Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Garret Anderson's Golden Sombrero

A golden sombrero is awarded to a player who manages to strike out four times in a single game (real golden sombrero not included). It's quite the feat unless you're Ryan Howard or Mark Reynolds. Unfortunately, cycles and no-hitters are all the rage nowadays. Not for me, though. I will pour over the box scores to bring you the finest at swinging and missing.

Garret Anderson is a Dodger? I didn't realize the National League lets you play a guy in left center field like softball. Does he bat 11th? I used to watch ole G.A. play back when he was in his prime with the Angels in some year that had a 9 in it. Garret Anderson is just a professional hitter. I don't know what that means either but he got a lot of hits without really doing much else. He's also incapable of smiling or showing emotion. The Mayo Clinic diagnosed him with Robotism Emotiontitis. He's hitting .180/.197/.287 this year. When reached for comment, he said, "How'd you get this number?" On that note, let's take a look at how he went 0-5 and put on a Golden Sombrero tonight.

Top 4th: Anderson struck out looking against Jonathan Sanchez.

Top 6th: Anderson struck out looking against Santiago Casilla. I like it when retired players still watch baseball.

Top 7th: Anderson struck out looking against Casilla again.

Top 9th: Anderson struck out swinging against Denny Bautista. 3 pitches, all swinging.

Sometimes you retire from baseball, sometimes baseball retires you.

Curveballs for Jobu

Curveballs for Jobu is Off Base Percentage's daily trip around the ballparks.

Today's honorary bat boy: Craig Worthington

Phillies 9, Reds 6 (10). Arthur Rhodes isn't a man assembled from the parts of Jesse Orosco and John Franco after all. He's a real, human boy with feelings. Rhodes finally gave up a run, his first allowed since April 10 (a ML record-tying 33 appearances), when Raul Ibanez doubled in the 10th. Cincy had tied it on Joey Votto's two-out, three-run home run off Brad Lidge in the ninth. Bad news for the Phils: not only did they put MTD's boyfriend Chase Utley and 3B Placido Polanco on the disabled list, but starting in their place Tuesday was Wilson Valdez (65 OPS+) and Greg Dobbs (24).

Indians 5, Bluejays 4. In the words of Lou Brown in a sequel that should never have been made: "that's called a winning streak." The Tribe won their third consecutive game, just the fourth time they've won that many in a row, thanks to Fausto Carmona (6 1/3 IP, 3 ER), who is probably going to win the FOY award (Fausto of the Year) again this season.

Rockies 6, Padres 3. Third-place Colorado is hanging around in the West and now has a chance to sweep the first-place Pads after Clint Barmes hit a bomb and drove in four Tuesday. Barmes after the win: "These are big games for us. It doesn't matter where it's at in the season at this point, every win's big. I think we've shown that in the last few years." The Colorado Rockies: showing people that no matter what part of the season, every win is big.

Shot Of The Night

Shot Of The Night is Off Base Percentage's toast to a player who had an exceptionally good or bad night. There's always a reason to drink.

Tonight's shot of the night is a Three Wise Men: Johnnie Walker® Scotch whisky
Jim Beam® bourbon whiskey
Jack Daniel's® Tennessee whiskey. And it's it's in honor of Denard Span.

Denard Span hit three triples for the first time since Furcal did it in 2002. Three triples just sounds insane to me. I think Deion Sanders did that when he was a Falcon, does that count?

*wakes up, finds laptop upside down on the floor*

Okay, apparently I celebrate triples a little harder than most people. Those Wise Men really kick some ass. Where was I? Span, triples, booze, let's go to the honorable mention...

Honorable Mention: Joe Blanton
Blanton filled his box score with threes going 0-3 with 3 strikeouts and allowed 3 runs. I'd like to give a h/t to Meatball for helping me find Blanton for the honorable mention when I stopped being able to comprehend letters and numbers last night.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Gamecocks Win National Title

South Carolina won the school's first national title in baseball after the Gamecocks completed a sweep of UCLA to win the College World Series Tuesday. The 2007 equestrian team finally has some company in the USC national championship trophy case.

SC won the crown in dramatic fashion as Kansas City Royals' ninth-round draft pick Whit Merrifield ripped a walk-off single in the 11th inning. The SC victory marked the final game in Rosenblatt Stadium, and if Merrifield signs with the Kansas City Royals, the final time he will play on a championship team, unless the Class-A Burlington Bees can turn things around.

Possibly Merrifield's last smile before heading off to rookie ball with the Kansas City Royals

Beavis' Adventures At Turner Field: Strasburg Edition

Being a season ticket holder to the Atlanta Braves is paying straight dividends for the 2010 season. I watched Jason Heyward pummel a home run for his first major league hit on opening day, the amazing come from behind victory over Cincinnati, compliments of Brooks Conrad's walk-off grand slam and as the Braves took first place, we celebrated just as drunken baseball fans should. Last night was one of those nights! With Stephen Strasburg making his fifth major league start, second road start, I wanted a front row seat. I think everyone in Atlanta was thinking the same thing. The place was packed.

Everywhere I went at the stadium I kept hearing the same thing, Strasburg! In line for beer: Strasburg. Smoking a cigarette: Strasburg. It was a complete Strasburg hard-on fest! The feeling was mixed. People wanted to see him succeed and the rest wanted to see him fail. That's what makes a player like Strasburg so great for baseball. Everyone was there to see him!

I witnessed something last night at Turner Field that I've never witnessed before. The fans in Atlanta are far from your battery throwing, first base coach ass whipping fans that other parks are blessed with. It seems to take a little more to get the stands fired up with excitement. Every time Strasburg prepared to throw the place got loud. It's like they were testing him. The longer he pitched the louder they got. Its like everyone in the stadium wanted to see what he could do when the pressure was on.

He pitched a great game but, unfortunately it takes more then a great outing to win a ballgame. I go to Turner Field enough to know how to get away with seat jumping. For the entire 5th, 6th and 7th innings, I managed to get about 10 rows behind home plate for the only offensive gain of the game. This kid is impressive. I can't help to wonder though, if the fans in Atlanta can get that loud for 1-1, 1 out pitch, then he's gonna have some tough road trips pitching in places with rabid fans like New York, Chicago and Philly.

The guy is Strasburg! No nickname needed. He needs to come out to the mound with Goldbergs entrance music and let the crowd chant his name the same way. STRAAAASBURG, STRAAAASBURG, STRAAAASBURG!

If Strasburg is coming to your town, buy a ticket!

Weekly Cup Of Joe: Gold Glove Edition

I prefer to think of this as more of a tribute to Fire Joe Morgan than a blatant ripoff. But who are we really kidding here?

Look at me, I actually remembered that 1) it's Tuesday and 2) there's a Joe Chat over at the Four Letter. I've been watching soccer for what feels like the past three months. The conclusion I've come to is that their rules are more confusing than Joe Morgan in a broadcast booth. Today's nugget of wisdom forced me to do some actually research so excuse me if I get a little grumpy...
conshymatt (philly)

Who is the best defensive player in baseball?

Joe Morgan (11:18 AM)

That's a tough question. I think there are a lot of good defensive players. You have to rate them by position. One demands more than another. Catcher demands more than, say, second base. I think they've done a good job the last few years, if you look at the gold glove winners. There might be one or two exceptions, but I think they've done a good job.
Gold Gloves might be one of the most worthless awards in all of sports. Once you win a couple, you're pretty much locked in for a good stretch. Just go ask Ichiro, Jeter and Torii Hunter. I'm not saying the voters are lazy but, oh no, that was what I was saying.

