Friday, July 31, 2009

A Look Inside the Numbers

With Howard Washington of the Indians winning the Gold Glove, I had to ask how. I thought it was because the perennial winner Brett Kinney was injured. That was not the case. Kinney is the premier CF with 6 Gold Gloves and an average of 20+ plus plays per season at the position. So what happened? Al Mack happened! I can hear the boos from here already and a lot of head scratching to go with it. How did Al cause Brett up to 20 plus plays and another Gold Glove? Range Factor is the answer there. The previous LF in Kyle Forster had a range of 69 which allowed Brett free range in center the previous seasons with Pedro Amaral in right. Al only has a range of 55 which means the CF has to shade to left to cover the extra gap instead of playing straight away center. This little change that probably no one pays attention to can have some big ramifications, like the RF of Brett being only 2.60 instead of above 3.00. That means he had more ground to cover that apparently he couldn't.

The second question, did Al cause the Cubs to miss the playoffs? It is a good possibility, but his hitting should have made up for it, well maybe. His hitting was not as good as Kyle either but not bad.

The Cy Young Look

I have looked over the NL CY Young candidates to determine who to vote for already. Since I don't play against the AL pitchers, their accomplishments will have to determine my vote, maybe we need an AL reporter?. Anyway, I first looked at their ratings then to their accomplishments over the season. They all have one thing in common, they are power pitchers. Lastly I looked up their performance against my team.

Yamil Pulido looks to be the odds on favorite. Yamil doesn't like to pitch against the Indians by the way.

Tim Loewer has very good stats with a 17-2 record. But has a big flaw, he only pitches five innings at best, is this a sign of a CY Young pitcher? Seems to me I would vote for the Pirate pen first. I don't think so, Tim, sorry Chase.

Kent Heredia had his best ML season and deserves a lot of contemplation.

Paulie Sanders initially struck me kind of funny even being in the running. With a 15-7 record didn't look all that impressive. What one needs to know, he was traded to Trenton about 60 games into the season and his 15 starts (10-3) there were tremendous and one of the reasons they are the East division winners.

Ismael Azocar probably doesn't have the stats to win the award but of the other candidates was the best pitcher against the Indians.

Who had the best performance against the Indians? Pedro DeSoto with a complete game win, the only one that I can find. Oh wait, he isn't a power pitcher, what was I thinking.

For those of you that haven't figured out how to beat power pitchers, which you actually can't, they beat themselves. You have to turn their best weapon against them. The Indians probably have the best ND's vs wins of any team against the dominate power pitchers. The Indians win because they beat the pens.

Preseason Guess to Ending Reality

With 1 game to go, most of the playoff races are over but one and a couple final seeding races still exist. I decided to write this now because I have the time today and maybe not later. So how did the preseason predictions hold up?

AL North

I had St. Louis winning the division in the preseason and Toronto second. With one game to go, one of the two will win the division. I also said it would be a three team race and was not disappointed.

AL East

Dover wins the East and Philly was second as predicted. The Yanks did better than I expected staying close. How long will it be before the new Yankee stadium be used along with the jet stream to right center?

AL South

Everyone knew it would be between Monterrey and Durham. I gave Monterrey the nod because of the move from Santa Fe to Durham.

AL West

Anaheim is a tough place to play and I wasn't sure the team was good enough to win there. Knuck understood the reasoning behind the decision, but he was right in the end. Las Vegas is another place that is actually tough to play in. I thought Omaha was ready to win it this season but I was sadly mistaken.

NL North

I had the Reds in first with the Pirates third but in the playoff guess, Pittsburgh was my surprise team and I wasn't disappointed with the Reds being the first wild card. Lo and behold what a guess that was. Milwaukee was the most surprising team as I didn't expect them in the playoffs.

NL East

I thought the Beans would be in first again, big surprise here even though I had the Ball Hogs in the playoffs as the division winner (was I hedging bets here?). As for the Indians, several things went wrong early in the season and losing three of your best pitchers for most of the season didn't help, but still finished in the hunt in second place.

NL South

The two steppers beat out the merengue this season as expected. This is the only division that I got absolutely right, though the AL North could be right yet.

