5/31/2005 10:13:00 PM|||Andrew|||
I'm sure Paul DePodesta's dream right now is to definisitrate Jim Tracy.

We pay J.D. Drew 11 million dollars a year to play right field for the Dodgers. Why do we do this? Because he has an incredible knack for getting on base. Even though Drew has gone through two major slumps this year, he still is the 35th hardest out in baseball.

Why then, with the game on the line, do you reduce his on base percentage to zero? So you can reduce our run expectency for the inning, that's why. After seeing the brilliant results that Dusty Baker got when Jeromy Burnitz tried the same thing, Tracy must of realized how great of an idea it was. "Heh, at least our manager isn't as stupid as Dusty Baker" I thought when I saw Burnitz bunt. I really should have known better. I can see Tracy's comments in the paper now: "We lost because we failed to execute on fundamentals". Never mind that, in the grand tradition of small ball, it wouldn't have mattered anyway, seeing as Kent and Ledee struck out immediately there after.

Filled with confidence after this spectacle, Tracy decides to try it again. This time using another player signed solely because he could get on base, Hee Seop Choi, as his subject. Even better, he had Choi bunt on a 2-0 count. Now according to Choi Central, Hee Seop is 6 for 16 in those situations with six walks, that translates to a .375 average and a .545 OBP. Of course, yet again, Tracy reduces that .545 to a .000 with yet another sacrifice bunt. This gave the ever threatening Mike Rose a chance to drive in the winning run. It worked about as well as expected. Why wasn't Phillips in there? Maybe his tounge got stuck to a ice cube, I don't know. Either way, I think the Gameday guy at Dodger Stadium just got sick of this and left, since half an hour later, I'm still looking at 2-1 to Mike Rose.

I have no problem with the offense today. Some times, you face one of the best pitchers in the league, and you get shut down. Now if this happens tomorrow, against the guy making his first major league start, I might start to get upset.

What I do get upset about is when we gets shut down after we get the leadoff man on and Michael Wuertz pitching out of shear managerial stupidity. I am offically declaring the season over tonight unless Tracy gets fired within the week. History supports me, the Dodgers have never made the playoffs if they have ever fallen more than seven games back. It kills me to see a great team get put together in one year, after the mess that Dan Evans and Kevin Malone left, and see it get torn apart by a bad manager.

Get rid of Tracy. This worked when I requested it of Edwards and Bako, please, let it work now.
|||111760532617395347|||DePodesta Could Take Jim Tracy10/18/2005 12:22 PM|||Anonymous Anonymous|||hey nice posts i added you to my bookmarks

Just wanted to say everything you posted was a good read.
Its nice too see that some people create decent and entertaining blogs, yours kept me reading for well over 10 minutes.

Thanks!5/30/2005 07:36:00 PM|||Andrew|||
Some random thoughts about the game...

Wilson Alvarez gets called a roid user in Canseco's book, and suddenly our "secret weapon" can't get anyone out. Coincidence? I hope so.

Jerry Hairston Jr. hit carrer home run number 27 to lead off the game, moving him only three away from lead in carrer home runs by the Hairston family.

Hee Seop got robbed of a start today. That sends a good message. If you slump, even for a little bit, you lose your play time. If he actually is hurt, then he shouldn't have been out there pinch hitting.

Jim Tracy proved his idiocy yet again by leaving Alvarez out there. When you allow home runs to both Hairston and Barrett, it's a sign that your day is over. Yet, he left him out there to let Aramis hit a tape measure shot. Not to downgrade Aramis' ability, but, in his next at bat, he got struck out by Scott Erickson.

Jim Tracy decided to concede a game where we were down by three in the fifth. That's some good support.

Small ball yet again proved worthless, as Cesar got a lucky stolen base, and, unsurprisingly, he managed not to score. No more small ball, please.

Knowing Jim Tracy's thought process, Erickson probably just earned himself a start.

Maybe if Tracy weren't an idiot, Saenz's home run in the ninth might have actually meant something.

I hope the next moron who runs out on to the field actually trys to attack someone, that way, we can watch 50 plus people beat the ever loving crap out of some guy, hopefully acting as a deterent to further idiocy.

No matter how good this team is, it simply can not win with Jim Tracy at the helm. I am very sad that we have to wait until the end of the season to fire him.
|||111750815581823805|||Maybe Canseco Was On To Something5/29/2005 10:37:00 AM|||Andrew|||

"We created circumstances for ourselves so that most of what we saw in the latter part of the game could have been avoided," said Tracy.

"We had second and third with no out in the fourth inning and couldn't advance a runner. We threw a glove at a ball and sent a man to third base and set up a run. We [Cesar Izturis] didn't get a bunt down after a leadoff single in the ninth [by pinch-hitter Ricky Ledee]. We gave up a home run to the opposing pitcher.

"You can't make those types of little mistakes in situation baseball, and it all leads to the fact that Eric Gagne would have been in the game to pitch. When you do not execute, you get beat."

Jim, just because it is not a save situation does not mean that Gagne can't pitch.

I would have actually bought the thinking that Gagne pitched two days in a row, and you didn't want to overuse him after just coming of the DL.

This, however, is just ludicrous. Saying that in no way could Gagne could have pitched that inning is absurd. It's not like the Diamondbacks bullpen could have held us scoreless for that long. Throwing a tie game away simply because it isn't a save situation in just beyond stupid. I have no clue how a man can keep his job with rationale like this.

|||111738846936047057|||Jim Tracy: Master Logician5/28/2005 11:20:00 PM|||Andrew|||
Before I get pissed at our team, I'm going to take some shots at the umpiring. In short, it looked like the game was fixed.

First horrible instant was in Werth's second at bat. At ball that he thought was a ball four was called a strike. Granted it wasn't very far outside, and could simply be attributed as a wide strike zone, but it was a sign of things to come.

In Werth's next at bat, a 3-2 pitch is thrown at least six inches outside. Werth starts heading to first, and he's rung up again. This is where I start to get annoyed. This pitch was blatantly outside, and it seemed like the umpire was simply trying to keep Vazquez's walk streak alive.

On to the ninth. First we have the non-interference call. Terraro was clearly on the grass as he was running to first, and that is textbook interference. Alas, nothing happens. Then Giovanni throws two borderline pitches that are called balls. This wouldn't be so ridiculous if the balls thrown to Werth weren't so far outside. Long story short, we lose.

Of course, this situation should have never occured in the first place. Had Duaner actually known the rules of baseball and not thrown his glove at a ball, the game wouldn't have been on the line. Didn't he wonder why no one had actually tried this brilliant idea before? Had Duaner not given up a home run to Vazquez, the game wouldn't have been on the line. Had Tracy brought in Gagne instead of Carrara, the game wouldn't have been on the line.

For another reason to fire Jim Tracy, bunting is never a good idea, especially when it's the best hitter on the team at bat.

On the plus side, Derek Thompson earned himself another start. Hopefully Odalis comes back before the league figures Thompson out. Fortunately, with Weaver pitching tomorrow, the loss probably won't be this painful.
|||111734952646808154|||What Do We Have To Do?5/27/2005 06:47:00 PM|||Andrew|||
For the second time, I request that something be done about a player, and almost immediately, something happens.

This time, Bako apparently hurt his knee in a rundown last night, thus bringing Dionner Navarro up to the team.

I am pleased.
|||111724491540698721|||I Should Do This More Often5/27/2005 11:09:00 AM|||Andrew|||
For some otherworldly reason, Paul Bako was our starting catcher for the 13th time last night, putting him mighty close to getting 30% of the starts this year. To add insult to injury, Bako was allowed to bat with the game on the line. Is Paul Bako going to have to be the next person to leave the team so Jim Tracy can't use him in strange and unusual ways? Signs, sadly, point to no, as bringing up Russel Martin or Dionner Navarro when we don't really need them doesn't make much sense. Bako has been solid, considering he's Paul Bako.

Phillips is now 21st amongst catchers in games started, putting him ahead of the following starting catchers who haven't been hurt:

Joe Mauer (the Twins carry four catchers and Mauer can DH)
Javy Lopez (who can also DH)
Damian Miller
J.D. Closser (who is hitting .169)

Phillips has started less games than .200 hitting John Buck, .196 hitting Victor Martinez, and other luminaries like Yadier Molina, and Chris Synder. Why?

Phillips is 13th amongst catchers with over 100 plate appearances in OPS, yet he plays less than any other catchers in baseball, other than Miller and Closser. Why? We know Tracy isn't afraid to burn out his catchers, see his LoDuca usage, yet he has some bizzare obsession with giving Paul Bako starts.

We made an amazing trade so that we wouldn't have to see our catcher feeblely flail at pitches this year. Despite this, Phillips is constantly on the bench. Is this another case of Tracy trying to exact his revenge for the LoDuca trade, or is he just stupid?

Little bit from column A, little bit from column B.
|||111721951951940221|||Bako, Bako, Bako!5/26/2005 10:16:00 AM|||Andrew|||
When the season began, I felt confident when any of our pitchers took the mound.

After being snapped out of my stupidity by one Scott Erickson start, I felt confident when four out of our five pitchers took the mound.

Then Jeff Weaver started throwing 82-83, and I felt confident when three out of our five pitchers took the mound.

Then Brad Penny forgot how to strike people out, and I felt confident when two out of our five pitchers took the mound.

Then Odalis Perez got hurt, and I felt confident when one out of our five pitchers took the mound.

