A weblog of baseball news and analysis
Thursday, July 31, 2003
This will be the last post for a while. Baseball News Blog will return on August 25.
Oakland gets Guillen from Reds. "This wasn't a painless trade, but it was pretty easy," said Billy Beane. (Yahoo!)
White Sox 15, Royals 4. Jose Valentin hit three home runs. Paul Konerko hit a grand slam. Chicago is just two games behind KC in the AL Central. (Yahoo!)
The AL playoff race is easier to understand if you combine the East and West divisions (call it the Coastal Division). The top three teams in the Coastal Division advance to the playoffs, as does the champion of the Central. The standings:
Wednesday, July 30, 2003
Grand masters: Mueller's two slams help Sox mess with Texas. He hit one grand slam righty and one lefty, after hitting a solo homer earlier in the game. (Boston Globe)
Epstein's latest move nets Reds' Williamson. The Red Sox plan to use him as a setup man for Byung-Hyun Kim. (Boston Globe)
Yanks ship Mondesi, $2 million to D-Backs. "Mondesi was furious when Yankees manager Joe Torre had Ruben Sierra pinch hit for him in the eighth inning of Sunday night's 6-4 loss at Boston. The right fielder was not on the team's charter flight to California, and traveled on his own. 'After he was pinch hit for by Joe Torre, he decided he was going to shut it down, shower up and leave,' Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. 'That's what made Joe Torre and I decide on another venue for Raul. At that point, we were pointing in two different directions and weren't on the same page.'" Cashman went on to say that the Yankees have decided to explore other options, that they didn't have a good fit for Mondesi right now, that he was being placed in an outsourcing program, but that they'd keep his resume on file. (ESPN.com)
Gideon: "Let's see ... it took 6 seasons for Raul to wear out his welcome in Los Angeles, 3 seasons in Toronto and 1 season in New York. At this rate, the D'Backs should be sick of the Buffalo by Labour Day." (Batter's Box)
Buehrle on a roll for White Sox. He won his seventh straight decision as the White Sox beat the Royals 9-6 to pull to within 3 games of first place. Buehrle went 0-9 with a 6.86 ERA in 11 starts from April 20 to June 11, but he's 7-0 with a 2.88 ERA in nine starts since. Also, Paul Konerko is finally hitting (.333/.373./.619 in July). (ESPN.com)
Prospectus Triple Play: Red Sox, Reds, Padres. "With another year essentially lost for Ken Griffey Jr., the Cincinnati fans have clearly lost patience for their prodigal. Instead of looking at his difficult rehab from a shoulder injury or the solid numbers he put up when healthy, they seem fixated on the $12.5 million he is drawing from notorious cheapskate Carl Lindner. When beaten over the head long enough with Bud and Carl's small market mantras, fans have bought into the idea that Griffey is holding them back rather than questioning why a publicly-financed new stadium didn't boost the salary structure even a bit." (Baseball Prospectus)
Derek Zumsteg on expanding baseball's reach. (Baseball Prospectus)
Tuesday, July 29, 2003
Reds shake-up: Team says enough is enough, fires GM Jim Bowden and manager Bob Boone. (Cincinnati Post)
Plenty of issues led to demise of Boone, Bowden. (ESPN.com)
Derek Milhous Zumsteg: "Bowden's taking the fall for a lot of Carl Linder's mistakes, like the giant Barry Larkin signing (and subsequent press conference where they also announced that they'd be raising ticket prices). Bowden's not a perfect GM by any means, but stuck with the Reds he did a lot of sign-and-flips where he'd gamble on rehab projects, made the most of freely available talent, working the waiver wires and minor league free agents. As of today, he's my favorite not-me-or-my-friends candidate to replace Gillick." (U.S.S. Mariner)
Prospectus Triple Play: Marlins, Yankees, Pirates. "With the return of Nick Johnson Friday night, the Yankees had their Opening Day starting lineup available for the first time since...Opening Day. Actually, since Mariano Rivera wasn't available then, it's fair to say that the Yankees are at full strength for the first time all season." (Baseball Prospectus)
Midseason Muselix, Part Five. Rockies and Tigers. (Big Bad Baseball)
Midseason Muselix, Part Six. Marlins, Astros and Royals. (Big Bad Baseball)
Rich Lederer on Frank Thomas. (Rich's Weekend Baseball Beat)
Aaron Gleeman on the Blue Jays. (Aaron's Baseball Blog)
Aaron Gleeman on Jose Lima. (Aaron's Baseball Blog)
New weblog: Baseball Nerds.
Monday, July 28, 2003
Varitek, Red Sox rally past Yankees. Jeff Weaver left in the seventh with a 3-0 lead. By the end of the inning, it was 6-3, Boston. The Red Sox trail the Yankees by 1 1/2 games. (Yahoo!)
Alex Belth: "It turned out to be a tough weekend for the Bombers. They lost two games they should have won, games they have traditionally pulled out. They were awful with men in scoring position last night, and squandered many opportunities. But the Sox are grinders, and were impressive after losing on Friday night. With six head-to-head match ups left, there is still more drama to be had." (Bronx Banter)
Rob Neyer: "Fenway Park is, if not the best ballpark -- Wrigley Field can make that claim, too -- a truly wonderful place to see a game. Meanwhile, Yankee Stadium is like one of those houses with the sign outside that says, 'George Washington slept here.' Great, I'm glad I saw it, now let's go find the World Second-Largest Ball of Twine." (ESPN.com)
Alex Belth interviews Moneyball author Michael Lewis. (Bronx Banter)
Bruce Markusen's Cooperstown Confidential for July 25. The 1978 Yankees, Norm Cash, and more. (Baseball Primer)
Prospectus Triple Play: Indians, Dodgers, Mariners. "For all the positive-but-wishy-washy vibes coming from GM Pat Gillick ('I like our club, but you can't say you wouldn't want more,' he told the Seattle Times, or 'If we get healthy, we'll be all right' in an AP article) and manager Bob Melvin ('We talk about this all the time, but it has to be the right fit' in the Oregonian), the Mariners are now playing a collapsed minor star at short in Mark McLemore, John Mabry, who appears baffled while trying to remember how to cover first, and frequently field an offensive lineup that contains outs lined up for opposing pitchers like metal ducks at a county fair shooting gallery." (Baseball Prospectus)
Gary Huckabay interviews an anonymous AL GM.
