Friday, July 6, 2007

A.J. Burnett keeps coming up...

We've written a few things about A.J. in the past year. They went sort of like this:

1)Why did the Jays sign this above average, but extremely injury prone guy to a 5-year, $50 million contract?
2) Like we said, A.J. starts 2006 on the DL.
3) Get ready for 2007, Jays fans, because A.J. is healthy this year.
4) Nevermind, apparently he sucks now.
5) Perhaps that early-season ERA of 7+ was just a fluke. We've got our Ace!
6) Abort, he's hurt. But they say he wont need to go on the DL.
7) So he is on the DL. But he can still outrun you. Different part of the body.
8) Now he's back... on the DL again. But we got that one start out of it between trips. And you can't take that away, as much as you would want to, having given up five runs to the Twins.

But now the drama has reached new heights. Jays' GM J.P. Ricciardi has always been a little touchy when you bring up A.J. being injured. Not sure why, J.P., since you signed the guy knowing full well he had been disabled seven times prior. So now J.P. wants A.J. to man up.

We just need to find a way to keep him out there. I don't know if it's psychological, I don't know if it's just he gets to a point where he feels something [that] he's so scarred from being hurt so many times that he just backs off. But I think he's going to have to get over that hump at some point and just maybe pitch through some pain or realize what the difference is between being hurt and really being hurt.  

Whoa there, J. Look past the run-ons for a second, if you can. Here's J.P. Ricciardi, who looks like the kind of guy who you could knock down with one punch. And he's telling a professional athlete that he's pissed because he wont tear up his shoulder pitching for a team 12 games out of first place.

And you know how this is going to end. A.J. is going to come out and say, "you know, I love this team, and I feel bad for my teammates, because the last thing I want to do is hurt them. But I need to scope out my shoulder, because it hurts like hell. See you guys in 4-6 weeks." And then J.P. is going to respond with, "we are hopeful that this will help A.J. return to form." That's scenario one. In scenario two, A.J. disappears into phantom land and pitches simulated games for a few years. Kind of like that guy Mark Prior. Remember him? How about Kerry Wood? Struck out a few hundred Astros in one game, you remember him.

And I've got news - its going to keep happening. It's not physically possible to throw a baseball 98 mph for 15 years. Medically, it just can't be done. For instance, if you lie down and rotate your shoulder towards your back - while keeping your elbow steady - you should be able to get 90-100 degrees of rotation. An MLB pitcher can do something like 130 degrees. While it's not known what relationship that has to injuries, it makes it clear that something is changing. When you throw a baseball that hard, you practically throw your elbow off. And if you don't like that approach, find me one pitcher who is pitching 100+ and older 35 years old, and I'll show you 100 guys who blew their arms out. Prior and Wood, for starters.

But, economically, what can these guys do? They can't go out there and give it 90%. You could move them to the bullpen, but that's kind of weird. So they pitch hard and fast for a few years, make millions of dollars, and then become finesse pitchers. It seems that guys that come up later are more mature and learn to dial it down to preserve the longevity of their body. They might also have the confidence necessary to do that. That last part is all speculation. But we'll see how A.J. turns out.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Homer Bailey Sucks

If there was an opposite of Player of the Week Award, this guy gets it.

2 Games, 5.1 IP, 13 hits, 8 walks, 13 ER, 3 K.

His ERA is 22.94. Good job, Homer. Way to give your cellar-dwelling team a shot. Have fun in AA ball.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

First half AL MVP: Magglio Ordonez

Sure, we're not to the All Star Break quite yet, but we're halfway through. Over the next couple of days, we're going to take a look at the best players in each league thus far.

Magglio Ordonez: 13 HR, 68 RBI, .377 BA, .452 OBP

This was a tough pick. In the end, it came down to Magglio Ordonez and Alex Rodriguez. And here's where we start splitting hairs a bit. First off, it is the Most Valuable Player award. So you have to ask yourself, who does more for their team, Ordonez or Rodriguez? Rodriguez had more than twice as many HR (28 to 13,) but Ordonez has 34 doubles to Alex's 18. In the end, they have about the same extra base hits, and Alex has 77 RBI's to Ordonez's 68. The main difference, and what gave Ordonez the prize, was the average and OBP. Ordonez has struck out 33 times to Alex's 60. His batting average is 46 points higher, and his OBP is plus 23 points. There isn't a lot of difference there, but it's all we have to go on. Ordonez puts the ball in play more often, and he rarely strikes out.

In general, Alex is probably the better hitter, and the stats are barely in Magglio's favor. Both of them are above-average fielders at their position. However, Alex is not considered the leader of his team, and when his team is slumping, there's talk that he's going to leave next year. It will always be Jeter's team, and if Babe Ruth started tomorrow's game, it would still be Jeter's team. So we can't hold that against him. But you get the feeling that he's just not the most important player on the team. He'll never make a Jeterian dive into the stands. I'm not going to hold the muscled-up ladies against Alex, but it is a slight off-field distraction. And you get the feeling that Magglio seems to have more of a team motivation in him. Of course, that could all be crap. I live in Michigan, not New York, so there might be some favoritism. But the bottom line is that, when Magglio comes up to the plate, he's more likely to get on base or move the runners along than Alex is.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

First half NL Cy Young Winner: Jake Peavy

Sure, we're not to the All Star Break quite yet, but we're halfway through. Over the next couple of days, we're going to take a look at the best players in each league thus far.

Jake Peavy (9-2): 105 IP, 113 K's, 2.14 ERA.

Jake Peavy has been a great pitcher for quite some time now. As a matter of fact, if it weren't for his 2006 hiccup, many would probably regard him as the greatest pitcher in the game. After all, Peavy finished 2004 with a 2.27 ERA, and '05 with a 2.88 ERA and 216 K's in 203 IP. However, pitching for a less-than-stellar Padres team, he went just 28-13 combined. In 2006, he had an 'off' year. Most of his stats were identical, except that he gave up significantly more hits, resulting in a 4.09 ERA.

In 16 games so far, Peavy has gone 9-2. He leads the NL in strikeouts with 113 - that's 9.69K/9IP, and batters are hitting a meager .216 off him. However, his most remarkable statistical improvement - and there have been many - has been his ability to keep those balls that are put in play on the ground. Previously, Peavy had been a slight fly-out pitcher, hovering around a G/F of 1.20. This year, his G/F ratio is at 1.49. The result is 1 HR allowed and 10 double plays. In comparison, he forced 10 and 13 DP's in all of 2005 and 2006, while allowing 18 and 23 HR, respectively. While 1.49 is generally the line between a ground ball and fly out pitcher, it is an 'increase' over his career average and shows that Peavy has changed something on his pitches, resulting in fewer HR and more DP's. That provides evidence that his performance this year has not been due to mere chance, but rather to a marked change. Of course, the debate of a pitcher's control over a batted ball is one for another blog entirely.

The reality is that Peavy is having a season nearly identical to that of his 2005 campaign, but while giving up fewer walks. This, along with the G/F ratio, again shows that he is not having a string of lucky starts. As such, Peavy wins out and takes away the Ballhouse's first half NL Cy Young Award.

The competition wasn't easy, and Peavy wasn't the original choice here. But after some discussion, Kevin and I decided that he deserved it. The two other finalists were teammate Chris Young and LA Dodger Brad Penny. However, the fine folks at ESPN, in all their wisdom, provided us with some pretty compelling stats that shifted the voting in Peavy's favor. One of them is a Bill James innovation called the "Game Score." Peavy's AGS, (Average Game Score,) was 63.1, while Young's was 60.7, and Penny's was 59.9. Interestingly enough, this showed that the Ballhouse's initial picks of the top three NL pitchers were correct. The next highest regular NL starter was Cub Rich Hill, with 58.6.

We'll be continuing our first half awards with our AL/NL MVP and AL/NL Rookie of the Year later this week.

Monday, June 25, 2007

First half AL Cy Young Winner: Dan Haren

Sure, we're not to the All Star Break quite yet, but we're halfway through. Over the next couple of days, we're going to take a look at the best players in each league thus far.

Dan Haren (9-2): 117.2 IP, 93 K's, 1.91 ERA.

Dan Haren has quietly become one of the most outstanding pitchers in the game. He had a good year in 2005, his first with Oakland. He finished with an ERA of 3.73 in his first full year as a starter. He followed up in 2006 with similar numbers, albeit a slightly higher (4.12) ERA. He did, however, increase his strikeouts from 163 to 176, and knocked his walks down from 53 to 45. Home Runs remained a problem, as Haren gave up 31 shots in 34 starts.

But this year, Haren is really doing special things, and he's been the model of consistency. He leads the majors with a 1.78 ERA, and at no point has his ERA been higher than 2.00. He is 9-2; however, his two loses came in the first two games of the year, where he gave up a combined 1 ER in 13 innings, (in an interesting turn of events, Haren managed to give up a 3-run HR which was wholly 'unearned.') Haren has not lost since April 7th, and has gone 6+ innings in all but one of his starts. He has only allowed 3 ER twice, and never more. His 'worst start' was his 3rd start of the year against the Yankees, where he gave up 3 ER on 4 hits and 4 BB over 5 innings. He is 7th in the AL with 89 K's and 2nd with a WHIP of 0.90. And the best part is that he's only 26 years old.

Haren, unlike some pitchers, has been remarkably consistent this year as we saw above. He keeps his team in the game every time he starts, and that's what you need from your ace. Haren, as you may recall, was acquired in a trade with the Cardinals in which the A's shipped of Mark Mulder. And, of course, we haven't seen much of him lately. For those who are curious, Mulder is currently rehabbing after rotator cuff surgery and has almost no timetable for return. Barry Zito has gone arsonist after landing the richest free agent pitching contract ever with San Francisco, and Tim Hudson has been a strange guy for the Braves as well. Has anyone ever considered the possibility that the A's burn through young arms, as they have no hope of resigning them? Note that Haren averaged 220 IP in'05 and '06 and is on pace for 243 this year.

Haren, who supposedly pitches for a 'small market team' - and by that, we mean a team that plays on the West Coast and rarely meets expectations come October - has not gotten a lot of credit for his outstanding play. So here you are Dan. And I would suggest a haircut, but apparently the birds nest is working out well, so just leave it alone.

