Friday, September 10, 2004

The Astros Continue to Surge

The Houston Astros continue to play outstanding baseball by beating the Pittsburgh Pirates by a score of 9-2 last night. That victory put the Astros in second place in the NL Central and tied with the San Francisco Giants for the Wild Card spot. The Astros were counted as down and out not but a month ago, now they are fighting for the last remaining playoff spot in the NL. Baseball is an amazingly funny game.

Another Conundrum...

This story stuck me as a little strange. So the Expos are supposed to be in Miami playing the Marlins, but because of of Hurricane Charlie, they are playing each other in Chicago ?!?! Why not Montreal? Is the fan base too small? I can't imagine it will be a sell out, all of the Marlins' and Expos' fans are in their respective cities, not Chicago. Oh well...it may just be another Bud Selig screw up.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Flying High - Astros Winners of 12 Games in a Row

The Houston Astros have now won their 12th straight game (which ties a team record) and Roger Clemens picked up his 16th win of the season. Roger Clemens now has 326 career victories which means he is now tied with Eddie Plank for the 11th most all time. Craig Biggio also added to his own record by hitting his NL record 39th career lead-off home run.

The Astros began the day .5 games behind the Cubs who play the Expos today. The Astros were pretty much counted as down and out not but a month ago, and now they find themselves in the hunt for the Wild Card. Roger Clemens was quoted at
ESPN:
"I've been on clubs throughout my career who've won quite a few in a row, but I don't know if it's ever been like this."

The Raging Red Sox

The Red Sox are on a tear and have been closing the gap in the A.L. East for sometime now. They were counted down and out of he pennant race one month ago, today, they are a mere 2.5 games back and closing fast. The Red Sox have won 12 of their last 13 and are looking to sweep the AL West leaders, the Oakland As, as they face off for the last time tonight. The run has been aided by key performances from several players. Pedro Martinez has allowed only 11 ER in his last 57 innings, Curt Schilling has won 18 games, and Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz are continuing to power a very deep, Red Sox offense.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

The "Forgotten" Player

Frank Robinson-#20

Look, I know that someone of his prestige is not “forgotten,” but he is not recognized to the full extent that is due. When people start to think of great players his name never, or hardly ever, comes up. He does rank 5th all-time on the HR list, and many of his offensive numbers are much higher than the ever anger-inducing Barry Bonds. When I look at his numbers I still find it amazing that he was not selected onto the All-Century team. He was replaced with Ken Griffey Jr.Frank RobinsonI understand that Frank Robinson is a name not unknown to the generations that lived during his career, but to fans these days, he is a foreign name. He was a remarkable player known for his speed and strength in the days before weightlifting began. These days he manages the poor Montreal Expos, and believe me, it’s not his fault they lose. He managed teams years ago, but none were in the shape this year’s Expos team is. Even last year he had Guerrero and Vasquez. Anyways, back to the subject, below I have pulled together all of Robinson’s numbers and awards. I just want anyone who read this article to leave knowing a little bit more about one of baseball’s greatest players who has lived in the shadow of others.

Career Numbers:
2808G; 10006AB; 1829R; 2943H; 528HR; 1812RBI; 204SB; 77CS; 1420BB; 1532SO; .294BA; .389OB%; .537SLG%; 5373TB; 17SH; 218IBB; 198HBP;

He was an All-Star in 1956, 1957, 1959, 1961, 1962, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1969, 1970, 1971, and 1974.

1956-NL Rookie of the Year

1958-NL Gold Glove – LF
1961- NL MVP
1966-AL-MVP

1966-AL-Triple Crown
1966-ML-World Series MVP
1971-ML-All-Star Game MVP
All-Time: The only player to ever win the MVP in both leagues.

Career Comparisons (place):
SLG%: .537 (37)
OBP%: 1.080 (25)
G: 2808 (18)
R: 1829 (13)
H: 2943 (28)
TB: 5373 (9)
2B: 528 (28)
HR: 586 (5)
RBI: 1812-15
BB: 1420-20



Sunday, September 05, 2004

The Stumbling Yankees

Baseball is a funny game. A team with more money than some divisions can lose to a team with less than 1/4 of their payroll by 22 runs. Things like this aren't supposed to happen but they do. With the offseason acquisitions of Alex Rodriguez and Gary Sheffield and the departure of their two best pitchers, only the sky seemed to be the limit for the Yankees. In April the Yankees stumbled out of the gate and it took a month for them to reach first place. A month ago analysts across the nation were saying the Red Sox only had a chance for the Wild Card. Yesterday the Red Sox were only 2.5 games back from the Yankees, a full 8 games closer than last month. As most of you know, Kevin Brown punched a wall in the Yankee's clubhouse on Friday night and fractured his hand. Below is a clip from an ESPN article detailing the injury.


