Three Overtimes Later, I still have no idea what happened

I got back from class today at 9pm and decided to catch the end of Game 6 of the Bulls-Celtics series. I expected to watch a little basketball before continuing on to other tasks. Wow was I wrong. I normally don't follow professional basketball, but holy crap this series has been exciting. Only one game hasn't gone into overtime. Regardless of what Brad Miller did in Game 5, he made up for it in the OTs tonight. I know he's normally not very good, but how can you leave anybody that open for three ever? And since when could John Salmons penetrate to the hoop? John Salmons? He channeled his inner Wesley Snipes tonight. (I think they look oddly similar, like high school Sexy Rexy and Barry Bonds do). In what I saw of the game, Gordon fouled out and Rose wasn't making shots, but the Bulls still won. With Salmons and Miller leading the way? As a sports fan, seeing so many close games is getting even me excited about professional basketball. This post makes no sense. I blame the high intensity game. And regardless of who wins this series, they'll be too tired to make it past the second round, let alone into the conference finals.

The Carlos Factor

Can anybody name me a major league baseball team without someone named Carlos on their 40 man roster? How about if we narrow it to the 25 man roster?

Seriously how does this guy have a job?

Radio guy for the atlanta hawks loves dwayne wade(in the most sarcastic way one can)

The Jewish Jordan

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Basketball should learn from hockey

On the issue of Brad Miller having his face destroyed by Rojan Rando at the end of the first overtime in game 5 of the Bulls-Celtics series. No flagrant foul was called one the play, but when the refs saw that Miller was bleeding from the mouth, they should have called a flagrant foul immediately. Now this isnt just me spewing Chicago bias, but I take this scenario from what occurs on similar situations in hockey.

Hockey has a rule that you are not allowed to hit an opponent in the face with your stick. Duh! It is ruled as high-sticking and receives a 2 minute penalty. However, if a player draws blood on a high sticking situation, the penalty is ruled a double minor leading, or possibly a major if deemed intentional, leading to a 4 or 5 minute penalty. But that's not all. Many times, a high-sticking situation is missed by the referees and play continues as normal until there is a dead-puck situation. At that time, if the refs see a player has been cut on the face, they will enforce a double minor penalty without actually seeing the cut occur.

I think a similar situation should have been enforced in the Bulls game. Obviously, Brad Miller didnt punch himself in the face, and it wasnt accidental contact. Rondo swong and hit Miller square in the jaw. Just because it was a basketball "move", doesnt mean that it wasnt flagrant.

Hockey: A man's game

As some of you may know, the Blackhawks beat out the Calgary Flames in 6 games on Tuesday to win their first playoff series in 13 years. The play was inspired, it was physical, it was down right dirty. The hitting was non-stop. Patrick Kane got body slammed into the boards missing a game, Flames went into the Hawks bench, and scuffles were prominent after every single stoppage of play. Former Hawk Rene Borque even puller on Duncan Keith's hair at one point. You would have thought these people were wild animals just out of the wilderness. The crowds were insane, every goal celebrated like it was the last, and fighting galore.

But as the time ran out on the series in game 6, the teams lined up at center ice and shook each and every hand of the opposition. This is a sight rarely seen outside of collegian sports, yet so fitting for what i had witnessed and the players experienced over a two week battle. You would think how can these two teams possibly shake hand, after trying to kill each other each and every day. But that is one beauty of sports. You compete, you fight, you kill yourself to prove dominance over your opponent. Much like other human instincts, the animal side prevails

Speaking of which, i recently read a book on the Science of Human Beings, and in the sports section, it claims that sport was created as a means of allowing humans to compete and battle against fellow humans, but with rules and regulations such that we dont kill each other. It makes sense to me. Many of us, especially the males, seek ways to alleviate our natural competitiveness and combativeness, in organized manners such that civility can exist while still satisfying out instincts. Fantasy baseball being a prominent example for those athletically-impaired individuals

Cubs Nicknames

I realized that i have a personal nickname for practically every Cubs player, so i decided to share them with you.

Geovany Soto - Neo Geo(old video game console)
Derrek Lee - DLee
Mike Fontenot - The Font(when playing well), FonteNOT(when playing bad)
Ryan Theriot - The Riot
Aramis Ramirez - A-Ram
Alfonso Soriano - The Fonz, or just Fonzy
Kosuke Fukudome - Fukudomeson
Milton Bradley - Milton Bradley(haha)
Carlos Zambrano - Zaborchik(russian for fence)
Ted Lilly - Theodore
Rich Harden - Richie Rich
Ryan Dempster - Demp
Shawn Marshall - Lefty
Koyie Hill - 3 finger brown
Micah Haufpauer - The Hoff
Aaron Miles - Die Motherfucker
Joey Gathwright - Price is right
Reed Johnson - Evil Knievel

The bullpen doesnt have knicknames, except Neal Cotts *see Aaron Miles*

Top 10 Obscure Presidential Nicknames

I saw this and thought it was too funny and random. I know it's not sports related at all. Deal with it. My personal favorite is Benjamin Harrison's nickname.

I wonder what the top 10 obscure sports nicknames would be?


As of last night, the current MLB leaders in walks are:

1. Jason Bay (23)
2. Marco Scutaro (22)
3. Adam Dunn (20)
4. Manny Ramirez (19)
5. Albert Pujols (17)

If this blog were a standardized test, I would be asking you "which object does not belong?"

How does Marco Scutaro, a guy who has never eclipsed 76 R or 57 BB, have 23 R and 22 BB through April? His 9.2% career walk rate has exploded this year; Scutaro is drawing a free pass a little over 20% of the time. Did he get lasik eye surgery? Did he McGwiritize his swing? Are pitchers respecting the almighty power of Scutaro's bat? No, no and no again.

This isn't a case of any pitcher respecting Scutaro's hitting abilities, but him simply not swing the bat anymore. He's cut down his already low O-Swing rate by 15% compared to last season and is swinging at 12% less pitches than he normally does. There's really no reason for pitchers to throw any intentional outside pitches to Scutaro this season, as he's shaved his line drive rate by a full 9% (converting all of those ex-line drives into routine pop ups -- his GB% remains unchanged) and never carried an OPS over .750 in his career (in fact, it's only once been over .701).

Do you expect this trend to continue or will pitchers catch on to Scutaro, a career .260 hitter with a .120 ISO, and his swingless ways and start throwing him more pitches in a the zone?

Warning! Danger, Will Robinson!

I wish I had a series of catchy sounds and graphics I could play whenever I discussed baseball players you should sell/buy in fantasy. I would be the Jim Cramer of the fantasy world and humanity would only appreciate me that much more.

Ok, enough with the ego trip and on to business. Today's topic is James Shields.

Entering this season, James Shields has been the mark of consistency. His stingy walk rate (1.91 BB/9 career) and above average strikeout rate (7.1 K/9 career) give him Greg Maddux-like control (3.72 K/BB), while a healthy mix of breaking balls and off speed pitches keep the ball on the ground (1.2 GB/FB) at a decent rate. After logging back-to-back years of 215+ IP, 3.8ish FIP baseball, I was ready to drink the James Shields Kool Aid this season.

That was until I looked at his peripherals today and came to the conclusion that the James Shields Kool Aid may be spiked.

33.2 innings into the year, a disturbing trend has continued for James Shields: declining control. Since the beginning of September of 2007, James Shields has seen his K/9 fall from 7.7 per nine to 6.7 per nine to a rate of what is now approximately 4.5 per nine. Over this same period, Shields' BB/9 rate has slowly risen from 1.51 to 1.67 to 2.54. Though all four projection systems on Fangraphs expected a slight regression in James Shields' BB/9 rate this year, they also expected a bounce back in his K/9 rate above the 7.0 mark (Bill James and ZiPS expected a full rebound in Shields' whiff rate to his '07 form) to offset any negative impact to his control. Alas, such is not the case -- at least not yet. Once a hallmark of his talent, Shields' control (K/BB) has slowly slipped from 5.11 to 4.00 to a below average 1.55 over the past 3 seasons.

This trend is identifiable in several areas of Shields' peripherals. His FIP, once a comfortable and consistent 3.8-something, has skyrocketed to 5.56. Meanwhile, Shields is giving up more Line Drives (a 4.5% increase over his 2007-2008 levels) and getting less batters to chase his pitches (6% decrease in O-Swing from last season). Furthermore, Shields has increased his seasonal HR/9 rate by 60% compared to last season.

So why aren't we noticing this collapse in control? Over this same period of time, Shields has increased his GB/FB ratio by 33% against last season. He's putting more balls on the ground for baseball's best defensive infield to convert into outs. Basically, he's been getting lucky. Those Line Drives have not really translated into hits...yet. Despite a deceptive 1.22 WHIP, James Shields' control -- the thing that makes him so very good -- is out of whack and his FIP demands a long-term ERA correction.

Perhaps this is just an issue of sample size -- we are just talking about five starts, 33.2 IP here -- but this is a trend that has been perpetuating over his past 280+ IP. I'm not saying, and far be it from me to claim, that James Shields won't have another great season of 1.2 WHIP, 3.7 ERA, 16 W baseball. I highly doubt that he will maintain his career low 1.55 K/BB rate (his previous K/BB low in any given month was 2.18 in August of last year), but the question remains regarding how much control one believes Shields will regain.

I recommend all Shields owners look out and monitor this situation closely. James Shields might not be as good as his current surface statistics (3.74 ERA, 1.22 WHIP) seem to indicate and you may consider shopping him now, while the value is still relatively high.

A-Rod Didn't Just Use Steroids...He Also Tips Shitty

Sports Illustrated writer Selena Robert has released more information about A-Rod, all of which will be detailed in her upcoming book "A-Rod". In addition to the charges she's already placed against him (all of which he's admitted), she alleges the following:
  • A-Rod didn't stop using steroids when he came to the Yankees.
  • A-Rod used steroids in high school. His coach and teammates in high school can apparently back this up.
  • A-Rod has a gambling problem.
  • A-Rod "pitch tipped" while on the Rangers, signaling opponents at the plate about which pitch selection a pitcher was using in lopsided game with the hope that they would eventually return the favor.
  • A-Rod tipped the minimum, 15%, at Hooters.
It's a sad, sad day for baseball.

