Saturday, May 28, 2005

« Prior restraint? Cubs won't give up quite yet »

By Suss
With one swing of the bat, Brad Hawpe made Cubs fans begin jumping off the Sears Tower.

Prior's injury, from MLB.comHawpe swung and hit Prior's pitch right back to the pitcher, at which point it struck him on his pitching elbow. An MRI later revealed a fracture. Prior's season was in doubt, and with it the Cubs hopes.

While the elbow fracture already compounded his previous elbow problems, this loss compounded the problems of the injury bug Cubs players have had to face. In April, Nomar Garciaparra left a game with a groin injury after hustling out of the batter's box. He will probably miss two months. Kerry Wood is currently trying to rehab a shoulder injury sustained earlier in the year. In fact, the luck is so bad relief pitcher Mike Remlinger went on the 15-day DL for breaking his pinky, which was inflicted while sitting in a recliner.

But as the sun rose on Saturday, good news began to shine on the storied but jinxed organization.

The Cubs beat up on the Rockies Saturday afternoon 5-1, courtesty of two Derrek Lee home runs.

Mark Prior's injury is better than expected. His elbow only suffered a compression fracture, not a hairline as previously thought. According to Cubs team doctors, Prior may come back this year if when he has "full, pain-free range of motion."

The rotation still has two aces - young Carlos Zambrano (3-3, 3.62 ERA) and 300-game winner Greg Maddux (2-3, 4.33 ERA) . Their numbers aren't great but can improve, and today's game was won by journeyman Glendon Rusch (4-1, 2.35 ERA) who only gave up one run in 7 innings of work. Their fourth starter is currently Sergio Mitre (0-0, 2.57 ERA) who has started one game, a 7-inning, 2-run no-decision effort against Houston earlier this year.

Their fifth starter will be Todd Wellemeyer (1-0, 1.35 ERA, 1/1 sv) who has not started a game this year.

And the Cubs are wheelin' and dealin' arms as well. They traded inconsistent pitcher LaTroy Hawkins (1-4, 3.32 ERA, 4/8 sv) to the Giants for two 23-year old pitchers, Jerome Williams and David Aardsma. They're going to be sent to AAA immediately but will resurface and make contributions.

By no means do the Cubs have a good chance to even compete for the wild card, but if they still play hard and keep the hope alive by the time Garciaparra, Wood and Prior come back, they may be able to salvage the season. As it stands the Cubs are 23-24, already 8 games behind the elite St. Louis Cardinals (31-16). Finishing second in the division ahead of up-and-coming Milwaukee (24-23) would be a small victory for an injury-plagued year; that way Cubs can take that confidence and move the chess pieces into a position for a future pennant run in 2006.


« Report: Just another Yankees-Sox game »

By Suss
Thanks to Babe Ruth, Boston and New York just plain hate each other. And maybe the players don't hate each other, but the fans sure do. The two entities are like the antithesis of the most legandary love in the history of the world, whatever that romance may be.

While it's been the most illustrious pro sports rivalry to date, it's been so lopsided for so long until last year, and only this year do both teams have something to brag about. Now when Boston enters Yankee Stadium and see the 26 World Series banners, the Sox can say they've done that before too. Only 25 more to go.

Friday night featured these two battling at it yet again in the Bronx. The matchup is power vs. finesse -- the flamethrowing Randy Johnson vs. the knuckleballing Tim Wakefield. One pitcher keeps you on your toes, the other lulls you to sleep.

Top 1: Robinson Cano, some guy I never heard of, bobbles the ball at second, and Johnny Damon is safe. Then Damon steals second because Cano can't apply the tag in time. Something tells me this guy's gonna make a few more errors in the rest of the game, or he might become an instant Luis Sojo sensation and get the winning hit in the bottom of the ninth or something. But even after Johnson walked two to load the bases, he still got out of the inning. I gotta keep my eye on Cano.

Bottom 3: Cano's first at bat was a roller to second base. Bellhorn bobbled the ball, recovered then threw wide letting him reach on an error as well. What goes around...

Top 4: Johnson gave up his fourth walk and also finally recorded his first strikeout. He's throwing fast, he's just not locating. He's falling behind and when a pitcher does that, they can't make batter chase pitches, something he does very well (especially with that crazy slider).

