Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Curveballs for Jobu 5/31/11

Curveballs for Jobu is Offbasepercentage's daily trip around the ballparks.

Today's honorary bat boy is Paul Spoljaric.

Blue Jays 11, Indians 1.
Our long national (international?) nightmare is over after Jo Jo Reyes snapped his 28 start non-winning streak that spanned nearly 3 years. Reyes got the win by pitching a complete game and allowing just a run. Jose Bautista went 2-3 with a walk to get his OBP back over .500 for the season. The Indians have lost 5 of 6 and I think it's safe to declare the sky is falling.

Yankees 5, A's 0.
I'm sold. Shoot me up with some stem cells. Even though it was the dismal A's offense, Bartolo Colon threw a 4-hit, complete game shutout while striking out 6 and walking none. Colon has a 3.26/3.35/2.91 (ERA/FIP/xFIP) line as a 38-year-old. *googles shady doctors in my area*

Angels 10, Royals 8.
Ervin Santana got off to a rough start but the Angels bats were able to bail him out. Santana's first 6 pitches went for a leadoff home rum, four pitch walk and a 2-run home run. But the Angels managed to battle back to overcome a 5 run deficit with home runs by Mark Trumbo and Peter Bourjos in the 8th and took the lead with a 2-run homer by Torii Hunter in the 9th. It was Hunter's second of the game and his 1,000 career RBI. Royals struggling closer Joakim Soria lost his job to Aaron Crow after blowing the save. This, kids, is why you don't change your nickname if it's something badass like the Mexicutioner.

Diamondbacks 15, Marlins 4.
Arizona mashed their way to 7 straight wins on the backs of Justin Upton (5-5, 2B, HR) and Kelly Johnson (4-7, 2B, 3B, 2 HR). Willie Bloomquist, Sean Burroughs and Xavier Nady also had plate appearances.

Reds 7, Brewers 3.
Jay Bruce just keeps crushing everything. Bruce went 3-4 with a triple and home run. He leads the National League in 2 of the 3 Triple Crown categories but I wouldn't hold my breath on him making up that 50 points of batting average he's down.

Phillies 5, Nationals 4.
Roy Halladay surrendered 10 hits including 3 home runs but he and the Phils both survived the un-Doc outing with a win. Chase Utley went 0-3 with 2 walks. I sense a hot streak right around the corner. Livan Hernandez tossed his automatic 6+ innings giving up 8 hits and 4 runs. You can pencil that in for almost every start.

Other games, but down here...
Tigers 6, Twins 5.
Mariners 4, Orioles 3.
Rangers 11, Rays 5.
White Sox 7, Red Sox 3.
Padres 3, Braves (10).
Astros 12, Cubs 7.
Giants 7, Cardinals 3.
Mets 7, Pirates 3.
Dodgers 7, Rockies 1.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Editor's Meeting

MTD lives in New Orleans and Derwood built a cabin out of sticks and mud in Conyers, Georgia, so occasionally they have to communicate through text message. Here's the latest back-and-forth entitled "All the Joses of our Lives".

MTD (3:34 p.m. EST): So, Jose Bautista. Man, Superman, or a figment of my imagination? I have Joey Bats as the fourth-greatest hitter of all time. But I'm delusional.

Derwood Morris (3:38): Fourth of all time is Darrin Erstad. Hmmm....Bautista? Not sure. He's like me but with talent and another foot of height. But I have a salami sandwich.

MTD (3:44): Yeah, aside from the talent and the sandwich, you guys are nearly identical. But he's having a Bondsian season; better than last year. He makes Corey Patterson a better hitter.

DM (3:48): He makes Corey Patterson a better hitter. OK, just had to type it out once myself. In a recent game against the Yankees, the Nos. 4 and 5 hitters behind Bautista in the Toronto lineup were Juan Rivera and Jose Molina. Funny thing was, that's the same two guys who were on registers 4 and 5 at the Ingles by my apartment last winter.

MTD (3:56): I knew that was Juan Rivera working register 5. He consistently missed the scanner.

DM (4:01): And then he slipped and fell trying to pick up an orange he had dropped. But enough about how much we dislike Juan Rivera/Ingles. Jose and Ozzie both injured in the first doubleheader of the season for Yuma. Thoughts?

MTD (4:04): First thought: how did it take this long to talk about it. Secondly, why can't I pay to get Yuma games on TV? Ozzie got thrown out of their third game for yelling at an ump Jose was yelling at. I love them.

DM (4:09): To paraphrase Kids in the Hall character Jerry Sizzler: but I love them. I mean, Ozzie got thrown out for Jose's arguing? These guys can't do anything right.

MTD (4:14): Or do they do everything right? Jose, via Twitter, said he was with a bunch of players on some street and invited girls to come party. That's a good manager.

DM (4:18): He was on some street and invited girls to come party. Translation: they were wandering around in the Yuma suburbs and they found a mother/daughter who recognized Jose as "the guy from the energy bar commercial on the public access channel", they all went to a Golden Corral and ate a lot of macaroni and cheese, then went back to the hotel and Jose and Ozzie butchered an Abbot and Costello routine while the ladies did each other's hair.

Happy Birthday To Us

Offbase officially turned one today. Hard to believe just 366 days ago, our site was little more than a Jose Canseco joke scribbled on a bar napkin. But here we are: closer to a year and one day old than a year old. Since May 30, 2010, MTD and Derwood have shared with you their thoughts on everything from Barry Bonds possibly humping raccoons to the Scottsdale Community College Artichokes.