Watch out for the White Sox meteorite

Has anybody noticed that the White Sox suck? They aren't just crashing back down to earth. They're streaking through the atmosphere, the heat shield isn't holding up, and it looks like the 'chutes aren't going to work either. They're going to make a giant-sized crater. But again, we're not just going to say things and not provide evidence to support our claims. As usual, we're going to use numbers.

The White Sox are in a 2-way tie for the fewest wins in Major League Baseball. They're 29-42.

That about says it all. Teams with better winning percentages than the White Sox include the Pirates, Orioles, Nationals, and Devil Rays. Teams with lower winning percentages consist of the Rangers, Royals, and Reds. In 2005 they won the World Series. In 2007 they're hanging out with the cellar-dwelling Royals. And GM Ken Williams is saying things like, "Something's got to happen. I'm tired of watching this."

As a result, White Sox management has begun to make some rather peculiar choices regarding player personnel. Especially when it comes to Mark Buehrle. By all accounts, he's a good guy, a clubhouse guy. Fan favorite. He did finish last year with an ERA circa 5. My opinion is that his arm is tired, as Buehrle has pitched more than 220 innings a year since 2001. He's probably lost some life on his moving fastball. He's a free agent after this year, but he was on record last year as saying he wanted to stay in Chicago. Sort of, we think. No one really knows what was being said. In any case, he is apparently trade bait. Why would you trade away a guy who you can really build something around? You know they're not going to get anything in return. But they're betting that they'll get more prospects that, five years down the line, will be worth more than Buehrle to them. I think they're underestimating Buehrle's staying power in this league, and that he will remain a great pitcher for another 10 years. The trick is signing the guy, and that's where they might be better off trading him away. Otherwise, they get nothing for him.

This string of loses was kind of predictable. Last year, Carl Everett accused GM Ken Williams of breaking up the team chemistry after he was traded away post-championship. Now, I'm certain that Carl didn't factor into the teams' chemistry as positively as he thinks. In fact, he thought the White Sox lacked leadership with him gone. Which is an interesting observation, as Carl Everett is currently a DH for the Free Agent squad, so he is now leading nobody. Everett also believes that we should implode Wrigley Field, and that even if we put every American child on 'roids, we would still lose more kids in war then to steroids. I'm not sure whether to call that Malthusian wisdom or just idiocy.

But Everett does have a point. A lot of important guys were shipped off, and nothing was really gained in return. Aaron Rowand was shipped off for Thome, who, as predicted, has been like a walking test ground for physical therapist students. And the Sox get Luis Terrero patrolling Center. McCarthy is gone, as is Cotts, as is Garcia, as is Frank Thomas. And not one single decent player has been acquired in any of these deals outside Thome. So you took a championship team, and in order to improve it, you traded away two starters, a reliever, a stand up centerfielder, a loud-mouthed DH, and an aging and oft-injured slugger for an aging and oft-injured slugger*. Probably not the best example of "if its not broke, don't fix it."

* - Jim Thome and Frank Thomas are also considered 'similar batters' according to, not just me.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Milton Bradley - Looking for Work

Kansas City, as we know, is not the epicenter of baseball activity. Let's cut out the superlatives, they're just awful.

So, say you're the general manager of the disaster that is the Royals organization. You've got no talent, you've got no money, and you've got no fans. Then, someone offers you a veteran outfielder with a career average of .270 for the ridiculously low price of Leo Nunez, him of the 6.99 ERA and 67 career MLB innings. You're going to want to take that deal no matter what, right? I mean, you can't even rip someone off like that in fantasy baseball.

And this is exactly what happened when the A's tried to ship off the ticking firebomb, one Milton Bradley, to aforementioned Royals. Milton was perfect for this deal. He's just the fire that KC needs. And we'll get to that in second. The impossible thing to understand here is that Kansas City canceled the trade after discovering that Bradley had suffered an oblique injury. This is just nonsense. I don't care if Milton comes to you with a fractured leg and green goo coming from his ears. You take the guy! He's talent! He's got to be better than seven of the guys you're starting now, easy. And what is your argument for this? That you need a player now, so you're holding on to Nunez? Nunez isn't even in the majors. He hasn't pitched in The Show all year. Even if you have to wait 6 weeks on Bradley, which is generous, he's still going to give you more than Nunez.

And now Milton is out of luck. No one else is going to take him because he's about as volatile as jet fuel over an open flame. Only the Royals need talent that bad, and Kansas City is about as small a market you can get, where you can just reasonably hope that when he screws up, no one will notice care. So this was a great deal for all parties involved. But hey, Milton is a full 29 years old, and you never know when he might be a worse bet in the outfield then Emil Brown or David DeJesus. Or any of the 9 guys on your DL. Mark Teahen (RF) can actually hit, but you can always send him back to 3B and kick out Alex Gordon. But now, for fun, let's recap the dangerous world of Milton Bradley:

  • April 2004: Indians trade Milton Bradley to make room for Coco Crisp.

  • June 2004: Ejected by Terry Craft, Bradley leaves his equipment in the box and returns to fling a bag of balls on the field. Suspended 4 games.

  • September 2004: Fan throws plastic bottle on field. Bradley responds by throwing plastic bottle violently at man nowhere near original launch site. Suspended 5 games.

  • November 2004: Police pull over Bradley's "friend" on the highway. Bradley stops alongside his friend and approaches police yelling, "why did you stop my friend!" Officer: "Return to your vehicle." Milton: [Hands behind back] "Arrest me." Officer: "Alright, let's go to jail." Served three days in the slammer.

  • August 2005: Calls Jeff Kent a racist.

    So there's really no telling when Milton is going to strike next, or where. And the Royals canceled on their chance to get a hold of this gem of a guy? Why?

      Saturday, June 23, 2007

      You know, you guys should go visit Ballhype

      Fine folks over at Ballhype, really. And I'll tell you why. Not only have they developed this way for everyone to get advertising for free, but now I can bet on sports games at the same time, but with not real money. Let me explain how it works. It's a points system. You simply select the winner of the game, and then if your pick loses, you lose 1 point. All those points are then added together, one point is added, and the result is distributed to those who picked the winning team. Nine people pick the Braves to win. Five pick the Tigers. The Tigers win. So everyone who picked the Tigers gets 2 points. Most points at the end of the week wins a t-shirt and feature spot.

      Maybe this is just the kind of thing Pete Rose needs, since he clearly cannot help himself.

      Rick Ankiel is still hitting the crap out of the ball

      Remember when Rick Ankiel broke down and admitted that he didn't have pitcher stuff? Instead, he had outfield stuff, and he was going to do that instead. It must be nice to have so much talent that you can switch positions.

      We checked back with him last year, and he was doing pretty well for himself. And now, the guy who struck out 19.7 batters/9IP in his senior year of High School is looking like he is a right fielder for good. On June 16th, he had 3 homers in one game. He now has 19 on the year, along with 52 RBI. (I began writing this piece on June 20th. Since then, Ankiel has gone 0-13.) Not bad, Rick. And he turns 28 in a month. How insane would it be if, having led the Cardinals to the NL Central title in 2000, he comes back in 2007 to replace the old and decrepit Jim Edmonds? As I mentioned before, I like Jim, but it might be time for him to launch a preemptive strike of the "you can't fire me, I quit" variety. The Cardinals probably have the most lopsided drama-to-wins ratio of any team besides the Astros. And maybe the Orioles. Anyway. Rick's problem is that he can only play right field, apparently. This is the stupidest thing I have ever heard. Sure, the ball comes off the bat differently to left or right. But have you ever looked in a mirror? It's the same effect. They're basically the same position. Center, you can't learn - you just have to be an athletic guy. But left and right are dopplegangers. It takes time to adjust, but the Cardinals have the entire 2007 season to play with. This whole year is already one big training exercise, except all the 'trainees' are really old. I submit that Juan Encarnacion's "success" in right shouldn't keep Ankiel out of the bigs, as La Russa says. The only real problem is that he has no options remaining. And the Cardinals can't afford to give up any more outfielders for no reason. So they want him to develop, and they don't think he can get good playing time in the Majors yet. So he's still down in the minors.

      In fairness to the Cards, this is probably the right decision. Ankiel is only batting .270 in the AAA PCL league. So he isn't setting the world on fire, by any means. So one argument is to give the guy some limited MLB experience while the stakes are low, and risk losing him to another team if he has to get sent down again. Or you leave him in the minors to develop at a 4AB a day pace. Basically a wash. Also, thanks go out to geoff for the comment the other day. I forgot about that, because I forgot that you guys posted comments. Because you stopped posting comments. Anyway, it looks like we have found a new home at Nothing concrete yet. Right now, we're calling ourselves the Ballhouse. Not sure I like that name, in fact I'm pretty sure I don't. Best suggestion for a new name gets a prize. Send it to me at reidksmith at hotmail. Include your business in the subject line, or I might delete it along with the payment due notices from Discover.

      Statistical proof that Andruw Jones has stopped hitting

      A while back, we made note of Andruw Jones' decreasing effectiveness at the plate after he struck out 5 times against the Red Sox. Well, at that point, Andruw's average was a comparatively stellar .212. He is now batting .199. Now, I know we have all moved on from using batting average as the sole statistical judge of a player's ability, but in this case it's really all we need. He isn't hitting the ball, he isn't getting on base, and when he does make contact, it's not very good - his slugging percentage is .383. To show just how bad this is, consider this. Since his last multi-hit game on June 9th - just his tenth this whole year, all but one of which have been 2-hitters - Jones has gone a depressing 2-39. So that's a .051 average. However, his season average has dropped only 26 points, from .225 to .199. And, as I will always point out, A. Jones has not exactly dropped in the batting order. Inexcusably, he has been batting 4th or 5th in almost every game. Cox dropped him to sixth on the 18th and 19th, only to throw him back in the 4-hole on the 22nd. Is it that he just can't help himself? Is Cox going senile? It's one thing to stick with your player when he slumps, but this guy has no business within sight of the 5-hole, as we will demonstrate.

