What to do with the Cubs

Instead of trying to analyze what has gone wrong with the Cubs this season, I think it is more cathartic to think of solutions in order to make the rest of the season more tolerable. For those of you who are Cubs fans, you're tolerance for sucking is much higher than other fans, but this season has exceeded our worst nightmares. We have seen the worst of the worst '97 and '06 teams, but with the expectations so high the '09 club has reached a new low. Unfortunately, all of my recommendations will go for naught because I am just a stupid fan who knows nothing about anything, especially baseball.

1) Maybe, just maybe we move Soriano out of the lead-off spot. Crazy, I know. Yes, Soriano was a terrific base-stealer in the past with 3 40-steals champaigns. Since joining the Cubs, he hasn't eclipsed 19 steals and this year only has 9 attempts. Still, taking the steals out of the equation, he doesnt profile as a lead-off guy. No walks, high homers, horrible defender at any position. Considering he is having a career worst season and just finished off a .590 OPS month, no better time than the present to stick him anywhere other than the leadoff spot. I prefer the 5 slot. If Ellsbury can move from the 1st to 7th spot in the lineup, than Soriano can deal with hitting 5th.

2) Bring up Ryne Sandberg to be the bench coach. He is a HOFer, he has intergrity, knows the game, and is a new voice to listen to.

3) Kill the following people. Mike FonteNOT, Kosuke Fukudome, David Patton, Aaron Miles, Ryan Freel.

4) Admit you're an idiot and rehire Gerald Perry. He knows these hitters better than anyone and is the only one who can help them this season, unless we have already given up on this season.

5) Admit that you fucked up and trade back for Mark Derosa. Oops, your main rival just traded for him. Oh well. He would have solved so many issues with the lineup and defense, but Milton Bradley is much worse, more expensive, and has a chemical imbalance in the head.

6) Hendry needs to get a twitter accound so fans can tell him whenever he has the worst idea ever. Example: How about I trade our most versatile player and the best clubhouse guy ever so we can throw lots of money at a guy who is always a. injured b. suspended c. grumpy d. moody e. disrespected but had a monster first half last season? Twitter replies: Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

7) Make the lineup as such disregarding left/right splits.
  1. Theriot
  2. Bradley
  3. Lee
  4. Ramirez
  5. Soriano
  6. Soto
  7. Scales
  8. Fukudome
8) Where the fuck is Bobby Scales????

9) Secretly trade Fox and Hauffpauir to the AL for relief pitching. Maybe a Baez/Sherrill combo or a Wuertz/Ziegler combo or a mixture of both who can get someone out.

10) Go on vacation to Aruba and forget baseball exists? I think I'll do that.

While writing this post, Soto got thrown out trying to advance to 3rd on a single to LEFT field, and the Cubs failed to score despite 2nd and 3rd with nobody out. Fuck the runs expectancy chart.

(Unofficial) steroid list

The writers at rotoinfo put out a list of 103 names who they believe are on the list of 104 players who failed the anonymous steroid test back in 2004. They claim to have a reliable source, however given the lack of news exposure of this story, most people believe that the list is a fake. For instance, one name is mentioned twice and one of the main suppliers, Jason Grimsley, is somehow absent from the list. We will need further proof before all these players burned at the stake.

For me, seeing this list has solidified my opinion that it would be better for the game if the entire list was released to the public once and for all. There would no longer be any questions regarding which players are clean and which ones chemically added 30 feet to their fly balls. Simply putting out one name at a time every few months does nothing for the game and perpetuates a problem that has supposedly been solved the drug testing program.

The most interesting thing from this list are the 2 most juiced up teams. The Cubs and the Red Sox. Players from the cubs team on the list includes DLee, Burnitz, Alou, Sosa, Patterson, Zambrano, Prior, Wood, Clement, Alfonseca, Juan Cruz, A-Ram. So basically our entire starting rotaion was on the juice, allegedly. Shockingly the biggest redneck Michael Barrett is no on the list. Also, DLee doesnt seem like he needs the roids. Prior and Patterson seem too stupid to improve their games. And Juan Cruz weighed 90 pounds back then. I tend to agree with the rest of the blogosphere and have my doubts about the validity of the rotoinfo report.

Looking at the 2004 Cubs stats, they did have 4-30 homer players, in addition to Patterson's 24, Barrett's 16, and Todd Walkers 15. That is quite outside the norm. The pitching wasnt shabby either with a 3.8 ERA and the best K rate in the league. And all that couldnt prevent Latroy Hawkins from blowing 2 games to the Mets and keeping us out of the playoffs.

TBO playing sports at The Taste


TBO with Linton Johnson at the taste of chicago.


TBO having too much fun at the soccer station

video
TBO pitching at the taste. I have a torn labrum or something from overpitching, so i cant really throw over the top without scorching pain unless i get it repaired. Hence I was pitching sidearm so my arm wouldnt fall off

Why is Carlos Marmol struggling?

Decreasing strikeouts, increasing walks. What gives? I'm too lazy to do the analysis, but this graphic is pretty self explanatory



Basically, Marmol has limited himself to only two pitches this season (the fastball and slider, removing the curveball from the mix) and both have dramatically fallen in quality. Marmol's slider, the best in baseball in 2007 and 2008, has plummeted from a +21.4 runs per 100 pitches thrown rate to a mere 2.7 (87.4% decrease) and his fastball has gone from slightly positive to slightly negative in effectiveness (continuing a three year trend in declining fastball quality for Marmol).

I think we broke him last season.

Lou isnt senile, he's high on dope

Lou Pinella can empathize with Soto's positive marijuana test. He admitted to reporters that he once tried the hippie lettuce.
"Look, I have smoked dope one time in my life, and it didn't do a damn thing for me, and I never tried it again," he said. "And I'm fortunate because of that. But a lot of people do [smoke marijuana]. You can buy it in California from a pharmacy.
Considering Lou played in the 70's I'm awefully sure he tried many things other than pot. With pot comes the munchies so maybe that explains why Soto is looking a little pudgy this year. Although he did just hit a 3 run homer against the Sox. Woohoo!

This is why Fukudome sucks as baseball


EMBED-Samurai Warrior Vs 93mph Fastball - Watch more free videos

Goodbye ChicagoSportsWebio.com

A few months ago I posted about a new website where you could listen to sports talk online at ChicagoSportsWebio.com. ChicagoSportsWebio.com was anchored by Monsters in the Morning (still can be seen on Comcast Sports Net) and had Jonathon Hood (formally of The Score and ESPN 1000am). They also had many other people who used to be on The Score like Fred Huebner, Matt Weber, and George Offman. I never got into the habitat of listing to them regularly. Did anyone else? I recently heard that it went under. I went to the website and found that it is no longer there. I don’t know the details of what happened, but I guess the financial backer of this venture was embezzling money from other investments and schemes. In the mean time ChicagoSportsWebio.com has gone under and he has gone missing.

Shea Stadium vs Citi Field

ESPN.com has a great article analyzing the differences between Citi and Shea Stadium in great detail. I highly recommend you check it out; very good stuff.

Dan Haren's success

According to an interview with the Arizona Republic, Dan Haren largely attributes his success this season to the development of his cut fastball.

"When I got traded over here before last year, I was really working on that pitch," Haren said. "It became a pretty good pitch for me last year, but it's something that I really have leaned on this year. I don't throw 93-94 (mph) anymore. It's more 90-92."

Is Haren right? Are his successes to be attributed to the cut fastball? Let's take a look.

Since Haren was traded, his Cutter usage has increased from 1.6% at 88.4 MPH to 6.6% at 87.8 MPH to 17.5% at 86.5 MPH. Haren has gone from rarely going the cut fastball to utilizing it almost 20% of the time. Over this period, Haren has clearly refined the quality of the pitch, as it has almost quadrupled in runs/100 pitch value from 1.7 to 6.5 in just 3 years. In plain english, this means that Dan Haren's cutter, per ever 100 times it is thrown, has prevented approx. 6.5 runs or garnered the Diamondbacks about two-thirds of a win in value.

Alas, despite the increasing usage/quality of his Cutter, it still is not Dan Haren's best pitch. That pitch still remains, and increasingly is, his fastball. Dan Haren has a sick fastball that, on average, breaks 10.5 inches down and 6.5 inches in on hitters. Such disgusting movement, as one would expect, has led to the best fastball in the majors by a quarter of a win margin (Haren's 18.5 runs/100 pitch value on his fastball is the best in the majors; second is Zack Greinke at 16.3).

So what is to attribute to Haren's successes this season? Let's create a checklist.
1) Sick control. Dan Haren's 7.43 K/BB leads the majors
2) Sick command. Dan Haren's 1.17 BB/9 also leads the majors
3) Improving pitches. This season, Haren's fastball quality has almost doubled in value, while his cutter has continued to improve and his split finger fastball is back to form (from -1.4 runs/100 pitchs to +4.5)
4) A four plus-pitch mix. Each of Dan Haren's four pitches (fastball, cutter, curveball, splitfinger fastball) have positive runs/100 pitch values and good mixture (none is thrown less than 13.8% or more than 48% of the time)
5) A very lucky 84.5 LOB% and .239 BABIP, although the Diamondbacks do have the 8th best defense in baseball right now

I am the ultimate slumpbuster?