That leaves us with Derek Lowe, and, let's face it, he's Derek Lowe. If our pitchers don't figure out how to pitch again in the near future, we are in big trouble. I'm not ready to write off the season yet, we were in the same position last year and managed to work our way out of it, but we need to make a trade now.

We keep hearing about how deep and talented our farm system is, yet nothing seems to come of it. DePodesta doesn't seem nearly as concerned about trading "can't miss" prospects as Evans did, and that gives us hope we'll be seeing someone other than Aaron Sele to shore up the rotation.

Hopefully Perez comes back healthy, giving us another arm in the rotation. This will give the roster space to DL Weaver, and hopefully bring a new pitcher in. The season's not over yet, but we are teetering on the brink of disaster.
|||111712781321654701|||Regression5/26/2005 11:20 AM|||Anonymous ken|||I agree. The stats say we now have the worst pitching staff outside of Cincinnati and Colorado. We could be done.5/25/2005 06:29:00 PM|||Andrew|||
After the Brewer's 11-1 rout of Colorado today Ned Yost credited his use of small ball for the teams offensive explosion.

``Everybody had a great day,'' Milwaukee manager Ned Yost said. ``You know it started out, Brady gets the double and then you play fundamental baseball. Cirillo bunts him over and you're playing for one run there and the next thing you know you get five.

``It just shows you when you play the game right, good things happen.''


Let's do some math here. If Cirillo strikes out instead of bunting, guess what? The score becomes 11-1 anyway. Clark goes to third on Jenkin's groundout, Lee drives him in with a home run, everything proceeds as normal.

If Cirillo gets a hit, guess what, you score another run! Amazing how that works isn't it. I realize that Jeff Cirillo actually getting a hit is highly unlikely, he is Jeff Cirillo after all, but when you take the bat out of his hands that chance drops to zero. Freak chance is always better than no chance.

Yet again, small ball is compeletly useless. Despite this, I fully expect Olney's blog to explain to me how good things happen when you use fundamentals in the near future. Small ball makes for a nice feel good story. It takes us back to the time where if a pitcher didn't throw both games of a double header, we demanded our nickel back. Old timey things just make us feel good about ourselves. So long as this is true, we can expect to see Scoscia and Guillen praised as geniuses while they run themselves out of the inning yet again.
|||111707230898525547|||Small Ball Rant #5315/24/2005 08:50:00 PM|||Andrew|||

I sensed dread coming into this game. I was right.

Weaver is hurt, no doubt about it. The gun on the broadcast said that Weaver was throwing 90. However, the same gun said that Odalis was throwing 96 a couple weeks ago. This puts us firmly back into "Bad Weaver" territory.

Possibly inspired by the weekend series with the Angels, Tracy decided to give small ball a try. He started with his usual, send the runner on a 3-2 count with less than two outs. Amazingly, it didn't result in a strike 'em out, throw 'em out double play, as Cesar actually managed to make it to second base, bringing his stolen base rate to 37.5 percent. Like most stolen bases, it turned out to be completely irrelevant, as Choi and Kent struck out.

Small ball came into play again in the next inning as Bradley successfully stole second. Again this turned out to be irrelevant as Bradley got gunned at the plate by thirty feet thanks to Glenn "Little Joey Cora" Hoffman. There's another run wasted thanks to small ball.

After Weaver gives up home runs to Matheny and Schmidt (who have a combined 61 home runs in 23 years of major league service) The Dodgers get something going in the fifth. Schmidt is clearly laboring, after giving up a double and a walk. The situation is first and second, down by four, with Izturis, our hottest hitter coming to the plate. So, Tracy does what any man named Guillen would do in this situation. He has Cesar bunt.

Playing for one run when down by four against a laboring pitcher does not help. Bunting is never a good idea when you have anything resembling a decent hitter at the plate, reducing your expected runs in every situation. If he was trying to stay out of the double play, well, it's not that smart when the person that is hitting only has three GIDP's in 184 at bats.

Of course, this ends up as immediately worthless again, as Drew walks in the following at bat. We score due to a clutch balk and a productive out. Some Houlton scariness and Duaner studliness later, it's over.

Small ball isn't the only reason we lost this game, that completely discounts how bad Weaver was. There are two options here: last year was a fluke, or he's hurt. If it's the former, at least we aren't paying twice as much to an equally ineffective pitcher. If it's the former, we need to bite the bullet and put him on the DL. It hurts to lose two members of the rotation, but we have no other recourse. Weaver should not pitch again until he gets his velocity back.

An injury isn't entirely Weavers fault either. He leads the Dodgers in innings pitches thrown, 31 ahead of second place Lowe, and 269 ahead of third place Perez. Does it makes sense that the starter with an ERA near six gets to throw so many pitches? No, it doesn't. It is a simple observation that Tracy leaves Weaver out there to die. That's an easy way for any pitcher to develop a dead arm.

Weaver needs to skip a start, and Tracy needs to stop playing small ball. We do that, things might be looking up in the future. If the Dodgers lose to Tomko tomorrow, I will be in a much worse mood.

|||111699317549619406|||We Are Not the Angels: Expanded5/24/2005 10:52 PM|||Blogger Steve|||Jeff Kent's recent run at the Mendoza Line, and the concurrent Dodger slump resulting, suggest that Buster Olney is again wrong.5/24/2005 08:47:00 PM|||Andrew|||
Olney posted in his blog that Cesar is the person we can least afford to lose.

Something will come of this soon, once I figure out how to get this software to work.
|||111699292334548684|||Cesar MVP?5/23/2005 11:09:00 AM|||Andrew|||
Missed the game yesterday due to going to go see Revenge of the Sith. That was a mistake. Revenge of the Sith was a good movie in the sense that Odalis Perez is a good hitting pitcher. If you remember the couple of times he came through then yeah, he seems great. If you look at the work as a whole, however, it's not that good. I would describe the movie as thirty minutes of cool wrapped in two hours of suck. I would suggest the Jedi look up the word "balance" and think about how that applies to The Force.

Anyway, baseball things.

I like moving Drew out of the three hole while he's slumping. Third is where he should be eventually, but I think hitting him second is a good fit for him until he works out of his slump. Even when Drew isn't hitting, he still gets on base at a decent clip. Drew looked physically horrible the first few days after he got sick, and something like that takes a long time to fully recover from.

As much as I love Hee Seop, he shouldn't hit third. His .300 average is a fluke, and he doesn't make contact enough to drive in a lot of runs. I would much rather have Bradley there. Hee Seop looks good in the five hole for now. Tracy should like this, because we alternate lefties and righties through the good part of the lineup.

It was good to see the Dodgers win again, let's hope Schmidt still sucks as he comes off the DL.
|||111687263314892849|||More Like Revenge of the Suck5/28/2005 1:37 AM|||Blogger alan|||Ironic Statement of the year:
"I would rather see Bradley [hit third]." Whoa there, Andrew. Weren't you the human that said Milt-Dogg is the worst number three hitter in baseball??? Yeah, you were. Milt-Dogg is the man.5/21/2005 08:59:00 PM|||Andrew|||

In an effort to confirm the fact that yes, he really is the dumbest manager in So-Cal, Jim Tracy did some outstanding things today.

Cesar leads off the game with a hit, and Tracy immediately decides to send him. Izturis was two for six in steals heading into this game. He is now two for seven. Choi then manages to end a great at bat by getting hit, and Drew then lines into a double play.

Line for the inning: two hard hit balls, one hit by pitch, three batters, zero left on base. If I would have just taken this as a sign like I should have, I could have just turned off the game right there, and spent the rest of the day in blissful ignorance.

Of course, I'm a sucker for punishment, and kept watching. After watching the Dodgers scrap and claw for a run in the seventh (driven in by our new third baseman, Antonio Perez, who I fully endorse, at least for a week), Tracy decides that it's Carrara time. Normally, I don't mind having the man up there, but, he immediately gets into trouble. After the Angels catch a couple of lucky breaks, there is a runner on second with one out. After falling behind Figgins 3-1, he doubles into the gap, giving the go ahead run.

What happens next is inexcusable.

We intentionally walk Erstad to get to DaVanon (thank god he's hitting third, and not someone good.) Tracy decides it's now Wunsch time, and he chokes immediately. After allowing another run, Duaner has a good outing, and ends the inning.

Who comes out in the ninth though? Gagne. Of course, bring in your best pitcher when your team is already pretty much out of the game. Not when there is still a game left to salvage. While I don't completely agree with Steve at FJT's assessment that Figgins should have been walked at 3-1, Gagne should have simply come in and taken down Erstad and DaVanon, rather than pussyfooting around with Wunsch. Damn conventional wisdom.

Tracy manages to top this off by not hitting for Bako in the ninth. He thought it would be best if Phillips were instead held back to bat for Gagne, just in case Bako actually got on. That way he could double switch in the tenth. Truly inspired strategy.

Despite all this, I can't fully place the blame on Tracy, the offense was just too anemic. Penny looked good shutting down a completely hopeless team, and Antonio Perez looked good, but, other than that, today was not a good day.

Scoscia did his best to ruin the game for his team, by doing things like having Jose Molina bunt with no one on, then having McPhearson bunt immediately after that. Despite his best efforts, however, Tracy managed to hold on to the title of worst manager in Southern California.

|||111673556308904665|||You Just Mad 'Cause You Got Scoscia'd5/21/2005 12:37:00 PM|||Andrew|||
Scott Erickson, in a stunning move, actually manages to accept responsibilty for a bad outing.