We even spent a snowy Christmas Eve morning introducing the world to the Steve Balboni Fan Club.

Most importantly, though, we made these t-shirts:

But this isn't about scaring everyone under the age of 10. It's about celebrating. Like those guys impersonating Kool in the Gang at the burger place last fall said: celebrate good things, come on.

Grady Sizemore'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, no-hitters and Brian Wilson's beard 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.

Starting in 2005, Grady Sizemore was one of the most exciting young players in baseball and looked like a future MVP. A legit 30-30 guy, Sizemore posted a 5.8 WAR in 2005, 8.0 in 2006, 6.2 in 2007 and 7.4 in 2008. In 2009, injuries started derailing his career. He made it to the plate just 140 time in 2010 and, with one DL trip in the books, ZiPS projects 378 plate appearances for 2011. And he wasted 4 of them on Sunday. But I feel bad for Grady so here's a sad dog wearing a sombrero.

Top 2nd: Sizemore struck out swinging against Jeremy Hellickson. To be fair, Hellickson had some pretty good stuff.

Top 4th: Sizemore struck out swinging against Hellickson again.

Top 7th: Sizemore struck out swinging against Hellickson. Sizemore struck out 3 times, the same way against the same pitcher which is an MTD Hat Trick. Why isn't this catching on yet? Somebody get Baseball Tonight on the phone.

Top 9th: Sizemore struck out looking against Cesar Ramos. Sizemore watched 3 straight pitches to end the game.

Curveballs for Jobu 5/30/11

Curveballs for Jobu is Offbasepercentage's daily trip around the ballparks.

Today's honorary bat boy is Hanley Frias.

Diamondbacks 4, Astros 2.
The D-Backs have won 6 straight to take over first place in the NL West. And I have no clue how it happened. I wasn't even sure they were still playing in MLB. Arizona's third basemen include Melvin Mora and Sean Burroughs. That's silly.

Dodgers 8, Marlins 0.
Clayton Kershaw dazzled with a 2-hit, 10 strikeout shutout. Ricky Nolasco had the opposite of Kershaw's day giving up 15 hits and 8 runs in 5 innings. That kind of pitching line gets, you guessed it, the Scott Kazmir nod of approval.

Braves 2, Reds 1.
The Reds couldn't solve Jair Juerrjens and wasted great performances from Johnny Cueto and Jay Bruce. Bruce went 2-3 with his 15th and NL best home run. May has been quite nice for him now let's see if the streaky one can carry it over into June.

Blue Jays 13, White Sox 4.
Jose Bautista went 1-4 without a home run but that's okay because something has rubbed off on Corey Patterson. Patterson went 4-5 with a homer and has 9 hits in his last 2 games. Dallas McPhearson pinch hit-struck out for the White Sox. I keep forgetting he's on an MLB roster.

Rays 7, Indians 0.
Jeremy Hellickson shut out the Tribe over 7 innings to best Justin Masterson. Cleveland is just 5-5 over their last 10 but that is still a better mark than the rest of the AL Central.

Angels 6, Twins 5.
The Angels bullpen, always the adventure, managed to get a clean inning from Fernando Rodney before Jordan Walden did his best Rodney impression. Walden gave up 2 runs on 2 hits and 2 walks before recording the save. Mark Trumbo absolutely wrecked a ball into the second deck. Jeff Mathis went 2-4 to raise his slash line to .204/.233/.276 for the season. How can we get him more starts?

Other games, but down here...
Mets 9, Phillies 5.
Padres 5, Nationals 4.
Brewers 6, Giants 0.
Cubs 3, Pirates 2.
Cardinals 4, Rockies 3.
Red Sox 4, Tigers 3. Part 1
Rangers 7, Royals 6.
A's 6, Orioles 4.
Yankees 7, Mariners 1.
Tigers 3, Red Sox 0. Part 2

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Paul Maholm'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, no-hitters and Brian Wilson's beard 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.

I missed writing up the 3 golden sombreros from Friday night because the weekend is when I meditate and focus on self-improvement. Or recover from hangovers if you want to be more specific/accurate. Plus my boy Mike at The Golden Sombrero does an excellent job recording every sombrero and it looks like we're going to have a ton of them again this season. But I won't miss the opportunity to write up a pitcher golden sombrero. There's something magical about them like a first kiss or remembering where you parked. I think it's because pitchers usually don't get 4 plate appearances in one game and there's a 74.3% chances they'll be bunting in one of the at bats.

But Pat Maholm on Saturday was just as terrible at the dish as he was brilliant on the mound. Maholm threw a 3-hit shutout while walking none and striking out 4. The same number of times he struck out at the plate. Just the perfect storm of dominance and futility. I'd totally send Paul an Off Base t-shirt if they weren't fictional. Let's check out Maholm's hitting prowess...

Top 3rd: Maholm struck out swinging against Randy Wells. He fouled one off and took two balls before going down swinging so better than what I would have done.

Top 4th: Maholm struck out swinging against Wells. Basically the same at bat he had in the previous inning.

Top 6th: Maholm struck out swinging against James Russell.

Top 8th: Maholm struck out looking against Scott Maine.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Curveballs for Jobu 5/28/11

Curveballs for Jobu is Offbasepercentage's daily trip around the ballparks.