BP: Who makes the postseason in the AL?(Baseball Prospectus)
New website: The Giants Journal.
Friday, July 25, 2003
Giants 3, Diamondbacks 2.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Barry Bonds threw himself quite a birthday bash.The Giants now lead the Diamondbacks by 11 games. (Yahoo!)
Looking back on deadline deals. Gary Huckabay, David Cameron and Nate Silver examine the deals that were made between 1988 and 1993. (ESPN.com)
ESPN.com - Baseball Index. Click the link, and go grab a cup of coffee while the page is loading. When you get back, take a look and let me know if there are any interesting headlines. Thanks.
Derek Zumsteg: "There is no team besides the Expos in major league baseball that could not go out and find the money to add another player. If Alex Rodriguez and Tom Hicks decided their great experiment was over and Rodriguez should be traded to a contender, there's no contending team that couldn't sign him if they really wanted to. Payroll is a convenient excuse that also reminds fans of how overpaid players are (wink, wink)." (Baseball Prospectus)
Prospectus Triple Play: Diamondbacks, Royals, Phillies. "The last time Carlos Baerga was a productive major league player, Johnny Cochrane was defending O.J. Simpson instead of Pete Rose, Michael Jordan was returning to basketball (for the first time), and Tony Bennett was winning a Grammy for Album of the Year. Now that we all feel sufficiently old, let's refocus and marvel at the comeback Baerga has made." (Baseball Prospectus)
David Cameron: "You know, if I was an Oakland A's fan, I'd be really worried right now. Their offense is putrid. It's going to take some huge changes to get that team jump started. The Big Three are great and all, but you can't win if you don't score runs. And that A's lineup isn't going to score runs in the playoffs. At this point, I wouldn't even bet on them getting there." (U.S.S. Mariner)
Thursday, July 24, 2003
Royals go deep to extend AL Central lead. They hit five homers in an 8-3 win over the Twins. They didn't actually widen their lead over the White Sox, who won to stay 5 games behind. The Twins are 6 1/2 back. (Yahoo!)
Red Sox 10, Devil Rays 4. Trot Nixon (.320/.405/.567) homered twice, including a grand slam. (Yahoo!)
Yankees 4, Orioles 2. Andy Pettitte has won at least 12 games in his first 9 years, starting with his rookie year. The last pitcher to do that? You guessed it - Stan Coveleski (1916-24). (Yahoo!)
Mariners 6, Athletics 0. Ryan Franklin pitched a 2-hit shutout for his first career complete game. The A's had better start playing their customary second-half .700 ball pretty soon. (Yahoo!)
For some, major moves needed to stay afloat. Rob Neyer: "I think the world of Billy [Beane], but if he can fix what ails the A's lineup, we should let him rule the world." (ESPN.com)
Dan Werr on hitters who have been struggling, and their prospects for recovery. (Baseball Primer)
Aaron Gleeman looks at this year's rookie crop. It's a good one. (Aaron's Baseball Blog)
Prospectus Triple Play: Braves, Twins, Devil Rays. "There's no surer thing in baseball right now than John Smoltz, who might be having one of the two or three best seasons ever by a closer. The gold standard in these things is Dennis Eckersley's 1990 campaign, and Smoltzie's numbers this season are comparable." (Baseball Prospectus)
Julien's Baseball Blog
Petrow's Sports Blog
Wednesday, July 23, 2003
Clutch hits thread in which people construct phrases that describe a player and also form an acronym that spells his name. My mediocre contribution is:
Good arm. Range could improve. Awesome power. A-Rod's rival, absolutely.
Others have done better. The Score Bard has outdone everyone, though. Check this out:
Rany and Neyer didn't actually
Believe Royals' optimism warranted notice,
But even reluctant reporters' opinions alter
If brought astonishing new evidence zapping
Their understandable concerns. Knowledge ends reluctance.
Belief emerges laboriously. Time reveals a narrative.
Stories will emerge, evidence notwithstanding, every year.
Hope also reappears, vindicating every yea-sayer.
Many a Central Division opponent underestimated greatly Allard's labor.
May Allard yell
"Luck is my ally!
Rob eats lard!" and flip off Royal doubters.
A masterpiece, and he also did one for the Yankees, and I don't think he's done yet. (Baseball Primer)
Cubs plug two holes by getting Ramirez, Lofton in Pirates fire sale. (Yahoo!)
David Cameron: "I have a feeling a lot of people are going to be up in arms about the Pirates trading 3B Aramis Ramirez to the Cubs today. After all, he's 25, has some power, and is having a reasonable season with a .283/.333/.453 line. However, Aramis Ramirez just isn't that good, and I won't lose any sleep over not acquiring him." (U.S.S. Mariner)
Yankees acquire Orosco from Padres. (Yahoo!)
Astros rookie Robertson wins again. Is it pronounced 'jer-eye-oh-mee', or 'jerry-ohm'? (Yahoo!)
Billy Altman on Armando Benitez: "His greatest strength—machismo—is also his biggest weakness; Paul O'Neill's pivotal at-bat against him in the 2000 World Series was only one of scores of times we've seen him throw the same exact pitch over and over, unable to believe that a batter is actually hitting it." (Village Voice)
Prospectus Triple Play: White Sox, Cardinals, Rangers. "The Sox have some assets they can trade--Tom Gordon, possibly even Robby Alomar or Carl Everett--but the key name is Bartolo Colon, who even with a sub-par season could command a premium in a trade market that's short on quality starting pitchers. The risk is that the Sox wait too long before punting the season, losing what opportunity they might have restock a farm system that has been plundered through trades." (Baseball Prospectus)
Two entertaining guest columns from Only Baseball Matters: Doug Purdie remembers watching and talking about baseball with his parents, while Iain rants and raves.
Tuesday, July 22, 2003
Harden ends A's slump in debut. He allowed one run in seven innings. (Yahoo!)