"I had him 1-and-2 and I walked him," Erickson said. "It's pretty much inexcusable."

While this is all well and good, hopefully this does truly spell the end for him. We have another washed up journeyman, Pat Mahomes, waiting in the wings in AAA, so there is absolutely no reason for him to be on the team any more. If he's still here in five days, DePo gets the blame.

As for the game, well, we at least got to see how bad Mike Scoscia is. The Angels managed to score four runs in the second, despite having a .220 hitter with no homeruns batting third. He also decided to squeeze unsuccessfully despite being up 4-0, as well as unnecassarily sending Vlad home, leading to his injury. See, small ball really does hurt a team.

Of course, we can't speak negatively of the Angels third base coach, when ours is just as incompetent. When Olmedo Seanz is waddling around the bases, hasn't reach third yet, and the left fielder already has the ball, you probably shouldn't send him when down 4-0. There is really no reason to do this, other than mistakingly thinking that that one run will count four times due to a high degree of difficulty.

For all the small ball pinheads, is it a coincidence that the day your anemic offense draws seven walks is the day you finally break out? Probably.

Finally, I'm starting to get a little concerned about Yhency. This was his second bad outing in a row, and it looks like he can only get people out with his fastball. Predictibly, Rivera sat on it, and it got put in to the bleachers.

If we can't beat the Angels without Vlad, G.A., or K-Rod, we are in serious trouble.
|||111670484121419995|||Erickson Accepts Responsibility5/21/2005 12:26:00 PM|||Andrew|||
If your team's payroll is over 200 million dollars, you should be able to have a better top of the order than Rey Sanchez, Tony Womack, and Bernie Williams.

Unsurpisingly, they've been shut out for the first six innings by Kris Benson.
|||111670369506446237|||That's The Best You Can Do?5/20/2005 10:12:00 PM|||Andrew|||
Driving home today, I turn on the radio and find that the Loose Cannons are on. Usually I turn them off due to general stupidity, but they were saying things so ridiculous I had to listen.

After listening to Vic The Brick argue that the Dodgers would be a better team if we had Beltre instead of Drew, and the mystery guest adding on that while Beltre is hitting .230, it's better than Oscar Robles, I had the sudden urge to drive into the middle of the intersection. The only one providing sanity, Steve...something, was quickly shouted down by these two half-wits.

If I did that, however, I wouldn't have gotten to figure out who was the caller. My question was answered when, seconds later, I hear the lovely line "Well, it looks like we're out of time, but it was great talking to you T.J." the mysteries of the universe were solved, giving me plenty of time to stab myself with a fork when I got home.
|||111665319068064788|||If One Dose Of T.J. Isn't Enough5/19/2005 01:12:00 PM|||Andrew|||

One of the many things I've criticized Jim Tracy for in the past is his mismanagement of Eric Gagne. When someone has that violent of a throwing motion, they probably aren't going to be able to last long. I'm surprised it's taken him this long to have any sort of injury problem. I had stacks of anecdotal evidence suggesting that Eric Gagne can not pitch more than one inning, and, if he does, it screws him up for the next day.

Seeing as today's an off day, and I needed something to write about I decided to look at Gagne's career stats in these situations. Anecdotal evidence is nice, but, having more actual evidence as to why Jim Tracy is an idiot is always a good thing.

I'm taking stats from when Gagne first became the Dodger's closer, ignoring his stats as a starter, as well as this year.

Gagne when pitching more than one inning:
Number of times this occurred: 42
Innings Pitched: 71.2
Runs: 14
Walks: 18
Strike Outs: 95
Home Runs: 4
ERA: 1.77
K/9: 12.01
K/BB: 5.28
HR/9: 0.50

Gagne the day after pitching more than one inning:
Number of times this occurred: 15
Innings Pitched: 14.2
Runs: 10
Walks: 6
Strike Outs: 17
Home Runs: 1
ERA: 6.34
K/9: 10.77
K/BB: 2.83
HR/9: .633

Gagne All Other Times:
Innings Pitched: 160.2
Runs: 24
Walks: 34
Strike Outs: 253
Home Runs: 8
ERA: 1.35
K/9: 14.21
K/BB: 7.44
HR/9: 0.45

Well, that pretty much defeats any point I may have had on this subject. While Gagne does get worse when pitching more than one inning, he still is better than any other pitcher on our staff, and I doubt the degradation is worse than any other closer. Yes, he does not pitch very well the day after putting in that much work, but it is a very small sample size, and a lot of that can be attributed to an outing where he pitched one third of an inning and allowed four runs.

So long as Tracy doesn't pitch Gagne multiple innings every game, he should feel free to pitch him in crucial situations in the 8th inning.

|||111653494448765396|||Game Over?5/20/2005 10:45 AM|||Anonymous The OZ|||The article is nice, although I'm not sure I agree with an assessment of Gagne's delivery as "violent."

K-Rod is violent. So was Driefort. Perhaps Kerry Wood. Those guys throws a lot of "torque" pitches - sliders, etc. As a result, it's not too surprising when they get hurt throwing those types of pitches that hard.

Gagne doesn't seem to ever throw a slider. The "torquiest" pitch he ever seems to throw is the slow curve, and he doesn't throw it often. His strength has been the fastball and crazy split-fingered change - and it doesn't appear to be a violent delivery in either case.

In contrast to the other guys I mentioned, his delivery seems quite simple and efficient. Of course, this is just my own observation and not meant to be a definitive take on the issue.5/20/2005 11:33 AM|||Anonymous greg|||hey man, do you have an RSS feed?5/20/2005 1:14 PM|||Blogger Andrew|||http://depodestaforpresident.blogspot.com/atom.xm

I characterize Gagne's delivery as violent simply because it looks like he goes out there throwing as hard as he can every pitch. From personal expirence, you can't last long throwing like that. I don't recall Gagne putting the little hop at the end of his delivery when he was a starter, but, I could be wrong.5/20/2005 1:14 PM|||Blogger Andrew|||That should be .xml on the RSS feed, not .xm.5/20/2005 9:01 PM|||Blogger Steve|||Gagne used to have a slider, but nixed it because it was worse than Dreifort's (I never saw what anybody else saw in Dreifort's slider. Sure, eight out of ten of them were good. So you would take them for balls, then hit the two mistakes out of the ball park.) But anyway, Gagne never throws a slider.5/19/2005 12:43:00 PM|||Andrew|||

Since Joe Morgan now has an Emmy, ESPN has now decided that Insiders get exclusive access to Joe Morgan. Lucky me.

What epiphany does Joe have today? That Tino Martinez supplies more than just intangibles, and the fact that he's hit eight home runs in nine games are a big reason why the Yankees are winning. Personally, I'm shocked. I would have never figured that when your below average first baseman goes on a massive tear, you will win some games. (I went searching for a column where he says the Yankees are done, but, unfortunately, he wasn't a fool about this.)

Apparently, Tino is able to do this because he's not on the roids, and thus is able to make adjustments better than people who have size 9 1/2 caps. So, it's not a hot streak, Tino really should be able to hit 55 home runs this year. Hmmmmm....

I wonder why there isn't an article on Bobby Abreu instead? While people where busy gushing over Tino, no one seemed to notice that Abreu has been even better over the same time period. Maybe it's because the only intangible he brings is finding his fiancée on a porno site? (It is interesting that this sudden power surge happened directly after this event. I think Bill James needs to write an article on the subject.)

The sad thing is that this is a good Morgan article. He's not really wrong about anything, he's just pointing out the obvious. Hooray.

|||111646027419350592|||Eight Home Runs In A Week Helps A Team5/19/2005 10:32:00 AM|||Andrew|||
Barry has even more complications on his knee, getting yet another infection. Due to this he has been compeletly inactive, and thus, the usual 4-6 weeks of healing time goes up. This puts him on track for a return no earlier than after the All-Star Break.

This of course he assumes he doesn't get thrown in the pokey prior to his return.
|||111652427788052262|||What's A Matter Barry? Part Two5/18/2005 04:11:00 PM|||Andrew|||
Grabowski's gone. I figured this would be a sign that things would be looking up, and we'd be able to turn things around. Even Jim Tracy seemed to be getting smarter. He pulled Lowe last night before he started imploding. Today he started warming up Duaner, even though Weaver had only given up one run, but looked very bad doing. I think to myself "well, all is well here, could to see Tracy not being an idiot, I'm going to go grab some lunch." I leave, feeling confident our 2-1 lead holds up.

This of course was a mistake. Jim Tracy had already pulled a couple Tracy like moves today. Sending Cesar 3-2 with no out and Hee Seop out was a classic Tracy move. That predictibly cost us the inning. To make matters worse, Bradley hit a double to start the next inning. Those two runs would have been nice (yes, I know in a different situation, Bradley sees different pitches, let me rant.)

Twenty minutes later, having paid way too much for a mediocre burger, I come back to discover that the score is now 6-2, and that Damion Easley has hit a home run. Of course, that was the third one of the inning.

What exactly is Tracy's thought process here? "Hmmm...my starting pitcher, who isn't exactly Lenny Dykstra when it comes to mental toughness, has just allowed back to back home runs. I've got Duaner warming up in the bullpen, but, I'd rather see how this turns out."

It doesn't help that when Tracy came to get Weaver eventually, he apparently could be seen to mouth "about time" (I can neither confirm nor deny this report.) Leaving your starting pitchers out to die does not count as good managing.