I love's headlines

I still get my sports news from ESPN. I know, how silly and outdated of me. But hey, I'm living on the East Coast right now, so their coverage seems balanced and comprehensive. On the right side of the screen, has a list of major sports headlines for the day. As a sports fan, I understand what they are saying, but often times, I think about them out of context. Then, I chuckle loudly and my roommate gives me weird looks. I will probably make this an ongoing thing, so bear with me.

Favorite headline for yesterday:
"Vick To Be Released From Prison Camp May 20"

Now, I know it's in relation to Vick's stay at Leavenworth Prison in Kansas over dogfighting charges, but since when does the U.S. have prison camps? Why not just call it prison? or jail? or penitentary? I thought prison camps had been out of style since the 1940s.

An older ESPN headline I liked:
"Pens turn to Satan for Game 5, bench Sykora"

Now, my first reaction was laughter, because I thought Pittsburgh had started praying to the Devil for guidance. Instead, it's just a player named Miroslav Satan. Not nearly as cool. If I actually followed hockey I would have known that. I could only imagine Sydney Crosby leading a satanic ritual before a game. I think that would draw me back to hockey.

A Necessary Change

I was reading through some statistical delineations today and noticed something odd. For some reason, intentional walks are including a player's Walk Totals (and thus WHIP), but Hit Batsmen (HBP) are not. Should this not be the opposite? Should a player's control be negative skewed by intentional walks but artificially inflated by bad pitches? That such is so seems quite odd to me.

Starting today, I am starting the movement to have IBB's removed from BB totals and have HBP's added.

To quote Ben Franklin,
"give me accurate statistical referencing or give me death!"
On another note, why is a quality start 6 IP, 3 ER? How arbitrary is that number?

The dark side of sports

After watching the demise that is the 2009 Cubs today, i got a terrible headache that has yet to subside. To alleviate the pain, i chose to blog on the subject as a form of psychotherapy. I'm sure we have all had thought of dropping sports from our live, kicking it to the curb, never looking back. As most people will attest, it is not easy being a sports fan. The anxiety, the irritability, the heartbreak is unavoidable and represents the dark side of sports. These thoughts and memories are often the one's that stay with us the longest.

I recall the past football season when sexyrexy and i would simply bitch during every single bears game througout the season. I recall my head nearly exploding and i'm sure his was as well. Even after the 15 seconds of jubilation following the miraculous corner of the endzone game winning catch against the falcons, it was ripped away from us within minutes. I had thoughts of leaving football behind, but the very next week, i was back.

Although we are just 3 weeks into the baseball season, i'm already getting the wibe that this Cubs team is very reminiscent of the 2008 Tigers. The team is loaded with talent, but there is no chemistry, no continuity, no leadership. When i watch the team, there is nothing to indicate they are playing for the city of Chicago. The only true cub on the team is Big Z. I realize Piniella and Hendry wanted to get more left handed and athletic, but getting rid of Wood and Derosa was counterproductive on and off the field. Are we suppose to believe Aaron Miles is justified cause he can switch hit. He's a midget with zero power, zero speed, and swings at 30% of pitches outside the strike zone. It also doesnt help when two of the biggest acquisitions over the summer, Bradley and Gregg, have both disgraced the organization by getting into shouting matches with the home plate ump.

I'm particularly bad when it comes to watching sports. I'm not exactly the ra-ra fan, but more of a coaches persona where i'm satisfied if the players perform, and start breaking shit when dumb mistakes are made. During intense situations, i usually have to separate myself from other people to isolated my insanity. I recall the Bears super bowl, where i literally locked myself in my room the second half to confine my anger.

Being a life-long Chicagoan, i'm unfamiliar with this things called the "playoffs?" Such that the recent success of the Bulls and Blackhawks has helped rejuvenate my adoration of sport. The competition, the detail, the lose and you're done mentality gives me hope for something better, a brighter future in my sports world.

But losing is the definition of sport. The system is set up for one city to win and 30 others to lose, yet sports have survived for thousands of years and just keep on going. What does it say about human nature that we are willing to put up with endless disappointment, for the tiny glimmer of hope that someday we can call ourselves champions.

Why I disagree with Sexy Rexy's fantasy strategy.

Sexy Rexy: I Love You. I mean that in a sincere and not homosexual way (not that there's anything wrong with that.) Really just more in a familial way, if you get where I'm coming from. I don't mean this as a personal attack. Just a simple disagreement.

For those of you who don't know, Sexy Rexy and I are co-managers of a team in the paid roto league. I don't know his motivation, but I'm too cheap to pay for one on my own. Seriously Eckstein, why is the entry fee so high? How much money do you think we make? I serve food to ungrateful college students three nights a week for my money. Where is this magical disposable income coming from. But hey, I guess we all don't have degrees yet.

Anyways, I digress. I would have had this disagreement privately, but ever since Twitter, privacy seems as unnecessary as (insert random Bill Simmons movie reference), so screw that. So, if you all haven't figured it out already, Rexy loves accumulating pitching depth. I figured it out very quickly, as I'm also competing against him in three different leagues. All a bit hectic considering my busy high octane work schedule. His theory is that you can rotate starting pitchers in and out based on when they start and have a core of relief pitchers permanently there. Offensive bench players basically only sit there and do nothing most of the time, coming in only for the occasional spot start, thus rendering them useless most of the time.

Now, this is a completely valid and respectable theory. Frankly, it makes perfect sense. However, I have a few problems with it. One, as had happened, other people see this theory. They say to themselves, 'hmm, that makes sense. I'm gonna accumulate pitching depth at the expense of my offensive bench.' All of a sudden, Manny Parra becomes highly touted and teams are vying to pick up Johnny Cueto. When every, or many, teams take up this strategy, demand gets driven up. For those teams that legitimately need pitching help, it is increasingly difficult to find good pitchers on waivers and teams are less likely to trade away pitchers. Let's say a few key pitchers on your team go down midseason. Replacements are going to be hard to find.

This brings me to my second point: injuries and consistency on offense. Sexy Rexy's strategy presupposes that his offense is solid across the board and will stay consistently strong throughout the season. This is not always the case. Players hit rough patches. For example, Dan Uggla might get to a point in the season where he hits for a low average. You wouldn't want to drop the player necessarily, but you would need a solid replacement unless you wanted a significant dip in your stats. A quality replacement player might not be available via waivers or trade, so having a good replacement player on the bench helps. You could trade to get a replacement, but you'd have to give up a pitcher because that's all anyone in the league would want. Having some offensive depth ensures your team is protected should a hitter hit an extended cold streak or get injured for a few weeks. A suitable replacement might not always be available on the waivers, but perhaps on the bench.

In short, Sexy Rexy is potentially hurting himself and the rest of the league. He artifically inflates demand for pitchers within the league and leaves himself open to a world of hurt if a core offensive player gets hurt or goes on a slump.

Personally, I prefer a more balanced approach, with my bench players split between offense and pitching. That way I can sub pitchers in and out when they start so I accumulate enough W, IP, K, etc. and I have enough offensive depth to ensure the long-term success of my team

Then again, considering how my team is doing in Sexy Rexy's free roto league, I'm not sure I'm the most qualified person to be dishing out fantasy advice.

Shut Up David "MVP" Eckstein

Seriously dude, no one cares about you're own personal fantasy team. If you wanna go into extensive analysis on a particular plays on your fantasy team like your Uggla posts, that's fine BUT NO ONE CARES ABOUT YOU'RE PERSONAL FANTASY TEAM. STOP TALKING ABOUT IT. That is all. Good day.

Shut Up Mike Leach

Mike Leach is the current head coach of the Texas Tech Red Raiders football team. The team had a very good year in 2008 (11-2, 7-1 in Big 12 play) but was shut out because Oklahoma and Texas (both 1 loss teams) ended up with better records than the Red Raiders. Of course Leach made a huge deal about how his team was snubbed from a BCS game and made a huge stink in the media. But not TOO big of a stink considering his team was third in his own conference.

But then the bitching a moaning continued and worsened. Later in the season the Heisman hopefuls were being announced. It was essentially between Florida QB Tim Tebow, Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford and Texas QB Colt McCoy. Eventually it went to, and much deservedly so, Sam Bradford. Of course Leach had to add in his two cents here complaining Texas Tech QB Graham Harrell was snubbed and pissed he wasn't even invited to the event (even though he had no chance of winning). Leach said this according to a USA Today article:
If Graham is not invited to the Heisman, they ought to quit giving out the award, it is a shameless example of politics ruling over performance. The other guys are deserving, but he has earned a place alongside them.

Yes, Harrell was good last year, but he was only 8th in passer rating last year. Bradford (1), Tebow (4), and McCoy (3) were all ahead of him. Hell even pretty boy USC QB Mark Sanchez (6) was ahead of Harrell. Harrell was also only 19th in YPA behind Bradford (2), Tebow (4), Georgia QB and #1 overall draft pick Matthew Stafford (5), McCoy (7), and even Illinois QB Juice Williams (15). So while Harrell did have the most passing yards, he also had the most passing attempts (although I'll give him SOME credit for being 3rd overall in completion percentage). So while Graham Harrell did have a very good season, he still was the 3rd best QB IN HIS CONFERENCE (McCoy and Bradford were also in the Big 12) and the 4th best QB overall (Tebow ahead of him as well). So of course Harrell isn't going to win the Heisman so he shouldn't have even been invited.

Then, when the next set of media hype came along via the NFL draft, Leach had to open his big yap again. Leach's two big stars last year Harrell and WR Michael Crabtree entered the NFL draft. Crabtree went 10th overall to the San Fransisco 49ers and the second wide out picked (the Oakland Raiders picked North Carolina WR Darrius Hayword-Bey at 7) and although Harrell went undrafted, he signed with an NFL team soon after the draft ended.

Leach had this to say about his QB not getting drafted:
The truth of the matter is that the NFL drafts quarterbacks notoriously bad," said Leach, according to the Morning News. "That's indisputable. ...