Today's honorary bat boy is Jeff Reboulet.

Apologies in advance for the brevity of this Jobu. Somebody drank too much bourbon in the French Quarter last night. And, damn, did everybody have a golden sombrero last night? All right, let's get to it. I have a full day of nursing this hangover and trying to grow a Jeff Reboulet mustache.

Royals 12, Rangers 7 (14).
Eric Hosmer, Melky Cabrera and someone named Brayan Pena all hit 14th inning homers off of David Bush. Bush gave up 5 earned in the one inning of work. Way to channel your inner Vin Mazzaro.

Rays 5, Indians 0.
David Price struck out 12 Indians in 7 innings. The box score also said that Casey Kotchman hit a home run but I'm fairly certain someone just did a lousy job fact checking on that one.

Angels 6, Twins 5.
Peter Bourjos is fast. How do I not get paid more for this valuable insight?

Giants 5, Brewers 4.
Brandon Carwford grand slammed in his major league debut.

Diamondbacks 7, Astros 6.
Sean Burroughs!

Phillies 6, Mets 4.
Sure, the Mets lost again but at least Pedro Beato wasn't terrible. K-Rod on the other hand...

Other games, but down here...
Red Sox 6, Tigers 3.
Blue Jays 4, White Sox 2.
A's 6, Orioles 2.
Mariners 4, Yankees 3.
Pirates 4, Cubs 2.
Nationals 2, Padres 1.
Reds 5, Braves 1.
Cardinals 10, Rockies 3.
Dodgers 3, Marlins 1.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Adam Dunn'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, no-hitters and Brian Wilson's beard 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.

Adam Dunn picked up his second golden sombrero of the year a mere five days after wearing his first. Dunn has been awful this season and that's probably being too generous. He leads baseball in strikeouts and there are only 14 qualified players with a worse WAR. His .186/.314/.346 line gets the old Brandon Wood nod of approval. Let's check out Dunn's day at the dish...

Top 1st: Dunn struck out looking against Brandon Morrow. Morrow walked Juan Pierre on four pitches to open the inning which I didn't realize was physically possible.

Top 4th: Dunn struck out swinging against Morrow.

Top 6th: Dunn struck out swinging against Morrow.

Top 8th: Dunn struck out swinging against Mark Rzepczynski.

Yikes. I wonder if he's even making contact during BP.

Curveballs for Jobu 5/27/11

Curveballs for Jobu is Offbasepercentage's daily trip around the ballparks.

Today's honorary bat boy is Chris Clapinski.

Marlins 1, Giants 0.
So.. Anibal Sanchez is good at throwing baseballs. Sanchez tossed the complete game shutout and struck out 8. He's sporting a 2.60/2.74/3.03 (ERA/FIP/xFIP) pitching line now and if Hanley ever starts to hit, the Fish might be scary. The offensively starved Giants (170 runs scored is only better than the Twins 164) aren't off to a good start after losing their best hitter, Buster Posey, for the rest of the season. Giants pitchers must be thrilled.

Phillies 10, Reds 4.
Chase Utley hit his first (of many) home run of 2011. I celebrated with a $13 rum and coke at some new bar on Bourbon Street. In related news, Bourbon Street still sucks.

Cubs 9, Mets 3.
The Mets are getting terrible at an exciting pace. R.A. Dickey made it through 2.2 shutout innings before injuring himself trying to cover first base. Then the Mets bullpen tossed some batting practice and Carlos Zambrano had a better day at the plate than any Met hitter. July can't get here soon enough for Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran.

Red Sox 14, Tigers 1.
Rain ended this one right when the Tigers were going to make a comeback with their 6 remaining outs. Casper Wells had some big plans for the bottom of the 9th. Remember how terrible Carl Crawford was? That's all over now. He hit 2 triples and raised his OPS 103 points in 2 days.

White Sox 3, Blue Jays 1.
The White Sox managed to win despite Adam Dunn's trips to the dish. Dunn wore the golden sombrero as he's really starting to ramp up his year of suck. Jose Bautista failed to homer making the Blue Jays 48% less interesting.

Other games, but down here...
Diamondbacks 6, Rockies 3.
A's 4, Angels 3.
Orioles 6, Royals 5 (12).

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Canseco-Scorpions Experience Off To A Strange/Hilarious Start

Jose and Ozzie Canseco made their Yuma Scorpions debut Tuesday in a doubleheader against the Calgary Vipers, and the calamities which followed could only be described as exactly what everyone expected.

Ozzie, who famously singled off Bruce Hurst in 1992, strained his quadriceps in the fifth inning of game one trying to beat out an infield hit.

"I was just hustling down the line," Ozzie said. "Just wanted to make sure I made a good example in terms of hustling on a ground ball."

The Cansecos: setting good examples since the fifth inning of Tuesday's game.

Of course, a game in which Ozzie Canseco gets hurt would not be complete without Jose Canseco also getting hurt. Jose left game two with a biceps strain, presumably from swatting away the talking butterfly circling his head.

"We'll see how it is tomorrow," Jose said. "It felt like a sharp knife went in there or something. Hopefully it's a bad strain or a pull."


Jose and his coaching staff-a clipboard named "Clippy" and a drawing of a hippo-also made an error before the games even started, forgetting to write pitcher J.J. Leaper's name on the lineup card. When Canseco tried to put Leaper in the game in the fourth inning, umpires pulled Canseco's pants down and sprayed him with a mayonnaise hose. Well, actually that's what I would've done if I was the umpire. The real umpire ruled Leaper ineligible to pitch.

