310ToJoba: October 2009 Archives

Tom Ricketts Is Adorable, Insane

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New Cubs owner Tom Ricketts desperately wants to endear himself to his new team's fanbase. How is he going about doing that? Is it with lots of promotional giveaways and fan-centered events? Err, no. He's actually promising them a World Championship next year. I see no way in which this doesn't end in tears. But we should totally believe him, guys!

(stifles laughter)

Tom Ricketts and his family took ownership of the Chicago Cubs and wasted no time making a promise to the team's long-suffering fans: They will bring a World Series title to a team that has gone 101 years without one.

"I'll be honest. I think we have a team that can do it next year," Tom Ricketts said without hesitation Friday at a Wrigley Field news conference. "The fact is, there is enough talent coming back to this team next season."

Cubs fan have heard that before, of course. For the record, Ricketts doesn't buy the talk of a curse that was put on the team at the 1945 World Series--the Cubs' last appearance--by a man who was ejected from a game with his pet goat.

"There is no curse. There is no curse," Ricketts said. "If anybody on our team thinks he's cursed, we will move him to a lesser-cursed team."

Awww! It's so cute when they try so hard! However, this story gives us a unique opportunity, people. It's rare that one animated GIF from the Internet can so easily encapsulate the thoughts of an entire fanbase, but in this case there is only one thing that Cubs fans can be thinking:

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Home Is Where Your Wins Are

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It seems that there has been a small discussion about the equity of the current "layout" of the MLB playoffs. Specifically, I've heard more than a few people over the last couple of seasons give voice to the notion that the 2-3-2 layout is actually less advantageous to the team with "home field advantage" because they have to play more games in a row on the road then they would get to play at home. I actually partly allude to the advantage of 3 in a row at home in my World Series prediction, but in that situation I was in no way remarking on the fairness of the current layout. Rather, I was voicing my outlook based on the fact that the Yankees lineup would be without the DH for an extended period of time. However, let's dig a little deeper into to recent history to explore this thing called home field advantage.

We'll be looking at the last fourteen years of World Series play. Why fourteen, you ask? Well for starters it's a nice round number and it starts our analysis right after the strike year in 1994. Plus it also encompasses what can be called The Yankees Dynasty so I could privately wallow in my team's previous successes whilst writing this post. And wallowing is all I ask for in this life. Anyway, let's move onto some numbers:

Since 1995, in 74 total World Series games the team playing at home has a win/loss record of 45-29. That in itself seems to be enough to demonstrate that home field advantage is somehow a tangible thing that helps a team win more ballgames. If we poke around a bit more we see that 8 of the last 14 World Champions have clinched victory in front of the home crowd. That number may be a bit less than the popular belief in home field advantage would lead one to believe, but it makes sense when you consider the teams that clinched on the road: The '98 Yankees, '00 Yankees, '03 Marlins, '04 Red Sox, '05 White Sox, and the '07 Red Sox. Four of these six being sweeps will do that to ya!

Historically speaking, 2001 was great evidence that the current layout is fair. In that memorable series, the home team was a perfect 7-0: Arizona won 4 games at Bank One Ballpark and the Yankees went 3-0 in dramatic fashion at Yankee Stadium. 1996 was almost the exact opposite, as the Yankees pulled off a remarkable feat and snatched all 3 games from the Braves in Atlanta before clinching Game 6 of that series at home in NY. If 2009 feels familiar to you, Phillies fans, that's because in 2008 your team also split the first two games with the home AL team. It only remains to be seen whether 2009 will also see the Phillies go on a 3-0 tear at home to clinch the title in Game 5 and have countless poles be greased.

In actuality, only six of the last fourteen World Series have even made it to the point where home field advantage actually played a part (i.e. there was actually the necessity of a Game 6 or 7). 2006 (STL) and 2008 offer some of the most damning evidence against the current layout because each saw the team without advantage win on their home turf without giving their opponent a chance at rebuttal. The cynical among us (read: me) will argue that the chance of rebuttal at home is really quite irrelevant. "A good team should be able to win anywhere!" or words to that effect, would likely be uttered in such a situation. However, the overall record of the home team in recent history suggests that a different layout might actually be more equitable if we're looking to truly award one team the "advantage" of playing at home more often than on the road.