Hendrickson, Blue Jays blank Yankees. The former NBA player pitched a 7-inning, 5-hit rain-shortened shutout. (Yahoo!)
Twins continue surge, edge Mariners. They're back up to .500. (Yahoo!)
Dave’s Trading Deadline Preview. "By now, we’ve identified the areas where the Mariners can improve. It isn’t like we need an entirely new starting line-up like the Oakland A’s (good luck with that one, Billy), and neither are we in as bad shape as the Angels, who are looking for a bulk supply of Rally Monkey pixie dust. The M’s could live without a trade and probably win the division. But, there are holes to be filled, and we won’t be breaking any new ground by identifying them, in order of need..." (U.S.S. Mariner)
Shawn Weaver's master plan for the Reds. (Cincinnati Reds Blog)
Jeff Merron takes in a game at Fenway. "I'll resist getting all weepy. But if they could put Fenway in a pill, the folks who make Prozac would be out of business." (ESPN.com)
Gil Hodges vs. Steve Garvey. Matthew Namee disputes Rob Neyer's choice of Garvey as the Dodgers' all-time-best first baseman. (robneyer.com)
Rob Neyer on this year's Dodger offense (it sucks). (ESPN.com)
Prospectus Triple Play: Astros, Brewers, Athletics. "The Astros have left the All-Star gate running, sweeping a four-game set from the Reds to open a three-game division lead. But good trades by Chicago and St. Louis could easily push the Astros from the driver's seat back into the child safety restraints, and this is one year where they don't want to get involved in the wild-card rumble." (Baseball Prospectus)
New weblog: Baseball Ranting and Rambling.
Monday, July 21, 2003
Twins finish off sweep of A's. How do you like the Shannon Stewart Era so far? (Yahoo!)
Midseason Muselix, Part Deux (Orioles, Red Sox). Another post from Don Malcolm. (Big Bad Baseball)
Midseason Muselix, Part Trois (Cubs, White Sox). Who is Sebastian Cabot? Who cares? (Big Bad Baseball)
Midseason Muselix, Part Fore (Reds, Indians). Coco Crisp vs. Cocoa Krispies. (Big Bad Baseball)
Sooner or later, Yankees will regret acquiring Benitez. "The Yankees should know better, after Ed Whitson, after Kenny Rogers, after Mark Wohlers. Benitez is an elite reliever, he's saved a lot of games, and in the right place -- San Diego or Florida or even Chicago -- he might even repair the frayed internal wiring that always shorts under pressure. But he is going to pitch for the Yankees, where fragile psyches, like that possessed by Benitez, are shredded faster than Enron documents." (ESPN.com)
Prospectus Triple Play: Expos, Giants, Blue Jays. "Can you believe that Marquis Grissom has 2,000 career hits? It really took us by surprise when the Giants radio team noted this milestone on Saturday. And in that same game Grissom reached another significant milestone -- his 25th career walk. But seriously, Grissom seems intent to prove that the offensive resurgence he showed last year with the Dodgers was no fluke. It's another thing that may be hard to believe about Grissom, but he really is one of the league's most fearsome sluggers against left-handed pitching." (Baseball Prospectus)
Jeremy Heit argues that Brian Giles is the most underrated hitter in the game. (Jeremy Heit's Blog)
Bi-Weekly Review: N.L. East. "Bottom line is this: if someone, most likely the Phillies, doesn’t close to within five games by August, this division is over and done. If the Braves maintain their current lead through the end of the month, the rest of the Phils, Expos and Marlins respective seasons will be so much wild card hunting. Does that sound all Brave-o-centric and fan-boy of me? Yeah? Okay. Does it sound wrong?" (Baseball Primer)
Bi-Weekly Review: N.L. West. "The Dodgers play four automatic outs: Izturis, Cora, Beltre and a pitcher. As long as they do that, they will not win very often. What’s worse is the fact that Jim Tracy, who needs to get a clue from Dick, has been hitting Izturis and Cora 1-2 in the batting order. With McGriff out, the Dodgers are playing LoDuca at first and using Dave Ross at catcher...I don’t know if Henderson and Burnitz can save the Dodgers, but it isn’t likely." (Baseball Primer)
The Red Sox 3Bs.
The Red Sox third baseman named Shea(The Score Bard, July 20)
Thursday, July 17, 2003
Yankees acquire Benitez from Mets for prospects.
NEW YORK (AP) -- If Armando Benitez thinks Mets' fans were tough, wait until he blows a save and has to deal with George Steinbrenner.(Yahoo!)
The Numbers Game. A long article about Bill James. (Pitch.com)
The Professor of Baseball. Another long article about Bill James. (The New Yorker)
The First-Half (Part Two: The National League). (Aaron's Baseball Blog)
Prospectus Triple Play: Angels, Cubs, Tigers. "In 2001, Brendan Donnelly, Scot Shields, and Francisco Rodriguez were all relative unknowns, without an inning of major-league experience between them. A year-and-a-half later, though, these three pitchers are the centerpiece of the best bullpen in baseball, along with Ben Weber, who made his debut with the Angels in 2000." (Baseball Prospectus)
Doug Pappas: "This column isn't about Bud. It's about Tuesday's USA Today feature, 'What's the Problem with Baseball?' and its companion, 'Ten Ways to Improve Baseball.' In the same week that USA Today won praise from Time for its journalism, it published a pair of articles which would embarrass a small-town weekly." (Baseball Prospectus)
Next scheduled post: Monday, July 21.
Wednesday, July 16, 2003
Blalock delivers for AL. And this time, it counted! (Yahoo!)
All-Star Diary from Joe Sheehan.