The other problem is that defensive metrics are still being improved upon. Big strides have been made though and we don't have to rely on Fielding Percentage anymore. So I accept your challenge, Joe. I will find more than a couple of exceptions in Gold Glove winners.

*Warning* It's about to get pretty nerdy. So if you don't like numbers, you might want to go work out like you've been talking about or go get a Double Whopper like we both know you're going to and then come back in a little while. *Warning*

I'm just going to look at 2009 so I can get back to writing nonsense at some point today. I think most of us are fairly comfortable with UZR. Since UZR is a counting stat we'll use UZR/150 to equal out playing time. I couldn't get my hands on 2009 Dewan +/- stats but I will sprinkle in some of last year's Fielding Bible winners.

NL 2B Winner: Orlando Hudson -3.4 UZR/150

Hudson was perceived as a great fielding second baseman but 2009 was the fourth straight year he posted a negative UZR/150. The more deserving second baseman was, of course, Chase Utley and his 12.2 UZR/150. Utley has been the best fielding second baseman for three years now. I still can't figure out how he doesn't get more MVP love.

NL SS Winner: Jimmy Rollins 5.0 UZR/150

Rollins wasn't a bad choice and he was really good in 2008. But in 2009 J.J. Hardy was better with a 9.2 UZR/150. I was actually surprised to see how well UZR has rated Hardy over the years.

NL OF Winners: Michael Bourn 9.9, Matt Kemp 3.7, Shane Victorino -5.7

Bourn was at least sixth in NL in UZR/150. The top three though were Nyjer Morgan 34.7, Randy Winn 17.6 and Colby Rasmus 14.0. Morgan and Rasmus are a little skewed because they only played around 1000 innings so you could plug Mike Cameron, Hunter Pence or Bourn in for those guys.

AL 1B Winner: Mark Teixeira 0.5 UZR/150

Justin Morneau 7.6 and Kendry Morales 7.4 simply had much better seasons. The Fielding Bible had Albert Pujols as the top fielding first baseman in the league. UZR wasn't quite so high on Pujols.

AL SS Winner: Derek Jeter 8.0 UZR/150

This was Jeter's best season by far since UZR data has been recorded since 2002. But who didn't see this coming? If you've ever met me, you'd know I'm one of those guys who harps on about how overrated Jeter is at short. Jeter has a career UZR of -38.0. But hey, he dove into the stands. Elvis Andus played a much better short with a 13.5 UZR/150. The Fielding Bible had Jack Wilson as the best short in the league and UZR agrees if you combine his AL and NL stats.

AL OF Winners: Ichiro 8.8, Torii Hunter -2.0, Adam Jones -8.2

The top three UZR/150 in the AL were Franklin Gutierrez 28.9, Ryan Sweeney 23.8 and Carl Crawford 18.6. The big loser here Gutierrez who was sensational in center for the Mariners and was great in right before that in Cleveland. The Fielding Bible had Gutierrez, Crawford and Ichiro as the best outfielders in the league.

Recap: By my count, Gold Gloves went to 8 wrong fielders out of 14 (excluding pitchers and catchers) in 2009. That's not very good, Joe.

I know UZR isn't the perfect defensive metric and that it is best used over the course of several seasons. But it's better than a lot of other ways to judge fielding. Plus I couldn't get Dewan's 2009 +/- stats, Bill James' DER and I was to lazy go through all of B-R's advanced stats.

I'll try to make up for this post with something mind numbing later. Sorry.

Curveballs for Jobu

Curveballs for Jobu is Off Base Percentage's daily trip around the ballparks.

Today's honorary bat boy: Todd Benzinger

Reds 7, Phillies 3. The last time Johnny Cueto faced the Phillies-July 6, 2009-he allowed nine earned runs and didn't get out of the first inning as the Phillies handed Cincy the worst loss in franchise history, 22-1. That's SimplySuperIrabuian. Monday's rematch went a bit better. Cueto gave up a run in eight innings and Scott Rolen hit his 300th career home run for the Reds, who are in first place this late in the season for the first time since 1999. To illustrate how long ago that was, I give you a few notes about the '99 Reds:

* The four pitchers who made the most starts for Cincinnati in 1999 were Pete Harnisch, Brett Tomko, Ron Villone and Steve Parris.
* The catcher during most of those starts: Edward Kenneth Taubensee
* Also prominently involved: Juan Guzman, Steve Avery, Stan Belinda, Jeffrey Hammonds

Marlins 10, Mets 3. I didn't think I'd be typing this on June 29, but for Anthony Young's sake, someone finally beat R.A. Dickey.

Indians 2, Bluejays 1
Pirates 2, Cubs 1

This was the first time since June 5 both the Indians and Pirates won on the same day. In Cleveland, Jake Westbrook gave up a run in six innings, while the appendage formerly known as Kerry Wood's arm saved a game for the second consecutive night. Meanwhile, the Bucs snapped a six-game losing streak by beating Chicago for the eighth time in 10 tries this season. If Pittsburgh could schedule Chicago 162 times a year....people would stop going to Wrigley Field.

Shot Of The Night

Shot Of The Night is Off Base Percentage's toast to a player who had an exceptionally good or bad night. There's always a reason to drink.

Tonight's shot of the night is a Big Red: 1/2 oz Irish cream, 1/2 oz Goldschlager® cinnamon schnapps. And it's in honor of Scott Rolen.

There were plenty of people who crushed the Rolen trade, myself included. All Rolen has done this year is post his second highest OPS at .937 while cranking out home runs left and right. Nice to be back in the NL, eh? Rolen blasted his 17th homer of the season to lead the Reds to a 43-34 record, good for a half of a game lead in the NL Central. I was kind of hoping The Big Red would be 1/3 Everclear, 1/3 Big Red Gum, 1/3 Joe Morgan nonsense.

Honorable Mention: Johnny Cueto
I realize I'm double dipping here but it's really hard to find multiple players to fit the same shot. Cueto improved his record to 8-2 while pitching 8 innings and only giving up 1 run. He also walked 2 and struck out none. I thought he was a strikeout pitcher but what do I know? I bet the over on 135 strikeouts for Strasburg's first 5 starts.

UPDATE: just shot me an email to remind me that Scott Rolen's home run was the 300th of his career. is my cousin Steve's nickname.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Baseball's Magic Jewelry

Many of you have noticed the ridiculous necklaces that baseball players have been wearing lately. Josh Beckett is the most noticeable offender but I'll give him a pass because he's getting paid. But it's catching on around the league and there's some mad science or voodoo surrounding them. Or regular science, but I doubt it. Let's learn more...
Phiten Co., which has an office in Cleveland, and others who make them claim their necklaces -- and titanium-laced bracelets, tape, socks, sleeves, lotions, gels and, coming soon to a store near you, bed sheets -- may help promote relaxation, reduce stress and relieve pain.

They're also supposed to boost energy and help players recover faster by harnessing the body's natural bioelectical currents.
Sounds like HGH to me but I'm no scientist. *checks degree from* Nope, I'm not a scientist but I can marry gay couples. Baseball players are superstitious and don't mind riding other players new found voodoo. Isn't that right Shin-Soo Choo?
"I saw Beckett and Justin Morneau use them so I started to use them," said Indians right-fielder Shin-Soo Choo. "Cliff Lee and CC Sabathia wear them."

Choo wears three braided Phiten necklaces, called a "tornado." He's worn a titanium necklace for three years, adding a strand each season. And, yes, he's noticed a difference. Sort of.