Top 5: With one on and two out, Johnson chucked a 2-2 splitter to Boston's captain, catcher Jason Varitek. The splitter was low, but not low enough for Varitek, who smacked it over the left field wall, putting Boston up 2-0. For a while this was shaping up to be one of the ugliest 0-0 games in that both pitchers kept allowing baserunners, not because of Johnson's face. Varitek showed why he's the captain.

Boston 2, New York 0

Bottom 5: And Derek Jeter showed why he's the Yankees' cap'n. Leading off the half-inning, he reached for a triple and later scored on a Tony Womack groundout.

Boston 2, New York 1

Top 6: Womack missed catching a tailing line drive by inches, and Jay Payton wound up with a double. The commentators are saying Womack is trying to learn left field, but if Womack is a great second baseman, and if the 22-year old Cano makes an error in the first inning at second base, then maybe Cano should instead learn left field and keep the Womack wizardry in the infield. And after a Mark Bellhorn single to center, Damon singles to right and drives in Payton.

Womack redeemed himself as Edgar Renteria singled to left. Womack was playing shallow and Bellhorn was waved in at home. But Womack came up firing and Bellhorn was out at home by several strides. Oops on the third base coach. You've got a two run lead and would have the bases loaded with one out and David Ortiz stepping to the plate. Why play aggressive?

Then Ortiz hits a ball to second that Cano can't handle (go figure). But after the ball dribbles by a little, Cano recovers and throws out Damon trying to swipe home in the middle of the play. Two batters thrown out a home in one inning. Yeesh.

The Unit's hanging on, but he's down by two and has six walks with only three strikeouts and already threw 104 pitches. He can't last much longer.

Boston 3, New York 1

Bottom 6: I guess Cano is Sojo after all. He just hit a 2-run homer off Wakefield. He also drove in his childhood idol Bernie Williams, and got a high-five from him after the homer. Thrillin'.

That knocked Wakefield out of the game and the left-hander Alan Embree comes in the game.

And after Jeter and Womack reached base, the right-handed batter Gary Sheffield stepped up to the plate, waving that bat back and forth like it was Dikembe Mutombo's finger. And with the lefty on the mound, I visualized a future homer after Embree's first pitch went down the heart of the plate. That was scary, because I was right -- Sheffield took the next pitch to the upper deck behind left field. Score three more for the Yanks.

New York 6, Boston 3

Top 7: Johnson didn't even come back, judging from the looks of Tanyon Sturtze on the mound. After all the BB's and few K's, he only gave up 3 runs in 6 innings of work. Technically it falls under the stat "quality start." Maybe I should reconsider my investment in that stat...

Top 8: Nothing of note has happened since the sixth, so off comes the Internet connection and I relocate to the family room with the better TV.

(ESPN just broke a story saying that Mark Prior, who was hit in the pitching elbow by a line drive earlier in the day, underwent an MRI and it revealed he has a slight fracture in his elbow. That really hurts for the Cubs. X-rays were negative, which was good news, but who knows just how long the cursed Cubs will be without their young star.)

Tom Gordon just struck out Edgar Renteria for the final out. Since it's a save situation, the Sox will have to go through Mariano Rivera just to tie this thing up.

Top 9: I guess Rivera's not coming into the game. Gordon, who only pitched 1/3 of the eighth, will stay in for the save.

Now I guess Gordon's not getting the save. After getting one out, Rivera comes out from the bullpen. "Enter Sandman" theme song ensues.

Final score: Yankees 6, Red Sox 3

Don't look now, but New York is on a roll and Boston is in fourth place. That's right, Toronto is ahead of them. Toronto.

The series should be fun to watch and will test the limits of the injured Red Sox pitching staff.

I'm so glad I watched Cano.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

« D-Backs already at 27 wins »

By Suss
After beating Detroit 1-0 Sunday, Arizona is now 27-18 on the season. Last year they didn't win their 27th game until they also had 39 losses.

Javier Vazquez, who's had a rough going of it lately, threw a five-hit shutout against the Tigers. This makes him 5-3 on the season, and I am finally comfortable having him as the #2 pitcher behind Brandon Webb.

