mets in 2006 and Julio's 5.06 ERA seems downright adequate in comparison. Three-year contract or not, Schoeneweis needs to not be on this team anymore.
To be fair, the Big Scho was not the only reliever who failed to live up to the job title in this series. The game one loss was the result of Pedro Feliciano and Joe Smith combining to give up four hits and two runs in one inning. Game two saw Aaron Heilman turn a 2-0 seventh inning lead into a loss like he was pitching to a whole team of Yadier Molinas. And game three wouldn't have even gotten to Chase Utley's personal batting practice pitcher had Billy Wagner not blown his first save of the season by allowing a home run to noted pain in the ass Pat Burrell. At this point, the Mets spending four of their first six draft picks on college relievers almost makes sense.
The Mets (35-23) still hold a comfortable 3.5 game division lead thanks to the Braves losing three in a row and the Phillies having been eight games out in the first place. But the schedule gets rather torturous now as their next five series are against the four 2006 American League playoff teams and a very good Dodger team. Meanwhile, the Phillies get to play the Royals three times this weekend, but I digress. The Mets' punishment for being good last year starts this weekend with an interleague battle for DTFT bragging rights in Detroit. Jorge Sosa (5-1, 3.22), Oliver Perez (6-4, 2.80) and Glavine (5-3, 3.36) will get the starts for the Mets against Chad Durbin (5-1, 4.75), Jeremy Bonderman (5-0, 3.27) and Andrew Miller (1-0, 0.00) of the Tigers (33-25). Hopefully the Mets will make it to town with enough healthy hitters to field a DH.
Only Prince Fielder has put up better numbers since April 30. Fielder, who looks very much like Big Daddy, is .328-16-34. Victor Martinez also has 34 RBI during the time frame, to go with 10 HR and .326 BA.
No. 3 on the list of HR since April 30 is Ken Griffey Jr., with 11.
Magglio Ordonez is .385-9-30 during the span.
The Baltimore Orioles defeated the Seattle Mariners 9-5 yesterday afternoon in Seattle to complete their longest road trip of the season at 5-5 and halt their most recent losing streak at 5 games after winning the previous 6. What a treat!
Daniel Cabrera (5-6, 4.71 ERA) notched the win for the O's. After a shaky start (1 run in the 1st, 3 in the 2nd), Cabrera settled in and pitched 8 innings allowing 7 hits and the 4 earned runs. Chris Ray finished up in the ninth surrendering what has become the O's bullpens' obligatory run (minimum per appearance).
After 60 games, the O's are 28-32. In 2006, they were 27-33. So, they really are better than last year!
Since declaring Danys Baez the only concern on the pitching staff, the O's embarked on a 6 game winning streak followed by a 5 game losing skid during which the bullpen puked all over the place. Oh well, I suppose I had that coming. I still expect the bullpen to get back on the beam. Strike One men, Strike One!
The Orioles are 23-4 when scoring 5 or more runs. They are 5-28 when scoring 4 or less including 0-11 when scoring exactly 4 runs. 0-11! @%@%&#@
The bullpen and offense both need to step up, however, the team as a whole has to figure out how to make 4 runs stand up.
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
Amazingly, Nate’s ERA during the span ranks only 8th worse among pitchers with at least 10 IP. (This goes back to May 9.) Here are those who make Nate feel better:
Levale Speigner (WSH) 0-2, 14.06 ERA
Matt Albers (HOU) 0-3, 11.68
Ramon Ortiz (MIN) 0-2, 10.80
Robinson Tejeda (TEX) 1-4, 10.62
Nicholas Masset (CHA) 1-1, 10.45
Rick White (HOU) 0-0, 10.22
Kelvin Jimenez (STL) 0-0, 9.82
Unfortunately, the Tigers will miss Tejeda and Vicente Padilla (1-4, 9.00 in his last 5 starts) during this trip to Texas.
In other news, Kenny Rogers threw 2 innings in a simulated game and reported all went well. Meanwhile, former Tigs reliever Troy Percival will toss for scouts as he attempts a comeback. Detroit will be among those watching the workout. The Phillies, too, will be there.
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
As suspected, the Orioles have followed a 6 game winning streak with a (currently active) 4 game losing streak. Only once this season have the Orioles followed a winning streak (2 consecutive wins or more) with a losing streak of fewer games than the winning streak.
The O's have also only once executed a non-losing road trip this season. It was a 3 game trip to Tampa Bay where they took two, but I suppose it still counts.
The O's are 4-4 on the current road trip with two games left in Seattle. Win one of the two and the O's will have both a winning streak as long or longer than the successive losing streak as well as a non-losing road trip.
It's an opportunity for the O's to demonstrate that the one occurrence of each of these achievements thus far this season were not flukes. This is as big a 2 game set as an O's fan has to look forward to.