      Take a larger sample size; consider the entire month of June. Jones has exactly 10 hits in 79 AB's, for a .127 average. I'm sure many of you are thinking, 'but the walks count too - he's getting on base.' Ok. Fine. He has just four walks. Lets give him four more singles in four more at bats. He is now batting .169. He has not reached base on error or a fielders' choice once, and therefore his OBP is also .169. Meanwhile, he has 18 strikeouts. In other words, his strikeout average for June is .217. Jones is more likely to strike out than he is to reach base by any means. Let's go further. He has 3 homers, and has scored 5 runs and has 6 RBI. He has 21 total bases. So his basic runs created (TB x OBP), is at 3.549, for you sabermetricians out there. 20 games in June; that gives him .177 runs created per game. Fellow outfielder Jeff Francoeur, who is also struggling - a .262 OBP through June - has 6.288 runs created this month in just one more AB. Catcher Brian McCann, playing hurt (.238 OBP) and with just 3/4 as many AB's, has produced 4.522 runs. Therefore, even by his struggling teammates' standards, Andruw Jones is a curse at the dish this month. Edgar Renteria, who is not struggling, and making $4 million less, has created 15.17 runs.

      So now we know - not only is Andruw struggling at the plate, but he is hurting his team as well. We're not just blindly throwing his average out there and saying he's a crummy player. The truth is, the guy is really hurting the team. And he either doesn't realize it, or he doesn't care. I don't think he's pouring over his splits with a calculator, but he has to have some self-awareness. But Jones just brushes aside these criticisms. "I've never been an average hitter. Average isn't a big deal to me." Alright. But is scoring a big deal to you? Is getting "market value" next year a big deal to you? "I just go out and play the game. Everybody struggles. I'm just getting pitched good." Andruw, you're not just getting pitched good. I don't think we should be looking for a tell in Jones' stance anytime soon. You've been in the bigs for 11 years. People aren't just now figuring you out. But let's be real. You can't take anything this guy says to mean anything. He knows he's hitting .199. He doesn't need guys from the papers asking him why. He doesn't know why, and they know it. So he gives them something to print, they print it, etc.

      And another interesting note. Chipper Jones is playing hurt. And he's peeved. He's the short story.

      Reporter: Chipper, do you feel you are rushing to return from your most recent injury, which was to your... groin?
      Chipper: "Probably. But I feel backed into a corner. Let's just say there are people who don't believe me. Let's just say that and leave it at that."

      You know what? I understand that these guys have to be in peak shape to go to work every day. I get that if they aren't at least 90%, they're not effective at work. But can you imagine this conversation happening?

      Reporter: Weekend Athlete, do you feel you are rushing to return from your most recent injury?
      WA: You know, I didn't want to come out today. But the boys said I had to. I told them I was hurt, they didn't believe me.

      Most of us get paid to do things with our heads, not our bodies. If your brain is at 90%, do you call in sick? No. So Chipper, maybe you don't want to play. Maybe you feel hurt. But you're getting paid to play baseball. So when Bobby Cox tells you to play baseball, you play. Once you take that paycheck, it's up to Bobby. If you're really hurt, he won't play you. If he decides that he wants you to play, he know that he's risking a re-injury. He's judged that risk to be less substantial than the risk of playing without you. So go out there and do your job.

      "Andruw Jones tells us about the bad days" - May 21, 2007.

      Sorry about the downtime. I lost a friend of mine this week in a skateboarding accident. Parents, kids, please - wear your helmets. Just because it hasn't happened to anyone you know doesn't mean it can't.

      Tuesday, June 19, 2007

      Welcome back

      This is the new home of BHGM. We're still working out a few kinks, and we're not sure when it will be 'official... but here we are. Also. we're quite unsure of the new name. Any more suggestions will be considered. It's just, Google made us name the thing in order to set it up, so... yeah. We're going to start mirroring our posts here about now.

      A.J. Burnett will beat you in a foot race

      A little while back, we wrote A.J. Burnett a letter of apology. Basically for calling him a waste of $55 million. In the letter was a well-hidden clause, stating that "a reversion back to your early-season form will result in immediate rescindment of this letter." A.J. left his very next start with a sore shoulder. And now he's on the DL. In all fairness to A.J., this DL stint might not be 100% his fault. It might be the guy that threw him out for 118, 103, 103, 125, 117, and 130 pitches in his previous 6 starts. Way to go, Gibbons. But the dude is still looking to compete, and we can't knock him for that. First place finish too, clearly.

      "We're sorry, A.J. Burnett" - June 7th, 2007, BHGM

      More Steve Phillips fun with numbers

      It's no secret that, even as far as baseball analysts are concerned, Steve Phillips is not the brightest of the bunch. I'm not exactly sure how he ended up with ESPN. He served as the Met's GM from 1997 to 2003. He is 'credited' with bringing in David Wright and Jose Reyes. But it's not like he went out and scouted the guys. After he was fired in 2003, it doesn't seem like he was gainfully employed until ESPN came knocking. And yes, I'm going to assume that ESPN came to Phillips and offered him a job before the 2005 season, not the other way around. What do you think Phillips' response was to that inquiry? "Why in the world do they want me working for them?" Back to the issue. We know have something to add to Phillips' crazy predictions:

      • 2006: Jose Reyes will have a coming out year, hitting 30 triples, and steal 35 bases.
      • 2006: Corey Patterson will hit 40 HR and get 140 RBIs. From the leadoff spot.
      • June 19th, 2007: Alex Rodriguez will have the greatest season of any Yankee right-hander, and will negotiate a new 10-year contract for about $35 million a year.

      Alright... where to start... so Reyes would be fast enough to bust Chief Wilson's 1912 record of 28 triples, but not fast enough to get anything more than a mediocre number of steals. Actually, Reyes had 17 triples and 60 steals. Both league-leading numbers. And Corey Patterson got sent to AAA-ball. Whoops.

      But this morning was something totally different. It's interesting that Phillips' actually tried to stay within his field of 'expertise' with this Alex prediction. But Alex is about to turn 32 in July. What kind of idiot is going to give this guy $35 million to play as a 42-year old? Ignore, for a second, the fact that a 10-year contract to anyone over 30 is a bad decision. You're going to take the most well-paid athlete in the world and give him a 40% raise, just as he reaches his pinnacle of performance? The fact is, no team is going to give Alex that kind of money, except, maybe, the Yankees. This is how that negotiation will go.

      Scott Boras: Alex wants $35 million a year. 10 years. He's that good.
      Cashman: Um, no. We'll give him $20 million. 4 years. Club option for x.
      Boras: That's not good enough. He deserves more.
      Cashman: Dude, only one other guy in MLB is making more than $20 million a year.
      Boras: I have no leverage. No other team can afford to give me more than $15 million a year.

      Stop it, Steve. Do you even listen to yourself?

      UPDATE: The Yankees did end up signing Rodriguez to a 10-year contract. Worth about $27 million a year.

      "Are Steve Phillips and John Kruk stupid?" - April 11th, 2006

      Thursday, June 14, 2007

      The Battle for Missouri Supremacy

      There is one thing you have to love about interleague play. You can beat it up for screwing with the team's records. You can knock it for forcing AL pitchers to hit. Heck, you can even take issue with the over-commercialized, we're-going-to-stuff-it-down-your-throat advertising. But you can't say a bad word about some of the great Interstate match ups that take place every year. And I'm not talking about the Subway series, or the freeway series, or any of that garbage. I'm talking about Florida v. Tampa Bay. And, new to this year, St. Louis v. Kansas City. What used to be serious three-day slaughterhouse is now a send-in-the-clowns matchup. We're talking about two of the worst teams in the game right now. And tonight, they're pitting off for the decisive game 3.

      Royalscardspreview_1It's been a real rubber band series so far. Mark Teahen had a single, double, and a triple to lead the Royals to a Game 1 victory over the Cardinals, 8-1.  But the Cardinals came surging back to take Game 2, 7-3. And now Kip Wells faces Scott Elarton for the tie-breaker. How's this for a series-deciding matchup? I don't even know what to say. I mean, is Kip Wells the better pitcher because his ERA is a full point less than Elarton's, at 6.33? Or is Elarton the better pitcher because he only has 2 loses, and not 10? Seriously guys, this game could go either way. You can just see these two clubs battling it out on the diamond. Beating the heck out of one another. After all, winner is the best baseball team in Missouri, right? And who doesn't wake up every morning wanting exactly that? Are they even playing this game at a major league ballpark? Is anyone even going to show up? Does anyone even care?

      And after this, the Royals play the Marlins. There's another interleague matchup we have all been dying to see. Two teams that, quite frankly, could pack up their tents tomorrow and go home, (or move to Las Vegas, I guess), and no one would notice. Who was the scheduling genius at MLB who decided, "hey, we've got this great marketing tool here with interleague play. It really gets the fans involved. Shows them something they've never seen before. And you know what the Missourians need to see? Another 100-loss team." Exactly. Maybe it will keep Royals fans from selling their loyalty on eBay when they realize, 'man, my fellow Marlins fan has got it even worse than I do. I think I'll hold on for one more year.' Don't hold your breath, brother. And by the way, once Dan Uggla comes crashing down from his turbo-orbit, that team is going to fall apart. Again. And it won't be Lou Piniella's fault this time, Curt.

      "Relief for a Royal Pain" - May 5th, 2006, Yahoo Sports
      "Those D-Rays and Red Sox" - May 1st, 2005, BHGM

      Wednesday, June 13, 2007

      Way to go, Justin!

      Well, it happened again. A no hitter that I had absolutely nothing to do with. It wasn't until I checked the current matchup against my brother Dave last night that I saw Verlander's line. First I saw 41 points, then, CG, 4 BB, 12 K's (wow), and no hits. So, of course, I went off to to see than, once again, I had missed an entire no-hitter. If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times - never, ever, will I witness any part of a no-hitter. My most recent breakup was when I tuned in UM - Oregon State game this weekend. Michigan's Zach Putnam had gone 8 innings with a no hitter. After two outs,he was one strike away from a no-hitter when he gave up an RBI, game losing single. I'm a no-hitter curse.

      Anyway, Justin. I was wrong about you. I saw him pitch in person in 2005, and when he was called up to the rotation for 2006 I said, "He's better than former #5 starter Wil Ledezma... I guess." But I was pretty sure this was a case of premature call up, and I didn't want to see the guy lose his confidence because he wasn't ready and we had no one else to throw out there. Oops. Way to go, man. And 12 K's with only 112 pitches? Considering he faced 30 batters, that's impressive. That's less than 4 pitches a man. That's the only way to do it - you have to be economical with your pitches. And a lot of time, strike out pitchers use up so many pitches they have trouble with that.