"Not like I feel totally different," he said, "but I feel good."
That's how I feel after getting out of a hot tub (that was the cleaned up version). Whether it works or not (doubt it does), they have a fantastic marketing plan and the kids are eating up...
"It's just more of a fad with the kids," said Nate Cannell, manager of Cardboard Heroes at Beachwood Place. "We sell more to kids than anyone."

Phiten's Gary Rodrick and his son, Austin, who operate from the Cleveland office, make the rounds in major league clubhouses during the season and spring training, handing out necklaces to the players to try out. They target pitchers for maximum marketing exposure: They're on the television screen longer.
Am I getting lazier? I think I might have blockquoted this entire post. I'll make it up to you guys though. I ordered a necklace which should help with my writing and a belt which should help with the ladies. Grrrr.

Least Exciting Set of Roster Moves of All Time Finally Complete

Every rumor you heard turned out to be true: the Redsox have designated Fabio Castro for assignment. Castro, who through the first three months of the season was called up to Boston twice but never got into a game, was let go to make room for Eric Patterson.

Patterson had a slash line of .204/.255/.408 with Oakland before the A's designated the outfielder/second baseman for assignment. Boston traded for the former eighth-round pick, sending Fabian Williamson to Oakland.

That's three players I've mentioned in this story and two are named Fabio and Fabian.

Quick recap:

* Patterson designated for assignment by Oakland despite being 12th on the team with seven walks
* Straight up Eric for Fabian trade; first in league history
* Castro DFA'd, leaving MLB with just five active Castros
* Patterson traded to the independent league Hennington Armadillos for Fabrio Sanders (EST-July 5, 2010)

Fabio Castro signed photo. Approximate value: 11 earthworms

Strasburg Takes The Show To Atlanta

Strasburg-Mania goes on the road for just the second time this season when it whips through Atlanta like tornado through your mom's trailer park. Strasburg will make his fifth start and try to rebound after suffering his first loss while pitching 6 innings, striking out 9, walking zero and giving up 1 earned against the Royals. Nice work on the run support, Nats. Now he can only go 400-1. Pfft. I like how his first two road start came against the Indians and now the Braves. Coincidence or is Riggleman racist against Native American?

Strikeouts and Walks
The Bravos are actually right in the middle of the pack when it comes to striking out. The surprising, to me, fact is the Braves lead the league in walks by over 20. That will be something to watch for tonight. Strasburg has walked 5 batters in his 4 starts and they all came on the road against Cleveland.

Phenom vs. Phenom
Unfortunately, the Phenom versus Phenom match up will have to wait. Coming into this season, Strasburg and Jason Heyward were the top two prospects in baseball according to Baseball America. Heyward has been holding up his part of the bargain. Already one of the Braves' best players, Heyward has 11 home runs while hitting .251/.366/.455 as a 20-year-old. But Heyward has a thumb injury that will keep him from hitting against Strasburg tonight. It's a shame because Heyward has a Platinum Sombrero and a Golden Sombrero this season. The strikeout potential had me giddy.

Off Base Coverage
As you know by now, I gots the Strasburg fever. So you can join me over at Twitter and take shots with me every time Strasburg strikes someone out swinging. We also hope to have a guest writer covering the game live tonight. He drinks a lot of beer so only half of the post might be in coherent English but it should be entertaining nonetheless. Look for that tomorrow.

Curveballs for Jobu

Curveballs for Jobu is Off Base Percentage's daily trip around the ballparks.

Today's honorary bat boy: Dane Iorg

Yankees 8, Dodgers 6 (10). Sunday's game was a strange one for me as a Yankees fan. I went through a wide range of emot...anger and object-throwing as LA basically took a five-run lead on bunts and a home run by Ronnie Belliard. Not a pleasant beginning of the night in the Derwood bunker. Meanwhile, Clayton Kershaw pitched well-7 IP, 2 ER, 5 K, 0 BB-and a 6-2 deficit in the ninth looked like a 10-2 deficit with the way the Yankees had been hitting and with Jonathan Broxton (no runs allowed in last 14 appearances) sweating on the mound. But then it happened. After Mark Teixeira struck out looking on ball two, Alex singled and Robbie Cano doubled, 6-3. Jorge Posada followed with one of the best at bats I've seen him have in a long time-fouled off pitches and didn't bite on pitches Jorge usually bites on-singling to right to chase Cano to third. Curtis Granderson polishes off another great at bat with a walk and the bases are loaded. What followed made me feel like a proud father whose sons were all raised by different men and then started pro baseball careers and whom I've never actually met. Rookie Chad Huffman served a 1-1 pitch into right field to score two and cut the lead to 6-5, then fellow rookie Colin Curtis had the best at bat of the night, capping a 10-pitch trip that included four straight stay-alive foul balls with a 3-2 count, with an RBI-groundout to first. 6-6. Any fan who didn't have the MUTE button on all game could hear the air being sucked out of half-empty Dodger Stadium. Mariano Rivera pitched two scoreless innings, half of the LA team was ejected for arguing balls and strikes, Cano launched a two-run home run off George Sherrill's goatee in the 10th, and the Yankees secured one of the more satisfying victories I've witnessed in 30 years as a fan. Now, what happened to that hole puncher I destroyed in the 3rd?

Oh, I'm sorry, were other games played Sunday?

Royals 10, Cardinals 3. What the hell is going on in Kansas City these days? Bruce Chen allows two earned runs in five innings for the win, Crazy Kyle Farnsworth throws two shutout frames and Wilson Betemit homers and drives in three as the Royals win a series against St. Louis. Silly times.

Rangers 10, Astros 1. Can you put in a request to play Houston or is the schedule already set in advance? Texas stayed hot, winning its 16th in 18 games, and Josh Hamilton continued his torrid run. The left fielder hit the second longest home run in the history of the Ballpark at Arlington, and during his current 21-game hitting streak, he's hitting .465 with nine home runs.

Orioles 4, Nationals 3. Somebody break up the Baltimore Orioles! That wasn't a contraction joke. Baltimore had its third consecutive come-from-behind victory against Washington and won its fourth consecutive game. Parade scheduled for Tuesday morning. How many times a day do you think Jim Riggleman thanks Stephen Strasburg for being alive, 500? Because without Strasburg, Riggleman would be managing the Medferd Bobcats, a fictional team I just made up.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Shot Of The Night

Shot Of The Night is Off Base Percentage's toast to a player who had an exceptionally good or bad night. There's always a reason to drink.

Tonight's shot of the night is Morning Wood: 1 oz vodka, 1 oz peach schnapps, 1 oz orange juice, 1 oz sweet and sour mix, 1 oz blackberry liqueur. And it's in honor of Brandon Wood.

Clearly this is a homer pick. I'm not going to apologize. The kid has struggled and I give him plenty of grief on Twitter but I still believe. In true morning wood fashion, Brandon came up strong in today's Angels game. Brandon Wood hit his first career grand slam and even had a walk while not striking out. I hope he's turning a corner but it's a good reason to get hammered nonetheless.

Honorable Mention: Kerry Wood
The appendage formerly known as Kerry Wood's arm picked up his 6th save of the season while striking out the side. That can't last long. Just like morning wood.

Jeff Mathis' Golden Sombrero

A golden sombrero is awarded to a player who manages to strike out four times in a single game (real golden sombrero not included). It's quite the feat unless you're Ryan Howard or Mark Reynolds. Unfortunately, cycles and no-hitters are all the rage nowadays. Not for me, though. I will pour over the box scores to bring you the finest at swinging and missing.