The entire rotation has gelled nicely so far. A starting corps of Webb, Vasquez, Russ Ortiz, Shawn Estes and Brad Halsey doesn't knock you off your socks, but it will get the job done more often than not. Combined they're 22-10, and of those five, only Ortiz has an ERA above 4.

More importantly, these are the only five guys to start games for them in 2005 so far. In 2004 they used 12 starting pitchers.

Currently they're a half game ahead of another surprise team, the Padres. And oh boy, they play each other in a series starting tonight.

Pitching probables for the series in Bank One Ballpark:
Adam Eaton (6-1, 3.35 ERA in 53 2/3 IP) vs. Russ Ortiz (4-2, 5.11 in 49 1/3 IP)

Darrell May (0-0, 4.24 ERA in 23 1/3 IP) vs. Brad Halsey (3-2, 3.54 in 53 1/3 IP)

Jake Peavy (4-0, 2.29 ERA in 63 IP) vs. Brandon Webb (6-0, 3.32 ERA in 62 1/3 IP)

Monday, May 23, 2005

« Stat Neuroses: Look at quality starts, not record »

By Suss
Sportscasters will talk about how Greg Maddux and Roger Clemens are, in all likelihood, two of the last 300-game winners.

But is getting the 'W' all that matters?

The win is a measurement of how well your team does while you pitch, because you could give up one run in nine innings of work, but your team doesn't score jack. Likewise, your team could score 15 runs, but you give up only 8 runs in 5 innings for the win.

Doesn't sound fair, does it?

Adamant baseball fans and stat trackers know this. That's why they've compiled many other stats (besides ERA) that can tell just how good a pitcher is, regardless of the win or the loss.

Quality start: A pitcher lasts at least six innings and gives up fewer than three earned runs. The average team scores five runs a game, so quality starts measure the starting pitcher's ability to keep their team in the game.

Run support: Run support is the number of runs the pitcher's own team scores in the games he wins or loses. The stat factors out no-decisions.

Quality start leaders as of May 23:
T-1. Roger Clemens, Astros: 9
T-1. Mark Redman, Pirates: 9
T-3. Kenny Rogers, Rangers: 8
T-3. Livan Hernandez, Nationals: 8
T-3. A.J. Burnett, Marlins
If we look at their win-loss records:
Clemens: 3-2
Redman: 3-3
Rogers: 5-2
Hernandez, 7-2
Burnett, 3-4
We see that the win-loss record doesn't really gauge how well a team did.

The Cy Young award should not take win-loss records into that much consideration. For example, let's re-examine Clemens and Livan Hernandez.

Their ERA's are both good, but Clemens is much better:
Clemens: 1.29
Hernandez: 3.29
And let's look at the run support, which is how many runs their team scores when they are the pitcher of record:
Clemens: 2.00
Hernandez: 5.20
In NL pitchers who quality for ERA stats, Clemens has the second lowest run support only to the Nationals' Esteban Loaiza (1.79). Loaiza by the way, has 7 quality starts and a 3.08 ERA, but is only 1-2. His teammate Hernandez has a worse ERA and six more wins.

In fact, Clemens has quality starts in all 9 of the games he's pitched in this year. First let's see his wins:
4/8 CIN (W 3-2) 7 IP, 1 ER
5/9 @FLA (W 2-1) 7 IP, 0 ER
5/14 SF (W 4-1) 8 IP, 1 ER
And his losses:
4/29 CHC (L 2-3) 7 IP, 3 ER
5/19 ARI (L 1-6) 6 IP, 2 ER
And now for those frustrating no-decisions:
4/13 @NYM (L 0-1) 7 IP, 0 ER
4/18 ATL (L 0-1) 7 IP, 0 ER
4/23 @STL (L 0-1) 7 IP, 0 ER
5/4 PIT (L 4-6) 7 IP, 2 ER
Any pitcher would take any of those starts. Well, maybe not one with five walks.

Run support has no direct effect on a pitcher's performance except on whether they win or lose. But it could transform a good pitcher into the taste of the league:

Top run support:
1. Jamie Moyer, Mariners (8.08)
2. Jon Garland, White Sox (7.99)
3. Carl Pavano, Yankees (7.82)
4. Chan Ho Park, Rangers (7.52)
5. Sidney Ponson, Orioles (7.33)
With the exception of Moyer, whose Mariners are actually weak in scoring so far this year, all other teams have hit the tar out of the ball.