      The Hit Streak v. the Perfect Game: Superstitions - April 3rd, 2006
      Tigers dump Pena and re-tool for 2006 - March 26th, 2006

      Tuesday, June 12, 2007

      "It makes my head explode"

      Our feature story is an interesting piece on the struggles of Bob Melvin, Manager, Arizona Diamondbacks.

      Simple roster changes can, in fact, be very confusing
      Chad Tracy, Arizona 3B, had been on the DL with a sore ribcage since May 15th. He hadn't actually been 'right' since May 1st. He finally returned on Sunday, June 10th... which causes some strange shakeups in the Arizona infield, at least if you're manager Bob Melvin. 23-year-old 3B Mark Reynolds was brought up from AA to replace Tracy when he was injured, and was playing out of his skull, finishing May with a .426 average. However, he only has 4 hits in June, and has seen his average decline to .318. For some reason, this has Melvin throwing mental fits. But Tracy can also play 1B. Why not put him there, if you're intent at keeping Reynolds' sinking ship running? Because Connor Jackson (.280) is currently starting at 1B, with Tony Clark (.226, mostly as a situational hitter,) filling in at times. This somehow matters to Melvin. Never, I don't think, as anybody agonized this much over such a simple decision. "Every time I think about it, my head explodes... [Clark] is an important guy, and I don't want to leave him out... you want to keep everybody involved... if someone gets their feelings hurt, that can be the bad side of it." GROW UP, BOB. This isn't Little League. Your job is to win baseball games. Are you afraid Tony's dad is going to confront you, and ask you why his son isn't playing? Besides, the two guys you're worried about "leaving out" are too young, too old, and too not good. Send Reynolds back down to the minors, and start Tracy at 3B, end of story. Are you seriously struggling with that decision? By the way, Clark might have 7 HR, but that is all he is good for. He has 19 hits. Stop starting him and leaving him in for crucial spots in the game. This guy is batting .167 in late-inning pressure situations. He's hitting .267 as a pinch-hitter. Use him there, don't start him. He turns 35 on Friday, dude.

      Francisco Cordero blows another one
      Francisco Cordero finally blew a save on Saturday night. I just published something I wrote on Sunday about this, during which I said, "He's got a fragile mindset... he was hotter than the sun... now he's probably going to fall faster than a ship from heaven." On Sunday night, Francisco did, indeed, blow another save - just as I predicted, giving up one run to tie the game back up.

      Remember Brad Lidge?
      He's back, it seems. Brad's ship capsized last year, when he had a 5.28 ERA and 1.40 WHIP. As my brother Dave, the author of, "BETTER TRADE THAT GUY [Teixeira]. I've give you Nick Markakis and Adrian Gonzalez,"  put it, "when did this guy become so bad? What happened to him?" Anyway, current Houston closer Dan Wheeler has been an arsonist lately, allowing 9 runs in his last 6 games, resulting in 3 blown saves. His ERA is at 5.22. But manager Phil Garner is playing it off differently. He says it's always been the plan that, if Lidge pulled it together, he'd get the closer role back. Lidge, meanwhile, now has a 2.35 ERA. He hasn't allowed a run since May 17th. Welcome back, Brad. Don't screw it up this time.

      Remember Dan Kolb?
      Couldn't help including this behind Lidge. Kolb was recently called up from the Pirates AAA affiliate, where he had a 3.15 ERA. You may recall Kolb saving 39 games for Milwaukee in 2004 with a 3.00 ERA. He then moved on to Atlanta in 2005, where he lost 8 games to 11 saves and had a 5.97 ERA. Last year he returned to Milwaukee to try to restore the magic, but had only one save and a 4.87 ERA in 48.1 IP. Now he's getting called up to the Pirates. Things aren't going the way they used to, are they Dan?

      Mark Teixeira and The Rangers - April 26th, 2007

      Welcome to the Houston Circus

      Events have been interesting in Houston this year. We all know these guys aren't winning a ton of games. And I bet if you ask anyone off the street about them, they'll tell you, "Hunter Pence." Great. I'm glad Houston is continuing to make such a great contribution to the game. Oh yeah, and that Biggio dude is closing in on 3,000 hits... like a Peruvian mountain sloth. Maybe you should've sprung for that Clemens guy after all. Or that Beltran kid. Hmm.

      We talked about Brad Lidge making it back to the closer role. Last night Lidge blew his first save opportunity. He gave up a solo, game-tying HR. I'm inclined to chalk that up to bad luck. It's not like the guy melted down on the mound, giving up hit after hit after hit. He just gave up one hit, on an 0-2 count no less. Just keep throwing him out there, Phil. After Lidge battled back from his struggles last season, and earlier this season, you have to give him another try. I'm sure people are going to be saying that it must be the 9th-inning pressure that is doing Lidge in. That is false. Think about it - the guy has been pitching for a job all season. There's no greater pressure than that.

      Besides, it's not like the Astros are serious contenders anyway. If they were, they wouldn't keep trotting out Craig Biggio and his .227 average. And, as if it could get any worse, he always leads off. Did Phil Garner take "setting up your batting order 101" from Dusty Baker or something? Furthermore, what brilliant principle leads Garner to put Biggio's .273 OBP in the 1-spot, and Adam Everett's .278 OBP in the 7-hole? Besides the fact that Everett has 20 FEWER strikeouts, they're practically the same player. This is absolute insanity. But he must be doing something right. After all, Houston is 27-37, a whole game and a half out of last place. But honestly... can anyone explain this obvious incompetence to me? Heck, it's not like Biggio's been hot at any point in the season. The last time his average was above .270 was after the 5th game.

      By the way, want more proof that the fans that cast all-star votes are indeed from the bottom of the baseball intelligence barrel? Houston LF Carlos Lee is leading the NL with 54 RBIs. He's batting .293. By all accounts, an All-Star worthy selection. However, he must pass Andruw Jones in order to get the nod. Jones has a .217 average with 42 RBI - 10th in the NL. How can he be one of the best eight players in the league if he isn't even one of the best eight at his position? And trust me, 10th on the RBI list is the highest that Jones appears on any list. Unless you count strikeouts. He's #4 on that list. He's #57 in OBP. Right above the great Brian Schneider. Seriously, how many of you guys even know who Brian Schneider is? Whatever. The All-Star game is stupid. And so is letting a bunch of knuckleheads vote for it as often as they want. But I accept it as a necessary evil.


      "It makes my head explode" - June 12th, 2007

      Sunday, June 10, 2007

      Some pitching meltdowns

      I originally wrote this on Sunday, June 10th...
      Lets look at why I am about to lose my first fantasy baseball matchup of the year. Here were my pitchers for last night. In this league, a typical quality start will get you 15 points, add 10 if the pitcher gets a win.
      Jason Marquis: 1.2 IP, 4H, 3BB, 6R, (2ER): -1.2 pts.
      Tim Hudson: 2.0 IP, 5H, 2BB, 5ER: -3.5 pts.
      Francisco Cordero: .2IP, 5H, 1BB, 4ER: -4.7 pts.
      Also, keep in mind that Marquis and Hudson were facing each other, so I'm expecting at least one of them to get the 10-pt win. And, as if it couldn't get any worse, Hudson was removed because he was hit in the leg by a grounder. These three guys typically combine for 40, 50 points on an ok week. This time they gave me -9.5.
      I don't care about Marquis and Hudson. But I'm worried about Cordero, big time. The dude proved that he has a fragile mindset last year. Prior to last night's outing, he was hotter than the sun; 0.36 ERA, 23 straight saves, 35 K's in 24.2 IP. Now, he's probably going to fall faster than a ship from heaven. To his credit, it was like Lemony Snicket's Series of Unfortunate Events. He had 2 outs, and Brad Wilkerson hit a 2-out single. Ramon Vazquez walked, Gerald Laird hit an RBI single. No biggie, Brewers are still up 3-1. Kenny Lofton hits another RBI single. Marlon Byrd, (again), hit another RBI single. So now it's 3-3. We've already quadrupled Cordero's ERA. Then another Michael Young single to win the game. Do you remember when we last talked about Francisco, and we said that, of 12 given batters, one will get a hit and another will walk, and the remaining 10 will make outs? So do you see how insane this is? A straight-up meltdown of epic proportions.

      F. Cordero still posting "mind-boggling numbers" - June 6th, 2007

      A little follow-up on Nate...

      At the end of our last Cardinals post, I mentioned in passing that Nate Robertson: bounced around the yard this evening. Actually, the problem was more that the balls he was throwing were bouncing... in the seats. Nate went exactly 0 innings before he was 'yanked.' He allowed 6 runs, all earned, on 4 hits and 2 walks. Sammy Sosa hit a bases-loaded single, followed by a Victor Diaz grand slam, followed by a Marlon Byrd (of course,) triple. Game over, Nathan. He saw his ERA rise from a decent 4.25 to a frightening 5.07. There's that Texas offense for you.

      Well, sadly, the bad news didn't stop there. Against his wishes, the Tigers placed him on the DL with a "tired arm". There are not many times when you have to force a guy to go on the disabled list. He's basically DL'ed with a case of sucking, so lets call it what it is. And Robertson acknowledges as much. "There are no red flags. I'm not hurt." But Robertson hasn't had a quality start in his last 6 outings. His velocity is down. He threw 30 pitches in that last start of his, and not a single pitch was a swinging strike. So something is wrong. But I'll bet it's more a confidence issue. He's not broken. He's just down.

      That's a tough break. Rogers is already gone, as is Zumaya. Luckily, Dombrowski has been hoarding starting pitching for about five years now. So whenever a starter goes down, just call up First Round Draft Pick X. The lucky winner this time is Andrew Miller. I shouldn't say lucky, because the guy is really lights out. In his major league debut he held the Cardinals scoreless, (as we've seen, not a tremendous accomplishment, but not a shabby first start either.) He'll be better off for the team right now than Robertson has been, and there's some talk he may be here to stay. Which, quite frankly, is a little bit less plausible than it sounds. Only because the guy was drafted about a year ago. But we'll see.

      On the note of drafts; a guy I know from back in the High School days was drafted by the Tigers in the 25th round. His name is Colin Kaline, and he's Al's grandson. He's already playing ball at Florida Southern, but it's still pretty good. Good job.

