Friday, August 22, 2008

Prince Albert

I'm going to guess it's unlikely Albert Pujols wins this year's MVP Award in the NL, but as of right now, the man stands alone offensively. Pujols is batting .348/.456/.613 this season. He has 26 HR and 79 RBI and 77 R. He's got 82 BB and 44 K. (Aside from his rookie year, the man has never fanned more than 69 times in a season.)

His HR-RBI-R lines will probably prevent the MVP. But his OPS+ of 181 leads the NL and is the second best of his career. His 1.069 OPS leads the NL while he is also No. 1 in runs created, adjusted batting runs, batting wins, offensive win percentage, and times on base. His 28 intentional walks is double that of No. 2 Prince Fielder.

Now, I'll admit I don't know how some of those above-mentioned categories are calculated, but I'm relatively sure that leading in all of them is pretty darn good. Pujols is second to Lance Berkman in win shares, at least according to Hardball Times.

Not to mention he is arguably the best defensive 1B in the NL.

All with a bad elbow.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Fair trade

Catching up with the players in the Tigers-Yankee deal:

Pudge Rodriguez is batting .229/.270/.343 in 35 AB in pinstripes. His OPS+ is 62. And from what was said on talk radio this morning, Mike Mussina and Andy Pettitte don't want to pitch to him.

Kyle Farnsworth has appeared in 7 games. He has a 7.36 ERA and no record. His ERA+ is 59.

Hard to find a more balanced deal.

Brandon Inge, who took over the catching duties upon Pudge's departure, is batting .211/.333/.423 in 71 AB since the trade.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Doing it right -- all wrong

Comcast did a good job being ready for Jimmy Rollins' first AB in Philly since his flap about the fans being "front-runners." Then, as Jimmy was preparing to be announced and head to the plate, the network played an interview with Rollins about the controversy. So instead of hearing the crowd's reaction, which presumably was the reason Comcast made a point to air this portion of the game, you had Jimmy's voice over pictures of the crowd. By the time Jimmy's interview ended, he was in the box and the crowd was mostly silent. Harry Kalas then was left to describe the crowd's reaction. Brilliant work! Maybe the producers used to work for the Outdoor Life Network.

Monday, August 18, 2008

No Mora

Melvin Mora probably never wants to leave Detroit after his weekend in Motown. Mora went 10-for-13 with 3 HR and 10 RBI in three games. He also had 2 doubles, a triple and 6 R. He walked twice, had a sacrifice fly, and no strikeouts.

Mora is one of those often underappreciated hitters. He could have been the MVP in 2004 when his OPS+ was 155 and he batted .340-27-104 with 111 R. He finished 18th in the MVP balloting despite an OPS that was fifth best in the AL. He was second in batting and first in OBP. He was fifth in slugging. His OPS+ was third best and he led the AL in offensive win percentage.

Lifetime, Mora has a 1.056 OPS at Comerica Park and he's got a .978 OPS against Detroit overall. That's his best career mark against any AL foe.

Fortunately, his outburst over the weekend did little to kill the Tigers' postseason hopes. It was Mora twist of the knife.

Friday, August 15, 2008

I got Jimmy's back

I've never been a huge fan of Jimmy Rollins, until now. His whole flap over the fans in Philly has put me forever in his corner simply for 1) stating the truth, and 2) refusing to back away from his comments with a response that he was misunderstood or sorry if he offended anyone.

I had many things to say on this subject, but Rich Hofmann addresses them all, and thoughtfully. Read here.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Rollin out of control

Philly fans are down on Jimmy Rollins.
Jimmy Rollins is down on Phillies fans.
This is unfortunate because this season is simply an example, statistically speaking, of Jimmy being Jimmy. He got an undeserved MVP Award last year, which overinflated his already overinflated value to a big league lineup.
Jimmy's OPS+ since fulltime status in 2001: 92, 85, 90, 102, 97, 101, 118, 100.
Take out the 118 last season (which is hardly worthy of MVP status) and Jimmy is right where he's been all along. Last year, Jimmy slugged .531. That's the biggest difference. It was the only year of his career in which he hit more flyballs than groundballs. So even though his HR/FB rate was a rather average 11%, he blasted 30 HR because he put more balls in the air.
I will point out, Jimmy probably deserves better than his .272 BA this season. His line-drive rate is 23.4%, which should translate into a BABIP better than his .285 mark. Historically, it's about 25 points below his BABIP in years with a similar LD rate.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Zoom boom

Detroit loses Joel Zumaya again and discovers Sheff's troubles this year were from him being too quiet. Here's the story.

We'd care, if we cared

Fans of the Detroit Tigers and Philadelphia Phillies rank among the least loyal in baseball, according to a study. The No. 1 most loyal? The Texas Rangers' fans. Go figure.

Friday, August 08, 2008


Alexander Cartwright codified the original rules for baseball in 1845. June 19, 1846 marks the first game, between the Knickerbockers and the New York nine, to be played under these rules.

  1. The bases shall be from "home" to second base, 42 paces; from first to third base, 42 paces - equidistant.
  2. The game to consist of 21 counts or aces, but at the conclusion an equal number of hands must be played.
  3. The ball must be pitched, and not thrown, for the bat.
  4. A ball knocked outside the range of the first or third base, is foul.
  5. Three balls being struck at and missed and the last one caught is a hand out; if not caught, is considered fair, the striker bound to run.
  6. A ball being struck or tipped and caught either flying or on the first bound is a hand out.
  7. A player, running the bases, shall be out if the ball is in the hands of an adversary on the base, or the runner is touched by it before he makes his base; it being understood, however, that in no instance is a ball to be thrown at him.
  8. A player running, who shall prevent an adversary from catching or getting the ball before making his base, is a hand out.
  9. If two hands are already out a player running home at the time a ball is struck, cannot make an ace if the striker is caught out.
  10. Three hands out, all out.
  11. Players must take their strike in regular turn.
  12. No ace or base can be made on a foul strike.
  13. A runner cannot be put out in making one base when a balk is made by the pitcher.
  14. But one base allowed when the ball bounds out of the field when struck.
- Baseball's Book of Firsts

Wednesday, August 06, 2008


Tuesday -- White Sox 10, Tigers 8: Kyle Farnsworth gives up tying HR in 8th; Joel Zumaya's first game as closer ends with a 4-run 14th. Edgar Renteria "E" fuels the fire.

Sunday -- Rays 6, Tigers 5: Tigers blow 3-1 lead in 8th, rally for 4-4 tie in 9th, blow 5-4 lead in 10th. Farnsworth and Fernando Rodney fail.

Saturday -- Rays 9, Tigers 3: Tigers simply stink, save fans from suffering through late-inning meltdown. Did I say "save?" Yes, finally.

Friday -- Rays 5, Tigers 2: Tigers get off to early 2-0 lead, for naught.

Thursday -- Indians 9, Tigers 4: Tigers give up 8 runs from 5th inning on; not even Justin Verlander is immune to meltdowns.

July 25 -- White Sox 6, Tigers 5: Todd Jones yields 2-run, 2-out HR in ninth.