Again, we come back to the same point: Jim Tracy needs to be fired. Taking away his toys only works so well. If he keeps getting burned in the same way every single day, he's going to do it no matter who we have on the team, Grabowski or no Grabowski.
|||111645916485333699|||Today Should Have Been a Good Day5/18/2005 11:57:00 AM|||Andrew|||
|||111644268917156337|||Whooooo!5/18/2005 10:41:00 AM|||Andrew|||
Today, Buster Olney suggests that it's time for the A's to get rid of Barry Zito and throw in the towel. Really getting my 30 bucks worth here.

While no one would suggest that Zito has having a stellar year, it certainly hasn't been bad. He has only had two truly horrific starts this season, and, without those, he's been a perfectly servicable pitcher (4.30 ERA). Has he been Barry Zito? No. If he gets a couple more decent starts under his belt, however, he has an ERA in the mid threes (again, discounting the first two starts), and he is a good number two starter.

The reason the A's are losing is simple

That is the OPS of the A's three best players (Chavez, Durazo, and Kendall, respectively.) When your 2-3-4 hitters put up stats like that, of course you're going to lose.

Fortunately, all of these guys are proven commodities, and should bounce back. Will the A's make the playoffs this year? It's not out of reach. Anaheim looks worse and worse every day. It's hard to play small ball when you have no base runners. Seattle is getting no return at all on their 110 million dollars. Texas' number one starter is Kenny Rogers (yes, I know, 30 straight scoreless innings. Really though, it's Kenny Rogers.)

If Oakland's good hitters actually start hitting and can get a few games over .500 by the All-Star break, they'll be in good position to make a move to improve the team. They can be right in the hunt to pass over Erstad and company.

If the A's are still floundering by the All-Star break, sure, trade Zito, he's not going to get any worse. Throwing in the towel in mid May, unless you are Kansas City or Colorado, is just foolish.
|||111643908307667118|||Of course, Zito is the problem5/17/2005 11:43:00 PM|||Andrew|||
Our hopelessly inept offense manages to string together 14 runs. I guess things like that tend to regress to the mean quickly. The problem with things like this is I have nothing to write about. Tracy didn't do anything stupid, Hee Seop got a chance against a lefty, Mike Edwards didn't hit third, things were good.

Fortunately, Jack McKeon, much like our manager, is a little slow. After sending Willis out to sacrifice to end the sixth. He decides to send in Nate Bump to start the seventh. Now, there is some logic to sending Willis out there. The Marlin's bench is absolutely atrocious. While Jeff Conine is at least servicable, the rest of the bench consists of Matt Treanor, Chris Aguilla, Joe Dillon, and Lenny Harris. So, sending a guy out there with a carrer .535 OPS might be one of the better options.

If you are going to do this however, why on Earth do you bunt? Wasting what could have been a productive at bat for Mr. Marlin in exchange for, well, nothing, is just bizzare. Oh well, their loss.

In other news, this is probably the last we'll see from Mike Edwards with Antonio Perez coming off the DL. He did about as good as a minor league replacement could hope to do, so there's something to commend him for. There is also a chance Repko could go down, and Edwards becomes the fourth outfielder, but, I'm confident it will be Edwards.

Finally, Dodger fans manage to annoy me yet again. Yes, I know he's the bestest Dodger ever, but would you be so kind as to not cheer for him when he comes up with the game on the line? Thanks.
|||111639988750197168|||A Farewell To Mike Edwards5/17/2005 01:21:00 AM|||Andrew|||

The Dodgers have a chance to tie the game. Their hottest hitter this month is coming to the plate. The crowd is waiting for the inevitable sound cue so they can do their chant. The Dodgers might salvage this horrible game just yet.

But, wait, what's this? Jack McKeon has come out of the bullpen, and he's calling for the lefty. No, it can't be, it just can't be. Oh crap, it's Matt Perisho! We can't have a lefty hit against a lefty can we, no matter how bad said lefty is. Olmedo, grab your gear, it's time to hit for the guy with a 1.196 OPS this month!

Of course, we all know how this story ends, Olmedo flies out, the Dodgers lose again. Everyone is sad. Well, I don't know about everyone, I'm sure most of the twits on Dodger Talk were explaining exactly why we should have retained Lo Duca, and how great it was to see him again.

Honestly, it makes a lot more sense at this point in the season to hit for J.D. Drew rather than Hee Seop (important note, I do not endorse this action.) Hee Seop basically can't get out this month, while J.D. has looked pretty shaky since he got sick.

This is a tired point, but I'm going to make it again. The only player on this team that gets jerked around like this is Hee Seop. If Olmedo gets sent up there against a lefty, his career .600 OPS against lefties gets to swing away. Repko, Ledee, and Grabowski get all the chances in the world against pitchers of various dexterities. But, Hee Seop gets sent up there, red flag, time to pull the man.

You can read Hee Seop's thoughts on the subject here. (If you aren't familiar with that site, it is easily the best website in recorded history. Heck, forget other websites, let's throw names like Chaucer and Dickens up there.) I'm not blaming tonights loss on that, our pitching was far too inept to place the blame solely on Tracy, but this treatment of Hee Seop is just ludicrous.

|||111631947686311256|||Let the Man Hit5/16/2005 10:54:00 AM|||Andrew|||

Just got a call from the Dodgers asking to take a survey. When asking if there was anything they could do to improve the game experience, I should have said "make beach balls punishable by death." My response was "uhhhhh....no".

I just had my chance to make a difference, and I blew it.

|||111626624793542204|||I Am Part Of The Problem5/15/2005 07:07:00 PM|||Andrew|||
On Baseball Tonight last night John Kruk, as per usual bad baseball analyist style, credits the White Sox hot start to their aggressive play. I didn't think someone could actually devote that many words to the greatness of Scott Podsednik. He also showed his appreciation for the aggressiveness of third base coach, Joey Cora. Pay no attention to the team ERA.

As he was explaining this, the story prior was how the White Sox lost 9-6, and that three runners got thrown out at the plate. Might Little Joey Cora have something to to with that? Nah, can't be.

In other bad analyist news, Thom Brennaman called Craig Counsell the player they Diamondbacks could least afford to lose during the last Diamondbacks broadcast. He sure is scrappy.
|||111621039948963538|||Time For Some Kruk Love5/16/2005 10:01 AM|||Blogger Steve|||What's funny about this is that, last night, talking about ManRam's Hall of Fame credentials, Harold Reynolds started complaining about ManRam's defense and how it should keep him out, and John Kruk goes (paraphrasing) "You've been trying to get Harold Baines into the Hall for ten years, and you want to keep out Manny Ramirez for his defense? Harold Baines didn't even own a glove!" I reflected on that, saddened by the notion that there is not only someone in the world that can lose a logic argument to John Kruk, but that person sits next to John Kruk on a nationwide baseball-related telecast.5/15/2005 06:29:00 PM|||Andrew|||
First entry in a couple days due to being in Vegas over the weekend. Tracy is a moron for leaving Weaver in on Friday (and, anyone who was in the MGM Grand sports book can attest to me yelling "Pull Weaver" the whole 8th) , but that's a topic that's been done to death elsewhere, so I'll skip it. Bringing Gagne in for pretty much no reason after he had worked two innings a couple days prior wasn't too smart either, but that ended up as irrelevant, so, I won't get in to it.

Despite the fact that Jim Tracy actually managed to use Scott Erickson somewhat correctly today, he still managed to cost the Dodgers runs due to his incompetence.

Why on Earth do you bat Oscar Robles second? Is there any justification for this move at all? In the post game show, Charlie and Rick went on and on about how many people we left on base today. Fortuantely I am saved the work of doing any analysis because the cause was plainly obvious. Oscar Robles went 0 for 4 out of the two slot. Paul Bako went 0 for 3 while he had people on base in every at bat.

Hee Seop managed to get on base three times today. Robles has accomplished this feat once in the season. While I haven't given up on Robles yet, wouldn't it be best to not let him hit in front of our run producers until he actually proves that he can hit major league pitching? While Robles was busy squandering opportunities, Ledee and Choi were busy providing them to...Paul Bako and Scott Erickson. Doesn't this seem slightly counter productive?

Letting Paul Bako and the Erickson/Grabowski/Whatever bench player Tracy decides to use inappropriately trifecta in front of two guys who got on base six times today is a good way to guarantee six men left on base. After you account for Robles choking with the bases loaded, that pretty much covers the Dodger's offensive woes for the day.

Tracy has some bizzare fetish with hitting bad hitters second. This started when Izturis was still known as a bad hitter, yet was put there to start 2004. Now, he likes to put guys like Repko and Robles up there now. The Cardnails have Larry Walker there. Today, we had Oscar Robles. I am unpleased.

Recieving new information as I write this. Tracy explains his decision here. Pretty sure most managers don't demote their hitters to seventh when they start hitting. Lovely.

DePo, you know how I feel about you, but something needs to be done shortly. You can either go with the usual strategy of taking away players that Tracy uses innapropriately, or just go to the source and fire Jim Tracy. Of course, the latter option is the preferable one.

It would make me a happy camper.
|||111620923563714638|||Oscar Robles Second?5/12/2005 07:58:00 PM|||Andrew|||
I am usually a very rational man. However, some times people make a statement so heinous that I label them a jerk forever. (Actually, the statements generally aren't that bad, but I latch on to them for some reason).