7:12 p.m.: Alfonso Soriano has enormous talent, but if I'm an American League pitcher, I do nothing but throw fastballs at his left elbow and force the issue of him hanging in the strike zone. Some umpire will eventually make the right call.(Baseball Prospectus)
Blue Jays send leadoff man Stewart to slumping Twins. The Jays get Bobby Kielty; the Twins also get a player to be named later. (ESPN.com)
Prospectus Triple Play: Red Sox, Reds, Padres. "Phil Nevin's rehab starts have begun, and after looking like he'd be out all season earlier this year, he'll probably be back with San Diego by early August. Nevin's bat has certainly been missed by the Padres, who are putting up a .258 EQA as a team--good for ninth in the league. In his absence, Ramon Vazquez did an excellent imitation of a top-of-the-order hitter until an abdominal strain put him on the shelf, off-season pickups Rondell White and Mark Loretta turned in productive half-seasons, and rookie Xavier Nady had a couple of solid months to start the season. Oh, and Sean Burroughs has quietly developed into one of the top 10 third basemen in the majors." (Baseball Prospectus)
Prospectus Triple Play: Orioles, Rockies, Mets. "The Rockies are a .500 team that has sat on the periphery of the Wild Card race all season long. They are able to dominate at home but are unable to win on the road except against the weakest clubs in the majors. It seems unlikely that they will be able to make a run unless a number of other teams falter. They have 43 games left with over-.500 teams and only 22 games left with under-.500 teams, in addition to five more games on the road than at home. The Rockies may be able to call this season a success on its own terms, but they won't be playing in October." (Baseball Prospectus)
Prospectus Q&A: Kevin Youkilis. "Toiling for the [Red] Sox is a flashpoint player in the tools vs. performance debate--Kevin Youkilis. While lacking in several of the tools that scouts covet, Youkilis was an offensive machine in college, hitting .405 his senior year, with 18 home runs, 61 RBI, 22 stolen bases, and a .549 on-base percentage. Still, it was not until his summer in the Cape Cod League, where he continued to rake the ball, that he finally began grabbing attention on a larger scale. Youkilis was recently chosen to represent America in the Futures Game at All-Star Weekend. BP Correspondent Mark Haverty sat down with Youkilis to discuss tools vs. performance, the Red Sox, and the Cape Cod League." (Baseball Prospectus)
No relief for Cashman. Steinbrenner wants him to trade for a setup man. (NY Daily News)
Midseason Muselix from Don Malcolm. "I didn’t know this until I looked up his stats, but [Shea] Hillenbrand is actually an Arizona native, born in Mesa. That said, he’s still a free-swinging lunkhead, but despite the efforts of many of you, this is still not a federal offense, merely an pseudo-aesthetic blight upon certain sensibilities. It probably isn’t a coincidence that the D-Backs have been winning a lot of games since he arrived, but that’s probably temporary." (Big Bad Baseball)
Tuesday, July 15, 2003
Dodgers add Burnitz, Rickey on busy day.
The 34-year-old Burnitz, who has played all three outfield positions, figures to replace Brian Jordan in left field. Jordan underwent season-ending knee surgery last week.(ESPN.com)
Jon Weisman: "Henderson may struggle to hit .200, but he will walk, and he will spark. Think about this: the man will be perhaps the greatest offensive player ever to wear a Dodger uniform (challenging Frank Robinson, among others, for that award). No, he's not that player on the field any more, but he's not Rafael Landestoy, either." (Dodger Thoughts)
Dave’s Gigantically Huge Review of the First Half. "I was wrong about Bret Boone. Worse, I was wrong about him twice. I didn’t like the original signing in 2001. I hated the contract he got in 2002. I thought his career year came two years ago. I thought the Boone we saw in the first half of last year was The Boone reverting to form. Obviously, I was just wrong. Bret Boone has been the most valuable player in the American League through the first half of the season, and he’s having a better year now than he did in his “fluke” season. Boone’s an elite player and the biggest reason the Mariners are in first place right now. M-V-P. M-V-P. M-V-P." (U.S.S. Mariner)
The First Half (Part One: The American League). "Interestingly enough, at this time last year, the Yankees were in first-place and led the Red Sox by...2 games. The Red Sox went 41-36 in the second-half and New York won the division easily. I don't think anything will be easy this time around and I will stick to my pre-season prediction that the Red Sox will win the division and the Yankees will get the Wild Card. It should be a fun 'race' to watch, although it would be a whole lot more fun if they were actually fighting over just one playoff spot (thanks Bud!)." (Aaron's Baseball Blog)
Paul: "All in all, I'm quite pleased with our first half results. First in the Wild Card, 2 games back, and the team seems to be just rounding into its best form of the year. I don't forsee any .500 second halves this time around." (The Red Sox Rag)
Prospectus Triple Play: Marlins, Yankees, Pirates. "Despite a paucity of young talent--after Brandon Claussen and perhaps Julio De Paula (now known as Jorge De Paula), the Yankees don't have much to deal--you can bet that the Yankees will make at least one deal to improve the bullpen. They may also try to add a bat to upgrade right field, where Raul Mondesi has been slumping, or the DH slot, which is currently a semi-platoon of Karim Garcia and Todd Zeile. What the Yankees lack in tradable talent they make up for in willingness to assume contracts, which gives them a big edge in the current market." (Baseball Prospectus)
They Say It's Your Birth-Joe-Morgan-Chat-Day! Happy Birth-Joe-Morgan-Chat-Day To You! (Mike's Baseball Rants)
This Is an All-Star Team? Ballplayers were better in Allen Barra's day. (Slate)
Introducing "The Quad" Award. "Everyone knows about the Triple Crown: the league leader in batting average, home runs, and runs batted in...Well, now there is a better, more comprehensive version of the Triple Crown. It's called 'The Quad', short for quadruple. The Quad is comprised of on base percentage, slugging average, times on base, and total bases. It is both a qualitative and quantitative statistical achievement." (Rich's Weekend Baseball BEAT)
The Quad, Part II.
The Quad, Part III.
Dontrelle Willis becomes a rising national star.
Oh, you've made a long journey(South Florida Sun-Sentinel)
The Outside World Mets Blog
Monday, July 14, 2003
Dontrelle Express Rolls On. He's 9-1. (ESPN.com)
Wild Pitches: Half-year in review by Jayson Stark. (ESPN.com)
Jeff Merron takes in a game in Atlanta. "If you don't have fun at Turner, you're not trying. Pure baseball? Got it. Pure entertainment? Got it. Baseball history? Got it better than you can imagine. Stuff for the kids? Galore. Come early, bring a big wad of cash, and have at it. You won't regret it." (ESPN.com)
Gregg Rosenthal takes in a game in Denver. "Baseball purists hate Coors Field because of the thin air. There is little else to hate." (Gregg's Baseball, Etc.)