Their win-loss records are impressive:
Moyer: 4-1
Garland: 8-0
Pavano: 4-2
Park: 4-1
Ponson: 5-2
And now for the truth-telling stats: ERA and quality starts:
Moyer: 6.11, 3 of 9
Garland: 2.41, 7 of 8
Pavano: 3.69, 6 of 10
Park: 4.61, 4 of 9
Ponson: 5.83, 3 of 9
Granted, Moyer earned his wins:
4/4 MIN (W 5-1) 5 2/3 IP, 0 ER
4/14 @KC (W 10-2) 7 IP, 2 ER
4/19 @LAA (W 5-3) 6 IP, 3 ER
4/24 CLE (W 9-1) 8 IP, 1 ER
Three are quality starts (the fourth was off by one out). He deserved his loss:
5/6 @BOS (L 2-7) 2.2 IP, 6 ER
And let's look at his no-decisions:
4/9 TEX (L 6-7) 5.1 IP, 3 ER
4/30 @OAK (L 5-6) 3.2 IP, 10 ER
5/11 @NYY (L 9-13) 2.1 IP, 10 ER
5/18 NYY (W 7-6) 5 IP, 6 ER
A final stat which combines quality starts with run support is tough losses -- when a pitcher gets the loss in a quality start. Let's look at players who have at least two quality wins but lost in at least half of those games:
Jake Westbrook, Indians: 5 QS, 5 TL
Danny Haren, A's: 5 QS, 4 TL
Kevin Millwood, Indians: 5 QS, 3 TL
Rich Harden, A's: 4 QS, 3 TL
Barry Zito, A's: 4 QS, 2 TL
Ryan Franklin, Mariners: 4 QS, 2 TL
David Bush, Blue Jays: 4 QS, 2 TL
Daniel Cabrera, Orioles: 3 QS, 2 TL
Joe Blanton, A's; 3 QS, 2 TL
Scott Kazmir, Devil Rays: 2 QS, 2 TL
Cabrera's the anomoly in this bunch and should probably have a talkins-to with his team, one of the best offenses in the game. But the other teams, especially the Indians and A's with multiple pitchers on that list, have suffered more from bad hitting, not pitching.

Now, this won't necessarily comb through the players with several losses and find good ones (Westbrook's ERA is well above 5) but it will give the hard-luck pitchers their due as well as demonstrate which teams don't put up the runs when their aces are on the mound.

Haren, Harden, Zito and Blanton have a combined 11 tough losses between them -- yet they are only 8 games back of first place.

There's only so much a pitcher can do on his own.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

« Report: Interleague Play -- Hot or Not? »

By Suss
Also posted on Blogcritics

The mystique of interleague baseball, some argue, has faded over the years and the novelty of American League teams facing National League has worn off. Bad teams playing bad teams, simply because one of the teams has to adhere to a different designated-hitter rule, doesn't bring in crowds. At the same time, my Diamondbacks (NL) travel to Detroit and Cleveland (both AL), giving me a chance to see them. Detroit is an hour-long drive from Toledo, and Cleveland is 1-1/2 hours. The next closest cities they visit are Cincinnati, Chicago and Pittsburgh -- all roughly 3-1/2 hours.

So it gets mixed feelings from baseball fans. Still, interleague play rolled on in its second day Saturday, featuring classic interleague matchups:

  • The Subway Series (Yankees-Mets)
  • The Battle of the Windy City (Cubs-White Sox)
  • The Freeway Series (Angels-Dodgers)
  • The Buckeye Series (Reds-Indians)
  • The Sunshine Series (Marlins-Devil Rays)
  • The Great White North Series (Brewers-Twins)
  • The Lone Star Series (Astros-Rangers)
  • The Show Me Series (Cardinals-Royals)
  • Canada's Past vs. Present (Blue Jays-Nationals)
  • The Earthquake Series Rematch (A's-Giants)

Of course, not all series have geographic or history behind them, but you can find catchy names for them:

  • We pretty much stole Luis Gonzalez from you (Diamondbacks-Tigers)
  • We used to be the nation's capital / We're really close to it (Phillies-Orioles)
  • The Yankees beat us in the late 90's for the AL East / World Series (Red Sox-Braves)
  • Our corporate-named stadiums end with "co" (Padres-Mariners) [Petco/Safeco]

And for the next batch of interleague series, you can count on more concocted yet catchy series nicknames.