But what is the answer then? Some have suggested a 2-2-1-1-1 setup, like the Stanley Cup, but if a West Coast team ever makes the World Series again (that's a good one, what a card I am!) it would be a travel nightmare. Regardless, even if the teams were located as close as they are now in 2009, there would still be "travel days" in between, and with such a copious number of off days the Series would be drawn out for far too long and we would be subjected to more sleepless nights sans baseball.

Another suggestion has been to simply alter the "order" of the current layout such that it is actually 2-2-3. This takes the "advantage" of 3 consecutive games and places it back in the hands of the team that claims home field before the Series even starts. This actually isn't such a bad idea, at least in my mind. It doesn't have the same off day madness as the first suggestion above. Plus, it guarantees the rebuttal of the home field advantage team except in the extreme case of a sweep. In other words, if the team with home field can win just one of the first four games, they are given the chance to stay alive for the chance to defend themselves again at home. This would seem to most preserve the equity of home field advantage. However, one can also easily argue how equitable the awarding of home field advantage is at all because it is determined by a mid-season publicity stunt... but I digress.

Anyway, folks, what do you think? Should we change the layout of the seven game series? How should we change it? Or should we find a different way of awarding World Series home field advantage to begin with? Why am I asking so many questions?

(All historical World Series stuff is courtesy of Wikipedia)

At this moment Rob is probably trying to figure out if it was a wise idea to get the "2 for $20" deal at Applebee's if one man consumes all the food. Yankee Stadium restrooms beware. With that pleasant image in your mind, join me for tonight's liveglog! Kindly do not tap on the glass of your resident Yankee fan's tank.

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As I'm sure you are all blatantly aware, due to some ham-handed statements by both Rob and me around these parts, I am very much a New Jersey native, dago and a Yankees fan. As such, this World Series preview (note: even calling it this would be most generous) will feature no prognostication or any attempt to consider either of the contending parties as a whole. Rather, we shall be using statistics to consider how the Phillies front four starting pitchers, Cliff Lee, Pedro Martinez, Cole Hamels and Joe Blanton, match up against the Yankees lineup. That OK with you? No? Well, I'm doing it anyway.

(pulls on latex gloves)

Let's begin.

Managerial Odds and Ends

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Lest you think I'm all about statistically-minded opinion pieces, there were a few bits of news regarding managerial situations around MLB today. To the wires!

First, Tony La Russa is apparently staying with the Cardinals in 2010, says ESPN:

Tony La Russa is returning to the St. Louis Cardinals as manager on a multiyear contract, sources told ESPN's Buster Olney, but there will be at least one change to his coaching staff.

Sources said Hal McRae, the team's hitting coach, has been fired -- and the leading candidate to replace him is Mark McGwire, the former Cardinals slugger.

The 65-year-old La Russa has been mulling his future since the NL Central champion Cardinals were swept in the division series by the Los Angeles Dodgers on Oct. 10. His two-year, $8.5 million contract expires at the end of the month.

"We're getting closer," La Russa, who has managed the team for 14 years, said earlier Sunday. "But nothing has been decided. I can't tell you anything yet."

When you have Albert Pujols, does one even need a hitting coach? More importantly though, if you were to a hire a hitting coach, would you hire Mark "All Natural" McGwire? Remember, he's not here to talk about the past, something that will make discussing previous ABs with his hitters quite difficult.

Then there's the news that the Indians have named their new manager, and it's Manny Acta:

The Cleveland Indians hired Manny Acta to be their manager, giving him the job about three months after he was fired by the Washington Nationals.

Acta signed a three-year contract with a club option for 2013, Indians spokesman Bart Swain said Sunday. Additional terms were not disclosed.

"I am very excited to become part of the Cleveland Indians family," Acta said. "I look forward to working with this talented group of young men who seem to possess a lot of energy and passion for their work."

I like this move quite a bit actually. I had always been of the opinion that Acta got the short end of the stick whilst in Washington. Then again, what manager in Washington isn't getting the short end of the stick? Acta's a good baseball guy, plus he and I share a lot of similar likes and dislikes!

Programming noise: That's probably it for me today, guys. Thanks again for making this a great weekend. I'll see you again in a week's time. Enjoy the game tonight!

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I feel like it makes sense to get this out at the very beginning: The American League Rookie of the Year Award in 2009 makes me very, very angry. What's truly quite strange though is the fact that this rage is not directed at the voters, the usual recipients of my scorn. In fact, for the first time in a long, long time, I might demonstrate total indifference towards the Writers Association with regards to this particular Rookie of the Year award. You hear that, guys? You're getting a free pass on this one. Heaven help you if you screw up anything else, though.