"I was in shock, saying, 'OK, this can't be happening,'" said Jose. "Hopefully, this doesn't happen again."

Hopefully it does.

Curveballs for Jobu 5/25/11

Curveballs for Jobu is Offbasepercentage's daily trip around the ballparks.

Today's honorary bat boy is McKay Christensen.

White Sox 8, Rangers 6.
Offense might be down this year (it is) but it seems like everyday there is another player hitting 3 home runs in one game. Tuesday was Carlos Quentin's turn to join in the fun. He went 3-5 with 3 homers and 2 strikeouts. Adam Dunn showed signs of life going 1-3 with a home run and a walk. He's still hitting under .200 and slugging under .400 for the season. He's clearly out to sabotage my fantasy season. It's the only reasonable explanation.

A's 6, Angels 1.
David DeJesus came out of nowhere to hit a pair of home runs off of Dan Haren. It was all very confusing considering DeJesus had only 2 homers and a .232/.312/.344 line entering yesterday. With no save situation in site, Brian Fuentes had the night off from being lousy. The entire AL West is separated by 2 games.

Red Sox 4, Indians 2.
Josh Beckett dealt the Indians just their 5th home loss. Jason Varitek hit his first home run of the season. I also learned that Jason Varitek is still playing baseball. Indians young catcher Carlos Santana is mired in an 0-19 slump.

Reds 6, Phillies 3.
My pal Mev's (Diamond Hoggers) not so secret crush, Jay Bruce, avoided the golden sombrero and snapped the Reds 6 game losing streak with the go ahead 3-run double in the 9th inning. The notoriously streaky Bruce has just been owning the month of May with 8 home runs and a .333/.395/.718 line. Speaking of crushes, Chase Utley had a single!

Rockies 12, Diamondbacks 4. Part 1
Carlos Gonzalez is also starting to heat up in May. He hit 2 home runs giving him 7 for May with a 280/.389/.627 line. The bigger news out of this game was Jorge de la Rosa's elbow exploding. The lefty starter for the Rox tore his ulner collateral ligament which will cost him this season as Tommy John surgery is likely days away.

Cubs 11, Mets 1.
The Cubs aren't exactly in great shape either but it must be awful to be a Mets fan right now. I'd be keeping an eye on Mr. Met in case he's buying hundreds of feet of rope to fashion a giant noose.

Other games, but down here...
Orioles 5, Royals 3.
Tigers 7, Rays 6.
Yankees 5, Blue Jays 4. Jose Bautista homers, 0.
Twins 4, Mariners 2.
Braves 2, Pirates 0.
Dodgers 5, Astros 4.
Brewers 7, Nationals 6.
Diamondbacks 5, Rockies 2. Part 2
Cardinals 3, Padres 2 (11).
Marlins 5, Giants 1.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Brian Fuentes Isn't Good. Or Happy.

Oakland Athletics closer relief pitcher malcontent Brian Fuentes picked up his 7th loss of the season and 4th in a row. The losses are piling up during non-save situations and it isn't sitting well with Fuentes. So instead of, you know, just being better at his job, Fuentes decided to join the ranks of other recent MLBers and complain to the media. Over the past week, we've seen a pitcher (Edinson Volquez) kvetch about his lack of run support and an owner (Fred Wilpon) grumble about his own players. Not to be outdone, Fuentes blamed his own failures on his manager (Bob Geren). Jane Lee of MLB.com has the whole bitchfest but I'll go ahead and blockquote some of it for you...
What did you think of the situation you were placed in tonight?

Fuentes: It’s surprising yet not surprising all at the same time.

How do you feel with the way the manager has handled you as a reliever?

Fuentes: Pretty poorly.

How much communication do you have with him?

Fuentes: Zero.

Why is it pretty poorly?

Fuentes: There’s just no communication. Two games, on the road, bring the closer in a tied game, with no previous discussions of doing so. And then, tonight, in the seventh inning, I get up. I haven’t stretched, I haven’t prepared myself. If there was some communication beforehand I would be ready to come into the game – which I was, when I came into the game, I was ready. Just lack of communication. I don’t think anybody really knows which direction he’s headed.
In theory, your closer should be your team's best reliever. So Fuentes shouldn't be surprised when his manager calls on him in high leverage situations like being tied in late or extra innings. Or maybe he should since the "closer" role is almost exclusive to save situations now, which Fuentes hasn't exactly been Mariano Rivera with anyway.

Geren brought Fuentes in Monday night against the Angels with the score tied 1-1 in the 8th. Fuentes walked Erick Aybar who was erased at second on a Bobby Abreu fielder's choice grounder to third. That was the end of Fuentes night. Abreu stole second and then scored the eventual game winner on a Torii Hunter double off of Michael Wuertz. But Abreu's run belonged to Fuentes and so did the loss.

Fuentes has to be frustrated that he's on pace to lose over 20 games but to blame his pitching woes on a lack of communication seems like scapegoating to me. You are a relief pitcher. After being used in tie-game situations recently, perhaps it should cross your mind that you might be called upon during a 1-1 game instead of just mentally preparing yourself to pitch with a 3-run lead in the 9th.