Injury News

The biggest out-of-game news came from Los Anaheim Angels, where outfielder Vladmir Guerrero went on the 15-day disabled list Saturday for a partially dislocated shoulder, the Associated Press reported Sunday. The Angels play in a rather weak division, with Oakland and Seattle no longer threats in the division, so the perennial bottom-feeder Texas Rangers (3 games back of Los Anaheim) is the only competition for the Angels. If Vlad comes back healthy even after a month, Los Anaheim should still be a shoe-in for the division.

The White Sox also lost Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez (5-1, 3.91 ERA) to the 15-day DL with a sore muscle in the back of his shoulder, the AP reports. This means he'll miss at least three starts, maybe more. But even if his replacement loses all 3 games and the Sox continue their winning ways, second place Minnesota will still have some catching up to do as they are already 5-1/2 games behind.

Neither of these injuries should hurt their postseason chances unless the injuries get considerably worse.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

« MLB: American League All-Star Watch, Pt. I »

By Suss
Just as promised, here are my first rankings for the American League All Stars. (Don’t worry. I’m shocked I did it on time also. But you‘d be amazed at what you can get done when your girlfriend is at work.)

Keep in mind that I had to keep at least one player from each team. Suffice to say, I had to reach for someone from the A’s and Devil Rays and some deserving players aren’t on here. Then again, if you’re struggling to be the #10 outfielder, you don’t have a prayer to be voted on a roster of 32.

OPS = slugging + on base (I like the stat, I know not everyone does).
CS% is the percentage of attempted base stealers thrown out by a catcher.
K/9 is strikeouts per 9 innings, not how many dogs they’ve cut in half.
Stats are probably accurate as of games finished on May 19.

1. Jason Varitek, Red Sox (.331 BA, 8 HR, 16 RBI, .981 OPS)
2. Joe Mauer, Twins (.319 BA, 4 HR, 16 RBI, 42.9 CS%)
3. Jorge Posada, Yankees (.269 BA, 5 HR, 21 RBI)
4. Ivan Rodriguez, Tigers (.257 BA, 3 HR, 19 RBI, 54.5 CS%)
5. Javy Lopez, Orioles (.289 BA, 7 HR, 22 RBI)

First Base:
1. Mike Sweeney, Royals (.326 BA, 9 HR, 29 RBI, .970 OPS)
2. Tino Martinez, Yankees (.277 BA, 12 HR, 29 RBI, .996 OPS)
3. Dmitri Young, Tigers (.288 BA, 6 HR, 19 RBI)
4. Jay Gibbons, Orioles (.286 BA, 6 HR, 22 RBI)
5. Richie Sexson, Mariners (.223 BA, 11 HR, 31 RBI, 22 walks)

Second Base:
1. Brian Roberts, Orioles (.372 BA, 11 HR, 33 RBI, 34 runs, 13 SB, 1.114 OPS)
2. Alfonso Soriano, Rangers (.276 BA, 11 HR, 26 RBI, 31 runs)
3. Tadahito Iguchi, White Sox (.304 BA, 3 HR, 20 RBI, 7 SB)
4. Ron Belliard, Indians (.264 BA, 6 HR, 17 RBI)
5. Jorge Cantu, Devil Rays (.270 BA, 5 HR, 17 RBI)

Third Base:
1. Alex Rodriguez, Yankees (.296 BA, 14 HR, 41 RBI, 36 runs, .982 OPS)
2. Shea Hillenbrand, Blue Jays (.352 BA, 4 HR, 20 RBI, 31 runs)
3. Brandon Inge, Tigers (.320 BA, 4 HR, 21 RBI, 25 walks)
4. Melvin Mora, Orioles (.289 BA, 9 HR, 24 RBI)
5. Hank Blalock, Rangers (.283 BA, 6 HR, 30 RBI)