This season, I have done in-depth analysis on three slumping pitchers -- Josh Beckett, Justin Verlander and Randy Johnson. Following each post that I wrote praising patience and better waters ahead, each respective pitcher immediately turned their luck around. Take a look at their pre/post DME blogging splits:

Verlander (5/1):
Pre: 28.0 IP, 1 W, 6.75 ERA, 3.22 FIP, 34 K, 1.54 WHIP
Post: 70.0 IP, 7 W, 1.93 ERA, 2.44 FIP, 84 K, 1.00 WHIP

Beckett (5/4):
Pre: 28.2 IP, 2 W, 7.22 ERA, 4.04 FIP, 31 K, 1.81 WHIP
Post: 62.2 IP, 6 W, 2.15 ERA, 2.98 FIP, 57 K, 1.00 WHIP

Johnson (6/1):
Pre: 52.0 IP, 4 W, 5.71 ERA, 4.68 FIP, 54 K, 1.62 WHIP
Post: 30.2 IP, 3 W, 2.93 ERA, 3.80 FIP, 21 K, 1.08 WHIP

Also, since I did my early season analysis of Dan Uggla, he's hit .035 points higher in batting average (from .198 to .233) and 11 of his 15 home runs. Uggla's BABIP is still way low (.236) given his 16.5 lD% and career .298 BABIP, so expectations for a .250-.260 BA rebound in the second half are not unreasonable.

Perhaps major leagues team should hire me to blog more.

Best Video Ever



why is he putting the remote up his ass exactly?

New Podcast!

New podcast is up, with awesome sound quality! You can find it here or here. Or on itunes. Damn even twitter. We're taking over the world!

Question of the day

Here is the question I pose to our readers and writers:

Who will be a better pitcher this year and have a better career? Jonathan Sanchez, Andrew Miller, Brandon Morrow or Manny Parra. Each guy has serious control issues, but a lot of upside. Who do you like most and why? Include your reasoning and justification in the comments.

Matthew Berry may not show up to work tomorrow

I was looking at my twitter moments ago, cause i luv twitter, and saw a fairly funny/disturbing tweet by matt berry. "RIP Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcet, and Blake Griffin. I get it, Griffin is going to the Clippers where player's careers go to die. Unfortunately using the deaths of two of Americas icons in a sick joke is probably not a good idea. I will not be surprised if Berry gets suspended by ESPN in the coming days, unless of course no one ever goes on twitter. Oh, wait they do? Jokes on Berry, oh the irony

Soto smokes the ganja

Geovany Soto is banned for two years of international baseball competition for testing positive for marijuana during the WBC.

Before speaking with reporters after the Cubs' 6-5 loss at Detroit, Soto released a statement saying he was "embarrassed by my lapse in judgment" in riding the canni-bus.

"While I full acknowledge my inappropriate behavior, I want to assure my fans and my family that this was an isolated incident," Soto added.

Soto then downed an entire family size bag of Fritos. (OK, we can't confirm that last part.)

News flash: no one cares. The WBC is bullshit and the next one is four years away.

Hawk has a new catch phrase

We all know Hawk's main catch phrase "put it on the board, YES!" Well that has recently morphed into a double YES! YES! and today after the game winning hit by Scotty Pods in the 13th inning, Hawk broke out a new one. YES! HELL YES! Now hell is not one of the 7 words you cant say on television, which includes piss for some reason, but it is still very humorous. Once again proving that Hawk is the biggest homer in the history of sports. Someone give this guy an ambien before the game.

Yet another reason to get rid of those damned maple bats

Anyone catch this play last night? It almost killed Nick Green.

This comes just one month after a shattered bat beat the shit out of a spectator at a Dodgers game.

Let me quote a section from the second link:
"A study commissioned by the league and the players’ union in 2005 showed maple and ash hit the ball equally well. Ash bats tend to crack innocuously, the study found, while maple bats explode, sending huge chunks of wood in every direction."

...“Maple has no advantage in getting a longer hit over an ash bat.”

Considering that its already been proven that maple bats are more likely to splinter and shatter than ash bats (which simply crack when they break), perhaps the MLB should be doing something about it. Then again, Bud Selig is still the commissioner...

So let's just look at the tally -- a maple bat has either almost killed or injured a player, umpire, coach and fan. What's next?

More on Maple vs Ash bats here and also here.

The White Sox announcers are fucking shit

We all know I hate Hawk "I invented the batting glove" Harrelson for various reason that range from poor analysis to obnoxious made up words to downright racism (he has often claimed on air, usually when the Sox play the Mariners, that Asians have patience built into their genetics). However, let's just put that stuff aside for now. Let's just pretend Hawk's announcer VORP is 0. Let's give him a clean slate and only use what he said in today's game as justification for why Hawk is just not a very good announcer.

What irks me so much as to write a post about his ramblings today? Well, amongst other things, Hawk tried to rationalize and justify Matt Kemp batting 9th (again) today because of his high strikeout totals (he has a team-leading 62). You do not rationalize the fact that Joe Torre is a fucking moron. You do not just ignore the fact that, despite a 24% strikeout rate (which is no where near as whiffingly as Chris Davis (45.3%) or B.J. Upton (29.6%) or Carlos Pena (36.3%), all of whom bat in the top or heart of the order), Matt Kemp CONTINUES to post a quality .165 ISO, clip line drives at an elite 21.3% rate, walk 10% of the time and post a .385 wOBA. To put those numbers in perspective, Matt Kemp leads the active Dodgers line up in offensive production. Only Manny Ramirez (.466 wOBA), who is currently serving a 50-game suspension for the use of PEDs, has more offensive value than Matt Kemp. And yet, Matt Kemp persistently bats in the bottom third of the Dodgers line up -- behind Russell Martin (.310 wOBA), Mark Loretta (.291 wOBA), Rafael Furcal (.295 wOBA), James Loney (.325 wOBA), Andre Ethier (.355 wOBA), Juan Pierre (.363 wOBA), Casey Blake (.371 wOBA) and Orlando Hudson (.372 wOBA).

Did I mention that Matt Kemp also has a ridiculous 7.0 speed score and Carlos Beltran-like 85.7% success rate with stolen bases? Cause he's also got that going for him.

So to everyone out there who hates Matt Kemp for whatever reason, I have just one thing to say to you. You simply cannot, no matter who you are (bad manager, bad TV announcer, etc) or how hard you try, justify batting Matt Kemp ninth. Or eighth. Or seventh for that matter. It's even very hard to make a case for Matt Kemp batting as low as fifth or sixth in the line up. Kemp is a heart of the order kind of guy with a top third of the order skillset. Plain and simple.

So fuck Russell 10 Extra Base Hits Martin.

Oh, and in case you didn't watch the game, Matt Kemp went 1-4 with a 3 run home run. Quite the bottom of the order material, right?

My only problem with FIP

Despite my love for FIP and xFIP data, I must confess I find there to be a minor "flaw" in the rudimentary calculation. The currently accepted formula is FIP=3.2+((12*HR+3*BB-2*K)/IP). xFIP uses the same formula, but with home run rates normalized against flyball percentages.

Sadly, BBs alone do not entirely capture a pitcher's command -- it lacks recognition and acknowledgment of the players who pitchers periodically plunk. I strongly feel that for FIP/xFIP data to be as accurate as possible, the following change should be considered: replacing 3*BB with 3*(BB+HBP-IBB). Such a move would help to rate comparable pitchers with variable wild tendencies when it comes to throwing inside (we can't really add wild pitches to the data calculation because of the catcher bias on the results; FIP measures the Fielding INDEPENDENT Pitching stats of a hurler).

Maybe this is a useless crusade, but I think it will have a subtle, but positive impact on player ratings. Furthermore, even if this measure is never considered, I strongly lobby that we remove IBBs from WHIP and replace them with HBPs.

That is all for now. Bed time. Zzzzzz...

Does God hate Dan Haren?

Following today's set of games, Dan Haren (108 IP on the season) remains the only pitcher with a WHIP at or below 1.000 (his currently sits a robust .81). To put Dan Haren's control and dominance in perspective, his WHIP currently matches that of Greg Maddux's during his electric 1995 cy young campaign (1.63 ERA, .81 WHIP in 209.2 IP). Not even the almighty Pedro has logged a season with a WHIP below 0.92 in which he tossed 10 or more innings.

Yet, in a perfect manner that illustrates the uselessness that is the Wins-Loss record, Dan Haren is now 6-5 on the season. Today's loss comes with a 7.0 IP, 8 K, 1 BB, 4 H, 2 ER line. Only the Diamondbacks' offense could consistently fail to win behind a pitcher who has surrendered a mere 2.25 runs per nine through 108 IP.

Despite a few "scary" signs of impending regression (86.0 LOB%, .239 BABIP), the super majority of Dan Haren's successes this season have been entirely earned and not the by-product of luck. The 8.67 K/9, 1.16 BB/9 (second best in baseball), 7.43 K/BB (best in baseball) and 69.8% first pitch strikes (tied for best in baseball, the league average is 58%) have earned Haren a 2.25 ERA against a still stellar 2.98 FIP (seventh best in baseball). Even Haren's xFIP, which normalizes home runs rates to neutralize luck (on average, about 11% of all FBs are HRs), stands at a remarkable 3.05.

Some, such as fangraphs, may claim the LOB% and BABIP call for some moderate regression (from outstanding pitcher to very good pitcher), but it should be noted that guys who have great control rates strand more runners and post lower BABIPs than the league average (.292 this year)*. I'm not saying that Haren will continue to rock the world with a 2.25 ERA the rest of the season, but a 3.00 ERA from here forward is quite reasonable, if not almost entirely achievable. Dan Haren's control and command this season have only been bested by a handful of players in the history of the game - Curt Schilling's 2002 season, Greg Maddux's 1995 season and Pedro Martinez's 1999 and 2000 seasons all come to mind (all of them, minus Schilling, who was second in voting behind teammate Randy Johnson in 2002, won the Cy Young those seasons). If Haren keeps these numbers up, even with a slight regression towards the 3.00 ERA line, there is no one in the world -- not even Matthew Berry -- who could deny that Dan Haren is the NL's (if not baseball's) best pitcher -- and yes, I do realize Tim Lincecum pitches in the NL.

*-In the world of baseball, there are two general schools of thought regarding a pitcher's impact on BABIP. The first, in line with Voros McCracken's original assertion, is that pitchers have absolutely no control over BABIP. The second school of thought, which is in line with Voros' later, evolved and softer stance on the issue, states that pitchers have very little control over BABIP (especially compared to K and BB rates), but that pitchers with higher K rates, better control (K/BB) and good defenses behind them tend to post lower BABIPs than the league average.