You would think it would be pretty hard to strikeout four times in a 10-3 game when your team only bats in eight innings. Nope. And if I gave you one guess which Angel was capable of that, I assume you would say Brandon Wood. Wrong again. You're off to a poor start in this post. It was Jeff Mathis who donned the Sombrero. I don't blame you for not guessing Mathis, unless you are Mike Scioscia, you would never put Jeff Mathis in a major league lineup. Before I hammer on Mathis some more, Brandon Wood hit a grand slam, walked and struck out zero times. It was very confusing for me to watch.

Mathis, a career .204 hitter, doesn't actually strikeout that often. In fact, this is only his second major league Golden Sombrero. We should do something special. I know it's not new but everybody grab your margarita and let's watch that baby dance...

That baby probably gets so many more ladies than me. Oh well, at least I don't poop myself. Usually. Let's go to Mathis' strikeouts before I divulge anymore.

Bottom 3rd: Mathis struck out swinging against Jhoulys Chacin. Fun fact: Chacin's first name is pronounced "Bob."

Bottom 4th: Mathis struck out swinging against Chacin again. Mathis wasted no time to end the inning. Dude just loves to catch.

Bottom 6th: Mathis struck out swinging against Chacin. MTD Hat Trick. I need to learn how to build a glossary for this site because we make up a lot of stuff.

Bottom 8th: Mathis struck out looking against Franklin Morales. Brandon Wood hits a grand slam, I fall out of my chair.

Separated At Birth

I have absolutely loved the World Cup this year. I don't know if it's my patriotic spirit or the vuvuzela or the excuse to drink in the morning, but I'm captivated. Even though USA lost in plastic horn snapping fashion yesterday, I'm still going to watch and root for England Argentina. You know why? Diego Maradona. He's regarded as one of the greatest players in football *cough*soccer*cough* history. He's well known for the "Hand of God" goal in the 1986 World Cup. Otherwise known as "la mano de Dios" which I thought meant something else entirely. After a long relationship with the cocaine, Maradona had a stint as a talk show host before becoming Argentina's head coach in 2008. He's one of those outspoken, blast the media types who reminds me of Ozzie Guillen. Let's go to the Seperated at Birth Breakdown before I have to get drunker and watch more soccer...

Diego Maradona
We covered the "Hand of God" goal but he's also credited with the "Goal of the Century" from the same World Cup in 1986. *vaca sagrada* What I like about Diego is his willingness to fire away at any chance he gets...
"Many journalists should apologize to the players," he said, oozing confidence and never losing his cool. "I'm not suggesting you drop your trousers, but it would be honest and great so we all get along better."


"All of a sudden we're an excellent team ... the most handsome people in the barrio!"
Maradona has also been a highlight reel on the sidelines. I never know what he's doing back there. He's fascinating and it takes the pressure off of his players. He'd also probably get tossed for arguing balks if he could. Speaking of which...

Ozzie Guillen
Guillen doesn't have the prolific playing career that Maradona does. He did win Rookie of the Year in 1985 but that's because voters hated Stew Cliburn and his 2.9 WAR. But Ozzie has gone on to win the hearts of many with his insane antics as manager of the White Sox. He won a World Series and probably can't get fired even though he supposedly came to blows with GM Kenny Williams earlier this year. The Ozzie legend is huge so I'm just going to steal some quotes from a Crasnick article from two years ago...
"He's garbage, still garbage, going to die as garbage," Guillen says of Mariotti. [Ed. I concur, by the way]

"You're not even a pimple on your daddy's ass," Guillen tells Wendelstedt.

"How you doing, Ozzie?" North says.
"Oh, shut the [bleep] up," Guillen replies. [Ed. Love Ozzie meter goes up 4 points]

"[Showalter] never even smelled a jock in the big leagues," Guillen says. "Mr. Baseball never even got a hit in Triple-A. I was a better player than him, I have more money than him and I'm better looking than him."
Two huge egos, successful managers, self proclaimed good looking, tons of cash. My question to you, were they separated at birth?

Curveballs for Jobu

Curveballs for Jobu is Off Base Percentage's daily trip around the ballparks.

Today's honorary bat boy: Sixto Lezcano

Braves 4, Tigers 3. The win is a silly stat, but it's still tough to see a starter without one on June 26. Unless it's Kevin Brown or Jeff Weaver. Or Carl Pavano, Kenny Rogers or Hideki Irabu. Or Greg Cadaret.

Kenshin Kawakami had gone 14 starts without a win and looked like he was headed for an 0-10 start before Chipper Jones' three-run home run in the seventh finally made a winner out of the Japanese right-hander. Adam Everett: DNP.

Padres 2, Marlins 1. Josh Johnson deserved better after an eight-inning, nine-strikeout effort, but an Adrian Gonzalez double and a Jon Garland sacrifice fly were enough to quiet the crowd of 340 at Marlins Stadium. Garland was effective on the mound too, tossing 6 2/3 of one-run ball. Show someone your arm pit if you thought at the end of June San Diego would be fourteen games over .500 and leading the West by 3 1/2 games.

Mariners 5, Brewers 4. Brian Sweeney, who pitched 80 forgettable innings for Seattle and San Diego from 2003-2006, then had three more miserable years for the Nippon Ham Fighters in Japan, returned to the majors today and was outstanding. After starter Doug Fister pulled a BrianSweeneyInJapan (4 IP, 4 ER), Sweeney threw four shutout innings and allowed just a single for his first win since he beat Glendon Rusch and the Cubs in that epic, May 12, 2006 game.

"I remember that game in 2006. The 'Glendon Rusch Game' we called it."

- Anonymous

Bluejays 5, Phillies 1. Juan Castro: 0-for-3.

Shot Of The Night

Shot Of The Night is Off Base Percentage's toast to a player who had an exceptionally good or bad night. There's always a reason to drink.

Tonight's shot of the night is a 666: 1/3 Sambuca, 1/3 Jack Daniels, 1/3 Tequila. And it's in honor of A.J. Burnett.

A.J. Burnett pitched a miserable 3 innings for the Yankees (and my fantasy team) while giving up 6 hits, 6 runs and 6 walks. He struck out 5 keeping New York from being cursed with the quadruple sign of the beast. When reached for comment, Hideki Irabu said, "I was eating that."

Honorable Mention: Justin Masterson
He pitched 5 innings for the Indians. He gave up 6 hits, 6 runs and had 4 walks and 2 strikeouts. It's a math jumble!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Mark Reynolds' Golden Sombrero

A golden sombrero is awarded to a player who manages to strike out four times in a single game (real golden sombrero not included). It's quite the feat unless you're Ryan Howard or Mark Reynolds. Unfortunately, cycles and no-hitters are all the rage nowadays. Not for me, though. I will pour over the box scores to bring you the finest at swinging and missing.

What can I say about Mark Reynolds? He might be my favorite player. I've tried to reach out on Twitter and Facebook but even if he's there, I'm not sure he would want to be friends with a guy who chronicles his epic moment in striking out. But there is a chance I'm wrong. Reynolds didn't have a Golden Sombrero until June 17th, about two weeks after we started this blog. This is his third Sombrero in two weeks since then. So I'd prefer to think he was just waiting until I got this blog up and running before he went strikeout crazy. I do have a pretty high opinion of myself though.