      The Cardinals are trying something new this year - June 5th, 2007
      Some pitching meltdowns - June 10th, 2007
      Draft ties generations together ( - June 8th, 2007

      Friday, June 8, 2007

      Rich Hill, it appears, is not done yet

      At the risk of becoming repetitive - this will be our third pitching post in a row - it seems that Rich Hill got over whatever slump he was in. In 3 outings against the Phillies, Mets, and Padres - totaling 17 innings - he allowed 14 ER. He also walked 9 guys. Not surprisingly, he earned three loses for his efforts. Things were looking bad for Hill, and things were looking bad for the Cubs as well. No worse than usual, as the Cubs, at the time of Hill's last loss, were 20-23. Pretty good for a team that has no business near the top of any division. They're now 26-32, but Hill is doing better. You're right, none of that makes any sense. The bottom line is, the Cubs are a bad team. But Cub Fan will read hope into anything he can find, so we're just going to play around with his emotions a little.

      Ah. Back to Mr. Hill. In his last three games, (against LA and ATLx2), he has gone 21 innings, allowing just 2 runs and striking out 20 batters - 11 of them last night. He has issued only 4 walks. This is more like the early season Rich Hill that we saw. Rich Hill is a special guy, because he has a special curveball. You really have to see it. Right when you think the pitch is sailing high, it drops like the Cardinals starting pitching. Rich now has a respectable 2.71 ERA and a 5-4 record. Mark my words - this dude will be something great one day. He just turned 27. When he was 23 or 24 I saw him pitching, and even then he had a knockout curveball. Then, at that moment, I knew he was going to do big things with that curve. And I'm still just as sure.

      As for the rest of the Cubs pitching staff, we sadly cannot say the same good things. Just a quick rundown. Carlos Zambrano is NOT having a good year. First off, who really cares about the fights? Dude was pissed, and I can't blame him. The Cubs committed 5 ERRORS on the play that caused that fight, even if only one of them were scored. First, Barrett allowed the ball to get by him. He then made a bad throw. Ramirez made a crappy stab at it. That's three errors. Then the shortstop was WAY late backing up the throw - he should've been running behind third the second the runner took off - four errors. Then, when he finally got his slow ass behind 3rd, he still missed the ball. Thats five errors. Heck, when I played little league ball, we had it down better than that. No wonder Zambrano threw punches. The dude is a walking firebomb, and that play was a cordite flash-fire. Of course he's going to go off on you. Anyway, 5.38 ERA. Not the greatest. Then we've got Ted Lilly and Jason Marquis, decent innings-eater-type starters. Wait. Stop right there. I know what you're thinking - "but wait, Marquis has a 2.84 ERA, he's awesome LOL!" Incorrect. He's Jason Marquis, and he pitches for the Cubs. That ship is going to come crashing back down to earth, just like the Chris Capuano rocketship did earlier this year. Heck, it already has. Marquis hasn't won a game since May 9th. The back end of the rotation is Sean Marshall. Haven't made a decision on him yet, but don't hold your breath. He's 1-2 with a 2.25 ERA in three starts so far, so we'll have to wait and see to be sure.

      "Welcome to the Wacky fun house that is the NL Central" - May 28, 2007

      Digging up some old Dodger follies

      There are many times when I go onto my website visitor stat page and look at the pages you guys are viewing. I can do that. Anyway, I'm often quite entertained. You guys tend to dig up the oldest and funniest stuff on the site. And it cracks me up. Because I have to say, I am probably one of my favorite writers. I don't want to sound cocky or anything, but I really like to read what I have to say. So I'm looking around, and I find this. But I would be remiss for giving myself all the credit on this one, not when teams like the Padres and Dodgers provide me with material like this. Here's a short excerpt.

      Bottom of the 9th, the Padres are down 5-0... heading into the 10th, with the score tied 5-5... The Padres win!... for the first time since last Sunday! [7 days prior]

      I'll let you guys read the rest. But lets just say, this was one of the saddest games ever.

      I don't like the Padres or the Dodgers, but I can't pass this up - April 30th, 2006

      Thursday, June 7, 2007

      I'm sorry, A.J. Burnett

      Mr. Burnett,

      I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely apologize to you, on behalf of BHGM and all associated parties, for all libelous claims made prior. We have no excuses, other than to say that at the time of these claims, we were deceived by your career-high 12 wins in 2005. We were upset that you had only started 30+ games once in your then five-year career as a starter, and reacted rashly. It now appears that you are no longer "clowning around," and that Mr. Ricciardi didn't make an $11 million a year mistake when he signed you.

      Personally, I have been impressed with your performance in your last seven games. You have brought your ERA down a full point and a half to around 4. Meanwhile, you have struck out 72 batters in just 52 innings. I believe that at this point it is obvious to even the most casual observer that you have truly "stepped up your game" and I commend you. While these stats have not necessarily translated into wins for your team, you have turned in quality starts on all occasions but one. And for $350,000 a start, that's really all we can ask.

      However, there still remains the question of your start to the season. Your first six starts contrast strongly with your last seven. During the aforementioned starts, you posted a 5.46 ERA and struck out only 26 batters in 33 innings. I am also concerned about the abundance of home runs that you seem to be serving up. So far this year, 14 guys have "jerked you out of the yard." In the future, I would like to see you improve these numbers. Additionally, a reversion back to your early-season form will result in immediate rescindment of this letter.

      Please accept my sincerest regrets for our previous comments.

      Good luck!

      Reid Smith

      Tuesday, June 5, 2007

      The Cardinals are trying something new this year

      We've talked about the Cardinals a bunch lately. And right now I'm 'watching' the CBS GameCenter of the Reds v. Cardinals, and I have to ask... how much longer are the Cardinals going to try to win games with a 5-man lineup before they decide the experiment has failed? In our 'Welcome to the wacky fun house that is the NL Central' post, we discussed the faults in the Cardinals rotation. Now we're going to talk a little more about that interesting lineup of theirs...

      Fun Fact #1 - The only player on the active roster with an average above .300 is Adam Wainwright.
      Adam also has a 5.12 ERA. So maybe they should go Rick Ankiel on him. Anyway, the Cardinals' lineup tonight, which I assume to be pretty typical, at least statistically, is as follows: Eckstein, (.288) is leading off, which is where you want your best hitter. Followed by Chris Duncan, Albert Pujols, Jim Edmonds, Scott Spiezio. Then you have Encarnacion (.231), Gary Bennett (.254), Adam Kennedy, (.224), and your pitching spot. That's really a 5 man lineup. And it's one of those things that's just going to roll over itself and get progressively worse. As more and more managers realize that Jim Edmonds/Scott Rolen is no longer as sharp with a bat as he once was, no one will pitch to Albert anymore. It's bad enough already. How much farther can you get from not protecting the best hitter in the game when you put a .244 hitter behind him? Typically, Rolen will hit behind Pujols. He is batting .258 so... no difference.

      Fun Fact #2 - The Cardinals offense ranks in the bottom four of 16 NL teams in 10 of 12 categories.
      This one is really unbelievable, folks. And it's according to baseball-reference, (which, though I have no way to prove it, is quickly becoming the most frequently cited website in the world.) There are 16 NL teams, so here are all 12 categories and the Cardinals' respective ranking: AB (16th), Runs (15th), 2B (16th), 3B (16th), HR (13th), BB (16th), SO (16th), Avg. (11th), OBP (13th), SLG (15th), SB (16th), SB (16th). Keep in mind that for SO, 16th is technically first place. So they're not striking out a lot, which is good. But they're also never getting on base, which nullifies that. Keep in mind, this is for the entire National League. You know, the same league that the Pirates, Marlins, Red, Nationals, and Rockies play in.

      Fun Fact #3 - Apparently, Barry Bonds is a better hitter than Albert Pujols.
      And five times better, in fact. Bonds has 20 intentional walks this season. Pujols, with the solid-hitting Scott Rolen batting behind him, has 6 intentional walks. Furthermore, Adam Kennedy - whose OBP (.292) is higher than his SLG (.286) - has 5 IBB. Bonds has better protection. And heck, Kennedy, who is 'protected' by the pitcher's spot, is pretty much the same matchup as the pitcher. So, the first person who can explain this gets a prize.

      Then again, asking for your guys' input lately is a downright waste of time. I appreciate the CBox comments, Kaylee and Mark. Definitely appreciate the praise. What is strange is that, on Sunday, we logged 3,157 visits. And 0 comments. So... I'm thinking of shifting to a shorter-post, more frequent model. Which has always been the opposite of what we've been doing here at BHGM for the last 2 years. But I think it may be time to get more concise.

      UPDATE: Too soon for another post, but I just couldn't keep this to myself. Nate Robertson got bounced around the yard this evening. Actually, the problem was more that the balls he was throwing were bouncing... in the seats. Nate went exactly 0 innings before he was 'yanked.' He allowed 6 runs, all earned, without getting an out, on 4 hits and 2 walks. Sammy Sosa hit a bases-loaded single, followed by a Victor Diaz grand slam, followed by a Marlon Byrd (of course,) triple. Game over, Nathan. He saw his ERA rise from a decent 4.25 to a frightening 5.07. There's that Texas offense for you.
      Also, Carl Crawford is just killing me in this week's fantasy matchup. So far tonight, he's 3-5 with a 1B, 2B, HR, 3RBI, and 3R. That's 13 points against. I'm 9-0 in this head-to-head pay league, and Crawford might ruin it for me. In other news, Andruw Jones is a respectable 0-7 in today's Braves-Marlins doubleheader. Guess that would be a "bad day," huh Andruw?

      Welcome to the wacky fun house that is the NL Central - May 28th, 2007
      St. Louis Cardinals 2007 Statistics... (
      Andruw Jones tells us about bad days - May 21, 2007

      Monday, June 4, 2007

      The funniest tirade, ever

      Have to give props to Kevin for pointing this one out to me. Listen - no amount of time you spend on YouTube is going to be 'wasted' time. So, while it still works, check out this video of the Braves AA manager Phillip Wellman just losing it. I'm not sure what happened to prompt this tirade, but... it must have been serious. I especially like how he draws from many of the best explosions. But my favorite is when he does the military crawl through the infield and throws the rosin bag like a grenade - at the umpire, who is hanging out at home "eating sunflower seeds," and then ejects the 3rd base umpire. I'm guessing that this will be the last time we see Phillip in any official capacity. Enough of me. Enjoy.