1. Carlos Guillen, Tigers (.371 BA, 2 HR, 11 RBI, .950 OPS)
2. Miguel Tejada, Orioles (.321 BA, 10 HR, 38 RBI, .947 OPS)

3. Derek Jeter, Yankees (.319 BA, 4 HR, 18 RBI, 31 runs, 24 walks)

4. Juan Uribe, White Sox (.269 BA, 4 HR, 20 RBI)
5. Michael Young, Rangers (.251 BA, 5 HR, 23 RBI)

1. Gary Sheffield, Yankees (.318 BA, 6 HR, 29 RBI, 25 walks)
2. Trot Nixon, Red Sox (.340 BA, 6 HR, 25 RBI, 1.019 OPS)

3. David Dellucci, Rangers (.272 BA, 6 HR, 18 RBI, .477 OBP, 36 walks, 1.031 OPS)

4. Johnny Damon, Red Sox (.347 BA, 1 HR, 21 RBI, 33 runs)
5. Vladmir Guerrero, Angels (.309 BA, 7 HR, 24 RBI)
6. Ichiro, Mariners (.335 BA, 3 HR, 15 RBI, 14 SB)
7. Manny Ramirez, Red Sox (.237 BA, 10 HR, 24 RBI
8. Jacque Jones, Twins (.296 BA, 5 HR, 16 RBI
9. Mark Kotsay, A’s (.292 BA, 2 HR, 21 RBI)
10. Scott Podsednik, White Sox (.283 BA, 0 HR, 10 RBI, 24 SB)

Designated Hitter:
1. David Ortiz, Red Sox (.273 BA, 10 HR, 29 RBI)

2. Travis Hafner, Indians (.272 BA, 5 HR, 18 RBI)
3. Carl Everett, White Sox (.252 BA, 5 HR, 27 RBI)
4. Erubiel Durazo, A’s (.250 BA, 4 HR, 16 RBI)
5. Josh Phelps, Devil Rays (.261 BA, 2 HR, 19 RBI)

(Note: Since the game will be in an American League venue, there is a DH on the ballot and while every team has submitted a DH, not everyone is a true DH unlike these people, so pickin’s are few and far between. Maybe next time I’ll choose between the balloted DH’s. Maybe. I can do anything while on the futon. Like eat Goldfish crackers and talk about it between rankings.)

Pitcher (starting):
1. Kenny Rogers, Rangers (4-2, 1.49 ERA, 54 1/3 IP, 22 K)

2. John Garland, White Sox (8-0, 2.41 ERA, 59 2/3 IP, 27 K)

3. Erik Bedard, Orioles (4-1, 2.35 ERA, 53 2/3 IP, 45 K)

4. Mark Buehrle, White Sox (7-1, 3.33 ERA, 67 2/3 IP, 40 K)

5. Johan Santana, Twins (5-2, 3.96 ERA, 61 1/3 IP, 72 K)

6. Roy Halladay, Blue Jays (6-2, 3.13 ERA, 69 IP, 47 K)
7. Randy Johnson, Yankees (4-2, 3.77 ERA, 57 1/3 IP, 50 K)
8. Bartolo Colon, Angels (5-3, 2.67 ERA, 60 2/3 IP, 42 K)
9. Josh Towers, Blue Jays (5-1, 3.17 ERA, 48 1/3 IP, 32 K)
10. Jeremy Bonderman, Tigers (5-2, 3.42 ERA, 55 1/3 IP, 48 K)

Pitcher (closing):
1. Joe Nathan, Twins (12/13 sv, 1.56 ERA, 10.38 K/9, 20 K, 1 walk)

2. B.J. Ryan, Orioles (12/13 sv, 1.57 ERA, 14.09 K/9)
3. Eddie Guardado, Mariners (10/11 sv, 2.25 ERA)
4. Francisco Rodriguez, Angels (10/11 sv, 2.25 ERA, 12.94 K/9, 13 K, 2 walk)
5. Dustin Hermanson, White Sox (9/9 sv, 0.00 ERA in 19 1/3 IP)

« MLB: National League All Star Watch, Pt. I »

By Suss
This post also can be viewed at Blogcritics.

It comes as no shock I have a lot of time on my hands, until the naive corporate man decides to pay me a yearly salary for no good reason.