And any time I get to hand out a Golden Sombrero to Mark Reynolds means the Drunk Donkey gets out of my shed and we go patrolling for babes. By shed, I mean the spare bedroom, he likes pillows and a mattress.

Alright, we've been taking shots of Costco Tequila, so it's time to take a look at Reynolds' strikeouts before the donkey throws up on my couch...

Top 2nd: Reynolds struck out swinging against David Price. That's former No. 1 pick David Price.

Top 5th: Reynolds struck out swinging against Price again.

Top 7th: Reynolds struck out swinging against Price for the MTD Hat Trick. I hope you guys know what that is by now, jerks. I held off on the Price is Right/Wrong jokes but this at least calls for the losing horn...

Top 9th: Reynolds struck out swinging against Rafael Soriano. Did I get a fantasy save? Somebody check my lineup.

The Crisis In Boston

The Red Sox haven't exactly been lucky in the health department this year. The outfield was so decimated by injuries that the Sox had to resort to undrafted prospects, beer vendors and your cousin Tawmmy. But they were able to make do because the heart and soul of the Sox, Dustin Pedroia, could will them to victory using only his scrapiness and clutchiness. Bad news swept over Boston last night like Black Death overtook Crimea in 1346. Dustin Pedroia broke his foot and might miss up to six weeks. Ahhhh. Everybody take cover under your school desk, the sky is falling.

Don't worry Boston, I'm going to help you come up with some possible replacements while Pedroia rests at home in that tree where he bakes cookies in the offseason.

Tom Brady

Positives: good arm, knows how to apply eye black, veteran leader

Negatives: wore a Yankees hat, I can stop there right?

Chase Utley

Positives: best second baseman in baseball, he's also white which means he's scrappy, grows similar facial hair

Negatives: Phillies probably won't trade him unless their owner needs to finance a Broadway play

Joe Morgan

Positives: Bill James calls him the greatest second baseman in the history of baseball, don't have to give up prospects

Negatives: seems to have gone completely insane over the past decade or so

Rajon Rondo

Positives: young, athletic, handles a ball well, has the rest of the summer off

Negatives: terrified of goatees and couldn't play that close to Youkilis

Cam Neely

Positives: will bring Denis Leary to drink with everybody after the game

Negatives: can barely move anymore

Denis Leary

Positives: will bring Cam Neely to drink with everybody after the game, will out-swear your mother, hates Kobe

Negatives: poor cardio from smoking 48 out of 52 years, Rescue Me is based in New York

Crazy Guy Goes Crazy Again

It must be at any given point during the calendar year because Cubs' pitcher Carlos Zambrano went nuts in the dugout again. After giving up four runs in the first inning Friday against the Whitesox, manager Lou Pinella pulled Zambrano. That's what you do when a terrible pitcher (1.69 WHIP, 5.66 ERA in 55 2/3 innings) pitches terribly-you ask him to please leave and as Norm Dale said to George at the Huskers' first practice, "leave the ball, willya George?"

Zambrano is George.

Anyway, Zambrano lost his mind and started screaming at his teammates and the rooster that lives in his ear for not lunging in front of his pitches before they could reach the batter's box and Alex Rios could hit an RBI-double and Carlos Quentin could launch a three-run home run. Zambrano went after Derek Lee, specifically and the two began shouting at each other.

Here's the video. Unfortunately, it includes two "he gones" by Ken Harrelson. I apologize.

The Cubs are fed up with Zambrano and they will absolutely not let this kind of behaivor happen a 9th time. No sir. Zambrano has been suspended indefinitely with no word on when he'll return. Chicago doesn't have many options. They can't cut him, or they'll be paying $18,875,000 to some loony who isn't even pitching for them. They can't trade him because no one wants a mentally unstable pitcher who stinks and is owed $18,875,000. They can't murder him because that's illegal. Meanwhile, the team has to play with 24 players on their roster, but with the looks of that club, it doesn't really make any difference.

Just another wonderful summer at Wrigley, isn't it?

Curveballs for Jobu

Curveballs for Jobu is Off Base Percentage's daily trip around the ballparks.

Today's honorary bat boy: Ricky Jordan

Orioles 7, Nationals 6. I knew this series was going to be special. Baltimore trailed 6-0 after four, but came all the way back to beat its arch rival in a game seen in more than 100 countries. Washington made four errors, the last of which forced home the winning run in the bottom of the ninth. Soon-to-be-fired Nats manager Jim Riggleman: "It's not football. I can't put a defensive team and an offensive team out there. It's the major leagues and we have to play major league defense." If anyone can put both an offensive and defensive team on the field at different times, it's Riggleman.

Reds 10, Indians 3. Everyone's talking about Edwin Jackson's no-hitter, but did you see Cleveland pitchers Aaron Laffey and Joe Smith combined to throw a 10-hitter? No? Well, did you see Teen Wolf Too? Outstanding film.

Athletics 14, Pirates 4. I'm completely out of Pittsburgh Pirates' jokes. Oakland starter Ben Sheets, who struck out nine in six innings and got the win, said Coco Crisp (3-for-5 in his third game back from the disabled list) gives the A's a "true leadoff hitter". I'm sorry, sir, that's incorrect. Crisp, career .331 on-base percentage and an average of 28 walks per season, gives you a person to bat in the leadoff spot. He gives you a true second ninth hitter.

Rockies 4, Angels 3 (11). Anaheim spoiled a great outing by Jered Weaver-7 IP, 2 ER, 11 K-and Colorado won on Robb Quinlan Bobblehead Night.

Astros 7, Rangers 4. How to stop your opponent's 11-game winning streak: you hand Brian Moehler the ball, sit back and watch the magic unfold. Moehler allowed two earned runs in five innings as Houston finally avenged its June 25, 2008 loss to Texas.

Pedro Alvarez's Golden Sombrero

A golden sombrero is awarded to a player who manages to strike out four times in a single game (real golden sombrero not included). It's quite the feat unless you're Ryan Howard or Mark Reynolds. Unfortunately, cycles and no-hitters are all the rage nowadays. Not for me, though. I will pour over the box scores to bring you the finest at swinging and missing.

Mr. Alvarez, we meet in this segment so soon. I touted your arrival on June 15th and foresaw this day coming. I didn't think it would be nine games into your big league career but that's no reason we shouldn't throw a party. Dude, you're a power hitter, these things will happen. I have Patron on ice and Jay-Z is going to sing Pittsburgh State of Mind. Okay, I have Costco Tequila and a Steely McBeam pinata. Okay, I have a cactus and a small bag of Peanut M&M's, jerk. Let's just see how you went down in flames tonight.

Top 1st: Alvarez struck out swinging against Ben Sheets. Ben Sheets is from Louisiana and enjoys fantasy football and arm injuries.

Top 3rd: Alvarez struck out swinging against Sheets again. Raise your if hand if you thought Sheets would pitch this deep into the game/season.

Top 6th: Alvarez struck out swinging against Sheets. MTD Hat Trick. Everybody with me now, he struck out 3 times, the same way against the same pitcher.

Top 8th: Alvarez struck out looking against Jerry Blevins.

Don't worry, you'll be fine. It happens to the best of us. That 4-year, $6.4 million contract you signed? That's a little more than I made in the past decade.

Shot Of The Night

Shot Of The Night is Off Base Percentage's toast to a player who had an exceptionally good or bad night. There's always a reason to drink.

Tonight's shot of the night is a Walk in the Park: 1/3 Drambuie Scotch Whiskey, 1/3 Benedictine Herbal Liqueur, 1/3 Green Chartreuse. And it's in honor of Edwin Jackson.