      Friday, June 1, 2007

      NL Central, hitting streaks, Mariner's payroll reset

      Hey guys. I'm out of town right now on a spur of the moment trip. In fact, I'm in Cincinnati with my grandfather, who explained that "the Reds are so bad, I don't even watch them anymore." And it's true. We talked about this at length in our previous post. Since then, the Cardinals have dropped to only two games up on the still last place Reds. And Pittsburgh is now in 2nd place in the division. They are 23-30.
      Here's something I've noticed lately. What about these hitting streaks? So far this year, we've had Torii Hunter go 23 games. Freaking A-Rod was on an 18-game tear. Brandon Philips; 22. Randy Winn; 20. Aaron Rowand; 16. Currently, Kevin Youkilis has a 22-game hitting streak, and just snapped a 9-game multi-hit streak, the 6th longest in the last 50 years. Ichiro is at a Seattle-record 24 games. Furcal just ended a 15-gamer. There have always been hitting streaks in baseball. But I don't remember so many being this long. Thoughts?

      I also wanted to comment on a comment that BigFoote made in the Chat box. He said not to get discouraged about the lack of comments. He thinks he's the only reader. Well... sadly enough, that's not the case. I risk offending you here, BigFoote, but that's not my intent. I do appreciate you, loyal reader. But BHGM has been around for 2 years. In fact, the site usually, (on a typical, ok day) gets about 400 hits or so. By my estimate, there are at least 30-40 regular readers, from what I've seen of direct referrals and return visitors from the hit counters. And those are people that come check out the site almost every day. There are at least 15 subscribers to RSS feeds that automatically go to the site whenever a new post is made. So, you guys are out there - you're just not making any noise. I know you have to register to make comments on this blog, but that's why I have the Chatbox to your left - no registration required! Make good use of that tool. Or, do as Monkeypunch did.

      'Monkeypunch' made a quality comment on the Mariner's Payroll post. Now, I'll talk about your comment in full when I get home, but for now, let me point out some important things. You mention that Beltre is coming back, he just needs to adjust his mechanics. You're wrong. Beltre had one good year. Like I said, the Mariners have you believing that these players are better than they really are. You can etch this in stone or carve it in wood - Adrian Beltre will never win another HR crown. Right now, his .280 batting average is higher than every season except 2004 and 2000. He is on pace to hit 29 HR's - more than any other season ever, with the exception of 2004. I don't believe he will ever hit more than 30 home runs. However, that was the only logical hole in your post, for the most part. I think you may have misunderstood my main point - that the Mariners have overpaid for these guys. Richie Sexson is not a bad guy to have on your team. But you shouldn't be paying him $15.5 million. You also conceded that the Weaver deal was 'crap' So why would you pay him almost $10 million? Give him a small base salary with incentives, or let another team take the one-year risk, and offer him $15 million - an amount he can't refuse - when he goes into free agency, as no team would ever give him more than a one-year. Anyway, we'll talk more when I get home. But keep up the good, insightful, intelligent comments like those.

      The Mariner's Payroll is really $107 Million? - April 24th, 2007

      Monday, May 28, 2007

      Welcome to the wacky fun house that is the NL Central

      Ah, sorry about the break guys. My older brother got married this weekend, congratulations Dave. We'll talk about something that, criminally, I've been avoiding this season - the Brewers and Cardinals. I've always loved the Brewers, especially when they had Carlos Lee. Lee is, by far, the most underrated player in the game, I believe. He consistently puts up great numbers. For example, he is currently leading the NL with 45 RBI's, (he's with the Astros). Back to the Brewers.

      You may recall there being a bunch of buzz about this team early in the season. We were told they came out of nowhere to take the NL Central by storm. Well, to the team's credit, this is not entirely true. The Brewers have been a team on the ups for quite some time now, and in many ways could be compared to last year's Tigers. That is, they weren't that bad in previous years, but they were deceptively bad if you simply looked at their record. In 2006, they won 75 games. In 2005, 81. So, they weren't terrible. In fact, the Brewers and Tigers were the only teams to start the 2006 season 5-0. In any case, the Cardinals came crashing back to earth this year. That kind of opened up the division a little bit. The Brewers are 17-8 against the NL Central, of which they are the only team above .500. They are a combined 10-13 against the East and West. Right now, they're 28-23, (three games of interleague play were not counted in the previous splits.) So they're not world-burners. They're also 2-8 in their last 10 games, including a 6 game losing streak. So, how is everyone so excited about them? Because the team is, like I said, on the ups. They're maturing. Prince Fielder, J.J. Hardy, (who will come fall back to earth, trust me,) Rickie Weeks, Geoff Jenkins - that's a pretty solid core you have. Not to mention Cordero, and Turnbow, who's a bit split-minded, but he'll figure it out. You can't throw that hard and be bad for too long. So the Brewers are young, and getting older. And people love that. They're drawn to that like bugs are drawn to the light. There's just something about aging...

      Speaking of which, lights-out closer Francisco Cordero (0.47 ERA), who we have discussed, has basically been unemployed since May 20th, which was the last time he was needed for a save. He did pitch this afternoon in a non-save, (losing) situation. In fact, in the Brewer's last two road trips, they've won only three games. Two of them were blowouts, leaving Cordero with only one chance to pitch. Manager Ned Yost said, "I don't know why I even bring him on the road." And it's true, the Brewers are 11-15 on the road. That's something they may want to work on.

      Then again, they can probably lose every road game for the rest of the year and do just fine for themselves. Now, I don't want to start counting all the little chickens before they hatch, but lets be real here. Baring some major influx of talent in the NL Central - of which there are none on the horizon - the Brewers can just about start selling playoff tickets. It's very NL West-esque for a .549 team to start declaring victory - much less in May - but the NL Central is behaving a lot like the NL West. The Central is, in fact, worse than the West. It's like these two divisions got together before the season and said to each other, 'alright, we'll play really bad if you play really bad too.' There are four 30+ win teams in the top four divisions, (AL East-NL East), and zero in the bottom two. But to focus on the NL Central. Again, the Brewers have lost 8 of their last 10, and they're still 5 games up. Heck, Chicago is in 2nd place. Pittsburgh is in 3rd. And St. Louis is three lousy games up on the last place Reds.

      The Arches
      It's like we're watching the NL Central in some bizarro universe, where up is down, and left is right. The Cardinals have a 3-man rotation, in which Braden Looper, who has been a touch-and-go reliever for the last few years, has a 3.10 ERA. 'Staff Ace' Kip Wells has a 6.10 ERA and a 2-9 record, (seriously, has he even pitched 11 games yet?) Todd Wellemeyer has an 8.06 ERA, and was recently promoted from the bullpen to start games. Bradthompson_2That's when you know it's time to call it quits - when you're promoting guys with 8.06 ERAs to start baseball games. I don't think Wellemeyer will be playing the role of stopper anytime soon. I think that the unofficial rotation (correct me if I'm wrong,) includes Adam Wainwright and Brad Thompson (right), who looks a lot like a lady. So, how many games, prior to 2007, have the bottom four members of the rotation started? One. Not exactly what you would call loads of experience. And again, Kip Wells isn't really a pitching sage. Chris Carpenter? Mark Mulder? Yeah. But not Kip Wells. Speaking of Mark Mulder, where is he? Well, he's not on the active roster. He's recovering from rotator cuff surgery, and we're not sure when he's going to be back. And, apparently, neither is anybody else. Chris Carpenter, we know, is out for quite some time. Jim Edmonds is still trolling center field in his walker, and hitting .230 at the plate. I like the guy. And that's why I don't want to see a repeat of 2005, when the Mariners took Bret Boone out back and, you know... cut him. Frosty Boone was, at the time, hitting a very frosty .231. So Taguchi is just waiting for the full-time center field job, and he can do it too. He's not great, but he's better than Edmonds right now. And you have to think the Cardinals can find an outfielder with an OBP above .300. So, Edmonds might want to think of launching a preemptive strike of the "you can't fire me, I quit," variety. The Cardinals will hold on to him because hey, he's not costing them the division. But you know what they're thinking. So come this off-season Jim, it's get them, or get got.

      Right now the Cardinals are in danger of becoming the 2nd best team in Missouri. Indeed, they're only up on their Royal Brethren by one game. One day you're hoisting the World Series trophy high in the air, the next you're fighting off Mark's Army for 1st place in the state least deserving of two baseball teams, (there are about 2.8 million fans per team in Missouri. California, by contrast, has 6.8 million fans per team. I know. Where does he find this stuff.)

      Alright. The comments are getting out of control. Did someone take away your commenting privileges? We're 0 for our last 4 guys, lets get something going. Rally caps, bubble gum, do whatever you need to do. But make it happen.

      NL West - Citizenship Revoked - March 19th, 2006

      Wednesday, May 23, 2007

      Does this really need to be a big deal?

      Red Sox and Yankees are fun, there's no denying that. But is it really as big a deal as ESPN would have you believe? After watching the first 10 minutes of the 6p edition of Sportscenter I had had just about enough. I mean... is there really a bigger non-issue than A-Rod's slide? First off, look at the play carefully. The dude was way, way, way off-balance. And maybe he intentionally threw himself off. But, the way I see it, he was trying to break up the double play, and somehow or another managed to get his body confused between a pop-up and a take-out slide. That's why, if you keep watching after he "throws the elbow," as John Kruk so lovingly put it, you'll see Alex stumble to the ground and fall flat on his backside. Kruk is, not surprisingly, still an idiot. No, the play was not dirty. Alex was not going into 2nd with the intention of giving Dustin an ugly bruise in the crotch.

      And, you may say to yourself, "Dustin who? Who is this guy? How dare he talk smack about A-Rod!" Listen. If you actually heard what the little guy said in his post-game, he was not putting anybody down. He said just enough to keep from looking like a coward, but he also went out of his way to say that he was only doing what he had to for the team, etc, etc, etc. Dustin doesn't care. Alex doesn't care. Does Curt care? I guess we'll see tonight. To my knowledge, he hasn't yet commented on the issue on his personal soap box, the Don Patrick show. But I have this to say - if Curt does drill A-Rod tonight, which he won't, I will view it as one of the lamest moves in baseball. If you hit the guy, you're only playing into this whole ESPN-propagated rivalry hype. ESPN loves to make something out of nothing. But there are always a couple guys on every team that like it even more. A-Rod and Varitek fighting down the baseline? That was a heat of the moment, legit fight. Curt drilling A-Rod would just be stupid and childish. Hopefully he has enough sense to know that.