The right-hander is still expected to miss at least three weeks after
breaking two bones in his non-pitching hand when he punched a wall in the
clubhouse Friday night, an immature act of frustration that could cost his team
dearly.

Brown had two pins placed in his hand at Columbia Presbyterian Medical
Center on Sunday morning. With a large bandage wrapped around his hand, he was
back at Yankee Stadium answering questions from reporters an hour before New
York played the Baltimore Orioles.

A contrite Brown said he planned to apologize to his teammates personally,
and also offered an apology to the entire organization and Yankees fans for
leaving the club short-handed in the middle of a tight pennant race.

The NL Cy Young Debate Begins

As the season draws to an end the ever popular discussion about Cy Young and MVP candidates heats up. The most intriguing is the Cy Young for the National League. Looking at wins and ERA there are seven pitchers who could legitimately be considered for this award. Listed below are the season stats and some information on team scoring and record.

Randy Johnson (12-12) 29G
4CG 202.1IP 138H 71R 61ER 15HR 38BB 242SO 10.76K/9 103.2P/G 0.87WHIP .189BAA 2.71ERA
Arizona 42-94
RS 533 : RA 778
RS/G 3.9 : RA/G 5.7
Season Highlight: Perfect game against the Atlanta Braves

Ben Sheets (10-10) 28 G
3CG 193.0IP 164H 74R 63ER 21HR 25BB 213SO 9.93K/9 104.9P/G 0.98WHIP .226BAA 2.94ERA
Milwaukee 59-75
RS 535 : RA 639
RS/G 3.99 : RA/G 4.8
Season Highlight: 18 SO CG SHO against the Atlanta Braves.

Carlos Zambrano (12-8) 25G
1CG 168.1IP 138H 63R 55ER 12HR 69BB 155SO 8.29K/9 110.9P/G 1.23WHIP .222BAA 2.94ERA
Chicago Cubs 73-60
RS 642 : RA 544
RS/G 4.8 : RA/G 4.1
Season Highlight: 2-hit CG SHO against the Colorado Rockies.

Jason Schmidt (15-6) 26G
3CG 182.2IP 136H 65R 61 ER 14HR 63BB 209SO 10.30K/9 114.5P/G 1.09WHIP .204BAA 3.01ERA
San Francisco 75-63
RS 736 : RA 696
RS/G 5.3 : RA/G 5.04
Season Highlight: 1-hit CG SHO against the Chicago Cubs.

Carl Pavano (16-5) 26G
1CG 186.2IP 174H 69R 64ER 13HR 46BB 115SO 5.54K/9 102.7P/G 1.18WHIP .248BAA 3.09ERA
Florida 70-62
RS 594 RA 559
RS/G 4.5 : RA/G 4.2
Season Highlight: 3-hit CG SHO against the Chicago White Sox.

Roy Oswalt (16-9) 29G
2CG 195.2IP 189H 85R 77ER 14HR 49BB 172SO 7.91K/9 101.6P/G 1.22WHIP .256BAA 3.54ERA
Houston 72-63
RS 668 : RA 595
RS/G 4.9 : RA/G 4.4
Season Highlight: 3-hit CG SHO against the Milwaukee Brewers.

Roger Clemens (15-4) 28G
0CG 179.0IP 148H 70R 65ER 14HR 69BB 177SO 8.90K/9 103.7P/G 1.21WHIP .226BAA 3.27ERA
Houston 72-63
RS 668 : RA 595
RS/G 4.9 : RA/G 4.4
Season Highlights: Passed Steve Carlton for 2nd on all-time career strike-out list. Passed Tom Seaver, Gaylord Perry, Phil Niekro, Don Sutton and Nolan Ryan on all-time career victories list.

Looking at that list of pitchers two stand out to me. Randy Johnson and Jason Schmidt. Randy Johnson probably has the best numbers (ignoring wins and losses) but has the worst run-support. Jason Schmidt's numbers are pretty close but he actually has wins because the San Francisco offense can actually score. Let's analyze each of the other pitchers and we'll come back to the two aforementioned pitchers.

