April 2007

Alex Rodriguez

     Alex Rodriguez has proved to everyone, including the writers/voters, that the MVP should go to the best player and not just the best player on a contending team.  There is no doubt that Rodriguez was the best player this month.  He demolished everyone statistically and had two walk-off home runs for good measure.  He was no question the MVP for this month. 

     So if Rodriguez maintained this production all season long, but the Yankees still could not win games.  Can you blame AROD?  No.  They are 9-14 and in last place.  But it wasn’t his fault.  It was mostly due to injuries and poor pitching, mainly the bullpen.  Now in defense of the bullpen, the starters could not go deep in games,  which in turn put all the pressure on the pen.  But once again it was not ARod’s fault.

     He had the greatest performance I have ever witnessed in a month.  He was the MVP.  So I believe it proves the point that one player cannot carry a team.  This is a team that had an exceptional offense, even with some stuggles from a few individuals.  It also proves that no matter how good an offense (keeping it realistic) a team can not win without reliable pitching.  So when the writers cast their ballots, look at all the players.  This isn’t basketball where a player can affect every single play on the court.  This is a sport where a batter is 1/9th of a lineup.  And 1/9th of a defense.  Now if they are great or play premium positions they mean more.  But nevertheless, voters must look deeply at all players not just players on contending teams.   

Sampling

     I have been reading in "Baseball Between the Numbers."  The last chapter talked about how Mike Redmond has had great success when facing Tom Glaving over his career.  Hitting, I think .429 over a span of 48 at bats.  But Baseball Prospectus kind of shrugs it off saying that if over the course of an entire career, with Redmond facing Glavine, then he would only hit around .275 which is higher than what the rest of the league has hit.  The sample is taken over the course of years too.  It isn’t 48 straight at bats.  It is realistic to say that Redmond faced Glavine through good and bad.  During slumps and hot streaks.  If it was how Redmond did the first 48 at bats of a season.  Then yes, I would be very suspect. 

     But what if they are wrong.  What if Redmond just owns Glavine?  I mean I played baseball and there are certain pitchers that I just saw better.  That I had more success hitting.  One lefty in particular, in what was a small sample also. 

     So while I believe it is unlikely that Redmond would hit .429 over his career against Glavine?  Yes, very, very unlikely.  But is it to far fetched to say that he could hit .300?  We are not sure.  Sometimes statisitics override actuality, or maybe I should say predictions based on statisitics.  But I really enjoy the majority of this book and recommend it to all of you.  Of course people who dislike statisitics may enjoy it less, but it may open their eyes a little too.

16-8 Now

     I was not overly confident about Tavarez against the best lineup in baseball.  I wasnt even mildly confident.  Confidence really didn’t even see daylight inside my thoughts. What I see from Tavarez?  He would be an effective spot starter, which is effectively what he is right now.  A guy that can hang around the bullpen.  Pitch well less often than he pitches poorly.  But make decent starts when you need him to.  Unfortunately, we have two guys who can do this.  The other is Snyder.  So when Lester comes back we will have to make some personnel changes outside of the obvious one, Lester into the rotation.  But Tavarez can look like a good pitcher at times.  He has a lot of movement on his pitches.  Sometimes he leaves pitches up though, and pays.  And today as we saw he got into trouble, because he was wild. 

     But Manny finally had a few hits.  Ortiz went DEEP.  Alex Cora went deep. 

     Lugo looked pathetic on defense.  Hinske didn’t look good, replacing Drew who hasn’t looked good either, of recent. 

     But Boston won.  And they ran away with the division…in April.  There is a lot of baseball left to be played.  But Manny has been terrible.  He is going to catch fire eventually, it is almost inevitable.  I like what I have seen from Drew, but know that he can do more.  Youkilis is hovering around .400 in his OBP.  He may be closer to this then people think he can be.  Last year his OBP was at .381.  He can possibly improve on that a little and get up near .400, or keep it there I mean.  There is still room for improvement from this team.  The starters have the talent to be dominant (as they have been) as we all know.  The bullpen has maybe overachieved a little, but maybe they haven’t.  Maybe Okajima (dont feel like looking the spelling up) is this good.  Papelbon as we know IS this good.  The others I am still skeptical of.  But we lead the division.  And that is what matters.      

Red Sox fans!

     Red Sox fans are vastly outnumbered on Mlblogs.  I peruse several different Yankee bloggers daily, as they are all updated shortly after a Yankee game has completed.  Actually, some are posted before the games completion (Boogie…).  One of the Sox bloggers that was here when I began decided to take his business elsewhere.  Now there are none to share my opinions with.  None that take part in commenting, none that I have seen anyway.  There are a few but they don’t really seem as obsessed over this site as I am.  It would be nice to have a Sox fan match my enthusiasm as a blogger.  I know there is a blogger in New Zealand that posts I believe after I go to sleep here in the states.  But really, the Red Sox are a nation I thought.  Not much of a nation on this site.  Makes me feel like because there are a lack of Sox fans taking part in something as fulfilling as this site can be at times, that we are not quite as passionate as Yankees fans.  Just the way I feel I guess.  I enjoy reading the Yankees bloggers, I really do.  But someone stand up, take charge.  Discuss with me, the Red Sox.  I have mentioned in the past that I would rather talk baseball as a whole.  Statistics and such.  But no one seems like they want to do much of that either.  So I revert back to the Sox.  Or the Yankees.  Because those are the two teams I care most about.  One like a kitten wrapped inside my curled arms.  Another like an evil dictatorship trying to overtake the world.  But really, I know there are Sox bloggers out there.  So show yourselves!

7

     Well, the Red Sox are now 15-7.  They have taken the first four games from the Yankees in 2007.  The Yankees on the other hand have lost seven in a row.  And have been on the other side of the defeats to the Sox, of course.  Their problem tonight was once again pitching.  Pettite started off decent, but then he was rattled when things started going bad.  Their bullpen did not do much better either.