Of course, I'm in favor of managers using their best relievers in the highest leverage situations during games. I also don't believe Fuentes is a great reliever (I am, after all, an Angels fan) but Geren doesn't have many better options. Fuentes' 3.16 FIP suggests he isn't as bad as his 5.06 ERA. But his 4.81 xFIP doesn't think that 3.16 FIP isn't going to be staying that low either. Fuentes is one of five Oakland relievers with a positive WAR but at 0.1, he is still basically at the replacement level.

I guess my suggestion to all of these players (looking at you too Posada) is shut up and go out and do your job in whatever role your manager sees fit. Sometimes you get pulled off the grill to work the fry station. Deal with it.

Curveballs for Jobu 5/24/11

Curveballs for Jobu is Offbasepercentage's daily trip around the ballparks.

Today's honorary bat boy is Stan Hoyer.

Cardinals 3, Padres 1.
Albert Pujols hit a home run ending his gajillion at bat drought without one. Okay, maybe it was just 106 at bats but it was the longest of his career and an excruciating stretch for his fantasy owners. Pujols has just 8 homers this season and an underwhelming .268/.340/.421 line in his walk year. If Pujols puts up the worst season of his career, we're going to witness some very interesting contract negotiations in the offseason.

Brewers 11, Nationals 3.
Corey Hart erupted for 3 home runs giving him 3 on the season. Tom Gorzelanny did his best impression of a batting cage pitching machine giving up 2 of Hart's homers and another one by Prince Fielder.

Phillies 10, Reds 3.
Chase Utley made his much anticipated (by me) return to the Phillies. He went 0-5 but I'm sure he'll hit like 8 home runs tonight. Placido Polanco, Jimmy Rollins and Raul Ibanez hit home runs to celebrate Utley's return. I celebrated with Sailor Jerry rum and Camel menthols because I'm the paragon of health.

Rangers 4, White Sox 0.
The Rangers welcomed back 2/3 of their opening day outfield and Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz wasted no time getting back into the groove, each hitting a home run. Alexi Ogando continued his improbable hot start throwing a complete game shutout lowering his ERA to 1.81. By all accounts (metrics), he's actually much closer to his 3.68 FIP or 3.75 xFIP. Still pretty good though. The White Sox started Dallas McPhearson at third base and that always makes me laugh. He went 0-3 and has a .182/.182/.182 line. Adorable.

Blue Jays 7, Yankees 3.
It was just another regular day at the office for Jose Bautista. Joey Bats went 1-3 with his 19th homer and 2 more walks. Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada combined to go 0-9 but Posada at least played near perfect defense at DH.

Indians 3, Red Sox 2.
Okay, I give up. The Indians are the best team in baseball and Asdrubal Cabrera is an MVP candidate. This is all happening with Grady Sizemore and Travis Hafner on the disabled list and Shin-Soo Choo and Carlos Santana not hitting. It's just weird and I'm pretty sure Charlie Sheen has something to do with it.

Other games, but down here...
Angels 4, A's 1.
Tigers 6, Rays 3.
Mariners 8, Twins 7 (10).
Astros 4, Dodgers 3.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Curveballs for Jobu 5/23/11

Curveballs for Jobu is Offbasepercentage's daily trip around the ballparks.

Today's honorary bat boy is Jason Standridge.

Rays 4, Marlins 0.
James Shields continued his Cy Young season with a complete game shutout of the Marlins. He allowed just 3 hits, walked 1 and struck out 13. Shields is now 5-2 with a 2.00/2.85/2.68 (ERA/FIP/xFIP) pitching line. I'm not sure how often it happens, but Shields has consistently had a lower xFIP than FIP or ERA suggesting he's actually a better pitcher than his stats show. I believe Dave Cameron even picked him as his 2010 preseason Cy Young. He might have just been a year early or I completely made that up. It's hard for me to tell anymore.

Indians 12, Reds 4.
The Indians swept the Reds and own the best record in baseball. Joey Votto and Jay Bruce homered for the Reds but it wasn't enough to overcome, um, Asdrubal Cabrera. Cabrera went 5-5 with 2 home runs. Cabrera has more home runs (9) than Miguel Cabrera, Albert Pujols and the aforementioned Votto just to name a few. I still don't think the Indians are one of the best teams in the league but, damn, if they just don't stop winning.

Cardinals 9, Royals 8 (10).
Colby Rasmus went 0-1 with five (5!) walks. That's like a reverse Platinum Sombrero or something catchier. Meanwhile in Kansas City, Jeff Francoeur (9), Alex Gordan (4) and Wilson Betemit (2) all hit home runs. Francoeur and Betemit going yard in the same game and nobody got raptured? I find that hard to believe.

Red Sox 5, Cubs 1.
This was the Sunday night game on ESPN. We do a live chat every Sunday night but I'm not sure if we watch the game or talk about baseball. It's fun though, tell your friends.

Mariners 6, Padres 1.
Felix Hernandez struck out 13 in 8 innings to help the M's sweep the Padres. At 22-24, the Mariners are just 1.5 games out of first in the AL West which brings up 2 points. 1) The AL West is pretty bad. 2) The Padres are really bad.

Angels 4, Braves 1.
My beloved Halos got back to .500 thanks to a nice rebound outing from Tyler Chatwood. Chatwood gave up 5 hits and 1 run over 7 innings while striking out 6. It looks like the rookie will keep his spot in the rotation. Scott Kazmir will likely be tried in the bullpen before his eventual release.