Edwin Jackson had a career day at the park. He tossed a no-hitter and threw a career high 149 pitches. He's probably going to need the booze because his arm might fall off in the next couple of days. He managed to walk 8 batters in his no-hitter, good for third most in no-no history. Get it? Walk in the Park? I'm here all week kids, try the Teriyaki wings.

Honorable Mention: Jimmy Rollins
J-Roll fresh off of another one of his seemingly endless DL stints went 0-1 with 4 walks. Four walks in one game. Yuniesky Betancourt disapproves.

Come on Yuni, bring your .292 OBP and let's go drink. I'll drive since we all know you aren't walking. *rim shot*

Friday, June 25, 2010

Edwin Jackson Throws A No-Hitter On A Few Pitches

I thought the big story a story tonight at Tropicana Field was the Upton Brothers playing against each other for the first time. See? There ended up being a slightly bigger story at The Trop. Edwin Jackson threw the Diamondbacks' second ever no-hitter against his former team. It wasn't pretty but it goes into the record books nonetheless. I usually get pretty excited to cover great moments in poor hitting but I'm not sure that's what happened. Let's take a look at some weird stats from this year's latest no-no.

149 Pitches Obviously, this is the one everyone will be talking about and will serve as a recurring theme in this post. That's a lot of pitches. Excuse me while I pat myself on the back for that nugget of analysis. It's the most pitches thrown in a game since Livan Hernandez in 2005. Now I could sit around here and make Dusty Baker jokes till 3 a.m. but Keith Law already won the night.

8 Walks/6 Strikeouts That is one way to drive up your pitch count, shoot for double digit walks. Of his 149 pitches, Edwin threw 79 for strikes. For context, Strasburg throws 79 strikes in 75 pitches.[citation needed] The 8 walks in a no-hitter is third all-time. Jim Maloney tossed 10 no-hit innings while walking 10 in 1965. B-R doesn't have pitch count data so I'll assume Maloney threw 231 pitches on that beautiful day in August. A.J. Burnett threw a no-hitter in 2001 and walked 9 batters. He threw 129 pitches, 65 for strikes. Perhaps the Edwin-A.J. comp is a good one.

3 Clean Innings Three! Edwin only retired the side in order on three out of nine occasions. I don't want to rain on the kid's parade but there is a good amount of luck going into this no-hitter considering how long he pitched from the stretch.

Edwin Jackson is still only 26-years-old but over his 8-year career he is a 4.71 ERA guy or 5% worse than the league average pitcher. But Edwin's no-hitter and 149 pitches will be the big story until Doug Fister no-hits the Brewers tomorrow without striking anybody out.

Upton Update

B.J.: 0-2 with a walk

Justin: 2-3 with a walk, smacked Edwin Jackson with shaving cream

Uptons Pack The Trop

Tonight when the Diamondbacks play the Rays, it will be the first time young stars brothers B.J. and Justin Upton will play against each other. B.J. was the second pick overall by the Rays in the 2002 draft. He broke into the bigs in 2004 at 19-years-old. I fell in love with Bossman Junior during the magical summer of 2007. He hit 24 home runs, 82 RBI, 22 steals and had an .894 OPS while playing second base. A star was born and I won a fantasy baseball title. Since 2007, he has 27 home runs, 151 RBI, 109 steals and an average OPS of .733. Sadly, my fantasy teams have still not recovered from the heartbreak.

Justin was the top pick in 2005 and broke in at 19-years-old with the Diamondbacks in 2007. He had 26 home runs while hitting .300/.366/.532 last season. I've never owned him on a fantasy team so I'm fairly indifferent about the younger Upton. He does strikeout quite a bit which makes me happy.

Oh wait, I buried the lede. Upton family and friends will pack Tropicana Field to near capacity tonight for this glorious event...
About 65 friends and relatives of the Uptons will be at Tropicana Field for tonight's first-ever meeting of brothers B.J. and Justin. Most noticeable will be mother Yvonne, who has a special split jersey shirt with both of her sons names and numbers that was made by a family friend.

"This is the easy part," said Manny, their father. "The hard part was making sure everybody got into town.''
Ugh, those jerseys are so tacky. Why can't one parent wear the jersey of their favorite kid and then the other parent has to wear the jersey of the loser kid? We're getting too damn politically correct, America. I hope B.J. doesn't get nervous playing in front of that many people at The Trop. Zing. You might need to put some Neosporin on that burn Tampa Bay fans.

I play a lot of RBI Baseball

I'm a 30-year old man, so naturally I spend a lot of my time playing a video game that was created when the Royals were still wearing powder-blue uniforms. I would really like to enter into an RBI Baseball tournament, but at the same time, that's not a room anyone should spend time in.

There are a handful of lethal sluggers in the game and here is a look at those hitters and how they've enriched my life.

Jack Clark, St. Louis Cardinals

Let's put it this way: if you've got a lefty in the game and Clark is coming up, go get a right-hander from the pen because Clark will laugh at your southpaw and then hit a 700-foot home run that goes out of the TV screen. The fireworks will go off, and Clark will get the girl and the endorsement deals. Happens every time.

December, 2009: Clark hits his sixth home run of the game against Houston.

Me (screaming): "SIX! SIX!"

My wife (waking up): "What the hell are you screaming about?"

Me: "It's six! Six o'clock, Christmas morning. Merry Christmas!"

Darryl Strawberry, NY Mets

Straw has a lot of power, but he can also hit scalding line drives that make short relievers like Charlie Kerfeld have accidents in their stirrups. Plus, if you are dumb enough to pitch around Gary Carter to get to Strawberry, you deserve everything that comes to you.

March, 1996: Hit by a Don Sutton pitch. Ray Knight follows with an inning-ending ground out, marking the first time in my 11 years of owning the game that the computer's strategy had paid off.

Matt Nokes, Detroit

Despite a .441 career slugging percentage in real life, Nokes is the most feared hitter in the 10-team league. I don't try to explain it, I just let the table setters-Alan Trammel, Kirk Gibson and Darrel Evans-work their way on base and then wait for an inside fastball.

Late-July, early-August, 2007: Nokes literally ate Minnesota's Juan Berenguer for breakfast (took six days).

Kent Hrbek, Minnesota

Once hit a 940-foot home run off a tired Danny Cox throwing 24 M.P.H. It gave the Twins a 21-4 lead in a game they would go on to win 36-4.

July, 1988: Kevin Hassett came over after we swam at the neighborhood pool. He was a Twins fan, so it was Twins-Astros, winner gets the last popsicle. I thought Mike Scott could groove a fast ball by Hrbek. I was wrong. Hrbek hit a home run that just landed a few minutes ago. Next pitch, I hit Tom Brunansky in the back. My friendship with Kevin deteriorated after that.

Mark McGwire, AL All Star team

You need to bring McGwire off the bench, but luckily I have no problem giving Bill Schroeder the day off.

Wednesday: McGwire's grand slam is the start of a 13-run inning as the All Stars embarassed Roger Clemens and the Redsox at Fenway.

Curveballs for Jobu

Curveballs for Jobu is Off Base Percentage's daily trip around the ballparks.

Today's honorary bat boy: Tanner Boyle

Cubs 3, Mariners 2 (13). Maybe it's the late nights and the cheap beer, but it seems like this series started four months ago. Finally, it ended when Marlon Byrd singled in the 13th, spoiling nine innings of two-run ball from Felix Hernandez. The Cubs avoided the sweep, while afterwards Byrd said that Chicago was about to go on a winning streak. I don't know what he's talking about, the Cubs are already on a winning streak: they've won two consecutive games that went 13 innings, dating back to a win over Houston last July 27.