NL West

I didn't exactly expect KC to be that tough in their new park. It is tough going from a plus homer stadium to a negative one with a power offense but they did it well. Note to Vancouver, try Salem or Seattle as West stadiums are a premium.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Run To The Playoffs

With 10 games to go, it could be a wild finish in the NL as teams that hate each other do battle.


1. Pittsburgh Pirates - Has a 5 game lead in the North. the schedule is worse than tough.
2. Houston Astros - Trying to stay in the #2 spot and has an accommodating schedule. Can claim the South title with a win or El Paso loss.
3. Kansas City Royals - Claimed the West title long ago and is fighting for the #2 seed. Chances are slim as the schedule is not that easy.
4. Trenton Ball Hogs - Holds the lead in the East with a 4 and 5 game lead over two very good opponents. Has the 2nd toughest schedule of any division leader and could rise to the occasion or fall flat.
5. Cincinnati Reds - Has a 6 game lead for the first wild card spot. Has a very tough schedule remaining. Chances of claiming the North title is slim but possible.
6. Milwaukee Brewers - Has a 2 game lead for the final wild card spot. The schedule is not promising.
7. Chicago Cubs - 2 back of Milwaukee and they play each other yet. The schedule is not easy by any means.
8. Atlanta Pork-N-Beans - 5 games back in the wild card hunt and 4 games back from the division lead. The schedule doesn't look promising in a catch up mode.
9. Cleveland Indians - If Trenton falters the Indians could easily pick up the pieces as the schedule could knock Trenton and Atlanta for a loop.

What to watch for: The race for the second wild card spot could come down to fisticuffs. The East title is still considered on the line.

The AL has some sticky problems of its own, but may be sorted out after the next 4 games.


1. Durham Bulls - One win away from claiming the South title and #1 seed, seems like a long time coming for a 108 win team.
2. Anaheim Angels - Has got the ship righted and a couple wins away from claiming the West title and the #2 seed.
3. Dover Dung Beetles - Has a 3 game lead in the East but it is a tentative one. The schedule is in their favor.
4. Toronto Blue Jays - Has a 3 game lead in the North and has picked up their play recently. Still could be tough sledding as the schedule is not easy.
5. Monterrey Corn Dogs - Looks like they have decided that resting players is the way to go. Has the 1st wild card wrapped up.
6. Las Vegas 51s - Has a 6 game lead for the last spot and will play an important role in who wins the North.
7. St. Louis Barracudas - 3 game behind Toronto in the North. Could recapture the North if Toronto stumbles but must get by the Philadelphia Athletics first.
8. Philadelphia Athletics - 3 Games behind Dover in the East and they still play each other but it could be over before then.

What to watch for: The North title fight is still up in the air but Toronto has been playing great. Can Philadelphia sneak by Dover in the East?

Friday, July 24, 2009

Middle of the Stretch

NL North

Reds are in first as Pirates lose two of three to the pesky Injuns. Next up for the Reds is those pesky Injuns...oh me oh my. It is possible the Pirates will retake the lead as they host Texas. Milwaukee Brewers had a bead on the remaining wild card spot but the injury to Donald Satou did not help their cause as he will miss at least two starts. The Cubs chances may have gotten a little better with the Brewers unlucky loss but have spiraled downward after the Czars and Injuns beat them up.

NL East

Trenton is in first who lost 2 of 3 to the Reds, next up is a trip to OKC. Atlanta stayed close as their odd schedule saw them play 7 games with KC and winning 5 to KC's chagrin. Next up for the Beans is the Astros. The Indians have beating up everyone of late but has gained little ground but stay in the hunt as they travel to Cincy for 3 of their last 6 away games.

NL South

Houston has seen their lead shrink a bit to 8 games as their passage thru the East has not been helpful. Next up is Atlanta another East foe that could allow the Czars a chance to get closer. El Paso could close ground but a tough schedule could set them back as they face the Brewers.

NL West

Kansas City has a 20 game lead and has a playoff spot. Wins have been hard to come by as they have been traveling through the North and East with little success. Next up is the Cubs at home.

Wild Card Action: The loser of the North has one in hand and 6 others that could find the prize before it is over.