No, my rage this time is directed at the players. Specifically, why couldn't they play better? Isn't that what they were created in laboratories to do? You see, the problem is we don't have one truly impressive AL Rookie of the Year candidate. Rick Porcello will probably win the "honor" due to our nation's ungodly infatuation with wins, youth, boyish looks, and attempts (either intentional or unintentional) to grow neck beards. If these were the actual qualities on which the candidates for RoY were to be judged, then not even I could find fault with a Porcello victory. Unfortunately these aren't the metrics the Writers Association employs (if they employ any at all...ZING!) and the fact of the matter is that Porcello simply walked too many, struck out too few, and pandered to excellent defensive play behind him to give his ERA a false shine.

The wise among us are calling for Oakland pitcher Brett Anderson and, truth be told, he did have an impressive season that is put into further context if you look at the advanced metrics. If there's anything to knock him for, it's his HR total, but that would just be nit-picking of the highest variety. Anderson is certainly the most deserving candidate, and other outlets have started to jump on board his bandwagon. However, I won't be disappointed if he doesn't win because we all know how that worked out for another Oakland player, and I would prefer the chance to watch Anderson have a few good years before Billy Beane casts him off in favor of "building around cheap, controlled talent."

Which brings us (segue!) to the man they call "Elvis". When I spoke earlier of my frustration in the lack of a candidate that is head and shoulders above the rest of the competition (a la Longoria last season), I was mostly directing this frustration towards Elvis Andrus.

Here's what Andrus is good at:

  • Running - Fella was 33/39 on stolen base attempts this year. Not too shabby, and it bodes very well for his future ability as a run scorer in that monstrous Texas lineup.

  • Fielding - This is where Elvis really shines and I start getting all weepy over good defense. At a demanding position, Andrus posted a superb 8.3 UZR/150 in his first full season wherein he played all but 17 games for his team. That's really quite good for a youngster and his role as a run saver undoubtedly helped to solidify his 3.0 WAR, a figure just behind Anderson (3.8) and way ahead of Porcello (1.9).

  • Having an awesome name - Seriously, look at that thing, it's a wonder to behold. I wish I could be that cool.

Unfortunately, it's not all cute puppies and rainbows for Andrus. As you probably noticed he has one glaring omission from the above listicle: hitting. Not surprisingly, there's a reason for that and it's the fact that he's really not a good hitter. Or at the very least, he was a frustratingly inept hitter in his first season. His lack of patience and little pop is probably keeping Andrus from running away with the award. His OPS+ was a paltry 85. He only wOBA'd .322, a figure substantially down from his minor league totals the year before, and unaided by his low walk rate. Nobody expects Andrus to be a substantial power threat, but he is supposedly the future leadoff hitter for his team, and good leadoff hitters know how to get on base besides slapping the ball all over the park.

What really drives me nuts about this guy though is what he was doing with the bat. Specifically, Andrus hits the ball hard. And he hits it in this fashion a lot. He is 20th in Major League Baseball in LD% (21.9%). The really disturbing thing? With the exception of one man on the top 20 list, every single hitter with a higher LD% than Andrus has a substantially higher BABIP. In other words, Andrus should have been hitting more singles and doubles at the very least, but he was getting robbed by bad luck. So if he gets on the other side of the karmic boomerang and starts to have more hits fall in and draw more walks, Andrus will be the stud the Rangers want him to be. Look at it this way, his WAR already shows him to be valuable, imagine what he could do once he starts swinging the bat. For now though, we're left with a rookie season that was quite good but was held back from being truly great and giving us the unanimous RoY candidate we are probably looking for.

Tonight's Questions

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Hey kids, I leaned on the wall and the wall leaned away

AM I bad luck when it comes to the weather at Yankees games? The forecast doesn't look good for an on-time start at Yankee Stadium tonight. This happened last weekend too!

WHO do you like in the matchup tonight if the game happens? Messrs. Andy Pettitte and Joe Saunders are your starters in Game 6.

HOW many profanities will be screamed if the Yankees fail to clinch again? I figure I'm good for quite a few on my own.

WILL you use this post as an open thread to discuss tonight's action? I certainly hope so.

Uncool Update: Of course the game is postponed until tomorrow night. Go about your lives citizens.