27 Miles To Home Plate.
Baltimore is not Washington. Washington is not Baltimore. It doesn't matter that the Orioles took "Baltimore" off the uniforms.(Washington Post)
Red Sox believe in Kim. "The Red Sox, who like their fan base never miss a chance to overestimate things, seemed to feel they had seen a defining moment in their 2003 season. That was the ninth inning of Wednesday's win, when Kim struck out Vernon Wells on three pitches and whipped a high fastball past swinging Carlos Delgado for strike three. Kim ended the inning by getting Eric Hinske to look at a called third strike." (The Globe and Mail)
Wil Everts: "BK (not BK Kim, that would be redundant, it's just BK!), if nothing else is exciting to watch. You almost never feel truly confident with him on the mound. He's so small and unassuming, so young and fresh looking, and always seems to let a couple guys reach. If nothing else you get your money's worth when Kim is on the mound." (Baseballtopia)
Quality Start: Rookie Brandon Webb has lifted the Diamondbacks into contention.
Webb is the rare pitcher who baffles hitters without changing speeds. More than 80% of his pitches are two-seam sinking fastballs that have so much movement that he hasn't had to throw many off-speed pitches. Webb doesn't throw particularly hard -- he tops out in the low 90s -- but his stuff is nasty. "Big league hitters aren't dumb," says first baseman Mark Grace. "They know what's coming. They still can't touch him."(Sports Illustrated)
Prospectus Triple Play: Indians, Dodgers, Mariners. "It's something we've said before, but it's worth pointing out again; major-league baseball players are the best in the world at playing baseball. They're not necessaily the best in the world at evaluating baseball players. They'll continue to be a part of the All-Star process, but it's not necessarily an improvement over the old way of doing things. Any electorate that would submit more votes for Rocco Baldelli than for [Milton] Bradley deserves to have its judgment questioned." (Baseball Prospectus)
Friday, July 11, 2003
Bruce Markusen's Cooperstown Confidential for July 11. Curtis Pride and deaf players throughout history; trade rumors; the Swingin' A's; more. (Baseball Primer)
The Breakthrough Season That Isn't. Bill Peterson on the Reds' rebuilding program. (Cincinnati CityBeat)
Jason Michael Barker: "This team still needs a slugging LF, a decent middle infielder on the bench and perhaps even a starting pitcher, but chances are they won't add even one of those three pieces. Remember, the M's are built on 'pitching and defense,' have 'budgetary contraints' and are already a 'pretty good' team." (U.S.S. Mariner)
Duquette's new role is art imitating life.
It's not hard to imagine a Boston Red Sox fan selling his soul to beat the New York Yankees.(Times Union)
Stephen: "[Tom] Glavine has lived as a nibbler and his ability to hit that outside of the plate the 'black' has made him a top shelf pitcher. But now Glavine is whining about having too much responsibility when he pitches. It seems the Ace label makes him quite uncomfortable. Well Tom when you sign a 4 year deal and come to an organization that competes in the toughest market in the country and you were integral member of the Atlanta Braves the team that has been the thorn in the Mets side for over a decade the expectations for success are sky high. Between Glavine and Al Leiter neither pitcher has stepped up and done the job that they are paid hansomly to do." (The Eddie Kranepool Society)
Mac Thomason: "Vinny [Castilla] is the only player in the league who can go 4-4 and still be an easy target for criticism. He already had the single, double, and homer heading into his last at bat, and then hit a high drive to right-center that landed in the ivy with Sosa and the CF having trouble fielding it. It was a sure triple, but he jogged into second. Albert Hall lives. Vinny wound up 4-4 with four RBI, two runs." (Braves Journal)
Not starting eating Raul.
"What is there to say? I want to play," Mondesi said. "[Torre] didn't tell me why. The first two months of the season, nobody was hitting except (Alfonso) Soriano and me and no one said anything then. There's no reason for it. I want to be here, but not that way. The only way I'll get better is to play, not sitting and watching someone else play."(NY Daily News)
Larry Mahnken: "Uh, news flash, Raul, you weren’t hitting in the first two months, you were hitting the first month, and you haven’t hit a lick since then. Take a seat, and shut up." (Replacement Level Yankees Weblog)
Is Schilling ready? A curt reply: Yep. He's scheduled to start Saturday against the Giants. (Arizona Republic)
New Tribe taking shape. Terry Pluto: "They've used 23 different pitchers and five different first basemen. They've had five different cleanup hitters, five left fielders and thankfully, only one plan. In many ways, the reconstruction of the Indians is working." (Akron Beacon-Journal)
Prospectus Triple Play: Diamondbacks, Royals, Phillies. "It's still way too early to start printing playoff tickets. It's also way too late to dismiss the Royals as a fluke. They have quietly become the most compelling story in baseball. Here's hoping they have many more chapters still to write." (Baseball Prospectus)
Ahoy the SS Mariner!
Michael's Mets Ramblings
Thursday, July 10, 2003
George Sullivan on Braves Field. "At times, there was Fenway-style magic, electric moments still fresh in the minds of some Bostonians: the beginning of the careers of Hall of Famers Eddie Mathews and Warren Spahn, Jim Tobin hitting three consecutive home runs while pitching the Braves to a win in 1942 -- along with his two no-hitters in 1944 -- the stands filled to their 40,000 capacity during the 1948 Braves-Indians World Series. The smell of beer, cigars, and hot dogs. The crunch of peanuts and Crackerjacks. The echoing crack of a wooden bat, the thump of ball in glove, and the music of the Three Troubadours, who strolled through the stands entertaining fans." (Bostonia)
Alan Schwarz on Milton Bradley.