Other games, but down here...
Brewers 3, Rockies 1.
Yankees 9, Mets 3.
Astros 3, Blue Jays 2. Jose Bautista home runs, 0.
Orioles 2, Nationals 1.
White Sox 8, Dodgers 3.
Rangers 2, Phillies 0.
Tigers 2, Pirates 0.
Giants 5, A's 4 (11).
Diamondbacks 3, Twins 2.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Sunday Night Liveblog: Cubs vs Red Sox

Chase Utley Close To Return!!!

Chase Utley is on the verge of rejoining the Phillies and a special place in my heart. I'm not sure when or how I became president of the Chase Utley fan club but apparently I have a mild obsession with him and his underratedness. I'm also not allowed within 100 feet of him according to a document I had to sign and have notarized. But enough about my legal issues, let's talk about Chase. He could be activated in time for Monday's game according to this AP article that I will now blockquote...
The five-time All-Star second baseman returned to the team Sunday and appears close to being activated off the disabled list. Utley hasn't played this season because of tendinitis in his right knee.

He played in his fourth straight rehab game Saturday night at Single-A Clearwater. He hit .281 with one homer in nine games.

Utley declined comment before Sunday's game against Texas. The Phillies say Utley will meet with head trainer Scott Sheridan and team doctor Michael Ciccotti before deciding the next course of action.
I've written ad nauseam about the lack of MVP support Utley has received over the years despite being the second best player in the National League behind Albert Pujols for much of his career. So I won't waste anymore space on that here.

Utley only played in 115 games in 2010 and posted the lowest wOBA (a very respectable .373) of his career for a season in which he played over 100 games. He was still the fourth best second baseman according to fWAR (5.2) in 2010 even though he played in 39 fewer games than the third best and 45 fewer than the first and second.

The Phillies must be almost as excited as me to get Utley back from the disabled list. Even though the Phils have the second best record in all of baseball, they're getting the second worst production from their second basemen (-0.6 WAR) besting only the Twins.

Just to be clear, my letters to Chase Utley were nowhere as creepy as Mac's love letter.

I used better stickers.

Adam Dunn'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, no-hitters and Brian Wilson's beard 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.

I'm more than willing to take the blame on Adam Dunn stinking up Chicago and most other ballparks this season. See, this is the first year I've ever drafted/owned Dunn in a fantasy league and I clearly ruined his career just like Madonna ruined Guy Ritchie. I was depending on him to boost my OBP and be my source of power. But with 4 homers and a .190/.308/.345 line, Dunn is a long way from his career averages. Of the Three True Outcomes, the only one Dunn still seems good at is striking out. And he put that on display Saturday. So grab a shot of tequila, it's sombrero time...

Bottom 1st: Dunn struck out swinging against Jon Garland. That's the same Jon Garland who has 24 strikeouts in 41.2 innings, so...

Bottom 3rd: Dunn struck out swinging against Garland again. Come on. You're kidding, right?

Bottom 4th: Dunn walked in an attempt to be at least a Two True Outcomes player. Just not in the Jose Bautista "home run or walk" way.

Bottom 6th: Dunn struck out swinging against Ramon Troncoso. Three pitches.

Bottom 8th: Dunn struck out looking against Lance Cormier. Three pitches.

The good news for Sox fans is that Gordan Beckham went 2-3 with a walk to improve his slash line to mostly terrible for the season.

Curveballs for Jobu 5/22/11

Curveballs for Jobu is Offbasepercentage's daily trip around the ballparks.

Today's honorary bat boy is Joe Slusarski.

Blue Jays 7, Astros 5.
Jose Bautista finally stopped dicking around and went 3-4 with 2 more home runs. Joey Bats was homerless in his 4 previous games (5 if you count a rain out, which I do for some reason). He now has 18 home runs, a .364/.509/.841 line and, if the folklore is accurate, a giant blue ox. Bautista's agent is Bean Stringfellow. Can't make that kind of stuff up. I laughed for 12 minutes.

Giants 3, A's 0.
Tim Lincecum is really good at throwing baseballs. The A's lineup is really bad at hitting them. That matchup resulted in 9 shut-out innings from Lincecum. He allowed just 3 hits with zero walks and 6 strikeouts. At one point, he retired 21 straight Athletics (if you can call them that). Lincecum is sitting at 2.06/2.63/2.75 (ERA/FIP/xFIP) with a 9.64 K/9 this year and is back in the discussion for best pitcher in baseball.

Yankees 7, Mets 3.
Curtis Granderson hit his 15th home run of the season off of Chris Capuano. Granderson now has more home runs against southpaws (8) than northpaws (7). He's still just hitting .255/.314/.809 against lefties but the power surge seems legit which is good news for the Yankees. Russell Martin (8), A-Rod (9) and Mark Teixeira (12) also went yard against Capuano who failed to make my Wiffle Ball team last year.

Phillies 2, Rangers 0.
Cliff Lee got an umpire with a reasonable strike zone and went 8 shut-out innings allowing 3 hits and 2 walks while striking out 10 former teammates. By the way, Lee has been fantastic this year metric wise (2.31 FIP, 2.45 xFIP, 10.53 K/9) but probably doesn't look like a Cy Young contender to the SportsCenter crowd (3-4, 3.38 ERA).