The truth is he's right. As I've mention in previous posts, there have been many QBs picked in the first round that have been busts (Rex Grossman, Tim Couch, David Carr, Joey Harrington, Alex Smith) in recent years. But that being said, Harrell is not a guy that should have been drafted. Harrell is only 6'2" which isn't THAT tall for NFL standards and he's still going to have SOME difficulty seeing over his offensive lineman (a la Rex Grossman). That and Harrell does not have the strongest arm and he came from a spread offense system. So while Harrell was a great college QB, that doesn't mean he'll be a great NFL QB. In fact, historically, QBs that have come out of similar systems like the one Harrell played in college have been huge busts. The most notable being the #1 overall pick a few year back- Alex Smith. Harrell is almost destined for failure, so why should teams waste a draft pick on him?

But not only did Leach complain about his QB, but he complained about his wide out WHO WENT TENTH OVERALL. Leach mainly complained because new Browns head coach Eric Mangini did not want to draft Crabtree with the fifth overall picks claiming Crabtree was "a diva". This is what Leach had to say about that:
Michael Crabtree has been more successful as a receiver than that guy as a coach at this point," Leach said of Mangini, according to media reports of a conference call. "Part of the reason is [Crabtree's] too shy to be like that.

I'm going to overall look some obvious 'flaws' I see in the fact that Eric Mangini kind of has a proven track record of being retarded as a head coach, it's a good thing for a WR to be diva-ish, and that the Browns receiving corps sucks right now. BUT CRABTREE STILL WENT TENTH OVERALL YOU FUCKTARD! God forbid your star receiver, who everyone essentially predicted to be the best WR in the draft and to have a productive NFL career, dropped five spots. In fact, he would have only dropped two spots if the Raiders weren't the dumbest organization ever and picked a guy with great speed but no hands over the best and complete wide out in the draft. Why do you have to start shit because ONE TEAM said they were going to pass on Crabtree.

I like Ozzie Guillen when he starts shit because what he says is true. But Mike Leach, shut your fat-ass fucking mouth.

Why Is My Pitching So Dominant?

Excluding saves (until Monday, I only had two closers, one of whom is injured), I am currently top 3 in every pitching category in my money league. I did some basic sabermetrics analysis to see if it was sustainable.

Seems so at this pace. I'm expecting Greinke to regress a bit once he lets in a few HRs, but that will probably be largely offset by regressions towards the mean by Beckett, Valverde and Lindstrom. Based on my team's current ERA and FIP, there is some, albeit slight, room for improvement.

One thing to take note of that is relevant beyond my fantasy league is a reaffirmation of my theory about saves. Only one reliever on my team currently has an ERA below 4 and two have ERA's upward of 5.5. And yet, their poor numbers barely impact my team's cumulative season ratios. There is a lot to be said about the power of bargain saves. Still, I wouldn't want Joel Hanrahan (who just lost the job to Hanrahancuffs) or Manny Corpas on my team any time soon.

On a side note, kudos to Sexy Rexy for drafting Wandy Rodriguez before I had the chance (2 W, 1.69 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 27 K in 32 IP). I seriously hate you for making me settle with Randy Wolf.

The Curious Case Of Dan Uggla

The worst thing one can do in fantasy is to make long term decisions based up short term performance. In fantasy, patience is a virtue; if you truly believe in a player (especially pitchers), you need to give them a full season to produce the expected line. Baseball is such a luck-oriented sport that [short-term] statistics are the byproduct of situation and chance. Saves come in clusters, RBIs in bunches and HRs in binges.

But sometimes, you need to know when to cut your losses. If a guy is hitting .200, you need to know if its because he's a .200 hitter on pace to hit .200 or if he's a productive .270 guy being locked down by bad luck. Enter Dan Uggla.

I am a big fan of Dan Uggla. He's the Adam Dunn of second base. Despite the high K rate, he's got the necessary tools (power and patience, the two P's) and lineup (batting behind Hanley Ramirez) for success. And yet, despite all this, his production has been very "limited." While 4 HR, 16 RBI is nothing to scoff over in just under a month of play -- that's on pace for 24 HR and 96 RBI -- it is simply not up to the expectations of what I consider to be a perennial 30 HR guy batting fifth in one of the most offensive lineups in the NL. The .217 BA in particularly leaves a very bad taste in my mouth.

The question with Dan Uggla is trade or hold. Is Dan Uggla -- a guy who has increased his whiff rate by 6% every season since his debut -- going to continue to hit .217 and limit his offensive output or is Dan Uggla -- who has increased his walk rate and ISO each season since his debut -- going to bounce back and eventually go on an offensive tear?

Make no mistake about it, with a 30+% K rate, Uggla's batting average is going to be downright Uggly (haha, get it? it's a pun!) -- Adam Dunn ugly. My preseason projected BA line for Uggla was a repeat of last season: somewhere around .260 based on his peripherals. So far, he's regressed well below his 2007 batting level (.245 BA). What gives?

In 2008, Uggla struck out 32.2% of the time, walked 12.7% of the time, hit 15.7% of his balls for line drives and posted a career high .323 BABIP (his xBABIP is/was .303). This season, Uggla has cut down the strikeout rate by 2%, increased his walk rate half a percent and is driving the ball with more authority (20.8 LD%, up 5% from last season). All of Uggla's skills, across the board, have improved and yet he's only hitting .217 thanks to a .250 BABIP. Is there any reason to blame besides luck? Not that I can see.

The only noticeable difference between this season and last for Uggla has been a 3.5% increase in his daily diet of sliders and 7% uptick in his GB rate. Despite this slight change in pitch offerings, Uggla is swinging less at bad pitches (his O-Swing is down 3.2% from last season) and making more contact at the plate (10% increase in O-Contact, 2.5% increase in Z-Contact), which bodes well for an expected increase in average, while an xBABIP on GB's is .290.

Despite his moderately slow pace and increased GB%, Uggla should eventually see some luck go his way this season (xBABIP on LD's is something like .710) and a correction in the numbers should be eminent. If Uggla can maintain these reasonable gains in his approach at the plate, there's absolutely no reason he can't improve upon last season's numbers over the course of the remaining games.

Put simply, if there's any player ready to break out that you shouldn't worry about, it's Dan Uggla.

Captcha Fail

Tried to buy tickets to a Brewers game. Here's what I got:


Shut Up Jason Campbell

Current Washington Redskins QB Jason Campbell has publicly expressed his dislike that his team is going after QBs. There were talks that the Redskins would go after Jay Cutler after he was being a little bitch because the Broncos new head coach and former Patriots offensive coordinator went after NE break out star Matt Cassel. Campbell said he would disappointed if the Redskins went after Cutler but he dealt with that situation like a champ and didn't act like a baby the way Jay Cutler did. But then things got worse.

After the Redskins missed out on the Cutler sweepstakes, there were rumors that the Redskins would trade up in the draft and get former USC QB Mark Sanchez. After Campbell heard this he said via, "It definitely was a shock...when I started hearing Sanchez talk...One thing I was kind of upset about is it makes you feel like you're a bad quarterback, someone that's not wanted or something" Campbell also said publicly that if the Redskins had drafted a QB he would demand a trade.

But the Redskins didn't draft a QB; however, they did sign free agent and former Missouri QB Chase Daniel after the draft had ended. This really pissed of Campbell because he felt like the 'Skins were going after a QB to replace him

1) Chase Daniel is only 6 foot and the Redskins already have three QBs on their roster including Campbell, so Daniel will never play in the NFL- at least not soon
2) Jason Campbell- you suck balls and the Redskins deserve to get a better QB to replace you

Campbell last year was 25th in YPA (6.41), 21st in TD (11), 15th in completion % (62.3%), 19th in passer rating (84.3), 16th in DYAR, and 18th in DVOA.

I understand from Jason Campbell's position that he wants to remain a starter and he's never going to admit he sucks, be seriously, if I was a Redskins fan, I'd be pissed that Campbell was still the Redskins QB.

100 post’s for April

This month this site, A game of Inches has 100 post’s in a month. This is the first time ever that we have had 100 posts in a single month. This is while maintaining the high quality we do with every post. I guess it is in honor of my birthday month. Even though I can’t take credit, because I have been very busy this month and have not contributed as much as I have in the past. Good job to the other three contributors’.

Tuffy Rhodes hits 450 homers in Japan

Former Chicago Cub Tuffy Rhodes is in his 13th season playing professional baseball in Japan. He is 40 years old and his career will probably becoming to an end soon. He became the first American born Japanese professional player to hit 450 career homeruns. He is the 12th Japanese professional baseball player to reach the 450 home runs. He leads all active Japanese baseball players in homeruns. Rhodes tied Sadaharu Oh’s single-season home run record with 55 homeruns in 2001. He's hit 50-plus homers in a season twice. After spending a few seasons playing in the Major’s he became a legendary power hitter in Japan.