      Lets see some comments boys...

      Are John Kruk and Steve Philips stupid? - April 10th, 2006

      Monday, May 21, 2007

      Andruw Jones tells us about bad days

      andruw jones Andruw Jones, as you are probably aware, is one of the better fielding center fielders of his day. As you may also be aware, he swings a pretty big stick. In fact, in 2005 he hit 51 HR, followed by 41 in 2006. He is also from the Netherlands. Doesn't that make him a Euro?

      But Andruw is having a problem lately. He's beginning to enter the Adam Dunn K-Zone. On Sunday night, Andruw went 0-5 against the Red Sox. Generally what you might consider to be a "bad day" at the plate. What made it worse was that Andruw struck out all 5 times. By comparison, the entire Red Sox team struck out 3 times. Basically, his day was a disaster. Hindenburg-type disaster. Throughout his 5 K's, he took a grand total of 5 balls, and swung at at least one ball clearly out of the zone, (one in the dirt,) in three of those five at bats. Andruw has always had a propensity towards the windmill. But right now he has 51 K's in 156 AB's. Which is, really, not acceptable.

      Tomorrow night, Jones will trot out his shiny .212 batting average. That means he's just a couple bad games away from the Mendoza Line. Is he upset about all this? Not in the slightest. "I swing the bat the way I want to swing, the way I swing it all the time. So some days you're going to have bad days, and some days you're going to have good days." That's denial. Andruw knows he needs to step it up a bit, and so do the reporters. There's no use acting like a defiant 2nd grader about it. You're not fooling anybody. And, quite frankly, five strikeouts isn't a 'bad day'. Especially when the last one comes as the last out of the game, when you represent the tying run for your team.

      Continuing on that note of the Braves, Tim Hudson had an equally awful day at Fenway. Huddy went just 4.2 innings, giving up 8 hits, 2 walks, and 6 earned runs. Three of those runs were the result of a 2-out, 2-strikes, bases loaded triple by, who else, but Jason Varitek. It was Jason's 11th triple in 10 major league seasons. Varitek then scored for a 4-run 1st inning. In the 2nd, a runner reached base on a fielder's choice, better known as botched double play by Martin Prado, who had just come up from AAA. The 2nd would have ended there; unfortunately, it didn't, and 'unturned double plays' can't be counted as errors. That runner then scored. That's 5 runs through the first 2 innings. Finally, Hudson gave up a 'blast' to Kevin Youkilis - a 303ft blast, which wouldn't have been a HR had the game been played in my backyard. So, had Huddy's cutter actually cut on Varitek, Prado turned that double play, and if not for the World's Shortest Porch in Right Field, Huddy continues on without giving up a single run. Revisionist history, yes. But proof that Hudson didn't just turn bad suddenly. I'm pretty confident that he's still in for a good season.

      Finally, an interesting story. One of my friends broke her foot jumping up in down in celebration after the end of the semester. Which reminded me of a good story from a few years back. You know how, when you're a little leaguer, you have that dream of hitting a game-winning grand slam? I mean, what could be better, right? Well, AAA 1B Tagg Bozied was living the dream. Game winning grand slam, and ferocious victory trot around the bases. Maybe a little too ferocious, in fact. As Tagg jumped up to stomp on home plate, "I saw my kneecap pushed up into my quads," and suddenly the dream became the nightmare. The pain was so tremendous that he blacked out in midair and woke up in a hospital bed, out for the season with a ruptured patellar tendon. This basically causes the patella to move up towards the thigh, as its lost its anchoring to the tibia. Yup. Pretty painful. The question is, how can you achieve one the most athletically difficult feats in all of baseball, but still be enough of a spaz to shred your knee in celebration?

      Alright guys. Time to step it up in the comments. In the last 6 posts we have 2 comments. I know the writing hasn't been spectacular, but c'mon. All you need is a quick flip. "Hey man, you don't know what you're talking about." That works. See you guys soon.

      Saturday, May 19, 2007

      Turns out, managers can't hit or pitch after all

      If you're a Cub fan, you may have entered this season under the impression that, with Dusty Baker gone, your franchise would accomplish great things. With Lou here, the team would excel. Or so you were led to believe. Sadly - but predictably, nonetheless - this is not the case. The Cubs are 20-21 right now. This record is highly deceiving. Of the Cubs 20 wins, 12 came against the Pirates, Reds, Cardinals, and Nationals - teams that are a combined 66-98, which is a .402 winning percentage.

      Whether or not you buy into this 'strength of schedule' argument, all you really need to do is look at the Cubs lineup. The Cubs have exactly one guy with an average over .300 - his name is Derrick Lee, who, as you may be aware, is currently injured. Last year, the Cubs had five guys with 180+ AB's and an OBP over .300. By comparison, the Marlins had nine regulars with OBP's over .300. The Pirates had 10. It's really not a big feat to get half of your lineup over the .300 mark for on base %, but the Cubs barely did it. Why is this relevant? Back to our first point. Cubs Fan was led to believe that, despite the fact that only one major offensive change was made - the addition of Alfonso Soriano and his .326 career OBP - the team was good to go for the year. Unfortunately, you cannot win games if you cannot get on base. Last year, the Cubs finished 29th in OBP as a team, just 5 thousandths of a point above the Devil Rays. They had a team OBP of .319. This translates into a difference of about 500 plate appearances throughout the year between a team with a good OBP and a bad one. This turns out to be about 3 extra plate appearances a game. Which, of course, amounts to just about one extra inning a game. Imagine how crippled your offense would be if, as your team was leaving the field to go up to bat, the umps told them to head back out there - your team's half of the inning was going to be skipped. This is essentially what happens to the Cubs every game. To make matters worse, the Cubs aren't what you would call efficient at the plate either - they were ranked #21 in total bases last year.

      The moral of the story is, as usual, that only hitting begets runs. Managers do not beget runs. Poorly spent money does not beget runs. A couple bargain pitchers do not beget runs. I stress this point because we have seen it recently with the Blue Jays, the Mariners, and whoever else you want to accuse of being run deprived. In most cases, if you cannot put a guy on base, you're not going to bring him home.

      Ironically enough, my impetus for writing this post was watching Jason Marquis - who I was hoping to give me a few good points in my fantasy matchup, go up 5-3 on the White Sox, only to give up two more runs and leave the game 5-5. To make matters worse, the opposing team was starting Vazquez, who was set to win the game for the White Sox. And then the Cubs go and win it, 11-6. Make of that what you will.

      What do you mean, Baker's out? - October 17th, 2006

      Friday, May 18, 2007

      Are you or someone you love suffering from an avulsion?

      This is no laughing matter, folks. Avulsions are very serious problems. In fact, millions of Americans will suffer from an avulsion this year. One of those millions of people needs your help. His name is Josh Beckett, and he has an avulsion on his pitching hand. It's so serious, in fact, that he's headed to the Disabled List.

      An avulsion, by the way, is a blister.

      I don't call this guy Blisterin' Beckett because he's fast. Without fail, he develops a blister on his pitching hand, every single year. I'm not one to rip on guys for getting hurt, (despite what you may think after our previous post,) but this is simply one of the most preventable injuries in sports. That's not to say that if you do everything right, you will never get one - it just means that if they keep cropping up, there are certain things you can do in the future that may keep them from coming back. For example, Moises Alou pisses on his hands. This is one way to toughen your skin and prevent blister formation. I know that's gross and all, but if you make $6.66 million a year to throw a baseball - as Joshua is - you might just want to man up, and whip it out. Now, at this point you may be saying to yourself, "but I thought he had a finger injury - I saw no mention of a blister," or, "I saw on Sportsline that he has a torn flap of skin! That sounds pretty serious." Yeah, it is serious. But the word avulsion is kind of like the word puma. An avulsion is a blister, is a torn flap of a skin, is an avulsion. A puma is a lynx, is a mountain lion, is a puma. It's all about fear. If someone tells you, "hey hand me that shotgun, here comes a mountain lion," you might move a little faster than if you think you're about to get attacked by a tennis shoe. Just like you might have a little more sympathy for Josh if you think he's suffering from a torn flap of skin, or an avulsion. Those sound pretty serious, after all. A blister, on the other hand - that's something you get from working out in the yard.

      As usual, I'm going to make the assumption that baseball players aren't idiots, and they don't want to go to the DL. So why, Josh, do you keep getting sidelined by these blisters? Pee on your hands. Clap them together after you throw, (this causes the blood to rush to your hands, decreasing the likelihood that you'll develop a blister.) You might even have to change the way you release the ball. But figure it out, because it's just a blister.

      For the record, I'm not making fun of blisters. They hurt like heII. I went a little crazy at the cages last week and developed six deep blisties on both hands. They hurt for five days and then they go away. But no one is paying me millions of dollars a year to not get blisters. Heck, I don't even play for a real team anymore. And better yet, now that my hands have calloused up, I don't need to worry. Of course, if I really didn't want a blister, I wouldn't have taken 150 swings - again, simple preventive measures.

      Anyway, I've seen parts of a bunch of good games lately. I just haven't had the time to write about it, but stick around guys. We're not going anywhere. As for the comments - thanks to BigFoote in the chat box for the compliment. RumorMill - I agree. The Blue Jays could have made some bigger improvements, but as I said originally, all they needed was a healthy team, and that should have been enough, since they did fairly well for themselves last year. Saif, I'm not sure how confident I am that the Jays can salvage anything from this year. It depends on when they get their guys back and if they're still in contention on July 31st.

      Monday, May 14, 2007

      Blue Jays injury woes

      Hey guys, sorry about the lack of material lately. We had finals and then straight into some summer classes so this is the first chance I've had to really sit down and punch out some good material. I hope. We're going to try to cover a variety of topics in the next couple days. We'll start with this.