Power Forwards the Bulls are Considering

The Chicago Bulls have many needs they wish to upgrade from offensive minded post players to swingman shooters. Yesterday I looked at some of the players the Bulls seemed to target. Today I look at a few power forwards who I like which may be available when the bulls draft today (with their 16th pick) which could potentially help the Bulls biggest weakness and need, a power forward/center. My favorite big guys are Blake Griffin and Jordan Hill. Because the Bulls don’t have the first overall pick like last year to draft Blake Griffin or a top five pick to take Jordan Hill here are some other power forwards who may be available to help the Bulls.

James Johnson- A 6’8 forward who can play both the small and power forward spots. He has a big wingspan and has great scoring ability. He could be the biggest offensive player of all of the players I am mentioning.

DeJuan Blair- A undersized 6’7 power forward that has great leadership skills and makes the most of what he has. Blair is a safe steady pick who doesn’t have a high ceiling, but you know what you get. A smart, steady basketball player.

Tyler Hansbrough- A 6’9 forward, like Blair he is undersized, but he can shoot. Hansbrough had a great College career, but many doubt he can take it to the next level. This is because of his lack of athleticism. He has a great work ethic and is a smart basketball player. He was a great shooter, rebounder, and free throw shooter in College. Thus, I think he will do better than people think and be a good role player off the bench, if not better.

Earl Clark- He is 6’10 and a skilled Offensive player and also athletic. This combination makes him intriguing.

Out of these four power forwards I don’t know who would be the best fit for the Bulls if there their still available when we draft. Blair is the safest choice, Johnson is very offensive minded, and Earl Clark has a great make up and could be a great fit for the Bulls, but still needs to develop.

Yahoo/Rotowire is such a fucking piece of shit

Call this ranting, but I seriously fucking hate Yahoo. Call me a hypocrite for using their free fantasy baseball services (which are actually quite good), but fuck everything else about them. Here is the note they posted about Nick Swisher an hour before game time (with an X next to his name, which indicates he is not in the starting line up):
  • Wed, Jun 24

    Swisher was a late scratch from Wednesday's lineup with an undisclosed injury, the Westchester Journal-News reports.

    Recommendation: No word yet as to what the problem is, but Swisher had a closed door meeting with manager Joe Girardi and general manager Brian Cashman. Melky Cabrera will replace him in the lineup against the Braves on Wednesday.

    (Rotowire.com)
Not only did Nick Swisher, who I benched because of this news, start today, but he also a mother fucking home run. I am fucking pissed off. That home run was mine.

And yes, I realize "NO ONE CARES, DME", but fuck you! I'm pissed.

Preview for Bulls on NBA draft

Tomorrow is the 2009 NBA draft. The Chicago Bulls have two picks in the draft; both are in the first round. The Chicago Bulls currently have the 16th and 26th pick. The 16th pick was the Bulls original pick. They acquired the number 26 pick when they traded Thabo Sefolosha to the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for the first-round pick on February 19th. This 26th pick originally belonged to the Denver Nuggets.

This years draft is pretty thin. That is why many people including myself wonder if the Bulls will try to trade up for a better pick. There are a handful of players the Bulls are supposedly eyeing, many whom they may not be able to get with their 16th and 24th pick. It is hard to speculate who the Bulls may draft, because there are still many decisions the Bulls need to make this off season. Will they pick the best available player in their opinion or will they go after a need? They obviously have an idea on what direction they want to go this offseason, we the public just don’t know.

Here are a few of the players the Bulls are looking at:

Jeff Teague- He just finished his sophomore year at Wake Forest averaging 18.8 points, 3.5 assists, and 3.3 rebounds per game. He is a good scorer who still is trying to establish himself as a point guard.

Eric Maynor-He averaged 22.4 points, 6.2 assists and 3.6 rebounds per game and is another point guard.

James Johnson- He averaged 15.0 points, 8.5 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game last year. He is a swing man who should be able to play the two and three.

Wayne Ellington- He is another swing man who is supposedly one of the best pure shooters in the draft.

Gerald Henderson- He was a first team All-ACC and ACC All-Tournament team who can also play the two and three.

These are just a few players the Bulls seem to be targeting. It appears they are looking closely at point guards to back up Rose and shooters to back up the two and three. The Bulls should start Salmons with Deng next year so they also seem to be targeting a shooter to give them a break. Gerald Henderson seems so be high on the Bulls list. If he is there I expect them to take him.

How I hate you Ubaldo Jimenez

The enigma that is Ubaldo Jimenez has frustrated MLB fans and fantasy owners his entire career. I drafted Ubaldo in the late rounds of our pay league hoping that he could repeat last years solid performance. Considering he led the league in fastball average at 95mph, it is hard to avoid such a talented arm. However, Jimenez could not have had a worst start to the 2009 season.

After 7 shutout innings in his first start, the next 3 starts in the month of April saw him pitch 12 innings allowing 16 earned runs. His control issues coupled with an inability to put away hitters was bruttaly painfull for anyone invested in the young fireballer. Back to back starts against the Dodgers didnt help matters, but obviously he was not the same pitcher. Obviously, many people, myself included, dropped Jimenez like a freshman taking organic chem. Big mistake. Since then Jimenez has been ripping through the national league like Charles Barkely ripps through his bank account.

He has posted monthly ERAs of 2.88 and 2.43 in May and June substantiated by a seasonal 3.27 FIP. His control issue is an inherent flaw that will always keep his WHIP above 1.30, however a home run rate of .30 .50 the past 2 year, at Coors of all places, and an above average strike out rate breads success. He has proven to be an ownable pitcher in most fantasy leagues, unfortunately he has been picked up by the time you and I get over the heartbreak of him mugging our fantasy teams in April.

Kosuke Fukudome should quit playing baseball and become an umpire

The 'Bright' One and myself were talking about how frustrating a player Kosuke Fukudome is. He is simultaneously a guy with great pitch recognition and limited hitting ability. The 'Bright' One went so far as to suggestion that Fukudome should just quit playing baseball and start umping behind the plate. Is he right?

A look into the numbers does confirm Fukudome's great pitch recognition. His 17.6% walk rate is sixth in all of baseball, only .01% behind Albert Pujols, who has 21 more intentional walks than Fukudome, and his 16% O-Swing percentage is almost 9 points lower than the league average (24.8%). These numbers seemingly indicate the building blocks of a quality ballplayer -- the guys who have similar recognition peripherals this season are Albert Pujols, Adam Dunn, Nick Swisher and Nick Johnson. Offensively speaking, you'd love to have any of them (Swisher has the worst wOBA of the bunch on the season, at .384).

So what gives? Why has Fukudome, a semi-veteran player who recognizes pitch location as well as the league's most elite hitters, struggled so much in the majors? The answers lie in the contact rates.

While Fukudome may know what's coming and know when to swing or lay off a pitch, it hardly has translated into contact for him. His 79.9% contact rate is a smidge below the major league average (89.2%). Outside Adam Dunn and Nick Swisher, most elite walking hitters in the majors have better than average contact rates -- largely because they have good pitch recognition. The two skills (pitch recognition and contact) are highly correlated, but hardly mutual. A hitter may know what's coming and how it's going to break, but that hardly means he has the bat speed and proper hand-eye coordination to make contact with said pitch.

Fukudoke's contact rate on pitches within the zone (89.2%) is slightly higher than league average (84.7%), but pitches in the zone are not his problem. Fukudome's contact issues almost entirely come from bad pitches. Fukudome's elite walk rate and O-Swing% indicate that he is very good at laying off pitching outside the zone, but his 52.4% contact rate with those pitches (62.4% league average) highlights that when he takes a hack at bad tosses, they usually result in a signature strikeout spin that can generate hurricane force winds. Fukudome's struggles at making contact with bad pitching is skewed by the fact that pitchers throw him 4% less pitches in the zone than the rest of the league. He also see's 2% less of his first pitches for strikes.

Such struggles with bad pitching has led to a large K rate for Kosuke Fukudome. His 22.9% strikeout rate this season is the second worst amongst the Cubs starting roster, second to only Alfonso Soriano. This heavy strikeout rate negates a lot of Fukudome's hitting ability because, despite the walks and the fact that when Fukudome drives the ball with authority when he does make contact (his 22.4% LD rate this season is top 25 in all of baseball), he ultimately puts the ball in play too little and with too little offensive impact (.156 ISO) to affect the Cubs' offensive game. His 4.1 speed score (5.1 league average) on the basepaths doesn't help much either.

All in all, what does this mean? It sort of confirms The 'Bright' One's assertion that Fukudome should be a plate umpire. He's got good pitch recognition but too poor contact ability (for whatever reason, perhaps age and declining batspeed?) and too little power to be anything more than a walking machine with above average defense. Think an Asian Reggie Willits with a little more power; that's Kosuke Fukudome.

How Much Money Did The Hangover Guys Really Make?

*Spoiler Alert, if for some reason you live in a cave or are in a come and have not seen The Hangover, do not read and go out and see the movie*

By now I'm sure everyone in America has seen The Hangover. While DME and I were not personally not big fans, everyone else in America loves it. I have actually been forced to see this movie three times, and I noticed something, at the end of the day, how much money did they really make?

When the four guys are driving home, Doug says the trip is not a total loss because he found $80,000 worth of Bellagio chips. But that got me thinking, those guys spent SO much money throughout their two days in Vegas, that I think they still lost money. I contend that they didn't come out on top.

On top of the $80,000 Doug found, the guys still had $2,400 because they made $82,400 from when Allen whon at Blackjack to pay back Leslie Chow, and I am under the assumption they were smart enough to not give ALL of the money to Chow.

So starting amount, $82,400

But Stu had to use the $10,000 he had in his bank account which was used as the buy in for Allen to start gambling.