The cubs arent waiting for the playoffs to suck

The Cubs season is off to a rocky start to say the least. After getting off to an 8-4 start, the cubbies have lost 4 straight and look to be over matched at the plate. But the worst thing is all the injuries to only are best players. Why cant Aaron Miles go on the DL please. So far, Ramirez, Soto, Marmol, Lee and Bradley have all missed time. And Soriano just got hit in the back of the head by a fastball. Fantastic, just what we need

Broken Box Score Tonight

I think is broken

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
NYY (9-7) 0 0 6 2 0 2 0 1 0 11
BOS (10-6) 0 0 17 5 3 1 3 5 34
In Progress
Middle of 9th

Apparently the yanks are losing 34-11

The box score is literally changing every second. now it says it's 5-3

Yankees 5, Red Sox 3
Box Score Play-By-Play GameCastPhotos Conversation
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
NYY (9-7) 0 0 1 0 0 1 3 0 0 5
BOS (10-6) 0 0 0 1 1 0 6 0 8
In Progress
Top of 9th
Refresh: 30 | 60 | 90 | OFF
Stats updated after each half inning.
New York Yankees
D Jeter SS 8 2 4 0 2 2 2 .312
J Damon LF 9 3 4 4 0 0 2 .333
M Teixeira 1B 2 3 0 0 7 2 0 .231
N Swisher RF 9 0 4 2 0 4 3 .323
R Cano 2B 9 3 5 9 0 0 3 .378
J Posada C 8 0 4 2 1 2 2 .311
H Matsui DH 9 0 3 0 0 0 3 .260
A Berroa 3B 8 1 2 0 0 0 1 .250
B Gardner CF 9 1 2 0 0 2 4 .233
Totals 71 13 28 17 10 12 20
2B: R Cano (5, J Beckett); N Swisher (9, M Delcarmen)
HR: R Cano 2 (6, 3rd inning off J Beckett 1 on, 1 Out); J Damon (4, 6th inning off J Beckett 1 on, 0 Out)
RBI: N Swisher 2 (14), J Posada 2 (14), R Cano 9 (19), J Damon 4 (9)
2-out RBI: J Posada, R Cano 2
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: B Gardner 1
Team LOB: 3
SB: D Jeter 2 (4, 2nd base off J Beckett/J Varitek 2); B Gardner 2 (6, 2nd base off M Delcarmen/J Varitek 2)
Picked Off: J Damon (2nd base by H Okajima)
DP: 3 (D Jeter-M Teixeira-D Jeter-M Teixeira, M Teixeira-J Posada-M Teixeira-J Posada-M Teixeira, N Swisher-D Jeter-N Swisher-D Jeter).
PB: J Posada.
Outfield Assist: N Swisher (D Pedroia at 2nd base, D Pedroia at 2nd base).
New York Yankees
A Burnett 5.0 16 8 8 6 6 4 182-110 5.47
J Veras 0.1 2 1 1 2 2 0 34-18 6.30
P Coke 0.2 0 0 0 0 0 0 14-8 4.70
J Albaladejo 0.1 4 3 3 2 0 2 24-14 5.23
E Ramirez 0.2 1 5 5 0 0 0 23-16 12.27
Totals 7.0 23 17 17 10 8 6 277-166
IBB: J Bay (By J Albaladejo)
HBP: K Youkilis 2 (By A Burnett); N Green 2 (By J Veras)
Batters faced: A Burnett 50; J Veras 8; P Coke 2; J Albaladejo 8; E Ramirez 6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls: A Burnett 12-10; J Veras 0-0; P Coke 0-2; J Albaladejo 2-0; E Ramirez 2-2
Boston Red Sox
J Ellsbury CF 8 3 4 2 0 0 0 .289
D Pedroia 2B 5 2 5 1 4 0 0 .333
D Ortiz DH 7 1 2 2 0 0 2 .222
K Youkilis 1B 6 4 4 0 1 0 0 .455
J Drew RF 5 1 0 0 4 1 6 .241
J Bay LF 6 3 4 6 3 0 1 .328
M Lowell 3B 9 3 3 9 0 4 5 .324
J Varitek C 9 2 2 8 0 3 0 .231
N Green SS 6 1 0 0 0 2 0 .286
Totals 61 20 24 28 12 10 14
2B: D Ortiz (6, A Burnett); J Bay (6, A Burnett); J Ellsbury (4, J Veras); K Youkilis (8, J Albaladejo)
HR: J Varitek (5, 4th inning off A Burnett 3 on, 2 Out); J Ellsbury (2, 5th inning off A Burnett 0 on, 0 Out); M Lowell (5, 7th inning off J Albaladejo 2 on, 1 Out)
RBI: J Bay 6 (19), J Varitek 8 (12), J Ellsbury 2 (7), D Ortiz 2 (10), M Lowell 9 (25)
SF: D Ortiz
2-out RBI: J Varitek 4, J Bay 2
GIDP: D Ortiz, J Drew
Team LOB: 0
E: D Pedroia (1, ground ball)
Boston Red Sox
J Beckett 5.0 20 8 8 8 6 4 232-140 6.00
M Delcarmen 1.2 6 2 0 0 6 0 76-50 0.00
H Okajima 1.0 1 1 1 1 0 1 12-7 6.75
Totals 7.2 27 11 9 9 12 5 320-197
IBB: M Teixeira (By H Okajima)
Batters faced: J Beckett 58; M Delcarmen 16; H Okajima 4
Ground Balls-Fly Balls: J Beckett 12-12; M Delcarmen 4-0; H Okajima 0-1

Miami Gets Vontae Davis. Oops!

For the second straight year, an Illinois players has been drafted in the first round. Last year my boy Rashard Mendenhall was drafted by the Steelers and a few hours ago, Vontae Davis got drafted by the Miami Dolphins. Now I have huge love for Illinois alum (go Brandon Lloyd!) so I love and hope all the best for Davis. In fact, I have met the dude and he's a genuinely great and funny guy. But that being said, I think the Miami Dolphins wasted their pick.

Now Davis has obvious tools that warrant him being drafted. He is big, he is strong and mofo is fast as hell. In fact, I remember during the Rose Bowl game when USC RB Joe McKnight broke for a huge run and Davis caught up to him. But as a guy whose main job is to cover receivers, he has not shown me that he will be a good pro football player. I said in a previous post that Davis is not good in coverage. In fact, Mel Kiper has agreed with me.

During the draft today, Kiper mentioned all of Davis' many strengths, and his one weakness- inconsistency. This will be extremely problematic during games. Think about this- as I said in an earlier post- the offense only gets about 60-70 plays per games and about 30-40 of those plays are throwing plays. Now an offensive lineman main job on those plays is just to protect the QB. So when an O-lineman allows his defender to get past him and gets a sack, that O-lineman is frowned upon. And if that lineman allows TWO SACKS- woah, that guy is the worst lineman ever! Even if a lineman gives up 2 sacks a game, he (on average) was effective about 96% of the time. Now let's translate this to a CB. If that cornerback allows even ONE big play, he's failed at his job. Remember last year when the Bears went up to the Metrodome to play the Vikings and Peanut Tillman misread a pass so Vikings WR Bernard Berrian got a 99-yard TD? Yeah, Peanut messed up one play and it essentially cost us that game.

My point is, experts agree with me and see that Davis can be streaky in coverage. This will allow, at least a couple of times, for Davis' receiver to break free and gain huge yardage. So even though Davis may only allow this a few times per game, these consequences during a game will be huge. This seems to be problematic. Even though Davis may be able to make some great plays, the few times he doesn't will have a bigger impact (negatively) on his team.

Also, to an outsider, Davis has really not had statistically the best career. In three years (playing every game for the past two years), he's only had 7 INT. Now I've said before, INT is not a good indicator for judging a CB; however, if you're deemed a first round draft pick, you need to show better stats right? But you know what, the better standard for judging a CB is how he is in coverage. And if you've read his post this far- you know my opinions on Davis' coverage skills.

Now for those of you who know football- what do you think if Davis moves to be a safety? I've seen him do something amazing things when he's on or close to the line and his coverage skills aren't good enough (I believe) to be a corner but I think they're perfectly fine for a safety. And as a safety, he never really has to guard one specific player but sit there in the open space and shadow different guys. I think he should move to safety.

But anyway, I hope Davis does well for the sake of my school; however, I'm cynical on that. But you're getting paid dawg! Straight cash homie.

Five Pitchers I'm Buying

I've been doing some research at Fangraphs and I've noticed there are some guys who are off to a good start that are probably available in the vast majority of leagues. These five guys are showing great peripherals and all are guys that probably weren't drafted in your league. Now I realize the season is not even three weeks old, but these five guys are looking to me like they are sleepers. They could be extremely valuable to have if you are in desperate need of pitching or would just like to bolster your depth (and sorry GOI authors, but 4 out of these 5 pitchers are already taken in Fantasyland 2). So without further adue, my five pitchers:

5) Kenshin Kawakami (Braves): Normally I'm skeptical of Asian players just because they tend to be older and very few have panned out. Hell, Ichiro is considered the best Asian player in America and in reality he's not that good. But Kawakami was predicted to have a good season by Baseball Prospectus and is off to a very good start. Currently he's available is 3/4 of Yahoo! fantasy leagues. Kawakami is 21st in K/9. And while he doesn't have the greatest FIP numbers right now, he does happen to play on what of the best defensive teams in baseball which should help his ERA and has a pretty good offensive behind him which should help generate some wins.

4) Ross Ohlendorf (Pirates): Ohlendorf has not given up a HR yet in his three starts and his 15th in the majors right now in FIP with a low 2.82. And the Pirates have some pretty good defensive players on that team like Adam LaRoche, Jack Wilson, Brandon Moss, and Andy LaRoche that should help keep Ohlendorf's ERA low, especially coupled with his low FIP. The biggest problem in Ohlendorf's game for fantasy is that he doesn't strike people out. Right now he only has 8 K's in 18 IP. Ohlendorf is the only pitcher on this list available in Fantasyland 2 and is only owned in 2% oh Yahoo! fantasy leagues

3) Kyle Davies (Royals): The Kansas City pitcher is currently tenth in K/9, has only given up one HR in 18.2 IP, and has a low FIP (3.12). I personally don't trust the Royals defense or offensive which I think will ultimately impact Davies W and ERA, but the fact that he can strike guys out and doesn't give up HRs should help compensate for that. Davies is only taken in 39% of Yahoo! leagues.

2) Glen Perkins (Twins): I personally have raved about the Twins pitching staff before the season began and I think this rotation is benefited by the turf of the Metrodome and the defense Minnesota has. Since Perkins won the job away from Boof Bonser (frankly it shouldn't have even been a competition), I now think Perkins will have a great fantasy impact. So far in 24 IP (that's 8 IP in the three games he's started) he's given up only 4 ER (1 ER in his first and third game and 2 in his second). A major factor to this is that Perkins hasn't given up a HR yet. That and he's 12th overall in FIP (and that great Minnesota defense). The biggest flaw is that Perkins is one of the worst in the league in K/9 so far. But Perkins will absolutely help your ERA and WHIP and get you a few SO and W along the way. Perkins is available in 72% of Yahoo! leagues.