Too see his boxscore lines -- the ones that have read 4-1-2-2 and 5-2-3-1 a lot lately -- is to have no idea that the Indians center fielder might very well be the angriest player in baseball. Even as Bradley blossoms into one of American League's most talented young players, a switch-hitting powderkeg who is batting .341 (third in the AL), a cloud of negativity swirls around him like the dirt on Pig Pen. He alienates opponents and teammates alike with his icy glare and smarmy strut. He runs out ground balls as indifferently as Albert Belle. Even his own hitting coach, Eddie Murray, says, "He'll bark at you for no reason at all. I don't like the way he treats people."(ESPN.com)
Buster Olney on Melvin Mora's breakout season. (ESPN.com)
Martinez irked at Steinbrenner's comments.
"Soriano is my kid from the Dominican, there is no way I want to hurt him," Martinez said to the New York Post. "Jeter's another nice guy, there is no reason to hurt him. He's had plenty of at-bats against me. I've never hit him, not that I remember. If I wanted to hit them, I could hit them with one pitch. I know how to do that."(ESPN.com)
Jim Caple takes in a game in Montreal. "I'll give Olympic Stadium this -- its seats are interesting, at least the ones above the VIP section. They're of a design that I suppose seemed 'mod' three decades ago, when designers thought we would all be wearing slick, polyurethane boots and zipping around town on jetpacks, but here in the real 21st century, the chairs look like they were salvaged from the corporate headquarters of Spacely Sprockets." (ESPN.com)
Gregg Rosenthal takes in a game in Fresno. (Gregg's Baseball, etc.)
Al: "You're in the bottom of the ninth, behind but your team is rallying, possibly toward a stirring come-from-behind win. And you have two left-handed hitters on the bench who could potentially hit a game-winning HR off the righty reliever who has nothing today. And your choice for pinch-hitter is Lenny F. Harris? (And I think you can guess what the "F" stands for.)...Dusty is insane, I'm sure of it. He might be a great motivator of men and loved by his players, but this move just proves what Giants fans warned us about before the season -- that his lineup selection and in-game strategies bordered on the bizarre." (and another thing!, July 8)
Allen Barra: "Every baseball fan knows that the home run that [Mickey] Mantle hit on April 17, 1953, off the Senators' Chuck Stobbs traveled 565 feet, the longest recorded home run in baseball history...According to William J. Jenkinson, a baseball historian and researcher for the Society of American Baseball Research, 'There is no authenticity to the story. Absolutely zero.'" (Opinion Journal)
Bi-Weekly Review: A.L. West. "The AL West has a surprising amount of depth at third base, with Anaheim's Troy Glaus and Oakland's Eric Chavez both among their team's most valuable players, but youngster Hank Blalock has outshone them so far. Blalock is hitting .330/.383/.540; his .923 OPS leads AL West third basemen easily." (Baseball Primer)
Prospectus Triple Play: Braves, Twins, Devil Rays. "Since June 13th, the Minnesota Twins have been living the Detroit Tiger Experience--losing 17 of their last 23 games, good for a .261 winning percentage--despite facing such juggernauts as the Royals, Brewers, White Sox, Rangers, and Indians. That's exactly one team playing better than .500 baseball, for those of you scoring at home. The problem, you see, has been pitching." (Baseball Prospectus)
Twins simply not using their talent correctly. Rob Neyer faults them for stockpiling young hitters instead of trading some of them to plug holes at 2B and SS, and also for misusing Johan Santana. (ESPN.com)
Life With the Mets: How to survive the summer at Shea Stadium by Josh Levin.
This year's Subway Series tally—GM: 6, Olds: 0—doesn't do justice to how far apart the two teams really are. For the Mets and their unfortunate loyalists, the 2003 season has swan-dived into a yearlong anniversary celebration of the 1993 team. That outfit, led by luminaries like Chico Walker and Met-again Jeromy Burnitz, was so unimaginably dreadful that it inspired a book called The Worst Team Money Could Buy. Not only did those Mets lose 103 games, they did so while producing an unstinting stream of evil deeds. Take July 24, for example. Relief pitcher Anthony Young loses his record 27th consecutive game. In the post-game celebration, Vince Coleman throws a firecracker into a group of kids. Let's play two!(Slate)
New weblog: John's Dodger Blog.
Wednesday, July 09, 2003
Hey rookie! Traber's one-hitter stifles Yanks. "'It was Greg Maddux-like,' Yankees manager Joe Torre said of Traber needing just 2 hours, 11 minutes to shut out New York. 'He didn't throw hard, but you don't have to when you throw strikes. When somebody throws soft, it frustrates you. But you certainly admire and respect it.'" (ESPN.com)
Dierker much more than your average manager. Rob Neyer interviews the former Astros manager, who has a book out. A book that he actually wrote, all by himself. (ESPN.com)
John J Perricone: "I just wanted to touch upon my horror and dismay watching yesterday's win. The two idiots running the [Giants] after Alou's ejection yesterday, (Righetti and Wotus), had some sort of brain-lock and allowed 21 year-old rookie Jerome Williams throw an unbelievably taxing and exhausting 128 pitches against the best offense in the NL. (Only Baseball Matters)
Comparison: Dontrelle Willis vs Brandon Webb. "This comparison comes about because of the ridiculous attention being placed on Willis by the national media...The problem lies in the fact that another rookie pitcher who is arguably having an even better season is almost completely ignored." (Diamondback Bites, July 7)
The Most Underrated Player in Baseball. Aaron Gleeman says it's Mike Cameron. (Aaron's Baseball Blog)
Derek Zumsteg: "Jamie Moyer is one of the weirdest ace pitchers in all of baseball, and at age 40 he's finally heading to an All-Star Game. Before this year, he's been slighted every time he's deserved it. This is because Moyer doesn't really seem like an All Star pitcher: he's not a big gun like Randy Johnson or Pedro Martinez, flame-throwing power pitchers with equal measures intimidation and harnessed talent. No one promotes a Mariners series by saying 'Sunday, Jamie Moyer brings his 50 mph changeup to baffle Eric Chavez and the Oakland A's in a battle of AL West contenders.'" (Baseball Prospectus)
Prospectus Triple Play: White Sox, Cardinals, Rangers. "It's not often that a six-foot-five, 260-pound millionaire requires your assistance, but that's exactly the predicament that Frank Thomas is in, not having been selected as an All-Star reserve by the players or by Mike Scioscia, and stuck instead on the 32nd man ballot...Not to get sentimental or anything, but Thomas is one of the great players of our generation, in the midst of a vintage season, and it would be fitting to honor him in his home park." (Baseball Prospectus)
Tuesday, July 08, 2003
Prospectus Triple Play: Astros, Brewers, Expos, Athletics, Giants, Blue Jays. "The Giants have arguably the best pitcher in the NL (Jason Schmidt) and the best player in the world (Neifi Perez, uh, I mean what's-his-face). In fact, it's not inconceivable that the Giants could sweep the three major postseason trophies come October, as rookie Jerome Williams is resembling Greg Maddux more and more every start. (Who else throws a 96-pitch shutout?)" (Baseball Prospectus)
Outfielder's breakout year halted by torn ACL. Corey Patterson is done for the season. (ESPN.com)
Christian Ruzich: "This is a devastating blow for the Cubs 'offense' -- Corey was among the team leaders in nearly every offensive category, on a team which was in the second division in all of those categories...I don't think it's too early to start talking about how to replace him, because Trenidad Hubbard (on his way to Wrigley from Iowa as I type) is not the answer, nor is Tom Goodwin." (The Cub Reporter)
MLB All-Star Game 2003. Home page for ESPN.com's coverage.