$82,400 - $10,000 = $72,400

They also had to pay for their Villa for two nights, and that doesn't include the damage they caused. I'm not going to factor in that damage because that amount isn't known so we'll try and calculate that at the end. But they did say it was $4,000 a night and they did end up spending two nights so that's $8,000 down the tube.

$72,400 - $8,000 = $71,600

Another mention of spending money was that, in the beginning when the boys are eating breakfast, Stu took out 800 bucks from an ATM.

$71,600 - $800 = $70,800

But the big dent to their wallet was the car they totalled. The movie made a big deal about the really nice car Doug's future-dad-in-law lends the boys. Well, of course they end up destroying the car and my assumption is that they had to pay back Doug's father-in-law. Well I looked up what the car was, a 1969 Mercedes-Benz Cabriolet, and how much it still goes for. While on AutoTrader.com does not have an exact amount for this specific car, through looking at similiar cars and their offers and me being leinant, the car probably will go for about $60,000

$70,800 - $60,000 = 10,800

Divide that money between the four guys

$10,800 / 4 = $2,700

So a little under three grand seems like a lot of money still, but that doesn't include other expenses like gas money (four fill ups), damage to the room, Phil's hospital visit, and all the alcohol and food they all spent, they probably lost all that money.

So while 80 grand sounds like a shit ton of money (and it is), considering all the shit they boys went through, all the damage they caused, and the expenses they had, they probably spent more than $80,000 that weekend.

Yes, I do have too much time on my hands

New Podcast

New skype podcast featuring The 'Bright' One and basketball guru Richard from L.A. talk about his blog, economics, and the upcoming NBA draft.

http://gameofinches.podbean.com/

Looking at the Bulls this Off-Season

The Chicago Bulls had a decent regular season and made the playoffs. There season was flat lining until John Paxson (former Gm) made a few moves in acquiring Brad Miller and John Salmons. These moves sparked the club to a strong finish. As we learned in the playoffs, the team needs more help.

The first issue the Bulls have is Ben Gordon being a free agent. I think Ben Gordon will be walking as a free agent. He hasn’t seemed happy as a Bull the past two years, and he will probably get the same or better offer from other teams where he won’t have to worry about playing time in a packed back court. The other question is will the Bulls trade Kirk Hinrich and his 10 million a year contract for another player at a position they need more, like front court help.

I am assuming Ben Gordon will leave as a free agent. This is how the Bulls roster appears to look next year at this time. The starting line up should be: Derrick Rose and John Salmons in the back court with Luol Deng at small forward with Tryus Thomas and Joakim Noah in the front court. Then we have Brad Miller and Kirk Hinrich (if he is not traded) coming off the bench. Thus, the Bulls will lack depth and need the players they acquire in the draft to be an impact player of the bench and start developing. I don’t think the Bulls should sign anyone to a multi year deal this offseason in order for them to save for the free agent class of 2010. The free agent class of 2010 will be much better than this year’s free agent class. With Ben Gordon is leaving they will have money to spend with a few players coming off the books.

The Bulls can go after a few different players to help the team kin the draft. If they keep both picks they may be able to acquire two decent role players. Next year should be a developing year for the Bulls and their young nucleus of Rose, Deng (not that young, but under contract for a few more years), Thomas, Noah, and the two young draft picks. If the Bulls trade Hinrich they could draft a back up point guard and a swing man for the two and three spots or they could draft a back up guard and a front court player.

Picture perfect



The "Slumping" Excuse

When justifying a fantasy baseball trade, I hear the same excuse over and over again. "My player is in a slump" or "This player is really hot right now".

I hate this justification so much.

Fantasy managers look at current production of certain players and base their decisions off of that. And the vast majority of fantasy owners use this basis to justify their trades. But the thing is, when you make a trade, you're only getting the future production of that player. So it doesn't matter if you just received a player who was the best in baseball if that player then goes into a 0-40 slump, it doesn't really matter how that player performed before the trade.

Now this can work to many smart owners advantages. DME is the perfect example of this. In Fantasyland2, his combination of being savvy about future player production and the exploitation of other owner's stupidity of how players have just done makes him pull off some very smart trades. Plus his sheer annoyance.

What's even worse in that players still use this excuse in roto leagues. Roto leagues are probably the best forum to hold onto players and give managers the better ability to let a player slump. In a head-to-head league, I can sort of understand using the slumping excuse because you only get points based off of short term stats. But for roto and points leagues, it doesn't matter how a player does in the short term because all that matters is the final result at the end.

Now I do agree there is a fine line between riding out a players slump and holding onto a shitty player. Sometimes a player flat out sucks and holding onto a guy who you think will do well but ends up sucking turns out to be a bad thing. But at least you're basing the decision upon the long term and not the short term.

And this is the beauty of knowing peripherals. Peripherals tells you why, but the normal fantasy stats is just the what. Now me personally, I don't really know how to really look at batter peripherals, but at least I try. However, I do absolutely look at pitcher peripherals like FIP, HR/9, K/9, K/BB and other stuff when I make decisions. Looking how at many wins a pitcher had in his four starts is not nearly as useful as what that player's FIP and HD/LD% were. I traded for Gil Meche in one league when his ERA was plus five. But I saw that he had one of the best FIPs in baseball. Lo and behold, when I got Meche I so far have gotten three great starts from him and his 11 K performance. Perfect anecdote to show you just can't look on how a player has done but what they WILL DO.

But fantasy owners have made trades using this "slumping" or "hot" excuse. And then they wonder why those trades haven't worked. Another anecdote: DME and another owner made a trade. DME traded away Jerry Hairston Jr and would have gotten Adam Lind. I made a big fuss and that trade never happened. Adam Lind then got hot and hit multiple home runs and Hairston is now in free agency. The excuse the other owner used to trade away Lind: "he's in a slump right".

So please, when you make trades, look at how a player will do in the future and not what he has done for you lately.

The SCORE 670 makes some tweaks

The Score, 670am recently made some changes to there schedule. They eliminated a few personalities from there schedule in: Mike Murphy, Dan Hampton, and some of the night people.

There new schedule is:
5:00am-9:00am Mully and Hanley
9:00am-1:00pm Danny Mac Show
1:00pm-6:00pm Boers and Bernstein
6:00pm-10:00pm Laurence Holmes
10:00pm-1:00am Dan Patrick
1:00am-5:00am Sporting News Radio

The major change from there schedule was eliminating Laurence Holmes and Dan Hampton in the morning and Mike Murphy in the afternoon. Then they added Dan McNeil and Matt Spiegel. They also decided to start their live local programming an hour earlier at 5:00am. They use to have the syndicated Sporting news radio from 1:00am to 6:00am. Now it is from 1:00am to 5:00am.

I personally don’t like these changes. Mike Murphy was my favorites. I don’t know why they got rid of him. He was one of the few original people left from the beginning. He was a great Cubs fan and always made some excellent points. I also like Laurence Holmes a lot. He is my second favorite after Mike Murphy.

Do you like the new schedule?
Who are your favorite personalities on the Score?

Chris Davis: Texas' Toxic Threebagger

Coming into the season, I was big on three sluggers who I felt flew way under the radar going into draft day: Nelson Cruz, Joey Votto and Chris Davis. All three of these hitters showed enormous power potential in the minors and put together similarly quality (partial) seasons last year:

Joey Votto: 589 AB, .297 AVG, 69 R, 84 RBI, 24 HR, 7 SB

Nelson Cruz: 115 AB, .330 AVG, 19 R, 26 RBI, 7 HR, 3 SB (on pace for a 35 HR, 15 SB, 95 R, 130 RBI season)

Chris Davis: 295 AB, .285 AVG, 51 R, 55 RBI, 17 HR, 1 SB (on pace for a 35 HR, 100 R, 110 RBI season)

Given Dusty Baker's hatred/abuse of young players, Nelson Cruz's AAAA career and Bill James' overwhelming approval of Chris Davis (he called him one of the few guys who would legitimately reach 40 HR this season), Davis seemed like the safest choice of the bunch -- and his 70 ADP on MockDraftCentral, which was the lowest of these three guys, reflected and reaffirmed this belief.

However, now almost 3 months through the season, Chris Davis has not only been the worst player of my three sleepers, but one of the worst players in baseball. There's still a lot to like about Davis (such as the .216 ISO), but the downside (45.5% K rate, 8% higher than the #2 guy, Mark Reynolds) seemingly outweighs the potential.

Currently, Chris Davis supports a .194/.248/.410 slash line, thanks to 45.5% K rate, 5.9% walk rate (bottom 20 among all major league hitters) and 1.4 speed score. The power is legitimate (13 HR in 222 AB, .216 ISO), but Davis' Three-True-Outcome tendencies (Davis K's, HR's or BB's in 58% of his PA's, which is second this season to only Carlos Pena, who follows the TTO formula 60.3% of the time) are quite disconcerting because they skew heavily towards the bad third of the Three True Outcomes -- the strikeouts. Despite posting a .194 BA, Davis's BABIP is an only slightly unlucky .280, thanks to the enormous amount of whiffing he does (Davis is the fastest major league player to ever reach 100 Ks in a season). Any fantasy baseball manager expecting any semblance of a rebound from Davis in the BA department is going to be severely disappointed until that K rate halves.

Furthermore, even if he were to cut down on the strikeouts, Davis' poor pitch recognition (5.9% BB rate, 36.3% O-Swing [24.8% MLB average], 53.6 Swing% [44.9 MLB average] and 47.6% contact [62.4% MLB average]) makes him extremely prone to extended hitting slumps.