      Who cursed the Blue Jays?
      If you live in Toronto and you see a dark-haired man of average build, a shade under 6 ft, with a goofy smile and even goofier glasses, look out, because Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi has got to be homicidal at this point. The Jays finished a strong 2nd in the AL East last year, as I predicted. This year, they were looking to improve on that. Everything was falling into place for them. A healthy A.J. Burnett who wasn't missing his first 10 starts of the season. A strong Cy Young candidate in Roy Halladay. A closer in B.J. Ryan who was automatic last year - a 1.37 ERA and 38 saves. They brought in the aging Frank Thomas, who defied everything we know about time and had a pretty decent year in Oakland in 2006. Reed Johnson and Alex Rios were both coming off career years. Victor Zambrano, Tomo Ohka, and John Thompson were brought in to shore up the back end of the rotation - a risky move at best, but cheap. And on top of all this, the Yankees looked like it was their year to fall, with a struggling pitching rotation.

      And then it started... and quickly turned into a cascading disaster. The Jays now have 9 players on the DL, 7 of them key members of the team. LF Reed Johnson - out until at least July with a whacked up back. B.J. Ryan; Tommy John, out for the remainder. SP John Thompson; tendinitis, no return date set. RP Brandon League is on the DL for throwing too slow - literally. SP Gustavo Chacin; sore shoulder. SP Victor Zambrano; sore forearm. Starting catcher Gregg Zaun; non-displaced fracture in his pitching hand. No one knows why reliever Davis Romero is on the 60-day DL, and Roy Halladay is out for about 6 weeks after an emergency appendectomy. These are all serious injuries. Why go through the trouble of listing all of them?

      Because the majority of these have not been freak accidents. Sure, you can't prevent Roy Halladay's burst appendix or Gregg Zaun fouling a ball hard enough off his hand to break it. But you can prevent the various forms of tendinitis and soreness, which accounts for Romero, Thomson, League, Zambrano, and Chacin. Johnson and Ryan may have just gotten unlucky and it may have only been a matter of time for them. But when the Jays signed Zambrano and Thomson, they knew they were getting injury-prone pitchers that, even if they were healthy, wouldn't contribute a whole lot to the team. The question is, did the Jays make this move out of desperation because they had no one else to fill up the rotation? Or did they really think these guys would help them win? Either way, they needed to prepare for the likelihood that someone else would have to be pitching. Now the Jays are stuck with 4 injured starters and 3 injured relievers. I've seen this point made by other general managers - namely Jim Leyland - that you must have the capacity to fill up holes in the rotation from inside the organization. Take notes, J.P.. This means that, at the start of your season, you should be able to throw out the names of at least two pitchers that you're confident you can bring up from AAA to fill in, because that's the reality you are going to face at some point in the season. Very, very rarely will you not need a spot starter all year. The key to this is that these guys have to be ready, or close to it, because you're going to pay about 5 times what you should if you try to acquire a decent pitcher mid-season. And of course, it doesn't make sense to bring up a guy if he's only going to kill his confidence.

      Additionally, it seems like someone has to be keeping a closer eye on the pitching staff. There are numerous ways to prevent tendinitis and soreness. Sometimes you're going to get sore because you push yourself too hard - but it's the trainers and coaching staff's job to make sure you don't.

      Blue Jays and Roses... Spring training - March 5th, 2006

      Saturday, May 5, 2007

      Some more pitching updates

      Lately we've been keeping track of the number of times Bobby Cox has pulled Tim Hudson too early. Well, he did it again. It's the bottom of the 8th, and the Dodgers are up 3-1. Braves are up to bat and Hudson, who has only 87 pitches and had been doing quite well, is leading off. But no - he's pulled for pinch hitter Chris Woodward, who ends up making an out. Now it's the top of the 9th, and 3 Braves relievers allowed 3 runs before they were saved by a double play. Hudson did give up a solo shot to none other than Wilson Betemit and his .125 average in the top of the 8th, so maybe Cox did make the right call. But I don't really like it. Wouldn't have been the biggest deal, but for two things. First, I get 10 points in my fantasy league if Hudson gets the win, and I'm fighting to go 5-0 this year. But, more importantly for the Braves, they loaded the bases in the bottom of the 9th, when Kelly Johnson singled to bring home two runs. That made the score 6-3. Edger Renteria then grounded out to end the game. Had your stinky relievers not given up those three runs, you're looking at a tie game. For some reason, Bobby Cox is just way too freaking quick on the hook for Hudson. Hudson early yank count this year: 3.

      And a weird day in Texas. First, Kevin Millwood went on the DL, leaving Texas with the Padilla Flotilla as their Ace. You know, that guy with the 5.66 ERA this season? The rest of the rotation consists of McCarthy (7.96 ERA), Robinson Tejeda (3.89), Kameron Loe (7.04), and Mike Wood (5.45 last season). That's really, really concerning. The bullpen isn't doing too bad, but you have to ask yourself if that even matters. Anyway, Texas played the Blue Jays today, and Roy Halladay, all-time favorite, started. Usually this means you score 2 runs. Today, not so much. Halladay gave up 9 runs, real out of character for my Cy Young pick. 

      Somebody needs to pull Roy Oswalt off the Reds. After his latest win against the Reds, Roy is 19-1 against them in his career. Man is invincible.

      Alright guys. Might not be back for awhile now. Finals until Wednesday, and then summer school starts Thursday. So it'll be busy for awhile and we might get a little slow here. But stick around.

      Tuesday, May 1, 2007

      A look at some comeback pitchers

      Well, like I said earlier, I've been sick and such, that's why I've been gone. I encourage you to check out the Birthday Bash post from earlier today, it's much better than anything you are going to read here. Now we're going to take a look at some pitchers who at some point have been left for dead, but are actually still some of the best in the game.

      How about that Francisco Cordero kid? He had a bad year last year, and he looked finished. This year? 11.1 IP, 10 saves, 19 K's, 7 walks, 0 runs. And the dude has allowed 2 hits. I don't understand why this isn't a bigger story. The 7 walks show us he has a little control issues, but still... 2 hits? The guy has faced 41 batters. That's an average of .059. He obviously can't stay this lights out forever, but it's still an amazing performance.

      I think it's safe to say that Tim Hudson is back. He's showed good command over his first six games of the season, walking only 12 batters so far in 45 innings, (I never understood how Zito and Hudson fit into the Moneyball Scheme in Oakland, where they both gave up about 80 walks a year.) He's allowed only 7 runs. He's 3-0, but he should be, if not 4-0, 5-0. We wrote about how Hudson got one win janked from his record two starts ago, but it happened again last night. This time, it was in reverse. In the bottom of the 8th the Braves were up to bat, score 2-2. Men on 2nd and 3rd, 2 outs, when Huddy's spot comes up. Again, a tough spot. Do you leave your pitcher in, who has only allowed 5 men to reach base all game with 94 pitches, and hope you can score later? Or do you take him out for a guy like Brayan Pena, who's batting average against righties is .60 lower than Hudson's? Obviously, Cox chose to jerk Hudson for Pena, who promptly grounded out to Brett Myers, (who is still pitching in relief...?) And then, of course, the Braves score 3 runs in the bottom of the 9th to take the game. So, Hudson should be 5-0, but instead he's 3-0. We're going to start keeping track of this. Hudson early yank count: 2.

      And Roy Halladay is still the best pitcher in the game. Roy won the Cy Young in 2003, but turned in a less-than stellar year in 2004 with a 4.20 ERA, the only time besides 2000 that he finished with an ERA above 4. But people thought he was a fluke. I drafted Halladay incredibly low with the 51st pick in my 2005 pay league. He is now 4-0 with an ERA of 2.28. And the thing is, he can keep that up all year. He leads MLB with 47.1 IP. He even went 10 innings for a complete game win against the Tigers - for the 2nd time in his career. This guy is hitting on all cylinders. 0.89 WHIP, 33 K's, 7 walks. I've long said that he will win the Cy Young again. Well, last night he struck out 8, allowed just 5 hits, and went the full 9 innings for the win. After that, Jay's manager Jay Gibbons said, "he's a security blanket... He saves bullpens, he continues winning streaks, stops losing streaks, and that's how you get things going." That's probably one of the best compliments you can get as a pitcher. And it's true. Halladay is one of only a few starters in the league that can actually make a huge impact on the team as a whole. You've got Santana, maybe Chris Carpenter, Roy Oswalt, and Halladay, that's about it.

      Finally, Jake Peavy is another comeback story. The kid looked to have lost it last year, going with a 4.09 ERA. But this year he's started solid, with a 2.06 ERA and 46 K's in 39.1 IP. He's 3-1. It's tough to get wins on a team as bad as the Padres, (in his two no-decisions, he allowed a combined 1 run in 14 innings against Colorado and Arizona,) but he'll manage to put together a good year if he keeps this up.

      I want to see someone get 300 K's in a year. Randy Johnson got 290 in that oh-so-memorable year of 2004, where, as you might recall, he pitched 245 innings, (2nd place,) with an ERA of 2.60 (1st place among starters,) a WHIP of .90, (1st among starters,) those 290 K's, (1st place,) and an OBA of .241 (1st among starters.) He made 35 starts, so you're thinking, wow, dude most have gone like, 25-2 or something, right? Sadly, that was not the case. Johnson played for the crummy Diamondbacks that year, and he went just 16-14. He even missed out on the Cy Young award, which went to Roger Clemens. That's pretty awful.

      And now for a guy who isn't doing so hot. Mark Redman, who now pitches for the Braves. Have you ever noticed that every time you look around, this guy is on a new team? That's because it's true. In 1999, Redman pitched 12 innings for the Twins and was welcomed back again in 2000. That was the only time he has ever pitched for the same team two years in a row. Now he's in Atlanta with a 10.13 ERA and no wins. There's talk that if he gets kicked around again tonight, he'll lose his spot in the rotation... I don't know about that. If the Braves had another option for their #4 spot, they probably would've put him in already. They've got Chuck James in the 3 spot, and Kyle Davies in #5. They don't have anyone better. Mike Hampton has been on the DL since about this time two years ago. Maybe they will just come up with some bizarro rotation where Tim Hudson and John Smoltz pitch on three days of rest. I could definitely see that happening. And I would be all for it. Because seriously, how often do the Braves make a big mid-season trade? They just bring up guys from the minors that somehow fit right in.

      Well that's all for now. Don't expect anything big for the next week or so. Finals are over on the 9th, so we've got that to look forward to...

      Birthday Bash Flashbacks! - Turns out, bad can be funny - May 1st, 2007
      However many wins Tim Hudson finishes this year with, add one - April 25th, 2007