American League All-Star Roster. (ESPN.com)
National League All-Star Roster. (ESPN.com)
Out of nowhere, Mora now an All-Star. Rob Neyer:
Like I said, there haven't been many like him.(ESPN.com)
More mid-season reviews from Ben Jacobs: Reds, Cardinals, Astros, Cubs, Marlins, Phillies. (Universal Baseball Blog, Inc.)
Is Rocco Baldelli the Real Deal? (Rich's Weekend Baseball Beat)
Jeremy Heit's Blog
Simply American: SF Giants
Simply American: LA Dodgers
Thursday, July 03, 2003
Gregg Rosenthal: "I'm changing jobs. I'm also changing coasts. I have time on my side, so I've decided to see tons of baseball on the way back across the country. It is the perfect time, something I've always wanted to do a baseball game a day. No real timeframe." He starts next week. Watch his blog for reports. (Gregg's Baseball, etc.)
Pedro, Kim combine to help BoSox edge Rays. BK is now the closer, and he closed one last night. (ESPN.com)
Pineiro continues winning ways as M's pound A's. He pitched 3-hit ball over 8 innings. Mariners 13, A's 0. "'I told myself "I've got to go nine tonight and give the guys a rest,"' Pineiro said, speaking of the relief staff that is competing without injured closer Kazuhiro Sasaki. 'The weather's heating up a little bit and I'm feeling stronger. My command was there.'" (ESPN.com)
David Cameron: "Mike Cameron's awesome. Andruw Jones, Carlos Beltran, Mike Cameron. Pick your poison, but Cameron's right there with them. I still don't think Cameron's going to be back next year, and someone is going to get themselves a huge bargain in free agency. Its not everyday you can pick up a gold glove player at a premium defensive position who can put up a .300/.400/.550 line. Nobody realizes just how good this guy is." (U.S.S. Mariner)
Blue Jays' Halladay wins 12th straight decision. "Halladay (12-2) has not lost in 15 starts since April 15. His winning streak is the second-longest in team history to Roger Clemens' 15-game string in 1998." (ESPN.com)
Beltran, Colon: Should they stay or go? If they go there will be trouble, and if they stay it will be double. Sean McAdam floats some trade rumors. (ESPN.com)
Bi-Weekly Review: A.L. East. "The Yankees continue to roll. It’s quite amazing how many times they get behind early, only to rally, take the lead in the middle of late innings and bring in the Sandman to put out the lights. What makes it particularly sickening is that we, courtesy of ESPN and FOX, have had to witness all of these torturous Yankees-Mets 'clashes.' Hey networks, we get it already! The Mets suck and the Yankees rule – now please don’t show us every subway series next year because those of us outside of NYC really don’t care." (Baseball Primer)
Bi-Weekly Review: A.L. Central. "Is it really over? Is the Brandon Inge era really over? The Tigers optioned Inge to Toledo on June 18th, picking up the contract of well-traveled backstop A. J. Hinch (hitting 263/319/437 in AAA). So, is Inge the worst hitter ever? Hmm, it's close." (Baseball Primer)
John J Perricone: "[Albert Pujols'] terrific start has many writers suggesting he is a Triple Crown threat, which I find ridiculous. Sports Illustrated had an article in which they suggested he has surpassed Bonds as the best offensive player in the NL, another ridiculous assertion based on some 300 at bats." (Only Baseball Matters)
Mid-season reviews from Universal Baseball Blog, Inc.: Giants, Dodgers, Rockies, Diamondbacks.