AL North

Toronto, St. Louis and Detroit keep playing musical chairs. The revolving door may not stop until the last out is bellowed.

AL East

The Dover Dung Beetles has led most of the way but just can't seem to put the competition away. The Philadelphia Athletics are staggering around in second only 3 games back followed by the New York Yankees at 5.

AL South

The Durham Bulls has won 100 games and is the first to do so, but OMG they can't sit down to take a breather because of the protruding sticks from the Monterrey Corn Dogs, who are only 4 back.

AL West

The Anaheim Angels has had an expansion and contraction over the last month but has whethered the economic crisis maybe. Las Vegas 51s keep getting close then falters. It could be a race to the finish line before it is over.

Wild Card Action: The loser of the South has one no matter what. The loser of the West could claim the other, but if either of them slip badly there is everyone else who could grab the spot.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Inside The Numbers

Pitcher of the Week, Tim Loewer, has our focus this week. The Pirates star pitcher has a 16-2 record in 25 starts, 2nd at the moment on the Cy Young ballot, 4th in strike outs, and that is only the beginning.

What the numbers doesn't show is that he is a short starter. He averages 6 innings per start at best while throwing about 90 pitches per start. Who is the real star in Pittsburgh, the offense or the bull pen?

Bart Ross was called up by the Indians right after the draft when they went on the road to the AL parks. The intention may have been to give him some ML AB's at the DH position. Upon further review of Inside the Numbers indicate otherwise. If one looks at his hitting ratings, one can understand. Although he still has room to grow in that area, what purpose would it have been to leave him the minors for the rest of the year? He really isn't going to be a much better hitter, maybe a little better fielder. He will be an OBP machine joining Albert Tapies and Giovanni Jackson in that regard.

Even thought the Indians sport the best defense in the league and three power OBP machines, why can't they score runs? The answer is simple, they don't have a David Guardado to back them up. They have hoped to find a player that would produce but have failed as they have had to fix the pitching needs first. However there is hope that may arrive on the scene next season to fulfill their needs.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Injun Happenings

There are several things to discuss about the Injuns this season. I was pretty sure going into this season that the Injuns was a playoff team. They don't fear the North teams or Houston (more on that later) and have had good success against them this season. Normally the Injuns jump out early and Atlanta has to play catch up and usually do by game 110. This year the Injuns can win at home, but on the road they play like a little league team. Last year they learned how to win at home, so that part I can understand. The road had me frustrated to no end for the longest time. I said the answer was far fetched and it is, but it works for me. I never figured it out fully until All-Star break. It just seems that every season in this world is different and hard to get a handle on till it is too late.

Can the Injuns get into the playoffs this year? The answer to that is elusive of course. It depends on quite a few things. The chances of a wild card could be out of the question but have suddenly raised their ugly heads in that realm. The division on the other hand is still within sight. Atlanta has the most gruesome schedule coming shortly that I have ever seen, they play every playoff capable team there is back to back. If they can withstand that challenge, they deserve the title. Trenton has a relatively easy schedule comparatively but still not all that easy and could fall. The Injuns schedule is actually tougher than Trenton's. The Injuns only have the Pirates and Reds on the road, which is better than playing them at home. That probably sounds funny to you. With only the Cubs and KC as the big home foes. KC will be in for a big surprise even though the Injuns were 0-6 in KC, KC needs to fear going east however. The Cubs is a crap shoot by the way. As for the rest, there are plenty of scalps to be taken and I do expect to be over .500 before the dust settles.

As for Houston, like I said, I had figured out the far fetched answer, the last meeting with them should have been a sweep. However, an injury to my starting pitcher two outs too soon was the demise in the second game as I had it won. Injuries was the biggest contributor to last years team falling short and they weren't even to ML starters. This year is another story, now, down two starting pitchers could be detrimental in the end. I don't have anything in the minors to help this year and that is a problem.