All of these markers indicate the following:
1) When Chris Davis makes contact, he drives the ball (his home runs average 413.2 feet in distance, top 5 in baseball)
2) Chris Davis does not make much contact with baseballs and also does not take pitches, which makes him a BA/OBP liability
3) Even if Chris Davis were to hit for a higher average and cut down on the strike outs, his poor pitch recognition and giant hole in his swing make him an extremely streaky, inconsistent hitter that is going to give Rangers fans and fantasy managers peptic ulcers
3) As indicated by his .281 wOBA, a slugger with no ability to get on base has marginal value at best (click here to read about the importance of walking and getting on base over slugging), and thus Chris Davis may lose playing time to minor league 1B slugger Justin Smoak

My love of Chris Davis has waned to the point of disappointment this season and I've dropped him in all of my leagues. I recommend you either do the same if you cannot find a trade partner. This isn't the same situation as Dan Uggla, the Adam Dunn of the middle infield, whose 2B positional eligibility and bad luck make him an undervalued asset. Chris Davis is just a powerful man who is not as good at hitting as perhaps I once pegged him.

Harold Reynolds has opinions on OPS

Time to FireJoeMorgan this shit. Best part the article came directly from ken tremendous, as i'm following ken on twitter, cause i luv twitter!

It's been real interesting in the last couple years as I've watched how the importance of statistics has taken over how to analyze a baseball game.
Why do black people make it a habit to write exactly how they speak. Nothing better than starting a published article than with a grammatically incorrect run-on sentence. In the words of Chris Rock, "Black people love to keep it real. Real dumb".
Not all statistics work. Some do, some don't. And one of the stats that has become real popular is OPS. On-base plus slugging. All of a sudden, it's this stat that defines whether a guy is a good ball player or not.
Real: being or occurring in fact or actuality; having verified existence; not illusory
Really: truly: in accordance with truth or fact or reality
Harold, you are looking for the adverb really, not real.

Actually wOBA defines whether a guy is good or not, but ESPN won't implement wOBA for another 25 years
If you're a power hitter then the situation will dictate what a pitcher does with you - either walk you or pitch you real careful. So more than likely you're going to end up on base and therefore your on-base percentage goes up. This in my mind has become the stat the everyone thinks is the be all and end all. It is not.
How can people who played professional baseball be so oblivious to the game of baseball. Real weird. So, getting on base and not making outs because you are a power hitter who pitchers are afraid to pitch to does not make you a good player. I can't wait to hear what does!
If you have a guy like Adrian Gonzalez, for example, his OPS is going to be high - he's got a lot of home runs and walks a lot...because you're not going to pitch to him. Power guys like Giambi and Dunn have always had high OPS because no one wants to pitch to them. But it takes two hits to score them from first.
OMG, why does every discussion have to involve Adam Dunn. He hates baseball and proves it by walking and hitting 500 foot homer runs. Moral of the story, no matter how high your OPS, you can only be a good player if you have guys behind you who can also hit. Remember that year(2001) when Sammy Sosa had 94 more RBIs than the next closest guy on the team and an OPS of 1.174? Yeah, worst season ever!
Big power hitters swing and miss and strikeout. Or they hit home runs and walk. And at the end of the year their OBP is always going to be higher than most of the other guys on the team because they clog the bases.
I don't care to look up Harold Reynold's career stats, but i'm guessing he excelled at not clogging the bases. He clogged the bases so rarely that he almost never scored runs or other frivolous things have no affect on baseball games. You know what helps unclogg bases? Sac bunts. I seriously want to find the guy who first used the term "clogging the bases" and punch him in the face. I will assume it was Tim McCarver.
A few years ago this stat grabbed my ear when someone said that Ichiro doesn't walk enough. So I said, "What do you mean?" And they said his OBP could be so much higher if he walked more. The guy gets 200 hits a season! And he scores over 100 runs. I think that speaks for itself.
What if we lived in a hypothetical world where Ichiro did draw 70 walks per year? How many runs would Ichiro score then? Ah, who cares. He gets 200 hits and 100 runs. No need to improve and maximize your ability. That would be real stupid

Stone fly’s Solo

For Friday’s broadcast of the White Sox game vs. the Cincinnati Reds in Cincinnati on Comcast Sports net Steve Stone was the only broadcaster. Steve Stone is usually the Color commentator and is the best in the business. Usually his partner and the play by play announcer for the White Sox is Ken “Hawk” Harrelson. It is very unusual to see only one broadcaster alone on TV. Sometimes we even see three broadcasters on ESPN and other networks. I guess one of Hawk’s relatives was sick so he couldn’t make it. I wonder why they didn’t get a substitute. The game was on Comcast so they could have found any reporter they have to fill in. It shouldn’t be hard to find a decent play by play announcer. I am sure most of there reporters would love the opportunity to call a ball game, even if it is just for one game. If Hawk didn’t give them enough notice they could of had one of the radio announcer’s to fill in. This is because television. usually takes precedent over radio. One announcer on radio isn’t as weird of having one announcer on t.v.

I watched a few minutes of this Sox game and found it amusing to watch Steve Stone do both the play by play and the analysis of the game. He barley seemed to come up for air, but it seemed to flow pretty well. I actually thought this broadcast was the best the White Sox have had in the past 19 years! They would be better-off with just Steve Stone in the booth than having Hawk Harrelson join him.

DME is back

Hey hey!

So after a week of tanning/sizzling in sunny Florida, I'm back, full force, to continue to troll the baseball world for interesting information. Lots of cool stuff happened while I was gone, but by far the coolest (in my mind) was getting my email read on the ESPN Fantasy Focus podcast.

I sent in an email a few weeks ago regarding Dan Haren and his peripherals as a rebuttal to Berry's irrational hatred of him and constant bashing. While he (Berry) entirely missed my point and selectively misused the extensive information I sent in (or as Berry put it, "the numbers state me"), Nate did do a pretty good job defending my general thesis. I was entirely shocked to find out that Matthew and Nate did not know what FIP was (perhaps because they know FIP under the alternative acronym DIPS) and although I know both The Bright One and Sexy Rexy sent in emails explaining FIP and providing pages 2 of my email (which contained UZR data and the likes), I still wrote a follow up email anyways. I do not know how they did not know (or could not guess) where I was from, even without page two (in which I signed my email as Jeff of Chicago) because I wrote "Go Cubbies" on the first line of the email. So where they came up with "go Hilltops", I'll never know.

Below are both my original email to Fantasy Focus and my follow up email, in case you are interested and find my argument interesting (though you can read 90% of it here, between the post and my comments about the post):

THE ORIGINAL EMAIL:
Hey Matt and Nate (go Cubbies!)

Matthew Berry has often stated that he has an extreme dislike of Dan Haren because he "can't pitch in the second half." I know that Haren had a comparatively bad second half last season, but as a Haren owner last season, I did not recall Haren ever being truly terrible in the second half. So I took a look at the numbers:

Dan Haren's First Half:
8 W, 2.72 ERA, 125.2 IP, 112 K (8.0 K/BB), 22 BB (1.58 BB/9), 5.09 K/BB, 10 HR (0.72 HR/9), 98 Hits, 0.96 WHIP

Dan Haren's Second Half:
8 W, 4.18 ERA, 90.1 IP, 94 K (9.4 K/9), 18 BB (1.79 BB/9), 5.22 K/BB, 9 HR (0.90 HR/9), 106 Hits, 1.37 WHIP

Yes, from a fantasy perspective, Haren was worse in 2 categories (ERA, WHIP) after the all-star break, but he also improved another category (Ks) and remained consistent in another (Ws). His ERA/WHIP were still very serviceable; a far cry from horrible by any means.

From a real life perspective, Dan Haren was almost as good in the second half as he was in the first half -- just less lucky. Haren's control improved and while the BBs and HRs per nine regressed a little, Haren's peripherals across the board were solid and consistent. If anything got worse, it was the hits rate per nine -- something that Voros McCracken and the minds at BP proved long ago that a pitcher has little, if any control over (although some pitchers -- mainly strikeout pitchers -- do seem to exert more "control" over hits per nine than others).

In fact, Dan Haren's real life career splits look like this:

1st Half
35 W, 3.23 ERA, 599.1 IP, 488 K (7.3 K/9), 134 BB (2.01 BB/9), 3.64 K/BB, 62 HR (0.93 HR/9), 516 Hits, 1.09 WHIP, 3.59 FIP

2nd Half:
34 W, 4.12 ERA, 476 IP, 402 K (7.6K/9), 108 BB (2.04 BB/9), 3.72 K/BB, 60 HR (1.13 HR/9), 524 Hits, 1.33 WHIP, 3.83 FIP

What does this data tell me? Haren is not a second half fizzle. The difference is FIP (0.24 runs per nine) is marginal. Haren gives up a few more HR/9 in the second half, but thats about it. The hits also increase in the second half, but Haren's been in front of some notoriously terrible defensive lineups in Arizona, so he can hardly be blamed for their fielding failures.

Especially in recent years, Haren has been a premier pitching force. His control is Maddux-like and if it weren't for a terrible offense/defense behind him, he would be a perennial Cy Young winner. I think Matthew Berry needs to apologize. His dislike of Haren is almost as unfounded and irrational as his disdain of Big Fat Bartolo Colon.

Love,
Jeffrey of Chicago

THE FOLLOW UP EMAIL:
Dear Matt and Nate,

I have a follow up to my previous email regarding Dan Haren, FIP and the likes, as I would like to clarify a few details.

1) FIP stands for Fielding Independent Pitching statistics and is almost identical to DIPS (defense independence pitching stats). It basically removes the luck element from a pitchers game by calculating his strike out, walk and home run rates to determine if a pitcher is over/under performing his results based on the peripherals. xFIP is similar to FIP, but it normalizes home runs per FBs (HR/FB) to 11% (league average). Basically, what I was trying to get at with Dan Haren's FIP data is that he has been getting somewhat consistently unlucky in the ERA department during the second half of his career, which is strange. I dug deeper into the data and found some interesting explanations as to why Dan Haren's ERA is much higher than his FIP (especially in the second half of the season).