1) Mike Hampton (Astros): I don't think Wandy Rodriguez would qualify for this list because he was drafted in many leagues (mainly by me) and is owned in over half of the Yahoo! leagues (although if he is available in your league pick him up as well!). However, if W-Rod isn't available, go with another undrafted Houston pitcher. Hampton hasn't given up a HR yet, is 16th overall in K/9, 7th overall in FIP, and has a decently high K/BB (3.00). My only concern is that Houston is doing very poorly offensively right now which could hurt Hampton's W but I think that will improve. Right now he's available in 87% of Yahoo! leagues.

So there you go. I hope for my credibility these five guys have a very good season this year (although I'm sure MVP Eckstein will find faults in these guys) and that these guys help your team. Good luck!

Da Dip by Freaky Nasty

This is referencing my comment from the post beneath. The group is actually freaky nasty not 69 boyz, but i'm putting up videos of both. Also, the phase, "when i put my bat up on your pitch, and i hit, i hit, i hit" is from stuart scott

Best SportsCenter Lines

As much as I hate ESPN, I'm addicted to it. And actually one good thing about it is that during their highlights of games, the SportsCenter anchors add their own little funny lines- usually pop culture references. Here's two that I remember (one being this morning). Please feel free to add your own in the comments.

*the batter hits a chopper to the shortstop*
Get to the chopper! Get down!

*Vernon Wells hits a home run*
Does Vernon Wells have to hit a pitch?


There is a new Chicago sports website that has been out for a few weeks now called: This website allows you to listen to sports talk online from your radio. It was started from a few guys who left The Score, 670am for a variety of reasons such as Georgre Offeman, Matt Weber, Fred Huebner, Mike North, Dan Jiggetts, Jen Patterson, Jonathon Hood, and many others behind the scenes. Check it out.

Don't Believe The Hype

This year, and every year, there is always massive hype about the number one overall pick for the NFL. This year the buzz is about former Georgia QB Matthew Stafford. If anyone has even seen five minutes of ESPN within the past few weeks, they know that Stafford is essentially a lock to go to the Detroit Lions #1 this Saturday. Now I'm no expert, I can't say that I've seen Stafford to play in college, and I'm not even saying Stafford will be bad, but I am skeptical about the hype that's been created about the kids entering the draft.

Football is not like baseball in the fact that you can solely look at stats and use that as a good projection to how that player will manifest in the professional level. Football does require "the eye test" so teams have to watch the player work out and see game film in order to accurately judge a draft prospect. This leads to a lot of hype surrounding many kids, and then will ultimately lead to many busts as well.

I would like to take a look at some past drafts to point out to you just how much hype can end up hurting teams. In 2006, the consensus #1 pick was Reggie Bush. Bush actually was one of the greatest college RB so it seemed logical that he would be a great pro. In fact, many "experts" already put the Jim Brown tag on him before he made it to the professional level. Instead, the Houston Texans, who had the #1 pick that year, went with DE Mario Williams. This SHOCKED the sports community! In fact, as I said in my post Where Would You Draft A RB? it's explicitly clear if you do have a Jim Brown or Walter Peyton type player available to you, you take it! How could the Texans be so stupid?

Well 3 years later, it turned out it was a great idea to get Williams. In fact, Williams has done more for this team than Bush, Matt Leinart, or Vince Young (all "great" players the Texans passed up on in that draft) have done. Williams is a great pass rusher who gets double digit sacks per year and is already one of the games elite DE's. And as for Bush, last year he lost time to undrafted former Illinois RB Pierre Thomas. In fact, Thomas has already been more productive than Bush (see comments). And Bush can't use the O-line as an excuse because Thomas plays in front of the same Line and is more productive. It seems Bush can't even run between the tackles! His RB back up/ tandum back fatboy LenDale White, has also shown to be a better player than Bush.

Now you may think to yourself, Well Sexy Rexy, that's a valid point but one year shouldn't warrant this post and these claims? So let me give you more examples. In 2005, the 49ers took QB Alex Smith. Four years later Smith sucks and is injury prone while Aaron Rodgers dropped all the way the 24. Which QB would you have rather had? In 2004 Eli Manning went #1 overall, meanwhile Phillip Rivers went #4. Although the San Diego Chargers did pick Eli first and the Giants picked Rivers fourth and ended up swapping each the QB, the Chargers should have just drafted Rivers to begin with. In 2002, the Houston Texans picked David Carr. Carr is now a a back up QB at best. While Carr is still probably better than Joey Harrington (picked 3rd and the other QB drafted in the first round), guys like Julius Peppers, Dwight Freeney, Jeremy Shockey, and Albert Haynesworth (all drafted top 15 that year), still would have been better options than Carr (or Harrington).

My point is, is that I can list a whole bunch of players that were drafted in the first round, and even first overall, that ended up being a waste of a pick. As a Bears fan, I'm used to having my team get let down with first round picks. (My namesake comes from a Bears first round disaster). Of course, there are players in the first round that were well worth the picks and deserved to go as high as they did. But my point is, there is so much hype around every single first rounder. All "experts" and of course GMs agree that talent taken in the first round are all great players. All these people in the business think these first round prospects will be great players.

Of course this is the same for any sport. Luke Hochevar was the first overall pick by the Kansas City Royals in 2006 and he isn't projected to be anything special. Greg Oden was drafted first by the Portland Trailblazers and right now he looks like nothing more than a back up. In fact, Portland would have been heavily criticized for taking Kevin Durant (who ranked 6th this year in PPG) over Oden.

I think it's silly to put so much emphasis on watching your team draft. The Philadelphia Eagles fans booed the team for drafting Donovan McNabb over Ricky Williams. They believed Williams would be awesome and now he's barely in the league. So this weekend when you watch the draft, let's not be TOO critical when we judge them Sunday morning.

SIDENOTE: Fuck you MVP Eckstein's for splicing in that line!

A story that would make Eckstein proud

Apparently, former Devil Ray speedster Jason Tyner was traded from the brewers to the tigers...for nothing. Not even a bucket of balls, a log of salmon, some batting gloves. Nope, just take him. No trade backs sukkaass!!

Johan Santana Has A Very Good Memory

I recently saw a video which shows the great memory Johan Santana has. He has an individual handshake for every player on the Mets. I wonder how he came up with everyone and how he remembers each on. The other players only have to remember one, but he has to remember 24! I suggest to check out the video at:

Why designate Vizcaino?

The Cubs designated reliever Luis Vizcaino today and I don’t get it. Maybe someone can explain it to me. He was a solid bullpen guy with 11 years of experience. In his career he was 34-27 with a 4.31 ERA. That isn’t great, but he is solid and consistent. We haven’t got much of that from the rest of the bullpen, so you think it would be good to have someone dependable. Were going to have to pay his salary anyways and I don’t think the Cubs have anyone better than him. He was not the weakest player in that bullpen, so why just cut him?

He had a decent spring and was off to a good start. He only pitched 3.2 innings so far this year because Lou didn’t trust him, but I don’t know why. I am not saying that he is great or one of your key guys, but for what he is and what you need he was a fine fit. Were not asking him to be a set up guy like he was earlier in his career. We have Marmol and Heilaman to set up Gregg already. All we need is him to help in the 7th innings or with big leads and he was fine. This season Vizcaino was one of the few guys in the bullpen who wasn’t wild and didn’t walk many batters. He had no walks this season and had three strike outs. In his 3.2 innings he only allowed 2 hits. He had no walks! He is a good strikeout pitcher. In his career he averages 1.11 strikeout per inning and was on the same pace this season.

I am not saying I was a big Luis Vizcaino fan or would want to re-sign him when he was a free agent, but he is too good to cut when he is under contract. I wish the Cubs would have called up Jeff Samardzija to take Neal Cotts spot instead of Vizcaino. Cotts has been bad and I would rather have better pitchers and no left handed relievers than a bad one.

Sun Trick the Double Pour

Here is Sun Trick pouring two at a time. This isn't the best he has done it though. I can't find any online of him doing two at a time and does it really quickly. I previously posted him doing the single pour fast and here it is the double pour, but not what I was hoping to show. I guess you have to go to Wrigley Field and see it for yourself.

The Best Beer Vendor

The best beer vendor, and he can only be found at Wrigley Field. The best part is when he does two at once, but of course I can't find that. This video was found by "The Bright One".

Box Score Tonight: April 22

Baseball was played tonight.

New Yankee's Stadium Is Officially New Coors Field

Five more home runs on the night. That makes the HR/game average at Yankees stadium greater than four.

Derek Jeter's fantasy value is gonna skyrocket.

Pitchers I Wouldn't Buy

I've already (and extensively) detailed which pitchers I've got a mancrush on this season. Now I'm going to going into the guys I don't want.

C.C. Sabathia -- 513 IP over two seasons. Second-highest PAP last season (by a large margin). Back-to-back-to-back three 100+ pitch count games at the end of the season on three days rest. Pitches 1/2 of his games at New Yankee Stadium (which averages 4.3 home runs per game). Pick a reason, any reason.

Cole Hamels - I had him last year, but I wouldn't repeat my ownership based on several factors. He had a career year. He was already an injury risk before he increased his innings load by a sizeable amount last season. He had elbow issues through spring training.

Felix Hernandez -- He always gets off to a great start that masks just how bad his second half numbers always are. Felix has quality stuff and an ecletic pitch mix, but the lack of control and flyball nature are a recipe for concern. If he ever cuts down the free passes, however, he'll be unquestionably elite.

Gavin Floyd -- A flyball pitcher who plays at the Cell with one of the league's worst outfield defenses? No thank you.

Scott Kazmir -- He's got great stuff, but control continues to elude him. This, combined with health issues, makes him especially overvalued. He's a strikeout brand name, but better options are cheaper and available.

Roy Oswalt -- After being notoriously stingy with long balls, Roy Oswalt increased (almost doubled) his HR/9 rate last season and the trend has continued this year. Oswalt began the season with a miserable +4.5 ERA and a ridiculously good second half masked just how poor he was for 3 months. Oswalt is a big brand name riding on a few good starts, so you might want to trade him while his value remains relatively high. Otherwise, you may eventually regret wasting a top 10 pick on him. Perhaps you can get an underperforming Ricky Nolasco. It should be noted that Oswalt also pitched (poorly) in the WBC.