That's it for me today, folks. I'll try to be less long-winded tomorrow.
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It was really only a matter of time before my nerdiness made its first appearance on this new stage. Here's hoping you don't mind, but I just couldn't resist.

Steven Levitt, who most of you probably know as the author of Freakonomics, and Kenneth Kovash, who most of you probably don't know at all, released a new paper in September entitled "Professionals Do Not Play Minimax: Evidence from Major League Baseball and the National Football League." Whew! That's a mouthful."But 310ToJoba," you say, "what does that even mean? 'Minimax' sounds like an adult film channel!" I know, I know. The quick and dirty definition of the term is from game theory or decision making theory and it basically asserts that a player in a zero-sum game will select options that minimize their maximum losses. To be overly thorough and clarify even further, a zero-sum game is a situation where the "players" can only benefit at the expense of each other because the possible payoffs from any set of actions is exactly the same. Checkers is an example of a zero-sum game since one player wins and the other player loses. Same with gambling at a casino because the amount that the gambler wins is precisely equal to the amount that the house loses in paying him. Makes sense, right? Not surprisingly the interactions between batters and pitchers are zero-sum games. Either the pitcher "wins" and the batter makes an out, or the batter "wins" and gets on base.

Clearly this is overly simplistic because some hits/walks are more "valuable" to the outcome of a game than others, so simply saying that a hitter "wins" doesn't necessarily mean that the pitcher is doing a bad job. That's where Levitt and Kovash come in. But I'm a skeptical person who has to be an ass and question everything. Wouldn't a pitcher with a good fastball be better served to throw it more often? So follow me after the jump to see what's what.

Tonight's Questions

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Hey kids, tell me what you know about dreamin' dreamin'

WHO do you like in tonight's matchup between the Phillies and the Dodgers? Cliff Lee and Hiroki Kuroda are your starting pitchers in Game 3 as we head to Philadelphia with the series tied 1-1. Get your earflaps ready!

ARE you embarrassed for the New York Football Giants? I would be.

CAN I possibly thank you all enough for making me so welcome on my first weekend? I don't think that I could, but know that I am truly appreciative and look forward to doing this again in a week's time.

That's it for me, folks. Hopefully I didn't break anything. Your Weekday Overlords are coming back to blow it out tomorrow. Enjoy the game.

(Image courtesy of the appropriately named throwinrocks!. Because Philadelphia fans are violent, you see.)

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Thus far Playoffs 2009 has taught us many valuable things. For one, bullpens are apparently totally unreliable entities that should only be trusted when there is a most generous lead to protect. For two, teams that are proud of being "fundamentally sound" have a tough time beating teams that are proud of being "really good at baseball." Thirdly, umpires are having themselves one rough October wherein it is nearly impossible to get through an game without having some sort of controversy over a close call or whatnot. For the latest in this fine department, please see Aybar, Erick. Fourthly, Haas Avocados mistakenly think people actually want to buy their products. Lastly, the playoffs have shown us that even small market teams have a chance to go deep into the big dance. But not really. To the bullet points!

  • Yankees (Payroll - $201,449,289, 1st in MLB)

  • Angels (Payroll - $113,709,000, 6th in MLB)

  • Phillies (Payroll - $113,004,048, 7th in MLB)

  • Dodgers (Payroll - $100,458,101, 9th in MLB)

Oh my, isn't that surprising. The four remaining teams are all in the top ten? You don't say! But what does this show us about the current state of baseball? Is revenue sharing the answer? Do we need a salary cap? Or is the answer, rather, a salary floor?

(throws gasoline on tire fire)

What do you guys think?

(All salary figures courtesy of CBSSports)

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Well now, what isn't there to say about last night's only ballgame? Emotions for all parties involved likely ranged from, "holy hell I just want to grab my blankie and go to sleep" to sheer elation mixed with a taste of surprisingly inedible pie. Either way, the Yankees found themselves embroiled in yet another dramatic postseason game this season, and once again they emerged victorious. The victory puts them up 2-0 in the series as they head to Anaheim, where hopefully the weather is warmer and the rain is less rainy. But in this lengthy Game 2 battle between the two teams with the best records in baseball, who was really most important? Let's find out!