Fangraphs has a defensive metric called UZR/150, which calculates a player's (or collectively a team's) defensive ability per 150 games in terms of runs prevention against the replacement level. As always, approx. every 10 runs equals one win in either direction (positive or negative). A team with a positive UZR/150 of 10 runs, therefore, would be worth 1 full win above the league average thanks to its awesome defensive prowess. A team with a 0 UZR/150, on the other hand, would have league average defense. Here are the UZR/150 ratings of each of the teams Dan Haren has played for since joining the Oakland rotation full time in 2005:

Oakland, 2005: 3.4 fielding runs, 9th best in baseball (9/30) -- above average
Oakland, 2006: -1.3 fielding runs, 16th worst in baseball (15/30) -- about league average
Oakland, 2007: -3.8 fielding runs, 8th worst in baseball (23/30) -- below average
Arizona, 2008: -5.2 fielding runs, 8th worst in baseball (23/30)

What should be duly noted here is that Dan Haren has played for bottom half of the league defensive teams (negative fielding runs) in all but one of his full major league seasons. You can't blame his ERA struggles on the poor fielding abilities of guys like Mark Reynolds and Adam Dunn, who joined the Dbacks in the second half of last season. Dan Haren's peripherals (and innings) make him a true stud.

2) Dan Haren was, in my opinion, totally undervalued this season. Where guys in his tier (referring to peripherals here) like CC, Lincecum and Santana went in the first two or three rounds, Haren consistently went at the end of rounds 4 and 5. You say other guys who go later or at the same time as Haren are safer picks, but what is "safer" than a guy whose career ERA is under 3.6 (his ERA has only once been above 3.75 as a full time starting pitcher), has the best control in baseball, strikes out guys like clockwork and goes 200+ IP season after season? The mere fact that guys of lower tiers get drafted before him or in the same round as him indicates that people do not properly recognize the dominant force that Haren truly is.

3) When I talked about Wins in my email, I did not mean to insinuate that Wins were anything but the situational byproduct of many circumstances beyond Haren's control, but rather to highlight that despite the ERA and WHIP "struggles" (as if a 4.00 ERA can be called struggling), Dan Haren has remained stellar in the other 2 starting pitching categories (Ws, Ks) and thus you're hatred of him is somewhat irrational and overstated. Your perception of Dan Haren is almost in line with what Sam Walker called your irrational hatred of Big Fat Bartolo Colon during his prime years...I truly believe him to be a top 5, let alone top 10, starting pitcher (along with the undervalued Javier Vazquez, whom you also sadly hate and whom I will defend to the death another day)

4) Finally, I would like to point out that I am actually from Chicago, not Deluth, so screw the hilltops. GO CUBBIES!

Love,
Jeff


Look for more cool baseball posts in the next few days, though the frequency with which I provide them may decline in the near future.

Cubs approach the DH

The Chicago Cubs have had two interleague series so far. One with the White Sox and one with the Cleveland Indians. Both of these series have been at home. Next week, starting on Tuesday they have two interleague series on the road at American League parks. This means the Cubs will have to use the DH. I am personally not a big fan of the DH because it takes away some of the strategy to the game. There is one benefit to it though. That is more playing time for two of the Cubs youngster’s who are more offensive minded players and aren’t great defensive players. This is Micah Hoffpauir and Jake Fox.

Micah Hoffpauir is first basemen by trait and is pretty good defensively at first base. He is okay in the outfield, but doesn’t have great speed or a good arm, but he is adequate. Jake Fox came up as a catcher, but they quickly learned he can’t catch, and doesn’t have a position in the National League. He can play first base, corner outfield, and some third base recently, but isn’t that good defensively at any position. When he shows everyone that he can hit the Cubs can trade him to an American league team to DH.

Lou has said he likes Fox and Hoffpauir bat so he will make sure they get more time playing time during interleague play where the DH is in effect. He says they may not DH, but play first or the outfield so the regulars can get a little break. Fox has been good as a pinch hitter, but has gone hitless in his two starts this season. His most recent start was Friday at third base, where he is a defensive liability, but Lou will continue to start him at third against left handed pitchers. Today Hoffpauir had a pinch hit two run homerun. Hopefully both of them will seize the moment when they get more playing time. I like both players and think they both can hit and be every day hitter’s when given the opportunity.

Harden Batting from the Left side

In Friday’s game Rich Harden was facing left hander Cliff Lee. I noticed that Rich Harden is a left handed hitter. I knew that he batted from the left side, but assumed he was a switch hitter like Zambrano. I dislike pitcher’s who are switch hitters and expose their pitching elbow, but how did a right handed pitcher start batting from the left side? He isn’t a good hitter from the left side, so maybe he should try from the right side?

The Cubs Change Hitting Coaches

Usually on Sunday’s the home team does not taking batting practice. This way they can sleep in and rest. Well, last Sunday the Chicago Cubs were up bright and early taking batting practice at Wrigley field. This is because the Cubs have been in a big slump and have not been hitting. Thus, they needed batting practice. At 11:00am, Gerald Perry, the Cubs hitting coach was called in from the batting cage where he was giving players hitting advice hoping they would get out of this slump. He was informed that he was relived of his duties and shown the door.

Gerald Perry had a relationship with Lou Pinella being on his staff before in Seattle a few years ago. Lou made it obvious that he was not the one behind this decision and did not feel a change was needed. Lou said this was an organizational change. You could tell that he didn’t know what to say because Jim Hendry made one of his coaches the escape goat for the Cubs hitting woes and loosing streaks.

I did not agree with this change. Gerald Perry is just a coach and can only give the players suggestions and advice on how to hit. But, he is not the one hitting! Last year the Cubs were first in the league in runs scored and everyone praised him for preaching patience. Now, they are second to last in the league in runs scored and they decide to fire him. I think a good hitting coach will help, but these are professional hitters who got to the big leagues and he isn’t the one to blame.

The Cubs called up their hitting coach from Triple-A Iowa, Von Joshua to take over for Tuesday’s game. Von Joshua has a relationship with many of the current Cubs who he coached in Triple-A. In the past he has coached: Ryan Theriot, Mike Fontenot, Micah Hoffpauir, Reed Johnson, Jake fox, Bobby Scales, and Andres Blanco. Let’s hope he helps turn things around.

Payroll v. BA

Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez the best catcher ever?

On Wednesday night, Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez caught his 2,227th career game to surpass Carlton Fisk record for most games played by a catcher. I was surprised this didn’t get more attention. I would put this milestone up there with Cal Ripken Jr. consecutive games played record. It takes a really good durable player to play for 18 years as a catcher, especially with many of those years in the Texas heat.

Ivan Rodriguez got the nick name “Pudge” because he used to be pudgy. A few years ago, he started to loose his pudginess. Rodriguez is not a great offensive player. If he was, he wouldn’t be a catcher. He would have been moved to another position. Look at Victor Martinez or the talk about moving Joe Mauer. That is because playing catcher does take a toll on the body and slow you down at the plate. Ivan Rodriguez production would not have been that good for a first basemen or outfielder, but for a catcher it is. That is because usually you don’t get that production out of a catcher.

So is Ivan Rodriguez the best catcher ever? I would argue that he is. Rodriguez is one of the best hitting catchers of all time. He isn’t the best, but among the top 20 best offensive catchers. He has 2,650 career hits, 301 homeruns, seven silver slugger awards, and won the 1999 AL MVP. He also was the 2003 NLCS MVP. He is a 14 time All-Star and started 12 of them. He has won 13 gold glove awards which is most for a catcher. Thus, Ivan Rodriguez could be the best all around catcher ever.

Pedro a Cub?

Today, three-time Cy Young Award winner Pedro Martinez is supposedly working out for four teams in the Yankees, Angels, Rays and Cubs in the Dominican Republic. Martinez is 37 years old and trying to pitch for half the season like Roger Clemens did for a few seasons. He is reportedly seeking $3 million to pitch the rest of the season.

Pedro Martinez has a career record of 214 wins with 99 losses and a 2.17 ERA in his 17 year career. He also has a career winning percentage of 684 which would be the best among active pitchers if he does come back. He has not been the same pitcher the last three years going 17-15 and having ERA’s of 4.48 in 2006, 2.57 in 2007 (28 Innings pitched), and 5.61 in 2008.

The question is why are the Cubs interested? We already have a solid rotation of Zambrano, Dempster, Lilly, Harden, and Wells. If someone gets hurt like the injury prone harden then it would be nice to have some more depth, but what would we do in the mean time and is Pedro worth the money now because we don’t even know if he can really pitch. I think Pedro may have something left in the tank, but think our internal options are just as good at this stage of his career, and we need offense, like a second basemen.

What Happened to the Gatorade Cooler in the Dugout?

The Cubs used to have a Gatorade Cooler in the Dugout. This Gatorade Cooler became famous when Carlos Zambrano recently hit in with a bat after one of his bad starts which was shown on t.v. He broke the Gatorade Cooler and it was fixed. Then another player took their frustration out on the Gatorade Cooler and broke it again. On the Cubs last road trip, management decided to take the Gatorade Cooler out of the dugout. It wasn’t worth all the expenses to get it repeatedly fixed. So next time they show the dugout on t.v. look for the Gatorade Cooler because it won’t be there.

Sister Blog

My friend Richard started his own blog as a form of competition with my blog. I'm gonna be nice and give him some props for putting up lots of funny stuff. Including first hand photos and video from today's Lakers prep rally...errr...parade. Check it out

http://sportshumor23.wordpress.com/

Dewayne Wise vs. Jason Marquis

In my ChiSox v Cubs post, I joked that Jason Marquis was better than Dewayne Wise. Well I actually looked up Marquis' stats and this is his line:

.192/.250/.231 with a .224 wOBA and no homers and one extra base hit (a double)

Here are Wise's numbers:

.133/.170/.133 with a .124 wOBA and no homers and no XBH

Jason Marquis, a pitcher, has a better batting average, on base percentage, slugging percentage, and OPS than Dewayne Wise, an outfielder.

And really the sample size isn't THAT different. Marquis has 32 plate appearances versus Wise's 48. That's only about four less games.