So I spend some caffeinated nights on this laptop looking up baseball stats, wondering who deserves to play in the All-Star game in Detroit this July.

I haven't ruled out going to it, since it's just an hour drive. Of course, the Futon Report would be more like a Bleacher Report if that happened. I still wouldn't interview anyone, though. People scare me.

And since it's only May and the ballot results are comparable to a larva, here's a rundown of my highly accurate* power charts by position. Notable stats are in parentheses. "OPS" is a weird stat: on-base percentage plus slugging percentage. It's not a ratio that can be put into words, but it's a good revealing stat that measures one's offensive output.

Here's the National League rankings. American League will come later, because my battery is starting to quickly dwindle.

1. Paul Lo Duca, Marlins (.336 BA, 2 HR, 15 RBI)
2. Mike Piazza, Mets (.242 BA, 6 HR, 22 RBI)
3. Ramon Hernandez, Padres (.304 BA, 4 HR, 20 RBI)
4. Mike Matheny, Giants (.252 BA, 4 HR, 19 RBI)
5. Michael Barrett, Cubs (.278 BA, 4 HR, 18 RBI)

First Base:
1. Derrek Lee, Cubs (.362 BA, 12 HR, 37 RBI, 1.156 OPS)
2. Albert Pujols, Cardinals (.331 BA, 10 HR, 33 RBI, 27 runs)
3. Todd Helton, Rockies (.323 BA, 5 HR, 19 RBI, .993 OPS)
4. Nick Johnson, Nationals (.321 BA, 6 HR, 24 RBI)
5. Lyle Overbay, Brewers (.313 BA, 7 HR, 26 RBI, 31 walks)

Second Base:
1. Mark Grudzielanek , Cardinals (.338 BA, 3 HR, 15 RBI)
2. Jeff Kent, Dodgers (.298 BA, 8 HR, 32 RBI, 1.000 fielding pct)
3. Craig Biggio, Astros (.298 BA, 7 HR, 22 RBI)
4. Craig Counsell, Diamondbacks (.294 BA, 1 HR, 9 RBI, .423 OBP)
5. Mark Loretta, Padres (.300 BA, 0 HR, 13 RBI)

Third Base:
1. Chipper Jones, Braves (.333 BA, 7 HR, 22 RBI, .1.094 OPS)
2. Troy Glaus, Diamondbacks (.281 BA, 12 HR, 31 RBI, 1.020 OPS)
3. Morgan Ensberg, Astros (.317 BA, 7 HR, 18 RBI, .421 OBP)
4. Vinny Castilla, Nationals (.301 BA, 4 HR, 23 RBI)
5. David Wright, Mets (.275 BA, 7 HR, 21 RBI)

1. Clint Barmes, Rockies (.387 BA, 7 HR, 26 RBI, 1.042 OPS, 32 runs)
2. Cesar Izturis, Dodgers (.339 BA, 1 HR, 17 RBI, 28 runs)
3. David Eckstein, Cardinals (.313 BA, 1 HR, 12 RBI)
4. Omar Vizquel, Giants (.281 BA, 0 HR, 14 RBI, 9 SB)
5. Neifi Perez, Cubs (.282 BA, 4 HR, 14 RBI)

1. Bobby Abreu, Phillies (.336 BA, 12 HR, 33 RBI, 10 SB, 1.094 OPS)
2. Adam Dunn, Reds (.254 BA, 11 HR, 23 RBI, 1.058 OPS)
3. Miguel Cabrera, Marlins (.370 BA, 8 HR, 30 RBI, 1.024 OPS)
4. Jim Edmonds, Cardinals (.280 BA, 6 HR, 23 RBI, 25 walks)
5. Cliff Floyd, Mets (.298 BA, 11 HR, 28 RBI)
6. Milton Bradley, Dodgers (.325 BA, 10 HR, 25 RBI, 31 runs)
7. Andruw Jones, Braves (.294 BA, 11 HR, 27 RBI)
8. Brian Giles, Padres (.284 BA, 5 HR, 24 RBI, 28 runs, 34 walks)
9. Brady Clark, Brewers (.348 BA, 5 HR, 19 RBI, 32 runs)
10. Luis Gonzalez, Diamondbacks (.313 BA, 5 HR, 26 RBI, 28 runs)