The list before yesterday:
Barry Bonds
Gary Sheffield
Darin Erstad
Troy Glaus
Derek Jeter
Paul Lo Duca

Thanks to comments made a couple days ago, however, the list gets an unprecedented two new entrants in one day.

The first inductee is Scott Erickson. Scott, when your carrer is over, you've allowed almost twice as much homeruns than strikeouts, and your out pitch is an 80 MPH changeup down the heart of the plate, you are not allowed to blame the defense for your shortcomings. You were not pitching fine, you were pitching like you always pitch, everyone in the stadium could see that. To blame a guy who has been in the majors one day for floating a ball down the heart of the plate is inexcusable. Congratulations on your new place in my heart.

Our second inductee is Jim Tracy. Now, I know you're saying "but don't you hate Jim Tracy anyway?" Yes, that is true. Before I just hated him because he was a horrible manager, now I hate him as a human being. It's a big difference. Tracy makes the list for his brilliant comment "He's doing very well against right-handed pitchers, he's doing exceptionally well against right-handers" regarding Hee Seop Choi.

If Jason Grabowski were to win a game for us Jim Tracy wouldn't be out there saying "Yeah, Jason had a great game, but he still sucks." Really, Jim, could the subtext of that comment be any more obvious? "Nope, I wasn't wrong in sitting Hee Seop. That DePodesta fella's just lucky that I'm around to teach this mish-mash of players how to win."

To publicly bash one of your players the night after he completely saves your ass for leaving Erickson in too long is one of the worst public comments I've seen from someone in baseball. Congratulations, Jim, you've managed to join Paul Lo Duca as the only people I hate as a player and a person.

If either Scott Erickson or Jim Tracy is reading this, and wants to come to the induction ceremony, just call up Torrance and ask for Andrew. I'll send you the details.

(I know this is a bit late for this entry, but I was far to distraught over the last couple days worth of events to fully absorb the situation.)
|||111595458983083002|||Jim Tracy and Scott Erickson Make the List5/12/2005 07:46:00 PM|||Andrew|||
Well, that was one crappy series.

I figured once we won the game Erickson started, that winning against Suppan and Carpenter with Penny and Lowe going at it wouldn't be an issue. After all Suppan defines "smoke and mirrors" this year (dig that 1.45 WHIP to go with his 3.5 ERA. This will go down as another "great start" for him by the way.)

That'll teach me to get my hopes up.

Positives about this series.
-Cesar looked studly.
-So did Hee Seop.
-I no longer feel sad theat we'll have to lose Schmoll and Houlton once Dessens and Gagne come back (could you hurry it up there, guys?).
-I now no longer feel like a complete ass for disliking David Eckstein. Having a reason other than "having too much heart" is good. (Though I still suspect I'll get dirty looks whenever I comment "Nice throw Eckstein, does your husband play?")

-I hate umpires.
-I really hate umpires.
-I would really like a third baseman who could catch the ball.
-We really should have won the last two days. Come on it's Jeff Suppan and Chris Carpenter. We lost a game where Roger Cedeno hit fifth. FIFTH!

Fortunately, the Braves have Mondesi and Jordan clogging up two spots in the starting lineup, that should make things easier.
|||111595300672493190|||Sigh5/10/2005 06:58:00 PM|||Andrew|||
When you have a fifth starter who hasn't pitched well for six years, it is not a good idea to assume he'll be able to work his way out of a jam.

Edit>>At least he hurt Scott Rolen. That should become a big help in the next two days.

|||111577684262074560|||The Last We'll See of Scott Erickson5/11/2005 10:51 PM|||Blogger alan|||I just want re-iterate my pre-season claim that Hee Seop will put up equivalent numbers to 2004 Shawn Green (.266/28/88) in terms of the non-moneyball stats, except with a better OPS. I'm thinking of a .270/.380/.520 line for an even .900 OPS.

Wait and see.5/10/2005 12:40:00 PM|||Andrew|||

After reading this post on Fire Jim Tracy, and doing some research for the comment I made, I discovered that, unsurprisingly, the Angels do better when they get more runners on base.

However, in looking at this, in 2002 and 2004, the Angels were ranked higher in runs scored than they were in OBP. In 2004, even though the Angels were ranked 16th in OPS, they managed to finish 11th in runs scored. Maybe there is something to this small ball thing.

Well, actually, there clearly is. If you can send a runner from first to third 100 percent of the time, it will help your team win, and there is no way to dispute this. If you are successful in 100 percent of your stolen base attempts, you should be running on every pitch. Small ball starts to fall apart, however, when there is less than perfect execution. The question is how good do you have to be at aggressive base running, steals, and sacrifice bunting before it makes a difference?

To compute expected runs, I am using Nichols's Expected Runs Table. However, before I get into this, realize there is one very large flaw: the table does not take into account the skill of the batter. Obviously, your run expectancy goes up when Vladimir Guerrero is up rather than Darin Erstad. I don't know where to find data like that, however, so I'm going to have to use these numbers.

So, what we are trying to find is the percentage of success of aggressiveness is equal to when playing station to station ball.

The formula used to define find equality = (runs scored when successful)*( success percentage)+(runs scored when not successful)*(1-success percentage) = (runs scored when not aggressive)

SRx + UR(1-x) = NAR

Or simplified
(SR-UR)x = (NAR-UR)

Advancing from first to third 0 outs.
Expected runs with runners on first and second, 0 out: 1.5
Expected runs with runner on first, one out: .52
Expected runs with 100 percent success rate on advancing from first to third: 1.75
Necessary Success Rate: 79.675%

Advancing from first to third, 1 out.
Expected runs with runners on first and second, 1 out: .92
Expected runs with runner on first, two out: .23
Expected runs with 100 percent success rate on advancing from first to third: 1.17
Necessary Success Rate: 73.404%

Advancing from first to third, 2 out.
Expected runs with runners on first and second, 2 out: .44
Expected runs with three outs: 0
Expected runs with 100 percent success rate on advancing from first to third: .5
Necessary Success Rate: 88%

Interestingly, it is the most profitable to be aggressive with one out. Also, the old baseball adage of "you don't want to make the last out at third base" holds true.

How about steals:
Stealing second 0 out
Expected runs with runner on first, 0 out: .88
Expected runs with runner on second, 0 out: 1.13
Expected runs with no on, 1 out: .26
Necessary Success Rate: 71.2%

Stealing second 1 out
Expected runs with runner on first, 1 out: .52
Expected runs with runner on second, 0 out: .69
Expected runs with no on, 0 out: .1
Necessary Success Rate: 71.2%

Stealing second 2 out
Expected runs with runner on first, 0 out: .22
Expected runs with runner on second, 0 out: .33
Expected runs with no on, 3 out: 0
Necessary Success Rate: 66.67%

Stealing second seems to be more profitable than I expected, and having the chance of running yourself out of the inning is actually the highest percentage play.

Stealing third 0 out
Expected runs with runner on second, 0 out: 1.13
Expected runs with runner on third, 0 out: 1.37
Expected runs with no on, 1 out: .26
Necessary Success Rate: 78.3%

Stealing third 1 out
Expected runs with runner on first, 1 out: .69
Expected runs with runner on second, 0 out: .96
Expected runs with no on, 0 out: .1
Necessary Success Rate: 68.604%

Stealing third 2 out
Expected runs with runner on first, 0 out: .33
Expected runs with runner on second, 0 out: .38
Expected runs with no on, 3 out: 0
Necessary Success Rate: 86.8%

With the exception of stealing third with one out, it is far less optimal to steal third. This would make sense, as having a runner on third with one out optimizes the effect of the sacrifice fly. (It is possible with zero outs, but there is far more likely to be a big inning.)

Stealing second with a runner on third
Expected runs with a runner on 1st and 3rd, 0 out: 1.75
Expected runs with a runner on 2nd and 3rd, 0 out: 1.98
Expected runs with a runner on third, 1 out: .96
Necessary Success Rate: 77.45%

Expected runs with a runner on 1st and 3rd, 1 out: 1.17
Expected runs with a runner on 2nd and 3rd, 1 out: 1.4
Expected runs with a runner on third, 1 out: .38
Necessary Success Rate: 77.45%

Expected runs with a runner on 1st and 3rd, 2 out: .5
Expected runs with a runner on 2nd and 3rd, 2 out: .61
Expected runs with a runner on third, 3 out: 0
Necessary Success Rate: 81.97%

Overall, this is the most foolish scenario to run in, which makes a lot of sense. You are in position to score a lot of runs here, and potentially eliminating a base runner is not worth it.

Sacrifice bunting is almost never worth it. Moving the runner over at the expense of an out costs an average of about .25 runs. You need a very bad hitter up there for the bunt to be a favorable play.

In overall stolen base situations you need to be successful a 75.156 percent of the time for it to be worth it.

When considering these stats, however, you need to consider that this is the expected out come only if the average hitter from 1984-1994 is at the plate. This hypothetical player's OPS is only approximately .700 (I say approximately since I simply took the average of the league OPS in all those years, rather than computing it properly.)

Since I lack an exact formula, I'm going to use a simple ratio. This will be the ratio of current OPS, to all time OPS. Then, the necessary percentage for stolen bases (75.156) will be multiplied by that to get the expected result weighted by the proficiency of the subject's hitting proficiency.

As a team in 2004, the Angels had an OPS of .770. Using the simple ratio I described, the Angels now need an 82.6716 success ratio in order for their aggressiveness to be worth it. They were actually successful 76% of the time.

