Sunday, August 31, 2008

No Hits - One Error

Apparently the Brewers are petitioning Major League Baseball to change the scoring ruling in today's game that cost CC Sabathia a no-hitter - Ned Yost being the most vocal complainer about the ruling. I find that to be immature, petty, and shortsighted.

The goal right now is to win ball games. You can't allow individual accomplishments to distract from that. A no-hitter by Sabathia gets the Brewers no closer to the playoffs than a one-hitter. Yost's ranting like he did after today's game shows a complete lack of focus. Once again, he appears distracted from the big picture.

Besides that, even if the call is reversed, I'd have a huge problem calling that game a no-hitter. There's no telling how the game would have played out from that point on. The pressure of carrying a no-hitter into the 7th, 8th, and 9th innings completely changes the atmosphere of the game. It changes the batter's and pitcher's states of mind, changes the defense, changes the pitch selection, perhaps even changes how the umpires are calling the game. Playing through those things are part of the accomplishment of a no-hitter.

Accept the game for what it was - another great game by Sabathia and another win. Drop the appeal and move on. There are bigger fish to fry.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Go Hit Sheets

With his start last Thursday, Ben Sheets has hit the 160 IP mark in a season for the first time since 2004. In August of 2004, his ERA was by far the worst of any month that year:

2004 ERA
April 3.25
May 2.19
June 2.29
July 2.60
August 4.61
September 1.53

He obviously bounced back nicely in September, posting a 1.53 ERA in 7 starts - the best of any month that year.

I think Ben Sheets is feeling the dog days of summer for one of the few times in his career. He'll be fine. He'll bounce back. He'll have many more outstanding starts this season. And all of the over-reactionists who call radio talk shows after the game claiming that Ben Sheets should be sent to the bullpen or write gloom-and-doom articles about him in their sports blogs need to go to bed and get some sleep. You'll all feel better in the morning.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Braun's Back (Or Is He?)

I don't want to cast a pall over the Milwaukee Brewers, I have no first hand knowledge of anything, and I'm certainly no doctor, but I have the same feeling this morning about Ryan Braun's back as I had about Yovanni Gallardo's knee the morning after his injury. In Gallardo's case, my worst case scenario suspicions were true.

If you look back at the video, Braun seems to have reaggravated his injury on the second to last pitch, and not the last as was reported. He swung very awkwardly at a ball well off the plate and fouled it off. Right after he had a grimace on his face that told me something wasn't right. Then he swung and missed at the last pitch, possibly making a reaggravated injury even worse.

Again, I don't know anything about anything other than having a twitchy back myself, but my fear is that Ryan Braun will be placed on the DL before tonight's game.

I hope I'm wrong.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Be Like Mike

Jason Kendall made his 110th start yesterday, vesting his option for next season.

If you projected Mike Rivera's stats out to exactly as many plate appearances as Jason Kendall has, he would have 35 more hits and 65 more RBI.


AB H HR RBI BB BA
Kendall 382 93 1 34 37 0.243
Rivera 383 128 7 99 36 0.333

I'm not saying you can do that. I'm saying if you did.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Just Pick 'Em Out of a Hat

I am now convinced that Ned Yost knows nothing about creating a proper batting order for a Major League baseball game. There can be no other reason for batting Laynce Nix third other than that, or that he is trying to lose - which it sometimes seems like he does. His continuing to put replacement players in the same spot in the batting order as the regular starters makes me wonder if he has the capacity to adapt. There have got to be 500 better batting orders with the same nine players than the one Yost used today. Cameron couldn't have batted third? Hall? Hart? Fielder? Laynce Nix hasn't had a hit in a Major League ballgame in almost two years. What makes Yost think he's all of the sudden good enough to bat third in the heat of a pennant race?

I don't care how well Ned Yost manages the other 157 games of the year. It's these five games per year that he apparently just throws away that cost the Brewers the division last year and could again this year. I'm getting pretty tired of it.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Power Surge

This probably comes as no shocking revelation, but Prince Fielder has got his groove back. After hitting only one home run in the Brewers first 20 games, Fielders power numbers have been on a steady incline.


HR/G
First 54 games 0.11
Second 54 games 0.28
Last 13 games 0.54

According to the data on Hit Tracker Online, Fielder has now hit 8 home runs 425 feet or more - all since June 17th. Each of his last 7 home runs has traveled 420 feet or more - the longest such streak of his career. He's been on a pace that a 40 home run season is not out of the question.

That majestic uppercut swing is back too.


This is all great news for the Brewers, but (you knew this was coming) I can't help but wonder if Prince has maintained his vegetarian diet all season or if he hasn't been munching a cheeseburger here and there and staying under the radar about it. As long as he's producing, I don't much care one way or another. I'd just like to know if I owe a mea culpa for ripping him about it or if I can let out a big loud "see I told you so."

[Chart and blue text updated after 8/13 game]

Monday, August 4, 2008

Hi, It's Mark

Here are three phone calls that ought to take place tomorrow morning...

"Ned - Mark Attanasio. Could you please explain to me what happened last night? No, I saw that part. The whole world saw that part. I'm talking about you, Ned. I watched the video over and over. There you sat on your dead ass the whole time, scribbling on your lineup card! What was so fricking important right then that you had to write it down? You did nothing to break things up. You did nothing to discipline anyone involved. You didn't go check to see if everyone was alright. It was like you were oblivious to what was going on! Then in your press conference you try to sweep it all under the rug like nothing happened? Damn it, Ned! Who's running this team? I've got too much invested in this to watch it get pissed away. If you'd like to just sit and watch these games rather than participate, I can certainly arrange that."

"Ted? Ted Simmons? Hi, it's Mark Attanasio. Were you at last night's game?"

"Prince? Hi, Mark Attanasio. About last night. Look Prince, let me give you a little bit of advice. You are a very tallented young man. You've got a long career ahead of you and you're going to make a lot of money playing baseball. But lately you have been making some very stupid decisions in your life. What you did last night was a stupid decision. Your going to the media about your contract situation. The vegitarian thing. Look, Prince, when you're a professional baseball player, all of these things matter. They matter a lot. And if you want to have a long career in this game you've got to be aware of the perception people have... What? Well, ok, but I think Milton Bradley is an exception. Hmm? Well, Gary Sheffield might be an exception too... OK. Manny Ramirez. Point taken. Uh, huh. True, Ozzie Guillen is still a manager. Mmm, hmm. Well, Coco Crisp was never really that good anyway. Uh huh. I don't know, Prince. I think Jose Canseco only became an asshole after he quit playing..."

Friday, August 1, 2008

Remember the Red Sox

Do you remember by in May when the Brewers were swept in a 3-game series in Boston which dropped them to 7 games back and tied for last place in the NL Central? They played horribly and it seemed like the season was lost. Think about what's happened since then. That was 55 games ago. There are 54 games left in this season. It could all happen again. If the season ended right now, the Brewers would still be in the playoffs. Getting swept by the Cubs means nothing more than they were swept by the Cubs. It's ok. It happens. You can come down from the ledge.

 
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