JASON MARQUIS IS FUCKING BETTER THAN DEWAYNE WISE! WHAT THE FUCK! WHY IS HE STILL ON THE TEAM!

Why Is Matt Thorton So Good?

Matt Thorton is the lefty set up man for Bobby Jenks and the Chicago White Sox. He is this year's Carlos Marmol and is probably the best relievers in baseball that doesn't close/ have an opportunity to close/ that people have not heard of. So not only am I trying to spread the gospel of Matt but try to explain his dominance this year.

Now Thorton isn't really that young (33) but this is only his sixth year in the majors. Throughout the years and his stint as a ChiSox, one could see his development. In '06 he really wasn't good but you could tell he was getting better. In '07 and '08 his numbers have improved, culminating this year to one of the best relievers in baseball so far.

His FIP numbers and K/9 have increased since '06 leading him to have a 12.58 K/9 and a measly 2.47 FIP. His ERA has also steadily decreased from '07 to a 1.85 ERA now. Yet, despite this, Thorton has actually walked more guys and given up more HRs. His BB/9 is actually only the second lowest rate of his career but has increased from 2.54 last year to 3.33 this year. And since '07, his HR/9 has increased from .64 two years ago to .74 now. This year his BABIP is .302, which is right around where every pitchers BABIP should be, which means luck becomes a less minimal factor.

This year his GD% is the second highest of his career (last year was his best year), yet he has his highest FB% of his White Sox career. This means he's forcing batters to hit into more ground balls, but also more fly balls as well. The high amount of fly balls helps explain his higher than normal HR/9 (on average 11% of all fly balls are turned into home runs). However, Thorton's LD% is the lowest of his career. So while he may be forcing batters into fly balls, they are very weak hits which makes it easier for his defenders to convert those fly balls into outs.

But all these numbers are nice, but they really don't explain the causal factor of why? Well, this year Thorton is throwing his fastball more and his slider and change up less. He also also throwing more XX (or unexplainable) pitches. But yet because of these pitching changes, his slider is now more effective actually producing positive value from Thorton since his rookie year in 2004. His change up his also more effective at preventing runs- in fact his slider and fastball are also now better at preventing runs.

The percentage of pitches Throton is throwing batters inside and outside of the strike zone and the rate batters are making contact his Thorton's pitchers are pretty much in line with his career average, but there are some factors worth noting. The percentage batters are swinging at his pitchers outside of the strike zone are lowest they have been in three years, and so is the percentage batters are making contact with his pitches outside of the strike zone. In fact, the rate of contact batters are hitting Thorton's pitches have decreased. But the more important point worth noting is that this year, Thorton's first pitch strike percentage is the highest its been of his career.

So in laments terms and English, why is Matt Thorton so good? Well I believe it is because of his effectiveness of his fastball and because he's throwing it more. This causes his other pitches to actually be effective and thus forces batters to lay off Thorton's stuff. And hitters are actually going into 0-1 holes to start their ABs which sways the favor to the pitcher. The effectiveness of Thorton's pitches also causes, when batters do make contact with his pitches, batters to make weaker contact and thus makes it easier for those batters to get out. His pitches are also causing batters to strike out more. However, because batters also laying off more of his pitches, Thorton is actually throwing a bit more walks. But because Thorton is striking out more guys and making it easier on his defense to make outs, these walks are OK.

So I am optimistic about Thorton's year this year and hope he keeps up the good work!

Dear GOI Readers,

So I know a few people read this blog besides the authors and we actually now have one fan on Twitter! Woo hoo! So if you would like to ask us any questions or want us to talk about a specific player or team, LET US KNOW! I know I would be happy to cater many posts to you, the readers. I know we've written a few Yankee and Tigers posts that have gotten responses so if that intrigues you, we'll write more. Also, if you have any topics or questions you would like to ask us for the podcast, please contact us for that as well. Enjoy!

P.S. we use pretty advanced statistics for both baseball and football so if you don't understand our analysis and logic, we'd be happy to clarify.

Fantasy Focus Response to Eckstein's Haren Post

To our surprise, Eckstein's post on Dan Haren was read and responded to on the baseball fantasy focus podcast hosted by Nate Ravitz and "The Talented Mr. Roto" Matthew Berry. Matthew has been critical of Haren's regression in ERA in the 2nd half and does not value the pitcher as much as the rest of the fantasy world. Matthew continued to hold pat on his stance that Haren is a bad second half pitcher who is overvalued fantasy wise. Eckstein presented the facts and Berry was still reluctant to denote Haren as a top 5 pitcher.

I sent an email response to the fantasy focus, explaining what FIP is to the fantasy experts and showing them the terrible defenses Haren has had behind him.

You can listen to the fantasy focus podcast ; skip to the 16 minute mark for the relevant portions. Enjoy!

Chicago White Sox vs. Chicago Cubs

Every year the Chicago Tribune does its All-Chicago team during the crosstown classic between the ChiSox and the Cubs. I thought it would be nice, considering this blog is mainly a Chicago blog, to compare the players at each position. I would just like to note, especially considering Boehrs and Bernstein were too retarded to get this, that this is how the players have done SO FAR THIS YEAR. Not if you were building a team which players would you take or how they will do the entire year, but during the 2009 baseball season.

Catcher:
A.J. Pierzynski vs. Geovany Soto

Analysis: Soto has the potential to be good but so far he hasn't lived up to it. Last year he walked a fair amount and had plenty of power, especially considering he's catcher. A.J. has been around longer so everyone expected him to just have a higher average and hit a HR every now and then. At the beginning of the year everyone would pick Soto, but I think now AJ's better. AJ has a .303 BA, .338 OBP, and .342 wOBA. Soto is batting .223 thus causing him to have a .332 OBP (which granted means he's walking more than AJ), and .299 wOBA. Soto has 3 HRs versus AJ's six. AJ has a positive VORP versus Soto's negative.

Winner: White Sox

First Base:
Paul Konerko vs. Derrek Lee

Analysis: After hitting into so many DPs and less HRs,D-Lee looked like he was done. And after Paulie's slow slow start last year, many Sox fans thought the same. But both are having very good years. Lee has a .278/.360/.440 with a .351 wOBA, and 7 home runs. Konerko has a .294/.347/.471 line with a .351 wOBA and 8 homers. Both are actually very very very similar offensively, so let's look at defense. Konerko has a 9.4 UZR/150 with no errors and D-Lee has a 5.6 UZR/150 with one error.

Winner: White Sox. barely.

Second Base:
Chris Getz vs. Andres Blanco

Analysis: Boy is this just bad versus worse. I hate Getz and really really wish Jayson Nix would start, but so is life. Getz' line: .249/.303/.285 wOBA. I think if Ozzie played NOW, he could put up just as bad statistics. Blanco, in 12 games is actually WORSE than Getz. Both have zero homers as well. Getz also has negative defense with a -10.5 UZR/150 versus Blanco's -2.6 UZR/150

Winner: The 2B in each clubs minor league's system

Shortstop:
Alexei Ramirez vs. Ryan Theriot

Analysis: I could have told you before the season that Sir Hacks-a-lot will probably be worse than Mr. Should-Never-Steal-A-Base, just because The Riot actually walks. And although Theriot isn't really walking this year, his .343 OBP is STILL better than A-Ram's .303. However Alexei should have the power advantage, but this year he has one less (5) home run than Theriot (6). However, surprisingly, Alexei has the better UZR/150 (4.6) versus Ryan's (0.7). Topsy turvy world huh?

Winner: Cubs

Third Base:
Josh Fields/ Gordan Beckham vs. Air-a-miss Ramirez/ Mike Fontenot

Analysis: I don't need to do actual analysis. Josh Fields BLOWS and Fontenot BLOWS. A-Ram is awesome and Beckham is young needs to develop and time.

Winner: The Cubs hope that Rameriz is Jesus

Left Field:
Carlos Quentin/Scotty Pods vs. Alfonso Soriano

Analysis: In reality, Soriano is much better, but in the past few months Soriano sucks. Pods is batting well and actually has a BA higher than Soriano's OBP. Soriano also has a negative UZR/150 versus Pods positive. Add to that Quentin's awesome two weeks he had and, holy shit, Pods is better than Soriano. Right now. Good for my real team but fucking awful for my fantasy one.

Winner: White Sox and all noose sellers in Wrigleyville

Centerfield:
Brian Anderson vs. Kosuke Fukudome

Analysis: Fuck You Do Me has played very well this year and if he doesn't turn into the Tazmanian Devil after every at-bat, he might be able to actually keep this up. He has a .363 wOBA and a 7.8 UZR/150. Anderson has a far better UZR/150 but his wOBA and all around offense is far far worse. But despite this Kosuke is better.

