This blog obsessively follows the Cleveland Indians baseball team. It is a lot more active during the regular season, but addresses team issues with analytical humor, humorous analysis, and a lot of calling bad players "fungi." You can subscribe to its RSS feed here:
FINAL 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E Indians (26-14) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 White Sox (20-21) 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 X 1 5 0 W: Peavy (1-0) L: Masterson (5-2) Two hours and one minute, and no Mark Buehrle involved!
1) Straightening the wobble
No outing can be considered an unqualified success when it starts by giving up a double to Juan Pierre, but truthfully, the first three innings for Justin Masterson were somewhat shaky.The White Sox went 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position last night, and 5 of those came in the first two innings.(There were actually two more plate appearances that aren’t “counted” there: the sac fly from Adam Dunn and a walk from Brett Lillibridge.)
The run Masterson allowed was pretty mundane: Pierre blorted one down the opposite field line and is still relatively fast (and aggressive: his SB:CS ratio this year is atrocious).Omar Vizquel may be old, but he’s hitting .348 right now.And Adam Dunn hit a fly ball that wasn’t even very deep: had it been to right instead of center, Pierre would not have scored.
However, Masterson still didn’t have his best command early in the game: A.J. Pierzynski singled on a 2-1 pitch, Lillibridge walked on five pitches, three of Masterson’s first six outs were outfield flies, and he started the 3rd inning with 7 straight balls, walking Vizquel and going 3-0 to Dunn.At that point, Masterson had pitched 2+ innings (the plus stands for extra wandering around!), giving up 3 hits, 2 BB, and 1 R against 1 K.
FINAL 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E Indians (26-13) 3 0 0 1 2 0 1 0 0 7 10 0 Royals (20-21) 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 3 7 0 W: Carrasco (2-2) L: O'Sullivan (2-3) It’s all fun and games until your pitcher throws the ball over the centerfield wall.
In each game, the next inning was the pitcher’s last, and he gave up a double during it.
Now, pitcher A obviously has the advantage in strikeouts with 1 an inning.On the other hand, pitcher B was a lot more efficient, needing nearly 5 fewer pitches PER INNING to get through the 5th.
If asked in broad, general terms which of these pitchers I would normally prefer, I would probably still hem and haw.I really like what the strikeouts say about the first pitcher’s ability to miss bats and what this suggests for future success.On the other hand, the second guy has fewer baserunners, no walks, and could ostensibly go at least a couple more innings.In a sense, the second guy is more “in control” of his game.
Pitching lines without context are only meaningful at a high level.The first guy gave up a second run as his high pitch count induced his manager to replace him, and the reliever let his runner score.The second guy pitched his last two innings with a double-digit lead and left after 6 because there wasn’t any point in leaving him in.The first guy got more ground ball outs despite recording fewer outs and having a bunch more K’s.The second guy gave up a double to Matt Treanor, which is plainly inconceivable.
For once, when Joakim Soria entered the game, I could not have been less perturbed.
1) Ah, but you have heard of me!
I am not going to try to put any more perspective on Poor Vin Mazzaro’s outing than has already been covered in the national media.I happen to be partial to Joe Posnanski’s recounting, but whenever something this noteworthy comes around, there is no shortage of scribes willing to lay out the exact depths of badness.Let me say this, though: unlike some others I’ve read, I was not in the least surprised that Poor Vin Mazzaro was called out to pitch the fifth after coughing up a 10-run hairball in the fourth.Instead, I was surprised by how surprised I became in retrospect.
It was pretty obvious that Poor Vin Mazzaro was summoned to the game in the 3rd inning in order to absorb as many innings as possible.He was actually scheduled to start tonight’s game, but there was some concern about Kyle Davies being physically ready to pitch deep into the ballgame, where here by “ballgame” I mean “first inning.”
FINAL 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E Mariners (16-23) 0 0 0 0 1 0 3 0 0 4 6 0 Indians (24-13) 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 3 5 7 0 W: Sipp (2-0) L: League (0-4)
With all the rain, the Mariners must’ve thought they were at home.
1) Pronk Smash!
On April 26th, Travis Hafner hit a double against the Kansas City Royals.Since then, he had 8 games in which he made more than one plate appearance, going 9-for-30 with 4 walks for a .300 AVG and a .382 OBP, both of which are pretty darned good.
This yielded a SLG of .300, which plainly is not.
On the young season, Hafner’s overall numbers of .340/.403/.528 are quite excellent, and certainly more than could reasonably have been expected of him.Frankly, I doubt he’s got a whole season of .340 AVG in him, but I’ll take a .400+ OBP and a .500+ SLG (at this point in his career) every time.Still, which a .188 ISO is nothing spectacular (it is less than Matt LaPorta’s .202, for exmaple), he’s been hitting the ball with enough authority to warrant him hitting in the middle of the order and being a bona fide everyday DH.His May has actually been a bit better than his April in one regard, in that his strikeout rate is slightly lower but his K:BB has decreased quite a bit (19:7 in April, 7:5 in May).But while he slugged .566 in April, his .433 SLG in May would be more at home on the batting line of Mike Brantley (.412 for the season) than it looks on Travis Hafner.
Steve Buffum grew up a Cleveland sports fan in Akron, OH. He now works as a data cudgeller in Austin, TX with his wife and three children. He also writes a theoretically-popular regular column for www.TheClevelandFan.com and is on Twitter as @stevebuffum. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org