Rangers 6, Pirates 5. I think the John Russell Countdown to Unemployment can begin, yes? The Buccos have lost 15 of 17 with Thursday's loss coming when the bullpen-namely someone called Evan Meek-couldn't hold a two-run lead in the late innings. Vlad won it with a walk-off single and Texas has won 11 consecutive games and leads the West by 4 1/2 games.

Brewers 5, Twins 0. Yovani Gallardo was perfect through 5 1/3, then Jim Joy...Drew Butera singled in the sixth. Gallardo was still masterful, scattering five hits and walking Nilch in a 12-strike out game as Milwaukee swept the three-game series. Jody Gerut: DNP.

Whitesox 2, Braves 0. I'm still not convinced Atlanta has enough offense to be a playoff team and get past the Division Series round for the first time since 2001. Thursday, they were two-hit by a Gavin and a Putz, before Bobby Jenks' goatee pitched a perfect ninth for Chicago, winners of nine consecutive games.

Redsox 13, Rockies 11 (10). Absolute nonsense in Colorado where everyone stunk except Dustin Pedroia, who hit three home runs, including the game-winner in the 10th, and shrunk two more inches. Jonathan Papelbon's days as the Boston closer appear to be winding down. The 7th-ugliest Boston player blew another save when Colorado scored twice to tie it in the ninth. Daniel Bard is the better option for the ninth, but if Boston wouldn't mind keeping Papelbon as the closer until October 3 (last regular season game against the Yankees), that would be appreciated.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Luis Gonzalez To Get Number Retired. Wait, What?

The Diamondbacks will make Luis Gonzalez's No. 20 the first retired number in the proud 13-year history of the franchise. At first glance, I thought this was a misprint and Fredi Gonzalez had actually been hired to manage the D-Backs. Nope. Luis Gonzalez's number will be retired in a pregame ceremony on August 7th. Really?

Yeah, turns out my brain chose to completely ignore some good seasons Gonzalez had out in the desert. I spent a decent portion of the early 2000's on some pretty serious performance dehancers. He is the franchise's leader in games (1,194), hits (1,337) and home runs (224). He also hit .298/.391/.529 for an OPS+ of 130. That's a pretty solid eight year stretch he had with the Diamondbacks. On the other hand, it's also a little strange for a journeyman player to hit his eight peak years after he turned 31-years-old.

It's not my job to sit here and sling mud from behind my keyboard. Or is it? I'm not really sure what I'm doing here. I will say this, I think everything was juiced in 2001. Hitters, pitchers, balls, bats, t-shirt cannons, Pamela Anderson, me, you, that guy on your couch, Chris Berman, the Noid, everybody but Vlad Guerrero, Legally Blonde, Bud Selig, etc. Luis Gonzalez had one season where he hit more than 30 home runs before and after 2001. In 2001, he hit 57 homers. Bonds hit 72 and Sosa hit 64. Shawn Green hit 49 and he's not allowed to play on the Sabbath. Is that a thing? I might have made that up. Phil Nevin hit 41. It was a wacky drug fueled time back then, kids. What were we talking about?

Curveballs for Jobu

Curveballs for Jobu is Off Base Percentage's daily trip around the ballparks.

Today's honorary bat boy: Rod Beck

Royals 1, Nationals 0. This Stephen Strasburg youngster is going to be alright. The Washington offense, on the other hand, reportedly will be played by the Espinoza Nine in an upcoming feature film. Strasburg set another rookie record, picking up 41 strike outs in his first four starts (Herb Score's 40 was the old record). Sadly, the Nats could only get six singles against the Royals, which is the equivalent of getting six handshakes on prom night, and Strasburg, despite nine Ks and one earned run, Riggleman'd for the first time in his young career. Wilson Betemit: DNP.

Phillies 7, Indians 6. Jimmy Rollins, who correctly predicted the Phillies would win last year's World Series in five games, hit the first walk-off home run of his career to help the Phils beat the apendage formerly referred to in conversations as Kerry Wood's right arm. Shin-Soo Choo belted two home runs (his first since June 1) for the Indians, who have lost eight of nine.

Mets 5, Tigers 0. R.A. Dickey is pitching like it's....well, he's......R.A. Dickey is pitching well in 2010. The knuckleballer, who was terrible in nearly all of his 442 2/3 innings through 2009, went eight scoreless Wednesday and has now given up two runs or less in five of his seven starts.

Whitesox 4, Braves 2. Let's bring back KenHarrelsonVoice™ for this one:

"Well, the good guys had to sit through a rain delay before this one, nearly two hours, tell you what. The crew's pick to click during the rain delay was Murray, 7th from the left on the tarp. Atta boy Murray. The bad guys took the lead in the second on a duck snort, but the Sox came back. Pauly with a little bingo, singled in Vizzy, then Carlos put it on the board eeeeeee-s, then later he put it on the board eeeeee-s again. Big night for Carlos, Wimpy's pick to click. In the 9th, Jenkser came in and did what the Jenkser does: he gone! Good guys 4, bad guys 2."

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Weekly Cup Of Joe

I prefer to think of this as more of a tribute to Fire Joe Morgan than a blatant ripoff. But who are we really kidding here?

I keep forgetting to check in with Joe Morgan on Tuesdays. This World Cup fever is really getting to me. I might have to go to the free clinic. I gave my grandpa a yellow card the other day for taking too long at the refrigerator. Usually, I like to just grab a nugget of wisdom from every Joe Chat over at the Four Letter but today's Weekly Cup of Joe is going to be a grande. Let's get going kids...
Brian (New York)

Joe, has Robinson Cano finally reached his potential or is there more to come?

Joe Morgan (11:04 AM)

I don't know if there is more to come, but he's a great player, and you can't always measure a great player by numbers, so I don't know what you mean by "potential". To ask, is there more to come? I don't know.
I love how Joe's standard reply has become, "To answer your question, I don't know." That's the hard hitting analysis I deliver here for free. Somebody needs to start sending me money. I could have sworn I copyrighted that. And I thought all we did was measure great players by their numbers. Why do you think people spent so much time on WAR or wOBA? Why do you hate metrics SO MUCH? Then this happened...
Joseph (St. Louis)

Who's will be the NL Central Champs?
Congrats Joseph in St. Louis, you failed English. After I wiped the blood from my eyes, I moved on to this question...
Tito (Brooklyn)

Joe, with the emergence of Joey Votto and Adrian Gonzalez, is Ryan Howard now only the 4th best hitting first baseman in the NL?

Joe Morgan (11:25 AM)

Are you kidding? Ryan Howard's the only guy besides Pujols that does what a first baseman is supposed to do -- he hits home runs, drives in runs, and leads his team to the World Series. Everyone took a shot at his contract -- he's been Rookie of the Year, MVP, and led his team to a World Championship and two consecutive World Series appearances. Has anybody done that other than Pujols? None of those guys have done that. I wonder why no one questions Matt Holliday's similar contract -- he's never won an MVP award or won a World Series. His numbers were put up in Colorado, where everyone puts up big hitting numbers. He's the second-best first baseman in the league, not fourth-best.
Uhh, *head explodes* Yeah, Howard jacks home runs and has a surprisingly high OBP for the amount of strikeouts he accrues. He's a three-true-outcome player. He's Adam Dunn in a better lineup. Just, let's just look at the last three years of OPS+. Does that sound reasonable?