Mariners 4, Padres 0.
What an amazing rivalry. Thank you interleague play. Michael Pineda gave up 2 hits in 7 innings for the M's and is now 6-1 with a 2.16/2.26/2.99 (ERA/FIP/xFIP) pitching line. It's possible the 22-year-old is even better than advertised. He has to be the front runner for the AL ROY and is one of two reasons to turn on a Mariners game (King Felix being the other).

Braves 4, Angels 3 (12).
Fernando Rodney pitched a perfect third of the 7th inning. No hits, no runs and no walks. Color me impressed.

Other games, but down here...
Brewers 3, Rockies 2.
White Sox 9, Dodgers 2.
Cardinals 3, Royals 0.
Orioles 8, Nationals 3.
Indians 2, Reds 1.
Cubs 9, Red Sox 3.
Marlins 5, Rays 3.
Pirates 6, Tigers 2.
Diamondbacks 9, Twins 6.

Friday, May 20, 2011

R.I.P. Macho Man Randall Poffo

Leaping Lanny Poffo and TMZ are reporting that Macho Man Randy Savage has passed away at 58-years-old after a heart attack/car accident. Fair warning, I was a huge wrestling mark growing up during the late 80s and early 90s. Randy Savage joined the WWF in 1985 and would go on to wrestle the Intercontinental Championship away from Tito Santana in early 1986.

Savage lost to Ricky Steamboat at WrestleMainia III in 1987. The match was an instant classic and helped launch the Macho Man to the main event status. He joined forces with Hulk Hogan to form the Mega Powers, married Miss Elizabeth, feuded with Ric Flair, joined the n.W.o. and made us all snap into a Slim Jim. He was also, by all means, batshit crazy...

Okay, I know this isn't a wrestling blog or a trip down memory lane obit page (yet!) so let's make with the baseball already. Before he was Macho Man Randy Savage, Randy Poffo played 4 years of minor league ball in the Cardinals and Reds systems never making it past Single A. He played from 1971-1974 mainly roaming the outfield and struggling at the plate. Over 289 games, Poffo hit 16 home runs with a .254 BA and a .391 SLG%. World Championships were in his future, just in the squared circle rather than on the diamond.

Macho Man was an icon and certainly the biggest name to pass away on the long list of early deceased wrestlers. Savage retired from TNA and wrestling for good in 2004 to apparently become a heel version of Santa Claus.

R.I.P. Macho Man.

Curveballs for Jobu 5/20/11

Curveballs for Jobu is Offbasepercentage's daily trip around the ballparks.

Today's honorary bat boy is Edgard Clemente.

Rockies 7, Phillies 1.
Kyle Kendrick started for the Phils and it wasn't pretty. Jason Giambi, hitting just .194/.306/.581 even after his 3-5 Thursday, went yard thrice and knocked in all 7 Rockies runs. Giambi only has a career 54.5 WAR but his 419 home runs and .281/.404/.524 line is impressive. Gotta love a career .400 OBP guy. Jhoulys Chacin allowed the lone Phillies run over 7 innings and struck out 9.

Pirates 5, Reds 3.
Jay Bruce's pair of home runs couldn't overcome the sheer dominance of James McDonald. Neil Walker and Andrew McCutchen each went 2-4 with 2 doubles. But, for good measure, here's a list of the 10 most successful real life pirates.

Giants 3, Dodgers 1.
Madison Bumgarner finally got in the win column after going 8.2 strong innings giving up 1 run on 6 hits. Brian Wilson recorded his 13th save of the season finishing off the final third of the 9th after walking two. And here's a clip of one of the greatest Giants of all time. I'm lazy today.

Mariners 2, Angels 1.
The Angels keep finding interesting ways to lose. Torii Hunter got the start in center field and he made the least of the opportunity. He lost a pop fly in the sun and fell over attempting to catch/not get hit by it for the weakest walk-off this season. I cried a little.

Twins 11, A's 1.
The Twins won a game but, in the process, they scored the rest of the runs they had allotted for May. Justin Morneau went 3-5 with a double and homer but is still just hitting .245/.309/.367 for the season. Yikes.

Blue Jays 3, Rays 2.
Jose Bautista went 0-4 with zero home runs.

Other games, but down here...
Mets 1, Nationals 0.
Cardinals 4, Astros 2.
Cubs 5, Marlins 1.
Diamondbacks 2, Braves 1.
Padres 1, Brewers 0.
Yankees 13, Orioles 2.
Red Sox 4, Tigers 3.
White Sox 8, Indians 2.
Royals 2, Rangers 1 (10).

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Curveballs for Jobu 5/19/11

Curveballs for Jobu is Offbasepercentage's daily trip around the ballparks.

Today's honorary bat boy is Danny Clyburn.

Yankees 4, Orioles 1 (15).
Mariano Rivera blew his third save of the season leading to the longest game of the year for both teams. Thanks to his stem cell time machine, Bartolo Colon returned to 2002 and pitched 8 scoreless innings striking out 7. Of course, it was Robinson Cano who came through with a double in the 15th to put the Yanks up for good. After giving up the hit, Mike Gonzalez drilled the next batter, Chris Dickerson, in the head cracking his helmet. Dickerson was taken to the hospital and Gonzalez was immediately ejected.

Rays 6, Blue Jays 5.
Jose Bautista: 1-2, 2 walks. Including the rainout on 5/17, this is the third straight game that Bautista has not hit a home run. I think it's safe for us to label him a fluke again.