Brad Lidge -- He's got mental issues that often cloud his physical abilities. He's nowhere near perfect and it would be unwise to pay top dollar for someone who isn't top tier. You would have been better off drafting Soria, Broxton or Wood. He's already starting to show cracks in his game.

K-Rod -- The logic is similiar to that behind Lidge. K-Rod's peripherals have been on a three year slide and there's no reason to expect a significant reversal of that trend this late in his career. What you see is what you get. The upside is limited and you are paying high because of a 62 save season. He's not a bad player to own, he's just entirely overrated.

Jon Lester -- He's a great public relations story (battles cancern to come back and throw a no-no/have a great season), but his peripherals say he's not likely to take a big step forward this year and maintain his success from last season. Unless Lester can maintain his shaved walk rate and decrease home run propensity, his ERA is going to rise past the 4.00 threshhold. Does anyone (Sexy Rexy?) have Lester's breakout/collapse rates handy?

Dice-K -- I've already talked a lot about his disturbing walk rates and they've already come back to burn him.

Sell High Guys:
Armando Galarraga -- Those home runs and mediocre control rates are going to hurt your fantasy team big time.

Joe Saunders -- He strikes NOBODY out and gives up his share of walks and home runs. Get whatever you can for him and be happy with the profit.

Sounds a little gay

This is from the scoring summary of the A's Yankees game.

"N Swisher singled to deep center, J Posada scored, N Swisher out stretching at second."

Was he actually stretching at second, lost track of reality and got tagged out, or was he trying to stretch a single into a double? I didnt realize stretching was an official MLB term

Too Funny

Snakes On A Plane (TV Version)

Thank Bill Simmons for this video:

This one is semi-sports related:

Downright hilarious:

The REAL Baseball Nation

Wanna know what parts of America root for which baseball teams. Well look below.

This is based off of real data of real data seen here:

Box Score Tonight: April 21

Filling in for The Bright One again. I feel like Rick Sutcliffe on Sunday Night Baseball!
  • Rain continues to plague America. The Red Sox-Twins game gets postponed until tomorrow, when a double header will be played.
  • After blowing back-to-back-to-back blown saves, Hanrahan gets back-to-back handshakes as the ice cold Washington Natinals (no, that's not a typo) beat the Braves by a score of 4-3.
  • Joe Beimel, the reigning king of not giving up home runs, goes on the DL with a left hip flexor strain. I'm no doctor, but hip injuries are never good.
  • I still say Hanrahan loses his job before June, but with Beimel out, it's going to be Garrett Mock's job to fuck up in the future. Yahoo! called Mock the Hanrahancuffs. I laughed.
  • Elijah Dukes continues to be a rule breaker and baseball badass. He was fined $500 because he arrived to practice five minutes late. How dare he attend little league charity functions! It's cool though, because the kids are going to pay the fine for him.
  • This is the funniest headline ever. Too bad it's a year old.
  • Chipper Jones, who flirted with a .400 BA through the first half of last season, is batting .353. Adam Dunn hit his 4th dinger of the season, seems determined to hit 40 again.
  • On the heels of 5 straight losses, the Orioles shut down the poppin' White Sox 10-3. Markakis went 4-for-4 (2B), while Huff went yard twice. Felix Pie continues to struggle, going 0-3 this game. Like I said yesterday, no trade backs.
  • After a failed bid at a struggling Sizemore in my fantasy league, he's gone yard three times in the past five games. Indians beat the Royals 8-7, as Laffey tosses seven quality innings (7 H, 3 BB, 3K, 1 ER) and Sidney Ponson does his best impression of Chien-Ming Wang (3.1 IP, 8 H, 4 B, 2 K, 6 ER).
  • How about V-Mart? After a disappointing and injured 2008 campaign, he's hitting .397 with 5 home runs on the season.
  • Only one home run (Johnny Damon) in tonight's game in the Bronx. Yankees win 5-3.
  • Matt Holliday is without a homer and Xavier Nady doesn't need season-ending surgery.
  • Dana Eveland has the best HR/9 rate in the league, dating back to last season (10 HR over 182.2 IP) . That doesn't prevent him from giving up his share of runs, however (4 IP, 9 H, 4 BB, 3 K, 4 ER).
  • Against all odds, the Pirates continue to pitch well. Jeff Karstens (6 IP, 3 H, 2 BB, 3 K, 1 ER) outdueled Anibal Sanchez (7 IP, 7 H, 2 BB, 6 K, 3 ER) for the win. Final score 4-3 Buccos.
  • Uggla continue to piss me off, going 0 for his last 20, with 6 Ks. His OPS has halved over that period of time. Hope you didn't buy high (or at all) on Bonafacio because he was not for real.
  • Gotta love those Phillies. Not because they are pitching or hitting particularly well, but because they are helping crush the Brewers' self-esteem. Manny Parra, who I finally dropped (and started for some unknown reason), continues to be ineffectively wild (4 IP, 7 H, 3 BB, 4 K, 5 ER) and the Phillies made him pay. Ryan Braun went yard twice in his 5-for-5 hitting binge, but the Phillies win 11-4.
  • Roy Halladay, who has been wheelin' and dealin' in his last three starts, got lit up by the Rangers. Ian Kinsler (who refuses to cool off) and Nelson Cruz (who I of course benched) went yard in the Rangers' 5-4 victory. Aaron Hill, who was on pace for 25 dingers before his concussion in 2007, now has 5 HR on the season. Is he for real? Probably not, as his career ISO is 1/2 of what it current stands at. His .388 BABIP (.365 BA) scream "sell!"
  • Jose Valverde picks up his first save of the season in Houston's 8-5 win over the Dodgers, but it was not without its drama. Manny, who went 2-4 with a HR on the night, almost knocked one out of the park with two men on. Instead, he flied out about 7 feet short of the right field wall.
  • Clayton Kershaw, who has been dominant in his last two starts, only lasted 4.1 innings (6 ER). He struck out 3, but also walked two and gave up a two-run shot to Carlos Lee.
  • Mets lose to the Cardinals 6-4, courtesy of Daniel Murphy's poor defense in left. Why pay Fernado Tatis $1.7 million if you aren't going to use him?
  • Oliver Perez (4.2 IP, 6 H, 5BB, 4 K, 4 ER) channels his inner wild thing. For an offseason that was peppered with value offerings, you gotta feel bad for the Mets, who were left out of the bargain hunting thanks some Scott Boras magic. How Boras convinced the Mets to pay Perez $36 million over 3 years is beyond my comprehension.
  • The once feared J.J. Putz has a meager 3 Ks through 8 IP. Sample size or age (31)?
  • Rockies beat the Diamondbacks 9-6. Mark Reynolds hit his 4th homer of the season (second in as many games), but has 16 Ks through 45 ABs. Reynold's is striking out 5% less than he did last season, but still whiffing in 1/3 of his ABs.
  • Manny Corpas has replaced Huston Street as the team's closer for now. Neither of them is pitching particularly well at the moment, so the name of the game is "who sucks less?" When Taylor Buchholz comes off the DL, he will eventually steal the job from whichever of them is closing.
  • Curtis Granderson left the yard in back-to-back at bats, but the Tigers still lose to the Angels 4-3. Manager Mike Scioscia was tossed from the game for arguing balls and strikes.
  • 2009 Armando Galarraga pitched like 2008 Armando Galarraga, minus the luck. Do you expect him to outperform his FIP by over a full run again this season? Sell high and sell fast.
  • Tiger's GM Dave Dombrowski says they have "no interest in trading Miguel Cabrera". He goes on to say "Not only is it one of the last things we would ever consider, we have an owner [Mike Ilitch] who would never let that happen." Sorry, Boston.
  • The Tampa Bay Rays continue to struggle. The Mariners beat them 4-2.
  • Jarrod Washburn is having his best season in over a decade. The flyball pitcher tossed 7 innings of 5 hit, 3 BB, 9 K, 2 ER baseball. Some combination of Seattle's ballpark, which tends to deflate home runs, and a much improved (league-leading) defensive outfield are keeping the flyball-oriented Washburn dominant. He's worth a spot on your bench, but remember that he has a 5.35 career K/9.
  • Brandon Morrow's average fastball speed sits around 97 MPH and periodically touches 100. True story.
  • Matt Cain (6 IP, 9 H, 0 BB, 5 K, 2 ER) outdueled Jake Peavy (7 IP, 3 BB, 3 K, 6 ER) in San Fran last night. Padres lose 3-8 as Peavy, who been uncharacteristically wild over his past two games (7 BB, 11 IP), struggles in his second consecutive outing. His second start aside, Peavy hasn't looked very dominant this season. Is this a case of sample size or a repeat of 2006? The World Baseball Classic has not been kind to Jake Peavy.
  • Brian Giles has an ISO of .038 this season. Even Willy Bloomquist has a .053 ISO. Ouch.
  • Last, but not least, The Cubs beat the Reds 7-2 last night. Rich Harden, who finally gets a win, continues to dominate batters (6 IP, 3 H, 2 BB, 8 K) in the NL. At this pace, if Harden stays healthy, he will have a 312 K season (180 IP of 15.6 K/9 baseball). I think I'm in love.
  • The Cubs need to find a place in the line up for Micah Hoffpauir. He hit his first home run of the season last night.

The Washington "Natinals"

Someone fucked up real good.

In Defense of Ozzie Guillen

I was writing a response to the Pro Cub/ Anti White Sox sentiment that commented on my post "Lou and Derrek Lee Are The Worst Manager And Player Ever" but it ended up being so long that I decided to make it into a post instead.

1) Again, I'm not making the comparisons about Guillen and Pinella as players!!! How a person played has nothing to do with how they are as mangers. Yes, Ozzie Guillen is one of the worst offensive players in the history of baseball, BUT THIS HAS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH HOW GUILLEN ACTS AS A MANAGER. And as a matter of fact, great players tend to make horrible managers. Mainly, because these players were so good that they expect greatness from their team. This ends up being an unrealistic expectation which ends up making the team worse off. John Kruk was a pretty good player and he's a terrible ESPN commentator. Joe Morgan was one of the best 2B and players of all time, and yet I can't ever watch a full game whenever he announces.