Howard: 2010 - 124 OPS+, 2009 - 140 OPS+, 2008 - 124 OPS+

Gonzalez: 2010 - 173 OPS+ (best in the NL), 2009 - 166 OPS+, 2008 - 139 OPS+

Votto: 2010 - 154 OPS+, 2009 - 155 OPS+, 2008 - 125 OPS+

Recap: Joey Votto and Adrian Gonzalez have been better hitters than Ryan Howard over the past three years.

Strasburg Versus, Um, The Royals?

Are you kidding me? How did Strasburg's schedule end up being Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Chicago and Kansas City. They're a combined 115-165. I haven't checked Strasburg's next start but I'm pretty sure he's pitching against the writing staffs of Off Base, The Dugs and that guy who sold me a bag of oranges on the freeway.

Just like last week though, I was stunned to learn that the Kansas City Royals are the second to last team in strikeouts this season. The White Sox do the least swinging and missing but they still managed to strikeout 10 times against K-Stras™ last week. Then I fell out of my chair when Baseball-Reference told me that the Royals have the highest team batting average in baseball. How many guesses would it have taken you before you got to the Royals for highest BA? 14-ish?

Of course, all of those stats are moot when you go against the greatest pitcher in the history of everything. Like always, I'll be live Tweeting his outing. Come join me at @MnkysThrwngDrts, I'll be the one taking a shot every time Strasburg strikes somebody out swinging.

Marlins Fire Gonzalez

Who knew that beating the Orioles could get you fired? That's what happened to Florida manager Fredi Gonzalez, who was let go following a 10-4 win over Baltimore Tuesday. Gonzalez, the ninth manager in franchise history, was 276-279 in three-plus seasons.

Let's read a hilarious quote by Marlins' owner Jeffrey Loria:

"We owe it to our fans to put this team in the best possible position to win."

Anyway, former AAA New Orleans manager Edwin Rodriguez takes over on an interim basis, while a permanent name that has been floated around is Bobby Valentine. We at Offbase suggest Wallace Fessenden, who went 4-7 as the skipper of the second-place 1890 Syracuse Stars.

[UPDATE: Fessenden died in 1935]

Curveballs for Jobu

Curveballs for Jobu is Off Base Percentage's daily trip around the ballparks.

Today's honorary bat boy: Tim Teufel

Yankees 9, Diamondbacks 3. Dan Haren had gone seven innings, allowing three runs and was at 109 pitches. Naturally, it was time for Arizona manager A.J. Hinch to go to his bullpen, or The Rudy Steins as I like to call them. The Yankees said "yes, we have no problem hitting against AA pitchers," and in the eighth, NY broke it open with six runs against Esmerling Vasquez (6.00 ERA, 1.50 WHIP) and Chad Qualls (8.88 ERA, 2.26 WHIP). Meanwhile, Andy Pettitte continues to amaze. The southpaw threw seven innings of two-run ball and Alex Rodriguez homered (first since June 3) and drove in three for the defending champions, who are a season-best 1 1/2 games up in the East.

Cardinals 9, Bluejays 4. Jose Bautista came in to the 2010 season with 59 career home runs, never hitting more than 16 in any of his four full seasons. After hitting two off Jaime Garcia, Bautista has a ML-high 20 home runs and his OPS+ of 146 is 48 points higher than his career mark. Oh, yes, something about the winning team. Matt Holliday, whose nickname on Baseball Reference is "Big Daddy", has had a fun four games, going 11-for-17 with five home runs. St. Louis stays a game up on Cincinnati in the Central because....

Reds 4, Athletics 2. This was just a case of playa-hatin'. In this particular incident, Oakland pitcher Dallas Braden didn't respect Bronson Arroyo (8 IP, 2 ER) or the 305, and the Reds kept Whitey winless since May 9. Coco Crisp sighting: two-run home run in the third for Oakland's only runs.

Mariners 2, Cubs 0. A lot of Mariners' trade talk centers around Cliff Lee, but is Jason Vargas available? Another dominant start-7 IP, 4 H, 7 K, 1 BB-for the lefty, who last year was demoted to the bullpen after a dreadful start against the Royals, if you can believe that. This season, he's been a perfect compliment for the ridiculous Lee. Imagine if the Mariners had an offense.

Wally Backman

The video is a couple weeks old, but I've been wanting to get it on the site ever since it happened.

Pay particular attention to: Wally Backman

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Curveballs for Jobu

Curveballs for Jobu is Off Base Percentage's daily trip around the ballparks.

Today's honorary bat boy: Al Pedrique

Diamondbacks 10, Yankees 4. This game ended at around 1:00 a.m. eastern time, right now it's 11:17 a.m., and I just finished vomiting chicken wings. A.J. Burnett, who lately has been making a habit of pitching like Murray Burnett (9.40 ERA for Big Creek Middle School in 2008), "pulled another Murray" against Arizona. He retired the first two batters before the Flying Parras had six consecutive hits, three of which were home runs, and that's pretty much all you need to know about this one. Oh, you need to know one other thing: the Yankees popped up 147 times in a nine-inning game, a new major league record.

Nationals 2, Royals 1. You want to know how easy it is to keep your job if you're a major league baseball player or manager? Monday, a Jim Riggleman-managed team beat a team Bruce Chen was pitching for. Wilson Betemit update: struck out pinch hitting in the seventh, average down to .438, ladies heart's broken: 31.

Reds 6, Athletics 4 (10 inn.). Cincy clubbed three home runs - Ramon Hernandez, Joey Votto and Scott Rolen - in the top of the 10th off two A's relievers who wish to remain nameless. Unofficially, 17 people in Oakland were "visibly upset" (Off Base Times).

Monday, June 21, 2010

You Stay Fat, America

Occasionally, I'm going to rant about some nonsense and try to tie it into baseball. I can't promise it will always work. But let's see what happens.

America, you're fat. Sorry to break it to you. Just because you call them "sliders", doesn't mean you should swallow 15 little burgers in one sitting. Well, marketers have definitely taken notice of your glutenous ways. Minor league baseball is popular for two reasons; drinking promotions and crazy food inventions. You want a hamburger between two Krispy Kremes? No problem. Those Oreos and Twinkies aren't hitting the spot? Let's deep fry 'em.

Last year's minor league heart-attack-inducing creation came from the West Michigan Whitecaps. I know, not Wisconsin? Here's a description of the Fifth Third Burger which I believe comes with a Sherpa to help climb it...
It's 5/3 lbs (1.66) of beef with lettuce, tomato, salsa, sour cream, chili and Fritos on an eight-inch sesame seed bun.

The team says it feeds one to four people and sells for $20, and if a person finishes the Fifth Third Burger in one sitting, the team will offer up a Fifth Third Burger T-shirt.
If you finish that in one sitting, they probably don't have a t-shirt in your size. Which I assume is circus tent. This is what it looks like so you can have a mental picture when you take your scooter to your minivan and head to Michigan.

The reason I brought this up is because Friendly's recently came up with a new gut-busting burger. That's right America, it's three sandwiches in one...
Yes, the latest assault on America's waistline comes in the form of Friendly's recently launched Grilled Cheese BurgerMelt. Move over, Double Down, there's a new "something with far more calories than bread as a bun" sandwich in town.

Grilled cheese sandwiches are not buns, they're sandwiches! Yeah, chew on that. If you'll excuse me, I need to send McDonald's an email pitching the McFatty™. It's a Big Mac topped with a 9 piece McNugget.