I saw a chance to remedy the injury problem with a trade before the deadline, but we couldn't see eye to eye. Then a possibility or two with an after the deadline trade for a good starter and took my chances. When the mail showed up I was delighted with who I had a shot at and a possible trade. But alas, that went out the window with a blocking action that left me puzzled and it wasn't OKC, although they were in the mix. A second chance though was by a team that didn't have what I needed and the player they wanted would have hurt them more than they know.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Stretch Run

Yup, it is that time already, 40 games to go. Now it is time to weed out the playoff teams and the wanna be's. But first this update from MLB-SPTV, AJ extends his streak to 32 games with a triple in the 7th. Little does anyone know that Nick Stahoviak holds the longest streak so far this season at 36.

The AL looks a little odd as two teams are beating everyone and the rest are beating each other up. What will happen before the dust settles could be nothing more than WILD.

AL North

Suddenly the St. Louis Barracudas find themselves in front with Toronto and Detroit staying close two games back.
AL East

Philadelphia and Dover are tied for the lead while the Yankees are two games back while the Senators remain within striking distance at 8 games back.

AL South

The Durham Bulls have already clenched a playoff spot but only have an 8 game lead over the Monterrey Corn Dogs who have a playoff spot nearly wrapped up themselves. Tampa Bay Rays are 31 games back but are still in contention for a wild card.

AL South

The Anaheim Angels have gone down to a two game after the GM disappearing act. Hot on their tail is the Las Vegas 51s with Omaha a distant third.

If you thought the standings in the AL looked a little strange, the NL is not much better. The difference between the two however is that there are 3 teams that have pretty much a lock on the playoffs already with a 4th not far off.

NL North

The Pittsburgh Pirates leads by 3, being in new territory may take its frustrating toll, but should be playoff bound for the first time. The Cincinnati Reds are lingering around in second at the moment waiting to strike. The Brewers and Cubs are both fighting to stay alive for the last wild card.

NL East

Atlanta Pork-N-Beans made it to first after a malingering middle of the season by the entire division. Trenton is fighting to get back into first while the Indians are keeping close should both falter.

NL South

Houston Astros find themselves in first with a 9 game lead. The El Paso Czars are trying to stay with them but not finding the road easy.

NL West

The Kansas City Royals are coasting their way to a division title with a 22 game lead and the 3rd best record in the league.

The oddest thing I have ever seen in both leagues is the difference between the first and 2nd Wild Cards in both leagues. 17 in the AL and 14 in the NL and the next 6 or so are within 6 games of the last spot.

AJ Striking New Ground in Durham

Albert Johnson is currently on a 31 game hitting streak now, hoping this doesn't cause a jinx. During the past month he has hit safely to the tune of 57 hits in 121 AB's which gives him an avg of about .470. In that time he has hit 8 doubles, 4 triples, and 6 chick balls with 20 walks and 5 stolen bases and only 8 strike outs. This is well worth the $30M he gets paid according to Bull's management. Being the best in the game is his goal and another all-world MVP looks to be his for the taking. MLB-SPTV has been doing cut-ins of his at bats during regular programming to keep fans updated. He refuses to do interviews as he is the silent type and likes to keep his mind on the game. On the lighter side of things, DJ's sister is planning a "blow out" party when the streak ends with possible surprises, this from an unidentified source. Rumor has it she has been on the quiet side this season and has been attending just about every Durham game since the start of the season.

Monday, July 6, 2009

It Is All-Star Break

I was wondering how my preseason predictions were doing after the NL melt down in All-Star game. Congrats to Ariel Serra of the Corn Dogs for winning the Home Run Derby.

So, how are the predictions holding out?

NL North
No surprise as it is the Reds and Pirates.

NL East
No surprise here as it is the Beans and Hogs.

NL South
No surprise either as it is the Astros and Czars.

NL West
A little surprise as the Royals are way out in front of the Canadians.

AL North
A big surprise as Detroit is in front at the moment but Toronto and St Louis have their act together and are gaining, albeit slowly.

AL East
Not much of a surprise as Dover is first but the Yanks are in second but Philly and DC are hot on their tails.

AL South
Not really surprised as it is Durham so far but the Corn Dogs have a lot of mustard left.

AL West
Vegas and Anaheim are tied for the top spot but my pick, the Lancers, are not out of the equation.

Overall, of the 12 teams that I chose, and it seems funny, only the #4 slotted teams are in trouble. There are 71 games left and many things could happen between now and the end.