310ToJoba: May 2010 Archives

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...AND ROY FREAKING HALLADAY JUST THREW A PERFECT GAME. 27 up, 27 down. Eleven strikeouts, the third highest total in perfect game history.1 115 pitches. Wow.

So uhh, any Philadelphia fans still miss Cliff Lee?

1That's according to the suit on MLB Network right now. Koufax had the highest total, and then Randy Johnson in 2004 had the second highest total, apparently.

Tonight's Questions

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Hey kids, mind heist.

  • SHOULD Sean Rodriguez be proud of the fact that he's the first Rays infielder to actually be stung by a sting ray?

  • ARE you surprised that the 2010 season is on pace to break the record set in 2009 for batters striking out? David Wright is certainly doing his part!

  • IS Roy Oswalt going to further polish his ERA for the trade market tonight against the hapless Brewers?

  • WHY us is Jason Kendall playing nearly every day? Might it be to potentially set a record? I wouldn't put it past the Royals.

  • WILL the Nationals be able to best the ever-awesome and still undefeated Tim Lincecum in their matchup against him tonight on the West Coast?

That's all kids, same WoW channel tomorrow.

Tonight's Questions

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Hey kids, will you be a stranger when I get back?

  • DO you consider this tub trumpet version of "Sandstorm" to be better than the original? For that matter, what the heck is a "tub trumpet"?

  • WILL Blue Jays fans be even more inclined to hate the city of Philadelphia after the awesome Zoo With Roy printed this t-shirt today?

  • WHEN will the Marlins be promoting OF prospect Mike Stanton? I'm not sure what they're waiting for, the dude just hit a 500 foot homer. Even Brian Sabean thinks that's impressive.

  • WHY did someone else feel the need to write a glowing piece about the Rays rotation that fails to substantively mention the team's defense? WHAT MUST I DO TO MAKE YOU UNDERSTAND, TIM BROWN?!

  • IS Rob having a good time at the game with phillas and Farthammer? I suggest you keep checking his Twitter to find out.

  • WHICH of the two measly games on tonight will you be watching? I'm leaning towards Mets/Marlins because it's Johan Santana facing off against Josh Johnson.

Thus concludes another day with Dmac helming the ship. Took me a lot of effort to convince him to take a break and let me handle the TQ this evening. Come back tomorrow to see him continuing to feed the beast. Same WoW channel.

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The Rangers backstop, who is currently working on a rehab stint in Oklahoma City, has been afflicted by what can best be called "Rube Baker Syndrome." A Major League II reference on a baseball blog? Who'd a thunk it! Why that particular character, you ask? Well, let's consider Salty's problem in more detailed FAIL.

RedHawks catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia would be back in the major leagues if he didn't have a problem throwing the ball - not to an infielder, but back to his pitcher. In Salty's last game, Tuesday night at AT&T Bricktown Ballpark, 12 of his throws back to the pitcher landed either short of the mound or in center field. He had five errant throws in the first inning alone.

"He's just got to keep playing until he gets it right," RedHawks manager Bobby Jones said. "I don't know what else to do. It's a shame. It's definitely what's keeping him here. He's blocking the ball well and swinging the bat well. He's just got to figure it out. It's a shame."

This is pretty unbelievable. As the article goes on to note, Saltalamacchia is doing everything else perfectly fine. He's hitting over .350 and apparently his throws to second are satisfactory. This is so utterly bizarre. And it certainly makes me feel better about all those times I made a friend have to stretch for an errant girly throw of mine whilst playing catch. Luckily for Saltalamacchia, the movie tells us this is an easy problem to fix. Get that boy some centerfold models, stat!

Thanks to matt_t for the tip

If you happened to be watching the second game of the Yankees/Tigers double-header you were treated to two very special guest appearances. In between innings, Jay-Z and Eminem visited with a bunch of broadcast crews to announce a pair of shows the two are performing together at Comerica Park (September 2) and then again at Yankee Stadium (September 13). That's definitely a big deal because Eminem just had his song debut at number one and Jay-Z is well... still making music!1

The video you're about to see is from the pair's encounter with Yankees play-by-play guys Michael Kay and Ken Singleton. It's a doozy.





This video makes several things glaringly obvious:

  • Michael Kay is very white, but not as white as Ken Singleton... who is actually black.
  • At 2:10 starts an interesting train of discussion because Kay asks both guys if they'd rather be baseball players than rappers. Because that's standard conversation fodder for any good interviewer, you see. "Hey, you're really accomplished at something, but wouldn't you rather do something else?"
  • Creepy fat lurker at 3:11!
  • At 7:40 Jay-Z attempts to explain who is opening each show. Michael Kay doesn't get it but soooo doesn't want to seem uncool.
  • 9:28 demonstrates the awful quality of Michael Kay's jokes. In other news, the YESMichaelKay twitter was on fire during this whole thing.