Maybe the Angels only sent runners in optimal situations, so maybe the 76% success rate is enough. After seeing the way Mike Scoscia manages, however, I doubt this is the case.

So, if the Angels were unable to perform efficiently enough to have their aggressiveness payoff, was any team able to in 2004? Surprisingly, yes.

The Mets had a .726 OPS, requiring a success rate of 77.947 to be efficient. They had a stolen base percentage of 82 percent. The Brewers has a .708 OPS, requiring a 76.014 percent success rate, they had 78%

Are these stats perfect? No. They're based on a formula I took two seconds to make up. However, the results produced are similar to what several other looks at small ball have said, so I can conclude that they are reasonably valid.

What does this all come down to? Well, frankly the same conclusions as we already know. Back when offense was hard to come by, being aggressive and taking the extra base was worth it if your team was good enough. However, in todays day and age, where the average team can put up an OPS 65 to 70 points higher than the average player of 10-20 years ago, it is simply not worth it to waste outs unless you are incredibly proficient at what you do. Considering that a team that is heralded for it's aggressiveness is unable to pull this off (they did have the 4th highest stolen base percentage in baseball), and the two teams that did pull it off finished in the dregs of the division, we simply have to come back to the fact that small ball just doesn't work.

|||111575761436795492|||The Case For Small Ball5/09/2005 07:45:00 PM|||Andrew|||
Saw this is Buster Olney's chat today

Peter (Brooklyn, NY): Everyone knows the Marlins young staff has been lights out this season. But I haven't heard anyone credit Paul Lo Duca for their sucess. Isn't it possible that his handling of the staff has helped lead to the great start?

Buster Olney: Peter: I'm not around the Marlins on a daily basis, but he was always valued in L.A. for the exact quality you are talking about. It's not a coincidence that Willis, Burnett and Beckett have all thrown well (Leiter hasn't, but Al will always pitch the game he wants to pitch, no matter who is catching)...

Instinctively, I threw this out as bull, as I believe that the effect a catcher can have on a staff is negligible, and is easily negated or enhanced by luck or other factors.

However, if I just form an opinion, and not back it up, I'm just as bad as the Olneys, Starks, and Phillips'. So, let's see if we can find a way to measure this.

The easiest way to do this is to take an established stat, adjusted pitch runs over replacement, adjusted for all time, and taking the average amount per inning pre Lo Duca, post Lo Duca, and with Lo Duca.

Disclaimer: I am not claiming this is a perfect method, or even the best method. It does not take into account factors like age, or simple flukes. However, it takes a stat that is established as valid, and applies it to catchers. I have not done any cacluations prior to this, so the stat I am using is not knowingly using an unfair bias.

Since I can't find 2004 Sabermetric splits, I'm considering all of 2004 as caught by Lo Duca.

I am only going to consider players who have thrown a substantive amount of pitcher both Pre Lo Duca and with Lo Duca.

Stats are formated as follows
Player Name
(Age Pre Loduca) - Innings Pitched/Adjusted Pitching Runs Against Replacement/APRAR per inning
(Age With Loduca) - Innings Pitched/Adjusted Pitching Runs Against Replacement/APRAR per inning
(Age Post Loduca) - Innings Pitched/Adjusted Pitching Runs Against Replacement/APRAR per inning
Ratio In Year Last Year Of Pre-Lo Duca /Ratio in first year of Lo Duca
Ratio in last year of Lo Duca/Ratio in first year of post Lo Duca

Terry Adams (Adams was a relief pitcher prior to being caught by Lo Duca)
(22-27)- 415/146/.351
(28) - 166.1/45/.270
(29-31) - 274.2/76/.277

Kevin Brown
(21-35) - 2660.2/898/.338
(36-38) - 390.1/145/.371
(39-40) - 161/48/.298

Chan Ho Park
(21-27) - 949.2/263/.277
(28) - 234/79/.337
(29-32) - 305/55/.180

Luke Prokopec
(22) - 21/6/.286
(23) - 157./27/.171
(24) - 83.2/3/.035

Andy Ashby
(23-32) - 1524.2/381/.250
(33-35) - 266.1/71/.269
(36) - 2/1/.500

Omar Daal
(21-29) - 943.2/224/.237
(30) - 161.1/45/.278
(31) - 93.4/7/.074

Hideo Nomo
(26-32) - 1348.2/374/.277
(33-35) - 522.2/132/.252
(36) - 30.7/-1/-.032

Hmmm...not very much data there. I guess I'm going to have to go into notable bullpen guys. This is difficult since, for the most part, bullpen guys don't have much big league stats, and, if they do, they don't have substaintial stats for both pre and post Lo Duca times

Matt Herges
(29-30) 135/51/.378
(31) 99.1/46/.463
(32-35) 222/67/.301

Giovanni Carrara
(27-32) 110.1/-8/-.072
(33-34,36) 229.2/86/.374
(35,37) 42/4/.095

Paul Quantrill
(23-32) 937.1/321/.342
(33-34) 154/65/.422
(35-36) 109/26/.238

Overall, five pitchers got better once they played for Lo Duca, all of them got worse when they stopped.

So, what do we learn from this? Honestly, not much. These stats do show that players, in general do get better with LoDuca. However, there are a lot of caveats to that.

First is that Lo Duca hasn't been in the league very long. When you only have four years worth of stats to work with, and they are being compared to sometimes twelve or thirteen years in a pitcher's carrer, it's not very even. Because of this, only eight pitchers have thrown a lot of pitches with Lo Duca, and with another catcher.

Second, in most cases in people's post Lo Duca carrer, they are well passed their prime, and close to retirement, so those stats should only be taken with a grain of salt.

Quantrill and Daal are the only players who did not have substantial injury problems at any part of their carrer.

Even if these stats are true, there is no way to prove that they can't be attributed to Jim Colborn, or even simply luck. Lo Duca is going to have to play a few years in Florida to mitagate the pitching coach factor.

If you take these stats at face value, then yes, Paul Lo Duca makes pitchers better. However, when you consider the extremely small sample size, this could very well be luck. Without substaintial proof "Paul Lo Duca makes pitchers better" is another thing that sports writers make up because they sound good (like Derek Jeter is a great defensive player), without actually checking any stats.

Edit >> To answer my girlfriend's burning question, Paul Lo Duca isn't actually a magic fairy.
|||111568309105435275|||Is Paul Lo Duca A Magic Fairy?5/10/2005 8:51 PM|||Blogger Aaeamdar|||Without comment about LoDuca in particular, there is some evidence that catchers do effect pitcher's effectiveness (as measured by ERA) and that that effect is not small.

Take a quick look at this article in "By The Numbers" for an explanation and methodology.

http://www.philbirnbaum.com/btn2004-11.pdf5/11/2005 10:42 PM|||Blogger alan|||yeah, I know you hate Lo Duca, but I do know that he has a good pitcher ERA. This is largely ballpark induced and as a result of catching for a good pitching team, so I don't know whether or not he greatly affects pitchers. I AM SURE that the reason why the Marlin's staff is balling is because they're hot right now and they're ballers not because of Lo Duca. If Burnett and company throw 75 complete games (or whatever they must be on track to pitch), then we shall all hail Lo Duca as the god of turning pitchers into ballers (which may explain why Gagne is so good).5/09/2005 05:25:00 PM|||Andrew|||
Well, J.D. Drew isn't starting for the second day in the row.

Best case scenario: Jim Tracy, filled with confidence about reports of his genius, decides his platooning strategy is very effective, and starts doing it to J.D. Drew.

Worst Case: For some reason the Dodgers are hiding an injury. Why? I don't know. If this is true, however, it would be, to put it gently, a very bad thing.

Edit>>Ah, he's sick. That explains everything.
|||111568491720730831|||I Hope Jim Tracy Is A Moron5/08/2005 11:33:00 PM|||Andrew|||
An hour and a half after saying the Dodgers need to find an answer to Mike Edwards, we go and put Oscar Robles on the roster. Of course, a .375 average at Mexico city probably translates to about .220 at Dodger Stadium. (I don't know how to translate park factor into actual stats, but consider that in park factor, 100 is average, Coors Field is 111, and Mexico City is 119.)

As much as I'm going to miss seeing a man bat like a samurai, Nori was clearly the weak link on the team, and needed to go work some things out.

Hopefully Robles lives up to the hype.
|||111562072528491068|||Well, That Didn't Take Long5/11/2005 10:32 PM|||Blogger alan|||Nori WAS the weak link, BUT given a bigger chance, he would have come through. The man hit like a samurai and had the word "samurai" written on his bat in kanji. If that doesn't make him a good hitter, I don't know what would.5/08/2005 10:18:00 PM|||Andrew|||
If you erase yesterday's abomination from memory (a loss you can plant solely on Jim Tracy), this was a rather fun series.

Even with the questionable judgement of deciding that the only lefty that gets to play is Ricky Ledee (were you getting hot Hee Seop? Looks like you need a little break to cool off), and leaving Weaver in there for some scary at bats, the Dodgers utterly demolished the Reds.

How bad was it?

Joe Morgan could only utter the phrase "unproductive out" three or four times.

Phillips makes that Ishii trade look better and better every day (again, thanks for that one Paul) by racking up five RBI's. Bradley would have had two home runs if Griffey wasn't able to hobble over to the fence to rob him. Granted, we did tee off on Eric Milton, which isn't something to be all that proud of, but this offensive explosion over the weekend feels a lot better than what has been going on recently. All is well.