White Sox 1, Indians 0.
Jake Peavy outdueled Justin Masterson as both pitchers went the distance. It was Peavy who threw the shutout and got the win though as it was turn back the clock night for formerly great pitchers. Peavy gave up just three hits, striking out 8 without a single base on balls. Former Angels prospect Dallas McPhearson somehow had a personalized White Sox jersey made and snuck into their lineup and manned third base for them. Whether the White Sox were aware of this or not is still being questioned. He went 0-3 with 2 strikeouts.

Pirates 5, Reds 0.
Leave it to the Pirates, led by staff ace Charlie Morton, to derail the five game win streak the red hot, um, Reds had been on. Morton tossed the complete game shutout and is now pitching 2.62/3.75/3.91 (ERA/FIP/xFIP) for the season.

Mets 3, Nationals 0.
The Mets pulled even with the Nationals at 20-22. This should be an intense battle to see which team finishes the least furthest away from third place in the NL East.

Other games, but down here...
Mariners 3, Angels 0.
Red Sox 1, Tigers 0.
Rangers 5, Royals 4.
Twins 4, A's 3 (10).
Phillies 2, Rockies 1.
Cubs 7, Marlins 5.
Cardinals 5, Astros 1.
Diamondbacks 5, Braves 4 (11).
Brewers 5, Padres 2.
Giants 8, Dodgers 5.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Marlon Byrd'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, no-hitters and Brian Wilson's beard 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.

At least Marlon Byrd didn't commit one of the four errors that led to the Reds seven unearned runs on Tuesday. Not to be outdone by his teammates sloppy play though, Byrd managed to strikeout four times, seeing just 13 pitches. Dude was clearly in a hurry to get home to see who died on Glee. What? Oh no, the only reason I know about Glee is because I read Warming Glow.

Top 1st: Byrd struck out swinging against Edinson Volquez. Three pitches.

Top 4th: Byrd struck out swinging against Volquez. Three pitches.

Top 6th: Byrd struck out swinging against Volquez. Four pitches. He accidentally forgot to swing at one of the pitches and took a ball. But it was an MTD Hat Trick. He struck out three times, the same way, against the same pitcher.

Top 8th: Byrd struck out swinging against Jordan Smith. Three pitches.

Curveballs for Jobu 5/18/11

Curveballs for Jobu is Offbasepercentage's daily trip around the ballparks.

Today's honorary bat boy is Rico Rossy.

Braves 3, Astros 1 (11).
Brian McCann had the most impressive day off since Ferris Bueller in 1986. Down 1-0 with 2 outs in the 9th, McCann came off the bench to hit the game tying home run. Then, for good measure, McCann hit the game winning home run in the 11th inning. McCann's heroics spoiled an impressive 8 shutout innings of work from Wandy Rodriguez. The one bright spot for Houston this season is that they aren't Minnesota.

Rockies 5, Giants 3.
Ubaldo Jiminez threw 116 pittches (72 strikes) over 8 innings, allowing 3 earned on 8 hits. He struck out 7 while only walking 1 batter. I haven't seen any data on his velocity but this was at least an encouraging start. And it came just a day after Troy Renck shot down my idea to phantom DL Jiminez to get some rehab starts out of him. Blog favorite Buster Posey went 2-4 and is hitting just .271/.355/.376 taking a huge dip in his slugging percentage from last year.

Reds 7, Cubs 5.
Milli Vanilli's 1989 smash hit Blame It On The Rain was the Cubs' theme for Tuesday's game. A steady rain in 50 degree weather led to 4 Cub errors and all 7 unearned Reds' runs. The Reds have won 5 straight and 8 of their last 10. What was wrong with 1989? How could the same year produce Blame It On The Rain and Young MC's instant classic Bust A Move?

Oakland 14, Angels 0.
Gio Gonzalez and the A's humiliated the Angels Tuesday night. But, as an Angels fan, I was able to take two small victories away from this one. Fernando Rodney didn't play a role in the loss. Oakland scored exactly enough to give the Angels a -1 run differential. At 22-21, the Angels are once again outperforming their Pythagorean record (however so slightly).

Indians 7, Royals 3.
Another day, another win for the Tribe. Travis Hafner went 2-4 with 2 doubles and is hitting .345/.409/.549 for the year. Pronk! Carlos Santana and Asdrubal Cabrera both went yard to help the Indians keep the best record in baseball. Kansas City messiah Eric Hosmer went 2-4 with a triple.

Twins 2, Mariners 1.
Francisco Liriano pitched 7 innings and gave up just 1 run on 3 hits. He struck out 9 while only walking Miguel Olivo. That's the good news. The bad news is Liriano pitched well against an offense featuring two major league hitters. Justin Morneau went 0-4 for a .223/.294/.323 line. I don't know if Ron Gardenhire is trying to lose 100 games but, at some point, Morneau should probably be displaced from the clean-up spot/lineup.

Other games, but down here...
Pirates, Nationals PPD.
Marlins, Mets PPD. Mets find a way to not lose or get any players injured.
Cardinals 2, Phillies 1.
Diamondbacks 6, Padres 1.
Dodgers 3, Brewers 0.
Yankees 6, Rays 2.
Blue Jays, Tigers PPD. Jose Bautista homers 0
Orioles, Red Sox PPD. Lackey joined Dice-K on the DL.
White Sox 4, Rangers 3.