1"UNH... MOTHA%&$#@...UNH!" Repeat.

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How does that old saying go? Raypril showers bring May regressions spurred by peripheral statistics? I'm sure I've messed that up somehow. Either way, unless you've decided to ignore April baseball altogether, you're likely aware that the Tampa Bay Rays are partying like it's 2008 and are off to a fast start. They're atop the AL East at the moment and there's no shortage of glowing pieces being penned about the reason for the Rays success. Like this one!

The Rays' 19-7 record is built on pitching, and lots of it. Tampa came into the week with the best team earned run average in the American League at 2.97, and the starting pitching has been particularly dominant with a collective 2.63 ERA.

(snip)

The Rays' run differential is plus-70. For a bit of perspective, only three AL teams had a greater run differential than that for the entire 2009 season -- the Angels, the Yankees and the Red Sox -- and none of the three are particularly close to the Rays this year. In fact, the Angels and Red Sox both have actually allowed more runs than they've scored.

Wow, that is mighty impressive. But what Hickey, the author of that Fanhouse piece, fails to mention even once in his article is defense. FOR SHAME I SAY!

Now, you may be wondering why it would be necessary to mention that. Well for one, while the Rays may be leading all of MLB in ERA, they also sport the worst ERA/FIP differential in all of baseball to boot. The gap is over a run. In short, their starters aren't this good, but rather they're being boosted by some ridiculously good play behind them. Is it any coincidence that the Rays also lead the league in defense according to UZR? Doubt it!

Defense: it's the new hotness. Allowing average pitchers to overachieve since nineteen dickety two.

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Some might argue that the month of April already has it's owner, but, in all fairness to "Raypril," some individual hitters had themselves quite the opening month in 2010. I won't even mention the youngster Austin Jackson, who is leading all of the major leagues in hitting, because of some extreme mitigating circumstances in that particular case.1 Rather, we're here to consider Paul Konerko and Andre Ethier, both of whom are off to rousing starts in 2010, and what their early season performance reminds us about when it comes to the nature of the baseball season. Let's consider their numbers to date.

Konerko: .296 BA, 12HR, 24 RBI, .709 SLG, 215 OPS+

Ethier: .365BA, 9HR, 26RBI, .729 SLG, 207 OPS+

It is worth nothing that many of these stats lead their respective leagues. For example, both men lead their home leagues in HR, SLG and OPS. Ethier, who Tommy Lasorda refers to as his "adopted Mexican Grandson"2 also leads the NL in BA and RBI. As WoWies, we should all be extremely happy that the King Of The Walkoff Walks is enjoying some hearty early season success.3 The numbers above don't lie, both dudes are off to a monstrous start, but in reality, it's still just a little over a month of data.

Obviously some regression to the mean should be expected, and the ZiPS projection system, which attempts to predict performance come the end of the season, has both guys coming back to earth. Shocking! You mean to tell me that Paul Konerko won't hit 11 homers a month to finish with over 70 come the end of the year? Get out of here!

In truth, the numbers to start off the season in April and early May are only that... a start. These two players are a prime example of that. While Ethier may end up cracking the Top 5 on an MVP ballot this season, and Konerko might return to his supremely productive self from the early 2000s, there's still far too much time left in the season to be throwing around weighty and senseless statements about teams/players before we've even been given the chance to see substantive performances from a lot of folks.4 While things may look bad in Boston and great in San Diego, in the long run, we all know all too well how come September there are still meaningful games to be played for a lot of these teams, and that division leaders in April are by no means a fixture. Just ask the Mets!

So do your best to ignore the Doomsday talk on Twitter and the rest of the Internet. You can save the hand-wringing for July.

1He is hitting .521 (!) on balls in play. This number also leads the league. STILL MISS U AJAX, FORTHCOMING REGRESSION AND ALL!

2 False.

3I'm doubly happy because I own both hitters in the Walkoff Walk Fantasy Baseball League. And I'm in first place.*

4 However, you are allowed, nay encouraged, to say that David Ortiz is finished and that Javier Vazquez is the worst pitcher ever.

*Yo dawg I heard you liked footnotes so we just put a footnote in your footnote so you can annotate while you annotate: I know nobody cares about anybody's fantasy teams. Sorry!