  • Alex Rodriguez: What are you thinking, A-Rod? The fans are never going to hate you if you keep doing things to help your team win! What's that? Oh, you don't want them to hate you? I see. In that case, just keep doing what you're doing. Rodriguez continued his transformation from "unclutch" pariah to veritable demigod in this postseason as he bashed a game-tying homer in the bottom of the 11th to keep to tie the game after New York had fallen behind by a score of 3-2. Rodriguez' opposite field dinger kept his team alive for the 13th inning heroics and it was the single most important play in the entire game according to WPA and the nerds. My own homemade metrics confirm this homer as adding the most pants-tightening to the game. Really all A-Rod needed to make his night complete was some more plastic monster!

  • Macier Izturis: Izturis continued what has to be a disturbing trend for the "fundamentally sound" team from Anaheim. His horrendous error in the 13th allowed the Yankees to grab the game and a big 2-0 series lead. As we said yester-morn, the Angels defense has been quite embarrassing so far and they didn't help their cause by adding two more total errors last night. In that sense, Izturis is really just part of a much greater problem, but I already used the "Angels defense" on one of these lists, and Izturis made the error that had the most immediate impact on the outcome of the game, so he gets the nod to be on this meaningful listicle.

  • Jerry Hariston Jr.: Rob's resident object of adoration had never had a plate appearance in a postseason game in his 10+year career until earlier this morning. Hariston roped a single for a hit in the 13th and as a result now has a better postseason batting average than Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Johnny Damon, Mickey Mantle, you, me, and everyone in between. However, since it's not the hit itself, but rather how you use it, Hariston makes this list because he scored the game winning run on the aforementioned Izturis error and got the celebratory pie afterwards. That's quite a busy day. Oh and I'm told that if you heard screaming last night that you shouldn't worry, it was just the Iracane household.

Tonight's Questions

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Hey kids, it's up to me now, turn on the bright lights.

WILL the Yankees/Angels tilt start on time tonight at 7:57 PM or will it be delayed, or worse, canceled, due to Mother Nature being a fickle mistress? According to the official Yankees Weather Twitter account the gates are opening on time, but that might just be so they can sell more overpriced rain ponchos!

WHICH A.J. Burnett will show up if the game is played? I know some Yankee fans who are hoping for a repeat of his performance against the Twins and some Angels fans who hope he can barely find the strike zone.

WHERE will you be for tonight's game? I'm not sure if there's a glog going on around these parts. If it turns out that there isn't an official glog, I might come back and set up an open thread for you because I love you all so.

IS Rob going to be mad that I uploaded the above image? It grossly exceeds the image size he mandated before I started. It was an accident, and I'm still learning the ropes! Don't lock me up with Drew!

WHAT would you like to know about your new weekend editor? I'm sorry for not introducing myself more thoroughly in my first post today, but I didn't want to jam you up with foreplay when there was baseball to discuss. But you can ask me in the comments below, if you'd like.

Well that'll do it for day one of the new weekend regime, folks. I'll be back tomorrow for (hopefully) more LCS action and other things. It was a great first day and I appreciate your hospitality. Now, let's all relax.

(Not-real-time image graciously appropriated from Flickr user lobotion.)

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My goodness this alliteration stuff is hard. I would have had this published long ago, but it took me forever to come up with that title.

(shakes fist at previously established WoW memes)

Moving right along, the other big news from baseball last night was number one draft pick / savior of the human race Stephen Strasburg making his Arizona Fall League debut for the Phoenix Dirt Dogs. The Wu-Tang clan approves of this team's nomenclature. So how did young Mr. Strasburg fare against hitters that are nothing like what he'll see in the Major Leagues? Pretty well, actually.

Stephen Strasburg made his grand professional debut on Friday night, pitching in the Arizona Fall League at Phoenix Municipal Stadium, and his 3 1/3-inning scoreless outing may have been a preview of great things to come. Strasburg, taken first in June's First-Year Player Draft by the Nationals, threw 50 pitches -- 32 of them strikes -- for the Phoenix Desert Dogs. He faced 11 Scottsdale Scorpions hitters, walked one, struck out two, allowed a pair of singles and earned the win in his club's 7-4 victory. The two strikeouts came with one out in the first inning and were of the swinging variety.

That's a lot of pitches for only three innings and not that many strikeouts, but that hasn't stopped some people (read: scouts) from starting to jump the gun on the youngster's future. Let the hyperbole commence!

