Drew Fairservice: June 2010 Archives

fat-cat.jpgThe Chicago White Sox are, after their recent tear through the interleague schedule, improbably smack dab in the middle of the AL Central race. No team that starts both Juan Pierre and Omar Vizquel at the top of the same lineup can be taken too seriously; no matter how hilariously it is managed by Ozzie Guillen.

On the whole, the Sox rank as one of the most detestable teams in baseball, from Ozzie Guillen and Harriet Williams out front and weapons-grade douchebag A.J. Pierzynski pulling up the rear. The Sox bullpen is an interesting study as its staffed exclusively by surly, flame-throwing dollops of angry humanity.

The Padres pen might have a "cool" nickname and the requisite line of apparel, the White Sox pen is nothing to sneeze at - mostly because they'll eat and/or sit on you for doing so. Ozzie's usage pattern pretty much ensures that every half inning sees a bigger, harder throwing guy with an ugly disposition and even worse facial hair emerge from the pen. Consider this handy dandy chart displaying their strikeout prowess and great love of uncooked cookie dough.

Fat Guy Height Weight K per 9 Average Fastball (mph)
Bobby Jenks 6'4 275 10.86 94.7
J.J. Putz 6'5 250 10.73 93.9
Matt Thornton 6'6 235 12.791 95.9
Sergio Santos 6'3 240 11.1 95.8
Scott Linebrank 6'3 220 9.57 93.5
Tony Pena 6'2 230 6.27 94.2

Has Kenny Williams cracked some sort of fat guy pitching algorithm? Surely big dudes that throw hard and miss bats are in steady supply around baseball - guys like that get nothing but chances. Maybe there's something to this - load up the back-end of your pen with back-end loaded hurlers? Consider the relationship of Sox hurlers BMI to their K rate.

Fat Sox.PNG

Though Slothy Tony Pena ruins the relationship almost completely, it is easy to see that fatness = strikeouts. If strikeouts are the key to pitching victory, that must mean the ChiSox pen is one of the best in baseball?

Would you believe it, they are! Ozzie's rotund pen ranks second in baseball with a tidy xFIP of 3.67. Four of the above behemoths sport FIPs under 4. Converted shortstop (!) Sergio Santos, soon-to-be-a-wealthy-closer-again J.J. Putz, a certain blogger's secret boyfriend Matt Thornton, and tradebait hillbilly Bobby Jenks all break wills, bats, and buffets on the regular. The White Sox aren't likely to continue to challenge in the Central, but Crazy Ozzie has no worries when his starters carry a lead into the late innings.

1 - Laugh Out Loud.

The Pumpkin Report

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pumpkin baby.jpg

The passing of the Summer Solstice means we're now through the artisanal bread and into the pretentious cured meat & stinky cheese section of the baseball season. Who's still around to give hope to moribund franchises? Which flame outs sucked the life from the hungry fan bases looking for something to cling to? The clock on the season is about to strike midnight: who are the pumpkins and who are the princesses?

  • PRINCESS: Ubaldo Jimenez. Granted he isn't a princess of the Bob Gibson order1, but Yoo-baldo is a long-time stud finally come into his own. The walks are gone, the fastball dips and dives at a breakneck pace. He'll give up some home runs and he can't strand everyone forever, but he's a real threat to steal Timmy's trophy.

  • PUMPKIN: Dusty's Red Legs. And a damn shame it will be. The Reds have some excellent pieces, both for the present and the future. Unfortunately, giving significant plate appearances to both Miguel Cairo and Jonny Gomes while hoping Aaron Harang and Bronson Arroyo keep all their joints in order is not a recipe for sustained success. Carrying the offense can only further wear down the back of heroic leader Scott Roleln. Poor fella's back looks more and more like the spine of the most dog-eared copy of The Jungle in circulation.

  • PRINCESS: Alex Rios. So wait: you're telling me a two-time all star who catches everything with a track record of power and speed might be worth a damn? This princess is sure to outlast both his wacky manager and wily GM, so long as they keep him from swimming in the Chicago river.

  • PUMPKIN: The Mariners turnaround. It isn't that the Mariners are dreadful, it's that the Mariners were supposed to be good. The new black of well-run franchises, the Mariners seemed to mis-manage any chance they had of competing in the A.L. West. The offense so poor yet the great juggling pimp of the offseason sits on his hands. Cursory moves come too late to overcome mismanaged bullpens, ineffective starters and meddling pitching coaches. Now the only drama in the Mariners summer is: can Jack Z reverse-fleece some contending sheep with Cliff Lee?

  • PRINCESS: Listicles.

  • PUMPKIN: Hackneyed Food Metaphors.

  • PRINCESS: The San Diego Padres Pitch and Catch Attack While the Mariners pitching and defense approach isn't quite enough to overcome a pathetic offense; the Padres offer exceptional pitching and world-beating defense remedies the "Adrian Gonzalez and 11 guys named Who?" effect.