Ben Sheets - Ranks 2nd in NL in ERA. He pitches for one of the most pathetic teams in baseball and has really come into his own this year. Here is where he ranks in several important categories in the NL this year.
- Ranks 4th in NL in IP (193.0)
- Ranks 2nd in NL in SO (213)
- Ranks 2nd in NL in ERA (2.94)
- Ranks 2nd in NL in WHIP (0.98)
- Ranks 6th in NL in CG (3)
- Ranks 6th in NL in BAA (.226)

Carlos Zambrano - He is 3rd in the NL in wins and pitches for a very good scoring ball club. Why does he only have the same number of wins as Randy Johnson? Because he lacks the quality start the Big Unit has. Here is where he ranks in several important categories in the NL this year.
- Ranks 9th in NL in SO (155)
- Ranks 8th in NL in BB (69)
- Ranks 3rd in NL in ERA (2.94)
- Ranks 5th in NL in BAA (.222)

Carl Pavano - He has been pitching the shadows of Josh Becket and Dontrelle Willis the past two years, its about time he gets the credit he deserves. He has pitched very well for the Marlins and has taken advantage of the decent run-support. Here is where he ranks in several important categories in the NL this year.
- Ranks 1st in NL in W (16)
- Ranks 5th in NL in IP (186.2)
- Ranks 7th in NL in ERA (3.09)
- Ranks 8th in NL in WHIP (1.18)
- Ranks 4th in NL in WPct (.762)

Roy Oswalt - He has stumbled this year because of injuries and his high ERA will take him out of the CY Young race. He still is second in the NL in wins and has been pitching very well as of late. Here is where he ranks in several important categories in the NL this year.
- Ranks 2nd in NL in W (16)
- Ranks 3rd in NL in IP (195.2)
- Ranks 7th in NL in SO (172)
- Ranks 8th in NL in CG (2)

Roger Clemens - At age 41 he has been pitching better than he has in years. He was the starter for the NL All-Star team after a stellar first half. This has been a year full of mile-stones and a superb pitching year for anyone. Here is where he ranks in several important categories in the NL this year.
- Ranks 3rd in NL in W (15)
- Ranks 6th in NL in SO (177)
- Ranks 7th in NL in BB (69)
- Ranks 2nd in NL in WPct (.789)
- Ranks 7th in NL in BAA (.226)

Now back to the big two. They have been the most consistent and best pitchers in the league. One has substantial run-support and the other doesn't. Lets look at the differences a little closer and compare their numbers.


Randy Johnson (12-12) 29G
4CG 202.1IP 138H 71R 61ER 15HR 38BB 242SO 10.76K/9 103.2P/G 0.87WHIP .189BAA 2.71ERA
RS/G 3.9 : RA/G 5.7
- Ranks 2nd in NL in IP (202.1)
- Ranks 1st in NL in SO (242)
- Ranks 1st in NL in ERA (2.71)
- Ranks 1st in NL in WHIP (0.87)
- Ranks 2nd in NL in CG (4)
- Ranks 1st in NL in BAA (.189)

Jason Schmidt (15-6)
26G3CG 182.2IP 136H 65R 61 ER 14HR 63BB 209SO 10.30K/9 114.5P/G 1.09WHIP .204BAA 3.01ERA
RS/G 5.3 : RA/G 5.04
- Ranks 4th in NL in W (15)
- Ranks 8th in NL in IP (182.2)
- Ranks 3rd in NL in SO (209)
- Ranks 4th in NL in ERA (3.01)
- Ranks 3rd in NL in WHIP (1.09)
- Ranks 6th in NL in WPct (.714)
- Ranks 4th in NL in CG (3)
- Ranks 2nd in NL in BAA (.204)


As you can see, Johnson has a slight edge over Schmidt in most categories, but his Achilles heal will be his win-loss record. It always seems that Cy Young winners come from winning teams, and that I don't understand. The Cy Young award should go to the best pitcher in the league and that means that statistics (such as win-loss) that rely heavily on team performance should not be regarded so highly. Basically the award should go to the most dominant and intimidating pitcher in the league. It should go to the pitcher that you want to be on the mound if it was Game 7 of the World Series. In my opinion, Johnson is the better pitcher of the two. Schmidt certainly is dominating but Johnson still takes the cake at age 41. Sadly, Johnson won't win the Cy Young because he is 12-12, and only because of that. Johnson is the pitcher I want on the mound in Game 7.