Winner: Cubs

Right Field:
Jermaine Dye vs. Milton Bradley

Analysis: Last year Bradley had the best OPS in the AL, so when he moved to the NL, you would imagine he would be good. And if only he could count to three when standing in the outfield. His really bad contact rate forces a bad OBP. Yet its still not far behind Dye's who really doesn't walk at all. Dye has a .372 wOBA versus Bradley's .322. Dye also has 10 more home runs than Bradley. Both have about the same shitty UZR/150 so I'll take the guy who has more power now but I think Bradley will have the better second half

Winner: White Sox

Back-Up Infielder:
Jayson Nix vs. Aaron Miles

Analysis: Upon first impression, I know that Nix kinda sucks defensively but has the third best UZR/150 and Miles is part of the reason the Cubs wants Mark DeRosa back. Miles has -11.4 value offensively and -0.3 value defensively

Winner: The Legend of Mark DeRosa

Back-Up Outfielder:
Dewayne Wise vs. Reed Johnson

Analysis: When your OBP is lower than your weight like Wise's is, you suck balls. While ChiSox fans love to criticize for him not being able to lay down a bunt, I like to criticize him for not being able to make contact, draw walks, hit for power, or play defense. Even though Johnson has a slightly negative defensive value and slightly positive offensive value, even Jason Marquis is better than Dewayne Wise

Winner: The Legend of Aaron Rowand

Starer 1:
Mark Buehrle vs. Ted Lilly

Buehrle: 3.43 ERA, 4.41 FIP, .264 BABIP, 5.71 K/9, 2.08 BB/9
Lilly: 2.94 ERA, 4.00 FIP, .255 BABIP, 7.25 K/9, 2.10 BB/9

Winner: Cubs

Starter 2:
Gavin Floyd vs. Carlos Zambrano

Floyd: 3.43 ERA, 3.83 FIP, .319 BABIP, 7.79 K/9, 3.40 BB/9
Zambrano: 3.39 ERA, 3.51 FIP, .292 BABIP, 7.92 K/9, 3.96 BB/9

Winner: Cubs

Starter 3:
John Danks vs. Ryan Dempster

Danks: 4.81 ERA, 4.45 FIP, .314 BABIP, 8.15 K/9, 2.35 BB/9
Dempster: 3.87 ERA, 4.03 FIP, .284 BABIP, 7.52 K/9, 3.21 BB/9

Winner: Cubs (but Danks has the SO and K/BB advantage)

Starter 4:
Clayton Richard vs. Randy Wells

Richard: 3.16 ERA, 4.72 FIP, .305 BABIP, 6.71 K/9, 4.42 BB/9
Wells: 2.55 ERA, 3.04 FIP, .292 BABIP, 6.80 K/9, 2.13 BB/9

Winner: Cubs, fuck this is the fourth Cubs advantage....

Starter 5:
Jose Contreas vs. Rich Harden

Fuck My Life, really, this is the fifth match up FUCK! Contreas better fucking pitch like he did the past two starts for the rest of the year...

Set Up Reliever:
Matt Thorton vs. Carlos Marmol

Analysis: Thorton is flat out amazing striking out a shit ton and not letting any runs in. Marmol is striking out a lot of guys (still at a more worse rate than Thorton) but is walking everybody else. Plus Thorton is a lefty.

Winner: White Sox

Closer:
Bobby Jenks vs. Kevin Gregg

Analysis: Bobby is definitely not the same guy he was in '05 but still is effective; he has 14 saves in 16 chances. Gregg has 10 saves in 12 chances. Bobby is striking out 7.77 per 9 with 3.68 ERA and a 4.40 FIP. Gregg is striking out 9.53 per nine with a 4.13 ERA and a 7.74 FIP.

Winner: Just hope either Thorton or Marmol can go an extra inning

Manager:
Ozzie Guillen vs. Lou Pinella

Analysis: Mangers don't matter

Winner: My White Sox bias

GM:
Kenny Williams vs. Jim Hendry

Analysis: Kenny let go of Joe Crede to let the great Josh Fields get playing time. He also traded away Javy to get essentially get Brandon Flowers and Brent Lillibridge. Lillibridge sucks, now, but Flowers is a great prospect and will soon hopefully help the team. He also picked up youngster 3B Dayan Viciedo and big fat Bartolo Colon. He also did the best he could to get Jake Peavy. Hendry let go of closer Kerry Wood, utility man and the best player in Cubs history Mark DeRosa. He also "retooled" his bullpen, got more lefties like Joey Gathright, and picked up Milton Bradley. The Cubs shitty '09 offense = awesome '08 offensive + lefties - talent.

Winner: Kenny, just because at least he tried to make a blockbuster deal and Hendry fucked with a good thing

OVERALL WINNER:

Cubs. They have a better rotation and thats really all it takes. Floyd and Buerhle are good, Contreas has been amazing his past two starts (but he STILL is Jose Contreas) and Richard and Danks have been inconsistent at best. So it is possible on an individual day that the Sox can be better than the Cubs, but I'll take the better rotation any day of the week. My prediction that means absolutely nothing: Cubs go 4-2 in the two series.

Dusty Baker Baseball 101

Eckstein wanted me to post on Dusty Baker's latest lesson in the basics of baseball. News came that star second basement Brandon Phillips was fined for swinging on a 3-0 count when given the take sign by Dusty Baker.

Firstly, given Baker's track record I too would always do the opposite of what Dusty says. Remember last year when he told Adam Dunn to bunt in the 9th inning and then this happened. Or when Dusty told Edwin Encarnacion to bunt he went yard. Or when he pinch hit Javier Valentine for Jay freakin Bruce in the 9th. Or when he batted out of order. Or when he batted Corey Patterson lead-off, for 2 different teams. Or when he replaced Patterson with his evil twin Willy Taveras. Or when he batted Neifi Perez lead-off. Or when he personally shredded Mark Prior's arm, and Aaron Harang's arm, and Edinson Volquez's arm. Or his personal game theory of kissing his nekclace for good luck. Yeah, just a track record of fantastic decisions. Worst manager ever.

How is it reasonable to fine major league players for mistakes they make on the playing field, pseudo-mistakes at that. Maybe they should be fines everytime they strike out, or drop a ball, or give up a homer run. That would probably be excessive as Phillips was officially fined for insubordination. In the words of Baker
If you've ever been in the military, you still have to follow orders. That's what it boils down to

Yes, baseball is just like the military. If Phillips doesnt follow orders, people will die. You wanted the truth? You cant handle the truth.

Considering the Reds were down by 2 runs with 2 men on base and the second best power hitter on the team, I would not blame Phillips for swinging at the pitch. This reminds me greatly of what Clint Hurdle recently tried to do. Fining or benching players for swinging at pitches is becoming a new fad of managers who have only this year discovered the importance of OBP. Dusty Baker never game a crap about walks prior to this year and same goes for Clint Hurdle. Their dictatorship tactics is probably just a way to cover up their insecurity about being the last 2 people in the world to realize sac bunts are retarded beyond imagination. Hopefully Baker has a similar fate to Hurdle, until of course he finds a new job from some desperate GM.

Stupid Brewers, Trix Are For Kids!

I went to the White Sox at Brewers game today and also listened to some Milwaukee sports talk radio today, here are some of my notes....

-By faking a bunt, Jim Thome ended up drawing only the second walk of the season by Trevor Hoffman. Because of injuries, SP Clayton Richard pinch ran for Thome and ended up scoring the winning run.

-I sat next to more ChiSox fans than Brewers fans. Every time the Brewers fans tried to cheer for their team, they were drowned out by the Chicago fans. We're not talking about the Cubs, we're talking about the freaking White Sox! Good job Milwaukee, even the second team in Chicago managed to draw a bigger crowd than your home team. This literally felt like a home game at a better stadium.

-Mark Buehrle hit a HR in his first at-bat after drawing a full count. Really!? I understand you suck Braden Looper but you gave up a monster HR to an established AL pitcher!? Really!?

-After the game I was curious to see what the Milwaukee POV was on the loss. Here's some notes on that:

-The main "thesis" of the Milwaukee's DJ was this, "Why aren't Brewers fan critical of J.J. Hardy (batting .211 with a .295 OBP) when everyone else on the team has gotten slack in some form or another?"
That's because all three Milwaukee Brewers fans are retarded

-They were also questioning what to do at the 2B, SS, and 3B position defensively to also maximize offense. They like this new guy Casey McGehee and want him at second, to start and play Mat Gamel at third (or at least give him significant ABs), but don't want minor leaguer Alcides Escobar to play SS, even though Hardy sucks donkey balls, because "a championship caliber team doesn't have three rookie in the infield". However, starting Craig Counsell and Bill Hall isn't a good idea for these fans either. The DJ was also worried about the team becoming "the Nashville Brewers" because of so many AAA guys on the roster.
Hey Milwaukee, YOU HAVE AN AWESOME AAA TEAM! You traded away Matt LaPorta and still have an awesome minor league system! Your everyday players like Hall and Counsell are not good! If these players are not contributing, why not try guys who are supposed to be good! Why can't rookies win? If they're better than your current team, then play them! (BTW, both Hall and Hardy have negative value including both offense and fielding and Counsell is barely positive which means that rookies at second, third, and short is actually probably a good idea)

-One caller said this in relation to Hardy "I don't care about on base percentage out of my number two guy [Hardy bats second], all I care is that my guy can lay down a bunt and have a high batting average to bat guys in"
Good job sustaining first place Milwaukee. I'm sure Cubs fans would REALLY love if any guy in the number two hole would always do this

-Manny Parra was sent down to AAA yesterday and manager Ken Macha said, even if Parra does amazingly after two starts in Nashville, he will not be brought back up because "he needs to work some things out"
Parra has a better FIP, HR/9, and K/9 than Braden Looper, Dave Bush, and Jeff Suppan. He also has a .368 BABIP which means he's getting extremely fucking unlucky. Sure, he's unnecessarily walking too many guys, but he never really shouldn't have been sent down to begin with and is your second best pitcher. Didn't Billy Beane teach you anything Ken Macha!

-One caller mentioned that actually J.J. Hardy was getting extremely unlucky, because he was actually hitting a lot of line drives but they just happened to get turned into outs when statistically those line drives should have been hits and even extra base hits. First of all, I was surprised at the level of intelligence of Brewers fans considering they're stupid enough to live near Milwaukee or actually root for the Brewers. But secondly, the DJ dismissed these claims saying that "it doesn't matter how hard those hits are if they're hit right towards a defender"
First of all, in the past 30 days, Hardy is 7th to last among SS in LD%, and last in the month of June among SS. But most importantly, even if those claims were true, good job for the DJ to show his authority by dismissing smart, well-thought out arguments

-The DJ also went on a mini-rant about Illinois, Chicago, and the Cubs. His comments actually made me think just how little Chicago cares about Milwaukee, but just how pissed off Milwaukee gets at us. Although I would be too if I couldn't gain a home field advantage either for like 10-15 games/ rooted for a team in Milwaukee

I wonder if GMs really hate their fans for being whiny little bitches? Oh well, Kenny, you suck!