I am obviously defending Ozzie Guillen as a manager and not as a player- because there's obviously no defense for that. In case you for some reason (mainly MVP Eckstein) thought how Ozzie was as a player was implicit in my argument, I am overtly telling you right now it is not. And in fact, by you continually mentioning how Ozzie was as a player into his managerial skills, you are degrading your own argument because you are using fallacies for the sole purpose of winning an argument.

2) I do think Pinella is a better manager than Ozzie, but let's be honest, what really makes Ozzie so bad as you claim he is?

As mentioned in "Baseball Between the Numbers", the role of a manger is extremely small. All they have to do is set the lineup and switch out pitchers. What really makes Ozzie so bad at either of these? The line up this year is actually almost perfect considering the players the team has right now. Besides the lead off spot (which the organization does not have anywhere), the line up is essentially set by decreasing OBP (happy Bright One, jesus). And even so, Baseball Between The Numbers proves that who is placed where in the lineup makes a negligible difference.

-And as for the bullpen and pitching changes, what makes Ozzie so bad at this? In 2007 when the only consistent and good arm in the bullpen was Bobby Jenks, Ozzie made this comment (and I'm paraphrasing from memory but the gist is the same), "I don't know what to do? If I could I'd have Bobby throw for three innings every game I would, but I can't." Ozzie recognizes the fact that starters can realistically only throw X number of pitches per game and throughout his entire tenure he has utilized his bullpen the best that he can.

3) I would like address this notion that Ozzieball = Small Ball. It does not. In 2005, when the talent mainly consisted of speed and very few power guys, the team HAD to manufacture runs. Ozzie utilized the talent he had on his team in order to win. But throughout Ozzie's career as a manger, this is not the case. Ozzie lets his guys walk and hit home runs- all great factors that lead to a successful offense. From 2006- today, Ozzie does not sacrifice more than any other manager and allows his players to do what they do best.

4) Ozzie is a leader. Ozzie commands respect but not to the point where his players hate him. The New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin commanded respect but he was a dictator in the locker room saying that his players were "five minutes late if they were on time" But in 2008 he eased up and became more of a "players coach" yet still maintained his power. The Giants won the Superbowl- and people praised Coughlin on his new managerial style. Now Ozzie does that everyday, so if Coughlin gets praised for it, so should Ozzie. And as a sidenote, the fact that Ozzie is a latin born person helps him communicate better with his team (considering the ChiSox and most organizations have a lot of Spanish-speaking players) and helps him maximize his players talent and be a better leader.

5) Ozzie does have two rings and a winning record. And as my brother so astutely said and put into words much better than I probably could have, "from 2004 to 2008, the White Sox have gone 12-4 in the playoffs, mostly from their 2005 World Series run. From 2004 to 2008, the Cubs have gone 0-6 in the playoffs, getting swept in the NLCS over the past two years. Now I know the playoffs are an extremely small sample size. However, the point of any major professional sports franchise is to make money and win championships. There's a reason every sports player, when interviewed during the preseason, says their goal is to make the playoffs and/or win the championship. Just saying.... From 2004 to 2008, the White Sox won 433 games and lost 378 games, leading to a .534 winning percentage....Perhaps it's not the biggest sample size, but Ozzie had only been a major league manager since 2004."

I would just like to take the time to comment here on MVP Eckstein's comment of "Pinella is a HOF manager with about 100, give or take a few, better seasons than Guillen under his managerial belt" Ozzie has had 5 full season under his belt. Lou has had about 20. Obviously Pinella is going to look better because he has 15 more seasons than Ozzie! I don't want to make any broad generalizations right now but at least let Ozzie play out his managerial career before we start really comparing the two.

5) Ozzie is purely entertaining. If the manager really doesn't affect the field of play so much, why not have a guy who is fun to listen to? And everything Ozzie says is true. Jay Mariotti is a faggot, A Rod should always play for USA in the WBC because he was born and raised and plays in the USA, and the ChiSox rarely get any love by Chicago media outlets when they are doing well and does seem to get SHIT ON at every little bump in the road (hmmm, sounds familiar Ozzie). While Ozzie may offend people, it's always a riot to listen to his sound bites.

Of course Ozzie is not without some faults. The first one that comes to mind is telling Kenny to go after Darin Erstad. I can't think of any really other big ones now but there are most certainly many small in games ones that when I watch the games on TV, I'm forced to scratch my head. Ozzie is far from perfect but but certainly does not deserve the kind of criticism this site seems to give him.

I wrote that Lou Pinella is the worst manager ever as my title, but it was obviously not mean to be taken literally. My point is that Cubs fans seem to think of Lou as god but he most certainly has some faults. And I criticized Ozzie for going after Erstad so Pinella deserves some flack for going after Joey Gathright this off season just so the Cubs can have some "left handed bats in the line up." (In all fairness this site DID criticize the Cubs for that). I know for a fact Pinella makes a fair share of questionable in game decisions as well because my current roommate is also a huge Cubs fan and yells at the top of his lungs ever time the Cubs make a minor bad decision. My roommate yells a lot.

I'm also not trying to make comparisons between Lou and Ozzie. All I'm saying is that you, with a huge Cubs bias, treat Lou and the Cubs with the utmost respect and treat Ozzie and the Sox like dog turd. I can't believe I have to say it again even though I said it in my Lou/D-Lee post and as a comment in the Alexei, Guillen, LOL post: I'M FINE WITH SOX CRITICISM BUT AT LEAST WRITE ABOUT THE FAULTS OF THE CUBS AS WELL.

I personally don't hate the Cubs like many Sox fans do, but I asked a co-worker of mine (who lives on the South side of Chicago and is a Sox fan) Why do you hate the Cubs really? His response was that the Cubs garner the vast majority of sports coverage in Chicago and the Sox get left in the dust. This is a sentiment Ozzie said last year that garnered ESPN coverage and one that I have noticed as well being a Sox fan. And this blog is coming dangerously close to that. I'd like to think of us as a mainly Chicago sports blog but when seems more ChiSox friendly than GOI, I grow concerned and feel I need to post pro White Sox posts to maintain balance and fairness

I know all my rambling and specific points are going to get lost by MVP Eckstein, but what I hope people to get out of this article is not how great of a manger Ozzie Guillen is, but I'm writing these type of posts because of the seemingly Pro Cubs/ Anti ChiSox culture that this blog seems to have and I'd like it to stop- and that clearly the Sox do not deserve the many criticisms they get

Moneyball: The Movie

When I first heard that Hollywood was making a Moneyball movie, I thought it was a joke. But then Brad Pitt was signed to play Billy Beane and Steven Soderbergh was signed on to direct, which left me scratching my forehead.

Well the bizarre and befuddling nature of this film continues, as it was announced today that Paul DePodesta would be played by none other than Demetri Martin. Are we sure this isn't some elaborate practical joke than John Kruk and Steve Phillips are playing on us people who live in their mom's basements? Demetri Martin? Really?

Also, how is this the first Moneyball tagged post???

Also also, Scott Hatteberg and David Justice will play themselves in the film. This movie is going to monumentally suck. I can't wait to see it!

Box Score Tonight: April 20

I'm filling in for The Bright One tonight.

  • Rain is again the theme of the day, as Yankees/A's and Phillies/Padres games are both postponed til July.
  • The Red Sox took their turn at raping the Orioles pitching staff with a 12-1 win. Big Papi goes 2/4 (2B, 3B) with a pair of RBIs and a run scored. Is this a sign of post-Manny separation anxiety? Ortiz did blast 6 bombs with a .900+ OPS clip last September. On a disturbing note, Jason Varitek now has 3 more home runs than Ortiz.
  • Felix Pie continues to struggle. He's now hitting .147 (5-for-34) on the season. Mother fucker is out of options and the Cubs called no trade backs. Still, he's better than Aaron Miles :(
  • Lance Berkman and Carloss Lee hit useless back-to-back solo shots, as the Astros drop yet another game. Interestingly enough, Astros starters combined for 22.1 scoreless innings since mid-game Thursday and have gone 2-3 over that period of time. God their bullpen sucks.
  • Still blotto for Votto. 2-for-5 (2B), 1 R, 2 RBI.
  • Jason Marquis finally pitched like Jason Marquis, giving up 2 HR and 6 ER in 5 IP. Just wait till he's pitching at Coors in July!
  • Both Upton and Iannetta manage to go one game without at least one strike out. Baby steps.
  • Conor Jackson has not hit a home run in over 200 ABs dating back to last season. John Kruk still has faith in his 150 RBI upside, however, so no need to panic.
  • Over/under on Todd Helton: 250 AB, 10 HR?
  • Florida finally loses their second game of the season, shutout by the Buccos of all people.
  • Andrew Miller was placed on the DL immediately after the game with a strained oblique. His fastball topped out at 87 MPH (91.5 MPH last year)
  • Nate McLouth now has 4 HR on the season. Perhaps I was wrong about his "impending regression." Then again, his home run rate did fall by 50% post ASB. Still, a 25 or 30 home run, 20 SB season seems more plausible these days.
  • My sick Hanley/Uggla combo continue to stuggle. Uggla is 1 for his last 14 and Hanley isn't stealing bases efficiently (33% success rate). I expect the .240 average from Uggla, but Hanley? :(
  • Hanrahan finally converted a save, after blowing three consecutive opportunities. Manny Acta's basically fired the rest of the bullpen before today's game and Hanrahan's leash is ridiculously short at this point. $50 says Beimel is closing before June.
  • Ryan Zimmerman signed a 5 year, $45 million contract, while Jordan Zimmerman made his MLB debut (W, 6 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 K). In other news, the Nationals still suck.
  • Nick Johnson (.381 AVG, .458 OBP) continues to rake in the number two hole. And yet, he only has 8 runs on the season. God damnit, the Nationals suck.

Hanley Ramirez Is Pissing Me The Fuck Off

Hanley Ramirez is a first overall pick no matter what. It's a no brainer. He's a perennial 25/30 shortstop with 30+ HR, 50 SB upside. He's also a walking force who is entrenched in the #3 hole of a very offensive lineup, which should retain his R rate and only increase his RBI chances.