Philadelphia's failure is that the players batting behind Howard don't make anyone pay for putting Howard on base. That's what you need. Look at the Giants with Bonds, particularly when Jeff Kent was there. Kent never "protected" Bonds even though he drove in more than 100 runs in all 6 seasons in SF and had 3 years with 120+ RBI. The most important thing he did was make teams pay for walking Bonds.
For the 3 seasons of 2000-2002, Kent batted .313-69-273 in the No. 4 spot in the lineup (1,459 ABs). The Giants went 97-65, 90-72 and 95-66 in those seasons, and should have won the World Series in 2002. I couldn't get Kent's stats for 1997-99 with SF.
Philly's No. 5 hitters (excluding Howard) since the start of last year are batting .247-24-111.
Monday, June 04, 2007
A bruise to Carlos Beltran's knee was the final nail in the coffin of ordinariness as the Mets' outfield was so depleted that they resorted to starting David Newhan. Twice! Beltran says he'll be back in the lineup on Tuesday, but he also says he still feels "a little bit of pain" when he runs, which ought to disturb any Mets fan who remembers 2005.
The Mets' offense was the main culprit this week, as they scored just eighteen runs in the six games. Only two Mets--Jose Reyes and David Wright--had more than ten at bats and a batting average above .200. Carlos Delgado hit three home runs and a double, but unfortunately those were his only hits all week. Carlos Gomez has cooled off considerably since his hot start and is hitting just .229/.263/.286 for the year. If the Mets had anyone to replace him, the twenty-one would surely be back in AAA by now.
The team as a whole has stopped hitting for power, with a team slugging percentage of just .424 compared to last year's .445. On the bright side, the team OBP is up to a league-leading .348 from last year's .334. The team's 4.87 runs per game is good for third in the league. It's down from 5.15 last year, but that was also just the third best in the league. The average NL team is scoring only 4.44 runs per game compared to 4.76 last year.
It is to the credit of the pitching that the Mets were able to scratch out three wins this week. No Met starter allowed more than three runs or pitched fewer than six innings. Oliver Perez had two seven-inning, three-run performances and didn't get a win in either. Perez pitching well has become commonplace, but Orlando Hernandez's second post-injury start was more encouraging. He gave up just two runs on two hits and one walk in seven innings. Mets starters now have an ERA of 3.48, third best in the majors.
Up next for the Mets (35-20) is a three-game series with the under-phive-hundred Phils (28-29). Game one features a couple of starting pitchers who throw with their left hand and would likely not be described as "young" in Tom Glavine (5-3, 3.44, 41 years of age) and Jamie Moyer (5-4, 4.23, 44). El Duque (3-1, 2.20) and John Maine (6-3, 2.81) will follow for New York, Adam Eaton (5-4, 6.28, 3 years, $24.5 million) and Cole Hamels (8-2, 3.55) for Philadelphia.
Staff 2006: .246 - .312 - .389
Staff 2007: .274 - .345 - .432
Starters 2006: .256 - .315 - .403
Starters 2007: .271 - .339 - .432
Relievers 2006: .222 - .308 - .357
Relievers 2007: .278 - .357 - .431
Staff with runners in scoring position
2006: .244 - .333 - .384
2007: .286 - .362 - .439
Staff with one-run lead
2006: .198 - .267 - .316
2007: .288 - .344 - .425
Obviously, the numbers in 2006 were outstanding. Of course, this season the Tigers have dealt with injuries to Kenny Rogers, Fernando Rodney and Joel Zumaya, plus losing Jamie Walker to free agency and not adequately replacing him in the pen (see: Mesa, Jose). Also, Mike Maroth was healthy for much of the 2006 time period while this year he is coming back from elbow trouble.
The surprising emergence of Chad Durbin has helped offset the loss of Rogers, and the starters’ numbers aren’t too far off from 2006. But the pen is going to need some help, it appears. The Tigers have 11 blown saves this season, compared to 16 for all of 2006. Rodney’s return, if he’s healthy now, will help.
Detroit is 32-24, so it’s nice to consider what the Tigs might do if they get improved pitching.
As far as the hitting, here are the numbers again for BA, OBA and SLG:
2006: .276 - .332 - .460
2007: .287 - .348 - .475
With runners in scoring position
2006: .260 - .337 - .413
2007: .321 - .403 - .510
2006: .285 - .336 - .483
2007: .293 - .343 - .491
2006: .257 - .323 - .412
2007: .277 - .357 - .446
So, the hitting is improved from last year, which we knew. Thanks to Baseball Musings for its database making this easy.
Meanwhile, why do I have this feeling Mesa will resurface somewhere -- like Philly.
Sunday, June 03, 2007
Friday, June 01, 2007
I noticed this quote in the story: "People have to realize, it's a long, long season," Roberts said. "You're going to have your streaks, you're going to have your ups and downs, individually and as a team. You can't panic."
Seems almost exactly what Sparky was saying yesterday. We print it here, it comes out there.