    -JD Drew looked like garbage again tonight.  He struck out with the bases loaded.  He struck out off Rivera on 4 pitches without even swinging the bat.  I do not know if in the bat agaisnt Rivera he just wanted to see his pitches or what.  I know that Drew has not played much against Mariano.  So with that lead if you want to take a few pitches, then do so.  But at least go down swinging to make it look like there is some effort there.  I mean I like Drew.  He is a good player.  He just needs to swing the bat a little more with two strikes.  And I have not seen much in the field from him yet either.  But he gets on base, which is extremely important in this game.

    -Matsusaka threw well outside of that fourth inning.  That dreaded fourth inning.  The same inning he "collapsed" when he pitched at Toronto.  Everything is there.  He will get on track with consistency.  If he can avoid innings like this.  Where he walked multiple batters and gave up key hits in turn which produced runs.  Damon’s hit was a hit, but can’t really blame Dice for that one too much.  But we can, because had runners not been in scoring position, then no one would have scored.  Then Jeter does what he does best, produce in key situations.  He punched a grounder past a diving Youkilis to add another run.  Matsusaka pitched better this time around against a healthy Yankees lineup in Yankees stadium.  His stat line wasn’t pretty, but it wasn’t terrible either.   I reiterate, he will improve. 

    -Julio Lugo looked awesome tonight.  He reached base four of his five plate appearences.  He stole a base as well.  It more than made up for his error. 

    -Tomorrow we have Wake vs. Karstens.  I feel confident, but we will see tomorrow. 

    

Ready for tonight

     I am ready for this series.  The Baltimore and Toronto games have been rather boring in comparison.  So here it is again.  The best rivalry in sports, fueled in part by money, but mostly throught the passion of the fans.   

"What I don’t understand is why [Cashman] isn’t spending that money," said one executive. "Tell you what, I wish I had $200 million, because I’d sure as **** spend it. Why not?"   -Bob Klapsich article from ESPN

Beckett

     I did not get to watch the game tonight because I worked.  But Beckett looked good from the box score and the highlights.  So I feel more comfortable that he will have success this year. 

     Wily Mo did something right. 

     Papelbon got the save.

     Three game series with the Yanks starting tomorrow.  I will get to watch all 3.  But I have to work during Saturday’s game so it will be on, but I will only be able to check up on it.

    

Bill Simmons

     Excerpt from Bill Simmons most recent Red Sox post referring to Sox-Yanks series:  "Maybe Dice wasn’t dominating (seven innings, six earned runs) Sunday night, but he plunked A-Rod and Jeter and exposed a recent Yankee weakness from the past few seasons: You can throw inside on their guys, nail them with pitches, hit them two or three times in the same game and they never seem to retaliate because of Torre’s whole "we’re classier than that" mantra. Along those same lines, who are the loose cannons on this particular Yankees team? It’s a passionless group, isn’t it? Torre, Mattingly, Jeter, Rivera, Abreu, Giambi, Pettitte, Posada, Mussina, Wang, Damon, Proctor, Igawa, all the glassy-eyed pitchers and no-name bench guys … where’s the fire? Who’s kicking over chairs in the clubhouse after a sweep? Who’s screaming at Dice from the dugout after his second HBP? It’s a soft team. It really is. They might need to triple Kyle Farnsworth’s caffeine intake before next weekend."

    

AROD

Does anyone know what pitches Arod’s 14 homers have come off?

Thoughts on Tonight

     I watched some of the Sox-Orioles game.  I actually fell asleep during Sportscenter and woke up hearing that the Red Sox were up 1-0 over the O’s.  I then ventured over to the grocery store to grab some food to enjoy.  Even though I wasn’t all that hungry, I ate way too much as usual.  So anyway, I had turned the game on at the beginning of my meal, to see that Schilling was pitching well.  But so was Cabrera, as he likes to do with more consistency nowadays.  Tejada went deep to tie the game.  Then later in the game the Sox ended going up big 6-1. 

     Drew walked 3 times.  This is why I wish we had the personnel to bat him 2nd.  He gets on base.  If we can make a move for someone who can bat sixth and drive in runs then lets do it.  As long as:  A)  We don’t compromise the farm system too much.  B)  We don’t give up young players with high ceilings to get declining Todd Helton who is much, much better in Colorado than on the road. 

     Peavy looked statistically amazing.  Hoffman blew it.  Stephen Drew won it.  Maybe Drew will come around now after his slow start.  Maybe not. 

     Interesting end to the Braves game.  The Marlins won on a passed ball. 

     Bonds went deep again.  He is still the best player to ever play ***********.

     Phil Hughes goes tomorrow.  He supposedly is the best pitching prospect in baseball.  It is a toss-up between he and Homer Bailey from what I hear.  Bailey has a slightly higher ceiling, but Hughes is more polished and is more of a sure thing as an ace I guess.  But this is just what the experts say as I have not seen either of them pitch before. 

     I cannot wait until Lester returns.  My Dad seems to think that Tavarez is a really good fifth starter.  I disagree.  I don’t think he is terrible, but Lester will be better, I hope. 

     Beckett better pitch well tomorrow.  If he gets rocked tomorrow then I will be worried about him.  If he pitches well it will ease my opinion of him for another 5 days.

     Just a thought, hitters are supposed to be patient.  However, I believe a player such as Nomar thrives on the first pitch.  He understands that a large percentage of fastballs are thrown on the first pitch of an at-bat.  And he jumps at them.  So some hitters are not better if patient.  I believe most will have more success.  But I do not think that Nomar would have been a better hitter had he changed his philosophy.  It makes sense doesnt it? 

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