Wednesday, July 02, 2003
Busy White Sox acquire Everett from Rangers. "The White Sox will let the Rangers pick three minor leaguers from an eight-player pool, ESPN has learned. Chicago also will receive cash from Texas to offset part of Everett's $9.15 million contract." (ESPN.com)
Aaron Gleeman on the Alomar deal and the Everett deal. (Aaron's Baseball Blog)
Daniel Stein on the Alomar deal. (The Dump's Sportslog)
Eric: "With the moves the White Sox have made this season, and the authority with which they have beeyotched the reigning 2002 title winners, there is absolutely no way the Twins are going to sleepwalk into another division title." (The Baseball Boys)
Prospectus Triple Play: Orioles, Rockies, Mets. "The [Alomar] move is important not for what it brings, but for what it symbolizes: the end of an era for the Mets. Look for Armando Benitez and any other expensive reliever Jim Duquette can trade to follow Alomar out of New York, followed by tough decisions on the free-agent class of 2003 (Cliff Floyd, Tom Glavine) and Mike Piazza)." (Baseball Prospectus)
Forget It, Jake. It's Dustytown. Christian Ruzich on the Bellhorn/Hernandez deal. (The Cub Reporter)
Marlins rough up Braves' Hampton in another rout. 20-1. (ESPN.com)
Not on the market: Marlins keeping Lowell. "Florida's third baseman, who grew up in Miami, went to college there at Florida International and whose Cuban roots add to his local popularity, was told by team officials Tuesday that he will not be traded this season." (ESPN.com)
Lima helps Royals return to first in AL Central. Lima time! (ESPN.com)
Josh Schulz: "There are so many desperate plans running in the Cardinals organization right now I can't follow them all...But I can watch Bo Hart craft a Major League Career in front of my very eyes and understand that this is symbollically the Cardinals season. Can one player, against all odds, remain at the top of the game long enough?" (Go Cardinals)
Prospectus Triple Play: Red Sox, Reds, Padres. "The Red Sox lead the majors in runs per game, having scored 512 runs in 80 games through 6/29. At this rate, they are on pace to score 1036 runs, and would become just the second team since 1950 to score 1000 runs (besides the 1999 Indians). That would be the most runs scored since the 1936 Yankees, and the eighth-highest scoring team since 1900. Of course, the Bosox have the three-fold advantages of the designated hitter, the 162-game season, and a historically high run scoring environment to assist them. But it would still be an impressive accomplishment." (Baseball Prospectus)
Mashing in Beantown: How Good Has the Red Sox Offense Been in 2003? "As you can see, the team has been getting All-Star caliber offense from every position except center field. In fact, to decide who the Red Sox All-Stars should be you might as well just draw names from a hat." (Baseball Prospectus)
Derek Zumsteg: "I love new managers. Each one is a chance for a new approach to rotation and bullpen management, in-game strategy, and roster handling. This off-season, Bob Melvin was called the dark horse candidate by local media. To the surprise of many, he interviewed so well that the Mariners hired him over others who had more managerial experience. Since his hire, Melvin has the best record in baseball at 52-28. And yet...the dark horse has shown himself to be a dim bulb." (Baseball Prospectus)
Joe Morgan Chat Day Tripper, Yeah! (Mike's Baseball Rants)
NL finally grabs upper hand over AL. Clay Davenport and Nate Silver calculate that the NL is tougher this year, for the first time since 1990. (ESPN.com)
Rich's Weekend Baseball BEAT
Do the Brew (Brewers)
20th and Blake (Rockies)
Tom Smith's Cubs Blog
Weeghman Park (Cubs)
Tuesday, July 01, 2003
Mets trade Alomar to White Sox for prospects. (ESPN.com)
Bob Mong: "What I don't understand, at all, is why the White Sox did this: Alomar is hitting .262/.336/.357. The White Sox' current 2B, D'Angelo Jimenez, is hitting better: .255/.332/.410. Plus, he's ten years younger." (Bobbys Sports and News Bloggy)
Midseason Report. Ben Jacobs presents his MVP, Cy Young, and ROY choices. Over 9,000 words. A good read. (Universal Baseball Blog, Inc.)
Derek Milhous Zumsteg: "Piniella challenged every team he ever managed to win: he expected it of them, and he settled for nothing less. I frequently didn't agree with his tactics, but I always respected that about him...Melvin concedes the tie, he concedes the losses. I know that Melvin manages a veteran team of professionals blah blah blah, and I know chemistry's bunk yadda yadda yadda, but I still wonder -- what does his team think about it?" (U.S.S. Mariner)
Alex Belth: "Give this to the Red Sox: they have been anything but dull. I don't know the count, but they must have played some of the most dramatic, thrilling, (not to mention heart-breaking) and exciting games in baseball this year. If the could fix the pitching, they could be real trouble for the Yankees and everybody else in the league." (Bronx Banter)
Brian Carstens: "On another non-Cubs-specific note, I'd like to call for the end of throwback uniforms...In the last couple of years, we've had to watch teams wear ridiculous uniforms from the 70s and 80s, and a few teams have now taken to wearing uniforms that aren't even theirs. The Royals wore Monarch uniforms over the weekend, the Orioles wore Saint Louis Browns uniforms earlier in the year, the Rangers wore Senators uniforms for two weeks or so last year, and in one game last season the Marlins wore uniforms from the AAA team that used to play in Miami." (The [Untitled] Cubs Page)
Prospectus Triple Play: Marlins, Yankees, Pirates. "The hottest hitter this side of Albert Pujols is Yankees outfielder Hideki Matsui. Matsui, who looked like just another HidekiBust one month ago, comes into the last day of June hitting .417/509/.688 for the month, a stretch that has yanked his seasonal line up to .305/.370/.458." (Baseball Prospectus)
Bi-Weekly Review: N.L. West. "Preston Wilson is having a spectacular season. He seems to be the perfect pick-up for the Rockies. And I love the lambchops! There was some discussion here and from Prospectus regarding his 'style' being well suited to Coors, but then Jose Hernandez has the same style, and he stunk up the joint. Jose Hernandez turned out to be very valuable – he got Mark Bellhorn to Denver – which is a very good thing. Why the stupid Mets couldn’t have traded Robbie Alomar for Bellhorn is beyond me – well, it’s beyond Jim Duquette anyway, but that’s another story." (Baseball Primer)
Bi-Weekly Review: N.L. East. "The sudden cooling of the offense has lifted the cover on the [Braves'] continuing pitching mediocrity, a situation John Schuerholz really ought to address in the next month...The team’s continued devotion to [Shane] Reynolds as a starter is beginning to challenge 'Vinny Castilla, starting third baseman' for the most inexplicable thing on the planet." (Baseball Primer)
Pittsburgh Pirates: Released 1B Kevin Young. Dan Szymborski: "Young's big contract given a few years ago was a classic Duquette Blunder - Bonifay actually did really well using a then cheap Young to replace the horribly overrated Jeff King. Bonifay inked him to a 2 year deal for just under $2 million per before the 1998 season and the Pirates got their money's worth. Unfortunately, after a big 1999 season, Bonifay disobeyed Ron Johnson's Law of Fluke Years and signed Young to a 4-year, $24 million deal and didn't get a nickel's worth of performance as a result." (Transaction Oracle)
The Red Sox Rag