Well, maybe not Mike Edwards. People generally don't spend ten years in the minors, and then suddenly become productive players, so finding a solid third baseman in the near future is a good goal.
|||111561643949970047|||Should I Feel This Good About Beating The Reds?5/08/2005 06:48:00 PM|||Andrew|||
You are not allowed to swing 3-0.

The Management
|||111560341004703006|||Dear Olmedo5/08/2005 02:18:00 PM|||Andrew|||
Blue Think Tank has a post on charting how clutch the Dodgers have been recently. This is notable since I've been sticking to my assertion that being consistently clutch is luck (though I firmly believe people can be unclutch), yet my girlfreind claims there should be more to it than just point at post season and numbers with RISP.

While this doesn't have the amount of depth that is fully necassary to fully go into the subject, it is a very simple way to do it without having to go through game logs for hours.

(Blue Think Tank doesn't seem to have the ability to link to individual pages, so, if your reading this two years into the future, it's the entry for Sunday, May 8th 2005.)
|||111558747500967345|||Shawn Green Striking Out With The Bases Loaded Sure Is Familar5/08/2005 01:52:00 PM|||Andrew|||
As if Barry Bonds didn't have enough problems with Babe Ruth's ghost swearing vengeance on his knee. There are now reports that he might get sent to the pokey.

Even with his gimpy knee, I still think Bonds is a first round pick in prison fantasy baseball, with only White Power Bill having comparable stats.
|||111558572773573222|||What's A Matter Barry? Part One5/08/2005 01:18:00 PM|||Andrew|||
You know you're a redneck if your gun rack has a gun rack on it.

You know your starting pitcher is done if Joe Randa is able to hit a ball sharply.

Jim Tracy is apparently unable to remove a starting pitcher until the game is well out of hand, or the starter allows eight runs, which ever comes first.

While I have no problem with how Tracy handled the game up to that point, was there anyone in the stadium who didn't realize that Lowe should have been gone after Randa gave the Reds the lead?

After the first out, pretty much every pitch was hit right on the button. Despite the fact this was clearly apparent, Tracy still claims "With the exception of the Kearns home run, there weren't a lot of balls that were hit all that hard". I guess he was too busy staying in his standard reclining position to actually watch what was going on in the game.

In conclusion, if you are the manager, it is a good idea to watch the game.
|||111558393332972319|||If Joe Randa Hits The Ball Sharply...5/06/2005 08:36:00 PM|||Andrew|||
Well, that was fun.

Good to see Hee Seop hit two jacks, Jeff Kent get it done with five RBI's, and watching pretty much every Dodger tear it up tonight.

Brad Penny is quickly asserting hinself as the number one starter. If he keeps pitching like this, we can have a true number one starter, as opposed to a okay number one, and a very good number two.

The only negative thing I could possibly say about this game is that I hope Norihiro never plays second base again. That was certainly an unimpressive display of fielding. Really hope that Antonio Perez recovery comes along quickly.

I suppose it would have nice to give all those runs to Erickson, instead of Penny, but, I'm certainly not complaining.
|||111543735951805942|||A Good Time Had By All5/05/2005 11:06:00 PM|||Andrew|||
This is a story my girlfriend heard from a friend of her brother's, so it's not exactly the peak of journalistic integrity, but I thought it was fairly interesting.

At the Glendora Sam's Club, a man walked up with 2,000 dollars worth of DVDs wanting to pay with a personal check. Store rules limited personal checks to 300 dollars, so the customer whips out his wallet, drops two grand on the table, and walks out. Clerk is fairly intrigued, yet thinks nothing of it. A couple minutes later, clerk's co-worker asks if he "got his autograph". Clerk looks confused. If you read the title, you would know that the customer was Adrian Beltre. Apparently, he doesn't have much to do in Seattle.

I included this story to keep this from becoming another "ha ha, look at Beltre's OPS post" (currently a stellar .555, good for 92nd out of 96 in the AL. Curiously, other players in that viscinity include Jason Kendall, Jermaine Dye, Eric Chavez, Vernon Wells, and Victor Martinez. At least he's ahead of Aaron Boone.) At the beginning of the season, I predicted that Beltre would hit .265, with 25 homeruns, and 80 RBIs. Everyone thought I was crazy. Almost anyone whose surname isn't Plaschke or "The Brick" acknowldged he wouldn't come anywhere near last years stats, but he'd at least hit .300 with 30 jacks.

So far, Beltre is on pace for a .221 average, with 12 homeruns and 93 RBIs. The error on the RBIs stems from the fact that I forgot the Ichiro factor when making the prediction.

Why was I willing to predict such a bold drop off? It's vecause Beltre only performs well when either his wallet or his play time is on the line. People always chalked that up to being a slow starter. Yet I find it interesting that he always started to heat up once we acquired someone to kick him out of the lineup. In his contract year, he suddenly managed to abondon his tendency for slow starts.

Compare Beltre's stats when his wallet or play time is on the line, versus when it is not. Beltre having something on the line is defined as whenever the Dodgers have a fully capable replacement for Beltre, this would be all of 1999, 2002 and 2003 after the All-Star Break (with the acquisitions of Tyler Houston and Robin Ventura, respectively), as well as his walk year in 2004.

Something on the line
AB: 1656
Average: .294
Home Runs: 94 (1 per 17.62 AB)
RBI: 281 (1 Per 5.75 AB)

Without anything on the line
AB: 1724
Average: .254
Home Runs: 48 (1 Per 35.92 AB)
RBI: 223 (1 Per 7.73 AB)

Slow starts indeed.

I was actually expecting this to have an even more dramatic result, but I forgot that he managed to put up somewhat decent years on his own in 2000 and 2001. Even so, the results are pretty clear. Adrian Beltre is simply a better player when he is directly affected by the result.

We like to think of baseball players as giving it 100 percent all the time. However, if you look at numbers like Beltre's, that gets put into doubt.
|||111536258727405097|||Adrian Beltre Bought 2000 Dollars Worth of DVDs5/04/2005 11:04:00 PM|||Andrew|||
Well, this is potentially very bad. If having Nakamura at third base is bad, how bad is having him at short?

I really hope Cesar comes back soon, or, failing that, Antonio Perez.
|||111527313636952720|||Norihiro For Shortstop5/04/2005 03:05:00 PM|||Andrew|||
I never thought I'd say those words, but MLB.TV makes me realize that in the grand scheme of things, Rick is actually not that bad.

He doesn't blatantly root for the Dodgers. He doesn't have any stupid catch phrases ("He gone!"), and he doesn't have a distractingly bad cadence. San Diego's announcer sounds like he's trying to do a Captain Kirk impression.

Would I rather have Ross back? Of course. After hearing what the rest of the league has to offer, however, Rick-a-Monday isn't all that bad.
|||111524453943017717|||I Am Thankful For Rick Monday5/04/2005 5:47 PM|||Blogger Yvonne|||Is this a baseball blog?5/04/2005 8:25 PM|||Anonymous Andrew|||I do believe it is. What would make you think differently?5/05/2005 9:47 AM|||Blogger Mr. Landon|||Rick Monday is a much, much better color commentator than I ever thought possible. He couldn't have been worse as a play-by-play man.

I'm glad to see he's doing well. I've listened to three games of Steiner and I like him a great deal though I seem to be in the minority.5/06/2005 12:02 AM|||Blogger Andrew|||I think his skill at color commentating comes from the fact he doesn't have consistantly talk about the gamre state.

Rick had the habit of simply forgetting to tell you key information. ("The 0-1 from Lima...and he's dancing on the mound." is one of my favorites).

Yes, he still says things like "Dodgers win 2 and a 1", but, for the most part, it has gotten better.5/04/2005 12:00:00 PM|||Andrew|||

I have relatively little problem when Ryne Sandberg, Jayson Stark, or any of the other Internet boneheads choose to write about baseball. Yeah, they suck, but at least they're free. I have my laugh at how stupid they are, and move on. At the very least, it gives me something to post about that doesn't require any research.

However, when my 30 dollar ESPN subscription gets me the same utter tripe I start to get upset.

In case you were wondering here's what your 30 dollars will get you if you sign up for ESPN Insider.

The Good:
Rob Neyer - The reason I signed up for this.
Eric Karabell - Probably the most accurate fantasy writer I've seen.

The Mediocre:
Jerry Crasnick - He doesn't really write enough to merit any mention, when he does, it's very much hit and miss.

The Bad:
Buster Olney - The less said about Buster, the better.
Tony Gwynn - He would be promoted if he understood there were punctionation marks other than exclamation points.
ESPN The Magazine - It generally doesn't last me one trip to the bathroom

And the reason I felt the need to write this: Steve Phillips.

Today's column, "The All Underrated Team", provides some insight as to why the Mets thought it was a good idea to trade Scott Kazmir for Victor Zambrano, as well as various other hilarious incidents in the last few years for the Mets.

To be fair, he did get some things right.

People that are actually underrated on this list:
Melvin Mora
Jeff Kent (People think he's just as good as Alex Cora)
Brad Wilkerson
Bobby Abreu

Not actually underrated, but still good
Aubrey Huff
Jason Kendall

Now though, we have to get to the hideous abominations that are on this list. I'll start with the least extreme one.

Omar Vizquel: In the steroid era of baseball, we have been consumed by the home run. Vizquel is not a power hitter, but he is a power fielder.