Hanley is hitting .241 right now, largely fueled by a BABIP that is 70 points below his lifetime average. Furthermore, Hanley's K rate is actually better than the previous two seasons and his LD% is a full 5% higher than last year. Fucking bad luck is fucking pissing me off right now. HanRam's two CS to his one sucessful SB is incredibly frustrating, as were his struggles against the National's pitching staff last week. I know that Hanley is a lock for a .300/30/30/100 R season just as Carlos Lee is a lock for a .300/30/100 season (fucking Carlos Lee is also struggling with the rest of the Astros right now), but it's still frustrating to see good ratios go unrewarded and ridiculous levels of inconsistency plague my fantasy team. Some combination of Mike Napoi, Joey Votto, Dan Uggla, Hanley Ramirez, Ryan Zimmerman, Denard Span, Manny Ramirez, Carlos Lee and Nelson Cruz are hitting .269 with 18 HR (T-6th in league). May Matt Kemp be my savior (funny story - I traded for Matt Kemp at 3 am and thus wasn't able to use him in my line up the day he hit 2 HR (1 GS)...fuck!).

Sample size, sample size, sample size. FUCK!

Lou and D-Lee Are The Worst Manager And Player Ever!!!

In lou of MVP Eckstein's repeated White Sox and Alexei Rameriz bashing, I thought I'd return the favor. If Cubs fan are going to repeatedly knock the ChiSox and a player people talk about, I'm going to do the same.

First, Ozzie gets a bad rap as a manager. I agree he's done some questionable things and is not the greatest manager but he's certainly not as bad as people perceive him to be. But let's talk about the glaring mistake Lou has made. One of the only jobs a manger has to do is create the lineup- and Lou hasn't done the best job of that. First of all, Ryan Theroit, a guy who can hit .310 and OBS .390+ is hitting seventh. Theriot is a quintessential lead off man because of his high OBS and little power. Instead, Lou decides to bat Soriano first. A man who had a OBS just below Paul Konerko and Jermaine Dye last year. Soriano should be batting third, fourth or fifth. But because of the notion that "Soriano can't hit unless he bats first", Soriano lead offs. And as we all know, the notion is bullshit and based on a sample size when Soriano was moved down the order once.

And the man who Lou bats third, is an over hyped player who also should be batting lower- Derrek Lee. Last year, D-Lee was 15th in 1B VORP- on par with Pittsburgh's Adam LaRoche. D-Lee was also 2nd in all of MLB grounding into 27 double plays. And D-lee is no stranger to that, grounding into 15 last year 11 two years before- in 175 ABs. We all read Moneyball- we all know the importance of outs. Clearly, we all know just how bad double plays are. His HR/FB ratio has also steadily decreased since 2005 (23.7%) to now (5.3% this year and 11.7 in 2008) and Lee's GB% has also increased. This obviously affects his HR totals seeing as he only hit 20 last year and 22 the year before.

If MVP Eckstein wants to take multiple jabs at the White Sox manager and a player I can return the favor and take stabs at Lou Pinella and D-Lee. The things you and I mentioned (D-Lee hitting into double plays and his reduced HR rate; Alexei failing to walk)are commonly known, but that doesn't mean you have to write multiple posts about it. We all know the Yankees got a new stadium but that doesn't mean I have to hear about every five minutes on ESPN.

I'm not saying you can never criticize the White Sox but the "Alexei Rameriz, Ozzie Guillen, LOL" post was just one of many that you guys, mainly MVP Eckstein, has done and is just unnecessary.

Alexei Ramirez, Ozzie Guillen, LOL

During the offseason, Alexei Ramirez, when not compared to Alfonso Soriano, was repeatably praised, compared to and benchmarked against Ozzie Guillen (career .275 wOBA). In true Ozzie Guillen fashion, Ramirez has started the season hitting .125 (5/40), with a .311 OPS (.154 wOBA) and zero extra basehits. Should we be worried?

The first thing I'm sure everyone who reads this is going to say is "sample size, sample size, sample size!" followed by "Whatever, dude. Ramirez hit .244 with 2 HR and 7 RBI through May of last season and look how things turned out! Just wait for the weather to warm up." Let's look deeper into the numbers.

As I hinted at earlier, everyone from ESPN to fangraphs has compared Alexei Ramirez to Alfonso Soriano. They have done so for three reasons. A similar body build and swing, the power/speed combination and a Pedro Cerrano-like ability to hit breaking balls. While Ramirez may not strike out as much as Soriano (at least not last year), he has just as much of an inability to convert breaking pitches into getting on base. Ramirez's 42.7% O-Swing (third worst in MLB) and 59.9% swing rate (third worst in MLB) in 2008 resulted in a 3.6% walk rate and paltry .317 OBP (mostly bouyed by a .288 BA).

Simply put, Alexei Ramirez does not get on base and he swings a lot (very often at bad pitches), a formula for disaster perfected by Delmon Young and Jeff Francouer last year. Even at a 32% on base rate, Ramirez's contribution value was limited by his "clutchiness" -- an unsustainable and uncontrollable byproduct of luck and situation. Now that Ramirez's strikeout rate has practically doubled (20% in '09, 12.7% in '08) this season, his batting average has taken a huge hit, which kills his already low on base percentage. The lowered contact rates and on base percentage for Ramirez means less ability to move over runners and decreased chances to reach home and steal bases. In other words, Ramirez, who was already walking the fine line between luck and talent with a .317 OBP, has fallen below the mendoza line, no matter what upside his speed/power combination provide. Unless Ramirez learns better pitch recogniziton (something that is ridiculously impossible to teach at age 28), he is going to be a one-season wonder. Do not be surprised if Alexei Ramirez join the ranks of Corey Patterson and other "didn't they have a lot of talent?" nobodies that have played in Chicago over the years.

Box Score Tonight: April 19

I'm sad, the Cubs game got postponed :(
  • Posada hit an apparent game winning home run for the Yanks that was clearly interfered with by a fan. The umps reviewed it and still got the call wrong. See no machine can stand in the way of human idiocy.
  • Ricky Romero beats out Dallas Braden 1-0. He's the next Gustavo Chacin. I find it strange that the Jays closer and setup man are both lefties: Ryan and Down. Oh, Scott Downs once admitted to crying after being traded from the Cubs to the Expos.
  • The Brew Crew has officially the most pedestrian bullpen beating out the yankees. Who the frick are DiFelice, Stretter, and Coffey?
  • One person in the Red Sox lineup is hitting above .290 and that's youkilis at .468. Also, what happened to Papelbon that Saito got the save tonight.
  • The Nationals have blows three saves in a row. Thats why you have 1 win all year fuckers. Marlins only have one loss on the other hand
  • Raul Ibanez is turning out to be much better than Milton Bradley as he hits a walkoff bomb.
  • Javy Vasquez cluttches up and gets a much needed win. HOF!
  • If the White Sox hit 3 homers a game, they will have an awesome season, unfortunately no team have ever hit 500 home runs, or even 250 for that matter.
  • Micah Owings hits a pinch hit 2 run double. I think he should replace Willy Taveras
  • Another reason the Johan Santana trade sucked, Carlos Gomez isnt even fast anymore. Just 2-4 in steals
  • Kyle Fansworth has 3 loses already as a reliever. Career 1.4 HR/9
  • 2 Days after winning 2-0 and 1 day since losing 2-0 the Giants win 2-0 as The Big Unit took a no-no into the 7th. Giants and Dbacks both suck at 4-8
  • Rick Porcello with a nice outing, outside a home run to Ronny Cedeno of all people. Miggy increases his average to .489
  • Why to i keep starting Ubaldo Jimenez in fantasy? Dude has no control, none! I dont care how fast his fastball is when it's in the dirt or in the bleachers. Dodgers are a scary scary team. The Corpas/Street competition for least suckiness continues

LeBron James Is the MVP!

I personally don't know why there is any argument about this? I don't quite know a whole lot about basketball- and people who who maybe you can "fix" a few points I make here- but I do know LeBron James deserves to be the MVP.

The thing about about basketball, is that if you're on a bad team, any individual player can look great. Even bad teams can score 70, 80, 90 points a night. Who do you think scores all those points? Antwan Jamison of the Wizards (19-63) was 11th overall in PPG and Kevin Durant (23-59) of the Thunder was 6th. Because above average players on mediocre have no one else really to give the ball to. In order for their team to score points, these players have to be the one to do so. Therefore, you have to really take statistics into perspective.

For example, Dwayne Wade has more PPG and APG than LeBron James (but not by much). But Dwayne Wade's team is much worse. Wade's team had a lot of young guys who have not quite come into their own yet. Which forces Wade to take over his team and do so many things. But when you look at LeBron, it's actually MORE impressive that he can accumulate all these stats considering how good his team around him is. The Cleveland Cavaliers held the NBA's best record by winning 66 games and only losing 16- and only twice at home. The only reason this team was THIS good was because of LeBron James. And really, the definition of the MVP is how good you make your team. Kobe won the MVP last year because he brought the Lakers to be the best team in the NBA and so did Dirk Nowitzki a few years back when the Mavericks won 65+ games.

LeBron can score, rebound, assist, and play defense. He also helps his team play defense seeing as the Cave had the third best defensive team in the league (and a quick sidenote, the Cave were the 4th best offensive team- because of LeBron).

Now don't get me wrong, Kobe, Wade, and even Chris Paul had great years and deserve to :be talked about" for MVP, but this year is LeBron's year. And as someone said on ESPN as I was flipping channels- anyone who didn't vote for LeBron James as the MVP needs to have their vote taken back.

Why Is Joakim Soria A Reliever?

I was looking up some data today on Fangraphs and took note of a very interesting fact. Joakim Soria has a(n effective) 4 pitch mix and has recently and increasingly used a fifth pitch which is not specifically identified. Isn't there an unwritten rule somewhere that requires hurlers with a healthy arsenal of pitches to be in the starting rotation?

Interesting fact: Soria's 91 MPH fastball is complemented by a devastatingly slow 70 MPH curveball that equally as fast as Tim Wakefield's fastball.