"He's very special," said Tom Romenesko, a former scout for the Astros and once the head of the Padres' Minor League development. "He brings up the intensity level of the rest of the players. There are not many guys who can do that."

Those of you who had "one" in the office pool for "How many games into Strasburg's professional career before people start to laud his intangibles?" are the big winners! Congratulations!

But we can't stop now, this is hype country!

"With his composure and his stuff, there's no reason this kid should not be Washington's opening day starter next year," one major league scout said. "He's better than anything they have. There's no reason for him to spend time in the minors."

Now we've added "composure" to "intensity." Slow down, anonymous scouts, I'm going to get an intangibles nosebleed! Perhaps we should encourage these scouting gentlemen to invest in one of these:

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Being the new guy at Walkoff Walk is no fun, let me tell you. As part of my rookie hazing, Rob has already made me read aloud to him his selection of favorite WoW posts from the past year. If my voice doesn't have just the right inflection to suit his needs, he makes me start over from the beginning. This is a real bitch because he really likes all the interviews. Oh, and last night, I had to relieve Intern Darren for a few hours and guard the supply closet where they're holding Drew. I suppose the close confines have really gotten to our resident Canadian because he kept alternating between screaming the names of advanced baseball statistics and asking me if I could "spare him a scrap of Excel". I don't even want to know what comes next.

Anyway, enough about me, there was important playoff baseball on last night! In the earlier game, the apparently not so "road-ready" Phillies bullpen became the latest example of reliever ineffectiveness during Playoffs 2009 and handed the Dodgers a win to level the series 1-1. Shockingly enough, Brad Lidge was nowhere near the scene of the crime this time! In the nightcap, the Yankees sent their hefty ace to the mound on a freezing cold night in the Bronx and promptly took a 1-0 series lead from the Angels. So here are the three most important people from last night's games, as voted by me, your new weekend editor / hungover college student.

  • Chase Knoblauch Utley: The bottom of the 8th was a half inning I'm sure the Phillies wish they could forget. There were many, many culprits in the implosion and I could just as easily have put newly-unsuitable LOOGY / object of Philadelphia scorn JA Happ in this spot. Happ was, after all, the guy who walked Andre Either with the bases loaded to give the Dodgers a 2-1 lead that they would never relinquish. However, to sound totally like those horrendous Chase banking commercials (irony!), it was Utley's throw that nearly hit the fourth row in the stands that kept the Dodgers in the inning. Chutley's fielding gaffe, his second abysmal throwing error in as many nights nonetheless, gave the Dodgers the extra out they needed to eventually load the bases and set up Happ's moment in the KRILL spotlight.

  • The Angels defense: Oof. It was a bad day to be a man of the leather last night. The Angels made three errors in their opener with the Yankees that were undoubtedly integral to the Pinstripes claiming victory. First there was a miscommunication over a routine infield popup in the first that allowed the Yankees to score their second run of the game. Then Juan Rivera made a throwing error for good measure. Starter John Lackey, not content to just watch the antics, decided to take part in the festivities himself and chucked a pickoff attempt that bounced off Kendry Morales' glove into foul territory allowing Melky Cabrera to move into scoring position. Jeter would drive Cabrera home on a ball that the normally suave Torii Hunter badly misplayed allowing Cabrera to score and Jeter to move to second. At that point the Yankees had their 4-1 lead that they would never return. Apparently the Yankees are great at making teams that are allegedly great at fundamentals look fundamentally bad.

  • All the starters from last night: This is more indicative of my own indecisiveness than my inability to count to three. Plus, it allows me to hide my obvious rooting biases by spreading around the love a bit. CC Sabathia pitched like the ace the Yankees thought they were getting when they paid him 850 billion dollars (Note: I'll have to check this figure.) The fella went 8 innings, striking out seven and walking only 1,limiting an Angels lineup that has consistently tormented the Yankees to only 4 hits and 1 run on the evening. John Lackey was only partly to blame for his team's failure as described above as and he managed to keep the Yankees in the park the whole game. The real pitching performances came in the Senior Circuit game though. Pedro Martinez was nothing short of dominant against the potent Dodger lineup and economically worked through 7 innings of two-hit baseball, allowing zero runs and walking no one before getting a potentially early hook from manager Charlie Manuel. His counterpart Vincente Padilla was also pitching phenomenally and made only one bad pitch to Ryan Howard that ended up way in the seats to give the Phillies their only run. Party like it's the early 2000s!