Ozzie Smith, a Hall of Famer, had a .978 fielding percentage for his career. Smith is arguably the best fielding shortstop ever to play the game. Vizquel's career fielding percentage is .983. Vizquel made only three errors in 156 games in 2000 and had four seasons in which he played 150 games or more and had single-digit errors. Smith only did that once. Vizquel's offensive numbers are on par with Smith's and in some categories are better. Yes, Vizquel is a Hall of Famer.

Now if this were 1997, he might have an argument. However, in the last few years he's greatly diminished. With the exception of last year, the highest he's hit is .275 with a .341 on base percentage since 2001.

His defense has also been on the decline since 1998, with an adjusted DRAA of -7 from 1998-2004.

Vizquel is a decent player, but he's certainly not overrated, and he's certainly not worth giving four million dollars to when he's 40.

Jaime Moyer-Moyer is 4-0 thus far, and he's done so at the age of 42, when most other older pitchers are going down like flies. You might be asking, "Yeah, but does that make him underrated?" Well, who has more career wins, John Smoltz or Moyer? The answer is Moyer, who has 196 compared to 165 for Smoltz. Moyer or Pedro Martinez? Moyer again, 196 to 185. And one last one: Moyer or Curt Schilling? Moyer again, 196 to 185. I rest my case.

Moyer is up here simply because of the logic he uses. Isn't it highly likely that a 42 year old will have more wins than someone who is six years younger than him? Yeah.

There are still a lot of people who consider Moyer a good pitcher, even though he allowed 45 jacks last year. I don't think that counts as under rated.

And now for the two horrible choices:

Darin Erstad - He's a three-time Gold Glove winner. This guy is the first player ever to be awarded a Gold Glove as an infielder and outfielder and the first to be recognized at three different primary positions (left field, center field and first base). He offers a tremendous amount of flexibility to both the manager and general manager. Erstad is also one of the toughest players in the big leagues.
I just simply have to ask this: how the hell is Darin Erstad underrated? I have heard Charlie Steiner call him an elite player. Mike Scoscia says he'd rather have Erstad than anyone else on his team. He is the middle of a four year 32 million dollar contract. So, what does your 32 million dollars get you?

Notice that Phillips only focuses on two things: defense, and intangibles. However, with a little bit of analysis, it's pretty easy to see that if you take out Erstad's fluke 2000, he has a career .735 OPS. Think about that. The most underrated first baseman in baseball has a .735 OPS. I'm just going to repeat that in case you're skimming this. The most underrated first baseman in baseball has a .735 OPS.

I would go as far to say Darin Erstad is the most overrated player in baseball. He's not even the best first baseman on his team for Christ's sake. (See Casey Kotchman.)

But, what about his productive outs? Whenever Erstad advances the runner, he goes back acting like he hit a grand slam. That's got to count for something, right? I think Erstad fails to realize that his team might have been a little better served if their first baseman actually did something crazy like get a base hit. Advancing the runner is not doing your job. Advancing the runner and not creating an out is doing your job.

I'm sure his CORP is tremendous, though.

Jim Tracy - Everyone thought the Dodgers would fold after the trading deadline last year when they dealt away Guillermo Mota and Paul Lo Duca. They didn't. Everyone thought the Dodgers wouldn't be good this year with a mish-mash lineup and poor defense. They have been one of the best stories of the early season. A big part of that success is because Tracy doesn't let his players get caught up in the perception. He just gets them to play.

Tracy will be a major-league manager for a long time and will win multiple championships.

Jim Tracy took a mish-mash lineup and made it great. He must be a great manager! Ummm...no. While pinheads like you were calling this lineup a miss-mash, intelligent people realized that this was one of the best lineups in the league. Intelligent people aren't shocked the Dodgers are leading their division. Intelligent people don't think a team is garbage because one part of the infield defense is a little shaky.

Has it occurred to you that maybe the Dodgers are simply a better team than you give them credit for? Of course not, you thought acquiring Mo Vaughn was a good idea. Simply because your team wins, does not mean your manager is good. Anyone who pays any attention realizes that the Dodgers are winning despite Jim Tracy.

Anyway, I think I can be an ESPN Insider writer, let's try.

The top six managers in baseball:

Mike Scoscia - Small ball and aggressive base running have lead this team to the top.

Ozzie Guillen - See above. Ozzie's brand of "smart ball" has lead them to the top, despite their .303 OBP. Pay no heed to the fact that their staff ERA is a run and a half in front of everyone else's in the AL. It's small ball. Really.

Whoever manages the Orioles - I couldn't be bothered to look this up, but look at the O's record, he must be good!

Jim Tracy - He salvaged DePodesta's horrible winter and taught this miss-mash of players how to win.

Tony Larussa - Before Pujols met Larussa, he was a 5'4, 97 pound weakling, now look at him.

Jack McKeon - A caveat: the Braves are up 5-2 right now, if they win this one, I'm going to have to give this honor to Bobby Cox.

|||111523627877037269|||I Paid 30 Dollars For This?5/04/2005 2:52 PM|||Blogger Steve|||Yes, exactly. I'm very bad at making this point and you've made it exactly. The way to cover for their own ignorance regarding the Dodgers as a team is to credit Jim Tracy, whose effects (good or bad) are untraceable, can't be easily measured, and makes for very easy copy.5/04/2005 8:27 PM|||Anonymous Andrew|||If it makes you feel any better, I think you do an excellent job driving that point home.5/05/2005 12:30 AM|||Blogger alan|||Good shit, andrew. That bit on the top six managers was priceless.
-Alan5/02/2005 08:27:00 PM|||Andrew|||
Anyone with even the slightest background in statistics knows that sample size is important. Something that is based on a thousand trials is far more likely to occur than something based on five trials. Jim Tracy obviously does not have the slightest background in statistics.

After an offseason of whining about needing a catcher, DePodesta goes out and gets one. A good one. (He also traded our worst player to do so. Thank you Paul.) Despite this, Paul "Don't Call Me Gabor" Bako has gotten 28% of the starts. Why?

We know Jim Tracy isn't afraid to overuse his catchers. LoDuca was regulary amongst the leaders in at bats for a catcher. So why the sudden desire to start the carrer .239 hitting backup?

Well the reason tonight is that Bako is good against Loaiza. Knowing that he doesn't have that many at bats in his carrer. I decided to look into this. Bako was never in the same league as Loaiza. His carrer line:

4 for 11.

Three of those hits came in one game in 1998. Since then, he is one for eight. Bako has one hit in the last six years off Loaiza, yet he gets the start for the good matchup? Ridiculous. Especially considering this was a night game following a day game.

Tracy is starting a much weaker hitter simply because of a game that was most likely a fluke. This the second time that he has gotten a start due to flawed statistics.

History is an important part of baseball, but actually applying critical thought to that history is far more important. If you don't, then, well, you get Paul Bako starting for you.
|||111509134498544447|||Sample Size5/04/2005 8:46 AM|||Blogger Mr. Landon|||I beg to differ.

I'm sure if Tracy were asked, he would say that Bako is starting because of his good record against Loaiza. But wired up to foolproof polygraph that shocks your gonads after every fib, he might very well say...

"Dammit man, would you have me tell a player to his face that he can't hit water if he fell out of a boat? I would prefer to build his confidence with what few positives he has in his record. The truth--that he is playing only so Phillips doesn't wear down--would have a deleterious effect on his confidence, which is a mite shaky as it is. Now, unleash me from this devilish contraption!!"

Or something like that.5/02/2005 10:29:00 AM|||Andrew|||
Despite the fact that the Giants are an absolutely horrible team on paper without Barry Bonds, they are still 13-11. This is very concerning. If Barry comes back before the end of the month, and the Giants are four or five games over .500, they can pose a serious threat to the Dodgers.

If you look at how the Giants should be performing, however, it's bambozzling how they are two games over 500. Their one player that can be considered a star that has surivived the season, Jason Schmidt, is currently 2-1 with a 3.38 ERA, a 2.5/1 K/BB ratio and a .278 batting average against. He's been slightly lucky as well, with a DIPS ERA of 3.98.

The rest of the pitching staff has been absolutely atrocious. The team ranks 23rd in ERA, 26th in K/BB, 26th in K/9, and 12th in homeruns allowed. It's obviously not their pitching that's causing this miracle season. Good thing they have Matheny, or who knows how bad this would be?

How about offense? When Lance Neikro gets to bat third, that can't be a good sign. Despite this,they rank 4th in batting average, fifth in on base, and sixth in slugging. How is this possible when Pedro Feliz is your best hitter for most of the season? The answer is, of course, you play way over your head.

Despite the fact that every hitter on this team, save Pedro Feliz, ranges from "past their prime" to "well past their prime" the majority are out performing their carrer stats to a large degree.

Career: .275/.341/.359
2005: .304/.390/.446

Career: .268/.359/.432
2005: .322/.403/.390

Career: .260/.292/.451
2005: .287/.337/.489

Career: .289/.363/.437
2005: .349/.444/.518

Career: .239/.294/.338
2005: .261/.316/.449

The other three regular members of the lineup: Durham, Grissom, and Tucker (who has got most of the left field starts), are performing about as expected or slightly under.

While it is easy to write this off as luck (which it is). It is very well timed luck. If the Giants can keep hitting way over their heads until Barry comes back, they could become a legitimate threat. If Bonds is still allegedly (*cough*) full of various chemicals, he can change the face of the lineup, and keep these mediocre hitters at their torrid pace. It could make the race more interesting than I'd prefer it to be.
|||111505715128921797|||Those Darn Giants