Pitcher (starting):
1. Roger Clemens, Astros (3-1, 1.11 ERA, 57 IP, 60 K)
2. Dontrelle Willis, Marlins (7-1, 1.45 ERA, 56 IP, 46 K)

3. Josh Beckett, Marlins (6-3, 2.47 ERA, 54 2/3 IP, 57 K)

4. Brett Myers, Phillies (3-2, 1.63 ERA, 55 1/3 IP, 62 K)

5. Mike Hampton, Braves (4-1, 1.96 ERA, 55 IP, 21 K)

6. Jake Peavy, Padres (3-0, 2.57 ERA, 56 IP, 61 K)
7. John Smoltz, Braves (3-3, 2.83 ERA, 57 1/3 IP, 45 K)
8. Pedro Martinez, Mets (4-1, 3.38 ERA, 56 IP, 67 K)
9. Mark Prior, Cubs (3-1, 2.93 ERA, 46 IP, 52 IP)
10. Mark Redman, Pirates (2-3, 2.44 ERA, 55 1/3 IP, 26 K)

Pitcher (closing):
1. Jason Isringhausen, Cardinals (9/9 sv, 0.79 ERA)
2. Brandon Lyon, Diamondbacks (13/14 sv, 1.96 ERA)
3. Chad Cordero, Nationals (9/11 sv, 1.00 ERA)
4. Jose Mesa, Pirates (13/14 sv, 4.50 ERA)
5. Trevor Hoffman, Padres (13/15 sv, 2.76 ERA)

Edit: Fixed Smoltz's record. Used to be 3-0. It never was. I suck.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

« Report: Cubs back in DC, Rocks beat AZ »

By Suss
National League

The last time the Chicago Cubs played in Washington D.C., Babe Ruth was four years old.

Back then, the Cubs played the Washington Senators on Aug. 10, 1899 and took a 105-year break from playing in the nation's capital until now.

And on Friday, Chicago hobbled into RFK Stadium with a 15-18 record and six players on the disabled list, but won 6-3.

In the top of the eighth and down by one, the Cubs rallied by scoring four runs (three unearned) to win their third straight game.

(Fun fact: the 1899 Senators had a player named Dick Padden.)

But the '05 Cubs are batting for second place in the NL Central with ... the Brewers.

Don't look now, but Milwaukee is on a tear. Friday they went to Pittsburgh and won 4-3 by scoring the winning run in the ninth on a Geoff Jenkins double. Now the usually-pitiful Brew Crew have won eight of their last 11 games and are 18-16. But they're only 3.5 games behind the St. Louis Cardinals.

Those same Cardinals, one of baseball's best teams, got shut out by the Mets 2-0 in New York. Struggling veteran Tom Glavine improved to 2-4 after throwing seven shutout innings, allowing only four base hits. The two runs scored were both solo home runs by Cliff Floyd, his ninth and 10th on the season.

Meanwhile, as I wait to write about the Diamondbacks-Rockies games in hopes that my D-Backs are able to keep their tied-for-first-place spot by crushing the piddly Rocks, I see the Rocks are winnin' 9-3.

Make that 11-3.


Wow, Kerry Ligtenberg pitches for Arizona now? That explains a lot.



Maybe I should just move on.


Moving on.

Arizona will probably lose (just a guess) and the Dodgers will take first place after their victory against the NL East leaders Braves 7-4. Going into the eighth inning the score was 2-0 Dodgers. In the top half Atlanta posted four runs -- a grand slam by Adam LaRoche. Dodgers saw their four and raised them another in the bottom of the same inning -- including a grand slam by the best name in sports, Milton Bradley.

American League

The marquee series this weekend featured two first-place teams -- the White Sox and the Orioles. The Sox already got the leg up on the series by winning Thursday 3-2. They continued their winning ways by beating up on the O's 5-3 Friday night.

Mark Buehrle won his sixth game of the season as Chicago remains the only team to have single digit losses (9). They have a 5-1/2 game lead over second place Minnesota.

The only other game I care about out of the AL is the Angels and my local team Tigers. But it's rained out, and since I choose not to wait out the onslaught of the Colorado Rockies, so ends this report.

P. S. - 18-3.