  • PUMPKIN: The Toronto Blue Jays worsening offense. Wacking dingers is all fine and good, but a wise man once said solo home runs will not break your back and the 2010 Blue Jays are determined to prove it true, seemingly by design. The Jays will keep Larzen busy until September, but their seat at the kids table is assured for at least one more year.

1 - Bob Gibson just beaned Pumpkin Baby because I called him a princess. Tough but fair Bob, tough but fair.

One of my favorite players in baseball is Troy Tulowitzki. He's a frequent subject of mine as I'm deeply enamoured with his five tool-goodness and can't cry enough over spilled milk. (Even if I now know I'm better off without the milk anyway.) Tulowitzki might be one of my favorite players but he doesn't strike me as the kind of dude I'd like to want to spend much time with. I'm sure he's quite unpleasant in that "professional baseball player who makes millions and is good at everything" kind of way.

Credit where it is due — Troy wants to help the childrens. Helping children is hard for most people, so a lazy gimmick is often the best way to go. Tulo and friends solution: grow a mullet for charity! Please to enjoy a wide variety of Colorado Rockies offering their takes on the shortstop's ape drape.

Mullets and trucker hats never stop being funny, do they? Short on top and long in back? THAT JUST AIN'T RIGHT! Tulowitzki plans to grow the mullet as long as people continue to donate, so kick in a few bucks for The Children's Hospital of Denver & Colorado Special Olympics if you delight in the non-stop hilariousness of a once-popular hairstyle. Donate $25 to receive a special Mullet hat! That is a gift that never stops giving — the laffs!

oriole.jpegSweet Mary Mother of Ripken are the Orioles ever bad! A weekend sweep at the hands of the Blue Jays (who worsened themselves 53 home runs in May) brings the OrioLOLes record to a whopping 15 wins against 36 defeats, worst in baseball. 6-21 on the road, 6-17 within their own division. Here we are on June 1st and the Orioles have won fewer games (15) than games they're out of first place (18.5 back of baseball's best Rays.)

Even the 2009 Orioles—losers of 98 games at season's end—weren't this bad. Over the last few seasons the Orioles actually boasted a moderately frightening offense, offset by terrible pitching and defense. Things looked better heading into 2010, as the litany of hot young arms slated to take over the rotation would finally give the Orioles the run prevention they desperately need.

The road to fourth place riches is a bumpy one, and everything that could go wrong for the Orioles almost certainly has. The offense is anemic, with linchpin Nick Markakis unable to carry the load alone. Found money Ty Wigginton continues clouting dingers, but the absence of WoW favorite Brian Roberts coupled with poor play from former All Star Adam Jones and former non-corpse Miguel Tejada spells doom for the O's O. Ex-consensus savior Matt Wieters struggles to get on base and hit for power, though he's become quite adept at leaving sob-filled messages on Bryce Harper's voicemail.

Projected ace Brian Matusz forgot how to miss bats. Free agent workhorse Kevin Millwood can't buy a break with all of Angelos's money. Young starters like Chris Tillman and Brad Bergesen came to camp with high expectations, only to toil in AAA for much of the early season, either fighting ineffectiveness or service time issues. The bullpen stands in taters; the free agent closer hits the DL after some awful outings. His exciting replacement joins him mere weeks after earning the role.

Yup, things are bad in Baltimore. Even worse than (obligatory Wire reference). Manager Dave Trembley spends his nights irrigating the disgusting blisters on his backside, unfortunate by-products of too many nights atop a red hot seat. It's a mess. If only there was one simple & succinct way to describe the state of the Orioles. One tangible example of everything they've done wrong and everything going wrong for this star-crossed franchise...


May 12 BAL SEA 5 5 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1
May 13 BAL SEA 4 4 1 2 1 0 1 1 0 0 0 1
May 14 BAL CLE 5 4 2 3 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 1
May 15 BAL CLE 4 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
May 16 BAL CLE 4 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 0 1
May 17 BAL KCR 5 2 3 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 2 1
May 18 BAL KCR 5 4 1 1 0 0 1 1 1 2 0 1
May 19 BAL @ TEX 5 5 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 2 0 1
May 20 BAL @ TEX 6 5 1 1 1 0 0 2 1 2 0 1
May 21 BAL @ WSN 5 5 0 2 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 1
May 22 BAL @ WSN 4 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1
May 23 BAL @ WSN 5 4 1 2 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 1
May 25 BAL OAK 4 3 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 1
May 26 BAL OAK 4 3 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 1
May 27 BAL OAK 5 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 0 1
May 28 BAL @ TOR 4 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1
May 30 BAL @ TOR 4 4 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 1
BAL 78 68 11 18 3 0 2 5 8 20 5 !
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/31/2010.