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Archive for April 2013

Things I Like

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As a Pirates fan, I have to say I really like the Phillies’ bullpen for at least two reasons. Reason 1. Reason 2. (Note that I also really like the Pirates’ bullpen but for very different reasons.)

Written by jjvedamuthu

April 25, 2013 at 13:01

Stephen Strasburg and First-Pitch Strikes

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I’ve mentioned this before, ironically enough because the great Thomas Boswell discussed something along these lines, and here comes Boswell again discussing the importance of first-pitch strikes, this times in terms of Stephen Strasburg’s early-season “struggles.”

Written by jjvedamuthu

April 25, 2013 at 12:15

Watching the Mariners (Updated)

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*Sigh*

What sucks worst about being in the Mariners’ “viewing area” and seeing all their games on ROOT Sports is that one gets the idea that the Astros don’t totally suck. Which is, of course, poppycock. But they are 3-2 vs. the Mariners.

(When I say the “worst thing” realize I’m making a pretty bold statement as the Mariners made me watch the dried-out husk of Chone Figgins try to bat leadoff for almost two-and-one-half seasons, which was extraordinarily painful as he posted an OBP somewhere south of .300.)

UPDATE: As of 1:00 pm PDT the Astros lead the Mariners 7-1 with men on the corners and no out in the bottom of the 6th inning.

Written by jjvedamuthu

April 24, 2013 at 12:01

Monday Mancrush

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Joe Mauer kicks ass. Just sayin’. And he hit a homerun to left-center field, which is the part of Target Field that probably vexes him most. In 2009 he hit a bunch of homers to left center in the Metrodome, but the ball doesn’t carry that way in Target at all. So it’s  nice to see him do that. Really nice. Yeah, I’m mancrushing hard on Joe Mauer again. Adrian who?

Written by jjvedamuthu

April 15, 2013 at 19:10

The Smell of Desperation on the North Side

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If you’ve ever wondered what desperation smelled like, just inhale deeply through your nose as you read this. When Kevin Gregg is your next-best “closer” option, well, you’ve got troubles enough to make you desperate. The Cubs have a healthy Carlos Marmol and an injured Kyuji Fujikawa, the guy who was supposed to make Marmol dispensable but so far hasn’t quite mastered the “craft” of closing out ballgames. Kevin Gregg (the BB/9 and/or BB% numbers may lead you to a preliminary conclusion that is not unprecedented).

Written by jjvedamuthu

April 14, 2013 at 12:00

Indians Were “Entertaining” on Saturday

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Now this is what I meant when I claimed the Indians would be an entertaining ballclub in 2013. They can’t possibly do this in every games, so I figure them for an “around-.500” team.

Swisher hit a 2-run shot in the first inning, and then Mark Reynolds hit a grand slam as part of a 6-run fifth inning. Good times.

Oh, and Justin Masterson was magnificent on Friday night. Lots of first-pitch strikes. Terry Pluto wrote

Masterson pitching like a throwback to my youth…complete game…shutout…113 pitches, one walk.

Terry Francona managing like they did back when I was a kid, allowing the starter to put the final stroke on his mound masterpiece.

 

Written by jjvedamuthu

April 13, 2013 at 17:34

A’s-Angels Series: A’s Are Good, Angels…meh

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While I realize that the A’s and the Tigers have already split the first two games of their weekend series, I still wanted to note what I saw during the preceding A’s and Angels series. I watched almost all of that series.

The A’s flashed their power all series long. Though they can thump up and down the lineup, Yoenis Cespedis shows some serious power. Note that in the highlight video, you can’t see where the ball actually landed as the camera is focused on the rocks behind the wall but the ball lands somewhere high among them. Remeber that the A’s swept the series, outscoring the overwhelmed Angels 28-11. The Angels only retired A’s batters in order 3 times in the entire series, meaning there were too many baserunners for a lineup with ample power.

I remember last season listening to baseball announcers talk about how the A’s were offensively anemic because they had a low team batting average. After shouting at the screen about the stupidity of that “analysis,” I looked at their stats, and they looked terrible when filtered through a batting average lens. But when park-adjusted, the A’s actually put up the 8th-highest True Average in baseball last year. Their low batting average masked two things: (1) the spread between their batting average and their on-base percentage was relatively high, meaning they were talking lots of walks (5th highest BB%), and (2) the spread between their batting average and their slugging percentage was also relatively high, meaning they were getting lots of extra-base hits (7th highest ISO). And so far in 2013, their road numbers show them to be hitting well in the early going, as they finished their six-game road trip with 6 wins, 0 losses, 51 runs scored, 15 doubles, and 13 homeruns.

You should listen to what Buster Olney and Tim Kurkjian have to say about both of these ballclubs, starting at about the 22:15 mark and lasting until 25:55 (or so), first addressing how good the A’s are and then addressing how not-as-great-as-sportswriters-seemed-to-think-the Angels-would-be the Angels are proving to be.

Written by jjvedamuthu

April 13, 2013 at 17:19